Wondering what to get your favorite Motorcyclist for the holidays? Here are some suggestions!
Some motorcycles are equipped with an instrument cluster to rival many cars. Mine and others, however, are rather bare-bones with just a speedometer, odometer, neutral light and turn signals...and NO clock. It is really difficult, not to say dangerous, to check your watch at 70 mph. I like to keep my hands on the grips and eyes on the road.
There are lots of clocks available for bikes. Some attach to the handlebars and others like mine (above) attach with adhesive to the tank. Much better to take a quick look at the tank than try to decipher the watch on my wrist.
If your fave biker rides barehanded, then it is time to get her some gloves. Motorcycle gloves will help protect her hands in a crash and help with hand fatigue and pain. With the current materials, she won't lose any of the feedback from the handlebars.
Motorcycle gloves are available in a wide range of styles for different types of riding. Prices range from a low end (and not very protective) of about $15 and can hit as high as $450. More cost, more protection but even the modest priced gloves are better than riding barehanded.
Many textile and leather motorcycle jackets come with armor inserts for the shoulder, elbow and back. The standards for armor testing and certification, set in the European Community, carry a Œ label.
If you favorite rider has a jacket, it is likely that his elbows and shoulder protectors are Œ certified, but the back pad is likely piece of closed cell foam with little protective character.
Get him a Œ certified replacement pad that will fit in the pocket on the inside back panel. The Forcefield Sport Lite back protector (above) is on my holiday list this year. The Sport Lite is available in a number of shapes and sizes to fit the pocket on many of the brands of jackets out there.
Every rider needs a compact tool kit to take along on rides. I particularly like the kits by CruzTools. They assemble a variety of kits for various bikes.
One thing to remember is that most bikes today are metric and require a metric tool kit. If she rides a BMW, there are kits specially assembled to include tools specific to BMW bikes. If the bike's a Harley, then he needs a kit with tools for English fasteners (often called an HD kit). Whatever kit the rider needs, it will definitely come in handy one day.
Fork Bag/Tool Bag
An ideal place to carry that tool kit is in a Fork Bag. Often called a tool bag, a fork bag attaches to the motorcycle's front forks. It is a convenient place to carry such things as sun glasses, iPhone charging cables, a tire pressure gauge and, yes, a tool kit. There are many different small bags that attach to the bike in various places. I chose a fork bag. Handy and fast to access, this was the first accessory that I purchased.
Another indispensable accessory is a battery charger/tender. A great device to keep the motorcycle battery in peak condition at all times. I hook mine up after every ride and over the entire winter. It guarantees a start every time. It is also handy if you until run your battery is dead. It will charge a dead battery overnight.
We motorcyclists fear theft even more than we fear a crash. Well maybe not quite, but close.
Most motorcycles come with a very weak fork lock that locks the handlebars in the full left position. This is very easily defeated, and then your bike is gone.
One solution to help deter theft is a disc lock that slips over the brake disc and utilizes a shaft to secure the lock to the disc. A thief cannot roll the bike away without removing the lock.
If you store your bike in a garage, the standard disc lock will probably be enough security. If you store the bike outside or off premises, then an alarmed disc lock will more likely deter theft. A quality standard disc lock will cost around $50, with an alarmed lock running from about $70 to $150. Not a bad price to safe guard that multi-thousand dollar investment.
I came of age in the late 60s and early 70s when my daily diet of music included Bob Seger, the MC5, Jimi Hendrix and other greats of Rock and Roll. I never wore ear protection while listening. Add a half career of working in loud factories, you might guess that my hearing suffered damage and I have constant ringing in my ears.
Hearing damage is time-based, cumulative and permanent. Normal conversation is 60 db, and noise as low as 85 db can cause damage.
Wind noise is also a problem. Even with a full-face helmet, wind noise levels can reach near 100 decibels. An open face helmet, half helmet or no helmet just exacerbates things.
Experts recommend that riders wear ear protection rated to cut noise by at least 30 db. The ear protection I use are E-A-Rsoft Yellow Neons Ear Plugs (above) from 3M. These plugs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 33 db, and they are easy to use. Contrary to popular belief, you can still hear the traffic around you, sirens, and conversations without problems.
A box of 200 individually wrapped pairs (which I hang on the garage wall) runs under $16.
Click on the photos to link to the products suggested here.
© Tim Marks 2015 All rights reserved