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Motorcycle Riding Adventures In California



Fall is gonna be in full swing soon! For many of us, that means the last couple of months to ride before storing our bikes for the winter. The weather is usually perfect and it's just about the best time to take your motorcycle for a spin.

Autumn has always been my favorite time of the year to ride as we get a reprieve from the blazing summer heat. And California is a paradise for motorcycle riders. The State has practically any kind of natural terrain you can imagine, as well as iconic paved routes.

Whether you're a street thrill-seeker or an off-road enthusiast, here are 9 best places to ride in the fall in California!

1. Angeles Crest Highway - The Sportbike Mecca



Angeles Crest Highway is a favorite for SoCal riders. It's so close to Los Angeles, but you can feel completely separated from the big city. Cutting through the Angeles National Forest, this 60 mile stretch of road boasts a lot of twisties in a beautiful mountain forest setting. The road condition is very good, so you can get into those turns and switchbacks without worrying about uneven surfaces. Go as high as 7,000 ft in elevation and see stunning view of the Angeles hills.

Start in La Canada and take Highway 2 up into the mountain, ending in Wrightwood (or choose various other paths). The ride starts with wide sweeping turns, but quickly goes into sharp corners and fast switchbacks. With corners named as Squid's Leap, make sure you have fun but ride carefully as motorcycle accidents are prone.

If you're in the mood for some grub, Newcomb's Ranch (about halfway up) is a popular spot for riders to meet up, get some tummy fuel, and socialize.

Time to ride: about 90 minutes

2. Malibu Canyon Roads - Tons of Options

Malibu Canyon is another favorite for local Los Angeles riders. You get incredible changes in landscape on this road, from the sparkling ocean to canyon roads to forest scenes. 

Take the Latigo Canyon Road that starts from Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The 10 mile road up Latigo is one of the twistiest roads you can find in the Los Angeles area with challenging switchbacks and sharp turns. You can then connect to Kanan Dume Road, which leads to the famous Mulholland Drive - another fun twisty road that you can ride on until you reach the inaccessible part. 

A stop by The Rock Store on Mulholland Highway (a building made entirely out of volcanic rock) is a must since you're already in the area. This a famous biker hangout/pitstop where on weekends, you may see hundreds of bikes out front - the ultimate biker community!

Time to ride: with all the mixed canyon roads, you can spend all day there!

3. Azusa Canyon - Fun day ride in greater Los Angeles 

This mountain road in the northeast region of Los Angeles is located in the San Gabriel Mountains. This ride has beautiful scenery with a variety of mountain terrain and a large change in elevation.

The difficulty level of the beginning sections is not too hard; the roads are made of wide, sweeping turns - perfect for novices. But the higher up the canyon you go, the road becomes much more technical. This includes hairpin turns, steeper inclines, and decreasing radius turns with multiple apexes.

Up the mountain is an intersection known as the Y - where East Fork Road, Glendora Ridge Road, and Glendora Mountain Road meet. Riders commonly reference 'the Y' as a landmark when preparing at the gas station at the freeway exit at the mouth of the canyon. Glendora Ridge Road, which is gentler and smoother, will take you across the range all the way to Mt. Baldy. Glendora Mountain Road, on the other hand, will take you back down. It's the most technical road of the three, so it's the preferred route for many. Why not ride down and back up?!

4. Ortega Highway (Hwy 74) - Quick canyon run



Ortega Highway isn't the most radical, knee-dragging highway in SoCal, but it's a solid go-to for anyone in Orange County, and is worth visiting if you're in the area. It can be great fun to ride through this twisty highway if you?re careful (watch out for deer! ? accidents are incredibly common). Beginning in the historic town of San Juan Capistrano and ending at Lake Elsinore, this 30-mile road up the mountain carves through the lush national forest and ends with a sweeping view over the glittering lake.

A huge bonus for Dual Sport riders are the well-traveled dirt roads via gates into the Cleveland National Forest. Beginners that take their time and watch for oncoming traffic will enjoy a ride on the Main Divide trail that spans all the way across the mountains, offering numerous opportunities to adventure in various distances with different destinations on either side of the mountain range. Check your map or GPS to make sure you stop at Santiago Peak, and be sure to verify that the exit gate you plan to use is open before you plan your route!

You'll also find the famous diner Hell's Kitchen along Highway 74 - a popular hangout and must-stop with the Harley crowd, but all riders are welcome. We stop here regardless of the bikes we're on! Another option is the Lookout Roadhouse at the top, which is a nice place to grab a bite and enjoy the view of Lake Elsinore.

Time to ride (pavement): less than 1 hour

5. California Route 36 - The twistiest road!

For street riders seeking some serious twists and thrills, you?ll have a lot of fun on this route, but BE CAREFUL! This 140 mile-long road in the Redding area (starting from Redbluff and ending in Fortuna) is EXTREMELY twisty. An entire 140 miles of twists, in fact. This is an exhausting ride purely because of how extra-alert you have to be at all times. But other rides may seem boring after this! The road is mostly smooth to ride on, but be alert because some parts don?t have guardrails, and it?s a long drop.

Time to ride: about 4 hours.

6. California Hwy 1 - Scenic ride along the coast


It is a rite of passage for SoCal dwellers to take this route at some point. For riding enthusiasts, it's a must. Hwy 1 is a favorite for those who want to take the more scenic route up north to San Francisco. Sure, it'll take you half as long if you just go directly up Hwy 5, but what's the fun in that? Aside from riding right next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean, you'll also hit some pretty awesome mountain curves once you get into Monterey County.



There are several insanely gorgeous stops along the way, such as Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Big Sur, and Monterey Bay. Don't forget to stop by San Simeon to see elephant seals sunning themselves on the beach! It really is remarkable to pull off in the lovely designated parking area and peak down at these massive animals in their natural environment.

Time to ride: The long length of this ride is taxing, so allow for 2 days if you started by Malibu and your goal is San Francisco. There's plenty of sights along the way so plan accordingly!

7. Baja California - ride down a peninsula



Or, you can head South and reach Baja (the original California) - now a spectacular Mexican peninsula where you can find innumerable sleepy little towns on your way through mountains, deserts and sandy beaches. It's also a dream for off-roaders, as there are hundreds of miles of dirt trails of all different terrain. Just don't get lost in the wilderness out there! Also be careful to plan around large-scale professional events like the Baja 1000.



For the street-riders who are craving an epic adventure, you can ride 1,000 miles of paved road (Highway 1) down the entire peninsula, starting in Tijuana and ending in beautiful Cabo San Lucas.

Tips: this is at least an overnight trip if you're starting from Los Angeles. Bring your passport and proof of ownership of your bike. And be extra careful of safety and don?t do anything stupid (ahem, as in, don?t bring anything illegal and keep your wits about you).

8. Big Bear - SoCal mountain trails for all riders

Big Bear has lots of options for off-road enthusiasts and thrill-seeking street guys. There are dozens of off-road trails snaking through Big Bear Mountain and the surrounding areas. You'll have fun discovering and conquering each one. Most of them are hard compacted dirt with loose rocks, but there are very challenging trails with large rocks as well. If it's your first time in the area mind the posted signs and be prepared for a variety of weather and change in temperature.



On the other hand, if you prefer street riding or have a passenger, an option for you is to the do the loop around Big Bear Lake. You'll start at the base of the mountain in Highland and continue up 330 and 18 East until you get to the Lake. This is a fun twisty road. After you make a loop around the lake, Big Bear has a charming little village where you can chill and grab a bite.


This is absolutely one of our favorite destinations since it feels like you're worlds away even though it's right on our backyard.

