The Bikers' Den https://bikersden.com Motorcycle Gear and Biker Clothing Comparison Shopping Thu, 19 Mar 2020 17:37:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://bikersden.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-The-Bikers-Den-Icon-Logo-1-32x32.png The Bikers' Den https://bikersden.com 32 32 74401164 Your Motorcycle Is, Are YOU Ready?  https://bikersden.com/your-motorcycle-is-are-you-ready/ https://bikersden.com/your-motorcycle-is-are-you-ready/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2020 17:37:32 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8673 For one of the first times in my adult life, I think I can finally “get” what you guys up North go through. See, it’s like this:  down here in the South, we get a few cold days, we complain, then it’s 70 degrees in the middle of December.  We’re never really that far from […]

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Your Motorcycle Is, Are you Ready

For one of the first times in my adult life, I think I can finally “get” what you guys up North go through.

See, it’s like this:  down here in the South, we get a few cold days, we complain, then it’s 70 degrees in the middle of December.  We’re never really that far from a warm spell here, it’s just that simple.

But damn, this last month!  We’ve had rain nearly every day.  When you couple that with how flat the area is and you end up with water everywhere and it simply has nowhere to go.

This week, we literally had nine inches of rain in three days.  Over 12 for the week.

My yard is one big mushy mess and the local rivers, with names like the Ogeechee and the Ohoopee, have been out of their banks for months.

And when you get rain like that, you don’t get on the bike.

As of this writing, I literally have not ridden either of the bikes in over a month.

How the Hell do you guys do it?

With all that being said, I know that Spring is coming for all of us, although my buddy in Wyoming is still shoveling snow with more expected tonight.

Where do you start first before your first start of the riding season?

It’s funny, because every year, we try to address this and it seems like every year, when I look back on it, I do stuff a little differently.

For me, the first thing to do is to go through a sort of mental checklist on my gear.  How’s the helmet?  Did it get dropped while sitting on the shelf waiting for Spring?  Were the holidays a little too “jolly” and my leathers don’t fit right?  Lastly, look at your license – when does it expire?

Now’s probably a good time to revisit your insurance policy, too.  What’s the premium, the deductible, maybe check into some roadside assistance, too.  I was never a big fan of Triple A or its competitors until a few years ago, but one really crappy night and a burned out headlight wire made me a believer, right there on the side of Highway 129.

So far, the smart kids in class have noticed we haven’t even gotten to the bike yet.

Guess what?  We don’t need to right now.  I’ll take care of that in the next post.  Right now?

Let’s stay focused on you.

What about you?  Well, statistically, we’re all getting older.  I’m not calling you out, but are you healthy enough to ride all day?  More and more, I see guys who are absolutely gassed from riding their bikes for the day.  I’d maintain that, before you try to get your bike ready, you get you ready.  I recognize that most of us have been doing it for decades, but have you thought about this:  If wrestling a 900 pound bike around all Saturday is wearing you out, do you need that much bike?

How many of us know guys that have quit riding because they aren’t in good enough shape to do it?  I maintain that if we checked some ego and got the right bikes in our garages, there’s no reason to quit riding.

I’ll go one better:  if you aren’t in shape, you’re a danger on the road.  We both know you need to have fast reaction times when that idiot in the Hyundai pulls out in front of you and if you’re fighting the bike, you’re not enjoying it.

Get a smaller bike and quit being prissy.

You know I’m preaching from the pew I sit in – I ride a “girl’s bike” – a Sportster – but at the end of a day of riding, when I might go hundreds of miles, I don’t feel like the bike rode me.

We’re in this to enjoy it and maybe, if we just work on us instead of the bike, we’ll realize how much more fun riding is.  Since the first of the year, I’ve lost 14 pounds and even though that’s not a lot in the grand scheme of thigs, I notice my gear feels better on me and my energy is way up.

If this damn rain will ever stop, I can tell you how that feels on the back of the bike.

Keep the shiny side up!

 

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Motorcycle Dashcam – Pray You’ll Never Need it, But if You Do… https://bikersden.com/motorcycle-dashcam-pray-youll-never-need-it-but-if-you-do/ https://bikersden.com/motorcycle-dashcam-pray-youll-never-need-it-but-if-you-do/#respond Thu, 06 Feb 2020 17:46:29 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8365 “You See, What Had Happened Was”… Man, I got that line so many times as a young cop on weekend nights in bad parts of town.  One guy would give us one version of the truth, his old lady, another, and the other perp would tell the story completely differently. We won’t even get into […]

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Motorcycle Dash Cam - Dual Front and Rear Cameras

“You See, What Had Happened Was”… Man, I got that line so many times as a young cop on weekend nights in bad parts of town.  One guy would give us one version of the truth, his old lady, another, and the other perp would tell the story completely differently.

