xmas

’tis the season of gift giving for many around the world and if you know an avid motorcyclist I am sure she or he would appreciate a motorcycle themed gift.  Whether under the tree or handed directly as an unwrapped gift, bikers will enjoy gifts aimed at one of their favorite things.

These 9 motorcycle themed gift ideas are just to help get you started, there is so much stuff out there you are sure to find that one item to light up their eyes.

9 – Books on motorcycles.  Make sure that it is a general topic or specific to his or her bike.  My recommendations: stealing speed

          Racing – Stealing Speed: The Biggest Spy Scandal in Motorsport History

          General – American Motorcycle Girls

8 –  New motorcycle riding glasses – Over time even the best glasses will so wear and tear.  Glasses are quite personal so make sure you think the purchase through, maybe even just buy a newer version of what he/she already rides with.  My recommendation:

          Wiley X Air Rage with polarization & eye cavity seal

7 – Motorcycle themed t-shirt – Something to wear around the house. You can get all types of themes; racing, cruising, vintage and just about any make or model motorcycle. My recommendation is one of the hundreds of BRAAPP shirts out there, I like this one (if anyone cares :-)

          USA BRAAAPmaps

6 – Motorcycle Maps – These are maps made specifically for motorcyclist and showcase all the fun and interesting roads.  Most are broken down by region so make sure to get the ones that work for your rider.  Now in the age of computers and GPS why buy a paper based map?  IMHO there is something to be said for looking at a map on a cold, rainy day planning out the next epic ride. My recommendations:

      Mad Maps

5 – Battery Tender – Over the long winter break batteries tend to die.  This motorcycle gift will help your motorcyclist out and make sure the bike is ready to go on the first day of riding season.  I don’t have a recommendation for a specific brand, they are almost all good.  Just get one that comes with the ends that connect to motorcycle batteries.

4 – Tire Repair Kit – Make sure you know if the tire is tubed or tubeless as that will define what you buy. Either way I recommend:

          Stop n Go Tire Repair Kit (this one is the tubeless)

3 – Bluetooth intercom set – This makes it so much easier to talk with your passenger (or other bikes if it so equipped).  There are many versions of these devices out there, shop around as I do not have a particular recommendation.

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Just left the house

2 – Helmet – Is your bikers helmet more then 5 years old?  If so ask some sneaky questions to find out what they like in a helmet.  Full face, modular, open face, there are so many possibilities… maybe a gift certificate for a helmet might be better.  My recommendation (and we own this one):

          Nolan Evo 104

1 – Membership in the AMA – That is the American Motorcycle Association not he medical association (or the version of the AMA in your area).   Membership not only gets you things like emergency towing it gets you a voice in Washington DC.  The AMA is the biggest (but not the only) motorcycle lobbyist group trying to protect your right to ride.  This is, most likely the most important motorcycle gift idea on the list!

           American Motorcycle Association Motorcycle, motorcycling, Harley, Harley Davidson, café racer, café motorcycle, motorcycle safety, motorcycle advocacy, congress, Motorcycle Ride, motorcycle riding, hog, hd, custom motorcycle, harley owners group

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So why 9?  Because everyone does 10 and 11 is too much work.

First of all this list is not for one of those around the globe motorcycle adventure trips.  I will not be mentioning things like lion repellant, spare tires or satellite phones.  These tips are more for that multi-day to couple week trips via normal roads/interstates motorcycle trips.

These tips are primarily based on our own experiences and may or may not be fully applicable to you.  However, Debbie and I are not any different then you guys so I hope that the tips get you to at least think about a particular item.

9.  Carry a few tools.  Yes, this is dependent on the type of motorcycle you ride.  A sport bike is not going to carry as much as a touring bike.  At a minimum get a multi-tool that is appropriate to your bike.  By that I mean, if your multi-tool has a hex tool but your bike has Torx screws, it is not going to be of much use.   Here is what I carry on the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited:

Multi-tool that came with the motorcycle, which turns out is quite limited based on our summer 2015 trip.

Mini screwdriver and ratchet sets with Torx, hex and standard bits in the sizes I need for my motorcycle.

Stop n Go tire Repair kit.

