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How Shark Changed Motorcycle Helmets Forever

MC Motorcycle.com

How Shark Changed Motorcycle Helmets Forever You may remember a time when helmets were…helmets. Full-face, modular, three-quarter…they did the job but were kind more
'You may remember a time when helmets were…helmets.Full-face, modular, three-quarter…they did the job but were kind of bland, monochromatic and didn’t have a lot of features we take for granted today.Features like dropdown inner sun visors, carbon-fiber shells or modular lids designed to be worn as either a full- or open-face.And then came Shark.What Shark did – for the lucky few U.S. riders who could get their hands on one – was bring class-leading European design, fit and function to the marketplace at an affordable price. “We like to think of ourselves as outsiders, always thinking outside of the box,” says Shark. “Pushing the boundaries of the motorcycle helmet industry by offering unique designs and concept helmets which ensures only the highest level of performance and safety.” Founded by a pair of ex-motorcycle-racing brothers in 1988, Shark earned world attention in 1991 with the XRC Carbon, the first mass-market carbon-fiber lid.That same helmet was recognized in 1995 by Motorrad magazine – not a publication known for being a pushover – as being the lightest and safest helmet around.Racers who relied on Shark to protect their speedy heads include Carl Fogerty, Troy Corser and Jorge Lornezo and others.Shark has racked up nearly 70 World championship titles in many organizations including MotoGP, World Endurance and World Superbike.Shark still makes top-of-the-line carbon-fiber racing helmets, but the street models are big sellers.The Evo One 2 model is a great example of how Shark still leads the way in modular helmet design.It’s designed to be light, easy to use and perfectly balanced – whether the chinbar is locked in the front position, making the Evo One 2 a full-face lid, or flipped around to create an open-face design.It’s also one of the highest-rated modular helmets in the European-market SHARPS tests, and, of course, has that distinct Shark style.That European style gets mean-looking with the DRAK range.This 3/4 helmet comes in a variety of colors and styles, with a slim, aerodynamic profile and detachable anti-fog goggles and facemask.The X-DRAK with sun visor looks great for urban Supermoto riders and the carbon-fiber S-DRAK Dagon, resplendent in retro-flame graphics and soft suede interior, is just the thing for high-end vintage and custom riders.Shark isn’t just about style: it’s about engineering as well.Shark focuses on the end user in its product-creation process.Applying reverse-engineering principles, the company starts with the rider’s body shape, resulting in a “design for a function,” according to Shark: “Each line, each curve, each function serves a purpose,” according to the company.That’s not just a motto: Shark takes product development very seriously.The process is aided by powerful software applications, identical to those used in automotive and aerospace engineering. “We rely heavily on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamic) studies in order to optimize the aerodynamic profile of our helmets and their penetration in air,” Shark tells us, “in addition to reducing the ‘buffeting effect’, acoustic nuisances and the aerodynamic drag coefficient (CX).” Next, the ideas become solid, thanks to a next-generation 3-D printer at the Shark R&D facility.That’s why hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists in 77 countries have become loyal Shark fans over the last 30 years.Shark helmets weren’t as widely available in the United States once upon a time, but that’s changed.Shark Helmets North America, LLC – Shark’s company-owned USA distributor – is now in business in Chicago, Illinois, offering full product support for U.S. riders.Check out the site today to find a dealer near you so you can get your hands on a Shark helmet today. . The post How Shark Changed Motorcycle Helmets Forever appeared first on Motorcycle.com .'