We won’t even get into what the “witnesses” would say.

There were nights I’d have given my whole paycheck to simply not have to try to sort out the truth from what the drunks were telling me and how I was supposed to structure that into my report.  Back then, though, there wasn’t.  Sure, the wealthy folks had camcorders packed away in closets waiting for Junior’s game or their daughter’s recital, but those stayed in the storage case until a vacation or a significant event.

Now, let’s get one thing straight – I HATE technology.  That’s why I drive an old beater truck, own an “ancient” bike, and generally distrust anything that hasn’t been around a generation or two or at least won a World War.

The three folks who read this column every few weeks know it wasn’t until early last year I finally took the map and the magnets off of my fuel tank and began using GPS more frequently.

Unfortunately, the world – and the technology that runs it – is increasing at a rate we’ve never seen before.

You’ve seen it on the road, too – people in their cars with their kids watching DVDs in the back seat.  People texting while they drive, drivers so worried about their sound system they neglect to obey basic traffic laws.

Who loses?  Inevitably, the motorcyclist they hit, or run off the road.

At the same time, there are some people in the world who are just pricks.  They intentionally cut us off in traffic, they confront us at gas stations, and when they pick a fight (and inevitably lose it) they want to chase us with lawyers because the loser that was with them started filming the incident after they started it.

I saw it as a cop all those years ago and I see it nearly every time I take the bike out today.

Unfortunately for me, the solution is to fight fire with fire.  Cops are wearing body cameras and I see more and more bikers doing the same.

The downside is that most of this technology is expensive or impossible to understand for an old guy like me.  Besides, by the time you get strapped into a body camera, it feels like you’re wearing a bra and as soon as you go to fish out a smoke, you have no way of being sure its still pointed at the floor.  I definitely don’t need a body camera taking a video of me in the bathroom.

Now, though, there are some really cool ways to document everything that happens on a ride and not have to strap on a bunch of stuff just to take a ride.

Motorcycle Dash Cam - Dual Front and Rear CamerasA week or so ago, The Boss called and told me about the new motorcycle dashcam that The Bikers’ Den is featuring and the fact it costs less than an hour with a good attorney.

You know, the one you’d have to hire after some dirtbag damn near killed you trying to run you off the road?

You can check it out right here because if I sat here and typed out all the features and tried to make them sound sexy, you’d know I was lying – I don’t know what half of this stuff means, but when I showed it to the kid next door that set up my new computer, he let out a low whistle and nodded his head a lot.

After he read it, I asked him what it meant, in layman’s terms.  He smiled and simply said, “You’d be able to figure it out easy enough and it’s gonna give you some good video of whatever happened.”

Sold.

So I’m patiently waiting to see how this all unfolds.  I really like the idea of the camera simply mounting on the motorcycle versus me having to wrestle it on and the fact its pointed forward and backward gives me some assurances it will capture what needs to be filmed and never be in the way of a good ride.

…And I’m really sold on the fact it costs a WHOLE lot less than anything else I’ve seen that actually looks like it’ll stand up to the rigors of riding in all kinds of weather, dust, and moisture.

What really sucks, though, is that things have gotten so bad we feel we need to have this type of gear to ensure some jackass isn’t a menace on the road.  I guess this dashcam is a little like a handgun or an umbrella – you pray you’ll never need it, but if you do, nothing else could do the job.

Keep the shiny side up, friends.

Motorcycle Dash Cam - Dual Front and Rear Cameras

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Tweaking the Performance of Your Motorcycle this Winter https://bikersden.com/tweaking-the-performance-of-your-motorcycle-this-winter/ https://bikersden.com/tweaking-the-performance-of-your-motorcycle-this-winter/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2020 20:30:29 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8334 Ah, winter.  When motorcycle owners wander around poorly heated garages and dream of warmer weather.  It’s also when a helluva lot of mistakes get made in “tune ups” and “performance upgrades” that simply won’t work. The biggest challenge, of course, is the temperature. For example, if you push timing too far out, you’re going to […]

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Tweaking the Performance of Your Motorcycle this Winter

Ah, winter.  When motorcycle owners wander around poorly heated garages and dream of warmer weather.  It’s also when a helluva lot of mistakes get made in “tune ups” and “performance upgrades” that simply won’t work.