8. The weather is going to change, be prepared.  No matter what you think is going to happen, plan on getting wet or cold or both.  Again what you can carry is dependent on the motorcycle you ride.  At a minimum you should carry rain gear.  You need to stop and put on the rain gear as soon as you know that it is not a tiny little shower, especially if you are in the mountains.  It sucks to put on your rain gear after you are soaking and then the temp drops.b1

7. ATGATT  All The Gear All The Time – Every time I see or hear this I can’t help but think of the green Martians from the cult classic movie “Mars Attacks” (ack ack).  But what it should mean is good boots, motorcycle pants and jackets that are armored and abrasion resistant and a full face helmet.  I know that I do not do this all the time myself, it is something that we all know we should do!

6. Start Early End Early – This one is more from personal experiences with longer motorcycle trips.  After so many years in the army I still wake up early.  Because of that I get on the road early and, depending on where you are riding, that can get us out before traffic gets heavy.  It also allows you to beat the heat in the summer months, for a while anyway.  By ending early you have time to get your motorcycle unloaded and prepared for the next day, give you time for a shower and a bit of rest before dinner.  I like to be kickstand up no later than 7AM and stopped for the evening no later than 5PM.  This also helps with any bickering or sniping with your passenger because you are both tired or hot or cold.

5. Get in a Routine – Load and unload your motorcycle the same way in the same order.  Do your post ride checks in the same way at the same time (after diner). A routine of this nature will help ensure you do not forget anything while loading and unloading.  It will help to ensure that you perform your ride checks and preparation.b4

4. Inspect your bike at night – As part of your routine, do your T-CLOCS before you close down for the evening.  Wipe down the grime on your windshield/faring and if you have room to carry one, cover your bike.  Performing these activities on your motorcycle each night, I like to do mine after dinner, will allow you to be on the road little quicker in each morning. Do it in the evening or in the morning, but on all long motorcycle trips you need to do it every day.  Things become loose or need attention, better to find out when you are parked.

3. Snack Smart – Eating a big turkey leg at noon and then riding on the interstate might cause you get a bit sleepy.  Snack smart is just a tip to make sure that you can operate your motorcycle in the best manner possible.  Drinking soda or coffee might not be the best option over water or a sports drink on those days where heat might be a concern.  If you are on one of those rides where you only stop for gas consider adding a cup holder or hydration pack to your ride kit. Additionally, consider what you eat, would a banana be better for your riding or do you really, really want that turkey leg!!!

2. Tweak don’t Twerk –  Move around on the seat to stay comfortable and avoid saddle sores on a long motorcycle trip.  This is easy on a touring bike, with larger seats, highway pegs and large footboards the touring motorcyclist has it easy over the sport bike riders.  But, either way, you have to remain a comfortable as possible.  If you plan on lots of long distance riding, look into getting a seat that really fits your seat.

1. Stop and smell the roses! – Yes we all know we need frequent breaks but, if your breaks are only gas stations you are likely missing out.  If you see something that peaks your interest check it out!  Even if you have to turn around and go back to get the picture with the giant roller skate do it.  You might never know what you are missing…. maybe dinosaurs! b-2

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Premiering tonight at 9PM EST on The Esquire Network (formerly Spike TV) is the latest entry into Motorcycle TV “Wrench Against the Machine”.

According to Esquire’s web site Wrench Against the Machine is:

“The country’s most prestigious motorcycle builders put their reputations on the line in the ultimate test of creativity and craftsmanship. Each episode pits two teams in a head-to-head battle, with only three days and $3,000 to transform basic stock motorcycles into rowdy, riding, works of art.”

So from my POV an updated, bearded, DIY, “Biker Build Off” mashup with “Junk Yard Wars” or “Trading Spaces”.  This motorcycle TV sounds interesting to me so I hope to see it in the future.

Now, I do not get The Esquire Network as part of the “packages” on my TV provider but I am hoping that it will be part of the providers “On-Demand” offering.  Check out the “sneak peek” video below.

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Motorcycles are one of the most sought after vehicles, not only for those great people that want to purchase one of their own to ride and enjoy, but also for those that lean towards the darker side of life and seek bikes out to steal. Yes, motorcycles are a huge commodity for thieves and other unscrupulous souls who enjoy taking what they can get and making a profit off it even when it does not belong to them. As a legal bike owner, there are a few things you may want to consider to keep your bike safe from thieves and ready for you to ride when you need to unwind with a little solitude down a long and winding road.

