Gear

Old is New Again

The article “Old is New Again” by Bud Miller/Zen Motorcyclist was originally published on the “RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel” magazine website on 5/23/17.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

—Henry David Thoreau

It’s early February and I haven’t ridden much in weeks due to weather, but I have kept myself busy with other motorcycle-related projects. I find myself at a crossroads physically, dealing with the still lingering side effects of Lyme disease and nerve pain associated with a spinal stenosis flare-up. This while I watch my mother undergo chemo treatments without complaint. Compared to her trials, mine seem miniscule, but when you’ve self-identified as an athlete for most of your life and then are no longer able to, it’s a difficult transition.

I wasn’t raised to complain, but pain is pain and causes limitations that you can’t ignore forever. Once you’ve raised a child and buried a parent, however, life loses some of its ability to knock you off your stride. I do find myself having to adjust course, redefine myself, and accept some new physical restrictions, though. Thankfully riding isn’t one of them; but the time I would normally have spent working out has been replaced by remodeling my home and, of course, tinkering with and upgrading my motorcycle. This year’s additions included LED headlights, engine guards, grip pads, tank pads, and a peg lowering kit.

Zen MotorcyclistLast summer I replaced a worn-out chain and sprockets and, rather than throw the old parts out, hung them on a pegboard in my garage in a pattern that resembled a sort of misshapen face: the draped chain formed a wide smile beneath two dirty, mismatched sprocket eyes. I started thinking it’d be a pleasant diversion, and a nice addition to the home I’m decorating, to make something from the parts. A clock seemed like an obvious choice.

I’ve never considered myself particularly crafty, and if you’ve read any of my old blog posts you know that my history with tools is at best a humorous one. I found the clock-making process, however, to be cathartic and motivating. I figured I’d either end up with something original to hang in my home, or a mess of a conversation piece to hide in the garage and laugh about over a beer and to remind me of a pleasant distraction during a particularly stressful winter.

I’m happy with the way the piece eventually turned out. I’m glad to have had a few hours every other day over the weeks it took to finish it to focus on creating something unique, rather than dwelling on mom’s impending treatments and my own nagging pains. The welcome distraction of cleaning and painting, finding the right clock movement and perfect curved glass to cover it and the materials to hold it all together, served as a metaphor for me. Though the parts may be worn-out and past being useful in the manner intended, they needn’t be discarded and can, with a change of focus and intent, be put to another use: to start over and live a second, previously un-imagined life.

The clock I made now hangs in my sunroom. The chain and sprockets it is made from propelled me some 15,000 miles over the better part of two years. I’m sure each link represents a dozen memories from that time. Several people have told me I could make them to sell, but the value to me isn’t in what it might be worth but rather in what it represents. By craftsman standards I’m sure it would be considered amateurish at best. Just like motorcycle riding though, the lasting value is never in the arriving, in the completion. The lasting value is in the process; in how much you change, reflect, and grow along the way and in what memories the effort leaves you with. In the words of Henry Miller, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Regarding my recycled timepiece, I will always see far more in it than there is to look at. This may even become a winter ritual. When the weather warms, I’ll get started on the next recycling project, maybe a pendulum clock this time, or a lamp of some sort. I can’t decide; but I’m in no hurry. It’ll take another 15,000 miles or so to get the parts ready …

Prescription Motorcycle Eyewear from ADS Sports Eyewear

What’s in the Box

If you’re anything like me and wear glasses while riding you know the limitations of standard prescription glasses in terms of both comfort and safety. Standard frames can be uncomfortable inside a helmet, can be hard to get on through a helmet, quickly become scratched, dirty and worn. I dislike riding with my everyday glasses for those reasons as well as limitations they place on my peripheral vision, which is critical to riding safely.

Thankfully the people at ADS Sports Eyewear have a line of eye wear for not only motorcyclists; but a wide range of activities. I’m on my 2nd pair of Wiley X glasses. Sadly, my first pair now rests at the bottom of the Lehigh River, lost during a kayak excursion (because I failed to use the strap included in the package). I missed those glasses immediately and couldn’t wait to replace them with something similar from ADS.

Fit

The Wiley X wrap style glasses contour to my face and tuck nicely into my helmet as though they were part of it. That’s important in riding since regular non-wrap style frames limit peripheral view. The Wiley X however, given the contour (the edge of the frame is closer to your face than standard glasses), enlarge your field of peripheral vision to be the maximum possible. The effect is similar to what a helmet with a wider eye port would allow.

