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Our Member Tested program puts the best gear in the hands of real riders who give real reviews. You'll hear the good, the bad and the ugly about all the gear they have tested. But when it is over, you will know you can buy the best piece of equipment that is durable enough for MOA members. All product reviews must come from an active member (at the time of submission) and should include photos of the product being installed or used in some way. Drop an email to wfleming [at] bmwmoa [dot] org with your idea for a review or your completed review. Thanks!

 

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KLIM Artemis Suit

Posted By Colleen Sepulveda #108960, Friday, March 15, 2019

I owned two KLIM outfits before purchasing the KLIM Artemis suit and have found the evolution of the product amazing, with effective modifications made to the suit based on customer feedback.

In addition to my daily rides, I make many long-distance treks across the country, and my gear has to handle temperature extremes and precipitation challenges with grace and efficiency. Additionally, because what I wear is also part of my work presentation, it has to look professional and stylish as well. The KLIM Artemis fits the bill nicely.

The Artemis is a two-piece suit, cut specifically for the female form. Because the gear isn’t heavy or bulky, it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing state-of-the-art protective gear. While riding, I can reach forward comfortably with adequate room in the shoulders, and the leg bend allows me to sit in any position on the bike that fits my needs. The gear works equally well on track training days as it does while riding to get coffee.

My original Artemis suit was in the gray and red color combination, but when the airlines lost my luggage, I had to replace the suit. My replacement gear is in the tan and high-visibility color which is my absolute favorite. Many people compliment me on the suit color and the fit.

The fit is crucial in protective gear. Adjustments for the jacket are located in the collar, upper and lower elbow area (to keep the armor in place), wrist, waist, hip opening, and lower hemline. The pants can be adjusted for comfort in the waist, below the knee (armor placement retention) and at the hem. The amount of variation in straps and closures allows a correct fit to your body to provide both comfort and effective protection.

I have ridden about 15,000 miles in the suit. My first long ride was from Santa Cruz, California, to Des Moines, Iowa, last summer for the MOA National Rally. The suit was comfortable right out of the box without any true break-in period. During that ride, I found and operated the vent zippers easily while riding, which made the hot temperatures almost comfortable to endure. The vents really made me love the suit even more, simply because there are extra vents in extremely effective places!

The pants have the same vents as previous KLIM suits. There is a long vertical vent at the front of the thigh and a corresponding long vent to the rear of the thigh. This allows a robust airflow through the rider’s upper leg area. The jacket is where the new vents are. First, the standard chest vent runs vertically near the jacket zipper. There is also a bicep vent on each arm. A new set of vents was added to the chest area a horizontally from under the armpit to the jacket zipper, effectively cooling the lower rib area. KLIM added another vent in the forearm area. When the forearm and the bicep vents are both open, the airflow from wrist to shoulder is divine. Don’t mistake the forearm zipper for a pocket because you’ll be missing out on the benefits of that additional opening. There is a set of exhaust vents to allow air to pass through and out the back of the jacket.

If you like pockets, this suit is for you. The pants have very deep and usable waterproof pockets on both thighs between the air vents. The jacket has two hand-warmer pockets with a flap, a bicep pocket on the right arm, an emergency info pocket on the left forearm, and a large pocket on the back of the jacket below the waist. Inside pockets on the jacket include two large pockets below the waist and a chest pocket with a cord slot for audio devices and earbuds. All jacket pockets are waterproof.

The suit colors are bold and very visible to other roadway users in the daylight, especially the tan and high-vis combination. For low-light riding situations, retro-reflective accents are located near the collarbone on the front and rear of the jacket along with side reflectors on the shoulders and tricep area. The pants have reflective accents on each thigh and calf area.

I found the suit to be waterproof even during very heavy downpours that lasted hours. As long as my clothing wasn’t exposed and wicking water in, I stayed dry within the suit. Thirty miles of moderate snowfall on the way to Calgary didn’t compromise the protection of the Gore-Tex, either. While riding from Mexico to Calgary over the Labor Day weekend, the Artemis handled 110-degree heat as well as it did during a long and memorable, early morning ride over the Canadian Rockies with temperatures between 23 and 29 degrees. The suit doesn’t have an insulated liner so layering my riding clothes provided all of the temperature adjustments that I needed. The Artemis jacket and pants also zip together to provide full coverage in the event of an unexpected get-off.

I’m very pleased with the performance of the KLIM Artemis suit. It is functional, adaptable, protective, stylish and comfortable, and the designers talk to real riders to implement effective tweaks to enhance our riding experience.

If I could change anything, I would add a bit more room in the crotch area for swinging a leg over the bike. I would also tweak the forearm vent so it would remain open and catch moving air even more effectively. If the sleeve moves, the opening sometimes closes a bit and blocks air from entering the vent. When it is operating efficiently, the angels sing!

If you are in the market for a new women’s riding suit, the Klim Artemis suit is well-worth your consideration, no matter what type of riding conditions you may face.

The KLIM Artemis women’s jacket retails for $699.99, while the women’s pants retail for $549.99. For more information, visit klim.com.

