Motorcycle Words

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Category: Riding Gear (page 2 of 4)

Hit-Air MLV-C Airbag Vest – Preview

Product: MLV-C Airbag Vest
Manufacturer: Hit-Air
Sizes: Medium (covers S – XL), Large (covers XL-3XL)
Color(s): Black, White, Red, Blue, Brown, plus special edition colors
Made In: Japan
Price: $479.00 base ($509.00 as tested)


Introduction

Recently I posted that I had purchased an airbag vest so as one can tell from the title of this writing, I chose to go with the Hit-Air MLV-C Airbag vest. Here’s a look at why I chose the Hit-Air brand and why I chose to go with a vest instead of an airbag integrated jacket.

Why Hit-Air over Helite?

The two major players in the motorcycle airbag vest/jacket arena are arguably Hit-Air and Helite. There are also a handful of others making vests using a tethered system like the one used on these devices. After a lot of research I chose to go with the Hit-Air brand.

(Note: There are options from Dainese and Alpinestars that use electronic sensors to activate their airbags but I wanted to focus on the tethered systems for this review)

Deciding wasn’t easy as both manufacturers offer a quality product. Helite, for there part, does a bit more marketing than Hit-Air so their name may be more familiar. Marketing isn’t everything (but sometimes it is, I’m looking at you Betamax) and I wouldn’t have guessed that Hit-Air got started several years before Helite based solely on name recognition alone.

In terms of options, Helite has three with their Turtle vest, a race version, and a custom leather option. Hit-Air has several offerings for vests, seven by my count, and that is just the vest options. There also appears to be 13 jackets available from Hit-Air that include their airbag technology so Hit-Air has the most variety of options.

The Helite Turtle vest has an integrated back protector that sits over the inflation bags in the vest. This is a great feature for impact protection. The Hit-Air vest offers optional back protectors for their vests that installs via hook and loop fastener on the inner side of the vest under the airbag.

I like the optional nature of the back protector in this case, especially since I have CE level 2 back protectors installed in my riding jackets already. This last point I would consider a toss-up so no points either way. In the end I chose the Hit-Air, but then I had to answer the next question…

Which one?! Read on to find out.

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Motorcycle Airbag Protection, Do You? Would You?

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.

Teasers for Spring Reviews

A great little strip of asphalt called Fairview-Kingston Springs Rd. Short but sweet!

I just realized how badly MotorcycleWords.com has been neglected by me over the past couple of months. Seeing as the weather has been less than “motorcycle-friendly” in my part of the country it is likely  not surprising. Still, that’s no excuse for the emptiness and quiet that has descended on my humble little blog. So to get things warmed back up I thought I’d share some info on upcoming products I have in for review for webBikeWorld.com as well as some teasers for things on the way.

Manufacturer photoFirst up, I have one of the new Elipsol Air jackets from Pilot Motosport in house for review. This addition to Pilot’s lineup is a mashup of adventure styling and mesh airflow. I really like the styling of this jacket and in addition to light grey, dark grey, and Hi-Viz colors, they have a new “Sand” color which I totally dig.  I’ve managed two short rides with it during the brief periods when it was warm enough but Spring is on the way and this review will be hitting wBW soon.

Sitting on the shelf waiting for warmer temps is a pair of riding jeans from Trilobite out of the Czech Republic. Their TON-UP riding jeans take a different approach than other riding jeans I’ve reviewed in the past as they do not have a separate lining for abrasion resistance. Instead, the denim used in the jeans is made from UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) thread making it not only very durable but also much lighter than typical motorcycle specific jeans. The material is also very cool against the skin so I’ve been patiently waiting for Spring to show up so I can give these a full test.

Finally, after about 6,500 miles on my Continental Road Attack 2 EVO’s, I’ll be replacing them soon with a set of Continental’s new Road Attack 3‘s so I’ll be posting up an initial review soon as well as a “post-mortem” on the EVO’s. (Hint, the EVO’s were fantastic)

In news not related to my wBW reviews, I’ve got a more installments of my “Risky Business” series of riding skills articles coming for 2018. I also am looking forward to announcing a new riding skills course that will (hopefully) be available later this year from a highly skilled motorcycle riding coach/instructor I’m lucky to be friends with. I’ll be posting up news about that as it gets closer to launch. If this is something you might be interested in attending please let em know so I can let you know when this is available.