Time to ride: about 2.5 hour for the lake loop to go up and down.

9. El Paso Mountains - Off-road canyon fun


El Paso Mountains in the northern Mojave Desert is an awesome fun ride for the off-roaders. The desert landscape is almost surreal. You'll go through incredibly rocky areas where the ground is littered with rocks as big as your fist, dirt paths with the red canyon cliffs rising up on either side of you, and flat desertscape where you can see for miles. You may even spot a few native desert tortoises (please don't touch)! As you gain elevation, the view of the valley below is just amazing.

A good target destination is Last Chance Canyon, a depression-era mining site, and the Burro Schmidt Tunnel, a mysterious half-mile long tunnel entirely dug by hand through solid rock over 3 decades.



Tips: El Paso is a great time to ride in the fall (October and later) as it's very hot in the summer. Be careful though that you can only ride in areas where there is an "OPEN" sign; a fine is very costly here!

10. Lake Tahoe - Breathtaking alpine scenery


Tahoe is another location that offers a ton of riding options for riders of every level. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States, and the 80-mile loop around it is perfect for the novice rider, not to mention the breathtaking scenery by your side at every turn. If off-road riding is more your style, there are also hundreds of miles of trails in the Tahoe area.

If you want to venture out into the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, you can go to the tiny town of Genoa from 207 through Kingsbury. There, the main attraction is the charming little Genoa Bar and Saloon - the oldest drinking establishment in Nevada! This bar has seen a lot of famous visitors throughout its decades, and is now a famous pit stop for bikers to cure their thirst while reveling in a part of history.

11. Death Valley - Desertscape and Sand Dunes



It doesn't sound like it, but Death Valley is a beautiful ride. This ride takes you through the California desert into Nevada. You can have a really fun rocky ride in Echo Canyon, and then really get up to speed through a wide expanse of desert while dodging lots of cacti. A distinct landmark of this area is the Mesquite Dunes - massive rolling hills of soft sand shaped by the wind.

This is a great place to include on your route since you will have ridden through narrow, rocky canyons, riverbeds, and beautiful open desert to get here. Heads up noobs - the sand is super soft, and your bike can easily end up like this (ha!):


Watch footage of Aram?s ride through Death Valley.

Are you gonna hit up any of these epic routes/trails this fall? Remember, bring plenty of water, extra fuel, and tire repair materials. If you're going alone, make sure someone knows where you are going, even what specific trail you're planning to ride. We've had too many crashes on desolate trails with our Solomoto team alone, so we urge everyone (especial the solo-moto-ers) to take extra precautions!

Get out there this fall and have fun!

By Daniel Relich

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New Yamaha YZF-R6 for 2017 Coming?



Is this the new 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6? It seems to have been forever since a big revamp of the R6 has surfaced. It feels like the same bike since the major platform update debuted in 2006. Yes, I know, there has been changes since them but it's kind of ... been lookin' the same. We've been R6 fanboys, owning many ourselves including pair of 03 R6's and a pair of 06 R6's - that we've turn into trackday machines.

There's talks of a 3-cylinder, but we can take cues from the engine sound in Yamaha's teaser video. Perhaps not. I'm hoping we'll seeing something extraordinarily different. We're looking forward to a possible engine revamp, perhaps some high tech electronics and, of course, a re-do of the body style and fairing.

Will we see technology from Moto GP make it to the baby R1? It's hard to say. Stay tuned. The world will know what Yamaha's been up to on October 4, 2016.
By Daniel Relich

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The Best Motorcycle Exhaust



Like any other motorcycle enthusiast out there, we're pretty obsessed with exhausts. We've already written several articles  on exhausts and we're constantly giving new recommendations as they come to our attention.

So it's about time that we put together a guide of our favorite exhaust brands across the different types of bikes (with plenty of rec's of our favorites!).

Related Post: Slip-On vs. Full System Exhausts

Exhausts for Sport Bikes 

M4


M4 is our top selling exhaust brand for sport bikes. They're renowned in the sportbike industry for their high-quality exhausts that deliver real performance. Their exhausts are developed through a long racing experience and extensive research and fine tuning.

M4 offers various GP, high-mount, race and street slayer styles in both full systems and slip-ons. Many systems eliminate that undesirable stock "exhaust box", which makes way for more power and a deeper sound. M4's exhausts are designed for closed-course competition only. M4 offers one-year warranty on their products for any defects in materials or workmanship.

Our best selling M4 exhaust is:

- GP Slip-on: Get MotoGP performance and sound without breaking the bank with M4's popular slip-on.  Each exhaust is beautifully designed to flow with the lines of the individual bike. Available in either black of titanium.

Shop M4 Exhaust Systems and Slip On and other M4 Motorcycle Parts.


Yoshimura


Yoshimura was founded in Japan in 1954 and since then has been consistently in the forefront of the aftermarket exhaust industry. Yoshimura has been associated with Factory Honda Racing and GEICO Honda Racing for quite some time, so their products are tested in the harshest environments. Yoshimura exhausts are designed to the highest standards of craftsmanship, quality, and aesthetics.

Our favorite Yoshimura exhaust is:

- R-77 Slip-On: The Yoshimura R-77 slip-on is derived from racing. It features a trapezoid shaped muffler, which allows for maximized internal volume and in turn, delivers top performance. Available in stainless steel or carbon fiber. 

Akrapovic


Akrapovic is high renowned for their impeccably designed high performing exhausts and that unmistakable deeply resonant "Akrapovic sound". Akrapovic exhausts has become the go-to for top racing competitions (such as MotoGP, Supercross, and Crosscountry Rally), leading over 80 world champions to their wins.

The exhaust systems are crafted with high-quality engineering teams and advanced processes. The exhausts are formed with a hydroform process (where the shapes are formed with pressurized water), resulting in pieces that are structurally strong, yet lightweight.

Some of our favorite Akrapovic exhausts are:

- Racing Line Full Exhaust: composed of stainless steel headers and mid-pipes coupled with titanium on its outer sleeve. The Racing Line offers a nice midpoint between value and top tier performance. (The premier Evolution line is identical, except it has titanium headers and mid-pipes)

- Megaphone Slip-On Exhaust: designed for race-oriented riders looking for a more affordable price point, this GP-styled slip-on is constructed entirely with titanium and is super lightweight.

Shop our Akrapovic Motorcycle Exhausts store, or read for a more detailed guide to Akrapovic's street bike exhausts.

Two Brothers

Two Brothers was founded in America in 1985 with a mission to produce high quality aftermarket parts that delivers on the track. They grew into a factory-backed AMA Superbike team and by 1993, their success on the track catapulted them into giants in the aftermarket exhaust industry. Having the reputation of building the highest quality products, their exhausts are manufactured by patented processes and exclusive materials.

All Two Brothers exhausts systems have a limited 90 day warranty against defects in workmanship and/or materials with any kind of repair and replacement.

Some of our favorite Two Brothers exhausts are:

S1R Series: This is Two Brothers' state-of-the-art race series, featuring aerospace high-temp carbon fiber, teflon coated magnesium end-cap, stamped spring-mounted inlet, and aluminum CNC machined outlet.

M2 Black: This is our best seller of all Two Brothers exhausts, featuring military grade carbon fiber, black teflon coated magnesium end-cap, black aluminum CNC machined inlet & outlet, and black hardware accents. Fit this on your black for a cool blacked-out look.
Shop our Two Brothers store.

Shop all Street Motorcycle Full Exhaust Systems and Street Motorcycle Exhaust Hangers and Accessories.

