Weekly Deals Round-Up

Every week (approximately) we search the interwebs to find the best deals on motorcycle clothing, gear, equipment, accessories and parts. This week brings 25% off the Shark Race-R Pro Redding replica helmet, 43% of the Dainse D-Dry Jacket and nearly a third off Rev’it! RSR Gloves.

Deal of the Week:

Jackets

Helmets

Boots

Other Gear

Riding Your Motorcycle at Night and How to Stay Safe

As motorcyclists we already get the rough end of the stick when it comes to being seen by other motorists during the day. But when the sun goes down things get even worse with reduced visibility, more tired and drunk drivers on the road and those suffering with night blindness having to be contended with. So how can ride your motorcycle at night and stay safe despite the fact you’ve got one less headlight and are a heck of a lot smaller than a car?

Be Seen

Black looks good, hence why the most popular colored motorcycle gear is black by a huge margin. Bikes with a black color scheme are also among the most popular. What’s also black? Nighttime is black, which means being head to toe in black leather when riding at night is the equivalent of wearing camouflage in the jungle.

If you’re determined to don black clothing, make sure that it has reflective patches on it – preferably on the chest, elbows and back that will illuminate when light is shone on it. For your bike, get some reflective rim tape on the wheels.

But also be creative. Shark Helmets recently released the SKWAL, a standard looking helmet that contains green LED lights both front and rear to improve visibility. Japanese motorcycle gear firm RS Taichi has a number of innovative products including backpacks and shoulder bags that contain lights which will provide a further light source to bring other drivers attentions too.

Assume You Are Invisible

While you should assume you haven’t been seen both day and night, it’s during the evening that it’s far more likely to be true, especially when at even moderate distances the only thing that someone will see at night are headlights. Because you have just one headlight, it’s not difficult to see how your bike’s visibility can just merge into the car behind you – causing a potential accident when someone pulls out too soon.

In most developed countries, accidents occur twice as often in the night as they do during the day. Additionally, night blindness becomes a factor as well as the fact that because visibility is reduced in the dark, reaction distances are far worse. It is also the time of day when both tired and drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road.

For these reasons, approach every intersection with caution. You should be covering your front brake lever religiously and your lane positioning also becomes critical.

Riding Your Motorcycle at Night and How to Stay Safe

Be Noticed

One of the best strategies to be visible while riding at night is to be a little unorthodox. By that we mean do things that will hopefully get drivers attentions. When slowing down, ensure you’re doing so by braking rather than engine braking and coasting, otherwise your break light won’t come on. Feel free to ‘flash’ your brake lights too by pulsing the lever quickly and repeatedly just enough to activate them before you begin your breaking procedure.

Do so similarly with your turn signals. Ensure you indicate your turning intentions nice and early to give drivers behind plenty of warning that not only are you turning but you’ll probably need to slow down to do so.

Don’t be afraid to move around your bike either. Many riders will stand up when braking at night just so they can catch the attention of those behind them. Casually weaving your bike inside the lane is another way to attract an otherwise inattentive motorist.

Riding Your Motorcycle at Night and How to Stay Safe

See For Yourself

Like riding during daylight hours, your safest defense is seeing what dangers are around you. And to do that night you need your headlight to guide the way. It’s critical that your headlight is pointing where it should.

Just because you’ve bought a new bike doesn’t mean that your headlight won’t need adjusting. Given everyone weighs a different amount, plus the added mass of luggage you may be carrying, your headlight will need adjustment to suit you. Your low beam should be angled so that it lights up just in front of your bike and towards the horizon, while high beams should be illuminating the road from a distance of about 30 meters (100 feet) and beyond.

Consider also replacing your bulbs with brighter ones – although keep in mind that if you’re going to dazzle oncoming traffic you create a danger not only for them but for yourself. Keep within the law and follow common sense.

Riding Your Motorcycle at Night and How to Stay Safe

News Round-Up: FELINE One Concept, Shark Skwal LED Helmet now Available, VMAX Infrared

FELINE One Concept

Design studio Yakouba has announced that instead of designing bikes for other brands like they usually do, they’re going to release their own motorcycle, called the Feline One. Interesting name, do go on…

Feline Motorcycles describe it as a “high-tech deluxe motorcycle, delivering a new vision of the motorbike. Its unique look creates an immediate impact with its unusual sensual panther style”. Their actual words, not mine.

