With Chinese New Year 2017 just around the corner, we’ve put together a list we’d love to see in our shopping cart. There’s loads of exciting stuff out there but we’ve listed just a few of our favorites. We’ll find more reasons to put up a shopping list soon. If you see something that tickles your fancy, message us and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Arai Helmets, Ltd. in Japan operates strictly on the Japanese principal of responsibility towards their customers’ safety. If you’ve seen half of the things this author saw during his visit to their facilities in Saitama, Japan, you would never look at another motorcycle helmet the same way ever again.
The RX-7x is the latest evolution of Arai’s R75 shape, which has pretty much stayed the same for, well, a long time. Arai found that the rounder shape helps to dissipate shocks better and more uniformly. Plus, the shape also prevents the helmet from being “stuck” on the surface it’s sliding on during a crash, to avoid twisting the wearer’s neck.
The RX-7x’s chin bar is 3mm longer and features the new Variable Axis System, Arai’s terminology for the system that pulls the visor snugly shut against the aperture’s (opening) rubber seal, to keep out noise and water. Besides that, the visor has a new locking/opening system, adopted from Arai’s Formula One helmets. But perhaps the most welcomed feature is that the visor’s “sidepods” now pop off at the press of a switch, making visor replacement and adjustment a cinch compared to its predecessors.
The helmet may feel slightly heavier than its contemporaries, but that’s because Arai uses the best materials in the shell, including Zylon, which is exclusive to Arai.
Cardo Scala Rider Q3
Miscommunication while riding is not a small matter. We’ve experienced being separated from the group they’re riding with, even fights with our passengers. Hand signals are great and time-tested but even better when they are supplemented with voice communications, more so if you need coordination among the marshals or to kill the monotony of a long distance ride.
So what’s the solution? Use walkie-talkies? God forbid!
The solution is to install a Bluetooth communicator, of course. Cardo hails from Germany and focuses on motorcyclist communications exclusively. As the consequence of their experience and attention to quality, Cardo was picked by the fame helmet maker Schuberth as their technical partner.
Although the Scala Rider Q3 is Cardo’s midrange communicator, it is already packed with many useful functions, including: Fully duplex (two-way) communications with up to four users simultaneously up to 1 kilometer range; music sharing between rider and passenger; make, receive or reject calls by voice or a push of a button; connecting two of your phones at once; built-in FM radio receiver; automatic volume control based on speed and ambient noise; voice-activated functions; among many more. The unit is also IP67 rated for being water and dustproof.
Features aside and more importantly, the Q3 is fully reliable under the pouring rain or sunshine. Pairing is easy; audio from the speakers is crystal clear (do wear “intelligent” earplugs or an exceptionally quiet helmet to enjoy these benefits), so much so the person on the other side of the line doesn’t even know you’re riding; and a full charge lasts for up to 10 hours.
From the Armani of rider wear – Dainese – comes this multi-weather jacket hence its name. It’s essentially a two-in-one jacket, which consists of a mesh inner that contains all the CE-approved shoulder and forearm armours, and an outer water-resistant layer.
The mesh inner can be worn on its own on excessively hot days. It has two inner and two outer pockets, as well. The outer layer goes on when you want keep the rain or cold wind out. This outer layer has large openings the entire length of the arms, the back of the torso plus one on each shoulder for maximum airflow.
It’s comfortable, safe and stylish at the same time.
EBAT Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Some high-end (read: expensive) motorcycles feature onboard tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), but what about those that don’t?
A bike’s tyre pressure is one of the most neglected aspects (besides chain maintenance), causing handling problems, shortened tyre lifespan, compromised comfort, and bad fuel economy, among others, if not being downright dangerous.
Although a rare occurrence these days, even properly maintained tyres could deflate without warning due to a myriad of reasons.
That’s why a TPMS makes sense.