Exhausts for Off-Road Bikes

Pro-Circuit

Pro-Circuit was founded in 1978 by desert racing pro and motor tuning specialist, Mitch Payton. Initial customers were Huksy riders who wanted to same set-up as Mitch's personal racing bike. He soon branched out to include custom exhausts for other brands, and since then, over 50 riders have ridden for Pro-Circuit race teams, winning 29 AMA Championships. 

Pro-Circuit provides two-stroke and four-stroke exhaust solutions for major off-road bike brands. Their exhausts are crafted for optimal performance as well as style. Pro-Circuit offers a limited 90 day product warranty from material and workmanship defects.

Some of our favorite Pro-Circuit Exhausts are:
- Pro-Circuit Platinum Pipe (2-stroke): This is one of the most popular exhausts for 2-stroke dirt bikes. The platinum plating protects it from the rough wear and tear of off-road riding. It's of a stamped AKDQ high quality carbon steel construction with hand-welded and pounded seams.

- T-4 GP Full Exhaust (4-stroke): This is a tunable version of the full-race Ti-4R exhaust. You can remove the spark arrestor screen for closed course racing, and fasten the screen back on for off-road riding. The RC-4 Resonance Chamber are added to the head pipes to reduce noise.


FMF Racing 


FMF Racing was founded in 1973 by Don Emler, and since the first day, all exhausts are built by hand from start to finish in the U.S. Back when it started, single shock and water-cooled engines were the newest engineering feats. Now, we've got the aluminum chassis and electronic fuel injection. FMF has always been at the forefront of engineering and uses advanced machinery and high-quality materials for their exhausts.

FMF Racing offers a one year warranty again manufacturing defects, limited to the repair or replacement of the defective item.

Some of our favorite FMF exhausts are:

- Q4 Slip-On Exhaust: FMF is the leader in high performance quiet technology. It was designed with advanced engineering to locate baffles and chambers to absorb sound, without sacrificing power. It's one of the most quiet exhaust systems available, with a max sound output of 96dB.

- FMF Powercore 4 Slip-On: The Powercore 4 is a race-inspired exhaust at a bargain pricing. It features a durable stainless steel and aluminum construction, with a Hi-Flo end cap to boost performance. There's a removable spark arrestor and optional 96dB quiet insert.

Shop our FMF Racing store. 

Shop all Off-Road/MX Motorcycle Exhaust Systems and Dual Sport Complete Exhaust Systems

Exhausts for Cruisers

Vance & Hines

Vance & Hines, an American manufacturer founded in 1979, is well known in the aftermarket exhaust market for their products for big twin cruisers. Created by drag racers, their exhausts have helped many other racers win championships over the past three decides. The founders are constantly pushing the boundaries of design, engineering, and technology to create better products.

Shop Vance & Hines Motorcycle Exhausts.

Cobra


Since being founded in the early 80's, Cobra has become one of the leading aftermarket cruiser products manufacturer. They offer a full line of performance parts and accessories and are one of the few companies that work with each of the major OEM motorcycle manufacturers. Their high quality exhausts include popular favorites such as the Speedsters and the new PowerPro 2-into-1.

Shop Cobra Motorcycle Exhausts.

Bassani


Dating back to 1969, Bassani has been recognized as a leader in specialized exhaust component for over 40 years. They have a reputation for offering cutting edge technology to both professional racers and casual street riders alike. Bassani has truly mastered the trade. Their exhausts are often tested to have more horsepower and torque than the competition.

Bassani's exhausts are available in stainless steel with a lifetime warranty.

Shop Bassani Motorcycle Exhaust Systems.

For more, read our guide to the best exhausts for Harleys (which applies to cruisers in general from other brands as well).

By Daniel Relich

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MX: Choosing the Best Motocross Bikes


We're talking about pure MX today! Motocross (MX) is a very niche segment of riding, where riders compete on a natural dirt outfitted with jumps, and various obstacles. The course is very technical, designed so you have to constantly shift gears, make quick turns, clutch and brake, etc.

Motorcycle manufactures make bikes specifically for motocross. So what exactly is the difference between a MX bike and a dirt or off-road bike? They're all basically riding in the dirt, right??

Not exactly. All "dirt bikes" may look about the same, but there are subtle differences. In a nutshell, MX bikes tend to be lighter for nimble handing on the course. MX bikes also have more suspension because of all the jumps and pounding required of motocross. The gearing is also different; MX bikes have close ratio gearing that is great in tight, technical terrain.

In this article, we'll go over some factors to consider, and our favorite recommendations for some tried and true MX bikes. 

Things to Consider:

The right bike for you depends several factors. Here are some things to consider when making a choice:

Your experience level:

If you're a noob, you'll want a smaller bike to start, which means staying in the 250cc, 4-stroke range. Remember, it's much easier to handle and learn on a smaller bike, so you'll be able to improve a lot faster than if you try to learn on a bike that may be more than you need.

2-stroke or 4-stroke?

This is a hot debate in the dirt bike world. Without going into the science of it, as that can be an entirely new post of its own, 2-strokes are an older technology as far as dirt bikes go, but they have specific advantages that will likely benefit a more experienced rider. 4-strokes took over the MX scene as larger displacement 450cc models made the platform even more desirable compared with 250cc 2-strokes. 4-strokes have a much more advanced design that allow for smoother power delivery and a more stable ride.

2-stroke engines are more powerful than their 4-stroke counterpart. They deliver up to what can feel like twice the power. Another major advantage is because of the simplicity of the engine, they're much lighter, which translates into nimble, faster, and more powerful bikes. They are also much cheaper to repair, but you have to deal with mixing your oil and fuel. 2-stokes typically make a lot more noise, but if you're a 2-stroke person, you wouldn't have it any other way.

There's really no superior option, so it just depends on what you want. If you're a beginner, you may want a 4-stroke as it's easier to control and you won't have to deal with shifting as much.

Your size:

Yes, your size matters too - not just the size of the bike. It especially matters on a MX bike because it affects the suspension and therefore, the performance and your comfort.

If you are on the smaller side (let's say under 150 pounds), go for a smaller bike. If you're a bigger guy, you'll probably be putting too much weight on the suspension. Most riders will benefit from springs and valving specific to their weight anyways but this will be for another article. Many modern bikes are fully adjustable, and ride decently if you dial them in for a mid-sized rider.

As for height, MX bikes generally are pretty tall so you're likely not going to be able to flat foot it while sitting on the bike but you should be able to easily use one leg on the peg and one leg off while you're stopped to hold the bike up right.

We're going to split up this article into smaller and larger dirt bikes and include our recommendations!

Smaller MX Bikes (250 - 300cc)

4-strokes:

A 4-stroke in the 250 class isn't quite enough power for most guys, but if you're a completely novice rider (or perhaps if you're going to let your child ride), you may find that the smooth power delivery of the 4-stroke is much more ideal.

We like the KTM 250SX-F.
KTM 250SX-F 250cc 4-stroke

The KTM 250SX-F has some of the best sets of features in its class. It comes with an electric starter, 6 speed gearbox, a hydraulic clutch, and boasts incredibly high horsepower that can reach 14,000 rpms. And KTM has made vast improvements to their machines' stability, power delivery, and braking.

The 250 4-stroke isn't quite enough for most guys, so conveniently enough, more and more 300cc
bikes have made their way to market. Husky, KTM and Beta are all in the game. And Husky made the TE310 pretty popular as a "middleweight" bike for quite some time. 

2-strokes:

Or maybe you want to feel the explosive power of the 2-stroke. The classic, tried-and-true 250 2-stroke has been a popular choice for a lot of technical mx riders, including classics such as the Yamaha YZ250. 

