Tag Archives: Bike accessories

Sargent seat improves Ducati comfort

Since your backside is on the seat most of the time, it is the most important ingredient in rider comfort, so I chose a Sargent Seat to improve the comfort on my Ducati Scrambler Icon.

The standard seat is an ugly, flat and uncomfortable piece of plastic with a tacky white “Ducati” on the tail. It looks cheap and nasty and spoils the look and comfort of an otherwise great bike.

Replacing it with a Sargent Seat in vintage all-black for $A690 has not only improved the looks and quality feel of the bike, but most importantly it has greatly improved my riding enjoyment.

Firm versus softSargent seat

Like suspension, firm is often better than soft. Too plush and you sink in, then hit the supports underneath when you hit bumps in the road. That can become very tiring and uncomfortable on a long trip.

Firm cushioning means you are supported and prevented from hitting those “bump stops”.

Dane Higgins of Sargent Seats says they use visco-elastic or “memory” foam which is firm, but immediately absorbs your backside’s areas of high pressure.Sargent seat

Some aftermarket seats use gel which feels like it would be comfortable, but it’s heavy and it heats up so you get that annoying hot spot on your backside after a while.

Sargent also use a thicker layer of foam than the original, so they send you a lower-profile underseat storage box to accommodate the extra depth of the seat.

The Sargent seat is more contoured than the original but you can still shift around a bit and you don’t get any areas of high pressure or that burning feeling of many other seats.

Speaking of heat, you can also get a heated option, or even a solo seat so you can have a luggage rack or top box on the back seat area.

Sargent seat
Sargent seat

We’ve tried other aftermarket seats and they take some time to get used to, or to “bed in”.

With Sargent Seats there is no “break-in period” required thanks to their patented “Zone Suspension Body Contour Technology”. Click here for more tech info.Sargent seat

Basically it offers immediate and maximum comfort right from the first time you sit on the seat.

They don’t use glue which can harden and create discomfort. That also means there is nothing to come loose, so it should last longer.

Sargent SeatsSargent seat

This American company has an Australian distributor and offers seats for more than 100 motorcycle models.

They also have choices of colours for the seat and welt (seam or rim edging), high and low versions, two-up and solo, modular, heated, and backrests, so there are almost 1700 products available.

Most also come with a handy LED torch under the seat.

Sargent seat
LED torch

The company has been around since 1935 when Henry Sargent started an automotive reupholstery business in Florida.

Marion Todd bought the company in 1950 and his son, Mark, expanded it into motorcycle seats in 1990.

Sargent seat

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Why are motorcycle parts so expensive?

Motorcycles might be at all-time affordable prices, but parts continue to be expensive, not just for premium brands, but even for some budget models.

So why are parts so expensive in Australia?

We asked various industry sources and found the issue is quite complex and varied.

One of the biggest influences on parts prices is the fact that Australia is a small market with high transport and staff costs as well as a falling dollar value.

Larger markets can hold more stock, lock in at better exchange rates, and operate on slimmer margins per part.

Parts sources

There are several sources for parts in Australia – authorised dealers, retail outlets, and domestic and overseas online sites.

While the cheapest may be online, there can also be problems with counterfeit parts, such as this latest warning on fake spark plugs.Riders warned after fake parts haul

Authorised dealers can often have the most expensive parts, but are guaranteed to have authentic parts that won’t void your warranty or cause a mechanical issue.

However, we have heard of riders ordering a part direct from the factory and getting it delivered cheaper than they can get the genuine part in Australia. Sometimes quicker, as well!

Owners can also get the same parts or generic parts of the same quality at a cheaper price from domestic retail outlets.

Parts profits

Retired industry veteran Stuart Strickland, 70, OAM, says one of the biggest problems is that some distributors push their dealers to only stock their parts.

“The exchange rate plays a part in pricing, but some manufacturers persist with regional pricing, not global pricing, which is ridiculous as we are in the global community,” he says.

