Reviews

Where Have You Been?

Well it’s time to put a “farkle” on the R1200RT.  So what is the new addition?  It’s a cool little outline sticker of a map of the United States that comes with stickers of the 50 states that you fill in when you travel to them.  Remember, you use the honor system here.  Mine came from Two Wheel Vinyl where they sell them in multiple colors as well as reflective and non-reflective.  I have to give a real nod to Nick at Two Wheel Vinyl as this is truly a home business and a labor of love!  Just remember that you’re not ordering from Amazon!  Nick also sends an email when he cuts your sticker and when he ships it.  My sticker came packaged between a piece of folded manila folder in a handwritten envelope.  Donna thought it was a card from someone!  The return address label even had a dog with a Christmas present.  My USA map is 6 ¼” wide by 4″ tall so make sure you have a spot to put it.  He also sells North America maps that include the US and Canada.

What you get in your package.  Hawaii is included too but I forgot it in the picture.

What you get in your package. Hawaii is included too but I forgot it in the picture.

What you get in your package is the outline sticker of the US (or US and Canada).  And several sheets of stickers that include the states (and provinces) in multiple colors.  Nick recommends just cutting out the states you need one at a time so it’s easier to keep up with the ones you’re waiting to use.  It’s a two layer sticker system in that the main stickers are also covered in a sheet that is merely tacky to allow for positioning without touching the actual sticker.  Now I’m thinking I should’ve gotten one of the reflective kits, but I like the one I got.  As you travel to a state you merely just cut that state out (remember that time in school when they told you knowing geography might save your life?), put it in its spot and slowly take the clear protective cover off the top.  Nick even included a sheet with the silhouettes listed by color and name to make it even easier.  He even includes extra Rhode Islands because it’s so small!  I only have 8 states filled in and so far there isn’t a state next to another state of the same color and I’d bet this is done by design.  Since it’s been pretty cool I heated the spot where I was going to put the sticker using a hair dryer and not a heat gun.  I just wanted it warm and not hot.  I think the warmer surface made the sticker just a bit more pliable and helped it conform and adhere to the surface.  I put mine on the back of the 49 liter top case.  Why not brag about where you’ve ridden?  After all, we’re not “poker run riders”.  Two Wheel Vinyl also makes oval “GS” stickers in different sizes and colors.  If you ride a BMW you’ll know exactly what that sticker is.  Sadly they don’t have an “RT” sticker!  Pointing at the images below will show you the description and clicking on it will give the full-sized image.  Just use you’re browser’s back button to come back here.

 

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Categories: Accessories, Reviews | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Speed And Strength Motorcycle Shoe Review

I received a pair of Speed & Strength “Run With The Bulls” motorcycle shoes from Motorcycle House for review.  I’ve worn the original BMW Street Sneakers before so I was already used to something that was not a full boot.

