Motorcycle protective equipment is something I’ve been getting progressively more concerned with as I get older. Having started riding on the street nearly 25 years ago (has it been that long?) I’ve been fortunate to have what I would consider less than my share of spills and get-offs. I’ve also been fortunate to have been able to walk, or limp, away from the crashes I’ve had.
In the 90’s I had a couple of minor get-off’s that left me and my bike pretty much unscathed and considering the lowly state of my protective gear at the time, I was very lucky. Fast forward to the present and I have a lot of protective riding gear. This includes the usual suspects such as armored jackets and pants, gloves, boots and a full face helmet.
Last year I reviewed the EVS R4K race collar, a neck protection device designed for off-road use. It has worked well for me over my street gear for nearly a year now but lately I’ve been looking more closely the benefits and options involving airbag vests and jackets.
Manufacturers Helite (right) and Hit-Air (pictured above) are probably the best known manufacturers of airbag equipped protection for motorcycle riders. Both companies offer several options of vests and jackets with integrated airbags and use a lanyard system to “fire” the airbag if the rider is separated from their ride.
While these manufacturers would likely argue they are each better than the other, there is little dispute that either airbag systems is certainly better than none at all. After reading numerous threads on the subject of airbag jackets and vests at ADVRider.com I decided it was time I take the plunge.
After weighing the various options of one brand or the other AND a vest versus integrated jacket, I pulled the trigger this morning and have my first piece of airbag equipped riding gear on the way. Which did I choose?
You’ll have to wait to find out when I post my preview in a couple of weeks which will of course be followed by a complete review not long after.
In the meantime I’m very interested to know what my fellow riders think of airbags for motorcycle riders. Would you use one? If not, why? I get that price might be factor but if that isn’t it I’d like to hear the reasoning for or against. Leave comments here and let me know.
I have to admit when I first received the EZGO helmet carrying strap for review I thought, “Who is asking the question that this device is answering?”. A carrying strap that connects to your micrometric buckle (if so equipped) on your helmet? Seemed like it would be awkward in theory, but what about in practice?
After procuring a helmet with one of these Euro style buckles I spent some time testing out the EZGO. The results were much better than I had expected. Is it perfect? I wouldn’t go that far, but it is more useful than I thought it would be. Of course there are some caveats as well.
Check out the full review and more photos over at webBikeWorld.com for all the details.
I recently got to review an interesting product from across “the pond”. UK based Visorcat sent me one of their helmet visor cleaning systems to check out for webBikeWorld.com. This isn’t the first time that webBikeWorld has review the Visorcat but they have made some updates to the product over the past four years since Alice Dryden reviewed it for wBW.
So what is it? The Visor cat is a device one attaches over their left glove. This places a sponge, under a rubber squeegee/cover, on the back of the rider’s hand. Swiping to the right and then left, the squeegee/cover is opened exposing the sponge to the visor surface. Pulling back to the left brings the squeegee piece into contact with the visor clearing the fluid and grime soaked by the sponge. Within the Visorcat is a reservoir of cleaning solution that wicks toe the sponge to keep it soaked and ready to clean.
That’s basically the Visorcat in a nutshell. It’s not something I thought I would want myself but after seeing it first hand, they might have changed my mind. The only downside at the moment is that for riders here in the USA, there isn’t a distributor and so far. I did find that one of the UK distributors, Cupar Motorcycles is selling the Visorcat on eBay and will ship it to the States.
Read the complete review with details and more photos over at www.webbikeworld.com.
Singapore based startup Neo and Sons has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new helmet bag they have been working on.
Dubbed “The Classic”, this helmet bag doesn’t look or function like your typical lid carry-all. Most helmet bags I’ve seen are pretty simple affairs made from nylon, polyester, or a similar textile. The Classic is made from full grain leather (there is a waxed cotton version too) and uses quality hardware like YKK brass (or gunmetal) zippers as well as heavy duty D-rings. The interior is lined with black twill cotton and an optional hounds-tooth pattern will be available for a bit of extra style on the inside.
The materials aren’t the only thing that set this helmet carrier from the rest. Neo and Sons make use of the empty space within the helmet for additional storage. I often carry my gloves in my helmet when I carry them around but this carrying bag has an integrated storage pocket that protrudes into the open helmet space from underneath.
