Member Tested: Real Reviews From Real Riders
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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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Café Racer Collection by SHAD

Posted By Jean Excell #112063, Monday, October 14, 2019

I am always looking for different options to carry my gear for moto camping and commuting on my 2018 R nineT Urban G/S, so when I was asked if I was interested in reviewing the SHAD Café Racer Luggage system for the R nineT, the gear geek in me was happy to give it a go.

The SHAD SR28 Rear Tail Bag has a capacity of 27 liters and includes a waterproof rain cover, a TSA Security Lock, three inner pockets for organization, and a shoulder strap to carry the bag off the bike. The outer material is a Synthetic Leather and 1000D Polyester.

The Tail Bag was a breeze to install using the SHAD Quick Mounting System. I opted to attach the four harness points to the screws under the seat, but you can also use the Velcro® strap version which simply wraps around the rear subframe. The Tail Bag then slips onto the straps using four Trimmer® aluminum ionized clips which provide a very secure mount.

The SHAD SR18 Tank Bag has a capacity of 8L and includes a tank base for easy access to the gas tank, a waterproof rain cover, and a lockable and glove-friendly zipper. I secured the bag tank base in place using quick clips that attach to the frame of the bike. The outer material is also the Synthetic Leather and 1000D Polyester. There is an inner mesh pocket for electronics and a large padded handle for transport off the bike. There is also an optional tablet holder that can be added on top.

The SHAD SR38 Saddle Bag has a capacity of 10L and attaches using the SR18 Saddle Bag Holder fitting kit, which attaches using three screws to the bottom side of the seat pan. This installation proved to be a bit more difficult, as the fitting kit bracket did not work with my Rizoma Rear Rack. The rack would have had to be removed to attach the fitting kit and since this would have involved removing the tail lights to get the rack back off, I opted to leave my rack on. The bag is only available for the right side, as the exhaust on the left side prevents having a matching set, but this would provide for an additional 10L of storage. The bag also locks to the frame and has a roll down top closure.

In order to give the system a full review, I used it for nearly a month of commuting, weekend day rides and trips to the grocery store. I have to say the system as a whole worked very well and provided ample storage for the trips that I took. I was most impressed with being able to put my helmet in the rear tail bag, as I like to be able to store my helmet on the bike, and with the locking tail bag this was quick and easy. Though the tail bag itself does not lock to the bike, at least the helmet is out of sight. I was also able to commute and keep my laptop and office gear secure in the tail bag.

Would these bags be able to accommodate a full weekend of moto camping gear including a tent, sleeping bag and Kermit chair? No, but that is not what they are intended for. I was lucky enough not to hit any rain, so I cannot attest to the performance of the rainproof covers, but they were made of quality materials that should stand up to the elements.

The styling of the bags in my option would be better matched to the R nineT Scrambler with its brown leather seat, but I did get many compliments on the overall appearance of the bags.

Overall, for the quality, functionality, style and price point of these bag, I give the system a thumbs up!

MSRP for the gear is $199.99 for the SR28 Rear Tail Bag, $99.99 for the SR18 Tank Bag, $126.99 for the SR38 Saddle Bag, and $117.99 for the SR18 Saddle Bag holder. For more information, visit your local dealer or SHADUSA.COM.

Tags:  Gear  Luggage  MemberTested  rninet 

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Omega 600 upgrade for Airheads

Posted By Joseph Pallaria #33417, Friday, July 5, 2019

My 1977 R l00 S has run great for 40 years. Performance has improved from over 30 modifications I’ve made over its 30,000 original miles. Despite BMW's excellent track record for reliability, it has but one major weakness: the electrical system. The original system cranked out about 240 watts of power and often needed the engine churning at 4,000 rpm to keep both the electrics working and charging the battery at the same time. Unfortunately, that often left me with a choice of running the headlight and having freezing hands or running just the parking light and turning on the heated grips.

The Omega 600 ends the years of making that choice; it is essentially a complete charging system minus the battery. The system is a bolt-on modification and includes a rotor, stator, rectifier (diode board), solid diode mounting bolts, solid state voltage regulator, alternator, brushes and all the wiring. It's a fantastic upgrade because it resolves problems that come with running several electrical components at once and does so at just 2,000 rpm. The Omega 600 also represents a drastic improvement over the stock 240-watt unit by boosting electrical output to 600 watts! The state-of-art replacement parts are made of heavy duty, high-quality materials and encompass today's advanced technology in bulletproof electrical components.

The kit went in last spring and received its testing over the summer. The system presented exceptional reliability throughout the summer and once running, the Omega 600 seemed to also give the old bike new life. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it seemed to run smoother and respond quicker than before. The Beemer performed flawlessly over a 1,600-mile testing period and left me pleased with the upgrade as summer sadly faded into fall.