Church of MO: 2000 BMW R1150 GS

MC Motorcycle.com

Church of MO: 2000 BMW R1150 GS Before there was Adventure biking, there was the GS. more
'And so it came to pass at the turn of the century, that MO finally got its hands on a BMW GS.Though a test of an earlier GS may have happened earlier than in MO’s sixth year of life, any record is prehistoric.In those days, convincing manufacturers to lend motorcycles to an online magazine was still like conjecturing why it might be good for your phone to contain a camera.Minime and the other disciples knew not what to make of the second-gen Oilhead bike’s looks, but the enthusiasm of riding the Bavarian boxer was impossible to disguise.All these years later, the GS remains BMW’s greatest hit.Whirled without end, amen.Ride Report: 2000 BMW R1150GS Funky, Spunky and Germun-ky By MO Staff  Jan. 20, 2000 Photos by MO Staff Los Angeles, January 7, 2000  — Life is often a set of compromises.For example, take politics.One presidential candidate may be just what you were looking for as far as managing the economy, but he or she may be a bit rigid on social issues.Then there is a candidate who might share your cultural ideas but whose views on the economy may be considered 19th century at best.Seems like you can’t always get what you want.Motorcycles are much the same.As soon as you find a bike that you believe is your your personal Holy Grail, you notice that while it excels in some areas in others it lacks, if not outright sucks.A great sportbike on the racetrack is often miserable on the street, and don’t you dare think about commuting on it.Then there is the bike that has all the ingredients to make a world-class tourer is terrible in the twisties and at track day.Where do you turn, then, to find a motorcycle that fits you like your comfortable, do-it-all tightie-whities you wore every day of your freshman year of college?Indeed, you can’t always get what you want.But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.BMW thinks they have what you need with new for 2000 R1150 GS.They refer to the GS as an “adventure-tourer,” but just about any motorcycle has the potential to become an “adventure-tourer.” Still, some motorcycles are better equipped than others for “adventure-touring” and the GS may well be the Swiss Army knife of two-wheeled motorized vehicles, not only able to do a bit of everything, but score consistently above par.The Stats, Please     More than 115,000 of BMW’s R-series GS models have been sold since it’s introduction in 1980, so you know they’ve done a thing or two right with this bike.All BMW’s roll out of the factory with the excellent Telelever front suspension system that does away with nearly all of the front brake dive found on other motorcycles.Another BMW exclusive is the Paralever shaft-drive system designed to eliminate almost all of the harsh driveline lash commonly found on high displacement, shaft-drive motorcycles.The 2000 R1150 GS comes to showroom floors with a redesign that makes the bike an even more attractive option.Headlining the list of changes to its fuel-injected, eight-valve motor is a new six-speed gearbox and an increase in displacement from 1085 to 1130cc.When combined with a new exhaust system and changes made to camshaft timing, the alterations to the powertrain result in a claimed peak-power increase from 80 to 85 hp and a slight increase in torque from 72 to 73 lbs/ft.The GS has also been graced with a new, self-diagnosing Bosch Motronic MA 2.4 electronic management system, a larger oil cooler borrowed from the R1100 RT and a new hydraulic clutch to better cope with the added ponies and new transmission.Other chassis changes include a three-pound lighter Telelever system sporting 7.1 inches of travel, re-inforced rear frame mounts, footpeg supports and sturdier transmission housing where a shortened 506 mm Paralever rear end bolts on in place of last year’s 520 mm unit.This year’s standard features include a centerstand as well as saddlebag racks, hazard warning flashers, a catalytic converter, heated grips and a 12 volt plug for accessories.Two-up, solo, twisty back roads or interstate droning; the GS does it all well.Thanks to new body work and bolt-on bits, the most visually noticeable change to the GS is its restyled appearance.In addition to the asymmetrical twin headlamps, a three-position adjustable windshield and restyled upper and lower fenders, the rider’s cockpit received an entirely new dash panel featuring a standard rider information display with a digital clock, fuel and oil level gauges and gear indicator.Further adding to rider comfort is the new, two-position (33.1 and 33.9 inches) adjustable seat height that makes this relatively large bike a consideration for a few people who — at first glance — might otherwise deem the bike too tall and cumbersome.Fuel injection feeds horizontally-opposed cylinders featuring added displacement.Primaries Before we even began to ride this bike we were thumped hard by its looks.While some of the staff thought the GS was extremely cool-looking and a breed apart, one lone staffer here considered it “too utilitarian and too functional looking.” Wherever you look, there’s a conversation to be had about every square inch of this bike.Like the R1100 GS, the new 1150 possesses strictly love-it or leave-it looks.Paralever shaft-drive rear-end is another of BMW’s unique innovations.The upper fender and headlight cluster give the bike a very distinguishable duck-like snout while the Telelever front visually still takes getting used to and the single-sided Paralever rear end makes the back of the bike look empty, devoid of some necessary appliance; that is until you attach BMW’s almost flawless hard bag system that holds just about anything you could ever need to stuff in a bag.These bags and their mounting system are the best in the business.Whether you love or loathe the 1150 GS’s looks, it becomes a moot point after a tank of fuel has passed through the injectors.On the road this motorcycle’s esthetics, or lack there of, is forgotten as you travel almost effortlessly down the boulevard, on the freeway, in the twisties, through inclement weather over fire roads and across state lines.The most noticeable differences between the new 1150 and the old R1100 GS are the larger displacement motor and six-speed box.The additional displacement teams with the new engine management system to deliver more power and a more enjoyable ride in every situation, either rolling down an interstate at 75 mph or blasting up a dirt road.Additional power is rarely