The biggest challenge, of course, is the temperature.

For example, if you push timing too far out, you’re going to get a ping under load.

On the other hand, if you make that adjustment when its below freezing outside, you’re pulling in truly cold, dense air into the engine, and guess what?  Your timing is spot on – the bike revs easy, sound great, and MAN!  You’re sure you’ve scored a few free ponies.

You probably have, but when you increase the temperature of the intake air by 60 degrees, you get detonation.  Ping.

So the first rule of the winter performance break is this – there are no rules.

Everything you do when its 10 degrees outside you’ll have to redo when its 60 degrees.

So don’t be married to your tweaks.

On the other hand, there are some things you can check out and actually lock down.

Think of spark plugs.

What most of us never knew is that spark plugs are designed not to work in a specific engine, but to work in a specific heat range.

Now, before you start interpreting that you can change plugs and make your bike run cooler, you can’t.  What you can do is to understand what “heat range” actually means and use that to your advantage.

For starters, why would you even want to tweak the heat range of a bike?

Think of how you use it.  The heat range is the “optimal” temperature for the plug to balance between fouling due to carbon and burning of the electrode of the plug due to high head temperatures.  If you only use your bike as a local cruiser and rarely take it out for long rides, going “up” a heat range to ensure your plugs are staying clean might be a smart move.

On the other hand, if you do a lot of extended riding in conditions where the bike is building up high RPMs in a hotter climate, it might make sense to drop down one heat range on your plugs.

What most people don’t realize is this – the heat range of the plug doesn’t have anything to do with how “hot” the spark is or what temperature the bike runs at.

It only refers to the plug’s ability to pull heat from itself and keep the electrode at an optimum temperature range for the best balance between proper ignition, self cleaning, and an electrode that it far to hot and pre-igniting the fuel-air mixture.

The benefit of all this is you can tweak your plugs to your bike and usage and gain just a little more of an edge.

You’re not going to add horsepower because you put in plugs one range over or under the manufacturer’s suggestion.  What you may find you can do, though, is run a little more timing with those plugs, or a little more fuel, allowing you to make some minor tweaks that do give you some gains.

…And no, you shouldn’t – in most every case – go more than one range up or down.

The nice part of pairing your plugs to your needs is that even though it takes minutes to actually do, it’s liable to take a bit of research on your part to determine the optimal plugs for the engine, the heat ranges of those plugs, and then realize that nearly every manufacturer has a different way of determining heat ranges in their plugs.  NGK goes up, Bosch goes down.

So you can stay warm while you learn and then make the right choice and add it to the list of Spring tuning stuff you’ll need to get back on the road.

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Motorcycle News You Can Use – 12/2019 https://bikersden.com/motorcycle-news-you-can-use-12-2019/ https://bikersden.com/motorcycle-news-you-can-use-12-2019/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2019 20:29:41 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8328 Well, here we are again!  The holidays are bearing down on us, it’s cold, riding your bike if you live nearly anywhere north of Kentucky is a frostbite-inducing adventure … …And your old lady wants to decorate the house. We get it, you’ve been busy.  That was the entire point of creating “MNYCU” as a […]

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Motorcycle News You Can Use

Well, here we are again!  The holidays are bearing down on us, it’s cold, riding your bike if you live nearly anywhere north of Kentucky is a frostbite-inducing adventure …

…And your old lady wants to decorate the house.

We get it, you’ve been busy.  That was the entire point of creating “MNYCU” as a quick read to let you know what our team found out in the two-wheeled world that you might want to know.

So here’s this month’s news:

Some backdoor research and a seemingly random patent point to Harley Davidson maybe revitalizing the VR1000 racebike concept as a production model.  Harley has long been struggling to sort out attracting younger buyers … is this part of the strategy?  By itself, it might only be speculation, but given the effort H-D has put into Project LiveWire (which we’ve covered here numerous times) and these two new introductions by Ma Davidson, it’s intriguing to think everything is diversifying in Milwaukee.

Another interesting nugget we unearthed was here.  Ever since Indian was brought back from the dead by Polaris, sales figures between the two companies seemed to indicate that Harley was merely out of touch with the market while Indian was returning solid – seemingly captured – growth from H-D.  It might not be so, based on what is reported in this article.