Yamaha YZ250 (MSRP starting at $7,399) is a classic go-to for the older MX crowd. At only about 227 lbs wet, it has an unbeatable power-to-weight ratio. The YZ250 underwent some major upgrades in recent years, including the new advanced KYB front fork that has a Speed-Sensitive feature that controls the damping force for smooth handling. 

Bigger MX Bikes (450 - 500cc)

Light is right when you ride in the dirt; bigger is definitely not better when terrain and weather decide to put your skills to the test. That being said, the 450 class has some of the most awesomely versatile MX machines the planet has ever seen. Motocross keeps the 450's relevant in the overall off-road motorcycle segment and they're not slowing down any time soon.

Here are our favorites:

Yamaha YZF450F


The Yamaha YZF450F (MSRP starting at $8,590) features a 449cc 4-stroke engine with advanced fuel injection, and a rearward-slanted cylinder design for mass centralization. This innovative design allows the bike to deliver some serious power in a small, lightweight chassis (with the wet weight coming in at just under 250 lbs).

Honda CRF450R


The Honda CRF450R received some fine-tuning in the past year to make it even better on the track, namely in the suspension department. The front fork got about 5mm longer the rear got a new shock link, as well as new chain roller. This slight change made a noticeable improvement on the comfort and handling of the bike.

The CRF450R also has 3 engine modes: standard, smooth, and aggressive. And you can change between them by pushing a button on the handlebar. This allows for adjustment of power delivery based on the track's conditions. At MSRP of $8,699, this bike is now a better value than ever.

KTM 450 SX-F


The KTM 450 SX-F, a championship winning bike, got a major overhaul. The new design is emphasized on reducing weight, while increasing performance and comfort. Changes include a new compact lithium-ion battery, new airbox design, a newly designed lighter, more flexible frame, and a more comfortable ergonomic seat without adding weight. At 224 lbs (without fuel), this bike is the lightest in its class.

Which of these bikes do you have your eye on? Or do you have another bike that should be on this list?

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers
By Daniel Relich

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Bike Maintenance Tips for Fall


Fall is here, so squeeze in your last couple of rides! (If you're in California, have you seen our list of epic places to ride in fall?) And at some point, for almost all of us, there will come a time when we put our bikes in hibernation until the warm season comes around again.

The last thing you want to do is take out your bike next year and find that it will need some work to revive it. To save yourself the headache and potential extra cost, here are some simple bike maintenance you should practice before storing your bike away.

Cleaning

Got a lazy Sunday afternoon?

That is the perfect time to pull your bike out, gather some soap & water, and give it a little TLC. We know you've been meaning to get to it, but stuff comes up. Meanwhile your beauty has turned into a beast and gotten covered with dust, dirt, and God knows how many insect guts from your summer rides. Letting all of that gunk and grime settle over the cold winter months may make it next to impossible to clean when the warmer seasons roll around.

To really make your bike shine like new, you may need something a tad stronger than just soap and water. Here are some cleaning products we like and use:

Plexus Cleaner for plastic (and windscreens)
Protect All for bodywork (non-chrome, non heated surface)
Motul Shine & Go for plastic surfaces or Motul Wash & Wax for a protective wax finish     



Tires

There are a few reasons to take care of your bike's tires before you put your bike away for the fall and winter months. Flats, blowouts, flat spots, and low tire treads are all no bueno, and could cost you a lot of time and money when good riding weather returns.

Take a look at your bike's tire pressure. If your bike's tires are over inflated, it could cause a blowout. Alternatively, you don't want your tire pressure too low either. Sitting still for months on end can cause flat spots, and take years of life off of your bike's tires.

Check your tire pressure with one of our tire pressure gauges. You can go for a simple traditional one like a pencil gage, or something easier to use like a dial gage with hose.

Tire treads below 1-2 mm of depth may need to be replaced altogether. And if you have an off-road bike and the knobbies are in pretty bad shape after abusing it for a season, you can extend the tires' lifetime by re-sculpting them back into shape with a Knobby Knife. It essentially allows you to cut the worn knobbies into crisp and square edges again.

Shaft Drives and Chains

We know you'll roll your eyes on this one, but trust us, you should honestly lube up your chains each time you ride (clean them first if there's gunk on them). That way the lube spreads and absorbs into the warmed metals easier.

Practicing proper chain care will extend the lifetime of your chains and sprockets. Chains and their many parts are likely to rust and corrode if not properly lubed before a long layoff. If there's already some significant rusting, then it's best to just go ahead and replace them.

Some of our most trusted and top-selling items for chain care are:

- The Grunge Brush Chain Cleaning Brush
- Motul Chain Clean - use before the wax
- DuPONT Teflon Dry Wax Lubricant
- Motul Factory Line Chain Lube
- Maxima Chain Wax




If you have a shaft drive, you will want to have a thorough inspection of your shaft drive's oil level before locking the 2-wheeler away. It is generally a good rule of thumb to change the oil in your shaft drive whenever you change the oil in your bike (around every 3500 miles), but definitely do it when things start to cool down. That way there is no major buildup of gunk and other contaminants to shut you down prematurely.

Battery

I'm sure we all know what it's like to be met with a dead battery when we want to ride again after months of inactivity. But it's seriously annoying to have to remember to pull your bike out of hibernation every two weeks to start it up. Whenever you notice that your lights are dimming and it's having trouble starting, that's when you know it's in trouble.

You can keep your lead acid battery alive during the months in storage with a battery tender. This will safely maintain the battery at a full charge without overcharging it and inflicting trickling charge damages.

Shop Yuasa Lead Acid Batteries and Battery Tender.

Or you can invest in a lithium battery, which is lighter and lasts significantly longer when not in used compared to lead acid batteries. A lithium battery will only loose 3-10% of its charge per year if stored, so you don't have to worry about a dead bike when you're ready to ride again next year.

Shop Ballistic Lithium Batteries or Shorai Lithium Batteries.

Keeping The Oil Topped Up

If you want your bike to maintain the crisp performance you have come accustomed to, you'll need to make sure you keep the oil topped up with a regular schedule. You should be able to find all the info you will need in your bike's service manual: frequency, types of oil, etc. Shoot for an oil change around every 3500-ish miles to be safe.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your bike will be resting during the winter months, so make sure you don't start it after the oil's been changed (unless you don't have a choice but to do so to keep the battery alive). Starting the bike can contaminate the fresh oil and nullify the effects of having changed the oil in the first place.

Shop Motorcycle Engine Oils and Motul Engine Oils.

Perform a check on all the other fluids as well and top up if necessary. For brake fluids, We recommend:
Motul Dot 5.1: a top-notch brake fluid that will go great in any of your motorized vehicles.
Motul RBF600 Racing Brake Fluid: for performance riders
Mityvac bleeder: our go-to brake bleeder, as it always flawlessly eliminates even the tiniest amount of air remaining in the brake lines.



For radiator fluid, we recommend:
Engine Ice High Performance Coolant
- Evans Powersport Coolant
Red Line Water Wetter: for track riders (nationally approved for race track use)

Do you have any more bike maintenance tips for the fall? 
By Daniel Relich

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Guide To The Best Aftermarket Motorcycle Mirrors


Mirrors may seem like such a simple component of your bike. But just like everything else, they make a difference in your riding experience and safety.

