Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

xmas 17

Are you struggling to think of an idea for a gift for your motorcycle riding friends and family? Well here are 9 ideas for you to consider some are classics that I have recommend in the past and some are new for this year.x1

9) Got a Harley Davidson fan, try a framed set of Harley Patents. Something to spruce up the garage, apartment or basement.

8) A branded hat. Not sure what kind of motorcycle they ride? Peak in the garage and then find a hat that is the same brand.

x27) BugSlide all in one cleaner, polish and bug remover. I discovered this stuff about 2 years ago. I think it is awesome sauce between major bike baths.

6) 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.

5) 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.

4) New gloves. I seem to wear out riding gloves every 18 months or so. I also go through many because they are not as comfortable after a few hours as I thought. Give a new pair of gloves to your rider, I bet they will like the thought.

3) Kevlar lined pants, shirts or jackets. Can get pricy but, your motorcycle rider will love you for it.

2) Custom Dynamic Motorcycle Lights. They make super bright, eye catching lighting for WP_20150617_19_22_10_Proa lot of different types of motorcycle. I have several sets on my bike. Take a look at their ProBeam LED Motorcycle Turn Signals, I can’t recommend this product enough.

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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Representatives of Viking Cycle reached out to me and asked if I were willing to perform a review of one of their products. I asked them if they were willing to take the review that the product deserved would they still be interested? The answer to that question was yes so here you go, a review of one of their motorcycle gloves!

The Viking Cycle Tactical Half Finger Textile Motorcycle Gloves are, in my opinion, pretty darn nice even if the name is crazy long. I have never used fingerless gloves so I was pleasantly surprised how well they felt. And the fact that you can fasten your helmet with gloves on was a cool bonus.

I have used these gloves while riding my motorcycle this past summer at times when the temperature was over 100F and in the rain. The ventilation of the gloves was excellent, at no time did I think of how hot my hands were, which if you are not thinking about something like this means it is working. Nor did the die leak out of the gloves due to sweat or rain.z2

The little air vents on the fingers forced air into and under the armored knuckles. The armor feels substantial and while I did not have an occasion to test their ability to protect my hand, I think it would do well.

After 500 miles I took a close look at the wear and tear on the Viking Cycle Tactical Half Finger Textile Motorcycle Gloves. The elastic was not stretched out, all the stitching was in good order and there was no undo wear anywhere.

For $20 US, at the 500-mile mark, I must give these gloves 5 stars. They work as advertised and have held up well. I could find no fault in the Viking Cycle Tactical Half Finger Textile Motorcycle Gloves. Once I get somewhere near 1500 miles on these gloves, I will provide you with a long-term review.

5 star

 

Some links to Viking Motorcycle products:

Viking Cycle USA, https://www.vikingcycle.com/collections/womens-motorcycle-jackets)

Viking Cycle UK, https://uk.vikingcycle.com/collections/mens-motorcycle-jackets
Viking Cycle AU, https://au.vikingcycle.com/collections/mens-motorcycle-gloves
Motorcyclehouse UK, https://www.motorcyclehouse.co.uk/leather-motorcycle-jackets-for-men.htm

Motorcyclehouse AU, https://www.motorcyclehouse.com.au/motorcycle-saddlebags-panniers.htm

Viking Bags USA, https://www.vikingbags.com/dirt-bike-luggage-bags

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I was recently able to test ride the 2019 Harley Davidson FXDR.  While the styling of this motorcycle does not work for me the performance was ridiculous!

Yes, I know that I am not the target demo for this motorcycle and that is great thing!  Harley has stated that they were going to produce 100 new models in the next 10 years.  The FXDR is one of those new models and the styling is, I think, aimed at folks that don’t ride Harley Davidson and are under 30 years old.  Nothing wrong with that.

Harley states that the 114 cubic inch (18,68cc) Milwaukee V-Twin, the heart of the FXDR, produces 119-foot pounds of torque. Although Harley does not state it officially the FXDR reportedly produced 100 HP. It gets over 40 miles to a gallon with a 4.4-gallon tank.

OK, Acceleration was ….. HOLY KRAP!!!!!!…. The gearing can’t be the standard Harley Softail setup as it was a monster off the line.  While I did not time it officially my calibrated ass would say a sub 3 second 0-60 MPH. If it was in the 2.5-2.7 range I would not be surprised.

Shifting from 1st to 2nd gear with a heavy twist and the motorcycle wants to rip itself from your hands!  Three disc brakes (the front has 4 pistons each) do a great job of taming this beast!