When I took the shoes out of the box I immediately noticed that they were a sturdy pair of shoes.  They are definitely not regular tennis shoes.  They come up to just over the ankle.  Right away I found the sizing to be accurate as I normally wear an 8 ½ shoe and I had ordered a 9 (the shoes are only available in whole sizes).  My toes come just to the tip of the shoe, are not jammed in and have room to move a bit but the shoes are not lose.  I think an 8 would’ve been too small.  The shoes are black leather and cordura nylon with hard rubber soles.  The laces are exposed very little, using what Speed & Strength calls an “undercover lacing system”.  There’s also a velcro strap that covers the knot.  The undercover lacing system doesn’t hinder putting the shoe on or tightening the laces once you realize the lacing pattern.  There is a hard ankle protector on both the inboard and outboard side of the shoe over the ankle bone.  There is a hard rubber heel protector as well.  Both shoes have a rubber shift guard on them.  I’ve had boots before that only had a shift guard on the left foot and it looked a bit odd.  The shoes have flat soles just like tennis shoes so if you have foot pegs instead of floorboards (like I do) this is more comfortable, letting you move your foot more.  The soles are also harder and sturdier than tennis shoes.  The first time I wore them was on a 470 mile weekend trip in the Great Smoky Mountains and on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The shoes performed flawlessly and were very comfortable.  I had no issues or problems with using the gear shift or the rear brake.  An unexpected plus was their comfort in walking.  They were much more comfortable walking for a distance than my motorcycle boots are, and those have softer soles!  After dinner one night we went for a mile walk and while the soles were hard it was a comfortable walk on my feet.  It was much more comfortable than I expected it to be.  These were the only shoes I brought with me and this was intentional.  You could wear these as everyday shoes while you were out riding.  The only minor negative I found was one day I wore jeans instead of riding pants and the air at my ankles was something I wasn’t used to.  It wasn’t a bad thing, just something I wasn’t used to.  These shoes are not advertised as being waterproof.  I think they’d keep your feet dry for a short time in a shower but not much more.  If you’re riding something like an HD Ultra Classic or HD Road Glide Ultra that have the lowers on the engine guards then you’d be better off as your feet are more protected from the elements already.  I imagine it would be the same on Honda Gold Wing as it was on my BMW K1200LT too. I didn’t experience any wet weather while riding to test my theory.  I did though wear them when it did rain at night and then stepping back onto wooden decking and painted concrete I felt sure-footed.  That brings up another good point, with my foot out at a stop on loaded touring motorcycle riding 2-up the soles of the shoes did not slip even slightly.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Accurate sizing
  • Sturdy and well made
  • Comfortable for walking
  • A good value
  • Laces are not exposed

Cons:

  • No reflective material

Check out these shoes and other motorcycle apparel and accessories at Motorcycle House!

These shoes are great and great value to boot!  And yes, the pun was intended.

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A video review too!

Categories: Accessories, Reviews | Tags: , | 3 Comments

The Little Air Pump That Can

It’s the age-old of question of topping off the air pressure of tires conveniently at home.  Yes you can always go to a gas station or convenience store to do it but everything always lists “psi cold” and the tires heat while driving or riding.  I do have a Slime air compressor that works off a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug.  It’s small and gets the job done but it’s seems noisy too.  To do the motorcycle tires I have to get each motorcycle tire over close enough to the car to use the compressor within reach of the cord and the cigarette lighter in the car.  I started looking for a compressor that I could plug into a wall outlet.  I didn’t need anything with an air tank that could power a nailer or other air tool.  I just needed a light duty air compressor to top off tires.

I found a Kobalt 120 PSI electric air compressor at Lowe’s.  It’s a handy little unit and retails for $49.98.  It runs on 120 volt AC current or 12 volts DC using the cigarette lighter plug.  The compressor has a digital tire gauge on it for checking tire pressures and has accessories for inflating sports equipment and air mattresses.  It also has grommets on the front to hold your valve stem caps.  One of the best features is that you can set the pressure you want in the tire, turn the compressor on and it will turn itself off when it reaches the pre-set pressure. No more guessing, checking, pumping and checking.  The air hose and 120 volt cord wrap around the unit and the 12 volt cord is stored in the compressor.  There’s also a compartment for spare valve stem caps, sports needles and air mattress/toy nozzles.  The 12 volt cord is more than ample to reach all four tires on a vehicle but the 120 volt cord is only 21 inches long.  I’ve checked the pressure against both an Accu-Gage dial pressure gauge and a BMW digital tire pressure gauge and it hasn’t been more than one half pound off.  I think it’ll be a handy tool in the garage.  Now I can leave the motorcycle right where it is and top off the pressure in the tires if needed.

In the video below I let 3 pounds of air from the back tire and then set the compressor at 48 PSI.  It stops when it reaches 48.

Pros of the compressor:

  • Runs off of the cigarette lighter in the car or household current.
  • All cords are retained around or in the compressor.
  • Quiet.
  • Digital pressure gauge.
  • Can be set to turn off at a pre-set pressure.
  • 12 volt automobile cord is long enough to reach all four tires.

Cons of the compressor:

  • 120 volt household cord is way too short and requires an extension cord.
  • After 10 minutes of continuous use it should be allowed to cool for 10 minutes.

