Blog

So How Much Does a Motorcycle Cost?


So, how much does a motorcycle cost? This is a complicated question with no easy answer. The short answer is: it depends on what kind of bike you're looking to buy and your budget. The good news is that bikes come in virtually all price points, so you're pretty much guaranteed to find something suitable for your budget. The mindset is that if you spend more, you get more. That may be true to some degree, but it's important to consider that you're not buying too much bike for your riding level or preference. Even beyond the cost of the bike, you should also consider the upgrade costs. Because, they, that's most of the fun! After all, we carry a ton.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you're probably thinking of buying your first bike (congrats!) and are not sure where to start. So here, we will cover the different types of motorcycles and give suggestions for bikes at the different price ranges.

Street/Standard

This category of bikes have the largest variety of body styles. Basically, they're exactly what they sound like: they're for riding on the street. Standard bikes are commonly known as "naked" bikes, or bikes without a fairing. Fairings are those plastic body elements that cover the engine and frame. They help to make a bike more aerodynamic, which is absolutely needed for sport bikes. However, street bikes have less of a need to be so aerodynamic so a naked style is quite popular.

Most all manufacturers offer a street bike, so you're not going to have any trouble finding one at your budget. Generally, the price will increase with the engine size. Let's take a look at the prices ranges.


Entry Level: A standard street bike is extremely affordable, with bikes going for as low as just $4,000 (like the Honda CB300F) to $8000 (like the Suzuki GSX-S750). The Yamaha FZ-07 is another popular option going for $6,990.




Mid Level: Mid-range standard bikes go from $8 - $12k. The Triumph Street Triple goes for $9,400 and the Kawasaki Z1000 goes for $11,999.





High-Level: If you've got the cash, you'll be spoiled for choice in this category with streetbikes from luxury brands. The BMW R1200R is $14,095, Aprilia RSV4 RR goes for $16,499, while the Ducati Diavel is a whooping $18,795.

Supersport

Sportbikes (often called "crotch rockets") are built for performance and high speeds. They are characterized by powerful engines in a lightweight frame with full fairings for maximum aerodynamics. The seating position is tucked forward with longer reach to the handlebars and higher foot position. 

Because of how powerful sport bikes are, they are not usually ideal to learn to ride on, but there are plenty of manufacturers now making smaller, more newbie-friendly 300-class sport bikes. And even better? They are super affordable too.

Entry Level: These bikes are a steal at the lower end. Bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 300 ($4,999) and Yamaha R3 ($4,990) come with plenty of cool features. For a little bit more, you can get more power with bikes such as the Honda CBR500RR for $6,499 and the Kawasaki Ninja 650 for $7,199.




Mid Level: At this price range, you'll see some more power. The Honda CBR600RR is a decent deal at $11,490, as well as the Yamaha YZF-R6. Racetrack favorites such as the Suzuki GSX-R1000 ($13,899) and  Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ($14,999) cap off this price range.




High-Level: On the splurge end, supersport bikes go from $15k up, and can go as high as you imagine. The Yamaha YZF-R1 is a good choice in the lower high-level range at $16,490, while if you want something super luxe, the Ducati Panigale R starts at a staggering $34,695.

Touring

Touring bikes are designed for comfort during long distance travel. Size wise, they're the largest bikes (and the heaviest) because they have to be capable of enduring many, many long hours - and even days - on the road, while being loaded up with a lot of equipment. They usually have large windshields, large storage compartments, large fuel tanks (you get the theme...), plush seats, and an upright riding position for maximum comfort on those long rides.

Price wise, they are among the most expensive because of the luxury features they offer and their durability. Therefore, they're probably not the best choice for beginners... unless you've got quite a budget!

Entry Level: Even at the lower end of the budget scale, you're looking at around $10k - $15k for a touring bike. The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT goes for a little bit less at $8,999, while the Honda NM4 goes for $10,999.




Mid Level: Mid-range touring bikes go from $15 - $20k, and this is the price range you'll find the most options. BMW's revolutionized the touring segment with their RT series. We love the R1200RT as a higher-mid range option at a starting price of $18,145. Other solid options are Harley-Davidson Touring Road King ($18,749) if you prefer the classic look or Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS ($17,399).