“Many dealers are not making much of a profit from the sale of motorcycles, so they make their profits off parts and servicing.”

Not every distributor has expensive parts.

But if they are stockpiled in a national and/or state hub warehouse so they are readily available, they can be quite expensive.Parts Ducati Lamborghini parts warehouse cheaper

It costs a lot of money to store parts and for dealers to buy them and keep them on their shelves.

However, many distributors and dealers have now stopped storing parts.

Instead, they order them in as needed because air freight is quick and relatively cheap these days.

That hasn’t stopped some of them still charging top dollar, though!

Stuart says that in some cases dealers can access cheaper parts through a South-East Asian subsidiary of the parent company.

Delivery problems

Not only are parts expensive, but they can sometimes take a long time to arrive, even from companies that claim their parts are stored in domestic warehouses.

Stuart says the problem is that not every part is kept in an Australian warehouse, only those parts that are in high demand.

“Crash repairs are a real problem as the parts needed are often not held in storage,” he says.

Another industry source says central ordering and international supply of parts works well because of cheap and efficient air freight.

“Many bigger brands like Caterpillar operate like this and it works well, but in an incomplete and amateur industry like motorcycles, it has some inherent issues,” our source says.

“The manufacturers don’t take it seriously enough and assume the customer will put up with delays as they already own one of their products.”

He says delays can also be caused by a lack of attention to detail in some countries, as well as national holidays, different accounting systems, etc.

For example, don’t order anything from an Italian company during August when the entire country shuts down for holidays!

Parts price solution

Expensive parts motorcycle parts The Honda Shop WA
The Honda Shop WA

West Australian Honda Shop boss Eddie Peters says he is surprised more dealers don’t use the Partmart online parts-sharing community.

“Dealers can sell their part for whatever price they want,” Edddie says.

“Sometimes when you search for a part you find the same part in different counties for several different prices. You deal direct with the seller.”

It only costs a dealer $US3 a week to upload an unlimited number of parts and accessories on the website or $US2 a week for up to 5000 parts.

Private buyers can also set up an account and use Partmart directly so long as they know the specific part number.

The Honda Shop has been using the website for a few years to buy parts from other dealers around the world and for their customers.

“We have also been able to sell heaps of our old, slow-moving and obsolete parts to other dealers,” Eddie says.

“I am surprised at how few dealers use the site as we all have heaps of hard-earned cash tied up in parts that no one knows we have.

“If we all had our parts listed on Partmart we would be able to help each other clear our stock and turn it into cash.”

Despite many dealers being tied up by contracts to buy their parts from the authorised distributor, Eddie says he doesn’t believe manufacturers would stop dealers using Partmart.

“I know Honda have told some dealers to check Partmart as they have told me that when they contacted us to buy a part,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

ZiiLock unlocks with thumb or phone

Fumbling with keys on a motorcycle disc or wheel lock is no longer a problem with this ZiiLock bike lock which unlocks with a thumbprint or smartphone.

ZiiLock which is based in Pasadena, California, and Taiwan, has an open-ended Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to launch their alarm bike lock.

It has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars to put the lock into production with shipping in December.

Motorcycle lock

Although it is advertised as a bicycle lock, we thought it would also be good for a motorcycle.

We contacted them and they agreed, sending us the above photo as proof.

Up to 96% of stolen motorcycles are not fitted with a security device despite theft rates being doubled that of cars.

ZiiLock costs $US179 (about $A270), but funding supporters can get it for $US99 ($A148).

The lock features a 98cm “unbreakable” temper-hardened foldout arm that goes around the wheel, brake disc and/or a fixture.

They say it will withstand up to a 10-tonne hydraulic cutter.

It also has an alloy steel casing for high drilling resistance and has two-sided milling tooth and multiple bullet pieces which make it difficult to pick or counterfeit.