Mirrors can affect your ride if they:
- vibrate too much
- have low visibility: view is restricted and you can't see everything behind you
- aren't at the right height for the rider
- aren't durable and break easily if bike is dropped 

Riders often find that the stock mirrors are not ideal for them, as stock products tend to be "one size fits all", and well... everyone is a different size. Maybe you find that your own body is taking up too much of the space in the mirror and you can't see the actual traffic around you as much. An aftermarket mirror that's more suited for you will allow a wider field of vision, which will keep you safer on the streets.

And of course, aftermarket mirrors tend to be a lot more attractive too. It's another way to inject more of your individualism into your bike

Today, we'll go over some of our favorite aftermarket motorcycle mirrors.

Types of Mirrors

You wouldn't think there are so many styles to consider. It's just mirrors after all! But what you get is important as mirrors are an integral part of your safety on the street.

What kind of mounting do you want?

bar end // bar mounted// fairing mounted

- Bar end mirrors: This is one of the most popular types. These mirrors are either clamped to the end of your handlebars or have an insert that slides into the bar (Rhinomoto makes great, high quality weight bar ends). This position at the end allows for the widest range of vision.  

- Bar mounted mirrors: These are mounted to the handlebar (not at the bar end) before the grip. This doesn't give you as wide of a range of vision as the mirrors are closer in.

- Fairing mounted mirrors: This offers a slightly more unique look. The mirror is mounted on the fairing instead of the handlebar. This kind of styling is popular with sportbikes due to the position of the handlebars being more forward. 

Some other factors to consider:

- Glass type: Typically, mirrors will come in either flat glass or convex glass. You know that familiar sticker we all see on car mirrors: "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear"? This is because the glass is convex. It has a curved surface outwards, providing a wide range of vision.

Flat glass is like the mirror in your bathroom. The field of vision isn't as wide, but there are no tricks on the distances.

- Size of mirror: Since you're personalizing your bike, you can decide how big or small you want the mirrors to be. With small mirrors, of course you won't be able to see as much (duh). So it's best if you choose convex glass for more range of vision.

- Length of mirror stem: Some rider find that longer stems help with visibility. But make sure they're not too long. It's best to still have a bit of your body (like your shoulder) in the mirror so you can have a frame of reference to judge the distance.

- LED lights: Some mirrors have LED lights for turn signals, which is helpful especially when riding after dark. Just an extra safety measure. You may want to consider this if you use your bike as your main mode of transport, including commuting.

Now, let's take a look at some of our favorite mirror recommendations, for their functionality and style.

Rizoma

Started by two brothers in the mid-90's, Rizoma produces a line of innovative, premium accessories with an exceptional attention to detail. They are especially well-known for their side mirrors and turn signals, which are unmatched in the motorcycle aftermarket industry. All Rizoma parts are designed and manufactured in Italy using high-quality materials such as composite fibers and aluminum. While Rizoma is still a relatively new company, it has gathered a large, loyal following (especially with BMW and Ducati riders). 

Rizoma Dynamic Universal Mirror ($73)

While simplistic, this beautiful mirror still makes a statement. It's designed with beveled edges that invoke a look of elegance and class. You could say the Dynamic Universal mirrors are - easily - one of the most efficiently designed mirrors that Rizoma offers. They are available in a clear finish, a black finish, or an anodized polished finish. However, keep in mind, adapters for these mirrors must be purchased separately. Can be mounted on any bike. 



Rizoma Reverse Retro Universal Mirror ($91)


The Rizoma Reverse Retro Universal Mirror is a good choice for naked bikes to enhance that "street fighter" look. They have a cool retro style that's a good alternative to the "antenna" mirrors. They are reversible and can be mounted left or right, above or below the bar ends. The heavier weight of these mirrors allows for better stability.  They are available to be used with Motovation's Universal bar ends and Rizoma's own non-tapered bar ends. Can be mounted on any non-tapered handlebars with 22-30mm OD, as long as there's 12mm of bare bar at the end.

Shop for Rizoma Motorcycle Accessories.

Constructor Racing Group (CRG) Mirrors 

CRG makes the only CNC machined mirrors on the market. Everything made by CRG is manufactured in-house with computer numerically controlled machining processes. And all parts are cut from solid aluminum billets. This process is not the cheapest, but it produces parts with the highest degree of precision and finish. And so CNC machining is the standard for race-quality bikes. 

CRG Arrow Bar End Mirror ($93.56)

With a no-frills minimalist design, the CRG Arrow Bar End Mirror is for the new generation of sportbikes and naked bikes. It's made of a durable billet aluminum material so that it can withstand nicks and scratches, and will last for a long lifetime. It has convex glass that allows for a wider range of vision. Can be fitted on bare 7/8" bars. These mirrors pair very well with Rhinomoto Bar Ends for naked/unfaired bikes like the popular FZ-09.



CRG Hindsight 3" LS Bar End Folding Mirror ($67.96)

There's a reason why this is named the Lane Splitter (that's the LS part) mirror! It folds when you need additional clearance through tight spaces, AND it will automatically retract if you collide with another object. Its of an aluminum CNC machined billet construction, and is strong enough to withstand potential accidents and damages. The CRG Hindsight 3? LSBar End Folding Mirror will fit most 7/8" handlebars, as long as there's 3/8" bare bar (not covered by the grip). And there is an optional Adapter Kit that allows mounting on virtually any handlebar/clip-on.

Shop for all CRG Motorcycle Mirrors.

Performance Machine (for Cruisers)

Performance Machine, founded in 1970, is known for their high-quality accessories for Harleys, offering a wide range of products for customization. They understand that style and individualism is important, but also without quality and function should never be compromised. 

Performance Machine is known for their progressive engineering technology and everything is made in their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The brand represents luxury, custom, clean and elegant styling. Such as this Performance Machine Vision Series Arrow XL Mirror ($59.46). It has a beautiful elegant style with impeccable finish. 

Doubletake Mirrors (for Dual Sport/ADV)

Do you need a mirror for your off-roading excursions that's damn near indestructible? If so, our absolute favorite ones are the Doubletake Mirrors (read our detailed review or watch Aram demo it from a trip). These bad boys are made from reinforced Zytel nylon resin, and we can tell you from experience that they are very durable (Aram tends to dump his bike a lot).

The height, length of mount, and angle of the mirror can be adjusted in about every direction you would need. And when riding in tough off-road situations, they can be swiveled down and locked in place, protecting them against any potential crashes. The visibility is great and the vibration is minimal, even on rough terrain.

Shop for Doubletake Mirrors and all other Dual Sport/ADV mirrors.

We hope we've helped you a little bit in choosing the perfect mirror for your bike! If you still have questions, feel free to ask below, call us, or hit us up on our Facebook page!

Shop all Street Motorcycle Mirrors & Mirror Covers.

*all photos courtesy of Rizoma, CRG, and Performance Machine
By Daniel Relich

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The Best Full Face Motorcycle Helmet


We've stressed more than once that a helmet is the single most important piece of protective gear you can have. Please do NOT skimp on a high-quality helmet. This is your head we're talking about! And over 40% of motorcycle fatalities are due to head injury. 

A helmet protects you by absorbing most of the impact during a crash. For this reason, it's really important to get one that's properly certified. You should NEVER wear a helmet without the one of the following safety ratings:

- DOT (U.S.): this is the MINIMUM standard for helmets approved for riding on the street. This is a federally mandated cert that's enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- SNELL (U.S.): this is a voluntary private 3rd-party tester. The tests and standards are more rigorous than DOT (as this was originally borne out of racing). 
- ECE (Europe): This certification is the European version of DOT, but it's actually the most widely used in the world, and is used by all racing organizations. This one has the highest standards.