No you won’t be able to completely fill and set a bead on a tire with this little gem but it’s great for everyday use in maintaining tire pressures.

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The Back Seat Roll Bag From Viking Bags (a review)

It’s review time again!  I received a Back Seat Roll Bag from Viking Bags to try out and review.  If you go to Viking Bags you’ll notice that most of their luggage is made for cruiser motorcycles such has Harley Davidson and the metric cruiser style motorcycles.  It looks like nice stuff too.  You’ll even notice that BMW is not even listed as one of the choices for saddlebags.  I agreed again to give a fair review so here it goes.

The bag is a cylinder and made of heavy-duty Cordura nylon.  It has a plastic insert in the bag so that it holds it shape even when empty and won’t collapse.  On each end there’s a zippered extension that lengthens the bag about 4 inches.  There’s an included removable shoulder strap and easy to install rain cover.  The zippered “hatch” to get into the bag has a mesh organizer pocket on the inside.  The bag has a carry handle.  It’s a well made bag.

When I first received the bag I wasn’t sure that I could even use it on a BMW K1200LT.  The instructions and video showed it being mounted to a back rest, sissy bar or a much narrower seat.  I got concerned.  I tried it on my top case rack and it was definitely a “no-go” as it wasn’t secure enough and moved around too much.  Since it mentioned the passenger grab rails, I decided to try mounting it to the side case/passenger grab handles on the side cases.  I decided to try it with the attached wide Velcro straps and it went right on.  I just passed the straps through the handles and back on themselves so that the Velcro would grab (just like they were intended to do).  I just took the extra and folded in and then tucked it up under the bag.  I also tried the narrower and removable straps but the bag was harder to mount and didn’t feel as secure.  I mounted it to the back seat again using the wide straps and snugged it down.  I filled it with a tool bag, towel and some other items.  I could rock the bag forward and back just a bit (hey it’s a roll bag isn’t it?) but there was absolutely no side to side movement.  I intentionally did not fill the bag all the way and filled it with heavy items to increase the chance of it moving around.  I then took the bag for a ride on some local roads and on the highway.  In my blind spot mirrors I could see the bag rock forward and back less than and inch.  The bag never moved sideways (a good thing) and the extra length of the straps never came out from under the bag and flapped in the wind.  I didn’t try the rain cover.

The bag was not made for the kind of motorcycle I was using it on but it adapted very well.  This this would be an excellent piece of luggage on something like a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, Suzuki C50T or C90T or Yamaha V-Star Silverado.    I’m sure there’s many others but I know those models have passenger back rests.  Actually it would easily fit on any motorcycle with a passenger back rest.  The bag would attach to the supports of the back rest very easily or the back rest itself and you could even use the extra supporting straps.  I can see that the bag could either sit on the back seat in front of the passenger back rest or behind it even on a small luggage rack if you had a passenger with you.  The plastic insert in the bag is rigid enough it could sit on a small luggage rack and not sag.  If I had a cruiser style motorcycle I’d be using this bag all that time as it’s that durable and easy to install.

The roll bag is available at Vikingbags “dot” com.  You can click on any of the images below for the full-sized picture.

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A Review Of The River Road Laughlin Jacket

I’ve received a Laughlin jacket made by River Road from Motorcycle House in order to write a review of the jacket and Motorcycle House.

To be honest, I picked the Laughlin because it was a fabric jacket and was not leather and was available in a color other than black.  Many of the jackets were nearly identical to a name brand jacket that I already had or were black leather.  I was pleasantly surprised when this jacket arrived.  The jacket is a nice brown color and had the appearance of Carhartt jacket.  When I tried it on Donna even asked “Are you sure that’s a motorcycle jacket?”  She commented that from a distance the jacket even looked like it was suede.  Now on to the review.