out of place unless it comes on abruptly or at inopportune times, and the GS doesn’t disappoint; it is so smooth and controllable that the extra oomph is always welcome.We discover the joys of added oomph and a slick six-speed gearbox as a friend looks on and contemplates a career change.The new six-speed tranny is a huge plus in all situations: the ratios of the first five gears have been tightened up and are great for around town and canyon back roads, while the additional overdrive gear keeps the engine speed down, making things smooth and economical on long stretches of straight and boring road.Matched with the hydraulic clutch, the excellent Paralever suspension and the minimal amount of driveline lash that finds its way through the chassis, the entire powertrain performs flawlessly.The gearbox is now, for the first time on the GS, able to be rowed sans clutch and its engagement was solid and predictable.Even when slipping the clutch heavily while threading through traffic, it neither faded nor became grabby — even when intentionally abused.We need to clarify something: The R1150GS bike is not a dirt bike, yet, within reason, there’s no fire or access road that cannot be competently negotiated.A few of the guys at BMW’s press fleet center even went so far as to take a few GS’s down to through Baja California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, primarily on dirt roads that can only be negotiated successfully with a Global Positioning System, the sun and a huge heaping of luck.Most of the miles were on super-soft and silty roads and the GS’s made it through with less effort than initially expected.One of the riders even made the trip two-up with his wife on the back.That’s ballsy.And that’s also saying a lot about what is primarily a long-distance touring “street bike” and, of course, “adventure tourer”. Strange, but beautiful, no?Redesigned cockpit layout features digital gauges for rapid rider acquisition of vital data.Minime’s dirt gene isn’t as recessive as we’d hoped it was.This may not be Dakar, but the GS laughs when you throw a bit of dirt its way.While the GS can handle just about any dirt road, it’s real domain is the highway, where at at least 98 percent of “adventure-touring” is done.If you think you’ll spend more than 10 percent of your time doing “real” off-roading, look for another motorcycle.Ford Expeditions are not purchased to explore every back road in existence, so don’t plan on buying a R1150 GS as a replacement for a true dual-sport.But when used as intended, there is no better bike that comes to mind.Even when we rode two-up with our beautiful significant others on board (pardon the brown-nosing, but you guys understand) all it took was a few turns on the preload to tighten the suspension and we were able to keep up easily with most of the Sunday morning racer boys.From Sting’s Fields of Gold: “…something something fields of barley.Something something fields of gold…” (We can’t remember the lyrics because our brains are shot from breathing noxious fumes in the garage, but we have a hankerin’ that the lyrics relate in some way with this picture.) The new adjustable windscreen provided better weather protection than we expected, given its diminutive size.But the new front end cosmetics take a bit of getting used to.From the rider’s point of view the instrument cluster seems to be too distant; it’s like looking at a computer screen on someone else’s desk.Eventually we got used to the location and, after a few miles, it slipped into our unconscious, at least until we needed information about the motor’s vitals in a split-second; then everything about the rider’s cockpit makes sense.It’s very well laid out and easy to decipher at a quick glance.Also, don’t think the heated grips are foo-foo addition here.On cold mornings we realized that, even if our bodies were cold, as long as our hands were warm the ambient temperature didn’t bother us.Maybe it’s a mind thing.Maybe it’s a GS thing.The Telelever front end, however, is still somewhat off-putting to the uninitiated.The lack of front brake dive is an odd sensation that sometimes leads to a lack of trust in the front end for some riders.After the first few miles, however, the awkward feeling goes away and complete faith in the front end is restored.In fact, we learned to love the lack of front end dive, and, in particular, the way the suspension soaks up all the road irregularities while staying up in its travel even on the brakes.Other manufacturers have tried unconventional front end suspension systems — the Bimota Tesi and the Yamaha GTS come to mind — but neither of those worked nearly as well as BMW’s.The other BMW oddity, the ABS which so many people (including ourselves, admittedly) dislike, is actually a welcomed addition.It’s not as intrusive as ABS systems found on other bikes and, for what the 1150 GS is designed — touring, commuting and dirt-road riding — it does nothing but bolster the rider’s already high level of confidence in the bike.Again, BMW has made us wonder why these uncommon bits aren’t more common among other manufacturers.The Ballot is Cast This BMW is a surprisingly competent canyon-carver for an “adventure-tourer.” There’s just something about the GS that we can’t quite put our fingers on.It’s a feeling of imperviousness that only comes with riding a bike that can do just about everything — and do it well; whether it’s dragging hard-parts on a twisty paved road or seemingly floating over a rocky dirt-road, the GS is in its element.We the thought we’d nickname this bike Felix, as in Felix the Cat.Whatever is in your way, this bike has something in its bag of tricks to deal with it.That’s a great feeling to have, be it in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles or on some rural mountain road that’s not found on any map.Doing what the Year 2000 GS doesn’t much care for: Sitting still.It’s also something that’s not so much mechanical as it is a part of the aura the bike possesses.And a bike’s aura is not something that can be engineered in as easily as it can be engineered out.It’s a good thing BMW has been doing this a while and knows when to leave well enough alone.After all, life — and motorcycles and politics — is a high-wire walk where it’s all about balance.The Year 2000 R1150 GS is so well balanced, if you make this bike your sole pick for your personal “Garage Stablemate of the Year” — you’ll sleep well at night.Every night.You made the right decision, dude. . The post Church of MO: 2000 BMW R1150 GS appeared first on Motorcycle.com .'

