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  • Feb 29 2012

    DIY garages let you be the hero

     

    Motorcycle daily today covered the burgeoning (barely) trend of DIY motorcycle garages.  Basically, some tasks are better handled by expert mechanics—suspension tuning, balancing cranks, and carburetor jetting.  There are plenty of fairly easy tasks, however, that could easily be handled by a home mechanic if only the tools and space were available.

     

    It’s tough to find the space in cities to work on a bike.  It’s just as tough to amass enough tools to tackle whatever comes up.  Clutch replacements can require special tools, fork seal replacements can require special tools.  That your nextdoor neighbor might be amassing an identical toolkit is even more frustrating.

     

     

    DIY garages to the rescue.  Some space for your bike, a lift, and some tools, for a montly fee.  It sounds appealing, and garages like this have popped up in New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver.  San Francisco’s Motoshop offers classes that cover basic maintenance tasks from changing oil to replacing a chain and sprockets.

     

    Our dream?  Some kind of online-app that allows people (perhaps forum-members) to share the expense of garage space and buy and sell shares in an operation where they can lease out tools and work on their bikes.  It’s a pipe dream for now, but will likely become a reality in the future.  One can only hope.  Until then, “I do all my own work” will likely continue to mean “I put up with a number of things on my bike not being perfect!”

     

  • Feb 28 2012

    Gear Preview – Sidi Crossfire SRS and Bell MOTO-9

     

    The folks at Sidi and Bell were kind enough to send us some motocross gear this season, and we can hardly wait to test it out. Sadly, the 2-stroke bikes we’re planning to ride this year are locked in a garage far away, so we’ve had to be content stomping around in the gear—sans bike—and freaking out our neighbors.

     

    After spraining a street-booted ankle in an enduro last year, we started to take motocross gear more seriously.  Our research into the finest motocross boots led us straight to SIDI’s Crossfire SRS.  The thought that went into this boot is evident as soon as you take it out of the box. It feels tough.  The buckles feel robust.  It’s made in Italy.

     

     

    It doesn’t end there. The boot is super-easy to put on since it opens very wide when completely unbuckled.   There is a hinge in the angle to make walking comfortable, but it only goes so far.  Your ankle will bend but never too far.  Sidi will see to that.  We are so, so excited to give this boot a go out in the woods.

     

     

    Bell sent us their MOTO-9 DOT-legal motorcross helmet, and the quality is fantastic.  The matte black finish looks the business and the pads inside are easily removable while the helmet is on to facilitate helmet removal in the event of an emergency.   We’ll bring you more info on this helmet as soon as we have a chance to take it off road.  We do know, however, that wearing it on-road will instantly bring out your inner-hooligan.

     

    From Sidi and Bell

     

  • Feb 24 2012

    Where are your favorite roads?

     

    An article on Jalopnik today about the “best road no one has ever heard of” got us thinking.  The cover picture was of a beautiful twisty road less than an hour from our office, and we’d never been there (there aren’t many nice roads within an hour of Manhattan, FYI).  The road in question is a few miles southwest of Bear Mountain, and looks like it would be a blast; we’ll head over to check it out once the weather gets nicer.

     

    The commenters offered a number of great suggestions; our favorite is from TellarHK, offered as his choice “California State Route 36, between I-5 and US-101. Makes sure you have 4-6 free hours, a full tank of gas, and balls of steel.”

     

    Sounds like our kind of road!  Motorcycles are so much faster, cheaper, more economical, and easier to park than cars that it can be possible to ride them like a car and forget that they are so utterly enjoyable on back roads.  When we’re returning from a destination, we like to get off the highway, wander back home by vaguely heading in the right direction, and find roads that are real gems.

     

    We created Metzeler Maps to share our favorite roads and to let you share yours.  It’s got suggestions for rides all around the world, and the more that get added the better a tool it becomes.  Check it out by clicking “Metzeler Maps” in the sidebar or by visiting Metzeler Maps.

     

  • Feb 23 2012

    Gear Review: Icon Justice touchscreen glove

     

    Make no mistake—using a glove on a touchscreen is not much more magical than using a touchscreen in the first place. The fact that most gloves don’t work with phones is the strange part. After using Icon’s excellent touchscreen-compatible Justice Touchscreen glove, we reckon that more and more gloves are going to follow Icon’s lead and incorporate the conductive something-or-others that allow it to play nice with all the latest gadgets.

     

     

    On some “touchscreen” gloves, there is just a wire knitted into the fingertips.  Not so with the Justice—the whole fingers and thumb use nanotech to operate the screen somehow so you can pull, pinch, and swipe without worrying about positioning the fingertips just so.  You probably won’t beat your friends at Angry Birds with it, but does work surprisingly well.

     

     

    The Justice feels like a pretty safe glove, though we haven’t had the displeasure of crashing in it yet.  It’s got thermoplastic knuckle guards, expansion panels over the knuckles and wrist, and a motorcycle-specific pre-curved design.

     

    We took the Justice on a 1000-mile trip through California and Arizona, and out of all the gloves we brought it turned out to be our favorite.  It never got too hot, it was comfortable on day-long rides, and the all-leather construction seemed like it would hold up in a crash.  On a 17-degree Fahrenheit highway ride, however, the little airscoops  in the thermoplastic guards gave us two chilly patches on our knuckles! In the summer, we imagine they’d provide a bit of cooling to help keep you cool. The touchscreen-compatibility, all-day comfort, and funky looks make the Justice Touchscreen our new favorite glove. Highly recommended!

     

    Cost: $100
    Country of origin: China

     

    The awesome Icon Justice Touchscreen can be purchased  at rideicon.com, and is designed and developed in Portland Oregon.

     

  • Feb 22 2012

    Harley’s great new Seventy-Two advertisement

     

    This video captures perfectly the feeling of having a wonderful motorcycle as daily transport in California. Harley commissioned filmmaker Benedict Campbell to whip it up to draw attention to their new Seventy-Two, and we love it. The film makes us want to ride a Harley through warm spring evenings, and does a great job showing the chrome details and wild sparkle paint of the Seventy-Two. We especially like the dust in the silent acceleration right around 1:00

     



     

    The Seventy-Two has got an air-cooled 1,200 cc Evolution V-Twin that returns areported 48mpg, though the fancy tank holds just 2.1 gallons, so you’ll be stopping to rest every hundred miles. No matter, since the rear suspension has barely 2” of travel, that’s about as far as you’re likely to want to go before having a rest.

     

    But—as the video shows—the Seventy-Two is more about ripping around town and looking great than it is for cross country rides. It’s a bike that belts out that distinctive Harley sound and that would be worth going to the garage just to look at—it looks like a custom low-rider but has modern-day reliability. For that, we give it two thumbs up.

     

    From our friends at Hell for Leather Magazine