The Importance of Motorcycle Gear

There’s just nothing quite like the experience of riding down the road and feeling free- free from stress, free from expectations.  Some may say that wearing a full face helmet, motorcycle jacket and motorcycle pants limits that… Wrong!

We know how much fun it is to have the wind whipping through our hair and yet we still wear motorcycle helmets because let’s be honest, riding and living to do it again is more important than feeling the breeze. And just as it is important to wear a motorcycle helmet, it is also important to wear all the gear while out riding.

So maybe you have years of riding under your belt and think that a motorcycle jacket  isn’t necessary.  Maybe motorcycle pants make you walk funny and, besides, you’ve been riding for so long you have nothing to worry about on the road. Remember our last post: Got Helmet Laws?, “When there is an incident, we are the ones who suffer”.  That’s why it’s so important to wear gear even if you have experience out on the road.

We feel it’s important to be prepared for that day where there is a lapse in judgement or run in with a distracted driver. Although we hope that day never comes, why take a chance with your life? Having the right motorcycle jacket and pants can make a difference.

What gear do you wear when you ride?

Personal Story

My father was riding once when the streets were wet from a recent rain. He made the mistake of riding in the middle of the lane as the oil started coming up on the road.

When he suddenly had to brake, he went down. He did have on both a motorcycle helmet as well as a motorcycle jacket but he wasn’t wearing motorcycle pants.  He had layered pants, long johns, and a couple pairs of socks. He was able to walk away from that accident with just a little road rash on one of his arms but his shin wasn’t so lucky: The kickstand went right into his leg. They had to use a whole bottle of peroxide to wash the wound. Perhaps if he had been wearing better gear that wouldn’t have happenned.  I am thankful to this day that he was wearing a motorcycle jacket and helmet and I am a firm believer in ATGATT. We just never know what the road has in store.

ABS or No: The Great Motorcycle Debate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some motorcyclists believe that learning how to brake properly is a rite of passage; a badge earned by putting in the time. But for novice riders, who generally have the highest number of motorcycle accidents, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are quickly gaining ground as the next biggest safety measure next to motorcycle helmets.

That isn’t to say veteran riders can’t reap the benefits of ABS – especially in wet conditions when reducing the stopping distance is crucial.

All in the Numbers

One study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that motorcycles with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those without ABS.

Interestingly enough, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports the overall risk of dying in a motorcycle crash is reduced by 37 percent when riders wear motorcycle helmets.

Coincidence? We think not.

What this data tells us is that wearing motorcycle helmets and purchasing bikes with anti-lock brakes can help riders decrease their chances of a fatal accident – by more than just a small margin.

Antilock Brakes Coming to U.S. Motorcycles

Europe already has a pending rule to bring ABS to motorcycles by 2016, but the U.S. lags in such regulations (not surprising considering the helmet laws in this country).

Some manufacturers, like Honda and Kawasaki, do offer models that either include or can be modified with an anti-lock braking system.

And it appears that other manufacturers could soon follow suit.

What are your views on anti-lock brakes? Yay or nay?

Got Helmet Laws?

I was recently discussing road experiences with some fellow riders and we all had stories about a close call with a distracted driver.  When there is an incident, we are the ones who suffer. We agreed that we never head out (no pun intended) without a helmet, ideally a Snell rated helmet, since we’ve all seen trouble on the road.

We started thinking about the helmet laws in different states and looked them up out of curiosity. We were surprised by the wide variation of the laws in place.

In looking more closely at the current helmet laws, it seems that three states have no helmet laws whatsoever and several others only require riders up to 17 or 20 years old to wear helmets. Here is the breakdown:

  • Laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet are in place in 19 states and the District of Columbia
  • Laws requiring only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet are in place in 28 states
  • There is no motorcycle helmet use law in 3 states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire)

Even for the experienced rider, it’s always a good idea to wear a motorcycle helmet. You may be a skilled rider, but what about the other guys on the road?

We sell motorcycle helmets, many of which are Snell rated helmets, and aim to bring you the best prices around for a very simple reason: We want to make helmets affordable and accessible to as many riders as possible. Having a motorcycle helmet is an excellent precaution (as well as law to a varying degree throughout the U.S.). Why take a chance with your life? So let’s ride safe and enjoy the freedom of the road with the best precaution available.

Do you agree with the helmet law in your state?

Mesh Motorcycle Jackets: Staying Cool While Riding on a Hot Day

You know what they say, if you can’t take the heat then stay out of the kitchen. But who wants to leave the bike the garage after waiting all winter to ride! There is plenty of motorcycle gear for summer that can keep you riding in just about any condition.

A breathable jacket is lighter than leather and has some advantages that leather doesn’t have.

The mesh motorcycle jacket is ventilated, often utilizing thicker, more open weave fibers on the fabric’s exterior. This helps direct air flow on to the rider, keeping the body cool and comfortable even while riding on a hot day.