Helmets with these ratings mean that they've gone through the necessary tests (such as the ability to withstand sharp blows, being dropped from different heights) and have passed. If you want to go the cheap route and buy a random helmet with no certification, you may as well be wearing a bucket on your head. If you don't have the money for a quality helmet, then you shouldn't even be thinking about riding! 

Full Face Helmets

That said, let's go over our favorites. Today, we're covering our favorite full face helmets (learn about the different helmet styles and uses here). 

For riding on the street, we always recommend you go with a full face helmet. Yes, they are more of a hassle to get on and off, but they offer the most protection (they're also the most aerodynamic, which will make riding a lot more comfortable for you too). Because full face helmets are just one integrated piece, there are no weak spots that would be impacted in a crash.

(You may also find some modular helmets in our selection. They're more convenient as you can flip the bottom portion up to drink, snack, etc., but because they're made of 2 separate parts held together by a hinge, they won't hold up as well in a crash.)

Shoei 

Shoei is no doubt one of the most well-known brands for motorcycle helmets. The company was founded in 1959 as a safety helmet manufacturer in Tokyo. Their helmets are known for safety, comfort, and unique designs. Over the years, they have produced many helmets that have helped win world championships.

All Shoei helmets come with a five year limited warranty were they repair or replace the helmet if there are any of defects in materials or workmanship. They also offer a free impact and safety inspection service for any of their helmet collections.



Shoei RF-1200 Solid Helmet White ($437.39)

Shoei helmets have quite the hefty price tag, but you get what you pay for, right? The all new RF-1200 was developed in 2013 to introduce a helmet that is lighter and more streamlined, with improved functionality. The RF-1200 is the result of 55 years of knowledge, engineering, and stringent testing. And Shoei Road Team member Marc Marquez won MotoGP World Championship that same year.

The shell is made of AIM+, which is lighter yet stronger, and comes in 4 sizes so you can find your perfect fit. The RF-1200 comes with a whole laundry list of special features, including emergency cheek pads release system and a 5-stage rotating dial for fine-tuning of the base plate.  Helmet is both DOT and SNELL approved. 

Icon

A label built by riders for riders, Icon is a premium lifestyle brand for all freestyle and street riders. Started in 2002 as an experiment, the brand quickly developed a cult following. They're known for their creative protective gear, many of which feature hip urban and tactical designs and graphics. Icon has a strong presence in the sportbike scene and supports stunt and freestyle riders Emie Vigil and Nick 'Alex' Brocha.

Icon has a full product line for both men and women, emphasizing on high quality at an affordable price. We love Icon for their attractive helmets at even more attractive prices. You don't have to spend a fortune on a helmet that meet the required safety certifications. You can find an Icon helmet for as low as $150, with plenty in the $200 range too.


Icon Alliance Dark Helmet ($150)

This is our favorite budget pick. Icon's Alliance Dark Helmet earns its name from its badass black matte paint job (so you can roll around like some kind of rebel Batman). This time around, the Icon team created a less expensive option that still contains all the comfort and performance their brand is known to deliver.

The Dark Alliance is rigorously tested to meet varying helmet standards from around the world, and is designed to prevent any heat buildups or fogging of the shield. The shell is made of injected molded polycarbonate and the interior is completely removable so that it can be washed. Helmet meets both DOT and ECE safety standards.

Shop for Icon Motorcycle Helmets and Gear.

HJC Helmets

HJC has a long success history, being founded in South Korean in 1972. It is now the #1 helmet brand in North America since 1992 and is also the fastest growing helmet brand in Europe. Their helmet are known for their dynamic technical capabilities and special features that make aerodynamics, ventilation, vibration & noise reduction some of the best on the market.

HJC's mission is to make the most comfortable and innovative helmets, while keeping prices affordable. Helmets prices are on par with the $150 low end, and even the top of the line helmets from HJC will run you just in the mid $400's.


HJC RPHA ST ($359.99)

The RPHA ST is one of HJC's most successful helmets. It was named as the test winner in Motorrad Magazine's helmet test, even coming out in front of more prestigious models. It was ranked as the highest in performance and quality. It features a lightweight fiberglass composite shell, a max air flow top vent, a moisture wicking anti-bacterial interior, and an integrated anti-scratch SunShield. Helmet is DOT certified.

AGV

AGV is another company with history, having been established 70 years ago in Italy in 1947! The brand has gone through some revamps throughout its long lifetime, but has always remained top-notch. Many world champions have won wearing AGV helmets, including Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini, and Kenny Roberts.

Except for find the full range of helmets from AGV, with numerous special release graphic helmets. The helmets are at great price points ranging from as low as $150 to a whopping $1,400 for super-luxe GP helmets developed in collaboration with championship riders.

AGV K3 Dreamtime Multicolor ($219.95)

The AVG K3 is one of their bestselling helmets and is a great one for those new to the AVG brand. Those riders who are more attracted to flash and pizzazz will be drawn to this intrinsically designed helmet, especially youngsters and racers. K3 helmets are derived from top of the range GP-Tech helmets. They are made with a thermoplastic shell, a chin wind protector, and a ventilation system of front, side, and back extractors. Helmet is DOT certified.

Shop for AGV Motorcycle Helmets.

Arai

Who hasn't heard of Arai by now? This is a small family company owned by three generations of motorcycle riders. Arai is especially known for comfort and fit advancements with different interior shapes, so riders with all different heads shapes can be protected and comfortable. 

Every Arai helmet is 100% handmade and goes through three separate quality control departments. Arai is so confident in the quality of their products that they were the first motorcycle helmet company to offer a full 5-year limited warranty, 15 years ago. Be expected to pay a bit more for an Arai quality helmet; their helmets ranges from mid $400 to almost $900.


Arai Vector 2 ($450-$477)

The Arai Vector 2 is at the lowest end of their range and is a solid no-frills helmet. Arai is not for shallow wallets, by any means, but they make high quality products through-and-through. Arai is all about customizing comfort for each person's unique needs, so this helmet has 5mm peel away cheek pads and temple pads, so you can find your perfect fit. It also has a unique patented chin vent design that directs air in to cool your face and prevent fogging. Helmet is DOT and SNELL certified.

Shop for Arai Motorcycle Helmets

Last note: Having an expensive high-quality helmet won't do much good if it's doesn't fit you properly. All those tests that prove that the helmet can protect you in a crash is only valid if it fits you correctly. So before you order a helmet, please read our guide: How to Properly Fit a Motorcycle Helmet.

Shop our full face graphic motorcycle riding helmets. Or if they're too loud for you, you may prefer the full face solid motorcycle helmets instead!



By Daniel Relich

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Our List Of Best 650 Dual Sport Bikes


For a motorcycle for off-road use, you want it to be a light as possible. Lightweight means it'll be nimble and easy to handle on uneven and often rough off-road terrain. This is why the 650 class of dual sport bikes is a little strange.

They're too heavy to be considered ideal dirt bikes. Not practical at all for maneuvering around dirt ditches and wooded trails. But what they do have is enough power for speed, enough durability for frequent use, and enough comfort for distance.

In fact, many consider them to be like small, budget adventure bikes (and we know how expensive those can be).  So these bikes perfectly bridge that gap and fit the demand for cheaper, durable "go anywhere, do anything" bikes. And compared to real adventure bikes, they're small and light.

Kawasaki KLR650


Established a few decades ago, the KLR650 has undergone several major changes to finally find its place as a small adventure bike. Nowadays, it's got plentiful options for replacement parts for customization and modifications.