MO Does World Superbike Weekend Monterey!

MC Motorcycle.com

MO Does World Superbike Weekend Monterey! Business or pleasure? Yes. We ride to Laguna Seca, roost Laguna Seca, and high-tail it home. more
'Does Kevin Cameron still have to change tires?I mean, riding your choice of the latest bikes to Laguna Seca for World Superbike weekend, followed by a Pirelli -sponsored track day Monday, is a dream come true for any motorcycle person, but maybe you don’t want to see how the MO sausage is made.Pirelli wanted us to mount up its new Supercorsa TD (Track Day) tires ahead of time, and they drop-shipped me two sets.Two sets because when Troy couldn’t make the ride this year, I volunteered my son Ryan to ride the Ducati Supersport in his place.Ryan was, to say the least, excited.Ducati dropped off the Supersport at my house, and I immediately recognized changing its tires wasn’t gonna be so easy without the 55mm socket that frees it rear wheel.Harbor Freight’s right around the corner, no such luck.My MotoGP Werks pal Chris had the tool but was in Germany… My principles won’t allow me to just take the whole bike to the dealer.But I had to ride to Carson the next day anyway to swap our BMW R1250RT for my bike of choice, the S1000R , and I learned from Sean Matic that he had the tool, at his buddy Jamin’s shop not too far away on Sunset Blvd. ( Wrench Motorcycle Service ). So, I blasted up there on my new R (what a great city bike), said hello, got a lesson from a mechanic about which way to turn the 55mm socket (The MV Agusta has the same big nut securing its rear wheel, but it turns the opposite way of the one on the Ducati.) – and then the mechanic and I realized we knew each other from previous lives at Willow Springs 20 years ago, but we’d both aged too much to be recognizable – Tom Sera.So nice to see old friends in unexpected places.Next I had the telephonic pleasure of comparing prices to have tires mounted among several dealers and shops, nearly all of whom were disgruntled to mount tires not bought from them.The BMW was straightforward enough.The Ducati’s rear tire should be a snap with that one-sided swingarm – right up until you discover you have to remove the two tailpipes to get the wheel out of there.Then I spent a couple of hours scratching my head figuring out how the ABS sensor on the front wheel had moved to the opposite side, until I figured out the tire mounter had moved a thin spacer to the opposite side of the wheel.Duh.Is this too long of an intro?It took me most of two days to mount two sets of tires.We blasted off at 6:15 am Friday morning from the Santa Ana digs to meet the others at the Frazier Park Flying J, where there used to be a nice sit-down restaurant with snappy waitresses but now there’s just a Wendy’s.Whatever.Gassed up, we’re free of the city at last and rolling up Frazier Mountain Park road through crispy-smelling pine forest.Making video magic atop Mt.Pinos.Virginia Woolf said it’s the waking that kills us.For us MO rons, it’s the video that kills us.Unpacking and setting up tripods and cameras and mic’ing everybody up really kills your drive when you’re trying to make time, but thankfully we had to be in Monterey by 8 pm for the big Ducati unveil/party, so we couldn’t shoot everything along the way.Highway 58 was still there and excellent as always.In Paso Robles it was 105 degrees as almost always, and then it was cold and windy, as nearly always, that last 80 or so miles to Monterey.I love it.Ducati broke out four-time WSBK champ Foggy to unveil the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916, which he nearly crashed in the wet grass en route to the stage.I’m not a golfer, but sometimes I leave it playing on the TV as soothing background scenery.Ducati unveiled the new bike right where they played the US Open a couple weeks ago – Pebble Beach.Business must be good.The kid and I thought about playing nine holes, but settled for a nice glass of Chianti instead.Grazie, Ducati.In the motorcycle world, if you needed a character to play God, or maybe Yoda, Kevin Cameron would be perfect.Comparing notes re: the state of the world with him as the sun set on the fairway at Pebble Beach, and the wine and finger foods flowed, wouldn’t be a bad afterlife at all.I remembered my old dream of roosting the course on a CR500 Honda with Meg Ryan on back.Alas, that will probably never happen; she’s no longer returning my calls.The Young Ryans – Adams and Burns – don’t realize that this is probably the first and last time they’ll ever be allowed into the bar at the Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach.We Ubered back to our Airbnb digs around midnight, a nice guest house behind an estate right off Highway 68 only a few miles from Laguna Seca.Plenty of room for all five of us, but the single bathroom got a workout.I could’ve had a top bunk, but there was an excellent couch on the front patio, so I slept under the stars all four nights, with nobody to complain about my snoring except the cows next door.Lovely.Light dew in the morning kept my facade naturally hydrated.The view from my bedroom looking west at sunset, not bad at all: Ducati Supersport, BMW S1000R, MV Agusta, Aprilia Tuono.A Day at the Races, Okay Two Days… Jonathan Rea won on Saturday, Chaz Davies won Sunday – and poor Alvaro Bautista is victim of one of the most stunning collapses in moto-history.After a commanding lead early in the season, the Italian crashed out twice at Laguna Seca – following two prior disastrous weekends – and now trails Rea 433 to 352 points.According to a Ducati insider, though, Alvaro remains upbeat, saying it’s still “mathematically possible” for him to roar back and win the championship.Bless his heart.The MotoAmerica races were better; way to go Toni Elias and Garret Gerloff , who finally won his first Superbike race.I’d watch them race tricycles around Laguna Seca, for me it’s a sacred place.They won’t let me back into the Defense Language Institute, on the Presidio of Monterey, which was the first place I lived away from home.It used to be an open Army post; now there’s concertina wire and armed guards and German shepherds to keep me out.But they’ll still let me up onto the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca – a place I first sat upon to watch Eddie Lawson win the 1988 USGP.Saturday night there were plenty of motorcycles on Cannery Row when we went into Cooper’s Irish Pub for dinner and a pint, and I was going to shoot pics when we came out.Sadly, the bikes were all gone by that time.Sorry.The real excitement, though, was the Pirelli track day on Monday.Ryan Burns had been practicing for weeks on a (car) video game, and it was both Ryans’ first crack at Laguna Seca.Even Brasscannons and I still get excited like little kids at the chance to ride around Laguna – a perfectly groomed paradise, clear skies, temps in the 70s… pinch me.Also, we MO VIPs got the chance to rub shoulders in the pits and on the track with Randy Mamola , Ben Spies , Jake Zemke , and a host of luminaries… MO contributor Mark Miller, ladies and gentlemen, with Aprilia facilitator Shane Pacillo.On our way home the next day, a guy at a gas stop eyeballed us in our leathers and balled-up Pirellis and wanted to know who’d won?I had to admit it was yours truly, but a blast was had by all.Ryan Burns claimed to have been hanging with me and Ryan Adams when I was on the Duke 790 , but in the last session when he was poised to make his move, the low-fuel light on the Tuono came on just as he was about to enter the track.Drat!Better luck next year, kid.My precious baby giving the BMW S1000R the whip in turn 5.Veni, vidi vici . Yes, the puck was dragged.Brasfield’s Duke 790 was outgunned on the track, but I got past him on a borrowed V4 Panigale when he was riding my BMW . Does that count?Tuner to the stars Joey Lombardo and fast guy of all trades Jeremy Toye, currently pimpin’ racy Ninja 400Rs . Former Dirt Rider magazine guy Corey Neuer and fast guy/hooligan Frankie Garcia.Tuesday morning we were up with the chickens, literally, and after a few hours of packing and eating and, ahhh – what were we doing?  – were headed south down California Highway 1.Of all the places I’ve been so very fortunate to ride around the world, I don’t think I’d trade Highway 1 for any of them.Nacimiento-Fergusson Road climbs up from Highway 1 not too far south of Monterey.The video, however, must go on, and after quite a few stops Sean Matic shot his full, final measure in the fading light in the quaint little beach town of Cayucos – 245.4 miles north of Casa Burns.I knew it would be a long day, but… Here the Ryan Millennials try to figure out how to turn on the Ducati’s heated grips and fail.Seems they need to be activated by the dealer using the Ducati Dealer Service tool.As soon as we climbed the entrance ramp to 101 South, a giant low-hanging full moon filled our faceshields.I hit the button to put my grip heaters on high, set the cruise control at 85 mph, and kind of wished I had a little more windshield.It was pretty dang chilly.Pretty, pretty chilly… so I pulled into Los Alamos only 70 miles later not for gas, but because our pal Jimbo lives there, and would put us up for the night if we needed it.Ryan Adams said he was so cold in his perforated Rev’It suit that he was trying to bloat his body as much as possible to plug the holes and keep air from coming in.Ryan Burns can be a delicate flower, and I asked him if he was cold?Should we stay here for the night with Uncle Jimmy? “No, I’m good.I’m having fun, let’s keep going.” I did not expect that.Everybody added a layer or two and soldiered on, and when we got past Point Concepcion and back to the ocean half an hour later (where I thought it would get even colder), the air temp rose about ten degrees and it was in fact just about as perfect as motorcycle rides get, rolling along under a big copper moon reflecting off the dark Pacific waves.For the first time, I was using my new Cardo communicator system to listen to music.Fly me to the moon, let me soar among the stars, etc. , all the way home.All five of us in our own little worlds, together.The beauty of our late arrival was that there was no need to lane-split across LA to get to our Orange County homestead.The kid and I hit the Del Taco drive-through, clinked Carlsberg cans upon our arrival home at 12:30 am, waited for our synapses to quit buzzing for about an hour – and slept like logs.I think the kid will remember this weekend when he’s sat atop the Corkscrew 30 years from now.I like to think I’ll be there, too, in one form or another. . The post MO Does World Superbike Weekend Monterey! appeared first on Motorcycle.com .'

