Tag Archives: Gear/accessories

Women who ride motorcycles need gear too

(Contributed post)

Women’s motorcycle gear is a hot topic nowadays as more women take to two wheels. Yet time and time again, women mention the same issues when looking for gear: poor fit, clichéd pink colours or floral patterns, and a limited range. Most of these complaints are completely justified.

But Karolina from Liberta Moto recognises that the voices of women in motorcycling matter. “When I first started riding a motorcycle, I didn’t know any other women who rode, but now I barely know someone who doesn’t.”

“Girls need better than this”women's gear female riders

“I started riding a motorcycle five years ago and I traveled everywhere around Sydney and New South Wales,” Karolina says. “When you travel long distances, you want something protective and comfortable to support the longer rides. Let’s be honest, motorcycle gear shops that produce mass amounts of riding gear don’t keep your best interests in mind. Especially for ladies!”

In retail shops, she’s used to seeing bulky gear with ornate floral patterns—a stereotypical pattern she’s surprised to still see. The online space offers more options for women, but nonetheless, few brands cater to motorcycle-riding females.

Even with gear that looks nice, it doesn’t always have the benefits of functionality. Karolina recalls: “I remember when I bought my first jacket. It was the best of the worst—bulky, heavy and stiff. At least it was in a beautiful bright red colour. Having to wear this uncomfortable, bulky and unflattering ladies’ riding jacket in the early days, I thought ‘girls need better than this!’

Motived for her community, Karolina decided to provide girls with better gear, and in 2019, Liberta Moto was born.

Creating the Perfect Jacket

“Living in Australia where the summers can be very hot, riding in a heavy leather jacket is the worst feeling; always sweaty and hot as hell. I often ended up riding a bike without wearing a jacket at all, and I felt very unsafe and uncomfortable.” Since retail stores only offered fabric (or plastic) jackets—mass produced and lacking in comfort and style—Karolina decided to make her own.

women's gear female riders
Sugar Glider

She started with the Sugar Glider women’s motorcycle jacket: a versatile, buttery soft leather jacket that looks great both on and off the bike, made with women in mind. Specifically designed for summer, it features large, perforated panels for airflow but also comes with a removable inner layer, providing warmth on colder days.

The Sugar Glider has received high praise from the female motorcyclist community, and is now being sold online and in select stores across Australia and the US.

In order to achieve comfort and avoid a plastic feel, the jacket’s armour is impact reactive, meaning it hardens on impact, but is also soft, like memory foam. It comes fitted with removable CE Level 1 armour for the shoulders and elbows and CE Level 2 armour for the back.

As much as style was a concern, so was safety. “I needed to make sure the jacket was properly equipped with safety features, so I sought advice from professionals in the industry. The design was developed in consultation with a leather garment professional and with a professional in racing industry, a trusted well-known brand that make road and racing suits.”

And Don’t Forget the Boys

women's gear female riders
Men’s jacket

Leveraging the success of the women’s Sugar Glider jacket, Liberta Moto also wanted to provide an option for men. “We recognised that the same issues affecting women in summer were also a concern for men, so we decided to redesign the Sugar Glider specifically to suit men’s body type.”

Just like its sister, the men’s Sugar Glider is exceptionally light, comfortable and highly functional, looks great and keeps you cool during warmer rides. The success of the men’s Sugar Glider jacket has Karolina working on other pieces aimed at men. “We have a number of new products in development, so watch this space!” she exclaims.

New Ventureswomen's gear female riders

But a men’s line isn’t the only new project Karolina has been working on, with Liberta Moto recently launching a range of women’s motorcycle gloves.

Just like the original Sugar Glider jacket, all of the gloves have been designed specifically for women’s hands with a focus on comfort and functionality. “Liberta Moto continues to listen to customers as we strive to bring them impeccably designed and highly functional products”.

While creating motorcycle gear for women is Liberta Moto’s chief goal, it’s certainly not their only one. “We are working to expand our collection and support riders in the industry, as well as planning to make educational motorcycling videos on YouTube. Our aim is to build a supportive, educational community.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Smart helmet calls for help after crash

Emergency call systems are coming to motorcycles and helmets with a French company the latest to release a helmet that calls for help if you crash.

