Since I unofficially seem to be the ‘riding jeans’ guy at WebBikeWorld it only makes sense that I bring our readers a review of some riding jeans as we head out of Winter. This time around I have a pair of SP120 Lite riding jeans from UK manufacturer, Bull-it.
Bull-it is unique among many riding jeans makers as they are the only ones I’m aware of that use Covec materials in their apparel. Bull-it and Covec are partners and are pretty closely intertwined so I’m not surprised that Bull-it apparel is the only riding gear one will find with this unique material.
These jeans take the protective nature of other Bull-it riding jeans and places the abrasion (and temperature) resistant material only in the knees and seat areas. This provides good coverage but uses less material allowing for a lower cost of entry. It also reduces overall weight compared to the non ‘lite’ jeans.
I have handled a good variety of motorcycle helmets since I started riding in the early ’90s. I’m therefore a bit surprised to realize I’d never owned or tested a helmet from AGV. As part of my review process, I always read up on the manufacturer, even if I’m pretty familiar with them, in case there is some interesting fact I can bring to light.
Checking out the story behind AGV had me realizing how little I actually knew about this company. For instance, AGV founded in 1947 and the company made some very notable contributions to the motorcycle helmet world. They were the first put into production the fiberglass shell crash helmet in 1954 and they were the manufacturer of the first full face helmet worn at the Italian Grand Prix in 1969.
The K5 S represents the top end of AGV’s sport/sport-touring helmets with a moderately aggressive shape. The curves downward providing extra coverage up front. This particular example is mostly black with slim, angular graphics that make up the “Magnitude” colorway.
Being designed for sport touring, the K5 S has an internal drop down sun visor and the main visor is “pinned” for pinlock inserts. A clear Pinlock 70 insert is included so one can jump right into the fog-free goodness right out of the box.
I recently had the opportunity to review a pair of riding jeans, two actually, from Alpinestars. The Copper Out, their sibling, the Copper Riding pants are aramid reinforced denim jeans designed for the urban / commuter motorcyclist. I ended up receiving both pairs so my review notes the subtle differences between the two.
Looking very similar to a pair of regular “blue jeans” the Copper Out jeans only have a zipper above the knee to outwardly tip one off that there is something different here. This knee zipper is where armor can be installed to provide impact protection to augment the aramid abrasion resistance in the knee area.
The Copper jeans eschew the external zipper and instead use an internal pocket for holding the same armor in place. Both jeans offer similar protection overall and include hook and loop fastener material near the hip for attaching armor (not included).
This brace of riding jeans are very well made and the fit is very true to the labeled size in the units I received. If you are looking for some riding jeans that are comfortable and should last a long time, have a look at my complete review over at WebBikeWorld.com.
Last year I went on a search for a light and thin heated vest that would fit under pretty much any riding jacket I have. Most heated vests have some bulk to them and it makes sense. To be the most effective they not only need to produce heat but help keep as much heat as possible trapped near the body.
But what if you don’t need the “most” heat? How about just “some” heat?
In my case I wasn’t looking for the hottest heated gear out there. I had two goals. The first, augment my winter weather riding jacket with some active heating to allow riding in colder weather without significantly adding another layer. The second, extend the seasonality of my lighter riding gear and allowing me to wear more comfortable and less bulky jackets when it would normally be a bit to cold for them.
Enter Mobile Warming’s Thawdaddy battery-powered heated vest. The Thawdaddy is the smallest heated vest I’ve encountered and as such it meets my criteria for fitting under pretty much any of my riding gear. Of course small size and light weight likely means the electrical storage / heat generating properties of the vest will be compromised. But is it enough to reach my goals detailed above?
I really like Shark helmets. There, I said it. I want to make it clear that I might have some bias towards these lids and I feel that bias is well earned. Shark may not be the most well recognized helmet manufacturer (in the USA, anyway) but they have been around a long time and their products compete well against their peers.
Recently I had the chance to review the Shark “Spartan” helmet for webBikeWorld.com and I leaped at the opportunity to handle a new bucket from Shark. The Spartan is their top helmet for sport touring, touring, and commuting use with a design geared towards upright and mild forward leaning riding positions.
Using a fiberglass shell, the Spartan offers lightweight while including comfort features like a drop down sun visor and a very comfy interior. This is all contained within a shell that shows the excellent paint and clearcoat finish that one should expect at the price point.
Action Sports EMS’s business centers around the amateur motocross industry in several states. They have been collecting data since 2009 on injuries which fall into the criteria surrounding wearing (or not wearing) a neck brace along with cervical spine injuries and/or clavicle injuries, and /or death.