ZiiLock smart alarmZiiLock anti-theft alarm lock

ZiiLock doesn’t come with a loud, screeching alarm that everyone in the vicinity will ignore anyway.

Instead, the waterproof lock has an always-on alarm that sends an alert to your phone when it senses movement and indicates the bike’s location.

But the great feature is that it can be unlocked with a normal key, or a smartphone or even your finger or thumb print.

Of course, it’s not impossible for a thief to lop off your finger or thumb, or steal your phone to gain access. However, it looks like a pretty good system to us.

They say that all the wireless communications are encrypted by AES 256 military-level security.ZiiLock anti-theft alarm lock

However, if you need to share your bike with someone, you can share fingerprint access with up to 20 others.

ZiiLock is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery that will last more than tree months.

If it does run out, you can still use the mechanical key.

The whole lock folds away and fits in your hand so it can be carried under some motorcycle seats or in a jacket pocket or your backpack.

It comes in red or grey.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review

Motorcycle luggage has to be convenient, practical and attractive, and Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag ticks all those boxes for riders on small bikes.

And at just $A119.95*, this expandable commuter tail bag (11.7-15.7 litres) is great value.

Tank versus tail bag

I love a tank bag on a sports bike for carrying an extra pair of gloves, visor cleaner, rag, multitool, tyre repair kit and other incidentals.

It’s also handy to put a map in the top clear-plastic compartment and you know it is secure because you can see it right in front of you.

However, tank bags can get in the way and even scratch your tank if you happen to get a tiny bit of road grit in between the bag and the tank. Nasty!

But this tail bag has all the benefits of a tank bag (except that it doesn’t have a clear top nor sits in front for visual security) without the possibility of damaging your bike.

Simply sit it on your seat or luggage rack and it connects via strong webbing straps with four tough nylon clips that are quick and easy to use.

Even though you can’t see it, you can be confident it is still there as the fasteners are secure.

It didn’t shake loose even on some rough roads where I took my Ducati Scrambler and Triumph Street Scrambler.

Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review
Tail bag on Triumph Street Scrambler rear rack

You can loop the ties together or use an underseat attachment. Both are secure. There is also a long strap in case it is needed for some bikes where the straps won’t go under the seat. 

Quickly un-click the four clasps and you can carry the bag with the flush-mounted handle or add the long strap that turns it into a backpack.

Mind you, the backpack is a bit naff, fiddly to thread the long strap and not very comfortable, so I just use the handle.

Style and construction

Tank bags looks a bit silly perched high up on a bike and spoil the lines. Tail bags look a bit more stylish.

This is a particularly stylish bag that fits in with the lines of a small bike with a small back seat, especially my Ducati Scrambler.

Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review
Same size and shape as the Ducati seat

It’s almost as though Nelson-Rigg designed it for this bike as the seat is the same shape and size as the bag.

What makes this bag look extra stylish is the semi-rigid top and sides. It doesn’t look floppy when there’s nothing in it like many other soft bags.

The moulded Fibertech top even has a stylish carbon-fibre-style finish.

Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review
Carbon-like top

It’s good-quality construction all round with robust zips, reflective piping and premium lining.

The instructions are stitched inside so you never lose them.

There are also two straps to keep your stuff from rocking and rolling around, an under-lid storage area with a mesh zipped cover and two stretch pouches to hold pens, multitool, screwdriver or small torch.Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review

It hasn’t rained here for a while, so I haven’t been able to test out its weatherproof qualities.

However, it does keep out the dust!

There is also a waterproof cover that you can store away in the top pouch.

Yes, they even thought about the fact that sometimes you have the tail bag zipped out to the expanded 15.7-litre capacity, so the waterproof cover also has an expansion zip.

WarrantyNelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review

Nelson-Rigg is an American family-owned company that has been around for more than a quarter of a century.

They make a range of motorcycle and scooter accessories, including covers, soft luggage and rainwear.

