Shorai LFX Lithium Batteries

Let's face it, batteries are probably the last thing on your mind when looking to add additional performance to your motorcycle. For just about always, motorcycles have been using a heavy lead-acid battery which has a low cost and a wide manufacturing base so it was easily adopted as the go to technology. However, over the last few years, lithium battery technology has emerged as a worthy competitor in this segment where maintenance, volume, temperature sensitivity and relative low weight outweighs the cost factor (lithium batteries tend to be a bit more expensive than their lead acid competitors). A brand at the forefront of this emerging tech is Sunnyvale, California based Shorai. They started in 2010 and are most well known for their OE-specific fitment that are easy to install because they're the same size as your outgoing stock battery.

The key differences between a traditional lead-acid and Shorai batteries (Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries) are quite substantial.

- A lot less weight to be lugging around (up to 80% lighter)
- Discharges less quickly will sitting unused
- Improved starting performance
- Longer life-cycle so the batteries last longer
- Less negative environment impact
- Two-Year Warranty

Shorai batteries have become one of the leading producers of Lithium Iron Phosphate power sports batteries. They have led the market's conversion to the lithium starter battery from the traditional lead-acid and have helped revolutionized to industry with their LFX line. The Shorai battery LFX claims to be the only prismatic lithium-iron battery which lasts longer and packs more punch, while being half the size of a traditional battery. LFX batteries deliver more energy faster than its competitors in the market. These Shorai batteries even weigh and wear less per start cycle than other brands. The light weight is due in part to the high tech carbon-fiber composite case. Due to a low self-discharge rate, this battery can hold the charge for a whole year without maintenance. It not only has a service life 2-4 times that of a lead-acid battery but also recharges quicker. Shorai motorcycle batteries use LFX cells that are specifically formulated for engine starter duty.

Although the Shorai LFX series is pricier than the typical lead-acid battery, it has a superior technology that is backed up with a two-year warranty. The Shorai LFX batteries have a wide range of case shapes, sizes, capacity options and left/right polarity options for the best fitment possible. There are adhesive backed foam sheets included in the pack which can be used in case the LFX is smaller than the previous battery in any dimension. The foam sheets can be trimmed and applied accordingly to ensure a snug fit of the battery along with vibration and thermal insulation. The pack also includes terminal screws, a set of spares, the user manual and Shorai decals in different sizes. Shorai LFX offers a "drop in" installation for many power-sports vehicles due to all the different options and sizes available.

You can order Shorai Lithium LFX batteries here:
By Daniel Relich

Bring It Honda! An 800GS, 950Adv, and Me.

I haven't owned a million Adventure bikes. I've owned two: a 2010 BMW F800GS and a 2004 KTM 950 Adventure. I write this as my KTM sits in the shop, so please excuse any skewed editorializing.

What's most exciting to me about Honda's new release of the Africa Twin as the CRF1000L is that there is a very good possibility of finally having a very reliable, turn-key, 1000cc adventure bike that will handle better off-road than the other 'reliable' options on the market. Again, this is just based on my own personal experience and conversations with other riders.

My experience with the Beemer was overwhelmingly positive, but as everyone knows, it leaves something to be desired once you start pushing the envelope in the dirt. On the other end of the spectrum is the Dakar-bred off-road beast from KTM, that delivers more feedback and dirtbike-like performance than I ever could have imagined from a big bike. The two motorcycles are at opposite ends of the same Adventure category, with the 800GS being more road friendly and the 950Adv being more dirt friendly. If it ended there, my choice would be easy. I'd much rather ride a dirtbike on the street than a street bike in the dirt.

The issue I'm experiencing that pushes the two even further apart is the maintenance and general upkeep required. The 800GS required nothing outside of oil changes every six-thousand miles after outfitting it with SW Motech crashbars, an MOD skidplate, Barkbusters handguards, and Giant Loop and Wolfman luggage. The 950Adv has a laundry list of recommended updates and rebuilds, not to mention that you should change the oil every two-thousand miles!

The 950Adv is an absolute animal off-road, requiring only Doubletake mirrors, a Heidenau K60 rear with a TKC80 front, a Seat Concepts seat, and a Moose Racing windshield to get me comfy on the bike on the street and dirt. With nearly identical mileage on both motorcycles, I'm learning about cost of ownership the hard way with maintenance and updates required to keep my KTM happy. I love this bike, and I ride it every day. She just keeps making me pull out my wallet.

