Tag Archives: Gear

Nelson-Rigg Dual-Sport Saddlebags and Tail Bag | Gear Review

Nelson-Rigg Saddlebags and Tail Bags Review

My first street-legal motorcycle was a Honda XL500R dual-sport, and as a teenager I rode the wheels off that thumper, generally wearing a backpack to carry stuff since securely fitting the soft luggage available then to its skinny seat and fenders was a pain. Like our dual-sport bikes of today, however, soft luggage for them has advanced considerably, enough that it’s now possible to quickly and securely attach enough for an on-/off-road overnighter, even on my little Yamaha WR250R.

Nelson-Rigg recently released a pair of Dual-Sport/Enduro Saddlebags that hold 12 liters per side, or 15 liters per side expanded, a good size for a short camping trip into the backwoods or trips to the grocery store on most dual-sport singles. Constructed of UV treated, water-resistant Tri-Max fabric with an anti-slip/scratch protective panel on the back, their kidney shape is well suited to the upswept tail section and muffler of the typical dual-sport bike, and the lengthwise zipper on top makes it easy to load larger items—I was able to slip a large roll of paper towels and four cans of soda easily into one without even expanding it. Should you need more space, a circumferential zipper unzips to expand the bags outward, and there’s a pouch pocket for tools and whatnot on the underside of each.

Nelson-Rigg Saddlebags and Tail Bags Review

The mounting system starts with the usual pair of adjustable hook-and-loop straps that go over the seat. Then you tie off the front of the bags with a slip-buckle strap that also serves as a tensioner for the load in the bag along with another tensioning strap on the outside. The aft straps attach to an adjustable harness with U-shaped buckles on each end that slips onto the rear fender. It takes a bit of fiddling to get everything adjusted properly, but once you do the bags end up better secured to the bike than typical saddlebags. They still aren’t held down as tightly as bag types that attach to a separate harness, and these saddlebags aren’t waterproof, so I would categorize them as medium-duty, best for on-road and light, dry off-road riding. Make sure to have a heat shield in place if a bag would otherwise contact a muffler.

Nelson-Rigg’s Dual-Sport Saddlebags do hold a lot, and their top lengthwise zipper (versus a roll-down opening) makes them very convenient to use. To add even more capacity, Nelson-Rigg’s Trails End Dual-Sport Tail Bag holds 6.5 liters or 11 liters expanded, attaches easily to lots of motorcycle types—not just dual-sports—and its rugged UltraMax fabric construction holds it shape when empty. Zippers are water-resistant and also keep out dirt and dust, and there’s a Molle panel on the lid for attaching even more stuff. This tail bag is perfectly sized for my soft lunchbox, for example, and has tie-down straps inside to secure the load.

Nelson-Rigg Saddlebags and Tail Bags Review

As long as your off-road adventures aren’t too gnarly, this Nelson-Rigg saddlebag/tail bag combo is a convenient solution to dual-sport luggage needs. The Dual-Sport/Enduro Saddlebags go for $142.95 and the Trails End Dual-Sport Enduro Tail Bag is $119.95.

Nelson-Rigg Saddlebags and Tail Bags Review

For more information, visit Nelson-Rigg.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Schuberth C4 Pro Women Helmet | Gear Review

Schuberth C4 Pro Women Helmet

Newsflash: Female anatomy is not the same as male anatomy. Sure, we all know this and apparel manufacturers have been making women’s jackets, pants, boots and gloves for some time now, but for some reason helmet makers have been slow to adjust. Germany-based Schuberth stands out as an exception, and has been making helmets specifically to fit the female head—with its generally narrower facial profile—for years. Last year it introduced an updated version of its modular helmet, the C4 Pro (Gear Lab, September 2019), with improvements to fit, comfort and noise reduction, and now it has announced the C4 Pro Women, making the updates available in a female-specific design.

The C4 Pro Women has the same general construction as the regular version, with a Direct Fiber Processing fiberglass and resin shell, single large vent on top and smaller visor vent on the chinbar, pre-installed Pinlock visor insert, integrated drop-down sun shield, patented Anti-Roll-Off System (AROS) to prevent the helmet from coming off in an accident, and speakers/microphone pre-installed for plug-and-play accommodation of the SC1 Standard or SC1 Advanced Bluetooth communication systems. The plush, removable/washable liner is optimized for the female head, with 5mm-thicker cheek pads and a lovely dark lavender color that sets it apart from the men’s version.