The Kosmos Smart Helmet has sensors which detect a crash and then uses your paired phone and a proprietary app to contact emergency services.

However, just in case you’ve only had a small fall or dropped your helmet, the system first contacts the rider to check.

If the rider doesn’t respond to cancel within a certain time, the emergency call is placed and provides details on the riders location as well as relevant health information.

It’s not the first helmet with this technology.

Help helmets

Several other helmets that call for help after a crash are also being developed.

They include the Encephalon (Brain) from Nand Logic in the USA, the Indian-made Quin and even a Thai Helpmet. And in December, US college student Ty Uehara won $US2000 to develop his ConTekt helmet that will call emergency (911) if you have been in a crash.

Call bikes

These emergency call systems have been available in cars for some time and are now mandated throughout Europe with motorcycles and possibly helmets expected to be included in the future.

It also may not be long before it is mandated in Australia after an Austroads report last year found that motorcycles should be fitted with the automatic crash call technology to reduce emergency response times which are more lethal in our rural and remote areas.

It points out that motorcyclist deaths have remained stable in major cities over the past decade, but increased in regional and remote Australia by up to almost 50% in recent years.

BMW Motorrad was the first motorcycle company to offer an SOS button in Europe.

BMW's SOS button
BMW’s SOS button

It is not yet available in Australia because of an eCall hardware update and the lack of a nationwide rollout. Telstra also does not yet have the right hardware.

Germany tech company Bosch is the latest to join the hi-tech safety revolution.

The Bosch system uses an “intelligent crash algorithm installed in the vehicle’s inertial sensor unit” to identify a crash via the various sensors such as an accelerometer and lean sensor.

It pairs with their Help Connect phone app to send your location to a Bosch Service Centre.

All of these systems have similar failsafe

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bull-It Tactical cargo pants tested

UK protective clothing company Covec Limited has released their Tactical range of jeans and cargo pants with a single layer of protective material.

Instead of a separate protective liner, these cargo pants are made with Covec’s “Oneskin” protective material made by re-engineering inflexible liquid crystal polymer.

Covec claim the material has abrasion resistance, is weather-proof, seam burst-resistance and low thermal conductivity so you don’t get a fraction burn as you slide down the road in a crash.

They also say they are tested to the new CE standard (17092) with AA protection and 75km/h abrasion resistance.

Despite only one layer of external protective material there is still a lightweight perforated liner that stops them sticking to your skin when you sweat. It makes them even more comfortable.

Unlike some riding pants where you have to buy the protectors separately, these come standard with CE 1621 Level 2 hip and knee protectors. They are soft and not uncomfortable.

Bull-It Tactical cargo pants tested

Australia’s MotoCAP motorcycle clothing ratings system hasn’t tested these cargo pants, but they have tested other Bull-It jeans with Covec material and rated them one and two stars for safety and three for breathability.

They would be suitable for urban and touring riding where comfort is a primary safety feature.

Tactical pants

Bull-It Tactical Cargo Pants cost $199.95 in Australia and come in black or dark blue in sizes 30-54 (Short/Regular/Long).

Some lined jeans and cargo pants are hot, heavy and uncomfortable. However, the single layer protective material makes them light and flexible for long days of comfort in the saddle.

There are seven belt loops so your belt and pants won’t separate as you lean forward over a sports bike.

Cargo pants always feature loads of pockets — hence the name “cargo”.

These feature the traditional five-pocket denim jean design (two rear pockets, two front pockets and a small coin/key pocket inside the right front pocket).Bull-It cargo pants tested

But they also have two handy thigh pockets with flaps that velcro in place and keep your valuables from falling out. They are great for storing a mobile phone or your wallet.

While I haven’t tested them in extreme heat, they are ok in mild winter conditions.

In extreme cold, they are loose enough in the leg to comfortably wear long johns underneath.

And the loose legs also allow them to be worn over bulky riding boots.

They aren’t waterproof, but are fine in showery conditions.

These pants would go well with the Bull-It Tactical Hoodie.

About Covec LtdBull-it Jeans win enterprise award

Covec Limited is the parent company of Bull-it Jeans.