They stand by their products with a lifetime warranty.

Specifications

  • UltraMax® fabric with maximum UV protection
  • Quick-release nylon buckles
  • Moulded EVA lid with Fibertech “carbon-like” accents
  • Internal self-fastening straps to secure contents
  • Lockable reverse coil zippers and hi-density rubber zipper pullers
  • 100% waterproof rain cover
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Protective non slip base material
  • Measures: L28cm x W25m x H16.5cm / L28cm x W25cm x H21.5cm expanded
  • Holds 11.7 Litres / 15.3 Litres expanded

(* Link International says the $119.95 price is for Queensland, NSW and ACT only. Pricing may vary in other states.)

http://www.linkint.com.au/nelson-rigg.html

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Corbin adds more motorcycle seats

American company Corbin has been easing saddle sores for years with their handcrafted seats for a multitude of bike brands and models.

Standard motorcycle seats are appalling quality. They are usually cheap and very uncomfortable.

You have to buy expensive models before you get comfort seat, low/high options, or leather.

Corbin is one of the biggest names in aftermarket seats with models for 27 motorcycle brands, including the electric Zero and three-wheeler Slingshot.

They are continually adding new models to their extensive range.

The latest are saddles for an eclectic mix of bikes including the Suzuki TU 250X for $US393, Honda Rebel 500 and 300 (CMX 500 in Australia) also $393 and the Ducati Panigale V4 ($US343). Postage is extra.

The Honda and Suzuki also have backrest options for $257.

All seats have colour, material and logo options.

All their seats are covered by a lifetime owner’s warranty for the basepan, foam and hardware, while the cover materials, heaters, coolers and workmanship are covered for one year.

If you are getting saddle sores or can’t last a whole day in the saddle, this is one of the cheapest options for getting some joy back into your riding.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Aldi claims safest motorcycle gear yet

Aldi claims this year’s annual motorcycle gear sale will feature their safest gear yet with their $189 leather jacket being the most popular buy.

The sale is usually held in the first couple of Saturdays of August, but has been delayed this year until 31 August 2019, starting at 8.30am.

“Every year we work to improve the range to make it even better than the last,” an Aldi spokesperson says.

“This year is no exception, with considerable time devoted to product development, sourcing and testing to ensure our products are of the highest quality and exceptionally priced.”

In past year, sale items have been selected with the help of Neuroscience Research Australia’s Dr Liz de Rome.

Liz, a rider since 1969, also helped develop MotoCAP, motorcycle clothing ratings system. So far, MotoCAP has not tested any Aldi products.Aldi annual sale - Riders urged to support motorcycle dealers claims

Safety claims

However, Aldi claims they have been “testing relevant motorcycle clothing products to European Standards for several years in order to obtain independent certification”.

“This year, we have worked closely with our supply partners to create products that are both safe and stylish – all without compromising on quality,” their spokesperson says.

“All Torque motorcycle clothing has been certified to the European Personal Protective Equipment Regulation (2016/425).

“We anticipate the leather jacket will be popular among customers as it is exceptional value for money.”

Their 2019 catalogue of motorcycle gear on sale this year will be available on their website next week.

Aldi says the Torque leather jacket features APT-TECH protection technology at the elbows and shoulders, is compliant to Level 2 European Standard EN 13595 and has impact protectors in the back, shoulder and elbow that are compliant to EN 1621.

aldi motorcycle gear sale
Leather Jacket – $189

Their Torque motorcycle boots ($99.99) have strengthened heels, hi-vis reflective ankle strips and meet requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment standard EN 13634.

aldi motorcycle gear sale
Boots – $99.99

The Torque motorcycle denim jeans ($79.99) have reinforcement lining made of “high-tenacity aramid fibre at critical areas of seat, hips & knees”. They are compliant to EN 17092-4:2019 for “A” classification garments and feature EN 1621 knee protectors.

aldi motorcycle gear sale
Denim Jeans – $79.99

They have a choice of two Torque gloves, both costing $34.99.