High-Level: If money is no concern, top of the line tourers go for over $20k with bikes such as Honda Gold Wing Audio Comfort Navi XM ($26,899), Harley-Davidson Touring Electra Glide Ultra Classic ($23,549), and BMW K 1600 GTL ($23,200).

Cruisers

Cruisers are those big ol' clunky machines with the high handlebars and forward foot pegs, that don't even particularly go so fast. Basically, they're the iconic American motorcycle from the 1930's - 60's. These bikes are characterized by a low riding position, larger V-twin engines,  and raked-out front forks. Riding a cruiser is not about performance or even the practicality of taking you from Point A to Point B. Rather, it's all about buying into that carefree lifestyle.

Because of the riding position of the cruiser - one where your hands are raised way up there to reach the handlebars and your feet are stretched way out there to reach the footpegs - they're not ideal for beginners. The slightly leaned back, low riding position makes it so that the bike is very hard to handle and tiring at high speeds.

Entry Level: It is possible to find bikes in the cruiser style in the lower price range around $5,000 - $8,000, though most likely, you won't be able to find an American cruiser.  The Honda Rebel is only $4,190 and The Suzuki Boulevard is a bit more at $5,499, while the Kawasaki Vulcan S goes for $6,999. At this range, there will be significant differences in styling and performance.

Mid Level: The next bracket up ($8-$12k) has far more options, from both classic American cruiser manufacturers and other brands. Check out bikes such as the Triumph America ($8,400), Victory Gunner ($12,999) the Harley-Davidson Sportster Seventy-Two ($11,099).



High-Level: There are also plenty of luxury cruisers for those with money to spend, such as the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe ($18,549) and Indian Chief Classic ($18,499).

Off-road/MX 

Off-road bikes are a whole different breed. They're made for jumping over dirt hills, rolling over gravel trails, and slugging through mud paths. Because of the rough terrain off-roaders encounter, the bikes are designed to be very lightweight with a high seat and high center of gravity. Dirt bikes are not street-legal as they often have no horns, turn signals, mirrors, or headlights.

Entry Level: Off road (or dirt) bikes are among the most affordable. Tiny 100-class dirt bikes go for as low as $2000's, like the Kawasaki KLX110 ($2,299) and Honda CRF125F ($2,799). The price goes up as the engine size increases. The Yamaha TT-R230 is $3,990, while the Honda CRF250L goes up to $4,999.


Mid Level:  KTM bikes dominate the dirt tracks and you'll find a lot in this range. The 250SX is decently priced at $6,799. Solid comparable models from their Japanese counterparts include the Yamaha WR250R at $6,690 and the Honda CRF250X for $7,410.




High-Level: Even at the higher end, off-road bikes won't break the budget.  KTM 450 SX-F goes for $9,299, while the BETA 480 RR goes for $9,499.







Dual Sport/Adventure

Dual sport bikes is one of the fastest growing bike segments. These bikes offer the best of both worlds: the lightness and versatility to ride off-road, while still being comfortable and safe enough to ride on the street. They're basically dirt bikes but with mirrors and lights so they're legal to ride on the street. And like dirt bikes, they have smaller engines, lightweight frames, and higher center of gravity.

Dual sport bikes make a good option for beginners because of their less powerful engines and maneuverability. Just make sure you are able to plant both feet firmly on the ground. They also tend to be lower priced, making them a great starter bike.

Entry Level: You can snag a dual sport bike for as low as $5,000, though spending a bit more in the $6k range will get you the most value. Popular lower-priced favorites are the Yamaha WR250R ($6,690), Kawasaki KLR650 ($6,599) and the Suzuki DRZ400S ($6,599).




Mid Level: Except to spend about $8-$12k in this price range, with bikes such as the Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS ($8,399) and BMW F700GS ($9,995).







High-Level: For a pricier dual sport bike, the BMW F800GS starts at $12,295 and the Triumph Tiger 800XC goes for $12,500. And at the very high end, the ever-so-popular legendary BMW R1200GS goes for a cool $16,495.





So what's it gonna be? There's so much to choose from that my mind is spinning. Anyways, get out there and check out the bike in person - touch it, feel it, throw a leg over it. Start searching for reviews and read magazines to try and narrow down your top 3 before taking the plunge. 

It's a no-brainer that we can buy motorcycle parts online but the day will come when we can truly shop for a new bike on the internet. I'd say 85% of the decision to buy a new bike is made digitally these days.

