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Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Modeka Manda Women’s Motorcycle Jacket Review

Commuting in the winter makes for a miserable time on the bike if your gear is not up to scratch. Rain, coupled with frost and the odd bit of snow means that good warm and waterproof motorcycle gear is essential for winter commuting. As I work shifts, my commute is conducted early in the morning and late at night when it can be very cold.

A textile jacket and trousers can be the ideal purchase for the winter commute and those with removable thermal liners are more flexible for daily use. For cold wet days, liners and waterproof material protect the rider from the worst of the elements. During warmer weather, thermal liners can be removed to make jackets and trousers a bit cooler. In addition, some jackets come with ventilation zips that can be opened to make them cooler.

As women riders, we can sometimes struggle to find motorcycle gear that fits our shape. Things have improved massively since I started riding in the mid-1990s when I used to wear a cut down man’s leather jacket and denim jeans. But as a short plus-sized woman, today I struggle a bit to find good fitting plus size women’s motorcycle gear. In the end, I opted for the Modeka Manda jacket and JTS waterproof trousers (see here for a review of the JTS trousers). The matching Manda trousers were far too long for my 27.5 inch inside leg (yep you read that correctly!)

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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?

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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.

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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

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Gear Reviews

Litelok Gold Moto 108 Lightweight Motorcycle Security Chain Review

Being London based bikers, we are through necessity always interested in the latest motorcycle security developments. Keen to stay one step ahead of bike thieves and keep our bikes secure. So, when Litelok approached us with their new Litelok Moto lightweight motorcycle security chain, we were of course, excited to check out this innovative British designed and built security chain.

Likelok Gold Moto 108 lightweight motorcycle security chain
Likelok Gold Moto 108 lightweight motorcycle security chain unwrapped

Litelok was founded by ex-Rolls Royce aero engineer Professor Neil Barron and his company has built up a reputation of producing strong, but lightweight bicycle locks. The Litelok Gold Moto 108 is their first heavy-duty product aimed at motorcycles, essentially taking their tried and tested design and beefing it up. We’ve been using the Litelok Moto over the last couple of months, read on to find out our verdict and if this really is the best lightweight motorcycle security chain currently on the market.

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Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Bull-it SR6 Motorcycle Jeans Review

Bull-It SR6 motorcycle jeansAs great as leathers are, once the hot summer arrives they get awfully toasty and sweaty. In days gone by a good pair of Levis was considered perfectly adequate for a casual summer ride, but you really don’t want to come off your bike just wearing a pair of fashion jeans. I also doubt today’s Levis are as robust as pairs made in days gone by. Today we have on the market many motorbike jeans with Kevlar or other branded variants of this super strong abrasion resistant aramid fabric, like the Covec used on these Bull-It SR6 jeans I picked up a last summer.

The Bull-It SR6 set me back £60 in a sale, which included both knee and hip armour inserts (they’re sometimes optional extras) – bargain. But are they actually any good? Read on to find out more.

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Gear Reviews

New Lid Time – AGV K5 S Helmet Review

I returned to the AGV helmets brand for this K5-S helmet after having many fond memories of my first helmet – an AGV K4. I had grown somewhat disappointed with the robustness of my more expensive Shuberth S2 I current wear. So, I decided to go for a middle of the road helmet suitable for daily commuting and touring. For me, the key requirements were safety, good fit, a sun visor, good ventilation, quietness and of course price.

I picked up this AGV K5 S helmet in an end-of-line sale for a very reasonable £200 from Infinity Motorcycles, so can’t complain about the price. The K5-S comes in many colour styles, some plain and some patterns, I opted for the ‘Typhoon’ design, as I preferred a little fluorescence to help stay visible. It’s a 4-star Sharp rating, granted this test scheme isn’t the be-all and end-all, but hopefully gives some indication of potential protection it can offer.

AGV K5 S Helmet Review

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Gear Reviews

Denali SoundBomb Split Air Horn Review and Install on Yamaha Fazer FZ6

Denali SoundBomb Split AirhornOn my old Fazer, I had installed a Stebel Nautilus air horn, a super loud horn that saved my bacon on a number of occasions on my daily commute into London. As such, I was keen to install similar on my new FZ6, but with the Stebel horns less readily available in the UK I came across the Denali SoundBomb. On first glance, it appears to be a spitting image of the Stebel horn and priced similarly at £40.

With the horn being such a large lump, mounting needed some thought as the FZ6 stock horn is mounted between the forks and there are no handy mounting points on the sides under the fairing. Denali sells a number of specific bike and generic crash bar mounting brackets, but unfortunately nowt suitable for the FZ6. That’s when I found the Denali SoundBomb Split version which separates the two halves of the air horn, thus allowing the compressor and horn elements to be mounted individually. A supplied thick heat resistant hose then connects the two halves. As with other large horns, the compressor should be wired to the stock horn via a relay due to it’s 20A power draw. i.e. the stock horn wire triggers the compressor via a relay, to power it directly from the battery on its own fused line.

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Gear Reviews

Lomo 60 Litre Dry Bag Holdall Long Term Review

We purchased this Lomo 60 litre dry bag a year ago for the very modest sum of £28 and have since put it through its paces on a number of trips and tours. It’s been filled it with all kinds of gubbins, strapped it to numerous bikes and carted it to may far flung places. So, if you’re thinking of buying one of these Lomo dry bags yourself, do read on to see how it stood up and what our verdict was.

In case you’re not familiar, Lomo are a Scottish firm that specialise in many water sports products, for kayaking, surfing etc (not the other kind of waters sports!) They also sell a number of waterproof luggage options aimed at motorcyclists and cyclists, plus universal items – like this dry bag.

Lomo 60 Ltr Holdall
Roll up the top, clips down at sides, then secure with attached straps

Categories
Gear Reviews

Rev’it Cooling Vest Challenger Insert Review

After some false starts, summer has finally hit us and boy has it now gone hot. As tempting as it is, I’m not fond of the idea of riding in shorts and t-shirt having seen too many photos of others with nasty gravel rash following a spill in such attire. So the issue is then how to stay protected and stay cool in this weather – often with no easy solution and fraught with compromises. If only there was some kind of motorcycle air conditioning or jacket refrigerator… cue the Rev’it Cooling Vest.

Rev'it Cooling Vest Insert Challenger
Rev’it Cooling Vest Insert Challenger