Their goat leather pair have carbon fibre protectors for the knuckles and fingers, rubber padding in “critical areas” and are EN 13594 level 1 compliant.

aldi motorcycle gear sale
Carbon Knuckle Leather Gloves – $34.99 (2)

However, their padded gloves do not have an EN certification. Instead, they have 3D foam rubber protection at the knuckles, fingers and thumbs with 3M Thinsulate padding

aldi motorcycle gear sale
Padded Leather Gloves – $34.99

As usual, there is also a range of other motorcycle goods for sale including balaclavas, thermals, bike covers and helmets.

Plus, there’s our perennial favourite – $9.99 Aldi motorcycle socks!

New this year are three types of $19.99 locks and chains to secure your bike and/or luggage.

aldi motorcycle sale theft stolen locks
Locks – $19.99

There is also a range of $39.99 tail and tank bags.

Riders urged to support dealers

However, riders have been urged by the Australian Motorcycle Dealers Association to support their local motorcycle dealer who {“deserves rider loyalty in tough times“.

They point out that motorcycle retailers offer a lot more product choice and all-year round availability.

Supporters of the Aldi sale say it promotes the wearing of good quality gear by making it affordable to more riders. 

In our coverage of the annual Aldi sale, as well as MotoCAP’s testing of products, we find readers claim Aldi products are good quality and value.

We have also tested Aldi gear and find it is up to par, including the Bluetooth unit that is still working just fine after three years.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Replacing poor quality motorbike levers

Contributor Todd Parkes replaces the levers on his Honda CBR500R

Standard levers supplied with most motorcycles are ugly, generic, mass-produced, chrome, longish and cheap. Many are not adjustable, so people with big or small hands never feel quite comfortable and most just feel cheap to handle.

And they will break even if you just drop your bike off its sidestand. Even if the lever just bends it will probably snap if you try to straighten it.

Whether your taste is sports bikes and you want to feel racy and have a look not dissimilar to Marquez’s bike, or if you are on a laidback cruiser and want a bit more of a custom or stylish look, those levers have got to gain some attention.

While my bike is only entry level, I do enjoy it and want to personalise it.

The more I looked at those levers, the more I thought they looked all wrong.

The Gold Coast hinterland has a heap of attractions for riders including winding roads, a Red Rattler with an Iron and Resin finish, writes local rider and MBW contributor Todd Parkes.
Todd and his Honda

Searching for levers

So I googled “levers” and found the cheapest were just $25 and they went right up to $400-plus.

My local stores on the Gold Coast didn’t have much in stock would only order them in. Most did not want me to look at anything under $300.

I’m all for supporting the locals but they have to be helpful and stock the parts affordably. 

Back to the net and I came across Aussie company Rad Guard who also make great radiator protector guards.Levers

They carry more than just radiator guards and their stock included sets of Evo1 brake and clutch lever sets for many popular models.

Their prices were very competitive with them sitting on a special at the moment for $189 (normally $230) plus postage.

I’d dealt with Radguard before for various bikes I had and their willingness to help and go beyond impressed me great.

I bought the extendable and foldable set for my CBR500 and they arrived via courier in three days at less than $1 dearer than standard mail.

I was impressed by the packaging, a labelled boxed set with bubble wrap and foam balls as well as a future purchase discount, a brand sticker and a gift stubby holder.Levers

Fitting the levers

I watched a couple of YouTube clips on how to change the levers and thought it wouldn’t be too difficult.

It is a good idea to have a can of silicon lube at hand to squirt down the clutch cable as it often gets neglected, also to lightly lube the pivot points of the levers and mechanisms.

Be careful with the tools so as they don’t slip and mark those new levers which look beautifully coated.

The brake lever went on smoothly, no dramas.Levers

The clutch one was a lot trickier.