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REV’IT! Stratos GTX touring gloves

Posted By Admins, Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The REV’IT! Stratos GTX glove is a three-season, gauntlet-style touring glove designed to shed water and battle cold weather.

The gloves feature goat skin palms with goat skin and 330D Cordura construction incorporating SEESOFT knuckle protectors and EVA foam offering protection on the heel of the palm, fingers and thumb. A Thinsulate G fleece liner adds warmth while a Gore-Tex liner provides waterproofing and breathability. The gloves do not offer touch screen sensitivity but do feature a visor/nose wipe on the sides of both the right and left index fingers.

The most unique feature of the Stratos GTX glove is its closure mechanism enabling the rider to cinch the glove tight with one hand. To close the glove, a rider pulls the cuff flap to the outside to pull a thin nylon strap to snug the glove and then pulls the cuff flap the opposite direction to secure the cuff down with Velcro.

MSRP for the REV’IT! Stratos GTX gloves is $159.99, and they are available in sizes from small to 4XL.

Attendees at recent MOA Getaways in Tomah, Wisconsin, and Kerrville, Texas, were given an opportunity to test a pair of the Stratos GTX gloves. Members Almir Besic and Gavin Harrison share their thoughts below.

Almir says...

Overall, I liked the gloves. They were little too warm for the 50-60 degree day we had, so I had to remove them early morning. I would have preferred a size smaller than the size XL I tested.

The gloves felt very soft and comfortable and were nicely ergonomically shaped. The precurved fingers made it easier to grip the handlebar, and they were easy to get on and off. The gloves feature a rather unique closing system, but I liked it after using it couple of times.

The Stratos gloves seem to be very well made, with nice seams and nothing to bother me by creating rubbing points on the inside. The protection seemed to be adequate and comparable to other gloves I’ve seen or tried on before.

Gavin says...

I’ve had only a day to review these gloves so far, but there are several things that stand out to me in the initial wash.

A hybrid leather and textile design renders a glove that is still sleek while being protective in likely impact points. The stitching is smooth and doesn’t create pressure points at the fingers though Euro sizing indicates that you might want to start up one size if you possess thick fingers. The leather allows for good feel and sensation, and though you won’t be picking a dime off the counter with them, adjusting my Sena COMM system and manipulating jacket zippers was easy. The gloves also afford fair weather protection while still allowing good penetration of warmth to your frosty digits from grip heaters (it was pretty chilly the first morning of testing). As a test, I held the glove to allow wind into the cuff until my fingers were cold. Then, I activated the heated grips which yielded toasty fingers in about a minute using Oxford grip heaters.

The most interesting piece for me is what I’ve come to expect from REV’IT: innovation. When you put on the glove, you pull the cuff away to open it and fit it over your jacket, this then activates two cinch points that automatically tighten the glove around your wrist. Then you fold back over the cuff and your jacket and you’re ready to ride. There is a release strap built into the system, both are easily intuitive. The closest analogy for this is a couple of pairs of my Teva sandals where activating the main buckle cinches everything.

I wasn’t able to test them for water resistance today (thankfully) but given the proven capabilities of GORE-TEX, I imagine this won’t be an issue.

I would consider these to be two and a half season gloves here in Texas, as I wouldn’t want to wear them much past 60 degrees F. With my testing so far, I can see a pair of these to go with my REV’IT jacket if I can ever get it back from my son!

Tags:  gloves  MemberTested  REV'IT 

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Wunderbar! Straight talk about a meaningful upgrade for the R 1200 RS (2014+)

Posted By Mark Hearon #209373, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Over the last couple years, I’ve wondered how many folks bought (or considered buying) the R 1200 RS and either didn’t, or worse yet – did and have never gone far afield with it due to concerns over long-distance comfort. If you’ve sat on the bike, then you know it’s no R 1200 RT. Neither is it an S 1000 RR. In its stock form, the bike sits in the Goldilocks zone of comfort for me. That being said, Wunderlich has created a solution that seems poised to remove any lingering doubts about the R 1200 RS becoming the sporty touring bike of your dreams.

After a 2,500-mile motorcycle camping trip in the Rockies last year with the stock steering yoke installed, I was convinced I already had the perfect bike. When I undertook this review project, I honestly thought I would be raising awareness about a product for those who prioritize comfort more than I. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize what I was missing until I installed this thing on my bike!

My wife, who recently purchased a G 310 GS as her first motorcycle, has been kind enough to let me perform an informal analysis of her bike’s ergonomics against mine with the Wunderlich straight bar conversion kit installed. Folks, I have to say, my R 1200 RS feels like a GS now. Considering my bike is classified as a sport bike on BMW’s website, I feel like I’m cheating and I love it.

A 600-mile trip up to the Ouachita National Forest for some camping in early May further confirmed what a couple of weeks of commuting and backroad blasting had already begun to reveal: adequate as the bike is from the showroom, this straight bar makes a huge difference on the ergonomic front.

From a functional/performance perspective, I noticed a little less front-end feel while taking the Talimena Scenic Byway at a spirited pace. I attribute this to being more upright in the saddle. In the twisties, if I needed a little more lean angle, the increased width of the bar made course corrections ridiculously easy, even with full panniers and a 35-liter dry bag on the pillion. Score one for leverage!

