The SBX09 features sturdy steel construction and a durable black crinkle finish. The trailer comes with chrome wheels, an adjustable height coupler, a full diamond plate floorboard, and stone guard.
The winch tilts and levels the trailer for easy loading – even with heavy motorcycles. The LA Chock keeps the motorcycle upright, so the rider only needs to strap down the rear of the motorcycle to secure it.
Baxley’s patented suspension system operates as an independent suspension on each wheel and provides a very smooth ride with excellent tracking characteristics.
The Q5’s front tire is now 2mm taller and 2mm narrower for a more compliant tire with an improved turn-in rate, and the Q5S’s front tire is 7mm shorter for a lighter and more responsive feel. The compound has also been improved to enhance dry grip by changing the polymer to make the tires softer and adding a traction resin.
The Q5 tire starts at $250.22, and the Q5S starts at $219.45.
There’s nothing quite like a good-looking leather motorcycle jacket that suits both the rider and their bike. I’m an everyday motorcyclist who owns a 2012 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, and I live in Florida, where it’s often hot and humid but can get downright chilly in the winter (no, really).
The Joe Rocket Dakota jacket is made of 1.0-1.2mm cowhide with stylish stripes on the shoulders and a relaxed cut. I’m 5-foot-11, 275 lb on a good day, and very wide across the chest (and just about everywhere else). The 3XL Dakota fits me perfectly. I’d go so far as to say the jacket looks so good that it even makes me look good, but I should probably get a second opinion on that.
The Dakota is comfortable to wear both on and off the bike, and it has inside storage pockets and three exterior pockets, so there are more places to stash stuff than I’ve got stuff to stash. The reflective trim on the shoulders isn’t noticeable during the day, but it really pops at night.
I have big hands, and the large brass YKK zipper up front works every time. The smaller zippers elsewhere are a little trickier to use, but that’s more the fault of my Shrek-like fingers than their functionality.
The jacket has pockets for optional shoulder, elbow, and back armor. A full set of CE Level 1 from Joe Rocket costs $54.99. There’s a removable, full-sleeved quilted liner that’s really handy, and even with the armor and liner in the jacket, I don’t feel like the Michelin Man.
Leather jackets like the Dakota with no vents or perforations don’t allow for any airflow, so that’s a drawback. Still, even though I’m a big guy and the Dakota is like a leather exoskeleton, I was surprised at how well it manages heat. Part of it may be attributable to my particular bike. Thanks to its fists-in-the-air apehangers, with the cuffs unzipped I get a nice blast of air right up the sleeve when cruising down the road. Your results may vary.
On the other side of the thermometer, with the quilted liner in, the Dakota does well when it gets cold. I woke up Christmas Eve morning and saw ice in my fountain outside. There was a rare frosty breeze, and as any dedicated biker would do, I geared up and went out for a ride. My hands got a little numb (Hey, Mr. EIC, how ’bout a pair of full-fingered gloves?), and my knees were chilly, so I kept ’em close to the engine. But my core was warm, even at 80 mph. The mandarin-style collar, storm flap under the main zipper, zippered cuffs, and adjustable waist kept the wind out. And local law enforcement was kind enough to ignore me when I sped by (Merry Christmas to me!).
I love this jacket, and I think you will too. Available in S-3XL for $324.99.
The 12eDrive ($829.99) is ideal for kids 3-5 years old with little to no riding experience. It weighs 17 lb and has 12-inch wheels and a 13-inch seat height. The 16eDrive ($1,069.99) is the next step up, for kids 4-8 years old, and features more power, larger 16-inch wheels, a 17-inch seat height, and a weight of 20 lb. Both models have three ride modes for adjusting power output. Both models also charge to 100% in 60 minutes and offer 30-60 minutes of run time.
KTM also has an 18 eDrive and 20 eDrive for older kids up to 12 years old and 115 lb.
The Renegade Canvas Motorcycle Jacket from Gryphon features a lightweight (8.5 oz) 100% cotton canvas outer shell fully lined with abrasion-resistant mesh for overall rugged construction designed for everyday wear.