The summer months between July and September are the months with the highest risk for bike theft while the months between November and March have the least risk. This means that right now is the perfect time of year to get your bike geared up for the upcoming spring and summertime. If you live in states including California, Texas or Florida, you may benefit from knowing that these states have the highest risk of theft in the U.S. for motorcycles and being diligent when it comes to security is a wise decision to make. When you own a great motorcycle, keeping it safe should be a top priority.

Averting Bike Theft

There are numerous ways to avert bike theft and help keep your motorcycle safe and sound from thieves. A few of these ideas for security include:

  • Install an alarm
  • Lock the ignition
  • Lock the motorcycle to a building
  • Keep the bike in a locked garage
  • Install a remote engine kill switch

Something that many bikers try is to have large chains to hold the bike in place securely. While this is something that may cause thieves think twice before they approach a bike they may be attempting to steal, it also makes it a bit arduous for the bike owner to have to carry around a large, and usually heavy, chain or to find somewhere to store it when parking in public. Another drawback to a large chain is that on many bikes, chains simply will not fit on a modern bike in any area that would prevent theft. So, if a bulky chain is out of the question, what type of locks work the best when trying to prevent motorcycle theft?

Locks That Work

Bulky chains aside, there are a few great locks that work well when you need to keep the bike safe whether it is parked at home or in the middle of a crowded parking lot. Here are just a few of the better locks available on the market today:

Ground Anchors with Locks

The Immobiliser Self Fit Defiant Ground Anchor, made in Britain by Almax Security Chains, attaches into concrete or brick and has a 15 ton pull resistance. It is a very solid anchor system and with its roller construction it is impenetrable to hacksaws and other common tools that thieves will try to use.

Disc Locks

Disc Locks have been found to be an exceptional way to keep a bike locked safely to prevent theft. One great disc lock, the Xena XX15 Disc Lock produced by Revzilla, includes a maximum security barrel and key, a double locking system and an alarm that is triggered by motion and shock to produce a very loud, piercing squeal that is sure to garner a great deal of attention.

Standard Locks

While large, bulky chains may be out of the but Kryptonite, an action sports security supplier, manufactures locks and chains that are secure, simple to use and easy to carry when riding. With a simple lock and key, you can chain your bike to a post or wall with an anchor where the bike will be safe while you are away.

Home Security for Bikes

A great deal of bikers think about keeping their bikes safe when they are traveling or when they need to park for an extended time, but some fail to consider the one place that needs to be secure. Your home. Whether your motorcycle is parked in the driveway, on the street in front of the house or even safely tucked away in the garage, security should be a top concern, especially at home.

Thieves will watch a home to see what your habits are. They will learn when you leave the house, when you return and even what time the lights go out which signals to them that you have retired for the night. Hiring a top notch security firm to come out and install security cameras on your property is the perfect way to deter a thief because when they see a camera, they know they will risk being caught by the police if they steal the bike. If the bike is garaged, having an alarm installed is a good idea to prevent break-ins and to keep the bike safe while indoors. Having adequate home security when you own a motorcycle, whether the bike is valued at $5000 or $50,000, is the best way to keep your bike as well as you and your family, safe from thieves and other crime.

*** Neither Jason or IJUSTWANT2RIDE are endorsing any of the mentioned products.  The intent of this article is to give you ideas on products that you should research for yourself. ***

Jason Mueller is an entrepreneur living in Costa Rica with family from Canada.  After graduating from high school and getting his pilot’s licence he lived to travel the world looking for adventure.  He is currently working with A-1 Auto and is the owner of Jaco Ropes.

Jason has also provided two additional guest posts to this blog.  Shipping Your Bike Overseas? Things to consider!  and Motorcycle Riding in Paradise; Costa Rica.  Check them out when you have some time!

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Hey DawgHouse Motorcycle News, Rants & Racing listeners (and IJUSTWANT2RIDE blog folks)  K&N Filters has a special offer for you!
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The DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio…The #1 Motorcycle Show in the US

This week Ken completes his list of the top 11 motorcycle makers (by sheer number produced).  I was surprised that Royal Enfield was not one of those eleven!

