No one likes cold fingers on a bike. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, hinders fine control and can get painful. It’s also all too easy to underestimate the wind chill factor when travelling fast on a bike. It may be a bearable 5°C outside, but on a 60 mph blast, the wind will chill you down to cool -3°C, which will inevitably give numb fingers after a short while, even with thick gloves.
I’ve written about a number of approaches to tackle the cold hands on a motorbike issue in the past, but here today I have a pair of Oxford Commuter Hot Grips up for review. Intended to replace an old set of failed heated grips on Mary’s Honda, we picked these up as a freebie gift with a Ride magazine subscription last year. Annoyingly they took ages to turn up leaving Mary with cold hands for the first half of the winter, but finally I fitted these last January and they’ve been tested thoroughly since. Continue reading “Oxford Heated Hot Grips For Commuters Review” »
I tend to have a love hate relationship with bus lanes; when you can use them they’re great for filtering past long queues of traffic, but with so many not open to bikes or only active at random times it can be a pain to work out when you can take advantage of them. Especially so when you’re riding an older bike with no clock! Which is exactly the problem with my wife’s Honda CBF500. Not wanting to get caught out with a bus lane fine, we bought this Oxford analogue clock.
You know what parents are like, strong opinions as to what is best for you, mildly tolerant of your motorcycle ‘hobby’, but secretly scared to death you’re gonna kill yourself on your bike. So my old man keeps seeing lots of big adventure bikes adorned with bright spotlights, and declares I must install said distinctive pattern of lights on my bike to ensure I stand out. My Dad has a few odd opinions, but more often than not he’s right.
After borking at the price of offerings from Givi etc, I decided to take a punt on some cheap Chinese lights off eBay. Very cheap at under £20 for a pair including wiring. I didn’t have high expectations, but they can’t be that bad, can they? Read on…
After Mary had flattened her battery twice this week, I promised to wire the heated grips up properly with a relay…
When we first bought Mary’s CBF500 it came with heated grips fitted, but they were installed with no relay so all to easy to leave on when parking up. After Mary had flattened her battery twice in this manner this week, I promised to wire them up properly with a relay to cut the power when the bike’s ignition is off. However, the heated grips aren’t the only accessory wired in, we have a satnav, USB sockets and probably more gadgets in the future. So, to help simplify stuff, I opted for a secondary fuse / distribution box.
Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short, loosing the number plate light won’t prevent us riding.
A mate happened to have a basic Mictuning 6-way fuse box going spare – perfect for the job. My plan was to tap a switched live feed from the rear number plate light circuit, which would trigger a relay, to feed this fuse box and in turn all of the bike’s gadgets. Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short for any reason, loosing the number plate light is no big loss and won’t prevent us riding. On the CBF500 this light is connected by some bullet connectors behind the rear right hand fairing panel. I opted to strip back the insulation and solder on a feed, rather than using a Scotch lock which have a reputation of failing. The final join was covered in heat shrink wrap and waterproofed with amalgamating tape.
So, you want a headset for your helmet, listen to some tunes, your SatNav or natter with your partner, friends or pillion. But, you’ve checked out the offerings from the likes of Sena, Midland, Interphone etc in the shops and probably come to the conclusion it’s gonna set you back quite a few bob or two. But ebay is littered with funny Chinese branded gadgets, just how bad can they be? Well, I took a punt on a pair of these and this how they turned out.
The first issue is narrowing down what your buying as you browse the glut of these intercoms on ebay. There’s seemingly dozens of subtly different variations, on branding, spec and revision. Ultimately, I just took pot luck on the cheapest from a UK seller, grabbing a pack of two FreedConn T-COM VB intercoms (800m range). Expect to pay around £40-50 a pair on eBay.
When it comes to satnav’s on a motorcycle you basically have two choices: splurge a tonne of cash on a proper water proof and rugged device from the likes of TomTom or Garmin; or you make do with the smart phone you already have. With the latter cheap skate route you either make do with audio direction only and keep your phone in your pocket or you look at a waterproof case to mount to handlebars. This is where this Herbert Richter phone case and mount comes in.
There’s nothing more annoying than being far away from home with no battery life left in your camera or phone. It’s sods law that at this point you’ll really want to capture some video footage from an incident, need to phone for recovery or just witness the perfect shenanigans to go viral on YouTube next. All of which are easily resolved with the addition of a USB power socket on your bike.
In London, I use my horn a lot (ooh-err!) As such, I found my standard horn a bit inferior and decided to pimp it for a large and loud horn that everyone would make everyone sit up and take heed of (ooh-err!)
Enough of the double entendre’s, let’s get down to business with this Stebel Nautilus air horn. Hailing from Italy, Stebel have a well established reputation for producing quality horns that make a lot of noise. Their Nautilus horn has been around for a number of years and is popular for it’s convenient size and noise, but even better, they have this Compact version which is perfect for motorbikes.
I purchased my Stebel Nautilus Compact off ebay a few months ago from a seller in the Netherlands who supplied it as a kit with all the necessary wiring, connectors, relay etc. I paid just under £40 including postage – bargain!