Plenty of storage is available with the Renegade jacket, including two front external side pockets, hand-warmer pockets, and two front chest pockets. Safety features include removable CE Level 2 elbow, shoulder, and back protection and 3M Scotchlite reflective safety elements.
The collared neck comes with hidden snaps to hold the collar in place, and two connecting belt loops keep the jacket securely in position.
Available in men’s and women’s sizes starting at $229.95 at the Gryphon website.
The Standard Smart Commuter Kover is made of oxford nylon and comes with an attached backpack for quick and easy storage. The toggle lock-and-cord system around the bottom of the cover ensures that it remains securely in place and is easy to remove when you’re ready to hit the road.
The cover is available in Black, Electric Blue, Red, Gray, Khaki, and Purple for $189.99, with an optional license plate window for an additional $25.
We’ve all seen the commercials where the Most Interesting Man in the World says, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” Likewise, Arai doesn’t often release a new helmet, but when it does, it gets it right. More than 70 years of experience went into the development of the new Arai Contour-X.
As we’ve written about in previous reviews and in our “The Why Behind Arai Helmets” feature, Arai maintains a steadfast commitment to building helmet shells with a smooth, strong, round shape. As repeated experience among MotoGP, World Superbike, and other racers has shown, Arai helmets are designed to “glance off” objects, allowing them to maintain sheer integrity, resist deformation, and spread impact energy over the widest possible area. Every exterior feature of an Arai helmet is designed to break away so that the helmet itself will not catch on anything during an impact or slide.
The Contour-X offers excellent protection, comfort, ventilation, and aerodynamics. It features a new Peripherally Belted Complex Laminate Construction (PB-cLc2) shell that’s thinner and lighter thanks to a new fiber material and resin, yet it is just as strong as other Arai shells. The medium-size Contour-X tested here, even with the optional Pro Shade visor and Pinlock anti-fog insert installed, weighs just 3 lb, 9 oz – the same weight as the top-of-the-line Corsair-X.
Like the Regent-X, the Contour-X’s shell flares out 5mm around the opening to make the helmet easier to slide on and off. The bottom of the shell also features Arai’s Hyper Ridge, which improves strength and shock absorption and was reshaped for flatter sides to facilitate easy mounting of a comms system.
Arai helmets have always been a pleasure to wear, and the Contour-X goes even further with a new odor-resistant, brushed-nylon interior that’s removable and washable and features adjustable Facial Contour System (FCS-2) cheek pads that can be released to ease removal during an emergency. Inside, there are speaker pockets and a new neck-roll wire pocket for a comms system. Through short rides, long rides, and repeated donning and doffing, the Contour-X required no break-in and was comfortable at all times.
Ventilation is fantastic. The new system includes a total of seven intakes, all of which can be closed as needed: a 3D Arai logo vent in the forehead, two F1-derived tear-drop intakes on the crown, two brow vents in the faceshield, and a chin vent. There are also six exhausts: one in the spoiler, two on the sides near the back, and three in the neckroll area. Arai says the Contour-X offers better ventilation than the Corsair-X at street speeds, and I concur.
The round shape of Arai helmets helps them slip through the air smoothly, and the new XGR exhaust/spoiler pulls hot air out of the helmet while also enhancing stability and reducing buffeting at speed. I wore the Contour-X on a variety of bikes with and without windscreens, and it remained steady and comfortable.
The Arai Contour-X is a fantastic lid in every respect. It’s available in sizes XS-2XL, and pricing starts at $739.95 for five different solid colors (Blue Frost, Black Frost, Diamond Black, Diamond White, and Light Grey) and $889.95 for two graphic options (Snake Red and Face Fluorescent Yellow).
If you refuse to be deterred by the weather when it comes to winter motorcycle riding (but are perhaps stymied by the tech – or lack thereof – on your small bike), check out this Exhaust Note feature from “Moto Mouth” Moshe K. Levy that originally appeared in Rider‘s February issue.