It’s powered by a 801cc triple (given Yakouba’s previous dealings with MV Agusta we’re assuming it’s their engine), has a claimed dry weight of 155kg and pumps out 170bhp. Yakouba further describe the machine as being sharpened and expressing a fascination for speed and freedom of movement. Also, it’s unique and remarkable features make it a great candidate for Hollywood movie productions – something most motorcycles just don’t offer.

So, how much for the Feline One? Well, initially only 50 of them will be built and will be priced at around $280,000. Bargain! We forecast the FELINE One will be a runaway success and will probably feature at some stage in a Michael Bay film, like all quality things do. Alternatively, if you’re really after some ‘sensual panther’ action, get some Sex Panther cologne and save a bit of money.

 

Shark Skwal LED Helmet now Available

French helmet manufacturer Shark likes to mix things up. They’ve begun to use bamboo in the interior of some of their helmets and now they’ve released the Shark Skwal LED helmet – the first (we think) motorcycle helmet to feature integrated LED lights for better safety.

In addition to the battery powered LEDs (which can be turned on or off with the touch of a button), the Skwal also features an inbuilt sun visor plus a pinlock system to reduce fogging of the visor.

Available in a range of colors and designs, the Shark Skwal LED replaces the long running (and very successful) Shark S900 and is priced from £189.99.

Shark Skwal LED Motorcycle Helmet

 

Yamaha VMAX Infrared

Yamaha has announced another 30th anniversary special edition of the VMAX, this time in collaboration with German custom builder JvB-moto. To be called the Infrared,

The Cologne based custom builder is a long-time fan of the VMAX, and credits the machine as one of the sparks that ignited his passion in motorcycles at the age of 15 in 1985. Despite not being available in Germany at the time due, the VMAX has inspired JvB-moto’s Jens vom Brauck to this day, where he has finally had the opportunity to pour that passion into this stunning creation.

JvB-moto’s vision for the VMAX Yard Built special was to transfer the stock VMAX into a radical dragster meets café racer concept, exaggerating the power for all to see. A second key element in the design is a tribute to the 30-year history of the machine, encapsulating elements from the first roll out of the bike in 1985.

Starting at the front end, a custom-made aluminium mudguard sits below a JvB-moto signature style custom carbon fibre headlight unit integrated into the front forks and Motogadget indicators above custom carbon wheel covers. Modified aftermarket clip-on bars add the café racer element and the rider looks down on an authentic American dragster rev counter by Autometer.

A custom carbon tank cover sits over a heavily modified airbox and electrics and is complemented by special air intake scoops crafted from stock aluminium units taken from the original 80’s VMAX.

It’s an absolutely fantastic looking machine and one that many would argue is how the VMAX should actually have looked in the first place. Let’s hope that Yamaha catch on and offer it for sale.

 

5 Of The Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

If you’ve read our article from last week you’ll know that an expensive helmet doesn’t automatically make it a good helmet. But are all 5 star rated helmets created equal? In this article we look at what we think are the five best 5 star rated helmets, both budget and premium. Money might not buy you extra safety in the case of some helmets, but it can buy you comfort, quality and features.

Nitro Aikido – From $139.95

Given its rock bottom price the Nitro Aikido is one helmet that just can’t be ignored. If you want good head protection at the cheapest price then the Nitro Aikido is the helmet for you. And despite the cheap price, the majority of rider feedback is that it’s a decent all around helmet.

Positives:

  • Value for money
  • Comfortable
  • Aerodynamic. Minimal drag when turning the head at higher speeds
  • Misting/Fogging clears up quickly when at speed
  • Removable liner

Negatives:

  • Noisy – earplugs are a must
  • With vents open there is a fair bit of turbulence inside the helmet
  • Average to poor vision. The eye slot is shortened on the ends, cutting off peripheral vision and requiring the rider to turn their head more than other helmets.
  • Pinlock compatible but does not include a Pinlock insert

Nitro Aikido Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

Caberg Vox – From $125

Caberg is a helmet manufacturer you’ve probably never heard of which is a real shame – they have six helmets rated at 5 stars by SHARP and the most expensive is only £145 ($226). The Caberg Vox can actually be purchased at some online retailers for only $125 which actually makes it cheaper than the Nitro Aikido.

Positives:

  • Possibly the cheapest 5 star helmet you can buy
  • Built in sun visor
  • Removable liners

Negatives:

  • Average ventilation
  • Sun visor is prone to fogging
  • Average noise

Caberg Box Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

Shoei Qwest – From $366.99

Even though most helmets all look the same, Shoei somehow just manages to make their lids look that much better.  And while the Shoei Qwest is one of Shoei’s cheaper helmets, it still pretty much has all the features you’d want.

