Categories
Gear Reviews

Exotogg Review – Essential Cold Weather Motorcycle Gear or Hot Air?

The problem with reviewing cold weather motorcycle gear is you actually need some cold weather. This Autumn it’s been strangely mild in the South East of England. I’m starting this review in mid-November, it’s blue skies, sunny and I have the conservatory doors wide open. I don’t know if this is climate change, but as beautiful a day as it is, it doesn’t make this Exotogg review very easy…

Exotogg body warmer reviewThe Exotogg body warmer is not your usual cold-weather layer, it’s essentially an inflatable gilet/vest that you don under your bike jacket, which you then inflate with three or four puffs of breath, whereupon it’ll form a nice layer of air that will keep you warm. If you get too hot, you simply open the valve and squeeze the air out. The idea being you inflate or deflate it as and when needed, easy-peasy.

Using a layer of air to insulate against the cold is however a tried and tested method to maintaining warmth. Materials like fleece, down and wool all trap a layer of air to keep your body warm. So, the science behind the Exotogg vest is sound, but what advantages down it have over traditional layers?

Categories
News

Best Black Friday Discount Motorcycle Gear

It’s that time of year again, marketing departments have gone mental, your mailbox has been spammed with tonnes of offers and you’re getting overwhelmed with so many offers. So who is offering the best deals and biggest discounts on motorcycle gear?

Sports Bike Shop

Between 20% and 50% discounts on loads of gear. Biggest discounts on summer gear, so plan ahead for next year!

Our bargain pick:

AGV Corsa-R V46
AGV Corsa-R V46 for £350!

FC-Moto

15% off with discount code BLACKWEEK15 (expires 30th Nov). FC-Moto operates from Germany in the EU, so no VAT/Duty upon import until we Brexit in the new year… You’ll need to pay postage on returns, but the offer discounted return postage labels to help here.

Demon-Tweeks

Up to 75% off end-of-season gear, some great one-piece suits, track gear, leathers and quality helmets. Demon Tweeks also have 20% off Scorpion exhausts.

Top find:

Gerbing XR12 heated gloves for £122
Gerbing XR12 heated gloves for £122

Ghost Bikes

Lots of discounts on motorcycle and motocross gear (kids motocross clothing included), especially on lesser-known brands like Shox, Black and Agrius. Ghost Bikes also run daily specials discounts and will match and beat competitor prices by 25%!

Also, get 15% off everything with code 2020BFCM

Top pick:

TCX Comp Evo Michelin Motocross Boots
TCX Comp Evo Michelin Motocross Boots for £219!

Get Geared

Up to 30% off loads of kit and 15% off non-sale goods with discount code BLACK15.

MotoIn

20% off everything with discount code BLACK20 (expires 29th Nov)

Categories
Maintenance

No Riding Blues? Winter & Lockdown Biker Entertainment

Going Snow Where - Winter Motorcycle EntertainmentFor many, wintertime is when bikes are garaged away and in storage until the warmer spring weather. Even many who would normally ride year-round are facing the no riding blues from various lockdowns in place to tackle the covid pandemic. I’m personally in this category as I’m now working from home permanently. So, what can a die-hard biker do to while away the dark and miserable winter months? Read on for some suggestions on winter motorcycle entertainment.

→ Additionally, there’s a lot of stuff mentioned here that would make great biker gifts and motorcycle Christmas presents or stocking fillers. So, take note if you know a biker and are stuck for gift ideas.

Categories
Riding

MOT Time, A Year of Few Miles

Motorcycle MOT checkIt was that time of year again, another 12 months passed and my Yamaha FZ6 was due a motorcycle MOT check. The past MOT extension for the Covid lockdown now passed and not reinstated for this second UK lockdown, it was necessary to pop the bike to the local test station to get the bike checked over. All very mundane and trivial, bike passed swimmingly with no advisories. But, your motorcycle MOT check time is like an anniversary or a birthday for a bike and a time to look back at the miles ridden.

Don’t forget to read our easy Motorcycle MOT Checklist guide on how to avoid failing your MOT.

In the last 12 months, I’ve only managed to do 5k miles on the FZ6, not much at all really and indicative of this year. With no regularly commuting since the first March lockdown, there’s only been a handful of leisure rides and a brief tour around Wales. It’s all been too much work and not much play, quite depressing really.

Categories
Featured Videos

Motovlog: Best Roads Wales Tour 2020

Back in August, since other touring plans were scuppered due to the pandemic, we undertook a Wales motorcycle tour. A staycation, crashing with family in Welshpool for a couple of weeks with a plan to explore the best roads Wales outlined in Simon Wier’s Bikers Britain book. Check out this video of the key highlights from the trip – enjoy!

If you want to get more details of the routes, you can grab yourself a copy of the Biker’s Britain book from Amazon here.