Happy Shopping!
By Daniel Relich


Motorcycle Holiday Safety Infographic

As any rider knows, riding a motorcycle requires constant awareness.  You're often surrounded by much larger vehicles often driven by people not paying full attention to the road.  The holidays can sometimes present extra challenge that requires riders be even more vigilant than normal.  Check out our infographic for some interesting and important holiday riding safety tips and suggestions.  Also, feel free to share this infographic on your own website if you have one.

Motorcycle riding requires awareness given that the rider is generally surrounded by larger vehicles, with often oblivious drivers.  Holiday riding requires extra vigilance.


Embed this graphic on your website or blog:



By Sir D


Motorcycle Helmet Basics


A motorcycle helmet is the NUMBER ONE protective gear item you could get for yourself, if nothing else.

In the event of a crash, you mostly likely will survive a bad case of road rash (though that will really really suck) if you don't have a good riding jacket, but the same can't always be said for a head injury if you don't have a good helmet. We're not discounting the need for other safety apparel - not at all - merely emphasizing the importance of a helmet.

With so many different styles of helmets out there, choosing the correct one is no easy task. We'll help you get ahead in your research with our guide.

Take a look:

Functionality of a Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is designed to take the impact so your precious head can keep its beautiful shape. Over 42% of motorcycle fatalities are due to head injury. Of course, there is no absolute guarantee that a helmet will save your life, but statistics show that riders without a helmet are 40% more likely to die in a crash due to head injury. Don't become part of that statistic!

Secondly, not only does a helmet protect you in case of a crash, it also aids your riding experience by reducing wind pressure and fatigue, thus making for a more comfortable ride. And plus, can we also say no bug splatters in your face?!

Let's take a look at what makes up a motorcycle helmet in the most basic form:

- The outer shell is made of a tough material that is designed to compress upon impact, thus diminishing the force of the impact before it gets to your head.
- A dense impact-absorbing liner (kind of like Styrofoam) just inside the shell absorbs the shock
- The padding is what surrounds your head and provides a soft layer for comfort. It should fit snug, but not so tight that you feel excess pressure.
- The retention strap (chin strap) is what keeps the helmet on your head. We don't want the helmet flying off in a crash!

Testing procedures often test for the helmet's shock-absorbing capacity, its ability to withstand a blow from a sharp object, and the chin strap's ability to stay fastened. In the event of a crash, the helmet may crack and break, but that just means it has done its job! Sometimes, even if you don?t see any visible damage, there may be damage to the internal layers and thus has little protective value left. You should always replace your helmet after a crash!

A Word on Safety Ratings:

Make sure you look for a helmet that is certified by DOT (or ECE in Europe), as it means that the helmet meets the Department of Transportation safety standards and is approved for use on the street.

Another type of certification is SNELL, which is a voluntary third-party tester that test random samples from each batch of helmets. Helmets with this certification means that all the tested helmets have passed.

Stay far, far away from helmets that do not have any of these stickers. Not only do they may NOT provide adequate protection, they may even be illegal to wear in areas where helmets are required!

Different Kinds of Helmets

Full-face/Sport:

Just like what it sounds like, these helmets cover the entire face and offer the highest degree of head protection. The rounded, completely sealed shape means that it?s very aerodynamic, which equals more comfort when riding at highway speeds. They also offer a good level of soundproofing against traffic/wind noises. Because of all this, full-face helmets are a good all-around choice for any kind of rider.




Race Helmets:

Full-face helmets specifically designed for racing are aerodynamic with strong ventilation for comfort. They're typically made of strong high-tech materials (such as space-age composites) that provide strength while being very lightweight. They're usually less concerned with soundproofing as racers usually wear earplugs anyway. Race helmets are the most technically constructed due to the extreme nature of the sport and thus are the priciest.

Off-road/MX:

Off-road helmets are specifically to be used for some dirt riding fun. Because of the highly athletic nature of motocross, these helmets are designed to be as lightweight and ventilated as possible, meaning that they are NOT ideal for street riding. They provide very little (if any at all) soundproofing against traffic and wind noises on the highway, and the extreme visor means that it will catch the wind at high speeds.