Handling was an area that I thought was going to be poor at best.  With a 240 rear tire I expected to be stood up on any tight turns.  Well, it is not a street bike but, it handles much better than I expected and better then it should.  The route I took for the test ride did not have a lot of twists and turns but it did have a traffic circle with pretty much zero traffic.

With stated lean angles of over 32 degrees for both sides I can attest that even with that big rear tire you can take it all the way down.  With no traffic I rode around the traffic circle getting lower and faster with each pass until I scrapped the left peg.  I did not feel unsteady at any time!

If I was under 30 and looking at power cruisers, I would consider this motorcycle.  Until I realized one thing, no passengers allowed!  Come-on, really, if you are aiming a men under 30 of course they want a spot for the girlfriend, geez.  I would have to replace the tiny trunk with a seat cushion to make it viable.

I am not going to give it a star rating as this motorcycle is way out of my “likes”.  The styling is just not for me, the performance is to much for me (as a daily bike) so it would not be fair.  As I noted above I am not the target of the Harley Davidson FXDR.

boom

The headset that came with my 2014 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic had a short that made it useless.  Because I could no longer hear her, my wife bought me the new “Harley Davidson BOOM Audio Music & Communications Headset”.  Hummm was it realy for me?

I have had the new headset for about a month now and can say that it is better then the one that came with the motorcycle.  The sound quality is better and it stays in place a little better.  The new BOOM headset came with some rubbery parts that were suppose to aid in retention.  They are uncomfortable to me so I am not using them.

The sound for phone calls are good according to the people that I have called.  The GPS lady sounds good and music is good but not great.  Overall I give the new Harley Davidson Headset 4 out 5 Stars.

4 out 5 stars

ijustwant2ride logo

The folks on Mighty Goods asked me to contribute to an article about preparing for a long motorcycle trip.  So I did!

My content is at the bottom of Mighty Goods article:

8 Motorcycle Tourers Share How They Packed and Prepared for the Big Trip

In the article I mention the motorcycle luggage we use for long trip along with tips that have made those longs days on a motorcycle a little more comfortable.

Check it out along with the rest of the Might Goods website.

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crime scene

Is Craigslist safe to buy motorcycles anymore?  Writing this post pains me a little bit, because I literally grew up on Craigslist when it came to motorcycles.  My first bike came from Craigslist – a non-running Kawasaki KZ440 that I pushed home about 2 miles.

After that, I had a litany of buys and sells through Craigslist resulting in dozens of motorcycles over the years.  I lived in San Francisco during this early period, which was really the birthplace of Craigslist itself.  Hence, I knew Craigslist when it was just an innocent kid living in the peaceful loving San Francisco Bay Area.

Then Craigslist grew up (or grew creepy), I am not sure which.

I think part of the downward spiral began when the site truly went national with a specific Craigslist page for every state and city in the country.  In some ways, this probably attracted a criminal element, recognizing that the site could be used for interstate activity.

Another aspect of the downward spiral came with the expanded offerings.  Craigslist began to have personal ads and “for sale” subcategories covering things that really shouldn’t be sold freelance on the internet (weapons, fireworks, etc.).  In other words, Craigslist became the wild west attracting every lunatic trying to make a buck.

craigslistI sold a car a few years back and had a very interesting experience as a result.  It was a holiday weekend, so all banks were closed.  The buyer showed up and only had about 2/3rds of the asking price, although he was dead set on buying the car.  If that was the case, you think he would have come prepared.  Anyways, he said he would go to the Walmart and get the rest.  Unclear what that meant, I followed him to the Walmart where he proceeded to buy 20 or so packs of gum, doing the maximum cash back on each purchase until he had the remainder of the car purchase price.  Relatively innocuous, but strange nonetheless (and a big waste of my time).

At this point in history, there have been dozens if not hundreds of reported incidents related to Craigslist – robberies, kidnaps, and murders.  Local police departments even encourage buyers and sellers to do transactions in their lobbies instead of meeting at a personal residence.  For a while there, I continued to be willing to meet people at a public place like the supermarket or a local bank.  I am a 6 foot tall guy, so I figured what was really going to happen? 

According to some research, the website is linked to over 300 crimes a year.  That isn’t a lot compared to the millions of transactions that occur as a result of Craigslist, but do you really want to be the one person who gets murdered over a $50 motorcycle part?  If you Google, the stories of the crimes are heinous.