We happened to mention Harleys on the race circuit with the old VR1000 bike, so it’s worth noting that Harley’s Vance and Hines Team captured the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle late in November, but interestingly enough, it wasn’t through ETs, but DQs.

Since so many of us are trapped in winter, we thought we’d go ahead and give you something to look forward to as well – here’s a link to the Bike Week in Daytona website so you can go ahead and get the beach, warmer weather, and Spring ready to warm you up.

Now, whether you’re a fan of BMW or not, we HAVE to mention this – in 2020, we can expect to see what in the world BMW is going to put this mountainous motor in.  The 1800 Boxster was introduced last year and most of us have had to keep guessing where it’s going to end up.   Who knows?  Apparently, no one, but it ought to be fast

Yes, we likely missed a few articles this month, too, but if you know something we should’ve tracked down – or you’ve got one you’d like us to research, let us know and we’ll get the team on it and report back.

Until then, we hope you have a great holiday season and that 2020 is the best ever for you and your family.

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Just a Hint – Jewelry for Bikers https://bikersden.com/just-a-hint-jewelry-for-bikers/ https://bikersden.com/just-a-hint-jewelry-for-bikers/#respond Fri, 13 Dec 2019 19:29:45 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8321 There’s a line in Robin Williams’ movie “The Bird Cage” where Nathan Lane, wearing a suit, points out that even with your socks, “one does want a hint of color.” No matter where you are in life and career, we all know we’re bikers. The downside is there are some occasions where you simply can’t […]

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Double Dragon Head Bracelet Double Dragon Head Bracelet Double Dragon Head Bracelet $34.95

There’s a line in Robin Williams’ movie “The Bird Cage” where Nathan Lane, wearing a suit, points out that even with your socks, “one does want a hint of color.”

No matter where you are in life and career, we all know we’re bikers.

The downside is there are some occasions where you simply can’t ride.

Your vest has to stay home.

Your bike has to be in the garage.

You might not like it, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t celebrate your status as a biker.

With that in mind, The Bikers’ Den tracked down some really cool jewelry options for you, whether you’re on the bike or not.  The nicest part?  These pieces are professionally designed and built classics, not something cobbled together in the back of a van at the swap meet.

Whether you’re looking for biker rings, bracelets, or necklaces, we’ve got some beautiful styles available now that will remind everyone you’d rather be riding – but subtly.  Yes, you can wear these and still be business casual or Wall Street.

And let’s be real here, can’t we?  After 16 years of giving bikers what they really want (and it’s almost 17!), the truth is, riding is not just a means of transportation, it’s about being in the moment, being in the elements, and being present.

It’s an attitude and a lifestyle, but it’s also one that a lot of us have to fit in when we can.  I think back to my days as a cop and how I couldn’t wear my gold wedding band because I was afraid it would get damaged or, after a scuffle with a perp, I’d end up having to get my ring cut off due to swelling because of an injury.

I also kept my bike at home and drove my truck to work.

How many of you guys still have to do that?  I’m not talking about being a waxer, I’m talking about having to walk the line in your career because somebody might get scared of the “big bad biker” in Accounting or the “Independent rider in Marketing”?

We get it.  This is just our way of providing you with a subtle tool to thumb your nose at all the idiots in your life who judge based on what they think they know instead of what they could learn if they just asked.

Look, you can’t not be who you are, so in 2020, make sure you’re always able to see what you believe and to remind yourself (and anyone who asks) that a lot of us “Live to ride…”

Biker Jewelry - Bracelets, Rings and Necklaces

Click to View our Featured Selection of Biker Jewelry

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Motorcycle News You Can Use https://bikersden.com/motorcycle-news-you-can-use/ https://bikersden.com/motorcycle-news-you-can-use/#respond Wed, 23 Oct 2019 18:06:17 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8267 Okay, so here’s the deal, readers:  Since most of the fine, upstanding citizens of North America think everyone on a bike is the same, most news agencies happily put the crotch-rocket story beside the Poker Run for Leukemia story and collectively brand us all under the same flag.  We’re going to try a little something […]

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Motorcycle News You Can Use

Okay, so here’s the deal, readers:  Since most of the fine, upstanding citizens of North America think everyone on a bike is the same, most news agencies happily put the crotch-rocket story beside the Poker Run for Leukemia story and collectively brand us all under the same flag.  We’re going to try a little something different this month, and that’s to root around in our newsfeeds and find you ONE place to track down news about bikes.