T-Shirts and Tank Tops?

A thin t-shirt or tank top is tempting on a triple-digit afternoon, but in reality can set you up for harsh sunburn and leave you vulnerable to serious injury. Not to mention, when you’re cruising at 75mph. your body doesn’t have a chance to use your sweat to keep you cool!

When you wear a mesh jacket, the fabric reflects sunlight, allowing you to feel the sweat cooling your skin as it begins to evaporate, and protects your skin from the sun.

More Benefits of Mesh Motorcycle Jackets

Many of the breathable jacket designs that are on the market today use flow-through fabrics to encourage airflow, CE certified armor in the shoulder and elbows to increase protection, and waterproof liners to keep the rider dry during the pop-up rain shower.

Most importantly, the mesh motorcycle jacket makes riding on a hot summer day enjoyable again. What upgrades do you need to make to your summer riding gear?

 

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: The Road is Ours to Share

Motorcycle RiderJust in time for spring riding season, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month kicks off in May. As a national initiative encouraging drivers and riders to “share the road” with each other, it not only calls for operators of passenger vehicles to watch out for motorcyclists but also reminds bikers of their responsibility while cruising down America’s roadways.

Driver Safety Tips

As part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, drivers of cars, trucks and buses are reminded of the following:

  • Remember that motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway.
  • Avoid sharing the lane, and allow bikers a full lane width. The motorcycle needs room to maneuver safely.
  • Always use a signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic, so that bikers can maintain safe distance and lane position.
  • Likewise, keep in mind that not all motorcycle signals are self-canceling. Wait to ensure the rider is going to turn before you make your move.
  • Allow for extra room between you and the biker; they can stop more quickly than cars in dry conditions. A good rule of thumb is 3-4 seconds.
  • Stay alert and minimize distractions such as texting and talking on the phone.

Motorcyclist Safety Tips

Riders are reminded to obey traffic laws and observe safety guidelines not only during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month but also throughout the year:

  • Always wear DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets while riding, whether you are the operator or a passenger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 703 lives could have been saved.
  • Wear protective gear, such as motorcycle boots, motorcycle gloves, and apparel that is designed for your riding conditions.
  • Use reflective tape and wear bright colors to stay visible to other motorists.
  • Remember never to share the lane with another vehicle; they may not see you when speeding up, slowing down or changing lanes.

Whether you will be out on the open road this spring or you find yourself cruising through the city streets, keep in mind that Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is for the protection of everyone. Share the road!

Spring Checklist: Or What Price Neglect?

Foolishness and neglect are the best of bedfellows and their moto spawn is all to often a concussion, at the least, and/or an addled and expensive hospital stay at next to worst.

Yesterday I went for what was for me an extended bike ride. On the return loop shifting gears got a bit wonky.  I dropped the chain into the gutter between the big chain ring and its  neighbor. I did it again…. and again. I left it in a medium low gear and made it home none the worse for wear. I laid the bike up and the following day, today, I sprayed up the works with chain lube prior to another ride assuming that the chain was just sticking. Chain lube is not holy water. Two blocks down the road at a light I stood on the topmost pedal and put my weight down on it to get me going. The chain jumped again – same spot and I went sideways over the bars and onto my back as the chain slipped and the pedal went sharply groundward. While I lay there part way into the intersection I was mostly surprised. All too often in an accident everything seems to slow down a bit. Not this one: push on the pedal, crunching noise , on yr. ass. Voila.

When I got the bike to the side of the road I looked it over closely. 4 of 5 bolts that hold the big chain ring on had worked themselves sloppy loose. They must have been a bit loose for a while and yesterday’s extended ride just worked on them and that is why the chain kept popping off. This is a foolish thing to have missed and a simple thing to rectify. I was already working up this post about checking your ride after the winter layup and this little safety vignette delivered itself to me in an awkward aerial ballet along with a bit of a stiff back.

There are some very good places to go on the intertoobz to get a spring checklist of things to attend to before you pull hibernating machine from its cave. I will list a couple at the bottom of this post and I welcome you to add yours. Read through them and then take the time to go through your bike. Cleaning it is often a very good way to start. Look it over.

Bring out the wrenches – tighten up bolts all around. Do you have leaks? Attend to it.  Fuel leaks, dripping oil – attend to it. Now is the best time. When the riding season comes in full bloom to your part of the world you won’t want to devote saddle time to nit-nit repairs. Do it now.

Tires: are they cracked? How much tread depth do you have? Are your wheels balanced and properly aligned in the frame. It doesn’t take much to check that out. Spoked rims? Are all of your spokes tight? Allow rims: any cracks?

Clutch and brake fluids topped off? Is this the year to flush the systems, bleed them and install new fluid? Are your electrics in order? All the lights and switches work? No frayed wires in the harness? Pull off the tank – take a look around.