I ordered the jacket in an XL and the jacket is true to size and maybe even a little larger as it is not snug and has a looser fit but can be adjusted somewhat by the tab at the waist.  It is a waist length jacket.  It is a polyester/nylon blend jacket that has the appearance of cotton or canvas.  It definitely does not have the nylon or carbolex look.  The Laughlin has reflective piping on the front and the back.  There are a total of NINE pockets on this jacket!  There are 2 snap pockets on the chest, the 2 zipper chest vents are also pockets, 2 zippered handwarmer style pockets, on the inside of the jacket there is a zippered map style pocket and the liner has a cell phone style pocket and large Velcro pocket.  If you remove the insulated liner, the cell phone pocket and Velcro pocket are also on the mesh lining of the jacket itself.  The waist can be tightened by tabs with snaps on them.  The sleeves zip to the wrist and can also be cinched tighter by snaps.  The collar can be snapped down so that it does not flap in the wind, but can also be zipped all they way to cover your neck and keep it warm.  I rode about 100 miles wearing the jacket yesterday.  It was 46º F and sunny when I started.  I had a long-sleeved t-shirt on and was quite comfortable.  Although I could feel some cold air seeping in at the waist I merely tightened the snaps when I stopped to meet my riding partner for the day.  I also had the neck zipped all the way up covering my neck and it was soft and comfortable and more importantly did not interfere with my helmet.  Throughout the morning and into the afternoon I was very comfortable.  But as normal, if it were to be colder I would’ve been wearing more than a long sleeve t-shirt.  While we crested some mountains in north Georgia the temperature dipped back to 45º.  As the afternoon warmed up into the mid 60’s I stopped to remove the liner.  I also opened up the vents and felt good air flow around my torso using the front should vents and the rear exhaust vents.  This is an armored motorcycle jacket having CE Approved armor in the elbows and shoulders and a foam protection pad for the back.  All of the armor is removable.  The armor is not noticeable perhaps making this jacket appeal to even a broader spectrum of riders.  I rode about 100 miles with the jacket yesterday.  This jacket is so comfortable that it will quite likely be my “go to” jacket next winter for casual wear.  I really like this jacket a lot if you can’t tell.

You’ll see my review of Motorcycle House along with the jacket’s pros and cons below the pictures of the jacket and the video.  You have to review the retailer too don’t you?  Especially when that’s what they want!

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Jacket Pros:

  • Warm and comfortable in cooler temperatures.  With liner removed and vents opened jacket moves air around body.
  • Collar will snap down or zip up to cover neck.
  • When off the motorcycle it does not look like a motorcycle jacket.
  • It has a lot of pockets.
  • Cell phone pocket will even accommodate a smart phone in an Otterbox case.
  • True to size fitting.
  • CE Approved armor in elbows and shoulders with foam padding for the spine.
  • The armor is not highly visible.
  • Reflective piping.
  • Water repellent.

Jacket Cons:

  • Back vents can be hard to reach while wearing jacket.

Motorcycle House

It was a bit odd when the marketing representative from Motorcycle House contacted me about this.  They supplied the choices to pick from after we started firming things up.  Most were jackets of the “cruiser” variety or something I already had.  I then selected the River Road Laughlin.  I’ll admit there were some bumps in the road that made me wonder things.  It was took over a week to ship and they said it was due to weather.  I then realized the area had an earthquake about 2 days after they said they’d ship.  They are located near San Bernardino, CA and the jacket was sent to them from a warehouse in Illinois.  But to their credit, they stayed in near constant contact through email.  Once they shipped from California it made it here in under 4 full business days (shipped late on Wednesday and arrived on a Monday).  They also provided me tracking numbers from the warehouse to them and then from them to me.  The jacket did arrive a day earlier than UPS had estimated.  When you go to the web site you’ll often quickly get a chat window from customer service asking if they can help you.  If you click on the chat link for them, they quickly respond.  I did notice that they nearly always had their own brand of article in stock but currently (as this can change) nearly all Tourmaster or Cortech items will show as out of stock.  They did deliver to me as a demo within what I would consider a reasonable time.  I was always able to get in touch with someone, even when being anonymous using their support link while browsing.  I’d give them a chance if you’re looking for motorcycle gear or even saddlebags.  Yes they even sell saddle bags!  They made me wonder at first but I can be cynical, but in reality they came through as promised.  Motorcycle House is just trying to get their name out there and spread around.  They’re at motorcyclehouse.com if you want to take a look.