Then I heard about a local guy and his son selling a $1,500 dirt bike that were murdered when they showed up to the sale.  That was it for me – the end of my willingness to use Craigslist.  I sell small, shippable parts on eBay now.  I have no intention to sell “Cal” ever, but I guess if I have a bike I want to sell down the line I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Alternatives to Craigslist

·    eBay – Obviously an excellent alternative to Craigslist for small parts and if you plan to ship stuff (no local pickup).  eBay takes a percentage cut of the sale so kind of a downside, but necessary for all the added buyer protection and overhead they have running the site.

·    Amazon – It isn’t just for buying stuff, there are seller subscriptions services that you can pay for and become an Amazon seller.  Not bad if you plan to sell over and over again.

·    Facebook Marketplace – similar to Craigslist, but the universe of people you are selling to are just friends or neighbors.  This still has some risk, but less than every creeper using Craigslist.

·    Letgo – The well-advertised site is similar in terms of security to the Facebook alternative.  Users must have a verified profile – although true creepers will always find a way around that.

Most other alternatives that I am aware of have zero security or safety measures, so I wouldn’t consider them good alternatives.

Conclusion

Is Craigslist safe to buy motorcycles anymore?  Honestly, 99/100 times it is probably fine, but the possibility that it is that 1 time out of 100 means it isn’t worth the risk to me.  I want to be around a long time, wrenching on bikes until my heart is content.  I will find other means to buy and sell parts and bikes.

Author Bio

Chris is a DIY Motorcycle Repair nut (pun intended).  He advocates getting to know your motorcycle and experiencing the rewarding thrill of success that can only come through picking up a wrench and working on your machine.  He is an active blogger on his website HappyWrench.com and an active member of many social media websites.  He began wrenching out of necessity at a young age and has continued to teach himself and others through his research and writing.   He believes anything is possible with a little ambition and patience.

 

 

Not sure how this happened…. But when I was preparing my posts on our trip to Custom Dynamics (Part 1 and Part 2) I noticed that I had never posted my review and installation video of their RINGZ front turn signals. Sooo better late than never I guess.

**** From June 2015****
I have been noticing that a few other bikes turn signals are a lot brighter as runningijustwant2ride lights and turn signals, so I started investigating. Turns out those bright lights are the Custom Dynamics RINGZ turn signal inserts.

The RINGZ are super bright LED inserts which replace the standard bulbs in the turn signals. After checking them out I bought a set for my front signals, with a Harley Davidson Ultra there are no “normal” rear signals for the RINGS to replace.

Easy to follow instructions. Below is a video of how I replaced them on my bike.

WP_20150617_19_22_10_ProAs far as the product review goes….WOW!!! I was a big dummy and forgot to take a before photo but these things are bright. In their white running light mode, they are as bright, it seems, as my passing lamps which are LED as well. I also must point out that riding at night I seem to get a bit greater lighting left and right, not much but some. In turn signal or emergency flasher mode the Custom Dynamic RINGZ are far and away superior to the standard bulbs.

I am going to give the Custom Dynamics RINGZ LED Turn Signals a 5-star review. Super bright and ease of installation make these a must have if your bike supports them.

5 star

******************

As noted above in the Part 1 post I now have their new ProBeam turn signals and those suckers are even brighter then the RINGZ!

 

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I must say this was an unusual request.  Biker Coffee contacted me via Twitter (@ijustwant2ride  @biker_coffee) about doing a taste test of their product.  I told them that I had quite coffee quite a while ago but was willing to get a small group together to do the tasting.  They agreed and this is what happened….

We received two bags of coffee their “Original Blend” and their “Full Throttle Dark Roast”.   A may no longer drink coffee but WOW did this stuff smell GREAT!!!  The taste testers all agreed this coffee smelled awesome.  Biker Coffee could be a kitchen potpourri all by itself!

IMG_20180408_154329517_HDRAs good as it smells the true test was in the test.  Here it was a split decision for the “Original Blend”, some folks thought it was better than Starbucks but no one thought it was worse than Starbucks. The general thought was that it was good to very good but not special.

The Biker Coffee “Full Throttle Dark Roast” was what got everyone talking.  Before tasting I heard comments like “man that looks strong”, “they were not kidding about dark”.  I think folks were a bit intimidated by the strong look and smell.  Everyone tried it straight black for the first taste and they all said they were surprised how good it was!  After a few of them added their cream or cream/sugar I asked how it was then, the first response…. “I am taking what is left in the bag home with me!”