Style-wise, they are characterized by a visor edge to shield from the sun and debris, and a strong jutted out angular chin bar. Dirt bike helmets have an open eye port (no face shield), so they're lighter and you have the option of wearing goggles. Because dirt riding tends to be?well, dirty... googles with tear-offs are a great option so that when you?re hit with a face full of dust, you can simply tear off the top layer and have a clear field of vision again.

Dual Sport and Adventure:

Dual sport helmets are kind of a cross between full-face and off-road helmets. They're designed to be used on and off the highway, streets, and in the dirt? basically they?re a bit of both worlds! They're designed for riding across a wide variety of terrain and conditions.

They often come as a shielded helmet with style elements taken from MX helmets. They have the visor edge help shield the sun, a face shield that can be flipped up for goggles use, soundproofing, and ventilation. The visor is not as extreme as that of an MX helmet and are designed to be more aerodynamic at highway speeds.

Modular Helmets:

These helmets look like the full-face helmets, except the face shield can be flipped up. Modular helmets are a good choice for urban riding or touring because of how versatile and convenient they are. You can hit up the gas station and grab a drink, chat with your buddies, while letting some sun and air in, all without taking off your helmet. This is also a good around-town or commuter helmet.

One thing to note: even though modular helmets look like full-face helmets when the face shield is down, they don't offer as high level of protection. Because they're constructed of two separate parts held together with a hinge (as opposed to one integrated piece), the helmet won't hold up as well in a crash.

Half Helmets and Three-Quarter Helmets:

shown here a three-quarter helmet

Half-face helmets are popular in the cruiser world because of its look that says "I'm just cruising along with the wind in my face, and I have not a care in the world." Total. Freedom. It's as close to not wearing a helmet as you can get.

This is the bare minimum!! The top of the head is protected with this helmet, but if you were to faceplant into the pavement? well, we don't want to think about what your face will look like. And these helmets offer no protection at all against wind impact, sounds, bugs, or rocks in the air.

Three-Quarter helmets offer only marginally more protection than half helmets. They offer about the same amount of head coverage as a full-face helmet, but without the face shield or chin bar. You're still going to see some serious facial damage if you go down face first. Only you can say what your safety priorities are, but in general, we don?t recommend these kind of open-face helmets.

Picking a helmet

Now that you've decided the style of helmet to get, it's time to pick one! Choosing the correct fit is absolutely crucial in how well your helmet actually protects you. A cheap helmet that fits correctly is going to protect you more than a top-of-the-line helmet that doesn't fit right. A too-loose helmet may fly off in case of a crash (at worst) or let in wind and strain your neck (at best), while a too-tight helmet will just become a headache (literally).

A helmet should fit snug enough that your head is not bobbing around in there, but not create any excess pressure that causes a headache. An uncomfortable helmet could quickly turn into a nightmare on a long ride, and being in discomfort means that you won't be riding at your best.

Talking about helmet fit is an entire separate post (especially if you want to talk about helmets designed for different head shapes!), so check out our detailed helmet fit guide.

Conclusion

The helmet you chose will ultimately be a personal decision based on the kind of riding you do most and how much priority you place on safety. But just keep in mind that a helmet is the number one piece of protective gear you can get. A high quality ones means the difference between walking away from a crash and severe head injury. And can you really put a price tag on your life?

Still have questions? We're here to help! Feel free to call us, ask a question below, or hit us up on our Facebook page!
By Sir D


Off-Road: Staying Safe on the Track and on the Trail


Going off-road is one of the most fun activities that can be had on a bike, whether it's at the motocross track or a long ride through the wilderness or desert. After all, that's half the point of the bike right? A bike is all about the lack of limitations, the flexibility to ride through any terrain, the freedom to go off the beaten path where 4 wheels can't take you.

We hate to be the one raining on your dirt-paved parade, but as always, fun only comes after safety. Trail or dirt riding is highly technical and then there's that added factor of unexpected obstacles (that?s all part of the fun!). When riding off road, you may find that you tip over more due to rough track surfaces and obstacles, but the good news is that the accidents tend to result in only minor injuries (as opposed to street riding collisions).

If you haven't already, take a read at our street riding safety tips. A lot of the same tips apply no matter what kind of riding you're doing. But going off-road does require a very different set of rules. In this post, we'll focus on safety tips for off-road riding.