EBAT is a subsidiary of Steel Mate, who produces onboard TPMS for marques such as Toyota, Mazda, BMW, besides in certain markets where TPMS is a mandatory requirement. They are now making inroads into the motorcycle industry.
EBAT’s TPMS is easy to install and even easier to operate, using only two buttons to navigate through the menu. It’s just plug-n-play. Or rather, plug-n-ride.
Once in place, the sender units on the tyre valves will communicate with the display unit via radio frequency. The units are weather proof, too. Having a dedicated display unit is the most logical choice, instead of having to depend on another peripheral.
The senders are locked in place using a special wrench, while the display unit can be detached when you leave your bike to avoid being stolen as some lowlife’s present.
GIVI E43 Mulebox
Unless you ride a bagger or tourer, there’s always insufficient storage space! Bikes are designed to be so compact these days, trying to cram a rainsuit under the seat is like attempting to kidnap an elephant.. Even the new lithium batteries are so diminutive they could fit in an RC car!
Enter GIVI’s luggage systems. But while side panniers may make it dicey for dicing (pun intended) through traffic, a top box is the logical answer.
GIVI’s E43 Mulebox was just launched in early 2016 and is large enough to accommodate two full face helmets. The “Advanced” version, called the E43 ADV has eyelets on the top cover to secure an elastic cargo net and a passenger’s backrest. Besides that, GIVI also included a liner on the bottom of the inside to cushion your belongings from being liquefied and allowing water drip to through.
GIVI’s continued usage of top quality polypropylene (PP) copolymers means the box would last for long, long time.
All motorcycles are built to accommodate a wide range of riders, so unless you’re Rossi, a manufacturer isn’t going to produce a motorcycle to fit your every specific needs. The same applies to the suspension.
Fret not, K-Tech Suspension is here to help turn your hog into a cheetah.
K-Tech has an answer for every need, for racebikes, sportbikes, street bikes, offroad bikes, cruisers and even mopeds. Products include fork cartridge kits, complete replacement forks, shocks, springs, flow control valves, offroad damping systems, fork piston kits, steering dampers, slide bushes, fork dust seals, and everything else in between.
K-Tech’s advantage results from their extensive involvement in the Isle of Man TT (IoM) road race and they have had much success in this venture. The IoM takes place over public roads where a centimeter perfect and a centimeter too much means either finishing the race or going home in a wheelchair. Or worse. And since K-Tech obtains so much data from the IoM, it translates to better real world applications.
Komine WJ-735R Jeans
While there are numerous motorcycle riding pants around, most of us would want to don a pair of blue jeans, for the reason that one could wear jeans to just about anywhere. But a pair of 501’s could do nothing to protect the skin underneath in the event of a crash.
Here are a pair of jeans for motorcycle riding from the Japanese company Komine. Komine is well-known for offering stylish products at a fraction of the cost of their peers.
The WJ-735R looks like your favourite pair of straight-cut jeans, but are Kevlar reinforced in the knees, hips and buttock areas. There are also a pair of CE-standard armour for the knees.
On top of that, the panels are all stitched instead of being riveted to avoid scratching your pride and joy.
Say “Leatherman” to any gear geek and you’ll see a spark in his eyes. That’s fact.
Leatherman’s products have since been the favorites in the military, law enforcement, search and rescue services, motorsports, and just about everywhere due to their durability and versatility.
The Wave was the original Leatherman multi-tool, but the company has since revised it to make it even better and stronger. It has everything you need and more.
We never ride without a Leatherman multi-tool.
Muc-Off Visor, Lens & Goggles Cleaning Kit
This is an indispensable item for every biker worth his insect splattered visor.
Cleaning your helmet’s visor requires care. Wiping it with a dry cloth will invariably result in deep scratches. But wiping it with a damp cloth or tissue paper may result in the same, too. One method is to clean it with normal soap but how do you dry it? With tissue paper? God forbid!