This experience has me looking to the new Honda Africa Twin as a safe bet to deliver what a modern Adventure bike should. Do I want a bike that performs in the dirt? Yes. Do I need something reliable that doesn't require a degree from MMI to keep running? Yes. I don't think that's too much to ask for, and based off all of the wild speculation online and the legendary history of Honda Racing and the Africa Twin, I would hope that the chances are good that we will see an enormously popular new Adventure bike that will satisfy the needs of riders who want it all.

You can look forward to seeing a lot of aftermarket parts and accessories from Solo Moto as soon as manufacturers make some goodies for Honda's new CRF1000L Africa Twin.
By Aram

USA Made M4 Exhaust Balances Price, Performance

Motorcycle riding is never simply just about a machine or just about getting to your next destination. Like life, riding a bike is really about the journey or 'the ride'. For most, this journey of motorcycle ownership also involves various performance upgrades and wearing the latest in protective gear from the brands we support and trust. I recall watching pro riders and flipping through sportbike magazines to create a list of upgrades that I would save for. Why? So I could make my bike better, and more importantly, make it my own. These days, I also like to look beyond the actual product and see what the company is all about. One company that checks all the boxes, is Dallas, Texas based M4 Exhaust.

M4 has evolved with the sport over the years and they now bring a wonderful balance of price, performance and looks to the exhaust marketplace, all while still being made in the good 'ole US of A.  On top of producing high quality exhaust systems, you'll often see them represented in the AMA Pro Racing paddock or, sometimes, on the podium. Being involved with racing allows M4 to rigorously test their designs under the hard conditions of racing; so the end product they sell to the public is the absolute best it can be in terms of performance, design and durability. Racing isn't a low cost venture and it's a pleasure to see a company as active in road racing as M4.

Often times as one of the first companies to bring an exhaust to market for new bikes, M4 focuses on mainly flagship sport and street motorcycles from major manufacturers. Some of their newest exhaust systems include the new 2015 Yamaha R1, as well as the new FZ-09 and FZ-07 but they cater to all sorts of road-going motorcycles including the BMW S1000RR and popular models from Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda. I have to admit, the two main reasons for buying an exhaust generally include the promise of a very extra ponies and the mission to achieve that oh-so-sexy, perfect exhaust note. M4's R&D department hits the nail on the head every time.

The most popular system M4 offers is the GP system and, you guessed it, the black gp slip-on exhaust is the best seller. The M4 GP exhaust systems have a cone style muffler that is extremely loud for those looking to make a statement. What's more, is that the slip-ons start around $300! These really are a great balance between price and performance and there's also a 'stage 2' silencer separately available for those that want to quiet the GP pipes down a bit.

Gaining popularity in the past year is the Street Slayer systems that often come with a beautiful carbon fiber muffler, that appears striking similar to the ones that adorn their race machines. These are what I would consider to be the 'premium' systems from M4 simply because of the usage of carbon fiber in the muffler and the higher price point (usually from $400 and up). The M4 Street Slayer slip-ons are very sexy and are one of my favorites.

M4 Exhaust systems has built a strong reputation over the years for their build quality and excellent customer service. Only after extensive research, innovative racing experience, and brilliant engineering involved are the systems release to the public. They're committed to pricing their exhausts at an easily approachable price, in order to meet the evolving demands of motorcycle riders. M4 also offers a limited 1 year warranty for any defects in material or workmanship. For most riders, it'll be hard to find local a company that makes good on this many fronts.

You can buy yourself an M4 motorcycle full system or slip-on exhaust by ordering it online here: 

By Sir D

Gear Indicators: Necessity or Luxury?

HealTech GI Pro Gear Indicators

The evolution of motorcycles, and in particular, sportbikes, over the years has been absolutely tremendous. Riding these days has become far more technical, much more enjoyable and has certainly become more than just a mode of transportation. The range of accessories available to make riding safer has also increased and one such popular accessory device is the digital gear indicator. More specifically, we're going to talk about the line-up of Healtech Gear Indicators.

Whether you're new to riding or you're a seasoned pro, it's no secret that there's more to riding a motorcycle than pointing it in one direction and opening the throttle. Thinking about your body's positioning, proper braking techniques and observing traffic and road conditions all fall squarely into a good rider's repertoire of skills. On top of that, trying to remember the gear you're in at all times, begins to complicate an already complicated situation. After installing a gear indicator, it'll be one less thing you'll have to keep tracking of while riding.

Once installed, a digital gear indicator is a small device that tells you which gear is currently engaged (or what gear you're in). There is usually a lot of trial or guesswork involved in the absence of an indicator and although most seasoned riders may not need it or find it unnecessary, a gear indicator is considered very useful nonetheless. The presence of a gear indicator reduces the instances of over-revving the engine during multiple down shifts which can result in your back wheel getting locked up. It is also helpful in finding neutral easier.