In April, they received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise recognising their export success to 14 different countries in Europe, Australia, North America and New Zealand.

Covec developed their protective textile material by re-engineering inflexible liquid crystal polymer to achieve abrasion resistance, weather-proofing, low thermal conductivity and improved strength.

Covec’s material is used in sportswear, military clothing and their motorcycle clothing brand, Bull-it, which makes jeans, leggings and jackets.

It is also licensed to a variety of global brands including Triumph Motorcycles, Rokker of Switzerland, KLIM USA, RevZilla, IXS and The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bull-It Tactical Hoodie jacket tested

The hoodie is becoming a big fashion trend among urban riders so now award-winning UK protective clothing company, Covec Limited has introduced a Tactical Hoodie to their Bull-It range.

It’s a comfortable and versatile jacket with some interesting features and suitable protection for the urban environment.

Bull-It Tactical Hoodie comes in black in sizes S to 4XL for £199.99 (about $A360).

Hoodie styleCovec Bull-It Tactical hoodie

I’ve been wearing this soft-canvas-feel jacket for a few weeks now and find it very comfortable both on and off the bike.

Apart from being a trendy style, the hoodie is also practical for extra warmth when you are off the bike.

I’ve worn a few hoodie motorcycle jackets and have found some annoying because the hoodie section flaps around and can slightly impede head movement.

Despite the fact that the hoodie can’t be removed or clipped down, it doesn’t affect head movement nor flap around. The pull cords do flap in the breeze, but they are soft and don’t annoy or distract.

It features a zip-out full-size quilted liner, but it’s not really a winter jacket. It’s more suited to temperatures between 12C and 30C.

A clever feature of the liner is the extra high corduroy-lined collar which snap-locks together and provides some protection from the cold so you don’t need to wear a neck sock.Covec Bull-It Tactical hoodie

The waist band and cuffs are elasticised for a firm fit and the cuffs also feature loops that go around your thumbs to prevent the wind pulling your sleeves up.Covec Bull-It Tactical hoodie

The two outside pockets have waterproof YKK zips and the taped seams are waterproof, but the pockets and the jacket outer shell are not waterproof, only shower resistant.

Inside are two pockets in the liner and two in the jacket itself which are difficult to access when you have the liner in.

The inside jacket pockets have Velcro’s fasteners but there are no fastenings on the liner pockets, so be careful when throwing your jacket over a cafe chair as your wallet could fall out as I found!

SafetyCovec Bull-It Tactical

This isn’t a jacket you would wear to a race track.

It’s more suited to the urban environment or for touring where comfort and flexibility play an important primary safety feature.

As MotoCAP chief scientist Chris Hurren explains in this video, there are different levels of abrasion, impact and seam-bursting protection required for different types of riding.

This jacket has not yet been tested by MotoCAP.

However, it features Covec yarn in the outer shell to boost abrasion resistance reinforced with Covec’s “Webtech” race-developed abrasion protection.

It has been tested to the new CE standard (17092) standard for AA protection.

They say it also has lower thermal conductivity which reduces chances of friction burns in a slide down the road.

It comes standard with CE 1621 Level 2-approved armour in the shoulders, elbows/forearm and back.

There are some reflective strips on the jacket for night visibility but they are fairly small.

It also features two elasticised loops in the bottom of the jacket that attach the jacket to the belt loops on your pants so they don’t become detached and expose your body in a crash.

The jacket would go well Bull-It’s Tactical cargo pants.

About Covec LtdBull-it Jeans win enterprise award

Covec Limited is the parent company of Bull-it Jeans.

In April 2020, they received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise recognising their export success to 14 different countries in Europe, Australia, North America and New Zealand.

Covec developed their protective textile material by re-engineering inflexible liquid crystal polymer to achieve abrasion resistance, weather-proofing, low thermal conductivity and improved strength.

Covec’s material is used in sportswear, military clothing and their motorcycle clothing brand, Bull-it, which makes jeans, leggings and jackets.

It is also licensed to a variety of global brands including Triumph Motorcycles, Rokker of Switzerland, KLIM USA, RevZilla, IXS and The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are modular helmets safe in a crash?