Positives:

  • Very lightweight
  • Very quiet

Negatives:

  • Some fogging of the visor when stationary
  • Venting not as good as the Shark Race R Pro or AGV Corsa

Shoei Qwest Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

Shark Race R – From $599.95

The top of the line helmet from Shark, it combines lightweight materials, race track aerodynamics and minimal wind noise in a highly attractive package. Shark might not have the same brand credentials as Arai or Shoei, but they make helmets just as good.

Positives

  • Minimal wind noise
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Almost as good as the AGV Corsa, but $200 cheaper

Negatives

  • Slight fogging in humid conditions
  • Padding tight around the cheeks

Shark Race R Pro Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

AGV Corsa – From $799.95

The most expensive helmet featured here at a RRP of $799.95, which means for the price you could buy around 6 Caberg Vox’s. But that’s the same as saying you could buy a dozen Toyota Camry’s for the same price as a Porsche 911. You get what you pay for and while the AGV Corsa has the same 5 star safety rating as the other helmets here, it’s leaps and bounds ahead in quality and other features compared to some of them.

Positives:

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-lift rear spoiler (that dislodges in a crash)
  • Expanded eyeport for improved visability

Negatives:

  • Price
  • Better suited to the track than the street

AGV Corsa Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

 

Shark Speed-R Review

The Shark Speed-R isn’t exactly new, having been available for over a year now, but seeing as it’s my current lid of choice and I’ve been using it for around nine months, now is as good a time as any to provide a long term review of it.

For those who are unaware, Shark is a French company who have been designing and manufacturing helmets for 25 years.  While they don’t have the profile of Arai or Shoei, they’re probably one of the more innovative helmet companies around at the moment. Check out their astronaut like Vantime‘urban helmet’ or the crossover Vancore.  Now, I’m not saying those helmets are good, or even practical, but at least they’re different.

What is good about most Shark helmets, including the Speed-R Range is the bang for your buck safety.  Every single Shark helmet, bar one, scores 4 or 5 stars under the Sharp Test program.  Compare that to brands like Arai, Schuberth and Shoei, which can sometimes cost twice as much, yet have helmets rated 2 or 3 stars.

While looks are subjective (except in the case of Rob Pattison, he’s damn ugly), I think the Speed-R is a great looking lid.  It’s got a ‘double blade’ spoiler at the back of the helmet which supposedly creates a Venturi effect, allowing air below and above it to limit fogging (marketing speak).  The available helmet graphics are great too – not too gaudy, with options of solid colors or fairly tasteful designs that don’t scream ‘I’m a wanker.’

A must have in a helmet for me a flip down sun visor, which the Speed-R has.  Unusually though, the mechanism to bring the visor up or down is located on the top of the helmet, rather than on the side near the visor hinge.  There’s also two air vents, one on the top and one at the front.  I can’t say I can really tell the difference when these are open or closed, but air flow overall is excellent – the temperature seems to stay fairly cool in the summer months and not too cold in winter, either.  A removable chin curtain is included with the helmet for those colder days which is a nice touch.

Shark Speed R

So far so positive, any negatives?  Yes, a few.  Firstly, it’s not exactly a quiet helmet.  It’s not the loudest I’ve worn, but it’s up there.  Wearing earplugs solves this problem (which you should do regardless of the helmet), but it’s definitely noticeable.  The helmet is fairly aerodynamic, so my theory on the noise is that Shark has included space on the side of the riders head for both a Shark Tooth (Shark’s Bluetooth solution) and eye glasses – that bit of space is an empty pocket of air that allows turbulence to get in, creating noise.

The other issue is actually more annoying.  The visor, when fully shut, is held in place by what I can best describe as a small pin and the only way to reopen the visor is with sheer brute force.  The only leverage you have is a small piece of plastic protruding from the visor, but with gloves on, it’s incredibly difficult to do.  Textile gloves are OK, but with leather or winter glove and it’s near impossible.  Many times I’ve been stopped at traffic lights and look like I’m having a mild seizure attempting to wrestle the thing open.  Over time, it has loosened slightly, but it could be a deal breaker (many customer reviews have also noted this problem).

Overall though, for the price, the Shark Speed-R is an excellent helmet.  It’s comfortable, it’s safe and it looks good – if only it was a bit quieter.

Available from $399 at Motorcycle Superstore.com.