My ADS frames are extremely light, flexible and stylish. The progressive lenses are perfect even though no doctor visit was done and no direct measurements performed.  ADS used my current prescription along with photos to create the lens shape that perfectly matched my physical features.

Technology

ADS makes use of the most important improvement in prescription sports eye wear: Free-form Digital Lens Surfacing (available on all but bifocal lenses). When traditional lenses are put in wrap style glasses there is a “fish-bowl” effect in peripheral vision. Free Form Digital Lens Surfacing eliminates this effect by digitally recalculating the curve at each point on the lens.

Customer Service

ADS works with each customer via email and regular mail to obtain measurements that ensure a perfect fit, even to the point of shipping a pair of frames (with return shipping pre-paid) so that a photo of the frames on your face can be used to make critical measurements for progressive lenses (which I opted for). As a motorcyclist who dislikes contact lenses I am more confident, safer and have much better vision on the road through the use of wrap style, prescription glasses from ADS Sports Eyewear. I highly recommend contacting them for your sports eye wear needs. With such name brands as Oakley, Ray Ban, Under Armour and Nike, to name just a few, ADS Sports Eyewear has frames in any tint, fit and prescription imaginable to suit any sports activity from motorcycling to skiing to baseball, shooting and racquet sports.

New Machining Marketplace

New Machining Marketplace Allows Cheaper Access to Custom Motorcycle Parts

Have you ever been customizing or restoring your motorcycle and been unable to source a part? This new online marketplace might be just what you are looking for.

Machining-4u is an online marketplace where motorcyclists can post their requirements for custom-machined parts, and receive multiple offers from machinists to select from. While the service is not specifically focused on motorcycle parts, it is particularly popular among motorcyclists.

The key advantage provided by Machining-4u is that it allows riders to source custom parts much cheaper than before. While you would previously have had to purchase parts from large, well-established companies, and pay a substantial premium, Machining-4u helps you to find much more reasonable prices. By increasing competition, the service takes power away from the large companies that dominate the industry.

Some examples of the custom-machined parts made by machinists at Machining-4u include bar ends, headlight brackets, wheel axle spacers, and braking adapters.

How It Works

A job is posted by uploading full information about the need, including blueprints and a description. Machinists can then start to submit their bids for the job. Once enough bids are in, the customer can take their pick based on various factors, including price, and the machinists’ experience and reputation on the site. When the customer selects a machinist, funds are stored in a secure account while the work is underway. Upon successful completion and approval of quality, the funds are released to the machinist.

How it started

Machining-4u was conceived when founders Simon Latour, Stephanie Brian and Stephane Gomez became frustrated with the availability and cost of custom-machined parts for cars, motorcycles and machinery. “Machining companies either rejected our requests as too small to bother with or quoted us ludicrous prices for such small production runs,” Stephane says. The solution? The innovative trio would set up a new online marketplace that would connect people directly with individual machinists. Since launch, Machining-4u has become increasingly popular as more and more motorcyclists are learning about the benefits provided by the service. With so many machinists ready and waiting to take on jobs, there’s no faster way for you to source affordable, custom machined parts.

The Head-to-Toe Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycle Gear

(CC0 License – Public Domain)

There’s a lot for new motorcycle riders to be excited about: learning how to ride, choosing a first motorcycle, and finally hitting the road and experiencing one’s surroundings as they can only be experienced from the back of a bike.

But as exciting as all of this is, it’s also serious business, and there’s more to getting started than just getting licensed and buying a new bike. Being properly outfitted in protective motorcycle gear is as crucial to motorcycle safety as proper training.

If you’re a beginning motorcyclist looking for some guidance on getting properly outfitted to ride, the following rundown should give you everything you need to get started finding the gear you need to ride in safety and comfort.

The Helmet

Helmets are undoubtedly the most important piece of safety gear any motorcyclist can wear. Even a minor fall off of a motorcycle can result in a serious head injury if the rider isn’t wearing a helmet, to say nothing of more serious accidents. Here are the basics of what to look for in a motorcycle helmet:

  • DOT Certification: The U.S. Department of Transportation has a specific standard for motorcycle helmets (the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard no. 218), which outlines minimum performance ratings for metrics like impact absorption. Motorcycle helmets that meet this standard will feature a DOT sticker on the back or inside; don’t buy a helmet without this sticker.
  • Fit & Retention: A motorcycle helmet should fit snugly, but without being so tight that it’s uncomfortable. This will prevent the helmet from coming off or under-performing in an accident. Here’s a good basic test when finding a good fit: securely strap on the helmet and, gripping it from the back, try to pull it off over your head. With a helmet that fits properly, you won’t be able to.
  • Comfort: Discomfort is distracting, and no one wants to be distracted while they’re riding.
  • Style: Fashion should probably be the least of anyone’s concerns when shopping for a motorcycle helmet, but there are some choices when it comes to style. Full-face, open face, motocross, and half-helmets are all options. Full-face models offer the best protection, but many riders prefer open-face or half-helmets for comfort reasons.