A Brisbane rider has sworn off modular helmets after his chin bar flipped up in a low-speed roundabout crash, causing facial injuries.

Mark Taylor says he swears he always confirms the chin bar on his Nolan N104 modular helmet clicks into place.

However, he says it opened on impact when a driver failed to give way to him on a roundabout.

“When I chose a modular helmet I went with Nolan as in the British test it was the only one that didn’t open on impact. Mine did,” he says.

“If it had stayed closed then I would have had no facial injuries at all.”

The damaged helmet still closes and locks, but Mark believes the force of the impact distorted or damaged the lock causing it to open.

Modular helmets

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?Nolan N104

Obviously modular, or system or flip-up helmets are not as safe as full-face helmets otherwise they would be used in racing.

The reputable UK SHARP helmet safety ratings system to which Mark refers shows modular helmets with similar ratings as full face helmets, although less than half received the full five stars.

The table below shows the percentages of helmets that scored various star levels from 102 modular helmets and 366 full-face helmets tested.

Helmet type 1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Modular 3.9% 9.8% 33% 42% 5.8%
Full face 4.9% 9.8% 28% 43% 13.6%

However, the SHARP system has been criticised for rating helmets high despite many failing the chin bar lock retention test.

It also fails to distinguish between partial and full unlocking in the one-hit crash testing procedure.

It’s a flawed testing procedure as, in real-world crashes, your head could hit the ground several times, providing more opportunity to open the locking mechanism.

The SHARP system also shows little correlation between cost and safety.

There is no dispute about the convenience of modular helmets. You can take photos, get plenty of air while riding in city traffic, talk to mates and even fill your fuel tank without having to take off your helmet. (Note that there are few helmets where the chin bar locks in the up position and legally permits the rider to ride with the helmet in this position.)

However, modular helmets have inherent design issues that reduce their safety levels.

Instead of the crash-resistant integrity of a full shell, they have two parts held together by a hinge and clasp mechanism that uses a combination of plastic, fibreglass and flimsy metal.

Mark’s Nolan helmet is one of five of the brand’s modular models tested by SHARP with all rating four stars.

Mark’s lesson

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?Mark in happier times with his BMW

After buying a top-line modular helmet, Mark says that when his insurance replaces the helmet he will opt for a full face.

Mark has been riding since 1969 and this was his first crash with another vehicle which simply failed to give right of way and merged on to the roundabout straight in his BMW R 1200 GSA.

“I sounded the airhorns which also makes the driving lights strobe,” he says.

“It had no effect on her. All the time she looked straight ahead. Not once did she look to her right.

“The police report says she claims to have not seen me.”

The woman has been charged with “enter roundabout when not safe to do so”.

Mark says he is lucky most of his gear protected him from serious injury.

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?

“My big decision now is do I get back on and ride or walk away,” he says.

“I thought this decision would be hard to make but I reckon I will be back on two wheels soon, but will have another think about motorbikes at 70 which is three years away.”

I would like to know what other older riders think about this.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ulka Gear jacket becomes handy backpack

Carrying your helmet around with you can be a pain, but the Ulka Gear motorcycle jacket transforms into a handy backpack that also holds your lid, gloves, goggles and more!

These Indian-made jackets come in a Hakkit Forever touring and Hakkit V2 city version, both suitable for the hot Indian climate.

Prices are quoted in Indian rupee and translate to about $A170 to $A210 plus postage.

Handy jacket

Ulka Gear is the brainchild of company founder and former national circuit racer and trainer Shahnawaz Karim.

“When hitting the open roads, the biker’s gears including helmet, jackets etc. is of paramount significance thus offering maximum functionality,” he says in the official press release.Ulka Gear GHakkit Forever handy jacket

I understand the pulse of the motorcycle bikers and aim to provide with a motorcycling experience.

“We designed a convertible jacket which has weathered the test of time and aim to become one of the most iconic items of clothing for motorcyclist.

“I am optimistic that we would emerge in times to come as India’s most efficient rider’s apparel brand and global brand to reckon with.”

Ulka Gear GHakkit Forever handy jacketHakka V2 city jacket

The handy Ulka gear jackets are available in different sizes from XS to 3XL and they say they are unisex with an adjustable waist.