Make sure to loosen off the lever adjustment to provide some “play”. It was really like replacing a brake cable on the old Malvern Star in a sense when hooking and unhooking the cable.

Have the manual nearby or the most relevant website to specify the freeplay you need. Check at both ends and don’t forget the locknut.Levers

You will need to fiddle around with the freeplay to get it right, so don’t rely on a straight swap without adjustment. 

Take it for a test ride and you might find they need another adjustment tweak to et them just right.

You can adjust the length of the levers through quite a range. The six-stop wheel adjusts the reach of the lever to suit your hand size.

My first ride with the new levers provided a noticeable improvement in feel over the original levers. The only negative was that the brake lever had some up/down freeplay in its mounting. 

Personalising your bike is fun and this is one of the simplest and low-cost mods you can make to the look and feel of your bike.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bar Cuffs make bike transport easy

These clever Bar Cuffs not only make it easy to tie down your motorcycle for transport, but are also guaranteed not to scratch your chromed or powder-coated handlebars.

The multi-patented Bar Cuffs cost $US49.95 (about $A75 plus postage) and are made of stainless steel so they won’t rust like many tie-down hooks.

They feature rubber inserts to prevent scratching and slipping and save you the hassle of putting something soft between the nylon straps or hooks and the bars.

Bar Cuffs

Adam Ewles says his invention will support up to 900kg of strain, so they should be suitable for all sized scooters and motorcycles.

They are also able to be locked in case you are storing your bike on a trailer overnight.

Bar Cuffs come in a pack of two with extra inserts in different sizes to accommodate various sized bar diameters.

You can also clamp then right over the bar grips and the eyelets will self tighten.Bar Cuffs to transport motorcycle

Note that you will still need nylon straps to tie down the rear of the bike.

Click here for tips on how to safely transport your bike.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Andy Tool for motorcycle travel

If there is no room in your luggage or under your seat for a toolkit, you can still rely on this handy Andy Tool from Andy Strapz.

This multi-tool is 18 tools in one small stainless-steel device that slips inside a handy pouch that you can attach to your belt, slip in your pocket or under the seat.

Australian motorcycle accessories and luggage experts Andy Strapz have some clever and useful gear for motorcycle travel and this magic little combination Andy Tool is no exception.Andy Tool from Andy Strapz

It is made of #420 Stainless with 48HRC hardness and includes the following features:

  • Flat Screwdriver
  • #2 and #3 Phillips Screwdriver
  • Bottle Opener
  • Box cutter
  • 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 14mm end spanner
  • 4, 5, and 6mm Allen key
  • 1/4- and 7/16-inch end spanner
  • The Chinese-made tool costs just $18 with free untracked postage and comes with a pouch and a five-year warranty.

“It won’t rebuild a basket case resto but it might just get you out of trouble,” Andy says.

“Tightening a loose screw or bolt is often left because pulling out the tool roll can be a pain.”

This handy Andy Tool may be the easiest alternative!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle seat slides with the rider

Imagine a seat that slides with the riders when they move sideways out of their seat for corners or forward and back for aerodynamic effect.

Now Finnish engineering company Etteplan has received a patent for a seat that slides sideways and forward and back with the rider.

The seat has been tested by disabled Finnish racer Ulla Kulju who was paralysed at 15 in a snowboarding accident.

sliding seat slides
Ulla

She works as a Senior Design Engineer at Etteplan and is the world’s first paraplegic female motorcycle racer, coming sixth in the disabled world championships 2017.

Perhaps it would be useful for disabled riders, but we’re not so sure it would be useful for other riders.

What would prevent it sliding around and upsetting the rider’s control?

The company says the invention would be useful for all racers and helped Ulla improve her lap times.

Not only has the patent been granted for the seat, but also the manufacturing process as it is 3D printed in one piece.

Printing motorcycle parts on 3D printers looks like being the future of motorcycling for precise and cheap manufacturer.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com