Sales of small motorcycles have been booming in the U.S. Their low prices, excellent fuel economy, playful aesthetics, and sheer riding pleasure make minibikes irresistible. My 2021 Honda Trail 125 is so addictive that I find myself hopping aboard its spartan solo saddle not just for local chores but for longer weekend trips as well.
However, all that fun eventually collides against the limitations Mother Nature imposes on those of us who suffer cold winters. Normally, on my big bikes, I just plug in my 12-volt electric jacket liner and gloves and keep on going. But on small bikes like the Trail, there simply isn’t enough electrical capacity to run a full suite of heated gear.
Since parking the bike for the season is never a serious consideration for me, I developed a solution that is relatively low cost, readily available, functionally effective, and applicable for virtually any motorcycle with a marginal electrical output.
First, you need some battery-powered heated gear, which is abundant in today’s marketplace. I’ve had excellent luck with Warm & Safe’s Long Sleeve Heat Layer Shirt, which is powered by a 7.4V, 7.8Ah lithium-ion battery. For gloves, I like Klim’s battery-powered Hardanger HTDs, which operate on 7.4V, 2Ah lithium-polymer batteries. Both products feature multiple heat levels that allow the rider to adjust temperature as necessary, and they have held up well over multiple seasons of abuse.
Indeed, heated gear is the only thing permitting your faithful, winter-hating Mediterranean columnist to survive arctic riding – at least until the batteries deplete! And therein lies the rub: To stay out all day in the cold, we need continuous power. Here’s how to get it.
First, we need spare batteries for all the heated gear we use. Manufacturers generally offer spares, as does Amazon. Always try to get at least as high an Ah (amp-hour) rating as the original battery – preferably higher. The higher the Ah rating, all else equal, the more run time you will get.
Next, we need to keep these spares continuously charging so they can be swapped in when the original batteries run down. We can accomplish this with a basic square-wave DC-AC inverter and a wiring harness to connect the inverter to the bike’s battery.
My typical setup inside my Trail’s top box is shown in the photo below:
1. Sinloon waterproof cigarette lighter harness, available on Amazon for $9.99, which connects directly to the motorcycle’s battery
2. BMK 200W square-wave DC-AC inverter, available on Amazon for $25.99, which plugs into the Sinloon harness and converts the 12V DC from the bike’s battery to 120V AC
3. AC-DC battery chargers, included with the heated gear and plugged directly into the inverter, which convert the 120V AC output back to 8.4V DC to charge the spares
4. Spare lithium-ion battery for my W&S Heat Layer Shirt
5. Spare lithium-polymer batteries used in my Klim heated gloves
Both the harness and inverter are generic, and it really doesn’t matter which brands you use. (Some riders might already have the wiring harness in place, e.g., for a Battery Tender.)
Everything is secured in my Trail’s top case so things don’t shake around too much. All I need to do is flip the inverter to “on” to continuously charge the spare batteries while riding. Yes, it’s inefficient to convert power from the bike’s 12V DC to 120V AC and then back to heated gear’s 8.4V DC charging voltage, but this setup gets the job done with common, inexpensive components and requires no fancy wiring.
Total draw on this setup is only about 32 watts, including inverter losses. That’s only about one-third of the draw of my 12V DC Warm & Safe jacket liner, so minibikes and even many older bikes with limited electrical capacity should be able to handle this load with ease. Mission accomplished!
Depending on the ambient temperatures and settings of the heated gear, I typically pull over every one to four hours to swap the dead batteries for freshly charged ones, allowing me to stay out all day in the cold – long after most other riders have parked for the season. For a true addict, there is no other choice!
Seeking relief from some of the strains of adventure bike riding, I thought I would test out one of the HeliBars Tour Performance Handlebar Risers. The riser positions the handlebar 2 inches higher and 2 inches closer to the rider, significantly altering the handlebar-seat-footpegs rider triangle.
The handlebar position on many adventure bikes is well-placed for both sitting and standing while cruising backroads and maneuvering through technical off-road areas. Even on pavement, I find it helpful to stand up when riding through small towns to give my derriere a chance to get some blood back into it.