Over all everyone preferred Biker Coffee’s “Full Throttle” to the “Original Blend”.  No one IMG_20180408_160312550_HDRstated anything negative about the taste of either and all loved the smell of both blends.  But, to a person they all preferred the Dark Roast over the original.  While I don’t know if they placed an order, I did notice a couple folks with Biker Coffee’s website on their phones.

Speaking of their website, here is a tidbit that describes what they are about.  What makes Biker Coffee different is that the beans are roasted to order. That means when customers place an online order, the beans are roasted and the flavor-sealed bag is delivered to their doorstep. It also means our coffee is at peak freshness when you open the bag. The robust aroma, accompanied by a rich, bold flavor, will get you ready for whatever the road (or day) brings. Our beans are sourced from free trade, sustainable farms in the mountains of Costa Rica and Guatemala. We add the attitude in the states”.

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So why a 4 star review?  It came down to the enthusiasm folks displayed (in addition to their comments).  The enthusiasm over the “Original Blend” was no better than average (a 3) but as soon as the “Full Throttle” started brewing folks perked up (LOL) all the conversation after that point was about the Dark Roast (enthusiasm level 5).

4 out 5 stars

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I enjoyed Tim Notier’s motorcycle book “Maiden Voyage, The Prequel to The Adventure of a Lifetime.” This book chronicles his and his girlfriend’s (Marisa) first long motorcycle tour/adventure.  A ride that would that would change their lives.

Tim and Marisa started their motorcycle much like many of us with weekend trips around their home.  Of course the travel bug bites and they then expand their scope, this book chronicles their trip to the Rockies where things start to evolve.  By evolve I mean get married, sell everything they own and start a multi-year ride to where ever they are today!

You can tell Tim is very passionate about his story (as well as for Marisa).  His stories are quite relatable as they travel though the deferent National Parks and camp grounds.  If you put a lot of miles down while motorcycle touring you will see yourself in the rain and heat of their story.

There is only one nit to pick with this book and it is not a big one.  I think that, while I really enjoyed the book (enough to pass it on to my wife), a strong editor would only make this a tighter/better book.

I am giving the book 4 out of 5 stars.  You can follow their continuing journey (as of this date they are in Belize) at their website, www.notiersfrontiers.com.

4 out 5 stars

xmas 17Last year I offered a list so this year why not another?

These ideas are only to get you started.  Every rider is different.  These ideas are based on my thoughts from this past year. 

9.  Books about motorcycles – On a cold winters weekend a good book might be the ticket.  Recommendation:

revolutionary rideRevolutionary Ride, the latest book from Lois Pryce, “Revolutionary Ridedocuments her solo motorcycle expedition to and through Iran.  The book vividly recounts her story of finding the truth about the “real” Iran.  I reviewed this book here.

 

8. Motorcycle brake light flasher – Get your rider’s rear end noticed, in a good way, in traffic.  These devices flash your break lights for a few moments when ever your touch your brakes, giving the cars behind you notice you are stopping. Recommendation: 

z3Custom Dynamics Brake Light Flashers is the product that I purchased for my bike.  They make them for more than just Harley’s but not for all bikes.  You can read about my use of the flashers here. Check around for your biker’s make and model.

 z17. Headed Gear – Does your motorcyclist lament cold weather? Then some heated gear might help.  I don’t own any but it is on my personal list!  There are many different companies making heated gear.  Some gear are battery operated while other are plugged into the motorcycle.  At this point it is a personal taste of what to get and how it works. 

z46. Disc Brake Lock – Motorcycle thief is up all over Europe and in parts of the US.  A disc brake lock in and of itself might slow down thieves but as part of a thought out package it might have them moving on to easier targets. Locks come in all colors and shapes some even have load sirens to further deter the bad guys.  

z55. Replacement Gear – Take a look at the gear your rider wear the most, does it need replacement.  Jackets, riding pants, and gloves are all good candidates for checking out and replacing as necessary.

 

z64.  Motorcycle Art or Household Items – Does your rider have a man cave, or maybe wishes for one?  Well every man cave needs some motorcycle themed items or art. I did a post a while back about a man cave bathroom.

 3. Ride Maps – These are maps made specifically for motorcyclist and showcase all the fun and interesting roads. 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. Recommendation:

          Mad Maps

 2. Helmet – Is your biker’s helmet more than 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. 

1.  Membership in the AMA – That is the American Motorcycle Association not the 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!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