The KLR650 has a 651cc four-stroke single cylinder engine. It's not the fastest dual-sport, but it manages well with what it has. It may still seem a bit big when trying to maneuver it off-road. At 400 pounds, it's certainly not going to be a nimble kitten. But the larger size also means that it's durable and quite comfortable for riding longer distances.

It has a large 6.1 gallon tank and runs an average of about 38 mpg. You can expect to get around 200 or more miles of riding out of a KLR650 before needing to refuel it. Here's some good news for the cheapskates (ahem... budget-conscious) out there, the KLR650 can also make use of lower grade fuel and still perform at adequate levels.

The KLR650 doesn't use fuel injection and may need choke to wake up during times where it's gotten cold. Although this might be considered a negative, having easy-to-work-on parts on a bike that may be taking you to far away lands is not a bad thing. Simple is better, we think, in this case. While its handling is nothing to write home about, the KLR650 does its job of navigating terrain well enough and it gets you where you need to be.

At MSRP starting from just $6,599, you can see how this is a great alternative to the $12k+ adventure bikes. There are plenty of great deals available for used KLR's as well.

Suzuki DR650S



Another classic, the DR650S is a simple no-frills dual-sport. It has no fancy technology or accessories. In fact, the design has been largely unchanged since it was introduced. Many motorcycle enthusiasts are attracted to the DR650S for its powerful engine and great handling. 

Suzuki's DR650S comes with ad digitized DC-CDI ignition that gives it a more precise spark timing during combustion. It also comes equipped with a powerful 644cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine and 5 transmission speeds. The DR650S's carburetor is a Mikuni BST40 single, which was developed to achieve peak power in larger engines. According to Mikuni, it flows 26% more air than previous versions.

At about 366 lbs, we think the bike is pretty lightweight for its class. To reduce weight, it has hollow wheel axles and an aluminum beam-style swingarm. The suspension provides 10.2 inches of travel and has a height-adjustable shock that can be tuned for your individual weight and riding conditions. Overall, it's a basic, but well performing, bike for off-road as well as the street.

MSRP starting from $6,499, and even lower if you're considering a used bike.

Honda XR650L

The Honda XR650L is yet another timeless old-schooler that?s been around long enough to establish a (well earned) lofty reputation. The style and design of the XR650L has remained mostly unchanged since its 1993 inception... meaning it's not as swanky looking as newer bikes. But hey, if it ain't broke... 

Originally debuting in 1993, since its reveal, the XR650L was regarded as a top tier dual-sport bike. Being derived from the championship winning XR600R, Honda especially took care to ensure that this bike would be worthy of its dirt-only version's fame. Weighing in at around 350 lbs, the XR650L came with an added 50 lbs, but it was due to additions to make it worthy of the street too.


Today, the XR650L features push-button electric starting and a durable 5-speed transmission to allow for riding on any kind of terrain. It has a steel fuel tank, steel semi-double-cradle frame, horns, and blinkers. The suspension is tuned for off-roading, featuring a 43mm fork with 16 positions of compression damping adjustability.

Since Honda?s XR650L has been around long enough to become a classic, there are loads of aftermarket mods and accessories for riders to tinker with. The XR650L handles as one would expect, but is larger and a bit slower in responsiveness than other, more nimble, machines. However, the kick-start is a cinch to use, and actually works slightly better than many other contemporary dual sports.

MSRP starting at $6,690 with plenty of used options at even lower prices.

Do you have another 650 class dual sport that should be on this list? Let us know!

P.S. Check out our other list of our favorite dual sport bikes.

*all photos courtesy of Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda
By Daniel Relich

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What Are The Best Dual Sport & ADV Tires?


It goes without saying that tires are one of the most important motorcycle component. They affect the performance, safety and ride comfort of your bike. Because of this, it's crucial to choose the right ones, whether you are upgrading to enhance your bike's performance or replacing a worn out set of tires.

Dual sport tires are even more specialized because they need to be able to conquer every type of terrain imaginable. They need to be stable enough to ride on the street and have enough traction for various off-road conditions.

What Makes a Dual Sport Tire

You actually need to consider your purchase seriously. You can't just purchase the first set of tires marketed as "dual sport" tires.

For off-road riding, traction is very important. Your tires need to be able to get a hold on all kinds of natural surfaces. Let's look at some factors to consider on a tire:

- Knobbies: This is what allows off-road bikes tires to function in the dirt. The more knobbies on the tire, the better the traction will be. Tires with short, denser knobs are more ideal for off-road hard terrain (such as rocky surfaces or hard-packed dirt) as they'll provide more traction. Tires with taller, more widely spaced knobs are for softer terrain (such as mud and sand). For street riding, tires should have no knobs.

- Tread depth: Deeper tread depth is necessary for softer terrain, so that the tires can better grip unto the shifting surface. Street tires need very little tread.

- Tire pattern: This is important for traction as well, especially during weather conditions. A pattern with wider voids (spaces in between the treads) will provide better traction for off-road riding, as it allows more surface for materials to grip to.

As you can see, there are many factors that goes into a tire. What kind of tires best for you will depend on what kind of riding you're planning on doing.

First, ask yourself: honestly, how much street riding will I be doing, and how much dirt riding will I be doing? Is it really going to be 50/50? Or is 80/20 more realistic? You want tires that work best for your riding style, not just tires that look the coolest.

Dunlop D606 (80% off-road)

Some call these D606 tires the rockstar of the smaller, 600cc range. When designing the D606 Dunlop wanted to craft a tire that would be DOT certified while keeping a strong focus on off road capabilities. It has deep treads, which will stand up even to the most rigorous off-road riding. At the same time, the tread compound has been engineered for highway use as well. But with its deep knobbie patterning, we definitely recommend that the majority of your riding is done off the road with this tire.

Shop Dunlop D606 front tire from $99 and Dunlop D606 rear tire from $102.

A very popular combination is the D606 for the front and the D908 Rally Raid on the rear, for the best combo of on and off-road handling. The D908RR comes in one size only, and while they can be run on a smaller dual-sport, be aware that they're meant to handle a heavier bike. They're designed for intense off road racing on hardcore surfaces.

Shop Dunlop D908RR front tire from $142 and Dunlop D908RR rear tire from $224.

Pirelli Scorpion Rally (70% off-road)

This is just a great tire all around, for any kind of riding surface. The tire of the racing champions at Pirelli - the Scorpion Rally - have shown to definitively perform at high levels, consistently. Knobbies on the front tire were engineered by the Pirelli team to offer a stable ride, even when you push it to breakneck speeds. Meanwhile the back tire maintains a durable grip to the surface, no matter how rough it is.

Thankfully for your wallet, the DOT legal Scorpion Rally was designed to withstand that rough treatment over time while maintaining a consistently high level of performance without breaking down.

Shop Pirelli Scorpion Rally front tire from $85 and Pirelli Scorpion Rally rear tire from $147.

Continental Twinduro TKC80 (60% off-road)

The TKC80 is one of the most popular tires for larger dual-sport bikes. They're built for machines that are between 600cc and 1200cc, and can handle heavier bikes off road with no issues.

The tire's grip makes most corners a breeze, with minimal wiggling. It has a wide block thread pattern that works great for both the street and off-road.

Also, the TKC80 is nimble when riding aggressively on loosened or rough surfaces but also maintains great traction riding on pavement. Aram loves this tire, but from personal experience, it can melt down after a few thousand miles of hard, street riding. The popularity of this tire, though, is testament to how well it performs.

Shop Continental Twinduro TKC80 tires.