MO Tested: Factory Pro Shift Kit Review

MC Motorcycle.com

MO Tested: Factory Pro Shift Kit Review A simple fix for lazy shifting more
'KTM released the 790 Duke as a 2019 model in the U.S., but it was available to much of the rest of the world for a year longer.In that time, reports of shifting issues have circulated among Duke owners.While some riders report false neutrals between the higher gears, others have said that, although the quickshifter cuts the ignition, the shift occasionally doesn’t happen.Factory Pro has seen this before, calling the issue lazy shifting, and has created a kit to almost completely resolve the matter on a wide variety of motorcycles, including the 790 Duke.However, to understand what makes this kit special, we first need to discuss how a motorcycle changes gears.   2019 KTM 790 Duke Review – First Ride Live With This: 2019 KTM 790 Duke Long-Term Review Motorcycle gearboxes allow for sequential shifting only, meaning you can only shift into the next higher or lower gear.When you toe the shift lever, it rotates the shift drum, which, through the use of channels in its surface, slides the shift forks from side-to-side.The shift forks are responsible for moving the gear sets within the transmission to their appropriate position to engage their dogs with the openings in neighboring gears.This determines which gears freewheel and which deliver power to the output shaft and the rear wheel.Precise rotation of the shift drum is required for a successful up/downshift.To facilitate this, a shift star with detents for the correct location of each gear is located at the end of the shift drum.A spring-loaded detent arm assists in the location of the drum for each gear by assuring that the roller on the arm moves completely into the star’s detent.The difference between the OEM detent arm (top) and the Factory Pro one is pretty obvious.Where the stock roller has a bushing, the Shift Kit’s reduces rolling friction with a ceramic bearing.Overkill?Maybe, but very trick nonetheless.In a lazy shifting transmission, the detent arm is not completely rotating the shift drum into position, leading to missed shifts.The Factory Pro Shift Kit consists of a detent arm with a special low-friction ceramic bearing in the roller plus a beefier spring.The effect of the kit is to more forcefully rotate the shift star (and hence the shift drum) into position after the roller passes the tip of the star.In case you were wondering why the clutch basket has to be removed, the detent arm and shift star are at the top left.Installation takes about 1.5 hours but may be beyond the scope of many home mechanics since it necessitates that the clutch basket be removed and requires a special tool to hold the basket in position while it is being torqued back in place.Aside from the shift kit, you’ll most likely need a new clutch cover gasket to complete this project.We turned to our friends at Wrench Motorcycle Service in Los Angeles to perform the work.Since the oil needs to be dumped, you might as well wait until you need to change it.While the engine was open, we compared the OEM detent arm/spring to the Factory Pro one, and the differences were striking.The Factory Pro spring is noticeably beefier, and the stock roller has significant internal friction compared to the Shift Kit’s ceramic bearings.With the clutch removed, replacing the detent arm is easy.When the engine was buttoned up, the more precise shifting was apparent from the first lift of the lever.However, that could just have been the placebo effect.So, we tested the Factory Pro Shift Kit for 900 miles of riding that ranged from around town to canyon thrashes to a track day at Laguna Seca.In all those miles, there were only two missed shifts from fifth into sixth, and those could have been operator error.They were both on the front straight at Laguna, and it is possible in at least one of those instances of my toe not letting the lever fully return between shifts.Also, instead of the false neutral previously encountered there, the transmission simply didn’t upshift.Before installing the kit, I would occasionally miss an upshift on canyon rides and around town.In my extended time with the Duke, I only hit the fifth-to-sixth false neutral two times (both times at full-throttle at a track day) prior to the kit.While the difference in spring diameter is visible to the naked eye, the Factory Pro spring is 2.5mm versus 2.33 for the OEM one.In my opinion, the installation of the Factory Pro Shift Kit is an unqualified success, making it well worth the $140 price for the kit – particularly for those who have more frequent missed shifts.However, there is one drawback that you need to consider: Installation of the kit will likely void your warranty.That’s a big deal for some and not so for others, but you should go into this modification with your eyes open.You can find the list of motorcycles that the Shift Kit is compatible with on the Factory Pro website .   The Factory Pro detent arm slots right into place and is ready to do your bidding – without missed shifts. . The post MO Tested: Factory Pro Shift Kit Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com .'