Muc-Off has the best solution (pun unintended) with this cleaner. Just like the product’s name, you could safely clean your visor, glasses and goggles with it. Bug guts are no match. We personally use it to clean our cameras lenses and bikes’ windshields too.
Included in this kit is a microfiber cloth for a spotless finish and pouch to carry both items. The cleaner is pH balanced and biodegradable.
Nilox F-60 Evo
The Nilox F-60 Evo action cam is as tough as they could get. We witnessed it firsthand during a supermoto race when an improperly tightened clamp caused the cam to end up being run over by three other bikes. The waterproof casing’s integrity wasn’t compromised in any way and the camera continued to function as though nothing had happened. It’s no wonder this camera is used by the Special Forces of certain countries.
The images look natural as the cam is good in determining the correct white balance. The Nikkor lens and Sony sensor (which can be found in Nikon cameras) ensure stunning images and videos.
Its functions are also easy to access and use, although you may need a little more time getting acquainted to them.
Pinlock is a worldwide name in making anti-fog faceshield inserts but the Dutch company is beginning to venture into protective wear as well.
Hearing damage is a problem that bikers don’t usually think about but it has a huge effect, nonetheless. Permanent hearing damage results from prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 dB (decibels), but we’re constantly bombarded by levels of up to 105 dB while riding. Even your “For race use only” exhaust system is “limited” to 120 dB.
Foam earplugs available from pharmacies block out almost all sounds. Great for all-out blasting at the track but dangerous on public roads, as you lose situational awareness for being in the “silent zone.”
That’s what Pinlock Earplugs address. These hearing protectors allow noise levels to hit a maximum of 85 dB and no more, while still allowing you to hear conversations, the audio from your Bluetooth communicator, traffic sounds and engine note; while filtering out that harmful wind roar and high-pitched wind noise.
The result is more relaxed riding and more importantly, you won’t end up going “What?” to everything people say to you.
RS Taichi RST410 Armed Gloves
RS Taichi is a brand that has been around for a long time, offering a wide range of rider wear suitable for any season.
Ideal for our hotter climes are these RST410 Armed leather mesh gloves that provide a high degree of airflow without sacrificing the protection of leather.
There are fine mesh panels between the fingers, and perforated leather on the fingers and back of the hand. To cool the hands even faster, RS Taichi incorporated their fast evaporative fabric called Technofine inside them.
The leather palm, foam padding and carbon knuckles provide good protection. Touchscreen sensitive fabric is sewn into the index finger and thumb tips.
Here’s something to turn up the cool quotient on your bike.
Stickman Vinyls offer beautifully made accents for your ride’s rims. The strip on the rim’s flange brings it up from being Plain Jane to being sportier, while the bike type vinyl applied on the inner part of the rim gives the rims more dimension, making them look deeper and wider.
Plus, they are highly reflective and light up like Christmas trees when shone on at night.
Stickman Vinyls aren’t your run-of-the-mill stickers that you could cut in a shop. These vinyls are meant to be durable under the harshest conditions, even when they are attacked by road grime, water, oil, brake dust or chain lube. Although the special adhesive means the vinyl pieces stay on strong, it does not leave behind a gooey residue when removed.
TCX Track Evo WP boots
The TCX Track WP happens to be this author’s favourite pair of boots. They have been to through the rough in South Africa, the rains in Thailand, motocross tracks and basically everywhere he has ridden.
Although they were intended for adventure touring, they also performed exceptionally well for light motocross, enduro riding and sport-touring. The reason is simple: Comfort. You’d feel comfortable wearing them straight out of the box, without needing time to break them in. It’s as if you’re walking around in a pair of hiking boots.
The ankle protection system did a great job of keeping the feet from twisting when hitting hard obstacles such as large rocks and the oversized shin plates deflected hard hits. The thick and aggressively patterned sole which provided sure footing on any surface.
Still not convinced? There were four of them, strangers from different parts of the world wearing these same boots during that ride in South Africa.