Heidinau K60 Scout (50/50 mix off-road/street)

The German-made K60 Scout delivers a good balance of on-road and off-road performance. Due to such a balanced level of knob and tread, the K60 corners well, grips well, and handles impeccably on most surfaces.

Even more impressive are the treads that change design in relation to tire widths and sizes. The size of the tire, and knobbie patterning, changes the way the tire digs into the riding surface or just the way it covers the riding surface, thus ensuring a smooth ride at each size. Its resilient tire rubber also means a the K60 Scout is well equipped to handle riding in wet conditions, and it also has a much longer lifespan compared to the competition.

Shop Heidinau K60 Scout front tire from $92 and Heidinau K60 Scout rear tire from $194.

Midas MC 30 Invader (80% street)

This is a great tire if you ride mostly on the street with the occasional jot down a dirt path. It has a wide tread which grips well on pavement, but will have enough traction for a short ride on a hard-packed trail as well. It offers excellent stability and will provide a comfortable, quiet ride. The tire wears great and has a pretty healthy lifespan. 





Last Notes

- Mix & matching tires: Try not to mix brands for your front and rear tires. Each brand construct their tires differently, and the wear rates and wear patterns may be different. This is just going to cause you headache down the road (ha-ha, get it?). Most brands sell a matched pair, so this shouldn't be an issue even. But if for some reason, you must have an unmatched pair, then at least get tires from the same brand.

- Tire pressure: Tire pressure is a factor to consider too. While it's true that tires with more pressure will get you better mileage, it may not be the most ideal for all situations. When riding on soft conditions, like sand or mud, less tire pressure will give you better traction as softer tires can better conform to the contours of the surface.

It's a good idea to carry a small tire inflator so you can adjust your tire pressure on-the-go in accordance with the ever changing riding conditions.

When to replace: Be aware of the tire tread levels. Remember, tread is extremely important for off-road riding in order to be able to grip unto shifting surfaces. So you never want them to get too low. We recommend that you replace the tires when tread level is about 50%, unless you plan to do more street riding.

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers


By Daniel Relich

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ADV: The Best Adventure Bikes 2016


Adventure is a segment that's hard to categorize. It combines long distance touring with the ability to go off-road. The premise of an adventure bike is enticing - it's a machine that can take you wherever your heart desires, as far as you want. Nothing, nowhere is an obstacle. Pure total freedom.

The idea of an adventure bike may be seductive, but the downside is that they're not the most budget friendly. And it's actually not that easy to ride a large, heavy bike off-road.

Before sinking your money into an adventure bike, consider your riding abilities and if you really will ride it far and off the beaten path. Some adventure bikes lean more towards the off-road side of things while some are more geared for street riding. (If you think you're more likely to have adventures closer to home, then you may be better off with a cheaper dual-sport bike.)

That said, we've rounded up our favorite adventure bikes for those of you who have an epic journey on the horizon.

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin


A bike that's designed to take you around the world, the Honda CRF1000L Africa twin comes with a four-valve Unicam cylinder, six speed options, & Honda's all-new DCT transmission allowing riders to choose between street and off-road riding. The Africa Twin runs on its short 998cc engine, lighter camshaft, twin spark plugs, and powerful 270 degree phased crankshaft. The six speed options also come with an assist slipper clutch to keep you grounded whenever you decide to actually slow your speed. This bike has been heavily anticipated by the moto community and from recent reviews and test rides, it appears to live up to the hype.

MSRP starting at $12,999

KTM 1190 Adventure R


Boasted as the safest twin cylinder adventure bike, the KTM 1190 Adventure R offers a comfortable ride for all your off-roading adventures. It easily conquers gravel, loose dirt, rocks, and any other tough surface it comes into contact with. It's outfitted with the Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control, lean-sensitive cornering ABS, and lean-sensitive traction control. Together, these make the 1190 Adventure R one of the most technologically advanced adventure bikes on the market.

The 1195cc engine delivers a whopping 150 horsepower. And with the bike weighing in at just over 500 pounds on a full tank, this is an incredible power-to-weight ratio for its class. The problem with a lot of adventure bikes is that they're too heavy to handle well off-road, but this relatively light weight for its class allows for agile handling.

The bike is also designed for maximum comfort. It features an ergonomic seat with state-of-the-art 3D foam padding. The windscreen, handlebar and footpegs can all be adjusted to suit the rider, and the hand levels have 5 reach settings.

MSRP starting at $16,999.

BMW R1200GS Adventure


This is perhaps the most well known adventure bike. This is the bike that started it all. No list of "best adventure bikes" is complete with the R1200GS.

The BMW R1200GS churns out high performances on all surfaces, wet + dry, and has two dedicated modes (Rain or Road). You can get it in either Standard or Premium packages. The Standard package gives you Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, cruise control, hand guards, heated grips, and saddlebag mounts. The Premium package adds a LED headlight, tire pressure monitor, On-Board Computer Pro, 4 other rider modes (Dynamic, Enduro, Enduro Pro, and ABS Pro), and GPS mount.

With a 7.9 gallon tank, you won't run dry any time soon (good for those trekking across deserts & through forests). Rounding out the luxury features is the new navigation system that'll keep you aware of gas and speed levels.

MSRP starting at $16,495.

Yamaha Super Ténéré


The Yamaha Super Ténéré has a strong history of being a champion bike, having won the ever first Paris to Dakar Rally in 1978, and going on to win several more in the decades since. It has a powerful 1199cc inline twin engine, and is built for lengthy adventures. However, test rides show it's better suited to on-road versus off-roading. It's slim design is built for comfort during long treks.

Where the Super Ténéré excels is in covering very long distances (paved and unpaved) without the rider doing anything too crazy. It features a 6-speed transmission, ABS and unified braking, traction control, cruise control, and two riding modes. The 2016 model also comes with anodized, aluminum side cases each holding 32L. 

MSRP starting at $15,090.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS


The Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS has been redesigned for greater comfort and enhanced performance. Suzuki added new traction control & updated the engine, fuel injection system, radiator, 6-speed transmission, and lots of other little system updates to iron out earlier model's kinks. The 645cc engine is surprisingly torquey and delivers smooth, strong power in the mid-low RPM range.

At MSRP of $8,399, this is our top pick for a budget-friendly adventure bikes. It gets excellent fuel economy for your long trip or for daily commutes. For this price, it comes with some nice features such as a 3-step adjustable windscreen, lightweight luggage rack, and LED freeze warning indicator. 

BMW 800GS Adventure


The BMW 800GS has a more budget-friendly price tag at $12,295. Compared to the iconic R1200GS, it's more off-road focused. It won't be as comfortable as the R1200GS when riding for a long distance on the street, but is agile for some serious off-roading. 

This is a bike designed for everyone, so no one has to miss out on the fun. It offers 4 different seat heights as well as an optional low-slung version, so shorter or less experienced riders can find their perfect height. It's available in two different style variations, each with different color design and accessories so you can get the bike more suited for you. The bike is also equipped with 3 rider modes (Normal, Comfort, and Sport), ASC traction control, and Electronic Suspension Adjustment.

Triumph Tiger 800XCX


The Triumph Tiger 800XCXAs is the top edition of the Tiger model. It features a 800cc triple cylinder engine that delivers 95 horsepower. This new generation of the 800cc engine now comes with ride-by-wire throttle system with provides smoother power delivery. It has been given a 17% improvement in fuel economy, along with a reduction in carbon emissions. Technology includes adjustable traction, 3 modes for riding, cruise control, and an adjustable suspension that can be fully customized.

MSRP starting at $13,700.

What is your favorite adventure bike? What would you add to this list?

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers. 


By Daniel Relich

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