Best Motorcycle Airbag Jackets

MC Motorcycle.com

Best Motorcycle Airbag Jackets The latest rage in safety advancements for motorcyclists is airbag technology, and for good reason: it can dramatically reduce the severity of injuries more
'The latest rage in safety advancements for motorcyclists is airbag technology, and for good reason: it can dramatically reduce the severity of injuries during a crash.Obviously, nothing is 100% guaranteed to keep you from getting hurt (or worse) when you go down, but airbags have shown how effective they are in cars.Now, the tech is slowly trickling down to motorcycles.Here we’ve compiled a list of airbag jackets from various manufacturers to give you a better landscape of what’s available and what they protect – primarily the collarbones, vital organs, ribs, and back.Some even go so far as to cradle the neck.The triggering is provided either by a tether or electronic sensors.Here they are in alphabetical order.Alpinestars Tech Air Race Vest – $1150 Alpinestars Tech Air Race Airbag System is a state-of-the-art, tether-free airbag protection system designed to be used with Alpinestars Tech Air Race prepared riding gear.The onboard computer system uses Alpinestars’ proprietary algorithms to process the information gathered by the vest’s accelerometers and gyroscope.Should the system sense a crash, it can trigger and fully inflate the airbag in 45 milliseconds, providing comprehensive protection to the rider’s full back, shoulders, kidney area and chest.The Tech Air is ready to go right out of the box – no need to install sensors on the bike or go through a complicated pairing process.Simply install the vest in a compatible jacket or race suit and go ride.The Tech Air Race comes preloaded with Alpinestars racing algorithms—the same algorithms used in MotoGP and WSBK– which are designed to detect the crashes typical of closed course competition.In this configuration, the system only uses one of its two charges at a time, saving the remaining charge for a second deployment.The vest is immediately ready to deploy its second charge.So, if you and your bike are able to continue the race, you won’t have to do it unprotected.If remounting a crashed bike to chase a precious few championship points isn’t exactly your style, the vest can be set to deploy both charges simultaneously for a quicker inflation.Due to its larger size, the 2XL size vest will always deploy both charges at once to ensure it is fully inflated in the same time as the smaller vests.The Race Vest is also compatible with Alpinestars’ street software settings, for use during typical sport, touring, and adventure riding.In addition to being better suited to detecting street crashes, which typically involve a second vehicle, the street configuration fires both charges at the same time, lowering the deployment time to just 25 milliseconds.Users can quickly switch between race and street modes using a PC (no Mac compatibility, yet) loaded with Alpinestars Tech Air Connect software.The Street Vest is NOT compatible with the Race algorithms.Shop for the Alpinestars Tech Air Race Vest here Alpinestars Missile Air Leather Jacket For Tech Air Race – $600 There are several Alpinestars jackets that are tailored for the Tech Air Race system, and the Missile is one such example.Wearing the traditional sport-like fit and aesthetic, the jacket itself is constructed of premium race-grade 1.3 mm genuine cow leather, punctuated with strategically-placed accordion stretch gussets and stretch fabric panels to allow for maximum mobility on the motorcycle.CE certified Alpinestars GP-R protectors and external sliders at the joints make the Missile ready for a high speed slide, while localized perforation and an airflow-optimized back hump ensure you stay cool during the ride.Shop for the Alpinestars Missile Air Leather Jacket For Tech Air Race here Alpinestars Tech Air Street Vest – $1150 A common misconception is that the Tech Air Airbag system is comprised of one vest worn under any jacket or suit.This is not the case.As you can see in the two listings above, there are actually two vests – the Race and the Street.Both have very similar hardware, though they operate on slightly different software.With the Street vest, the ever-vigilant ACU is able to detect that things are going awry within 30-60 milliseconds, even when hit from behind at a stop light.It then triggers the dual argon inflator charges, fully inflating the system’s airbag in 25 milliseconds.After deployment, the Tech-Air compatible jacket can still be worn for the rest of the ride, taking advantage of the built in CE level 2 back protector.Then the Tech Air Street Airbag Vest system can be easily removed from the jacket and sent to Alpinestars for repair.In the Tech Air Street Vest, you are always protected.Whether you are carving canyons, putting in long miles on the interstates on a Goldwing, railing down a fire road on a GS or commuting to work on your trusty scooter, the Tech Air has your back.Shop for the Alpinestars Tech Air Street Vest here Alpinestars Yaguara Jacket For Tech Air Street – $650 Like the Missile jacket above, the Alpinestars Yaguara Jacket for Tech Air Street expands the number of jackets that will take the Tech Air Street Vest.With a Drystar waterproof membrane laminated into the shell with 8 ventilation zippers, the Yaguara Jacket is versatile to adjust to changing conditions.CE level 2 armor at the elbows and shoulders comes standard.Add in CE rated chest and back armor to complete your typical street-oriented protection.Max out the Alpinestars Yaguara Jacket protection