Yeah, some of it might be about the folks on those bikes, but work with us here.  It’s a new idea…

  • Harley Davidson has finally gotten some traction, so to speak, with their LiveWire Electric bike project and, of all things, made it into the Wall Street Journal. Readers may remember Bikers Den was talking about the LiveWire project well over a year ago (can we link to it, too?) and expressed similar questions about the challenges LiveWire presents to the Harley brand.  You can read the WSJ article right here
    H-D LiveWire
  • Interestingly enough, Harley recently issued a press release that, honestly, seemed like a very subtle acknowledgement they have lost touch with what younger riders want and are (desperately) chasing it. To us, it sure sounds a lot like the AMF version of Harley in the early eighties.  Check it out…
  • TriumphTriumph, as about three readers know, has been playing with the original chassis of their Daytona 675 for some time, and the results of those tweaks can be seen with the introduction of the new Street Triple RS. This might not be a V-twin, but it’s definitely fast and looks really, really nice.  Cycle World did a great write up on it, although we’d like to see more “real” data than pretty pictures.  Since the bike is so new, we’d expect some more press to be coming, including some real performance documentation, but for now, this is what you’ve got.
  • The City of Sturgis, home of the rally we all love to go to, recently released their own press release on the 2019 rally, which you can check out here. The neat thing about this?  There’s actually numbers shared of the lives being changed for the better – donations to charity and the economic impact of the rally.  It’s nice to see, since so much of the press we get isn’t great when Sturgis is actually going on.  By the way, you can check out the new 2020 Rally website right here – it’s just gone live in the last month.
    Sturgis Post Rally Summit
  • In September, Indian introduced their own “new” engine, the Thunderstroke 116. Nobody seems to want to talk about why, as the 111 was already an impressive powertrain, but nevertheless,  more horsepower and torque is almost always a good thing.  There was a pretty fine post about the new powerplant here that is worth checking out, if only for the fact that these engines are giving great performance and are still air cooled, unlike the Harley Milwaukee 8.

Of course, all this news is just a drop in the bucket for what’s out there for bikers, but the challenge is always “when to do it?”

We’ll be refining how we share all these articles with you in the coming months, but for now?  Enjoy them and let us know what else you’ve heard – locally or internationally, so we can make sure to get the word out to everyone.

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Premium Motorcycle Rain Suit – Gear You Need, Not Gear You Want https://bikersden.com/premium-motorcycle-rain-suit-gear-you-need-not-gear-you-want/ https://bikersden.com/premium-motorcycle-rain-suit-gear-you-need-not-gear-you-want/#respond Thu, 17 Oct 2019 20:55:59 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8261 A million years ago, or at least a lifetime ago, as a new recruit in boot camp, my Drill Instructor, Sergeant Kirby, reminded all of us that the only thing we absolutely needed to have to go to war was our boots. As with most Drill Instructors, Sgt. Kirby did this at a high volume, […]

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Waterproof Motorcycle Rain Suit

A million years ago, or at least a lifetime ago, as a new recruit in boot camp, my Drill Instructor, Sergeant Kirby, reminded all of us that the only thing we absolutely needed to have to go to war was our boots.

As with most Drill Instructors, Sgt. Kirby did this at a high volume, but he made his point.  By the time you were done with training, you knew how to use all the gear you were issued, but you also knew how to do without.

I’ve used that minimalist ideology a lot since then, and its reflected in what I’ll carry on the road with me, especially if that road trip is going to be long.  One thing I’ve always struggle with as a rider, though, has been rain gear.

No matter how well designed, I usually don’t like it.

Actually, I hate it.  Riding in the rain sucks, no matter how you slice it, even if you have a fairing and a windshield.  After only a few minutes, you can barely see, you’re soaking wet, you’re (nowadays) worried if your phone will survive, and you have to figure out how to get everything dry later.

If, like me, you ride an older bike, you also begin to worry about wiring.  Is that “weathertight” connector really weather tight?

Nevertheless, I’ve always – begrudgingly – carried some kind of motorcycle rain gear.  Years ago, it was just an old surplus Army poncho, which ended up doubling as a crappy tent, just in case.  I’ve tried the “real” raingear – heavy rubber stuff that does a bang up job of blocking the rain, but turns you into a sauna if the air temperature is anything over 85 degrees.

For years I tried to find rain-gear that worked.

For years, I’ve been frustrated by that quest.