Don't ride above your ability

Choose the correct bike: This is the first thing! Riding a bike that's too large (or too small) means you won't be able to control it as well. And that's especially important when going over uneven ground.

Off-road or dirt bikes also have a different seating position than street bikes, so it's very important to make sure you have a bike that suits you. Dirt bikes tend to have a higher seat height, but your feet should still be able to just touch the ground. And when you stand up on the footpegs, you shouldn't be pulling up on the handlebars.

For beginners, we recommend these off-road/adventure bikes:

- Kawasaki KLR250
- Yamaha WR250X
- Husqvarna TE310
- BMW F800GS
- Triumph Tiger 800XC

Ride within your limit: If you're a beginner, start small. Find a riding group or riding partner that you're comfortable with and that is at the same relative skill level as you so you can take your time and not feel like the slowest guy in the group. We've seen a lot of ego take a bike and ride to the ground in a bad way! It's okay, you?ll work your way up to the big boy stuff. And that's half the fun of riding anyway: to feel the gradual improvement and sense of accomplishment and to share stories with your buddies over the camp fire or local watering hole.

Wear the Right Gear

Just like on the streets, it is important to wear the correct protective gear for off-road riding. But going off-road has its own set of requirements. When you're riding off-road, you never know what kind of obstacles you'll come across, whether it's loose gravel on the trail, tree roots, a sand patch, or a rut. Any of these could make your tires slide and cause you to lose control.  And furthermore, having an accident on a trail could mean hitting your head against rocks or other objects. This could cause serious injury even at low speeds.

Here is the gear you should always be suited up with:

A helmet: This is the most important piece of gear and we highly recommend splurging for a quality one. The helmet should fit snug. Dual sport helmets have a visor edge to shield from the sun and debris. A dirt bike helmet has an open eye port, so it's lighter and you have the option of wearing goggles. But if you're going for a helmet that can be used for the street as well, look for one that is DOT approved (approved by US Department of Transportation).

Gloves: Gloves will not only protect your precious skin in a fall, they'll also protect your hands from rocks, debris, and other flying obstacles you may encounter. It's impossible to find a glove that does it all, so use one that suits your riding conditions and the weather (hot, cold, wet) that you'll be riding in.

More in-depth read: Beginner's Guide to Motorcycle Gloves

Goggles: If the helmet doesn't have a face shield, goggles will protect your eyes from dirt and dust, branches, and any debris that may fly your way. Goggles with tear-offs are a great option. When you're hit with a face full of dust, simply tear off one of the layers and have a clear field of vision again.

Boots: Boots will provide protection for your lower legs, ankles, and feet. Most off-road boots are designed to be worn over the pants.

Jackets and Pants: Off-road riding jackets and pants are specially designed to be comfortable, lightweight, and flexible. They're usually made of a light textile in a highly breathable material (this is important so you don't overheat on your excursion!), and don?t offer as much protection as street gear does. If you're going to be riding split-shift on the street and off-road, then go for a higher abrasion resistant dual-sport or ADV riding jacket and pants instead of purely off-road apparel. 

Protective Gear: Because the jackets and pants don't come with too much built-in protection, dirt bike riders typically wear their armor separately. Chest protectors, knee braces, and knee & elbow pads are common additional protective gear worn by MX and Off-Road riders.

Be prepared for the journey

If you're heading out for a longer length adventure ride, it is absolutely essential to make sure you have packed the correct supplies. Even if you have all the protective gear, not having the supplies you need could quickly mean the difference between a pleasurable adventure ride and serious trouble.

Stay hydrated: Probably the MOST important thing you can do is to stay properly hydrated during your ride. Check out the highly performance-focused hydration packs from American Kargo that are designed to fit over the protective guards and allows you easy sipping while riding. This is a MUST, we say.

Bring the proper supplies: At a minimum, we recommend bringing a GPS, an extra gas tank, water, and a tool kit to do repairs such as flat tires.

Be prepared for changing weather: On a longer ride, the weather can change in an instant and you need to be prepared for any possible weather conditions. Rain can drench you in an instant and turn your ride into a complete misery. Pack a rain shell to keep yourself comfortable and dry. Motorcycle rain gear is designed to keep you dry while still providing ventilation.

Be ready for any temperature swings with base layers and mid layers to insulate the body from the cold and wind. Look for moisture-wicking material that will aid in cooling as you ride.