Categories: Accessories, Reviews | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Review Of Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants

Earlier this week I had received my pair of Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants.  The pants have mesh panels in them to allow for air flow when it’s warm.  I got ride over 200 miles while wearing them today.  I saw reviews on several websites that the pants were “true to size” or even big.  When I took the pants out of the box, they seemed huge!  I tried them on and they seemed a bit big and made me think for a while that I should’ve ordered the L instead of the XL.  You see, I already have a pair of Tourmaster Quest pants in L and they seem snug but are cut more like jeans.  Tourmaster L says 34-36 and XL says 36-38.  I can comfortably wear name brand blue jeans with a 38″ inch waste and can squeeze in a pair of 36 so I thought I’d be okay.  These pants are also much darker in color than is shown on the Tourmaster and other web sites.

The Tracker Air Pants come with the nylon wind liner already in them.  The liner is easily removed with Velcro tabs.  I first tried the pants on with the wind liner in them and could already tell that I don’t like it.  Unless you are VERY careful putting the pants on, you will pull the liner off the Velcro tabs.  Then the wind liner looked like it was longer than the pants themselves and stuck out from the bottom of the legs.  It really doesn’t bother me though because I wanted the pants for warm weather wear as I already have cool weather pants.  The pants have legs that zip off so you can make them into shorts.  I did zip the legs off and on and it was easy to do.  Again though, I didn’t buy them to wear as shorts so doing that is something I will probably never do again.  The only armor in these pants is the CE rated armor in the knees.  The knee armor is not adjustable like it is in other Tourmaster pants, it only has the one position.  I think if I had ordered the L the armor would be too high while sitting on the motorcycle.  The pants have no back pockets.  The only pockets are the 2 zippered front pockets and the cargo pockets on each leg.  But the cargo pockets appear to be waterproof (Tourmaster does NOT advertise these pants as having a rain liner to keep you dry).  The side zipper on the legs goes all the way to the knee and the cuffs are secured by Velcro.  The zipper is covered by a Velcro secured flap which I think is unneccessary.  Unless you’re going to put the pants on or take them off while wearing boots you shouldn’t even need to use the leg zippers.  There are no belt loops on these pants and you adjust them using the Velcro strap on each side.

Now for the good part….wearing while riding.

I wore them today on a 200+ mile ride with temperatures in the mid 70’s F and a partly cloudy sky.  As soon as you start moving you can feel the air moving through the pants.  The mesh panels are on the shins, thighs and the backs of the legs.  Right away you feel the shins and I’m being a full fairing.  As your speed increases you can feel the air on your thighs.  I never did notice any breeze on my calves but interestingly could feel it on the back of my thighs.  Getting on and off the motorcycle was easy and comfortable, probably due to the stretch panel in the crotch.  I felt no binding or tight spots.  The legs did not flap in the breeze.  Are they cooler than jeans?  You bet they are!  Even when stopped in traffic they were quite comfortable.  The knee armor seemed a bit high but I was able to move around and adjust it before riding off.  I found no defects and they are well made.  Even though they are mesh, you can’t see skin through the material due to the thinner mesh lining like Tourmaster and Cortech use in their jackets.  I do think they are a very worthwhile purchase if you ride in warmer climates as they are cooler than jeans and offer more protection than jeans.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Comfortable
  • Cool
  • Knee armor
  • Cargo pockets appear to be waterproof
  • Allow good air flow
  • Cuffs are adjustable
  • Reflective piping down entire length of leg
  • Reflective piping matches pants and is invisible until light find it in the dark
  • Don’t ride up while riding
  • Don’t flap in breeze
  • Cooler than jeans
  • More protection than jeans
  • You may be able to wear over a pair of jeans

Cons

  • Wind liner comes loose
  • Wind liner appears to be an after thought
  • No belt loops for wearing a belt
  • Knee armor is not adjustable
  • No hip armor
  • Seem to run large
  • No back pockets
Categories: Accessories, Reviews | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

A Tale Of Two Tires

This morning there was a post on bmwlt.com asking about Metzeler and Bridgestone tires looking for comparisons and opinions on mixing the two brands.  I replied to the post trying to hit all the points the original poster asked about.  Then I thought it would make a good blog post so here it is!