In the city, I’ve found the R 1200 RS maneuvers far more easily in tight spaces with the Wunderlich bar installed. A common complaint with the stock R 1200 RS is that it’s difficult to ride in urban settings. Although I’ve never felt this to be a shortcoming of the bike, I’ve nevertheless noticed I’m moving about with greater ease now than before.

When it comes to the bar kit’s components, fit and finish wise, the texture and color of the bar is virtually identical to that of the stock yoke. Nobody will be able to tell a difference – unless you decide to use the mounting hardware provided with the Wunderlich bar kit.

The stock bolts for my bike are silver-colored, whereas the bolts provided by Wunderlich are black, which is a bit of a miss if you ask me. Thankfully, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.

The etched Wunderlich logo is small, unobtrusive, and positioned out of view. If you’re like me and don’t like logos all over your machine, you’ll consider that a plus. Also, Wunderlich added hash marks that guide the user when selecting different levels of adjustability for the bar. Given the bar represents an ergonomic upgrade to begin with, guiding users to a more bespoke fit is a thoughtful touch that I appreciated greatly.

Installation of the bar requires more than a little patience. The instructions assume you know more than you might, and although I was ultimately successful, I still found the exercise a bit tedious due to vague illustrations and a lack of written steps. For what Wunderlich charges for this kit, I’m more than a little disappointed a list of required tools to perform the job wasn’t provided. There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as getting to a critical moment in the installation process and realizing you have to go to the hardware store to buy a missing tool.

For your convenience, you’ll need the following:

  • T 8 bit
  • T 20 bit
  • T 30 bit
  • T 45 bit
  • 13mm socket
  • Ratchet(s) for the above
  • Needle-nosed pliers (to help unplug electrical connections inside the handlebar switches)

A meaningful functional upgrade, the Wunderlich Handlebar Conversion for the R 1200 RS isn’t leaving my bike any time soon. Never one to shy away from a pun, it’s definitely wunderbar!

If you’re not brimming with confidence, have a low tolerance for faffery, or simply aren’t eager to install the kit yourself, consider giving your local dealer a little business. Otherwise, the installation process should (excluding hardware store runs) only take 60-90 minutes.

Details:

  • Handlebar Conversion R1200 RS: $546.95
  • Pros: Fit and finish | Ergo-tastic
  • Cons: Cost | Installation Instructions | Cost
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Website: wunderlichamerica.com

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Wunderlich Windscreen for K 1600 GTL

Posted By Jerry McGaha #182493, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wind protection on a touring motorcycle can make or break a nice ride. I believe there are two key conditions by which to consider your equipment in this area: solo and two-up riding.

My yardstick for measuring wind comfort is based on the late 1970s and early ‘80s Windjammer fairings. Granted, they were big, not so pretty and expensive, but they offered unparalleled comfort behind the screen. You could smoke a cigar or drink a cup of coffee at 60 miles per hour in the calm bubble they provided.

The K 1600 GTL is a little disappointing in the wind protection department when compared those Windjammers. Granted, the bike shines in so many different ways outside of wind protection it is easy to forgive these shortcomings.

Back to the two prime use cases, riding as a single rider and riding with a passenger. In my case my passenger just happens to be my wife of 33 years, and it’s kind of important to make the ride comfortable for her.

The K16 has an electrically adjustable windshield. In the lowest position, it lowers all the way down to the cowl and secures the GPS. It can then be raised about six inches to the topmost position. When I am riding alone, I will raise the windscreen to about one or two inches below my line of sight. This position effectively pushes the air up and over my helmet, provides nice bug protection, and gives a very nice view of the road.

When riding two up, I will raise the windscreen to between 60 and 80 percent of maximum height to provide improved wind protection for my wife sitting in the big Beemer’s stadium rear seat. In this position, I am looking through the windscreen at about the screen’s mid-point. Fully raised, the stock windscreen buffeted so badly that neither of us were very happy.

During the MOA Getaway at Fontana, North Carolina, in April, I got a chance to check out the Wunderlich model 35380-101-ANB Touring windscreen, the tinted and vented Wunderlich windscreen for my bike. A clear version is available and both tinted and clear are available with or without the vent. I installed the new windscreen in the Fontana Resort parking lot with a single T25 Torx in about 10 minutes. I think it took longer to remove the bubble wrap than the actual installation.

The first thing you notice is the improved looks for the bike. Wow! The tinted screen really brings out the black trim on the bike and matches my black Wunderlich protection bars beautifully! Huge improvement in the looks department, and the fit and finish of the polycarbonate material seems excellent.

I’ve been running the new Wunderlich screen for about two weeks now both with and without my passenger. I can say without a doubt, the single rider wind protection is far superior to the OEM screen. The Wunderlich is significantly wider at the mid-point, and this manifests in much less wind on the shoulders and upper body for the rider. Setting the height at my normal one to two inches over the sight line gives me a much improved overall experience than the OEM screen.