If you're on an overnight or multi-day adventure: Look for small compact tents and sleeping bags (down is the lightest and warmest). Pack camp stoves and non-perishable food (freeze-dried meals are good options). Even if you're not on a long trip, packing snacks is always a good idea in case you run into trouble and lose time.

Have a first aid kit: As most injuries off-road tend to be minor (if you're wearing the correct protective gear, that is!), it is handy to learn basic first aid kit. Your kit should contain supplies to bandage scrapes and treat burns.

Use the buddy system: Always ride with a buddy or in a group if you can. If you're riding alone out in the desert and get into an accident, it could be a long, long time before anyone even realizes you're in trouble (especially if you're not supposed to be due back until a certain time).

Conclusion

With these safety tips in mind, go out there and have fun! Riding in the trail or dirt present a whole new slew of challenges but that's all part of the fun. Don't be discouraged if you're a beginner and falling over a lot. Just practice safety and wear the right protective gear at all times, and go out there and ride with confidence!
By Daniel Relich


2016 BMW Motorcycles We Are Drooling Over



We're back today with yet another installment of Bikes We Wish We Had In Our Garage... oh oops, I mean... favorite bikes of 2016 (see Yamaha and Kawasaki). Our dreams are getting bigger, as the focus today is on BMW!

BMW is generally viewed as a luxury brand that focuses on high performance and every day luxury while pushing the boundaries of hot new technology. Their motorcycles are no different, and as such, while they are pricey, you do get what you pay for. 2016 doesn't boast a lot of big changes in their lineup but we still have our favorite models we've always loved through the years.

Alright, let's get into it!

R1200GS


Oh man, is this the most drool-worthy adventure bike or what? Not a lot of bikes garner visions of trans-continental adventures as the R1200GS. This is the bike that started it all and defined a segment. It features an 1170cc four-stroke flat twin engine that delivers an incredible horsepower of 125. A new water cooling concept has been integrated seamlessly, which allows even greater engine efficiency and more powers.

The R1200GS comes with the option for a Standard or Premium package. The Standard package gives you Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, cruise control, hand guards, heated grips, and saddlebag mounts. With the Premium package, you?ll also get in addition the LED headlight, tire pressure monitor, On-Board Computer Pro, Ride Mode Pro, and GPS mount. Both packages come with Rain or Road rider modes, but the Premium package also adds Dynamic, Enduro, Enduro Pro, and ABS Pro modes for a more sporty feel.

Also new for 2016 is the special Triple Black edition that comes in a virtually all-black finish. We love the black-on-black tank, anodized black forks, cross-spoke wheels with black glass rims, and blacked-out powertrain. The bike is rounded out with grey accents on the front and rear frame, engine, gearbox, and swingarm. This bike exudes a powerfully daring and sexy presence.

Prices start at $16,495 (and $600 more for the Triple Black). BMW?s are definitely not known for being budget friendly, but as a bike that does it all (and as we love to say), you do get what you pay for!

S1000RR


The new S1000RR is super exciting! I remember when the rumor mill was churning out talks of a BMW M division engineered superbike and I couldn't believe what I was reading (it is the internet, after all...). I was so hopeful the rumors would be true because I absolutely adore the M series cars from BMW and I know a BMW superbike would be epic. Ep-ic! And hey, it is.

Not only did the S1000RR get an entire new facelift, it also got a technology revamp too. In fact, it's been completely revised down to the very last detail! Every last bit has been redesigned to increase power and optimize riding. 

Major changes include: a new lighter, more efficient exhaust design; new suspension set-up; a leaner, more symmetrical chassis design; and new instrument panel. New features include: a new electromotive throttle actuator for 100% electronic control of the throttle valves; Shift Assistant Pro (allows shifting without using the clutch); Rain, Sport and Race ride modes; and Dynamic Damping Control that adjust the suspension automatically.

All this new redesign resulted in a bike with a more horsepower than the previous version (a whopping 199 hp output!), while being a full 8.8 lbs lighter.  This definitely translates into increased power. The S1000RR was already a fierce machine, but now it's a true unbeatable superbike.

MSRP starting at $15,695 (including ABS).