Schuberth C4 Pro Women Helmet

My head measures 56 cm, which is between a small (55) and a medium (57) in the C4 Pro Women, and as expected the size small I tested fits quite snugly. Like every Schuberth I’ve yet worn, the helmet sits rather high on my head, the back just covering my occipital lobe and the cheek pads firmly settled around my cheekbones rather than my jaw. As with any helmet, I recommend trying the C4 Pro Women on before buying to ensure you like the fit. If you do, great news: this is a well-designed, Schuberth C4 Pro Women Helmet high-quality lid. It proved to be quiet, even with the top vent open and pulling noticeable cool air across my scalp, and aerodynamic as well, even when turning my head side to side on a sport bike with little wind protection. The chinbar mechanism is very easy to use and pops open/closed without a fuss; I do wish the drop-down sun shield lever had a larger grip, as I sometimes struggled to find and operate it with thick gloves on.

At 3 lbs., 14 oz. (size small), the C4 Pro Women is on par with other high-end modulars, but its excellent aerodynamics make it feel lighter and less tiring to wear. It’s available in two solid colors ($729) and three graphics ($829) in sizes XS-L (53 to 59 cm).

Visit Schuberth for more information.

MSRP: $729 (colors), $829 (graphics)
Sizes: XS-L (53 to 59 cm)
Weight: 3 lbs., 14 oz. (size small)

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Joe Rocket Cleo Elite Mesh Jacket | Gear Review

Joe Rocket Cleo Elite mesh jacket

Summer is coming. In our little corner of the world, sticking to the coast is the best way to avoid the heat, but sometimes (like if you want to ride anywhere else) it’s unavoidable. When it’s 3:00 pm and you feel like a Boston Market rotisserie chicken, slowly roasting in your own juices with heat from all directions — sun, pavement, engine, exhaust — it’s easy to daydream about how much cooler you’d be in a T-shirt. But we all know that’s a bad idea, and the next best thing is a lightweight mesh jacket like the Cleo Elite from Joe Rocket (there’s a men’s version as well called the Phoenix Ion).

The Cleo Elite flows massive amounts of air thanks to its mostly mesh construction, with Dynax nylon fabric reinforcements at the elbows, shoulders, sides and upper back. Uniquely, the CE level 1 elbow and shoulder armor is accessed externally via zippers; the foam back pad can be swapped out more conventionally from its inner pocket. Fit is sporty — what Joe Rocket calls “attack stance” — with a low, neoprene-lined mandarin collar and adjustment straps at the waist/hips and forearms. A removable two-stage liner includes a waterproof full-sleeve layer and an insulated vest, and there are a few pockets: external handwarmers plus one hook-and-loop internal pocket intended for sunglasses or a phone.

I’m tall and slender and find Joe Rocket apparel, including the Cleo Elite, fits me well; the torso and sleeves are actually long enough, unlike some other brands I’ve tried. Airflow is outstanding and, especially in the Silver or Mint/Silver colors, actually feels better than wearing a T-shirt, because not only is nearly your entire torso ventilated, your skin is not getting baked directly by the sun. Despite the waterproof liner, it wouldn’t be my first choice for touring, but for lower-speed rides around town in the heat of summer, the Cleo Elite is a nice option. It is available in Black, Silver (shown) and Pink in women’s sizes Small to 2 Diva, and in Mint/Silver in Small to 1 Diva, starting at $199.99.

For more information, see your dealer or visit joerocket.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar Boots | Gear Review

Alpinestars Corozal boots

When it comes to motorcycle boots, we typically want opposing features. Just as we want motorcycle tires that provide sticky grip as well as high mileage, with boots we want them to be light and supple so they’re comfortable and provide good feel on the pegs, but we also want them to be tough enough to protect our feet, ankles and shins. Striking such a balance with touring boots is one thing, but it’s quite another with heavy-duty adventure boots.