For my passenger, the story is a little different. Raising the screen to between half and three-quarters height like normal provided no significant improvement over the OEM model. Buffeting is still terrible at the full height level and after playing with several set points from single rider low to full up position, I could find no sweet spot. In this two-up position, I am looking through the windscreen and found the tinting to be a nice gradient level. Not too dark and not too light, which actually surprised me as I thought it might hinder my visibility.

Lastly, the included vent. All the notes above were with the vent in the closed position. On a particularly warm April day, I opened the vent and found the air flow to be very nice! Much better than I anticipated. The April air was cool, and the flow through the vent was controllable and pleasant. Overall a nice touch for this screen design and I think worth the extra bucks.

All in all, the Wunderlich screen is beautiful addition for this bike. Single rider protection is a marked improvement. Two-up riding is not significantly better, but for sure no worse either. Unfortunately, a little internet research tells me this particular screen has been discontinued by Wunderlich in favor of an improved design to prevent a whistling from the vent. In my experience this screen has had no problems regarding whistling. There is a height adjustment point that causes excessive wobble of the radio antenna, but with a little up or down adjustment, this issue goes away.

Website: wunderlichamerica.com

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Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring Seat for R 1200 GS Adventure (2013+)

Posted By Jerry Maye #207700, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Just before writing this review of the Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring seat for my R 1200 GS Adventure, I completed a 7,000-mile, 30-day trip to Canada and Mexico before returning to my home in Louisiana. All of my miles were on the OEM seat, and I occasionally rode more than 500 miles in a day.

At the MOA Getaway in Tomah, Wisconsin, last fall I was able to demo this Sargent seat. During my ride on that Saturday, I put 148 miles on the seat, which included about 40 miles off-road. Because it rained most of the day, our ride took us onto slick, wet concrete, wet gravel, clay, and some hard-packed dirt and sand.

Installing the seat was easy, and at six feet, five inches tall, I only tested the high seat position. Because the Sargent seat is wider and almost an inch longer than the stock seat, I had to remove the passenger seat to be able to lock the Sargent into place. Once this was done, it was simple to press down on the rear of the Sargent seat and then replace the OEM passenger seat. Done in two minutes.

I measured the Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring seat to be 1.3 inches wider at the front and 3.7 inches wider in the back compared to the stock seat. I found this extra width to be wonderful, and it gave me more confidence when gripping the seat with my knees when standing and offered more support when sitting.

I found the firmness of the Sargent seat to be about the same as the stock seat. Perhaps because the Sargent seat is wider, it offered a more comfortable feeling than the stock seat, which tends to get hard on my tail bone after 100 or so miles. After my ride, I found that I wasn't as fatigued with the Sargent seat.

I don't think the Sargent seat needed breaking in. The gel used in the Sargent seemed to reduce vibration, specifically when riding long distances on highways, and I believe that my tail bone didn't feel any pressure or needed rest.

I moved around on the seat by shifting my weight forward and backward and by standing on the pegs and found the Sargent to be about as comfortable as sitting at the dinner table. Additionally, I found that when I was standing, it was much easier to grip the tank with my knees, which made me feel more relaxed.

During my ride, I could feel the stock rear seat on my lower back-side butt area since the Sargent seat sits lower and the passenger seat seemed to overlap the front a tad. Looking at images where Sargent fronts are used with stock rears and comparing them to Sargent-only combinations, there's no doubt that when using a Sargent rear seat there's minimal overlap, which I believe would create a better feel when your weight is shifted back in the saddle.

On the down side, I found the seat to be a little wobbly until I adjusted the rubber mounts on the bottom to reduce the distance from the bottom of the seat to the frame tube. I don’t believe you’re supposed to do this, but I found that if you don't, then the seat has a weird feeling. These rubber mounts are supposed to be used screwed in all the way (to adjust for the low seat configuration) or taken all the way off to accommodate the high seat configuration. I think Sargent may have to look at this a little more closely, or I'm not doing something right.

Overall, I found the Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring seat to be fantastic. I was so impressed with it that after returning home from the MOA Getaway, I went ahead and bought a Sargent 2013.5+ World Sport Adventure Touring Seat (heated, of course) with Carbon FX inserts.

After ordering the seat, it arrived three weeks later. When ordering, I found that all Sargent seats are hand-made, and the sales person I spoke with also gave me a $65 discount that I didn't know existed. In my book, that’s excellent service. Website: SARGENTCYCLE.COM

Tags:  seat 

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Sena’s new Momentum helmet

Posted By Jerry Aldini #214426, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Since I started riding I’ve been an Arai guy. Though it took several years to scrape together enough green to buy my first, I’ve never looked back. Over the years I’ve tried other brands, but I always come back to Arai, with its perfect fit for my head and long haul comfort.

Then I paired my favorite Arai with a Sena SMH10 Bluetooth headset. Initially, I was only interested in streaming some of my favorite tunes to make the miles tick off a little quicker. Once exposed to the functionality of Sena products, I was hooked on the full connectivity: music, phone, GPS and intercom. When the chance came to try a new Sena Momentum helmet with integrated Sena Bluetooth headset, I couldn’t resist.