by adding in the Tech Air Street Vest.Shop for the Alpinestars Yaguara Jacket For Tech Air Street here Dainese Carve Master 2 D-Air Gore-Tex Jacket – $1550 The Dainese Carve Master 2 D-Air Gore-Tex Jacket combines touring features and track technology for a feature packed jacket that can tackle inclement weather as well as provide air bag protection.Mugello and 3D Stone fabric combine to create a shell that moves freely while still holding up to abrasion and regular wear and tear.A Gore-Tex waterproof membrane is laminated directly to the shell to cut down on bulk.A removable thermal liner holds in heat while strategically placed vents flow some air as the weather improves.Shop for the Dainese Carve Master 2 D-Air Gore-Tex Jacket here Dainese Smart Jacket – $700 The Dainese Smart Jacket brings Dainese’s MotoGP experience to a standalone airbag vest that you can wear in a variety of situations.D-air airbag technology distilled down into a vest (sleeveless jacket) that can be folded and easily stored in a bag, top box or backpack.Wear the Smart Jacket over or under any jacket or outfit.Its sensors and activation does not rely on a specific shell to house the technology so you can wear the device with your leather track suit or your birthday suit (not recommended). A complex algorithm recognizes when you’re in danger so it can inflate the airbag post-haste to protect your back, chest and vital parts; no tether to your motorcycle is required.Put on the Smart Jacket, secure its fasteners, and you will be protected for 26 hours on a fully charged battery.The Dainese Smart Jacket uses seven sensors to analyze data at 1,000 times per second so the vest will be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.MotoGP airbag protection can now protect the common rider outside of the professional paddock.Shop for the Dainese Smart Jacket here Helite Turtle Airbag Vest – $660-$680 If you don’t want to invest in electronic airbags, or simply want an airbag vest to wear over your existing gear, the Helite Turtle Airbag Vest offers the highest level of rider safety.The lightweight vest protects riders’ spine and vital organs due to its revolutionary design, incorporating a back protector on top of the airbag that disperses impact forces across the vest instead of concentrated in one spot.With its mechanical trigger and lead system, there are no delicate sensors to fail or batteries to replace.Simply connect the lead to your vest and bike and go.When the rider is ejected from the motorcycle in the event of an accident, the trigger is pulled and the vest inflates, creating a rigid neck brace as well as firm support to the spine, back, chest, ribs, and kidneys.Shop for the Helite Turtle Airbag Vest here Helite Free-Air Mesh Airbag Jacket – $940 Not just a company that makes airbag vests to wear over other jackets, Helite also makes its own gear with the airbag incorporated into it, like the Helite Free-Air Airbag Jacket.The Helite Free-Air Vented Airbag Jacket is equipped with Helite’s patented Turtle Airbag technology.It has a 600D Cordura exterior with mesh panels for maximum airflow.The Free-Air Airbag Jacket includes a removable waterproof rain liner for those cold, wet riding days.The rain liner is fleece-lined with no connecting points to the jacket.The jacket comes equipped with Level 2 CE approved Komine shoulder and elbow protectors.Shop for the Helite Free-Air Mesh Airbag Jacket here Hit Air Motorrad-2 Mesh airbag jacket – $590 The Hit Air jacket uses CE certified armor to protect the shoulders, elbows and the spine but most importantly, the Hit Air jacket also incorporates an airbag system.In the event of an accident and a rider is thrown from the motorcycle, the airbag instantly inflates (within 0.25 second) to protect the rider’s body.Activation is simple and automatic; A coiled wire is attached to both the motorcycle and the jacket.Once the rider and the motorcycle are separated, the coiled wire pulls a key out of a gas release system and inert gas inflates the air cushion.The inflated jacket provides the necessary impact protection.After a few seconds the gas is automatically released through the gas release valve.Shop for the Hit Air Motorrad-2 Mesh Airbag Jacket here Merlin Integrated Airbag – $500 The Merlin Integrated Airbag snaps onto selected Merlin Jackets to provide Level 2 protection to your neck, spine and tailbone.The Airbag inflates in 80 millseconds when the CO2 canister is activated.For those interested, Merlin also makes a universal version of its airbag that fits over most jackets.Shop for the Merlin Integrated Airbag here Merlin Horizon 3-In-1 Jacket – $350 If you’re looking to pair the Merlin Integrated Airbag with a specific garment, the Merlin Horizon Jacket is one of a few options.It is ready for whatever roads you decide to ride and whatever weather rises up to greet you. 3-in-1 interchangeable layers allow you to personalize the interior for changing weather conditions.Airbag sold separately.Shop for the Merlin Horizon 3-In-1 Jacket here Spidi Air DPS Airbag Vest – $700 The Spidi Air Airbag Vest protects your neck, ribs and spine in case of a get-off.The airbag inflation is triggered via a tethered cord in 200 milliseconds once activated.Wear the Spidi Air DPS Airbag Vest over your motorcycle gear for everyday riding protection.Shop for the Spidi Air DPS Airbag Vest here We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products.We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews.Learn more about how this works . . 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Best Motorcycle Hard Bags