A few weeks ago – in, what I might add, was one of the driest periods of time we’ve had here in months – no rain for over forty-five days – I heard about and decided to try a new waterproof motorcycle rain suit The Boss told me about.

I followed the recommendations and ordered a size larger than I thought I’d need and, a couple days later, it showed up here.

Not a cloud in the sky.

97 degrees.

Ditto the next day.  And the next.  And the next.

Waterproof Motorcycle Rain Suit HoodFinally, last Saturday, there was rain predicted and I took my new rainsuit out, dropped it in the bags, and rode off.  Clouds began to broil up, cooler winds began to blow and I looked forward – for the first time in nearly 30 years of riding – to the oncoming storm.

Let me tell you fellas, I chased that damn storm for twenty-four miles before I caught it and when I did, I hopped off the bike, jumped into my rain gear, and sped off.

Now, this was NOT a scientific test.  It was raining pretty good, but not a downpour, but me and the bike rode hard for about fifteen minutes – more than enough time to replicate the frantic search for a bridge we’ve all done, and when I pulled under the cover of a gas station to grab a smoke and wait for the rain to stop I discovered something nice…

I wasn’t wet.  I also wasn’t sweating like I’d just run three miles, even though the air temperature was about 80 degrees.

So, I like this rainsuit, and for the money?  It’s a helluva deal.

Here’s the pros, as I see them:

-The boot stirrups kept the pants from “blowing up”Waterproof Motorcycle Rain Suit Boot Straps

-I could adjust the jacket to fit tightly around my chest and keep “puffing” to a minimum

-I’d actually put the hood under my beanie and it still fit really well, and kept the rain out

-It wasn’t hard to get into hopping around on the side of the road in the rain

Cons?  I really didn’t find any – I don’t really have an opinion on the bright color, but I secretly know it’s the smart thing to do so the idiots in their cars can see us better.  I haven’t weighed the suit, but I found it rolls up easily for being stored in your bags, and in a pinch, you could lash it to the bike if you have a sissy bar.

The real test, for me at least, is ensuring I actually put it back after it’s had time to dry.  I did find this suit dries off quickly – far faster than the “real” rubber ones I’ve worn in the past – which will help reduce having it stuffed back into a saddlebag wet.

For me, it’s a great addition to all those “little things” we always seem to end up stuffing into our saddlebags.

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Rethinking the Benefits of GPS Systems https://bikersden.com/rethinking-the-benefits-of-gps-systems/ https://bikersden.com/rethinking-the-benefits-of-gps-systems/#respond Wed, 16 Oct 2019 18:28:29 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8252 Not a day goes by that we don’t see how deeply immersive technology has become in our lives.  Whether it’s payment technologies that allow us to simply “tap” a card at checkout, software that suggests the fastest route to a destination in our cars, or simply the ability to download and watch our favorite movies […]

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Rethinking the Benefits of GPS Systems

Not a day goes by that we don’t see how deeply immersive technology has become in our lives.  Whether it’s payment technologies that allow us to simply “tap” a card at checkout, software that suggests the fastest route to a destination in our cars, or simply the ability to download and watch our favorite movies anytime we want, tech is everywhere.

The truth is, most of the “gadgets” we see and use everyday are just that – timesavers and distractors.  But what about the widgets that actually do useful stuff?

The so-called GPS program – a series of satellites positioned in a low-Earth orbit – are usually seen as just that for many folks, but for some drivers and businesses, the technology is incredibly useful … depending on how its applied.

In the last decade, companies managing fleets of vehicles, especially in the transportation industry, have used GPS to track deliveries and their drivers.  One can hardly imagine how retail giants like Amazon or WalMart could operate without this type of instant data available to them.

But what about the private vehicle owner?

The motorcycle rider?

The parent of a new driver or an aged parent who still drives a car?

Or, closer to home, the driver trying to navigate an area they aren’t familiar with?

You guessed it – there are actually software suites, apps, and tools to allow the private citizen to effectively monitor vehicles and their locations and to give real-time GPS guidance and route directions for the user.

It might be easy to fall back on the excuse that “my cell phone already does that” but the reality is, more and more states and Provinces are passing laws limiting how and when cell phones can be used in vehicles to prevent distracted driving.   Besides – can you imagine trying to focus on that tiny screen in bright sunlight while you’re on a bike?   A curvy mountain road?  Heavy traffic?