I’m currently running a Metzeler ME880 front and a Bridgestone BT020 rear and love it.  (it’s my 2nd time with this combo).

I tried the BT020 front and it wore out way too quick, being shot at about 7,000 miles.  Meanwhile my current front ME880 has 15,000 miles on it, yes 15,000 and has some good miles left.  The cost comparison between the front Metzeler and Bridgestone in negligible so the Metzeler is the clear value here.

When I bought my first rear Bridgestone it was because of price.  The Bridgestone was significantly lower in price than the Metzeler.  From reading here, I knew the mileage would be less but not really that much less.  I figured I could buy 3 Bridgestones for the eventual cost of 2 Metzelers and still have money left over.  In between I did put a rear Metzeler on and was quite happy with it (the Magic Carpet had Metzelers on it when I bought it).  That particular Metzeler needed to be replaced because of a road hazard damage and I just happened to replace it with a Bridgestone because Metzelers were backordered at the time.  My current rear Bridgestone has about 10,000 miles on it and has plenty of good miles left.  I had put 13,000 miles on a previous one and it was only replaced because of a previous puncture repair that had begun to leak.

I can not tell any difference in grip between the two when on dry roads.  I had the bike “slip” on the rear once while fully loaded in a right turn at an intersection with the nearly new Metzeler.  I was not on any of the painted lines.  On tar snakes in the summer I do notice a difference.  The front Metzeler sometimes feel like it’s on snow or ice when it hits them and I noticed the same with the rear.  I don’t notice it as much with the rear Bridgestone.

I have noticed that the rear Metzeler looks like it gives more “rim to road” distance than the rear Bridgestone when both are new.

Most of my riding is two up and pressures are 42 and 46/48.

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The New Helmets Are Here! The New Helmets Are Here!

Last week our new helmets arrived.  We ordered 2 GMAX GM54 modular helmets in pearl white from Competition Accessories in Rock Hill, SC.  Since last week, we’ve used the helmets for over 500 miles already and have managed to use them in heat, cool and even rain.  A modular helmet looks like a standard full face helmet but the “chin bar” portion can raise to make it an open face helmet so that you can talk to people while stopped or drink something.  The helmets also have an internal sun shield which was one of our requirements when helmet shopping.  So far we can say that they are excellent helmets but we hope to never need them for their true intended purpose.  We installed our Scala Rider Teamset Pro intercom to the helmets in a matter of minutes.

Chris’ Pros On The Helmet

  • The helmet is noticeably heavier than our old open face helmets.  But take into account that there is more to helmet, that makes sense.  But the helmet does not feel heavier when worn and hasn’t caused any neck soreness.
  • For some reason I can move my head from left to right much easier.
  • With vents open the ventilation is very good but not noisy.
  • The CoolMax liner does just what it’s supposed to do, wick sweat away.
  • I love the internal sun shield!  It great to put it down when needed and retract it when not needed.
  • While the helmet does not seem a lot quieter than the open face helmet with a face shield the noise is different.  It more of wind noise and not a roar.  The old roar could bug my ears sometimes while the quieter wind noise does not.
  • The intercom is much crisper and easier to hear.  That’s probably because the mic is now in the helmet along with the helmet being quieter.
  • You can raise and lower the clear shield easily.
  • You can raise the chin bar easily.
  • The red LED light on the rear is a nice safety feature.
  • Peripheral and up & down vision is very good.
  • The entire internal padding system is removable for washing.
  • The pins and latch for the flip-up chin bar are metal.
  • The vents are easy to open and close.