In an upcoming post I am going to have a go at what tools and sundries are best to carry under the seat in the limited room available there. If you have tips and ideas for that post let me know. A CO2 cartridge tire filler device is already on my list.

Ok, try these links for spring cleaning and checkup ideas:

http://www.allaboutbikes.com/feature-articles/motorcycle-maintenance/6771-get-your-motorcycle-ready-for-spring

http://www.insurancehotline.com/spring-motorcycle-preparation-checklist/

 

Gerde Applethwaite

You Look Hot! Ready for some ventilation?

Soon you will be feeling the warmth of the sun beating on your back as you’re waiting for the light to change. But that doesn’t mean that a few weeks from now you have to sit at the same light in a pool of your own sweat. Not cool.

Fortunately, our friends at Scorpion have added to your options. This stuff takes motorcycle gear to new fashion heights. The new Savannah 2 line is not just gorgeous;  it has CE approved armor and is vented and lightweight.


And for the guys, Scorpion’s poly mesh Ventech 2. Looks great in hi viz neon.

Scorpion Ventech II Jacket – Neon

Icon has been busy too. They got some great choices that will let you idle with pleasure. The Hooligan Street Jersey is made with a Fighter Mesh Chassis for maximum venting.

Icon Hooligan Street Jersey – Red

So stop worrying about looking cool and be cool. Upgrade your riding gear collection to include some of this mesh apparel today!

 

 

 

 

New for Spring 2013 Part 1 – The Arai Defiant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With so many exciting motorcycle helmets hitting the market, and so much new gear, we weren’t’ sure where to start! So we will fill you in one post at a time to bring you up to speed on all the amazing new stuff from Arai helmets, Scorpion, Icon, HJC and more!

First things first. Arai helmets released a new model: The Arai Defiant. This is big news!
Designed for urban riders who want a more aggressive style, the Arai Defiant has been called the “ultimate street helmet” by Arai. It has an Intermediate Oval shell shape and traditional Arai quality. However, the Defiant also has a unique feature – a front air dam to minimize buffeting and wind noise.

Another great feature is the hydrophobic neck roll and cheek pad bottoms. They will not absorb water, even in a full on down pour. The Dry-Max material will stay just that- dry to the max! It will not soak up water and add weight to the helmet. Very cool.

 

 

With 5 solid colors and 6 graphics to choose from, you can see that style was considered in the creation of the helmet.But it wasn’t the priority. The Arai Defiant is an Arai through and through. And with a price point close to the Signet-Q, you can believe it!

 

The Defiant will range from $619.95-$759-95. Get ready for high functioning coolness!

 

Alpinestars Rain Gear Makes a Splash

It’s the perfect time to try out some new Motorcycle Rain Gear! It’s the time of year when the weather is slowly warming up but the rain has us dreaming of better days. We have a great new addition to our rain gear line up that might help!

Alpinestars rain gear gives you some new options to get out in the elements. The new Alpinestars Mud Jacket is an interesting addition. WIth clear, see through material. It is a great cover up for your regular riding gear.

The Quick Seal Out Rainsuit from Alpinestars is another option for dry riding! With elasticized cuffs and reflective details. It has all the features of great rain protection!

Don’t let winter’s last wet onslaught keep you off your bike! Stay dry when you try Alpinestars new rain gear!

 

 

 

 

 

The all New Shoei GT-Air and J-Cruise Helmets!


 Shoei has once again “wowed” us with their new Shoei GT-Air helmet.  The Shoei GT-Air helmet includes several features that enable riders to adapt to ever-changing conditions.

A built in sun shield is distortion-free and blocks 99% of UV rays.  The Shoei GT-Air’s pinlock system offers the most effective anti-fog protection.  Additionally, the CNS-1 shield has a wind and waterproof seal.

The Shoei GT-Air helmet improves cool-air intake and eliminates hot-air with its ventilation system.  Three upper vents improve air intake while exhaust outlet vents reduce pressure suction.

 Shoei will also be releasing another impressive model in their 2013 helmet line-up, the Shoei J-Cruise.  Many have mentioned this is not your average open face motorcycle helmet and we agree! Shoei packed the J-Cruise helmet with several innovative features that keep riders safe and increase overall rider comfort.  The Shoei J-Cruise helmet reduces road noise and wind turbulence with an advanced shell, shield aerodynamics, as well as liner components.

The J-Cruise helmet includes an internal sun shield for instant relief from bright sunlight.  Like the internal sun shield, the CJ-2 shield protects against 99% of UV rays.  A distortion-free CJ-2 shield provides a wider and taller field of vision.

Solve your sweaty hair problem with the Shoei J-Cruise motorcycle helmet.  The J-Cruise’s EPS liner allows cool air to flow through tunnels created in the material for increased ventilation performance.  Shoei’s exclusive Max-Dry liner material prevents heat buildup around the head by absorbing sweat and dissipating moisture quickly.

Shoei strikes the balance between airflow and silence with their new GT-Air and J-Cruise Helmets.