Besides keeping the battery charged at much lower rpm, there was more than enough electrical power to operate the headlight, heated grips and even an electric vest for my thin-skinned riding partner’s needing extra warmth!

The Omega 600 kit is not cheap at $595, but the high quality of the parts and proven functional excellence seems to justify the cost, and Rick Jones, the owner of Motorrad Elektrik, was helpful with installation tips along the way.

The kit comes with a threaded bolt that screws into the center of the alternator and releases the “pressed fit” of the old alternator, allowing it to easily be removed from the engine. Obviously, you’ll have to cut the three wires leading to the stator. Once the alternator is out of the machine with the stator and alternator cap removed, the cap is sent to Motorrad Elektrik where Rick solders the three stator wires of the new alternator to the cap. He then sends that along with the rest of the kit for the bolt-in modification. Rick recommends different modifications for different generations of Airheads, so be sure to contact him to find out what your specific Slash 5 or 6 may need. Regardless, it’s an excellent upgrade with high quality parts!

Running the Omega 600 turned out to be a straightforward project even with the advanced planning of getting the original cap soldered to the new stator. This is a great upgrade for 1977-95 airheads needing more electrical power to drive all the accessories and electrical goodies available today. This upgrade may even have me add driving lights before the next riding season!

(PS Don't forget to check out Airheaded, the MOA blog dedicated to air-cooled BMW motorcycles!)

Tags:  airhead  Airheaded  electrical  MemberTested  upgrade 

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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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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

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:, 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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VnM Sport Cooling Compression base layers

Posted By Deb Gasque (#182082), Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The record-breaking extreme heat during the summer of 2016 was intense, to put it mildly, and may have put the brakes on many planned motorcycling trips. Riding is a struggle when our bodies are put to the extremes due to weather. For cold weather riding, there are several gear options on the market to keep us comfortable, but for scorching temperatures, I haven't had much luck finding gear that accommodates the body from neck to ankles and works well - until now.

Aliki Karayan of VnM (pronounced “venom”) Sport started her mission in 2009 to produce high-performance, cooling compression base layers for herself and others in her field of super bike racing. Having no experience in garment manufacturing or design, she took her strong passion to produce hard-working, quality gear and started making phone calls and meeting with people. Aliki persevered through trial and error and finally found a high-performance fabric from Italy and a manufacturing company in North America to make her dream come true. Today, she custom designs her cooling compression base layers for racing teams and has been very successful creating products that are superior in performance.

Deb models the base layers her, showing off her R 1100 RS.

In speaking with Aliki about the possibility of her gear working for riders in the long-distance riding world, she didn’t hesitate at all and sent me a set to try out. Upon receipt of the package, I immediately tried the two-piece base layers on and was thrilled with the comfort and fit. The top loosely fits up around your neck to keep it cool and protect it from chafing from your riding suit. Around the bottom of the base layer top, there is a strip of a rubber-type material on the underside that lies against the skin on your abdomen to keep the gear in place so it doesn't ride up over time. The long sleeves keep your arms cool, as well as block the sun on your wrists for those who, like me, get “racing stripes” where my gloves and riding gear sleeves don’t meet. Additionally, there is compression built into specific areas such as the arms to help with body fatigue. Aliki also added mesh panels in certain areas to heighten the cooling function. The base layer bottom, which fits to the ankle, was equally as comfortable in all areas, including the knees and the crotch where discomfort can really make a good ride bad.

VNMcompressionshirtman   VNMcompressionshirtwoman
Standard VnM base layer shirts, male version on the left and female on the right. Which was probably obvious.

I put the Vnm Sport cooling compression base layers to the test during a two week ride in extreme temperatures last July. Prior to putting on the base layers while preparing for each day’s ride, I wet them in the sink. The high-performance fabric held the moisture and wicked it slowly as I rode, which maximized the cooling effect. On days that the temperatures were horribly extreme, I used the restroom sink on my fuel stops and breaks to rewet the fabric when it dried out. On days when the temperatures were in the 70s and 80s, I found the gear worked well without wetting it. I did notice that when the temperature dipped below 70 in the early mornings and evenings, I needed to put on a layer between the base layers and my summer riding suit, as the cooling effect was a little too chilly for me. As far as maintaining the undergarments while on the road, I washed them in the shower with me and hung them out to dry overnight. The fabric is sturdy and high-quality, and it feels as if it will hold up very well over a long period of time. The basic base layers come standard in black, but Aliki also designs super-fashionable custom gear with color panels and graphics. I highly recommend the VnM Sport cooling compression base layers to our legion of riders, as they really does their job, are extremely comfortable, and are high-quality products for a reasonable price (they retail at $97.99 for each piece and can be purchased at

VNMshirtman   VNMshirtwoman
Male and female compression shirts. Below, compression pants.


Tags:  baselayer  Clothing  MemberTested 

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