Other features include CE-approved back, shoulder and elbow armour and abrasion-resistant Cordura material.

Ulka Gear GHakkit Forever handy jacketHakkit Forever touring jacket

If you are riding in the rain, the pockets are “water-resistant” which is not the same as waterproof but there is a waterproof rain cover you can wear over the jacket. U can also wear it inside for warmth.

Hakkit Forever also has a pocket on the left forearm for your mobile phone.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are motorcycle backrests a waste of money?

Riders seeking extra comfort often add a backrest to their seat and pillions love them, but are they a good investment in comfort or simply a waste of money?

Some big touring motorcycles come with backrest options, otherwise you can buy an aftermarket seat from brands such as American companies Sargent and Corbin which have backrest accessories.

Corbin backrests

The latter has just released their range of Edge Ovalbac backrests which they say look “perfectly at home on a cruiser or a sportbike”.

Pillion Backrests Corbin seatsCorbin backrests

It works with all Corbin seat models and is not cheap at $US283 (about $A400+), so you better make sure it’s worth it!

For seats that take two rests, the Corbin backrests can be used on the front as a rider’s rest or at the rear as a passenger rest.

The angle of the backrest adjusts and is slightly curved for a greater area of body contact.

Corbin’s backrests can be made in matching materials and colours so they don’t look like an afterthought.

And they are quick to install.

Waste of money?

Ok, so they look good and have been ergonomically designed. But are they of benefit or a waste of money?

The Ulysses Club of Australia recommends backrests, saying they support your lower back, provide more comfort and reduce fatigue on long trips.

I’ve ridden many bikes with backrests and some provide good support and feel comfortable.

However, all the rider backrests I have tried have been on cruiser motorcycles where you tend to recline into them.

I can’t see how this backrest would work for sports bike riders as Corbin suggests, even though the angle can be adjusted.

The riding position on a sports bike requires you to lean forward, so you aren’t leaning back into them.

Instead, it may become an annoyance as your back rubs against it on bumps instead of adding support.

A physiotherapist rider once told me backrests can detrimentally affect your posture if you don’t sit in them properly.

She says that without a backrest you develop your core muscles by resisting the wind and stronger core muscles help ease lower back pain anyway.

I have also found that a backrest (either for the ride or pillion) can make it difficult to throw your leg over to mount the bike.

So, if you already have trouble throwing a leg over, buy a backrest that folds down so you can mount easily.

Pillion backrests

Pillion Backrests kangaroos roadkill roo Triumph BonnevilleThe seats on my old Bonnie were NOT made of roo leather, so settle down, guys!

While I have my doubts about rider backrests, they are usually a good idea for pillions.

I say “usually” because on adventure bikes on rough roads, they can actually hurt the pillion as they rub and bash into their spine.

If you have a rider backrest as well, they limit seat space for the pillion.

Pillion Backrests Corbin seatsNot much room for a pillion!

However, my pillion-in-a-billion loves backrests. She says they are not only more comfortable, but also mean she doesn’t have to hang on to me.

They also instil a feeling of security should I suddenly decide to accelerate hard or pop a wheelie … and isn’t that always on the cards!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Gizmo uses light to sterilise your helmet

Taiwanese company Lucky International has launched a GermBuster gizmo that uses ultraviolet light and ozone to sterilise and deodorise your motorcycle helmet.

In the wake of the panic over the pandemic, company spokesman Billy Chao contacted us to see if we were interested in selling their GermBuster through our website.

President Donald Trump would love it as he seems to think that along with injecting disinfectant we could also shine light inside people to cure them of COVID-19.

By the way, you can check the date of this story; it’s not April 1!

Motul motorcycle helmet cleanerNow, we know helmets get sweaty and grotty inside and can smell funky. But we usually just use a dedicated spray to deodorise them or pull out the removable pads and liner and give them a wash.

Click here to check our tips for cleaning your helmet.

Sterilise the hi-tech wayGermbuster is claimed to sterilise your helmet

However, that is not hi-tech enough for some.

So lucky for them, Lucky International has developed their GermBuster.

I can’t vouch for it and when I asked where to get it and how much it costs, the contact Billy Chao just wanted us to buy it via email.