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Best Motorcycle Hard Bags While there’s something to be said about the convenience and cost-effectiveness of being able to toss a set of soft luggage on your motorcycle when you more
'While there’s something to be said about the convenience and cost-effectiveness of being able to toss a set of soft luggage on your motorcycle when you need it, the time comes when you realize that what you really need is a set of hard bags.Since they are bolted or locked to your motorcycle, they are significantly more secure from theft.Then there’s the weatherproofness that can’t be matched by soft luggage.If you’ve done any extensive touring on your motorcycle, you’ve most likely encountered the disappointment of opening your soft luggage to find that you didn’t have it securely closed before that last rain storm, and now, you’ve got to find a laundromat to dry all your clothes.So, you’ve decided to invest in some hard luggage, but don’t know where to start.Well, you’ve come to the right place.First, you should be aware that the cases and their mounting brackets are often sold separately.So, be prepared.OEM Accessory Bags A great place to start is your bike manufacturer’s accessory parts guide.When you buy from the OEM you can be sure that the bags will fit without modification, the paint color will match, and you might even be able to get them keyed to your ignition.You’d be surprised how many bikes actually have factory bags designed for them.Givi Givi is known for manufacturing a wide variety of hard bags.From the boxy items favored by the adventure touring set to swoopier cases to match sportier machinery.They frequently have matching top boxes, too.So, take a look at what Givi has to offer.Shop for Givi Monokey V35 Side Cases here DrySpec H35 A-Lock Waterproof 35L Side Case Set If you want hard bags that you can use on and off your motorcycle, take a gander at the DrySpec H35 A-Lock Waterproof 35L Side Case Set.These cases are constructed of 3/16 inch thick resin walls with 18 gauge stainless steel mounting locks.They’re even IP67 & MIL-STD-810F submersible rated for those water crossings you may encounter.Your gear will remain safe, thanks to the case locks, but if you travel with them, the Man can still look inside by using their TSA keys.The DrySpec bags are compatible with SW-MOTECH and Givi luggage racks.Shop for DrySpec H35 A-Lock Waterproof 35L Side Cases here Viking Bags Viking bags are clearly designed for the cruiser set, and they offer hard saddlebags for nine different motorcycle manufacturers, including all the major American and Japanese marques.Viking’s Lamellar line of bags feature tough, hardshell construction that is available in matte, painted, or leather-wrapped exteriors.The locking bags are weather-tight and come with the hardware required for mounting to the model-specific versions.Shop for Viking Lamellar Bags here Champion Motorcycle Hard Bags While many motorcyclists may associate the Champion name with the line of trikes the company builds, Champion also sells made-to-order fiberglass bags for the cruiser market.Each bag comes pre-drilled with all the mounting hardware necessary for the application.Water-tight gaskets keep your belongings dry, while chrome locks keep them safe.Champion bags are available in paint-ready primer or gloss-white or black.Shop for Champion Motorcycle Hard Bags here Shad Shad offers a variety of universal-fit bags in sizes ranging from 23 liters all the way up to 36 liters, which is big enough to swallow a 2XL helmet.Their thermoplastic design insures weatherproofness, and their styles emphasize aerodynamic appearance.Of course the bags are lockable and each pair ships with an extra lockset to allow you to use a single key should you buy a Shad tail bag.Shad has mounting racks available for a wide range of motorcycles.Shop for Shad Side Cases here SW-MOTECH TraX Adventure riders are quite familiar with SW-MOTECH hard bags.These things are just about indestructible.From their robot-welded seams to the no-pierce riveting, every care is taken to make sure that the TraX panniers can go the distance.TraX Adventure cases are capped with corner reinforcements and feature heavy-duty stainless steel latches.The lids are quick-release detachable and feature two grab handles.The bags are available in sizes ranging from 37 liters to a whopping 45 liters.Shop for SW-MOTECH TraX hard bags here Hepco & Becker German manufacturer Hepco & Becker produces a wide variety of cases for several different riding markets.Ranging from ABS plastic construction to a ABS/aluminum combo, Hepco & Becker saddlebags cover just about every motorcycle activity you can think of.For example, the rugged Xplorer cases have become one of Hepco & Becker’s top selling products since being introduced only a couple years ago.They are made of 1.5 mm thick anodized aluminum and ABS plastic to combine the best of both worlds.The aluminum has been anodized to prevent corrosion especially when putting wet items in the case.The plastic has been designed to absorb impacts.The angled structure of the cases provide for enhanced strength and durability.A clever lid hinge makes it so that you can remove the lid completely if needed making this is a top loader case that folds up to 90° for maximum access.Shop for Hepco & Becker hard cases here We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products.We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews.Learn more about how this works . . 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