In my previous installment of Risky Business, I looked at being vigilant and acutely aware of the hazards when riding on the street. This time let’s take a look from the other perspective, making yourself visible to other vehicles on the streets with you.
How often have you heard someone involved in an crash say “I never saw the other driver, rider, etc”. More often that you would think, this is actually a true statement. The driver may have actually been looking right at motorcycle and their brain never registered the bike as an object to avoid or be concerned with.
Drivers can get used to just looking for cars and other hazards on the road. Let’s face it, motorcycles just aren’t as plentiful on the roads as cars and trucks. It’s hard for some motorcyclists to understand this but as riders, we often take note of other bikes. Being on a bike seems to make us “tuned in” to see other bikes where drivers of cars simply aren’t.
So what can one do as a rider to mitigate this phenomenon? Let’s learn how to be seen. The following are some ways to improve your visibility on the road.
A modest sized tailbag that can still manage to enclose a full-face helmet when expanded, the Ogio Moto Sport tail bag is a great way to add storage to your ride. The attachment system is very flexible making it easy to adapt to most any bike with a passenger seat.
The overall construction is very robust and an included rain cover rounds out the features that make this bag a good deal for its sub $100.00 price point. Check out the full review over at webBikeWorld.com.
Right after I finished this review it turns out that these bags are in short supply so if you’re interested in one of these I’d pick one up ASAP! from Amazon. If you miss it MotorcycleGear.com tells me that more will be coming in Early September (link below).
webBikeWorld Contributor Bill P. takes an in-depth look at four different mobile device mounts for motorcycles. Personally I use the Ram Mount X-Grip as it is light and I don’t do any off-road riding on my Ninja 1000 🙂 but I do agree with Bill’s findings. While his favorite is also the most expensive in the roundup, one does get what they pay for in this case.
See the full review and comparison by clicking here.
From the review…
Many motorcycle owners are now mounting a smartphone on their motorcycle. Not that I’m advocating taking and making actual phone calls; indeed, most of us try to get away from that aspect of our lives when we ride.
So no, that’s not what I’m talking about.
It’s for things like music streaming using Bluetooth connectivity through your intercom system. And there are riders who don’t want to get lost, period. I’m sure many of you, like me, use GPS apps on your phone while on a ride and consider it essential.
Being a bit of a riding gear “nerd”, I recently started following some discussions on ADVrider.com regarding neck braces. These aren’t the kind one gets put in after an accident but rather the opposite. These are the kind that attempt to prevent the need of the “post-crash” ones.
Off-road riders have been using the collars and braces for years but there hasn’t been much on the consumer market for the street rider. Over the past fifteen years or so, there have been a lot technological strides in the neck brace area due on no small part to Christopher Leatt, who patented his design for the Leatt neck brace back in 2003.
Where once there were just padded collars (or “donuts”) the Leatt Brace had a framework of flexible and rigid parts designed to keep a rider’s head from flexing to the point of causing injury. This design requires that the rider be wearing a full-face helmet and it works by presenting a surface around the rider’s neck that physically stops the helmet from moving beyond a certain point.
My latest review for webBikeWorld is posted and this one is pretty sweet. The product being reviewed is a pre-production sample of the new NVx night vision helmet visor from Scotopia Technologies.
The NVx uses some pretty amazing engineering to create a visor that can literally see in the dark. The information on the Scotopia Technologies website is brief and kind of a tease. Of course I’m sure they want to keep their secrets.. well .. secret.
NVx Visor powerd up
Here’s a bit of what Scotopia has to say about their tech “the Compound Eye™ elements matrix and be embedded into a transparent material (ABS, PU, etc) and cover several several square inches”, and it continues “To create a lightweight and low-power display we developed FlexIris™. This system combines near-transparent OLED’s (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) with focus-able microlenses.”
I’m not going to pretend I understand all of what that says, but it’s pretty spiffy to see it in action. To see the complete review, head over to webBikeWorld.com.
Our friends over at webBikeWorld have just published their review of the Shad 58X top case. Being a Shad case user myself, I was very interested to see this review.
As one can guess from the title, this top case expands from 46 liter capacity all the way to 58 liters with an intermediate setting at 52 liters. This is a lot of space and being able to vary the size has the benefits of both a smaller view from the outside but also allows less gear to have smaller space to move around in.
Of course all this cool expandability isn’t the only good thing about this case. For the full review head over to webBikeWorld.com.