I also couldn’t find any reference to the company or the product online.Germbuster is claimed to sterilise your helmet

However, I thought you might get a good laugh out of the press release they sent:

Wear a dirty and bacteria motorcycle helmet that caused hair loss and bald.

Due to sweating, dirt, food particles (I am not sure how you get food in your helmet!) and air born (sic) bacteria getting rubbed into the helmet padding and breeding in the warm environment, it is possible that your scalp may become infected. If so it could impact on scalp health and even hair growth

Bacteria in your helmet may also affect your hair growth

Your helmet becomes a breeding ground for air borne bacteria due to sweat, dirt and food particles that could infect your scalp and cause hair fall. It could also affect growth of new hair.Germbuster is claimed to sterilise your helmet

What you can do

The total solution, use GermBuster UVC + OZONE sterilizer and deodorizer,

Helmet sterilizer. Available all kind of helmet.

They say it comes with a free “adjust stand”, is USB rechargeable and can also be used to sanitise shoes, masks and nail scissors.

  

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

McQueen would wear this NEXX helmet

The new NEXX X.G10 Saloon open-face helmet is a vintage motocross style that resembles helmets worn by the legendary Hollywood actor and bike fan Steve McQueen.

He was an accomplished motocrosser who represented America in the international six-day enduro trials in 1964 where he rode with a Bell Jet helmet that looked very much like this NEXX X.G10 Saloon.

Bell Jet Steve McQueen NEXXMcQueen at the enduro wearing a Bell Jet helmet

While an open-face helmet can never provide the same protection as a full-face helmet, the makers claim this has their X-Matrix 2 construction comprised of 3D organic fibres and special weaving to improve protection and comfort.

NEXX helmetNEXX X.G10 Saloon open-face helmet

The vintage-style features six different layers for impact and penetration protection while keeping the shell light and breathable. The ultralight shell is tougher, stronger, and stiffer that results in impressive high-energy impact management.

NEXX helmets usually rate three out of five stars in the highly acknowledged SHARP helmet safety ratings

The entire production process of NEXX helmets is done in Portugal and not outsourced to other countries as many other helmet manufacturers do.

They boast a team of more than 160 workers skilled in helmet shell sculpture, leather manipulation, stitching, paintwork and engineering. Every helmet has to pass more than 50 control steps.

The NEXX X.G10 Saloon also has a cool interior thanks to their X-Mart Dry technology that provides a soft, breathable and water absorbent liner.

NEXX claims it dries twice as fast as cotton while also providing extra warmth.

The interior pieces are removable to be washed and are anti-allergic and anti-sweat.NEXX X.G10 Saloon open-face helmet

It features a rear leather clip holder for goggles, the traditional D-ring chin strap, PC Lexan flat-shield and comes in three shell sizes (XS-L, XL, and XXL-XXXL).

There is no word yet on prices in Australia, but they are available overseas for €242 (about $A395).

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Patent promises better tyre grip

Italian company Directa Plus has received a patent through the Chinese Patent Office for tyre technology that they say will lower rolling resistance as well as increase grip.

In most motorcycle and automobile tyres, rolling resistance and grip are at odds. Tyre companies usually improve one quality at the sake of the other.

However, Directa Plus says the patent will cover the formula which unlocks the potential of the G+ technology for the tread component, enabling manufacturers to balance the conflicting properties of rolling resistance and grip while enhancing both.

That will allow companies to choose how much rolling resistance they want to improve fuel economy and also grip for safety.

Directa Plus Founder and CEO Giulio Cesareo says their G+ graphene technology also has “a lower carbon footprint than existing technologies as a result of our sustainable and non-toxic production process”.

It can be used on motorcycles, bicycles, cars, truck and bus radial tyres. 

The patent is their sixth with the Chinese Patent Office.

“The grant of a Chinese patent for our G+ technology in tyres is a first step towards exploiting China’s large and growing market for elastomeric compounds for tyres,” Giulio says.

Global market research and consulting company TechSci Research estimated China’s tyre market was worth about $A40 billion ($US28b) in 2018 and forecast the market to grow at a compound annual rate of over 10% to reach $A75b ($US52b) by 2023.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com