Alpinestars’ CE-certified Corozal Adventure Drystar Boots are a good compromise between comfort and protection. The upper is a hybrid of waxed full-grain leather and polyurethane-coated leather, with microfiber flex panels at the ankles and textured suede on the inner leg for added grip. The midsole is made of lightweight polyurethane foam, the polypropylene insole is reinforced with a steel shank and the lugged sole is made of a durable yet flexible rubber compound. Protective features include tough TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) on the shin plate, calf plate, toe shift pad and ankles. A biomechanical lateral “flexi-blade” system allows movement while supporting and protecting the outer ankle, and both the internal toe box and heel counter protection are layered under the upper for durability.

The Corozals have a wide entry aperture that makes it easy to slide them on and off, which is most welcome after a long, exhausting day on the bike as well as the next morning when muscles are sore and joints are stiff. Similar to motocross boots, the Corozals have two buckles — one across the top of the foot and another at mid-shin — that use a micro-ratchet memory system and quick-release/locking for fast, secure closure, and a large Velcro panel at the top further dials in fit. Inside the boot is a removable anatomic footbed made of Lycra-covered EVA foam, and the forefoot is ergonomically shaped to allow good fit and feel at the controls. Integrated soft foam surrounds the ankle and collar, a breathable Drystar membrane keeps feet dry and a breathable textile interior lining enhances comfort.

I’ve worn Corozals on adventure rides and press launches over the past couple of years, and they were immediately comfortable and required no break-in. The soles are durable enough to provide a solid platform when standing on footpegs of varying widths, yet they flex enough to provide give and decent feel when braking, shifting and maneuvering. They’ve been wind- and watertight through rain and freezing temperatures, and the buckles are easy to use (and can be replaced if they get damaged). All in all, they’re very good boots at a reasonable price.

Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar Boots are available in men’s whole sizes 7-13 for $289.95. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit alpinestars.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Hepco & Becker Engine & Tank Guards | Gear Review

Hepco Becker engine guards

Because adventure motorcycles tend to be heavier, more feature-laden bikes, when ridden off-road the likelihood of a dirt nap doing expensive damage is pretty high, so they really need factory or aftermarket guards to protect vulnerable engine parts and fragile plastic (paradoxically making the bike heavier still, but such is life). In an effort to keep my Honda Africa Twin as light as possible yet protected from horizontal misadventures, I recently bolted on a set of German-made Hepco & Becker Engine and Tank Guards acquired from Moto Machines. Available in your choice of shiny stainless steel or black powder coat for a variety of ADV machines, both the tank guard and engine guards are made of tubular steel using a strong but minimalist design that keeps weight down without sacrificing any protection — the black $301.68 Tank Guard weighs 8 pounds and the $272.85 Engine Guards weigh 5.5 pounds total. Their installation kits come with everything you need to securely mount all four main left and right pieces in about 90 minutes, using existing bolt holes on the bike’s frame, so there’s no drilling or cutting required.

Hepco Becker engine guards on Honda Africa Twin

On the 2016 and later Africa Twins, the tank guard attaches at the front engine mount on each side, with another frame mounting point under the headlight. Hepco & Becker’s instructions are pretty good, and with a bit of creative contortion I was able to install the tank guard by myself with basic hand tools, though a helper would have made it easier. The engine guards bolt on in several places around the twin’s bottom end for maximum protection, and only required removing the skid plate and loosening some exhaust bolts to install (and Moto Machines offers a tough-looking Hepco & Becker Skid Plate for $313.20 that could be added at this time). The left engine guard is wide enough to accommodate the Africa Twin’s optional dual-clutch automatic transmission, so there’s a sizable gap between it and the engine on my manual trans model, but it doesn’t stick out any farther than the Tank Guard. The toes of my size-13 boots contact the back of the engine guards occasionally, but they don’t interfere with using the brake pedal or shift lever on the manual trans model.