The data is very interesting and CycleNews is hoping that publishing this data will help clear up some of the misconceptions around the use of neck-braces. Specifically they want to show how effective these devices can be at preventing and minimizing serious injuries.
For my own part, I spent several months in 2017 riding with a neck-brace on the street. I was convinced to add this to my daily riding gear after reading a lot of anecdotal evidence from other riders at the ADVRider.com forum that neck-braces seem to have a positive benefit to injury reduction/mitigation.
I usually don’t get into the “Check out this sale!” thing but I just received a note in my inbox that MotorcycleGear.com (formerly NewEnough) is blowing out their remaining stock of the AGV Sport Compass jackets. This textile/leather jacket is one of my favorites as it combines the durability of leather in impact areas with the lighter weight of textile used in the rest of the shell. I reviewed this jacket back in January of 2017 for webBikeWorld so you can get all the details but I’ll sum it up real quick in case you want to waste no time getting in on this deal.
The styling, as you can see in the image to the right, is a sport riding cut combined with a classic brown textile material. The leather is buffalo leather which doesn’t lay as smooth as cowhide and it has a different texture than cowhide adding to the jacket’s unique appearance.
Shoulder and elbow armor is included but no back-pad comes with it short of the piece of foam that helps the pocket maintain shape. The shape is a bit wonky but I purchased a back-pad made from viscoelasitc materials I could cut to shape with some heavy scissors. Oh, and there is a quilted vest liner included for cooler days.
Sizing runs slightly snug. Frankly I like my gear to be snug so it can stay in place better in a crash. If you like a “fitted feel” order your normal size but go up one size if you prefer a more relaxed fit. Keep in mind that at the time of this writing there are only L, XL, and XXL sizes left.
Dashcam’s for motorcycles are relatively few and far between, especially compared to the various options for cars. In fact, the only other “dashcam” style unit reviewed previously at webBikeWorld was the Innovv K1 back in 2015.
Since then many inexpensive camera systems that could be used as dashcams for motorcycles have popped up at places like eBay and Amazon. Often these cameras seem priced so low that the adage “Too good to be true.” can drive many potential buyers away.
Then a couple of months ago I became aware of a new camera system that falls into what I considered the “sweet spot” in price and features. I wanted to find out if this system is really the happy medium solution for motorcycle dashcams it appeared to be. Hit the link to the review on webBikeWorld to find out.
Fall is typically a beautiful time of year. In many areas of the United States including my home state of Tennessee, changing leaf colors leads to some very nice scenery along the highways and back roads where I often ride. This is all well and good while the leaves are still attached to their branches. When they start falling to the ground, however, they can pose a threat to the motorcycle rider.
Hazards from falling leaves come in two major flavors. For starters, leaves can obscure a damaged piece of pavement or debris in the roadway. This type of hazard isn’t that prevalent or as dangerous as the second scenario which is wet leaves.
A thin layer of wet leaves on a road surface can be very slick. Not only is the upward facing surface of those leaves slick when wet but the downward, road-facing side adds to the overall reduction in friction. All in all this is not the ideal surface for the small contact patch of a motorcycle tire to deal with.
What is really dangerous is that while one is typically already being cautious when riding in the rain, a patch of leaves may stay wet for some time after the precipitation has ended. It’s not unusual to have the sun shining down on a deceptively innocent patch of leaves on the road the morning after a rainy night. Those leaves can still be quite wet underneath and can easily ruin one’s day if ridden over at even modest lean angels.
It’s easy to get caught up in the scenery and colors that come with a crisp Autumn morning ride so be vigilant when you’re out riding during this time of year. Make sure you are staying aware of what is on the road surface up ahead and never assume those leaves on the road are completely dry. In fact, I would say just avoid riding over any leaves on the road if it can be done safely.
I would like to take a moment and say congratulations to #43 Caroline Olsen for a great Supersport race (two actually) this past weekend at Barber Motosports Park during the final round of MotoAmerica. The last race, on Sunday, was particularly satisfying as she moved from starting in 19th place to finishing 11th! The previous day’s race was nothing to sneeze at either as she started in 22nd position and moved up to a 17th place finish.
It’s been heart-warming to watch her get back in the groove and it hasn’t been an easy journey. For those who aren’t aware, Caroline had a pretty nasty crash due to brake failure last year at NJMP that landed her in the hospital for a couple of days. Her injuries were rather serious as she described in a press release last year;
“I escaped without serious long-term injuries and I got released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Bruised lungs, a broken collarbone, two broken vertebrae and an overall beat up body were the verdict. Since I’ve got back to Norway, I’ve had an operation on my collarbone and it was discovered that I had a broken fibula just below my right knee.”
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