More content and updates to come!

Visorcat Helmet Visor Cleaning System Review – wBW

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.

Updated: I just received word that Visorcat has reached an agreement with Aerostitch so now USA residents have a dealer here on the other side of the pond.

Read the complete review with details and more photos over at www.webbikeworld.com.

Sunglasses for In-Helmet Use – The Flying Eyes Golden Eagle Sport

Along with a change to a new look at webBikeWorld.com, my latest review for that site has been published as of yesterday. This review is of the Flying Eyes Golden Eagle Sport sunglasses which are designed for use in helmets and with over-the-ear headphones.

The name Flying Eyes relates to the fact these shades were designed by a pilot for use when piloting planes. The original “aviator” design sunglasses can be less comfortable with modern headsets and they also tend to let noise into what are otherwise sound isolating headsets.

By using very thin temples, these sunglasses have minimal impact on headsets and are comfortable inside of helmets used for flying. As such they are also well suited for use in motorcycle helmets which is exactly why they landed on my desk for review. So how did they perform? Check out the full review and find out.

   

Moto-Skiveez Performance Tights and Compression Socks

My review of the new Moto-Skiveez Performance Tights and the Compression Socks with Aloe is posted up to webBikeWorld.com.

These tights from Moto-Skiveez are a new addition to their lineup of riding base-layers designed to improve comfort. They take the newly redesigned padding from the Adventure Skiveez and puts them in a  3/4 length pair of riding tights.

While I was at it I also reviewed the Compression Socks with Aloe. Paired up with the tights they make a complete base layer for one’s lower half. Check out the complete review over at webBikeWorld.com.

Risky Business – Being Seen

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.

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EVS SportsR4K Race Collar Review

Product: R4K Race Collar
Manufacturer: EVS Sports
Sizes: Adult and Youth
Color(s): Black/Red and White/Green
MSRP: $199.00

Introduction

There are riders that subscribe to ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) and those that don’t. How much protective riding gear one wears and how often it gets worn ends up being a matter of risk management. Barring helmet laws, protective riding gear is not compulsory so the range of protection observed on street motorcycle riders tends to vary widely.

I am an ATGATT rider and lately I would say I’ve become an ATGATT+ rider. I consider “All the Gear” for the street to include riding boots, pants, jacket, helmet, and gloves that all contain armor as applicable.

Recently I added an additional piece of kit to my normal riding gear, a neck brace/collar.The following details my experience so far using the R4K Race Collar as an daily use piece of protective street riding gear.

I want to point out that EVS does not specifically market or recommend this product for street riding use. In the past I have taken other off-road safety equipment such as knee/shin protectors and used them to augment my street riding safety gear. 

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Pilot Omni Air Mesh V2 Overpants Review – wBW

Just in time for summer, my review of the Pilot Omni Air Mesh V2 overpants is now online at webBikeWorld.com.  This are a great way to make a two piece hot weather suit when combine with the Direct Air V3 mesh jacket also from Pilot. I’ve had a lot of Pilot gear coming through for review this year an I’ve been really impressed with the bang for the buck offered by the brand.

Features like Pilot’s RedTab system and the thin, but present, tailbone protector are sma ll details that demonstrate someone at Pilot designed their gear with real world riders in mind. Pilot not only makes textile technical gear like these pants but they also make custom leather racing suits that are very popular with AMA/MotoAmerica road racers.

Check out the full review here.

Pilot Direct Air V3 Mesh Jacket Review | wBW

My review of the Pilot Motosports Direct Air V3 jacket was just published today over at webBikeWorld.

The Direct Air Jacket V3 combines free-flowing mesh material with solid textiles in the impact zones. This makes the jacket feel a bit more sturdy than other “full shell” mesh jackets. But it does so at the expense of some air flow.

Pilot has upgraded the protectors used in this jacket as well as the waterproof liner. It’s now a REISSA membrane lined with polyester mesh. Usability features like Pilot’s Red Tab system and “At Hand” pocket are present and those are details we also really appreciated in the Pilot Trans Urban V2 jacket we reviewed recently.

Read the full review (click here)

        

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