Essentially, there are two primary ways GPS systems can be used, so let’s look at them…

 

Passive Trackers

Passive GPS trackers consist of a tracking unit physically installed in a vehicle.  That unit – usually smaller than a pack of cigarettes – is designed to send out a “beacon” to the servers or software installed in a remote location.

General Motors has even gone so far as to install this from the factory on many cars in the last decade – their program, called OnStar, combines GPS tracking (When the owner opts for purchase) with the ability to call emergency services or allow the “vehicle” to send a distress signal if, for example, airbags are deployed as the result of a crash.

Of course, there are a multitude of aftermarket systems that do this, and even some car insurance companies have gotten into the act, allowing policy holders to “prove” they are safe drivers, since the GPS unit can monitor speeds and note certain conditions – windshield wipers or headlights in the “on” position, etc.

There’s another really attractive reason for adding a GPS tracker to a vehicle, though, and that is to act as a vehicle recovery unit in case of theft.

Imagine the scenario – you come out of the restaurant and your car is simply gone.  With a simple phone call, the tracker can be enabled, police can be notified, and the device, installed out of sight in the vehicle, will send out a beacon alerting authorities to its whereabouts.

 

Active Trackers

At the other end of the spectrum, though, are active trackers.  These units are usually used by drivers to engage for directions, give them traffic updates, and to provide the best route for a given destination.

In many ways, the basic programs in many cell phones act as active trackers, but usually with reduced functionality over specifically designed units, such as Garmin or Tom-Tom.

As we mentioned earlier, these purpose-built units are generally more user friendly, since they boast larger display screens and increased functionality.  Most of the time, they can be moved between vehicles easily and generally mount via a hook-and-loop fastener, magnets, or suction brackets.

 

The Real Benefits?

The reality is this:  most of us aren’t managing a fleet of vehicles.  Of course, if you have a 16 year old driver or an elderly parent, a passive system that allows you to track their location, speed, and even the mileage, run time, and speed may be of some use to you.

On the other hand, as we’ve already mentioned, a GPS solution that is more user friendly than a cell phone is always welcome in many cases. The best motorcycle GPS devices, for example, may be much easier for the rider than using an app on a phone.  When you couple that with the ability to program mileage reminders for service or even a faulty fuel gauge, the features they offer rapidly turn into benefits you can utilize.

The key in deploying a GPS solution is to really understand the needs you have – as a business owner, a family member, a motorcycle enthusiast, and to decide what systems offer you the biggest benefits.

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Getting to the “Bottom” of a Comfortable Motorcycle Seat https://bikersden.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-a-comfortable-motorcycle-seat/ https://bikersden.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-a-comfortable-motorcycle-seat/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 17:49:52 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8230 No matter what type of bike you’re riding, the only real point of contact you have with that bike is – you guessed it – your butt.  Ever since the first bike was designed, manufacturers and tinkerers have been trying to figure out how to make seats more comfortable. Sometimes, they’ve done a pretty good […]

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Air and Water Inflatable Motorcycle Seat Cushion - HommieSafe

No matter what type of bike you’re riding, the only real point of contact you have with that bike is – you guessed it – your butt.  Ever since the first bike was designed, manufacturers and tinkerers have been trying to figure out how to make seats more comfortable.

Sometimes, they’ve done a pretty good job.  Sometimes, they miss the mark.  And sometimes, riders are willing to give up some comfort so they can achieve “the look” they want.

There’s just no way, for example, to make a 50-era Panhead seat into anything besides what it is.

On the other end of the spectrum is the undeniable fact that motorcycle seats are exposed to every element possible, from sun and ultraviolet rays to pollen and sweat.  Try as we might, all of these have come to mean that durability is just as important as comfort when it comes to building a seat for a factory motorcycle.

But it’s 2019!  We’ve put man on the moon!  We have electric cars!  Why are we still settling for seats made the same way they always have been?

The truth is, you don’t have to.  For years, enterprising companies have been creating more comfortable motorcycle seat cushions – both as replacements and as add-ons – for bikes.  The problem with most of these is twofold – they look terrible and they cost too much.

That’s one of the reasons the Hommiesafe Inflatable Seat Cushion was dreamed up.

HommieSafe Water Inflatable Motorcycle Seat Cushion

The idea is simple and definitely NOT new, but like all great ideas, the Hommiesafe turned an old idea into a far better one.  Instead of simply allowing riders to fill a cushion with air and ride off, Hommiesafe gives riders the option of filling the seat cushion with water, too.