Chris’ Cons On The Helmet

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to lower and lock the chin bar.  But that could be me getting used to it.
  • Both times while riding in the rain I got a solitude streak of water on the inside of the face shield when it was closed.  It wasn’t constant, it just went down once and didn’t return.
  • When the vents are open I get a whistle when turning my head extremely left or right as if looking over my shoulder.  It does not whistle with the vents closed and the windshield position can affect the whistle.  Donna does not get the whistle.
  • After 5 or 6 hours of wearing it I get a “hot spot” on the top of my head.  I can alleviate it though by moving the helmet slightly forward or back on my head or even raising the chin bar for a few minutes (yes I know, I shouldn’t do that).

Donna’s comments are below the video.  In the video the LED light appears to flash in the steady “on” mode.  This is not the case when looking at it with your eyes.

Donna’s Pros On The Helmet

  • Donna’s positive comments are nearly identical to mine so there’s no use in repeating them.
  • Donna says the helmet is quieter than the old open face helmet with a face shield.

Donna’s Cons On The Helmet

  • Donna gets the same trickle of water if it’s raining.
  • Donna says she can have difficulty opening the chin bar along with opening and closing the vents.  She does though attribute it to learning how to use the helmet and says it’s getting easier.

Remember, we are wearing these helmets on a motorcycle with a full, frame mounted fairing and an adjustable windshield.

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Garmin Zumo 220 GPS Review: Chapter 2

Well it’s been 2 months since I installed the new GPS, a Garmin Zumo 220 on the motorcycle.  I had promised a second review after using it for a while.  The bottom line is: I LIKE IT!  It’s a vast improvement over the old GPS that had originally come with the motorcycle.

The Zumo has now been used on one week-long vacation on our Blue Ridge Parkway trip where we rode everyday in all kinds of weather and one weekend trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in North Carolina.  It’s also been used on a number of shorter rides.  When in motorcycle mode the unit is easy to use and understand.  I have it set up to use Bluetooth to send audible directions directly into my helmet using our intercom.  The only drawback I’ve found is that under certain daytime lighting conditions, the screen can be difficult to see.  This however is just the Achilles heel of LCD displays and not the fault of the unit.  I found the fuel gauge pretty useless though, warning me way too soon.  It could be that the motorcycle has its own fuel gauge, a trip computer that will display “Miles To Empty” and a trip odometer (the original motorcycle fuel gauge).  The inclusion of MapSource on DVD really expands this unit.  I’ve already taken advantage of the one free update and have updated the software and the GPS map to MapSource 2012.  The unit has been cold, hot and wet and has worked great.  The included motorcycle mount is robust and only has an occassional vibration to it.  It does have a larger and easier to read screen than our BMW Navigator I (Garmin Street Pilot III) did.  The lane assist feature is really nice too.

We’ve used it in the car also after changing the mode to “car”.  The onscreen buttons are smaller in-car mode since the GPS is not expecting you to be wearing gloves while driving.  The one thing I found that it does lack is speed controlled volume where the audible prompts will be louder at higher speeds.  This is a feature that even our budget Tom Tom that’s a few years old has.  I do like the included car mount better than the one for our old Tom Tom in the car though.

All in all I think it was a great investment and upgrade to the motorcycle.

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Do These Jeans Make My Butt Look Fast?

Hi, I’m the Donna of these motorcycle journeys!

Chris is always looking around for stuff to buy for us and for the motorcycle.  Most times I just nod my head and say “That’s nice honey.”  This time when he said he found something for me and all I heard was the cost, I gave my OK.  I am now the proud owner of  a pair of Draggin’ Jeans FOR WOMEN.  This is one time hubby got it right.  Ladies, if you are looking for riding jeans and you are in no way related to “Twiggy”, these are the jeans for you.  These jeans are true to size,  and come in a relaxed fit, making climbing on and off the motorcycle easy.  The jeans are lined with Kevlar in areas for abrasion resistance but this does not make them thick or bulky.  These jeans are fit to your waist and not low-cut.  We got the optional knee armor and it is easy to place and adjust.  We got them at She Rides in Alpharetta, Georgia.

I have worn them on a short ride where they were great with no problems.  I’m looking forward to wearing them on our upcoming Blue Ridge Parkway trip.  I’ll write more details after the trip, when I’ve worn them more.

Categories: General, Reviews | Tags: | 4 Comments

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