On my 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America, with my 31-inch inseam, when standing on the pegs the stock handlebar position requires me to bend my knees slightly or stoop over a bit, which puts strain on my lower back. This riding position can become tiresome and uncomfortable after riding off-road over rough terrain. After an hour or so, my legs get pretty knackered.
Enter the the HeliBars Tour Performance Handlebar Riser. Installation of the HeliBars riser is straightforward. Remove the stock handlebar, release some of the tie straps that secure brake lines and wires to the handlebar, reposition the lines behind the handlebar mount, and then install the HeliBars riser atop the stock handlebar mount. After that, simply re-install the stock handlebar on the new riser using bolts provided by HeliBars and torque them to appropriate spec. Nothing needs to be removed from the handlebar, and all stock lines are retained.
On a recent ride in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, I put the riser to the test on the Santa Ana Divide Trail. It was fairly rutted with several rockslides and water crossings that required frequent standing. The HeliBars riser not only provided a more comfortable position but also helped with controlling the Pan Am and its significant heft. While I previously would have preferred to sit down for most of the ride, I found it equally comfortable to stand up for long stretches of deep sand and rutted two-track.
During long stints in the saddle, the new riser minimizes tension in my arms and shoulders, reducing fatigue and some of those post-ride aches and pains that are familiar to all of us. One downside to the new handlebar position is that it might block part of your view of the TFT dashboard depending on your height. For example, I now must lean forward a bit to see the clock since it’s located in the lower left corner of the screen.
HeliBars Tour Performance Handlebar Risers are machined from a single piece of 6061 T6 aluminum with nice craftsmanship, and their solid design reduces flex. They are functional, stylish, and manufactured on American soil in Cornish, Maine. The riser for the Harley Pan Am is priced at $199 – or $209 with the optional RAM ball mount. HeliBars also makes risers and replacement handlebars for a wide variety of other motorcycles. For more information, visit the HeliBars website.
Whitewall tires like those offered by companies like Shinko were not the first thing that came to mind when I considered new tires for my 2011 Harley-Davidson Blackline. Normally I look for a black set that balances the line between cheap and reliable, but the whitewalls pulled me in like a tractor beam, so I thought I would give them a shot.
Most of the riding I do is cruising around rural roads in western Minnesota, and these new tires required a test that only our fair state could offer. Cold winters and hot summers are tough on our roads, creating plenty of bumps and potholes for riders to evade.
When the Shinko White Wall SR777 tires arrived, since it was my first time with whitewalls, it came as a shock to find that the white was actually a vibrant blue. Turns out the “blue” was a thin layer of soapy material that protects the whitewalls during shipping. My set was installed by Motoprimo Motorsports, and they cleaned the tires before installation.
The install was just in time for a three-day, 1,000-mile ride up through the center of Minnesota, from Minneapolis to International Falls. Conditions included rain and mist, temperatures of 50-85 degrees, and even a few gravel farm roads. The tires delivered a comfortable ride and provided much-needed confidence that I didn’t know I was missing. Cornering felt smooth – as did swerving, especially when evading road obstructions and the occasional deer. The tires dealt with the distressed roads well, dampening the worst of the bumps and buckled asphalt. Wet roads did not have a negative effect on grip, though I didn’t feel the need to push that threshold too much.
When new, the white on the tires is bright, and it stayed that way for the duration of my trip, which was surprising considering the dust and debris that accumulated on them. Though the tires require a little more maintenance to keep clean, it is well worth it if you want your bike to stand out amongst the common rabble.
Shinko tires are designed in Japan, manufactured in South Korea, and distributed by Western Power Sports. Shinko constructs a range of street, off-road, dual-sport, and scooter tires. SR777 cruiser tires are available in White Wall and Black Wall versions in a wide range of sizes starting at $96.95 for front tires and $156.95 for rears.
They feature an aramid belt, and a Heavy Duty version with a reinforced carcass is also available. For riders who want a stylish, sturdy, and comfortable tire, they’re a good choice.