In addition to protecting the engine and fairing from most tipovers, rocks, etc., the bars make great places to mount auxiliary lights, luggage, cruising pegs and more. The Tank Guard has hole tabs on each side for the optional Bracing Bow ($99.50) that crosses in front of the radiator, and Moto Machines also offers a Headlamp Guard ($114.01) for the Africa Twin’s expensive LED headlight that bolts on top of the Tank Guard. Overall it’s well-made protection that bolts on quickly and easily and can save you far more than it costs when your ride goes sideways.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Nelson-Rigg Tool Roll | Gear Review

Nelson-Rigg motorcycle tool roll kit

Does anyone carry tools anymore? With everyone packing smartphones, credit cards and roadside assistance, not to mention the reliability of modern motorcycles, some folks just hope for the best. But if you’re a touring rider who logs days or weeks on your motorcycle, especially if you venture far from home or off-road into remote areas, then you know that an ounce of preparation can save you a pounding headache.

These days most motorcycles come with woefully inadequate toolkits. There may be a cheapo screwdriver and perhaps a wrench or two, but that’s about it. You won’t be repairing your throttle-by-wire system out in the field, but you might need to tighten a mirror or a bolt that has vibrated loose. And, just as packing a rain suit seems to keep the rain at bay, carrying a well-stocked toolkit — and staying on top of your motorcycle’s maintenance schedule — may help you avoid problems in the first place. 

The best way to carry tools is in a tool roll, like this one from Nelson-Rigg. Made of abrasion-resistant UltraMax polyester, it’s black on the outside but has a high-visibility orange interior that makes it easy to see what’s what. The main compartment has pockets of varying widths with elastic loops to hold tools in place, and there are separate elastic loops to hold CO2 tire-inflation cartridges or tightly rolled stacks of $100 bills. There’s also a small, zippered mesh pocket to hold easy-to-lose items like extra bolts, nuts, etc. A large flap folds over the main compartment, and when spread out it’s a convenient place to put removed hardware or parts so they’re easy to see. The rolled-up roll secures with a long hook-and-loop strap that adjusts to accommodate whatever you decide to pack in there.

My tool roll is stocked with what I need for dual-sport rides, including combo tire iron/axle wrenches, rim protectors, a Leatherman multi-tool with extra bits and a bit driver extender, wrenches and sockets specific to my bike, vice grips, a JB Weld seal stick, zip ties, nitrile gloves, a tow strap and other odds and ends. Spend some time assembling a set of tools that includes only the essentials, and keep your tool roll, flat-repair kit, pump and first-aid kit in your saddlebag.

Nelson Rigg’s Rigg Gear Adventure Tool Roll measures 13.75 x 10.5 inches, costs $24.95 and comes with a lifetime warranty. Also available is a Rear Fender Bag ($55.95) that includes the tool roll. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit nelsonrigg.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Wunderlich Navigator Lock for BMW RT Central Lock System | Gear Review

Wunderlich Navigator Lock secures the GPS on 2014 and newer BMW R 1200/1250 RT motorcycles
Wunderlich Navigator Lock secures the GPS on 2014 and newer BMW R 1200/1250 RT motorcycles equipped with factory central lock system.

BMW’s liquid-cooled R 1200 RT and R 1250 RT models are available with a factory installed GPS mount ideally positioned at the top of the instrument panel. To install your BMW Navigator 4, 5 or 6 GPS, you just push it in place…click. To remove it, you push a release button on the side of the binnacle. But that convenient push-to-release feature also puts your GPS at risk for a quick crime of opportunity by a passing scofflaw. Of course, you can just take your GPS with you or lock it in a pannier whenever you leave the bike unattended, but that’s a hassle, especially when touring.

Your humble scribe is not the only RT rider who’s wondered why BMW didn’t include some way to lock the GPS in place, especially on RT’s like mine equipped with central locking that secures both panniers, both fairing pockets and the top case, by pressing a button on the remote or the handlebars. Now Wunderlich offers the Navigator Lock for 2014 and newer RT’s. It’s a mechanism powered by a servomotor that disables the navigator release mechanism when you activate the bike’s central lock system. The servomotor attaches neatly out of sight, beneath the bike’s nosepiece, and plug-and-play electrical connections piggyback off the actuator for a fairing compartment lock. Accessing the space to install the unit and make the connections is a straightforward job following the supplied instructions. Here are a few observations for the installation:

Wunderlich Navigator Lock secures the GPS on 2014 and newer BMW R 1200/1250 RT motorcycles
The RT’s GPS release button (red arrow) is the object of the Wunderlich Navigator Lock. When the bike’s factory central lock system is engaged, the button is mechanically disabled, securing the GPS in its mount. When central locking is disengaged, the release button works.

