Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

 

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

The folks at Vintage British Bikes British Bikes asked me to do a guest post for their site.  Of course I agreed to that request. 🙂

Turns out that I was reading a book, “Shooting Star – The Rise and Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry” when the request arrived!  Fortunate happenstance as I do not own a vintage British Bike!

Check out my review of the book HERE!! out my review of the book HERE!!

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WOW there is some truly good news and bad news about the Pirelli Night Dragon MotorcycleWP_20170813_18_39_29_Pro Tires.  So let’s get that out of the way first. 

The good news —- These motorcycle tires handle great!  We rode on them in hot and very hot conditions and never felt any traction issues.  In wet and VERY wet conditions they are the best motorcycle tires I have every rode on, I never once felt any discomfort on wet roads.

The bad news —- We only got a little more than 12,000 miles on these tires before I had to park the motorcycle to get new tires.  I would have hoped that we would have rode over 15K before needing to replace the tires.  

So overall what do I think?  I love the handling and wet road performance.  During our 2017 Motorcycle Vacation almost two-thirds of the trip involved wet roads, rain and torrential downpours. Never once did I feel I needed to worry about slips and slides.  I never was fully confident of the Harley Davidson OEM Dunlop tires in the wet so the Pirelli Night Dragons are a step up. 

ijustwant2ride

The rear Perilli Night Dragon at about 12.5K

I was disappointed with the mileage wear of the tires. But, is that a tradeoff of grip v. wear?  Unfortunately,  with these tires, it really is a tradeoff.  So it comes down to do I buy tires a little more often for a grip that makes me feel safe (at every lean angle)?

For now the answer is yes, I just ordered a new set of Pirelli Night Dragon motorcycle tires.  If I only get another 12K miles maybe I will consider testing another tire. 

If you want to see earlier post on the Pirelli Night Dragon tires….

New motorcycle tires! Trying something different.

Motorcycle Product Review: 5000 Miles on the Night Dragon Motorcycle Tires 

After all that I am giving these motorcycle tires a 4 out of 5 stars!

4 out 5 stars

Ijustwant2ride.com

It all just rolls up into itself, quite neat!

In an earlier post, I discussed and reviewed the Bone Dry Motorcycle Seat Cover, you  This is an update to that initial product review.

We have been using the Bone Dry Motorcycle Seat Cover for over a year.  It has been used not only to keep the seat dry from rain/dew but also to keep the seat from frying our behinds on hot sunny days.

This year during our motorcycle vacation the seat cover got more then it’s fair share of use and abuse.  If you viewed the blog posts of our vacation, you will quickly find out that it rained on us A LOT.  The Bone Dry Seat Cover lived up to its sales’ pitch, if the seat was dry when we put the cover on it was dry when we took it off.

After a year of use I stand by my initial review 100%.  This product is worth your money. It has held its color, stitching is still in good shape and it still keeps the seat of the motorcycle dry. Below is a video of me removing the seat cover after a night of multiple storms

 

custom dynamics logo

Well, I don’t normally do this but, I like their products so much I thought I would pass this along.  Custom Dynamics has a new and much easier to use website.  Something that was long overdue.

If you are not familiar with Custom Dynamics they create lighting replacement and accessories for nearly all cruisers.  I have purchased two of their products so far and I am very happy with both.  I first purchased their LED Turn Signal Inserts (5 Stars from me) and then their Magic Strobe Brake Light Flasher (5 Stars from me) for the tour pak.  I wrote a blog review of the flasher not sure way I did not do one for the turn signals.  You can read my post on the flasher here 

The new Custom Dynamics site is a vast improvement over their old site. Now you can more easily search for products by brand.  I particularly liked their “new products” section and because of that I am now interested in their vent lighting.  SIGH… will this bike ever be finished?!?!

 

This is a solicited product review.  For more reasons then I care to explain, I should have had this product review completed a couple months ago but just now getting it posted.  A video review is at the bottom.

ijustwant2ride.com

Viking Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket by MotorcycleHouse.com

I have been using the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket from MotorcycleHouse.com  for about 2, 3, 4 months.  I have used the jacket in temperatures from 56F to 98F, but I have not been caught in a rain storm as of yet. That last note is a bit of a surprise, with the number of rainy days we have had lately and my propensity for getting caught in the rain.

My unboxing and initial thoughts video on this jacket is available here. You can watch the video below for my full thoughts and comments but here are the major pros and cons for the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket:

Pro

– Comfortable, the armor has not created any “hot spots” during any ride.

– Lots of pockets.

– Good ventilation below 90F.

– Well made, stitching looks like it will hold for years.

Cons

– The built in phone pocket will not hold most phones.

– Ventilation over 90F was poor with jacket zipped up.*

The (*) asterisk regarding the ventilation may be due to the type of motorcycle you ride while wearing this jacket.  In my case I wore the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket primarily while riding my Harley Davidson Ultra Classic.  It may be that the large faring, even with fairing vents open, just could not push enough wind into the vents of the jacket.

When I rode my Harley Davison Heritage Softail on hot days I did notice that there seemed to be more airflow through the jacket, when zipped up.  I am not saying that full fairing riders should avoid the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket; I am saying take into account what you ride when buying any motorcycle jacket.  Also, unzipping the jacket by 50% on those hot days pretty much solved the problem anyway.

As far as the phone pocket on this motorcycle jacket, there are enough other pockets to put your phone that there is no real concern, just that they labeled one for your phone that will not hold a phone.   I had no issues running ear buds from a different interior pocket or an external chest pocket.

All in all the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket is a well-made and functional jacket. I debated myself on the number of stars to award this product with the ventilation concern being the difference between 4 and 5 stars.  But, with that said, the vast majority of people do not ride behind a faring as large as the Ultra Classic.  In the end I decided to go with 5 stars due to the overall build quality of the jacket. If you are looking for a jacket of this type I can recommend you consider the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket.

I think this will be my primary motorcycle riding jacket for quite a while.

5 star