 

Categories
Gear Reviews

Tutoro Trek Auto Motorcycle Chain Oiler Review

If you have a motorcycle with a chain you will be more than familiar with the regular maintenance it requires. Spraying on chain lube every few hundred miles, the inevitable fling of oil all over the rear of your bike, and the periodic clean of thick gunk from excess lube and dirt. Depending on how much your commute and ride, it’s a chore you need to do every couple of days to a couple of weeks. On a long tour, chain lube is just one more thing you need to pack. If you don’t have a centre stand or a handy paddock stand, the job is even more hassle to ensure the entire length of your chain is sufficiently lubed. There are no two ways about it, chain maintenance is a hassle, almost enough to make you buy a shaft drive BMW or a belt drive Harley… almost. 🙂

This is where an automated motorcycle chain oiler comes to the rescue. Essentially a small reservoir of chain oil you mount to your bike, with a long hose to dispense the oil directly onto your chain and sprocket as you ride.

Motorcycle Chain Oiler Comparison

How the automated oiler is activated can vary:

  1. Electronic motion detection (e.g Scottoiler xSystem)
  2. Vacuum activated (e.g. Scottoiler vSystem)
  3. Harnessing inertia of vertical suspension movements (e.g Tutoro chain oiler)

Electronic systems are expensive (~£200+) and need wiring to your battery. Vacuum systems are cheaper (~£100) but require additional hoses connected to an engine vacuum or induction outlet. This leaves the Tutoro Auto Trek, which is activated by suspension movements as an option that is both easier to install and cost-effective (£105). It is an intriguing option that I was keen to investigate more when Tutoro offered a kit for review.

Categories
Motorcycles

You Meet The Nicest People on a Honda

You meet the nicest people on a HondaMary being one of them! However, after 5 years of ownership, it’s time for her to move on from her Honda CBF500. Initially purchased to regain her riding confidence after many years off bikes, the CBF500 was a great choice for her. After we lowered it that is, she is fairly petite. Nonetheless, it’s done its job and some, from commuting around London, weekend rides, biking rallies and tours around Wales, Scotland and France.

Honda CBF500. hugger, new chain, Michelin Road 5 tyresWe picked the bike up fairly cheap, but we’ve given it plenty of TLC and it’s held up well. All the routine maintenance has been taken care of with no short cuts – “Do it right, do it once” as Guy Martin would say. These Honda’s are well known for doing astronomical miles in the hands of couriers and motorcycle schools, and I’m sure this one will keep going for many more miles yet.

Categories
Gear Reviews

Pinlock Motorcycle Ear Plugs Review, Block the Noise, Hear Your Mates

It’s a well-known fact that riding a motorbike fast is bloody noisy. Stock exhaust or not, wind noise can often drown out your bike at speeds upwards of 50 mph. Even with a good quiet helmet like a Schuberth, the wind noise can have a deceptive impact on your ride and the health of your ears. Excessive noise can obviously cause hearing damage, tinnitus etc. But less obvious is the fatigue it can cause as your brain unconsciously tries to process and block out the noise. As such, it’s highly recommended to wear earplugs to reduce wind noise and to maintain your concentration on riding.

One disadvantage of earplugs is they can block out too much noise, making it difficult to talk to other people, either when parked up, pillions behind or mates over Bluetooth helmet intercoms. So, when I saw Pinlock had released a set of motorcycle earplugs with a special core that selectively blocked out higher frequencies like wind noise but let through lower frequencies like voice, I was most intrigued and purchased a couple of pairs for Mary and myself to try out. Read on for out Pinlock earplugs review.

Pinlock earplugs
Not leftover Lego, but special red sound filter cores to slot in the earplugs
Categories
Riding

8 Years Later

“Only look back to see how far you’ve come”

Time does fly, it seems like only yesterday that I started this journey. 8 years ago I finally heeded my better half’s advice, got myself a motorcycle license, bought my first motorcycle, hit the road and I haven’t looked back since. At the same time, I kicked off this blog to document the adventure in the vague hope others might find it somewhat interesting and perhaps learn the odd thing as I progressed. Fast forward to today, 8 years later and it’s been one hell of a ride!

Couples who ride together, stay together

There’s been biking adventures all over the globe, track days, advancing riding, innumerable group rides and lots of tinkering with bikes. Not forgetting riding together with Mary and the kids, seeing them grow up in the pillion seat. This blog has also grown from strength to strength with many great collaborations over the years. Of course, there was the odd mishap and crash, but you dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes.

Categories
Riding

Advantages of an E-Bike vs a Motorcycle

Recently my news feed threw up some articles extolling the advantages of an e-bike and what struck me was how they were exactly the reasons we all love and ride motorcycles. Hardly newsworthy and of no surprise to bikers. The articles described how the electric motor assistance on an e-bike provides the following so-called advantages:Top 10 advantages of an e-bike

  1. Ability to cover longer ranges than a normal bicycle without getting worn out
  2. Avoid breaking a sweat and arriving at work in damp Lyrca
  3. Carry some luggage without the strain on pedalling
  4. Save money compared to public transport or car
  5. Stay fit by still pedalling some
  6. Get fresh air, enjoy the outdoors and stay healthy and stress-free
  7. Cut through traffic with ease with a small e-bike
  8. Discover and explore more out of town on days off

Yeah, everything us motorbikers have been taking advantage of for decades, except a motorcycle takes things much further. You can cover much longer distances, carry more luggage, carry a pillion, cut through city traffic with greater speed and explore way more on days off. So, what are the true benefits of electric bikes compared to a motorcycle? Why not just get a motorcycle instead? Read on to find out.