After removing the windscreen and nose piece, the frame of the Navigator Lock slots in behind the GPS mount and, with a little coaxing, over two plastic nibs on the nose piece. It’s not going anywhere. The actuator aligns with an opening and, once deployed by engaging the central lock system, mechanically disables the GPS release mechanism. The right audio speaker gets in the way of wire routing, so remove the grill and the speaker itself, then route the lock’s power cord down through the opening.

The Navigator Lock fits neatly underneath the RT’s nose piece.
The Navigator Lock fits neatly underneath the RT’s nose piece.

To source power and the bike’s central locking system, the side panel must come off. If you haven’t removed the side panel before, look up the procedure in your owner’s manual. Do it wrong and you may snap off the side panel’s fragile mounting tabs. After removing the screws from the panel’s inner side, gently pull the panel outward until the male pins pull out from the female rubber mounts — and no farther. Next, gently push the panel in a 10 o’clock direction (looking at the bike from the right side) to separate the tabs from their slots on the adjoining panel. When routing the lock’s power cord down the side, don’t be confused by the bars in the drawing, which are Wunderlich tip-over protection.

Wunderlich Navigator Lock secures the GPS on 2014 and newer BMW R 1200/1250 RT motorcycles
Plug-and-play wiring piggybacks off the right fairing pocket lock actuator.

Disconnect the OEM plug as shown, then insert the two connectors into the two mating plugs from the Wunderlich wire harness. In the USA, top-of-the-line RT’s with central locking typically also have Sirius satellite radio. The satellite antenna must be removed from its mounting bracket and placed on the frame of the Wunderlich lock on a pre-mounted adhesive pad. I found an old set of feeler gauges were rigid enough to cut through the adhesive and flexible enough to not damage the antenna. You’ll have to remove the OEM antenna bracket, as the Navigator Lock needs to occupy that space. This step wasn’t in the supplied instructions, but it became clear during reassembly that the bracket had to go. Pull up at either end and wiggle it out. Peel off the release paper to expose the new adhesive on the Wunderlich frame and stick on the antenna. Test the Navigator Lock to confirm it works, then button everything back together.

The Wunderlich Navigator Lock works as described, disabling/enabling the RT’s GPS release mechanism using the bike’s central locking feature. For $219.95 and a couple hours in installation time, you get a handy and worthwhile feature that BMW should have provided in the first place.

For more information call (828) 489-3747 or visit wunderlichamerica.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Motul Chain Care Kit

Motul chain care kit

Get everything you need to maintain your street or off-road motorcycle’s chain with Motul’s Chain Care Kit ($33.99). This kit contains everything you need to clean and lubricate your chain: a 9.8-oz. can of Motul C1 chlorine-free Chain Cleaner, a 9.3-oz. can of either Motul C2 on-road (sticky) or C3 off-road (non-sticky) chain lubricant, a specially-designed double-sided chain cleaning brush, one pair of nitrile gloves and, of course, a Motul sticker for your garage fridge.

See your dealer or visit motul.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Rent-a-Bike Service from Twisted Road

Twisted Road

Rent one of more than 2,000 privately-owned motorcycles nationwide with Twisted Road, with its all-new website and newly added supplemental insurance options. A rental bike through Twisted Road doesn’t have restricted mileage and is billed as a flat, per-day charge. Both owner and renter are verified via the local DMV, and rentals include $100,000 in free liability protection with the option to increase up to $1 million, as well as up to $25,000 in damage protection.

Email [email protected] or visit twistedroad.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Shoei Transitions Shield for Hornet X2

Shoei transitions shield for Hornet

Now adventure and dual-sport riders can enjoy the convenience of a Transitions photochromic shield, with the CNS-2 Transitions shield for the Shoei Hornet X2 ADV/dual-sport helmet. The CNS-2 shield detects UV light and heat, and automatically and constantly adjusts for the optimum tint to match ambient light conditions. Then when the sun goes down, it transitions back to clear so you won’t have to worry about carrying a spare shield or sunglasses again! 

See your dealer or visit shoei.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com