The Jacket

What helmets do for your head, a good jacket does for your arms, shoulders, and torso. There are a lot of options when it comes to jackets, and it’s important to know what to look for.

  • Leather vs. Textile: A high-quality leather motorcycle jacket is about more than just looking cool. Leather offers excellent abrasion resistance, but might not be the best option for shock absorption. Many modern textile jackets are made from materials like Cordura or Kevlar, which also provide protection against abrasions, and are often a lot cooler than leather in warmer weather.
  • Armor: Armor and textile jackets are both available with built-in body armor to protect against falls. At minimum, look for a jacket with armor in the shoulders, back, and elbows with at least a “CE” safety rating.
  • Fit: A good motorcycle jacket should fit snugly without restricting movement. When trying on a motorcycle jacket, zip it up completely and try to approximate the position you take on your bike. If it’s too snug in the arms and shoulder to hold comfortably in the store, you can be it will be too snug on the road.

The Pants

Motorcycle pants protect your lower extremities from abrasions and impacts – shins, knees, hips, and bottom are all dependent on good motorcycle pants in a fall. Here are some of the most common options for motorcycle pants.

  • Leather: Leather pants, like jackets, offer superior abrasion resistance. However they’re often relatively uncomfortable, especially in warm weather. Most leather pants lack additional armor.
  • Textile: Textile riding pants are made with abrasion-resistant materials like Kevlar, and more often feature built-in-armor in high-impact areas like the knees and hips. As with jackets, these often feature better breathability than leather. Many manufacturers also make Kevlar and armor-reinforced denim jeans that strike a balance between style and safety.
  • Overpants: For commuters and others who don’t want to get to their destination with just armored riding pants, motorcycle over-pants are armored, abrasion-resistant pants designed to be worn over regular street clothes or denim motorcycle jeans.

The Boots

Footwear might not be as important for safety as a helmet or jacket, but it is a concern. Motorcycle boots provide protection to the ankle, shin, toes, and sole in the event of a crash, as well as offering improved grip and comfort on long rides when compared to normal street shoes. Here are some of the most common options for motorcycle boots.

  • Touring Boots: Touring boots are probably the most popular style of motorcycle boot. Generally tall to provide ankle support and shin protection, these boots are designed for commuting and long rides.
  • Short Boots: While not as protective in most cases as touring boots, short boots are often more comfortable, and offer a sneaker-like style and fit without completely sacrificing safety.
  • Cruiser Boots: Cruiser boots are heavy-duty boots designed for long rides on v-twin cruiser-style bikes. Heights vary, but typically cruiser boots offer great grip and superb protection against impacts and abrasions.

At the end of the day, the best motorcycle gear for you is what you’re most comfortable in – provided it offers at least a minimum amount of protection. Those just beginning will need some time to find out just what that is, but that’s all a part of the fun.

Not Your Father’s WD40

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A new staple in my maintenance routine.

Who among us didn’t grow up seeing that yellow and blue can in the garage that came out whenever dad worked on the car or lawnmower? You may have heard the rumors that WD-40 was made gel lubricantfrom fish oil (it’s not) or that it’s not really a lubricant and shouldn’t be used on motorcycle chains… both are incorrect. “WD” in fact stands for “Water Displacement”, the 40 represents the 40th “recipe” of the original product. WD-40 has come a long way and I was surprised to here from them about (more…)

Bike Bandit

Best Deals for Replacing Motorcycle Parts

s21-actionIf you are like me you pride yourself in doing your own motorcycle maintenance, the easy stuff anyway like synthetic oil changes, brake pads, coolant and assorted upgrades. Bike Bandit is the best online marketplace for aftermarket, reasonably priced motorcycle parts. You can shop for motorcycle tires online. You can also easily find your Honda and Yamaha bike parts online as well. Simply select the make of your bike and view all of the best parts we have to offer. We offer a huge selection to help you rebuild your motorcycle, or simply order replacement parts for your ride. Our prices are the best on the market. We include free shipping with purchases over $99 and hassle free returns within 60 days.