Sena’s Momentum helmets are offered in three varieties: the Momentum, Momentum Lite and the new Momentum INC with Intelligent Noise Cancelling technology. The difference between the two base models is four Bluetooth connections for the Lite compared to eight for the standard Momentum. The Momentum INC offers the ability to block ambient and repetitive noise with electronic noise canceling technology.

The Momentum helmet weighs in at just under four pounds. The liner is removable and washable. Included with the helmet are a soft cloth helmet bag, user’s manual and a USB cord for charging or downloading the latest firmware. Sena also includes an inflatable ring to hold the helmet when not in use.

Before connecting my devices I took it out for a quick spin to evaluate the fit, comfort and noise levels. I found the opening of the helmet rather small and initially painful during my first attempts at inserting my sizeable melon. I believe this helps reduce wind noise during riding, and if that is the case, I’ll accept the tighter fit. In fairness, after several rides, I’ve learned how to insert and extract my head without discomfort.

The Sena’s interior is plush with thick, removable and comfortably soft cheek pads. With an integrated mic, speakers and electronics, I still found plenty of room between the helmet and the face, as well as around my ears.

The Sena Momentum helmet has a rounder shape than Arai’s traditional long oval. When wearing the Sena, I can feel pressure along my forehead. I’m convinced that after it’s broken in, the Sena will conform to my egg-shaped noggin just fine!

On the road, the Sena didn’t disappoint. Although not as quiet as I had hoped, it’s still quieter than most helmets I have tried. It still requires the use of ear plugs, but I have yet to find a helmet that doesn’t. The Momentum helmet is quite stable in the wind, without annoying hums or whistles, which would be a deal breaker in my book. Ample venting on the front and rear effectively move air across your head on warm days.

All that aside, the real reason you want Sena’s new Momentum helmet is for the integrated Bluetooth functionality. I easily paired the helmet with my phone and almost instantly had music streaming on my ride. With Sena’s Advanced Noise Control, I found phone functionality and clarity of the microphone to be flawless without any struggle to hear or need to yell even when wearing earplugs. The microphone and speakers seem to be perfectly positioned for the best sound quality—probably the single most important feature of a helmet built with an integrated headset.

I found the controls for the helmet large and more intuitive than my older Sena unit. While it does take a little time to learn the sequence of short and long presses to cycle through and learn all the helmet’s functionality, I can’t complain about this out of the box. It simply requires some repetition and use to make it all work smoothly.

In use, the Sena unit easily pairs with up to seven other Sena users to allow for crystal clear, high-definition intercom conversations. Using the Sena smartphone app, users can customize the functionality, including volume levels, voice control, multitasking and volume overlays to suit your preferences. Additionally, the Sena Momentum can integrate voice input from your GPS and receive FM radio broadcasts with ten station presets. The Bluetooth communication features are everything I have come to expect from a top shelf communication company like Sena.

Overall, I found the Sena Momentum helmet to be a bargain given the level of electronics and the apparent quality of the helmet. The sound quality is far superior to my current add-on unit, and I would consider laying down the money for that feature alone. Although I had to adapt the Arai to accept a Sena Bluetooth unit, it fits me perfectly, and I’m not willing to give it up just yet. I’d encourage anyone to test fit Sena’s Momentum helmet. If it hits you in the right places, you will be buying a solid helmet with excellent Bluetooth capability right out of the box.

Though I didn’t crash test the Sena helmet, it is DOT and ECE compliant and comes with a five-year warranty on the helmet and a two-year warranty on the electronics. The Momentum helmet retails for $449. The Lite is slightly less at $399. Sena’s helmets are available from an extensive network of dealers throughout the United States or online at buysena.com.

Tags:  bluetooth  helmet  sena 

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Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit Gloves

Posted By John Rector #132206, Sunday, June 3, 2018

While attending the MOA Getaway in Tomah, Wisconsin, last fall I had the opportunity to try out a pair Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit gloves. The three-season gloves were good-looking, had a semi-short cuff and were unvented. The term X-Trafit refers to Rukka’s method of keeping the liner inside the glove when you remove your hand.

The weather during the Getaway weekend was beautiful and sunny, with temperatures starting out in the upper 30’s and warming up to the mid 50s during the afternoon. I thought these gloves would be perfect for the weather we had that weekend.

The first thing I noticed about these gloves was the quality. All seams were finely and seemingly carefully stitched, and the leather was of excellent quality and weight with no observable blemishes whatsoever on any of the sections. The leather had a very substantial feel to it and told you these were clearly quality gloves.

The fit with a large was very good, although I normally wear a size XL, so this particular glove was a little short in the fingers and a bit tight across the back of the hand for me. Nevertheless, I wore them most of the day on Saturday, switching them back and forth with my trusty BMW summer vented leather gloves to compare the dexterity, quality, fit, warmth and comfort. On that particular Saturday, since my BMW gloves were vented, these Rukka gloves were considerably warmer and more comfortable than mine.

The Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit gloves have some very nice features that I wish I had on my gloves. For instance, in addition to the customary hard knuckle protection for your largest knuckles, they also have hard protection for the next set of knuckles for your third, fourth and fifth fingers. There is a flexible and expandable piece of material just above the wrist that provides some additional comfort and movement, and the thumb finger has a very handy raised visor wipe. I especially liked the hard protection for the meaty part of your palm on the underside of the glove. My BMW gloves have only a slightly thicker piece of leather at this location. In the event of a fall, I believe the Rukka gloves would provide much more protection for my hands.

The hook and loop strap at the wrist was large enough to securely tighten the gloves across my wrist. Since the cuff was a little longer than a summer short-cuff glove, I was able to cinch up the jacket and glove to keep cold air from blowing up my sleeve. So what are my impressions of the Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit gloves? Well, after putting them to the test for a full day in cool weather, even though they were a size smaller than I would prefer, I was sufficiently impressed that I decided to buy a pair for myself, only this time in a size XL.

The Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit gloves carry an MSRP of $199.

Tags:  getaway  gloves  rukka 

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Continental ContiRoadAttack 3 Sport Touring tires

Posted By Mark Hearon #209373, Saturday, February 10, 2018

In the last year, I've changed. I must confess I've become a Teutonophile. When exactly this happened I can't say. However, I'm pretty sure it happened sometime after I bought an R 1200 RS. Now, everything I care about in this world is German or on its way to becoming so (Italian wife gets a free pass!). Naturally, when the opportunity to test a German tire brand presented itself, I said, "Yes!" quicker than a Texas boy would jump at a chance for free chicken fried steak. The following represents a 1,500-mile, real-world, first-impressions review of the Continental ContiRoadAttack 3 tires. Before I do that, though, some housekeeping.

If we drink the Kool-Aid, this tire will do it all. It'll out-perform every competitor. You'll ride harder than that dudette who drags her knee on your local twisties, farther than Ewan and Charlie, and faster than a caffeinated squirrel mounted on an S 1000 RR. This tire's so great, even ostriches will take note (please watch Continental's demo video for these tires to get the joke). All this, with (virtually) no break-in, can be yours if you, too, buy this tire. Unsurprisingly (and perhaps thankfully), the truth-from my point of view-is a little more sedate. Let's be real: a sport touring tire is by its very nature a compromise. I still have difficulty defining just what the term "sport touring" means. The ContiRoadAttack 3 tires might have made that task a little easier, but not by living up to the superlative-laced marketing material we're likely to read from OEMs and motojournalists. These are my initial impressions.

Prior to mounting the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires to my R 1200 RS, I rode with the OE tire, Michelin's Pilot Road 4. It took mere moments with the Continental shoes to realize that the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires (comparatively) transmit quite a bit of feel to the rider. For the highway ride home, you might say I was "shaken up" a bit. I didn't know how to think of this at first because I'd never known anything other than the sure-footed, somewhat muted experience offered by the Michelins.

I now attribute much of that stirring experience to over-inflation. At 138 pounds fully fed, I don't normally run the recommended maximum cold tire pressures (36F/42R) and typically opt for something a little less bloated (34F/40R). Backing off the tire pressures did the trick. While the harshness was abated, the increased road feel remained.

I quickly became aware of how much I value this increased road feel compared to the PR4. With Dynamic ESA working to smooth out my ride constantly, I didn't realize how much of the sport experience I was missing while riding my local twisties. As Bill Wiegand will attest, having seen a video of me railing a corner (at perfectly legal speeds) with these tires, they do indeed inspire a degree of confidence.

Fully recognizing not everyone enjoys the sweeper-loving attributes of an R 1200 RS, I nevertheless must convey what a difference-maker these tires have been for my bike. Until the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires got slipped on, terms like "neutral" and "planted" didn't carry much meaning for me. The tires' press release mentions something about ensuring "…reliable stability at high speed and only a low kickback thanks to a 0° steel-belt construction." Yeah, I have no idea what that means. However, if I'm to believe that has anything to do with the experience I've had thus far, I might be willing to buy it. Whether traveling at 60 mph on the highway or 130 mph on an abandoned backroad, the tires feel the same.

With the increased stability the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires appear to provide, my corner entry speeds have increased. Not just because of the aforementioned road feel, but because the tip-in is easier for me to judge. I no longer feel like I have to scrub off as much speed to determine just what my tires are doing and how that'll influence my corner transit. Additionally, getting on the throttle earlier (and harder) is something I've found myself doing more frequently as I simply have had little reason to doubt the tire's ability to carry me through.

If you've made it this far in the review, first of all, thank you. Secondly, you should know I don't commute like the first two sections make it sound like I typically ride. Commuting duties are a different beast altogether. So, how do the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires stack up here? In two words, just fine. The two qualities mentioned above were specifically chosen because they've enhanced my understanding of my bike holistically. Further, they've made every part of my normal riding schema more enjoyable.

As far as performance in various weather conditions, north Texas is experiencing a warmer-than-average late summer (we don't have fall here). That means mysterious things like sky water (precipitation) and mouth steam (cold weather) aren't particularly prevalent. Basically, I've been riding mostly in the mid-low 50s Fahrenheit like a spoiled kid. That doesn't mean it's been all fun and games, though.