HommieSafe Water Inflatable Motorcycle Seat Cushion - CoolingThink of it as a “ride-on” air conditioning for those hot days in the saddle.  Fill up the Hommiesafe tonight, place it in the fridge, and tomorrow, strap it on your seat and ride cooler.  Before you do that, though, let’s talk about why Hommiesafe is not only different than other seat cushions, but why it’s so much better…

  • It looks great. Yeah, this might seem to be a very subjective reason, but the truth is, many of the add-on cushions available to riders look like something Great-Grandpa has on his wheelchair.  Hommiesafe has a unique look that gives off a custom seat vibe.
  • It rides great. It’s true!  Whether you fill Hommiesafe with water or air, you get a truly comfortable ride – in fact, most users report the highest level of comfort when they only inflate (or fill) Hommiesafe to about half capacity.  Mile after mile, you have a cool, comfortable ride.
  • Hommiesafe stays where you put it. Many, if not all, of the add-on cushions do one of two things – either flop around or require straps and tie downs that look less than appealing.  While Hommiesafe does come with retaining straps, many of our customers report they don’t use them – the cushion stays where they put it and won’t move around.
  • Hommiesafe is a fraction of the cost of the competition. Simple as that.  With many aftermarket cushions over $100, Hommiesafe is one third the price and three times the comfort.  Why waste money on a product you aren’t going to like?  It’s one of the main reason Hommiesafe is so popular with bikers, even though its new to the market.

No matter what you ride, if you’re tired of feeling like you’ve been riding a board for hours, check out Hommiesafe – it’s comfortable, economic, and offers multiple ways to avoid butt fatigue on any ride and any bike!

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How to Beat Heavy Helmet Fatigue? Lose Weight! https://bikersden.com/how-to-beat-heavy-helmet-fatigue-lose-weight/ https://bikersden.com/how-to-beat-heavy-helmet-fatigue-lose-weight/#respond Thu, 12 Sep 2019 17:38:50 +0000 https://bikersden.com/?p=8211 First of all, this post is NOT what you think.  The simple truth is that, as bikers, we’re torn between “dressing for the ride” and “dressing for the slide.” Safety gear is critical, but all that gear leads to extra weight that gets buffeted by the wind hour after hour as you ride, no matter […]

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How to Beat Heavy Helmet Fatigue - Lose Weight

First of all, this post is NOT what you think.  The simple truth is that, as bikers, we’re torn between “dressing for the ride” and “dressing for the slide.”

Safety gear is critical, but all that gear leads to extra weight that gets buffeted by the wind hour after hour as you ride, no matter how snug the fit.

Nowhere is this more apparent (and harder to correct) than in your choice of helmet.  In fact, for most riders, the helmet is the single piece of safety gear they won’t rationalize their ways around.

Jackets become vests.

Boots become shoes.

Chaps become shorts.

Helmets become … helmets.

I never gave this much thought until this summer, when I was sitting in a diner eating breakfast on my way to a long day cruising the backroads when two old coots lurched into the restaurant, gave my bike a looooooong once over, and then tracked me down.

Turns out, they had been riding for years and had given it up about age 70 because, of all things, their helmets were too heavy.

I’d never thought about how a lightweight helmet could affect how you felt at the end of the day, but it sure makes sense.

It’s no lie that lightweight helmets have been around for years.  Crazy Al’s has been building the Worlds Smallest Beanie for years and that happened to be the helmet I had with me that day.  When I handed my lid to one of the old farts, I thought his pacemaker would explode.

“This thing doesn’t weight anything!  How the Hell is it going to protect you in an accident?”

I told him I didn’t know anything about how to design a helmet but I knew that lightweight helmets still had to be built to the same standards as any other helmet.

The old guy shook his head and laughed, “That’s a damned lightweight helmet!  I could wear that all day.”

The other guy, took a look at my lid, held it, and the look on his face told me all I needed to know – this was a lightweight DOT legal helmet that could put these two old farts back on the road and not on the sidelines.

It’s tough to let go of something you love and even tougher to acknowledge the reason you can’t do it is you no longer have the physical skills to handle it.  Let me tell you, there’s no reason, in this day in age, to let old ideas get in the way on how to ride and what to wear.  Lightweight helmets that meet all the DOT standards are out there and if you’re worn out at the end of a ride from having the wind shake you around, try a lighter helmet or a newer design … you might find it’s all you need to get back on the road.

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