Next we discuss the maybe, possible resurrection of Birmingham Small Arms, better known as BSA.  BSA started in the 1860s making guns  and then added bicycles, then motorcycles and at one time made cars, buses, tools among a long list of things.

The BSA brand was bought by the Indian company Mahindra and it is our hope that we might see BSA motorcycles on the road sometime in the not to distance future.

Next up is a review of the results of World Superbike, Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP racing.

You can listen to the show HERE!

 

 

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E15 can kill your motorcycle

If you listen to the DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio podcast you know that I have some strong views on motorcycles and the EPA. Most recently it has been the forced use of E15 fuel in the face of facts.  E15 will destroy your small engine devices (i.e. lawn mowers, golf carts, weed whackers, etc.) and the engine on your motorcycle.

This is a proven fact, do a little research and you will see for yourself that our motorcycles could be intentionally damaged in the fight against global warming.  The destruction of internal combustion engines are but a small sacrifice, fodder if you will, in the noble war.

If you think that “I have a new motorcycle, it is under warranty, no problem.” think again.  Most. if not all, companies specifically exempt damage from ethanol from the warranty.  “No problem” you say, I will be careful not to use anything above E10!  Well not so fast buddy, the EPA has, intentionally I believe, approved the use of “blender pumps”.

Blender pumps are those that use a single hose/nozzle to dispense all the fuel sold at that pump.  With blender pumps it is possible to have a quart or more of whatever the person before you purchased in the hose.  If that person bought E15 or, worst yet, pure ethanol for their flex fuel car or truck you get that bonus too.  So if you have topping off your 4 gallon tank before a big ride…… you just might be invalidating your warranty and damaging your engine.

So what is driving tonight’s rant?  One of my local gas stations just installed new pumps and now sells E15 and pure ethanol.  Lucky for me it is not a blended pump (I hope) and each type of fuel has it own hose BUT the fact it is there is a danger.

So what can you do… Join the AMA, they do not win all the time but they are our best hope to influence what is going on.

 

 

 

wp_20161015_09_51_15_proA few months ago I bought Pirelli Night Dragons for the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited.  We have run these tires all summer, just over 5000 miles.  They have been run through the mountains (including the Tail of the Dragon), in the rain and the hot concreate of the interstate highways in mid-summer.  So how did they fair to date?

Very nicely, is how they performed!  In the mountains I could feel the grip as we rolled though the twisties. On the rainy days I never felt that we had any slippage and the high temps never seem a problem either.  In comparison to the Harley Davison OEM tires I can already state I prefer the Pirelli’s.  That preference is not due to the grip in the mountains but due to their performance in the wet. I truly felt more in control in wet conditions with the Night Dragon’s v. the OEM tires.

So far, tire wear seems to be on par with the OEM, but with only about 5000 miles on the tires it is a bit early to tell.  At about 10,000 miles I will have a better handle on this particular issue.

Soooooo, I cannot give these tires a grade yet and most likely won’t until it is time to replace them.  But, I can say if you are not comfortable with the wet weather performance of the OEM tire you can truly consider the Night Dragons.

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The DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio…The #1 Motorcycle Show in the USf

This week on DawgHouse Motorcycle News Rants & Racing show #383

10 Awesome roads to ride from around the world!  These are not the normal rehashed and rehashed set of roads (well mostly).  The #4 road on the list is the Iroha-Zaka in Japan which looks just unbelievable. Check out this map view of the road….d1

In an earlier show (DawgHouse 373) I discussed the possibility that motorcycles may not be allowed on the road as to dangerous to the riders. The framework that is working in Europe now is called “Vision Zero”, the Zero is for zero deaths.

Ken now has to admit I might be right!  Recently the US government has introduced a discussion of a version of Vision Zero and guess what was left out of that discussion…. MOTORCYCLES!  The AMA is worried that the reason the Federal Government left out motorcycles from it future planning is that they want to ban motorcycles.

In racing news…. MotoAmerica’s 2017 season schedule is out and there are some new tracks!!!! They have added Pittsburgh International Race Complex and Sonoma Raceway (and Ken again has to admit Warren was right). AND… Phil likes the change!!!!