I purposefully waited for a Canadian front to pass through so that I could test cold-weather traction. I bargained for something between 38 and 42 Fahrenheit. Instead, Mother Nature served up a 24-degree morning…with a bit of frost. Game on!

Traction seems to not be an issue on cold pavement. The increased feel (I keep going back to that, don't I?) would indicate a tendency to foreshadow any squirrelly happenings with greater transparency. I felt no such tendency with these tires-score.

What about tread life on the tires' centers? Presently, the sporty characteristics of the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires have enabled me to spend a lot more time getting rid of my chicken strips than I ever expected to. What center tread wear I have noticed has been minimal. At 1,500 miles, the tire profile does not appear to be squaring off.

The questions that remain are those that a long trip and more time will answer. I'll report back on the touring credentials of these ostensibly sport-biased tires once a little more riding has taken place. Until then, ride safe!

  • Pros: Enhanced feel compared to another leading ST tire, quick turn-in/lively handling, emphasizes the "Sport" in sport touring
  • Cons: Questionable longevity (more research needed), questionable touring credentials (more research needed)

Tags:  continental  tires 

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Colorado Chaps - Made in the U.S.A.

Posted By Gray Buckley #27846, Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Colorado Chaps is one of the best companies you never heard of! When you need custom fit, hand cut chaps suitable for motorcyclists, hunters, construction workers, horseback riders, snowblower operators and anyone else who enjoys working or playing hard while staying clean and dry, then check out ColoradoChaps.com.

You won’t see much advertising in the usual places, but you will see owner/operator Lorna Reed at motorcycle rallies and small town festivals in western Colorado. She first made chaps in 2002 for a few equestrian friends who frequent Colorado's remote forests. Eventually the customers convinced her to spread the joy to motorcyclists.

I met Lorna at the Top o’ the Rockies Rally in Paonia, Colorado. Looking first hand at the variety of fabrics, colors and styles, and then holding a few samples in my hands, made me a customer. After wearing the product for several summers and winters, I became a believer! During several Rocky Mountain blizzards I wore them while driving a snowblower. They stop the wind, fit comfortably over Bermuda shorts or jeans, and are comfortable on the warmest days.

My Colorado Chaps arm gauntlets live in my side bags, ready for any sudden drop in temperature. They are easier to store and to put on than digging around for the extra jacket. You will be surprised how much protection they provide while covering just the forearms behind a pair of gauntlet gloves. Your hand signals will be a LOT MORE VISIBLE to drivers behind and ahead of you. If you are the delicate sort, you may need a fleece-lined pair.

Neither these chaps nor the gauntlets are cookie cutter products. They are assembled in Mesa County, Colorado, near the Colorado River.

Decision Making

When you decide to get a pair of these chaps you will need specific information, and to make some decisions. How long is your inseam? Do you want leather, water-resistant nylon or breathable cotton canvas? What kind and color of nylon do you prefer: Ballistic, 1000D Cordura, Basofil, Kevlar? Do you need knee armor? (It’s the real stuff.) Get fleece lining if you are going to ride in 35 degrees or less. Do you want mesh backs for hot days? Do you ride at night? If so, consider reflectorized striping. What color stripes do you want? What is the circumference of your thigh at the most ample point? There are more choices if you want a classy pair. Once you are wearing the chaps you may forget the flap-covered pockets on the front of each leg because they fit so well. They come standard. The chaps come with a belted stuff sack that fastens to your rear pack or to your handle bars.

“Not for me,” you say?

You may prefer to wear over-pants, the kind that cover your knives, tools, cell phones and everything else you hook to your belt, and to cover your front port hole even when you really have to go. You may prefer to remove your boots to get out of the over-pants. There is no need to remove footgear to exit Colorado Chaps. Your flexible parts stay flexible and your belt gear says accessible and you never have to remove your boots. Every pair of chaps is custom fit, hand cut, and built for you in the USA.

If you don’t like any exterior bulk above your knee and you don’t wear a belt, then consider the half-chaps, especially if you need shin and knee protection. Colorado Chaps guarantees a custom fit on a durable garment that you will enjoy for a long time. You will not find this quality in a factory made, off the rack wearable from overseas.

Lastly, when it comes time to order another pair, or possibly a gift or two (half-chaps, gauntlets?), you can get your questions answered and any problems resolved directly from the person who supervises the production of every order. Send your email with questions or just pick up the phone. I like this gear! Happy Trails!

Contact: info@coloradochaps.com, call 970-464-5803, or write to Colorado Chaps, 3553 G Road Palisade, CO 81526.

Gray Buckley (MOA #27846) lives in Lakewood, Colorado, and rides a 2015 R1200RT. After service as a Maryland State Trooper and as an agent of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, he retired to ride full time. He is allergic to gravel, asphalt, cement, lead and sharp pointed and/or cutting instruments.

 

Tags:  ATGATT  chaps  Gear  MemberTested 

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BMW Driving Academy Maisach

Posted By Frank Campbell #43430, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Bavarian factory has built a solid tradition in performance vehicles. True to the proverb "power is nothing without control," the company has vigorously promoted training for both the car and motorcycle enthusiast. This trend now gone global, is very evident within Germany and of course, the company’s home in Bavaria. The venue in Maisach, some 20 miles due West of Munich is now officially called the BMW Driver Academy.