HealTech Electronics, Hungary, though best known for their speedometer calibration device, the SpeedoHealer, also makes gear indicators. Healtech's GI Pro, the leading gear indicator on the market, has three different product ranges to offer. The products in the different ranges have distinct features suitable for all types of motorcycle riding.

Healtech gear indicators offer:
- A rapid gear change display
- Bright and clear indications
- Choice of display colours
- A neat and small design
- Easy installation procedure
- A 2-year replacement warranty
The GI Pro with ATRE series comes with an advanced timing retard eliminator function which improves acceleration and makes the throttle response smoother. Though the number one choice with riders, the products of this range support only limited models.

The GI Pro DS series is an unique Gear Position Indicator and is specially designed for the bikes which have a Diagnostic System connector and so is compatible with a greater number of motorcycle models. The indicator is more reliable and has a faster response time since it receives the gear position information from the ECU. A fully automatic unit, it has no programming wires or buttons. The unit is smaller and more compact than the GI Pro with ATRE, since it doesn't have the ATRE add-on.

The indicators of the GI Pro X-Type series are compatible with all the motorcycles as opposed to the previous two series which work only with selected models. For bikes without a gear position sensor or a diagnostics port, the indicators on the X-Type are the best device for an accurate gear reading. It provides a more reliable display and a quicker readout.

Based on the model of motorcycle you own, one of the indicators is bound to be compatible. Once installed, it will free you from the constant worry about what gear you're in and it'll make your ride more enjoyable.

What do you think? Are gear indicators a luxury that a rider should go without, in order to learn the ropes, or is it a safety essential? Comment below!

You can order HealTech Gear indicators here:
By Sir D

Trail-Side Tire Repair Tools for Off-Road Riding

Tire repair is a necessary skill when you ride a motorcycle into the backcountry. Dual sport riders routinely travel well outside the range of support vehicles, so it behooves the rider to have the tools necessary to be self-sufficient on the trail. Having everything you need makes the whole experience all the less intimidating. We definitely recommend practicing at home or with friends before an actual field repair is necessary. Riding with more experienced riders was definitely the way to go for us until we got the hang of it.
There are a few items that we have found to be helpful when changing tubes on a ride. The first is an actual tube! Heavy duty and ultra-heavy duty tubes are difficult to get into the tire on the trail, so it's best to carry a standard tube for emergencies that you can swap out later for a thicker tube. If space is at an absolute premium, a lot of guys carry a front tube by itself that can be used on the front or the rear in an emergency. We have a number of tubes available here.

Any off-road rider worth their salt is aware of their air pressure in their tires. Pick yourself up a simple tire pressure gauge to keep with you while you ride. Everyone has a different preference with what pressures they like, but remember, if you go too low you increase the chances of a pinch flat, in rocky terrain at least. You'll need a broader gauge for larger bikes and a gauge with a narrower range for smaller bikes since a pound one way or the other makes a much bigger difference on a smaller tire.
We've made an air compressor a mandatory tire repair item on our adventure bikes. It's relatively light for the torture it would save trying to hand pump, and I don't even want to know how many CO2 cartridges it would take to fill a 150/70-17. The best bang for the buck is the Slime Mini 12-Volt Pump, measuring about 6x6x2-inches. It's nice to have an SAE outlet installed from the battery to a convenient area on the bike so you can plug the pump in, but it also comes with alligator clips that attach straight to your battery.
Not on an adventure bike? We love the Genuine Inventions Mountain Pipe pump for our light-weight dual sport bikes. A few minutes of spirited pumping will inflate a 120/90-18 rear, or you could use a couple CO2 cartridges to make life even easier. The valve adapter screws onto the valve, allowing you to pop the pump on and off quickly without releasing a significant amount of air. The pump itself is well-built, very compact, and easily hidden in a backpack or bike bag. It comes with a C02 cartridge, but don't forget to buy extras.
Next, are tire irons. It takes time to learn good technique, and there's nothing worse than banging your knuckles on the wheel after slipping off the end of a tire iron. The MSR Handle Grip Tire Iron is a huge help in coaxing the tire off the rim and creating enough leverage to slip it back on. also like the Motion Pro Bead Pro breaker/levers, which double as a bead breaker and tire iron in one. It's a clever design that will help break the bead to remove the tire while saving room in your pack by being able to use them as very capable tire irons. The spoons are nice and wide and the length is perfect for slipping under the brake rotor to hold your place. Lang Valve Stem Fishing Tool doesn't catch fish. It catches hard-to-reach valve stems once you're trying to put the tire back on. Even with a little air in the tube, it's often very difficult to 'fish' the valve stem out of the tiny hole in the rim. Try it, and you won't want to live without it.
Unless your tire has been sitting out in the sun long enough to get nice and soft, it's tough wrestling the bead over the rim. If you're a fan of stiff sidewalls, it's even more difficult. No-Mar Tire Mounting Paste is super slick and has no ill effects by leaving residue on the tire. In fact, it will moisturize all the rubber parts, inhibit rust on the metal parts, and it's vegetable-based and water soluble. That means you can mix it with water, keep it in a tiny spray bottle, and spray it on in a rush.