Unlike other online shops with (more…)

Helmet Halo

Helmet Halo logo

My helmet at YogaNext to the cost of the motorcycle itself your biggest riding expense is most likely your helmet. If you’re anything like me you don’t like putting your costly lid on the ground or any other surface apt to be dirty, hot, wet or sticky; unfortunately there are times when I have little choice. When I get to the office and the forecast calls for rain and it’s time to put the cover on I’m forced to put my helmet on the hot asphalt. In my cubicle at the office my choices are the floor under my desk or on my desk where I have precious little room. The Scala Rider attached to my helmet is also a concern due to its position on the chin bar. I’ve broken a few brackets when setting my helmet down in the past.

Halo StackHelmet Halo was designed to be a compact motorcycle helmet holder that eliminates these worries. Helmet Halo is made of tough plastic designed to stand up to abuse (trust me I’ve abused it in testing). Helmet Halo is inexpensive, portable, comes in four colors and can be coiled up for transporting. If I could wear it as a bracelet when not in use it’d be perfect; but even as is it’s pretty close.

(Note: Helmet Halo does not attach to a helmet in any way, it is merely a stand to hold a helmet upright.)

Please visit Helmet Halo to order.Helmet Halo

William Shatner Cross Country Ride

ICON WILLIAM SHATNER PARTNERS WITH AMERICAN WRENCH TO CREATE THE RIVET MOTORCYCLE FOR A CROSS-COUNTRY RIDE
TO BENEFIT THE AMERICAN LEGION

8-Day Ride Set To Kick Off From American Wrench Shop On June 23rd

Rivet Warehouse

William Shatner(June 1st, 2015 – New York, NY) The legendary Hollywood icon that captained the Starship Enterprise for over 30 years, William Shatner, is teaming up with American Wrench to create the first-of-its-kind Rivet motorcycle. In conjunction with the release of Rivet, Shatner will be riding across the country to showcase the machine on the open road. The ride will kick off on June 23rd from the American Wrench shop just outside of Chicago. “The Ride” will be an 8-day journey showcasing Rivet in various cities across the United States and will be following the legendary Route 66 for most of the trek.

Accompanying Shatner on the ride will be some of the team from American Wrench and members of The American Legion Riders. Shatner will be meeting with Legion members along the route to raise awareness for the work The American Legion does nationwide. The journey will be making stops in St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Las Vegas before wrapping up in Los Angeles on June 30th.

I am taking another step into the unknown!” said Shatner. “A phenomenal bike made by American Wrench and a 2,400 mile journey, where the road holds the big mystery.”

“The Ride”

The Ride MapThe machine, straight from the creative brain of Shatner alongside American Wrench owner/designer Kevin Sirotek, is the ultimate landjet and unlike anything the world has seen before. A video describing what Rivet is can be seen here.

Having this unique opportunity to design and build a custom machine for William Shatner, we knew it had to be nothing short of amazing,” explains Sirotek. “Our vision with Rivet is simple, to give the most thrilling motor experience possible.”

The journey will also be documented for an upcoming television show. The show will follow Shatner and company on their voyage through each city and traveling along the route. There will be opportunities in each city for people to come out and see the Rivet in person and meet Shatner and the riders. More information on this will be available in the future at American Wrench and Rivet Motors. Fans can follow Shatner @WilliamShatner and Rivet Motors @RivetMotors for up to date announcements.

For more information on American Wrench or “The Ride,” please contact:

Kevin Chiaramonte / PFA Media / (212) 334-6116
Paul Freundlich / PFA Media / (212) 334-6116

About American Wrench

American Wrench, a division of IAE (Illinois Auto Electric Co) is located outside of Chicago. IAE was founded in 1915 by Joseph Sirotek (Kevin Sirotek’s great grandfather) and today it is owned and operated by the Sirotek family. American Wrench has been at the cutting edge of building custom motorcycles, specializing in design innovation and high-performance machines. For decades, they have been committed to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Horsepower.

About Rivet Motors

Rivet Motors was born out of the desire and passion to build machines, which like those who ride them, have command, presence and personality. The goal is to rival the experience a driver would get from any vehicle on the street. Without a formidable machine in the marketplace that provides this experience that William Shatner desired, he partnered with American Wrench and set out to design and develop something that would not just meet his expectations, but blow the minds of everyone who sees, pilots or experiences it. The machine, RIVET, will deliver an experience that rivals the refinements and power of a fine automobile, but does not compromise the raw sensory feedback and grit of a motorcycle on the open road.

About The American Legion

The nation’s largest wartime veteran organization, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veteran care and rehabilitation, Americanism and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation. www.Legion.org

The RideAmerican_WrenchRivet