Training was until recently at the Munich Airport, and presumably for lack of space was moved to the old Fürstenfeldbruck air base just south of Maisach.

The former Fliegerhorst Fürstenfeldbruck air base (Fursty for short) was once an important field for both the Luftwaffe and the US Air force. It has been decommissioned for over a decade, and the closest thing to flying machines you will see here are BMW cars and motorcycles used by the BMW Driving Academy. The runway is now inactive, but the base reportedly hosts training for ground personnel. Instead of the roar of jet engines, all you will hear now are screeching tires of BMW sedans on the skid pads and the golf cart whine of eco-friendly i3 coupes unobtrusively whizzing by.

The training facility occupies some 320 acres on the east side of the former air base. The website in German and English can be accessed at bmw-drivingexperience.com. The site contains ample details regarding the facility and scope of training. The cost on a BMW-supplied motorcycle is 240 Euro, and 200 Euro on your own bike. This is a no-brainer for me. A simple tip-over can cost well in excess of the 40 Euro difference (replacing a broken clutch or brake lever may cost around 200 Euro).

The motorcycles are fully insured for damage, so in the event of a mishap you will not be held liable unless you engage in reckless behavior. Personal medical coverage is the responsibility of the rider, which for EU residents is generally provided by the state. Risk-averse American riders should consult with their insurance plans in the US. At the moment, training is only offered in German (the English option box is greyed out on the application). Presumably at a later time this will change to accommodate non-German-speaking riders. However, if you have a reasonable command of German, you should definitely consider attending a training session. The instructors are very helpful and for the most part speak better English than most of us will ever speak German.


An R 1200 GS similar to the one the author used for his session in Maisach, though obviously this photo was not taken at the air base. Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad.

My letter of acceptance reiterated that the training would be conducted "ausschließlich auf Deutsch" (exclusively in German). Considering the increasing trend by corporate BMW to use English lingo, I reckoned some latitude would be allowed.

On my appointed date I showed up half an hour late for class, as I could not find the entrance to the tightly padlocked air base anywhere. As I was about to give up, I spotted a rather subdued sign pointing to the BMW Driver Academy. The first session of the day was spent in general orientation, basic motorcycle control and emergency maneuvers. The class included some 20 students divided into two groups presumably on the basis of experience. By virtue of age rather than skills, I was put in the "experienced" group.

Following the classroom session, we walked out onto the parking area where our assigned mounts awaited us. My R 1200 GS with some 1000 kilometers on the odometer was otherwise showroom-new. The bike was equipped with mag wheels and shod with dual sport Anakee tires. Other equipment included full electronic regalia as well as cruise control. The driver seat was placed in the lowest position, which allowed my 29-inch inseam-challenged legs to reach the ground comfortably.

The motor fired up readily and settled into the familiar flat twin rumble, although more muted than its predecessors. The hydraulic clutch is feather light, which made it easy to follow the instructor’s commands to use two fingers for control. The bike seemed narrower than the previous oil-cooled models, and with a more centralized mass, felt quite light. The oil-bath clutch revealed its nature by the typical clunk and lurch felt when shifting from neutral into first, similar to the F-series. Pulling the clutch in and waiting a minute or so reduced this tendency only slightly. After riding it a while, I opted for shutting down and starting the engine in first gear, which eliminated the problem.

The exercises during our first session were based on the notion that if you cannot control the bike at slow speeds, you certainly will not be able to do so at higher speeds. The instructor had us weaving around cones, doing ever-tighter circles and figure-eight turns in first gear with the engine at idle (about 1050 RPM), controlling the speed with the clutch. The exercises felt easy due to the motorcycle's superb handling characteristics. There was no noticeable driveline lash, which certainly helped in this respect. I would have been hard put to do duplicate these maneuvers on my old R 1100 GS, which sat forlornly in the parking lot.

As the morning proceeded, the instructors increased the complexity of the exercises and had us add speed. The motorcycle maintained its unflappable composure throughout it all. I witnessed no tip-overs during the training, but I cannot guarantee there weren’t any.

During the noon break, we enjoyed the full buffet lunch included in the cost of the course. In the afternoon session the instructors added more complex exercises at greater speeds. The motorcycle had plenty of power, yet proved docile, which made it a joy to ride. For the more spirited rider, it might become a willing wheelie-machine.

I found the training the Riding Academy very worthwhile. It gave me an unequalled opportunity to put the motorcycle through its paces, all in a controlled and safe environment. For the potential buyer of a new GS, the time spent at the Academy will provide him/her a solid basis to decide whether or not to invest in such a machine.

 

Frank Campbell is a retired physician residing in FL. He has ridden almost every BMW model dating back to the R 26. He has done solo and group adventure tours throughout the Americas, Europe, North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and Asia. Although his preferred motorcycles have always been of the GS type, presently he favors more sedate "cappuccino style" tours on mostly well surfaced roads.

Tags:  R1200GS  Skills  Training 

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