Oh, and pick yourself up some baby powder or talcum powder for your tubes to eliminate friction inside of the tire. If you can do this ahead of time and keep the tubes in zip lock bags, you'll be ready to go!
By Aram

$1k Giveaway celebrates 10 years with $1000 product giveaway

This is our 10th year in business and to celebrate, we're giving away a $1000 worth of product to one lucky rider!  It is, quite possibly, the easiest online giveaway to enter and the rewards are epic. Follow Solo Moto Parts on Google+ to be eligible to win $1000 of gear, parts or accessories from participating brands.That's right, just follow us and you're eligible to win!

Participating apparel brands include Kabuto Helmets, Spidi and Fly Racing with rider accessories from Uclear, Cardo and performance parts from Shogun, DMP, Vortex, Puig, K&N and Two Brothers. One winner will be selected at random and announced on our Google+ page on October 3, 2014. Enter by following us on Google+, here.

Please only one entry per customer. One winner will be randomly selected from the users that have followed us on Google+. Product rewards must consist only of currently available products from listed brands. $1000 reward is at retail price, and in USD (US Dollar). Winner may choose from any combination of products from participating brands. Full reward amount must be claimed at one time. No further entries after Oct 1, 2014 11:50pm PST.
By Daniel Relich

Doubletake Dual Sport Mirror [Video]

We took a moment to do a quick overview of the Doubletake Mirror on a recent trail ride. Yes, we use them. Yes, they're awesome!

Solo Moto stocks the full line of Doubletake Mirror kits and all replacement parts!

Click here to see all Doubletake Products

Model-specific applications:
BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Triumph, Husqvarna

The Universal Kit will work on any handlebar.

The Doubletake Mirror is the ultimate mirror for dual sport and off-road riding. The Doubletake Mirror has a lifetime guarantee from Doubletake and the Ram Mount components are also warrantied, but directly through Ram. All of the pieces sold with the kit work together flawlessly to form a very rugged and functional mirror that can be mounted to any motorcycle with handlebars. We offer bike-specific kits for all the major brands. We also offer a universal kit that utilizes a split-clamp assembly that attaches the mirror components to the handlebars much like a stock mirror mount.

The Doubletake Mirror is simple to adjust to the precise position you desire. Loosening the knob on the Ram Mount gives you adjustability on the top and bottom knuckles at the same time. Since the Ram arm is held in place by the pressure you apply to the adjustment knob, you can move the mirror around and see where you like it without it falling out of place. When you find a position you like, tighten the knob to keep it there while you ride.

The Doubletake Mirror folds down in front of the handlebars to stay out of the way when it's time to hit the trail. Some riders even prefer to leave their mirrors up on mild off-road terrain to keep an eye on people following in the same group.

Motorcycles traveling off-road tend to take more lumps than road-fairing motorcycles. Often times, mirrors will cause damage to the motorcycle or the rider in the event of a crash. The Doubletake Mirror's design allows it to move in a cash which not only protects the mirror, but the bike and rider as well. If the mirror were to get hit hard, the rubber-mounted base lessens the possibility of damage occurring to your clutch perch or other bar-mounted controls.

Overall, the Doubletake is the best mirror we've seen for the hardcore dual sport crowd. There is a lot of value in this product, and we've seen it first hand through all of our own crash testing.
By Aram

R&G Racing, Engineered to Perform

R&G Racing has made a splash in the aftermarket motorcycle accessories scene and has been steadily growing in the US market for the past few years.Their sleek and sexy European styling easily bests the designs of boring frame sliders while safely staying away from being tacky or looking cheesy. Just simply looking at the product makes me want to buy. Further, the real genius behind the brand is that their products are properly designed and engineered. On the surface, this might seem like an easy task but, sadly, a lot of brands aren't up to snuff.

R&G Racing hails from the UK (their facility is bit outside of London, to be exact) and we actually had a chance to meet the two founders at an industry event a few years back. We learned that R&G Racing is unique because their products are actually engineered (like, by an actual engineer with a degree and stuff) to work. For instance, the frame slider bolts are designed and the metal treated to bend, given enough impact force, so you don't need to worry about the bolts snapping off in your frame in the event of a crash. That's how it should be done.

Research and development doesn't come cheap from a manufacturer's stand point but it pays to buy a quality product that won't end up costing you more money or hassle down the road. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You always get what you pay for.

We were one of the first dealers in the country to roll out the R&G line-up on our website and the public reception of the product was great. Riders were buying R&G products because the parts looked amazing and functioned as they should, without surprises. There are a wide array of protection accessories offered for motorcycles from frame sliders, spools, fender eliminators to radiator guards and so on and so forth. Even their case covers are approved for racing by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). There's something for every rider and R&G doesn't just make accessories for sportbikes, either.

I'm no stranger to London and I really love how the English have a way with words. If you've ever been on the Tube in London, you've likely relished the opportunity to say "mind the gap" instead of "watch your step", hah! You'll find that R&G is no different when it comes to naming their products. They refer to their fender eliminators as "Tail Tidies" and their spools, "Reels". Do I have a point? Maybe not. Is it fun to say? Definitely.

With a high quality product, we'd naturally expect the price point to be higher compared others. For example, Rizoma makes a very, very high quality product that is unquestionably luxurious and impeccably designed but sometimes it can be a stretch for the average rider to spend three hundred dollars on a set of mirrors, for example. It's true, R&G Racing accessories are bit pricier than cheaper brands on the market but once you handle the parts, it doesn't feel as if you've overpaid for any of it. It's good stuff, all around and the pricing isn't ridiculous. As an added bonus, props goes to whoever can figure out what the difference between England, Britain and the United Kingdom (UK) are!

If you have any questions about R&G Racing accessories or if you simply want to hear us say tail tidy on the phone, give us a shout and we'd be happy to help!
By Daniel Relich

The Early Years of Motocross Museum

I'll admit I'm a little young to appreciate the awesomeness I was beholding earlier this week so, after speaking with a few senior riders I felt inclined to post what I came across at The Early Years of Motocross Museum.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tom White, as it was his establishment, and he was a very gracious host. As many of you know, Tom started out as a dirt tracker, racing against some of the greats, but really started kicking ass once he got on a Harley (which I was lucky enough to capture in a completely separate room from the actual museum). Tom had some later experience at Saddleback Motocross Park here in Orange County. (See old video footage here.) The track is long gone, but the locals still ride 'Saddleback'!

I may as well complete the bio... Tom joined up with brother, Dan, to create White Brothers, a corporate giant in the motorcycle industry whose name is still recongized to this day. I'm always excited to be in the company of experience and knowledge, especially when motorcycles are involved. I told Tom I was dizzied by my attempt to absorb all of the vintage race machines I was viewing, and he assured me that that was nothing compared to riding them. I've only ridden a couple of the motorcycles on display, but I'm sure some of these shots will bring back some memories for some of you. Enjoy!

By Aram

Airoh Aviator 2.1 Off-Road Helmet: Visor Peak Extension

 Airoh Aviator 2.1 Off-Road Helmet

Just a quick blurb on the Tinted Visor Peak Extension included with the Airoh Aviator 2.1 Off-Road Helmet...

visor extension installed
Included with the helmet are a number of accessories. Among them is the Tinted Visor Peak Extension. This bolt-on accessory extends the visor of the helmet nearly 2 more inches beyond the visor itself. The standard visor lip is a little more than 1/2-inch, so the total standard visor length is about 3-1/2 inches, while the overall length from the outside of the helmet above the brow to the tip of the installed visor extension is about 5 inches. An inch-and-a-half or two might not sound very significant, but it absolutely is when you consider the small scale of the visor. This is apparent by just looking at the helmet with the Tinted Peak Visor installed.

visor extension and stock visor lip
If you attend enough motocross races in the rain, you'll inevitably see a rider with a goggle lens taped to the visor of his helmet. Eventually, there will be a product for everything, so here we are. The cool thing is, the visor extension is included with the purchase of the Airoh Aviator 2.1.

Airoh includes a small tool on a lanyard to use for the visor change. The same tool is also used to install the top vent shields. Keep an eye on the threaded backs of the screws! They keep the visor fitting beautifully once they're on, but odds are you'll never see them again if they're dropped in the mud.

visor extension bottom
Motocross racers, track riders, and hardcore trail riders will appreciate the extra coverage in the event of muddy or wet conditions. I'm even looking forward to keeping the Tinted Visor Peak Extension in my pack and trying it out riding into the sun at the end of the day. It always seems like I'm missing a smidge more to keep from squinting all the way back to the truck.

You can check out all our Airoh helmets, custom product descriptions, videos and more pictures here:

By Aram