R1200RT


I first fell in lust with the R1200RT after a few long touring trips up the California coast line with some friends that worked for a BMW dealership and they were all rockin' R1200RT's. Coming from the sportbike world, I simply just didn't get it back then when I looked at these awkwardly large machines that seems so down on horsepower. In my 30s, well, I get it and I want a R1200RT like nobody's business.

This is a legendary bike that has defined the classic touring segment and now it comes with even more features for a smoother, more comfortable and controlled riding experience. This bike is designed for maximum comfort and safety, streamlined aerodynamics, and superior handling for long distance riding.

The R1200RT features a powerful 1,170cc air/water-cooled twin-cylinder boxer engine with an output of 125 horsepower, derived from the boxer unit on the R1200GS. But the R1200RT has a higher centrifugal mass on the crankshaft and alternator, which equals a smoother engine. The continuous main frame, agile chassis, and traction control system ASC offer even more stability and precise handling.

Riders can select Rain or Road ride modes at the touch of a button according to the weather and road condition. Special equipment features make the bike even more dynamic, including a semi-active electronic suspension that automatically adjusts to changing road surfaces, a gear shift assistant pro that allows for shifting up or down without using the clutch or throttle, and a Dynamic riding mode that allows for a more sporty feel.

At a MSRP starting at $18,145, this tourer is certainly an investment for those that want to eat up pavement on an asphalt adventure or simply ride in style to the office or on the weekends.

RnineT


Ex-cafe racer geeks unite! For those that are done with tinkering in the garage and building a custom racer with pieces from the 80's that doesn't ever seem to work right, then the RnineT is that off-the-showroom cafe race/roaster you've been looking for -- and more!

The RnineT (powered by an air/oil-cooled 1,170cc classic boxer unit) is a relatively new bike in the BMW Motorrad lineup. This minimalist, retro style roadster is a throwback to the classics but still has a contemporary appearance with the use of modern finishes and curves, and of course, all paired with top-class engineering expected from BMW.

The main selling point of this bike is that it's a perfect canvas for almost limitless options for customization. The rear frame is removable, as are the pillion pegs and sub frame. BMW accessories range also offer a few seat configurations, carbon body panels, and Akrapovic mufflers for the bike. The specially designed electrical system also allows you to easily swap out electrical accessories without worrying about wiring difficulties. There are also a number of specialist customizers who produce bolt-on parts for the R9T. You can truly take this bike and make it uniquely yours.

This bike breaks away from a fitting into a specific role or bike category. It is made for fun riding, pure and simple. This is a great option for those looking for an urban bike, but not necessarily interested in a cruiser, adventure, or sportbike. If you?re willing to shell out $15,095 for it, that is.

F800GS


And finally for an easier-to-swallow price for an adventure bike, we like the F800GS. In our opinion, the F800GS is a slightly more off-road focused adventure bike as compared to the R1200GS, as it isn't as comfortable on the road as the larger 1200.

The F800GS is powered by a 798cc liquid cooled, 4-stroke parallel twin engine. It offers a great throttle response and power delivery, with good fuel economy. The front end is suspended by an inverted fork, which makes this bike seriously fun for some adventure riding. The size of the bike is on the large side for dirt-bike standards, but still agile enough to ride off-road and speedy enough to use on the streets.

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, making it possible for shorter or less experienced riders to find their perfect height. Two different style variations are possible, each with different color design and accessories so you can get the bike more suited for you. The bike is also equipped with special features such as Normal, Comfort, and Sport riding modes, ASC traction control, and Electronic Suspension Adjustment.

At MSRP of $12,295, this is a more manageable cost for an adventure bike that takes you off the road as smoothly as on the streets.

Which of these bikes do you have your eyes on? Or are you lusting over another model? 

*all photos courtesy of BMW
By Daniel Relich


The Beginners Guide to Motorcycle Gloves


A good pair of motorcycle gloves is one of the most important riding gear you can own (next to a helmet). What happens if you were to fall or get into a crash? You would probably, without thinking, put your hand out to help break your fall. And now imagine that you were speeding down a road at 45 mph.

Yep, without the proper pair of gloves, I'm sure it doesn't take a strong imagination to envision what kind of damage that would do to your hands.

But aside from just protecting your precious skin in a fall (which we hope is a rare case), motorcycle gloves also help make your entire riding experience more comfortable by protecting your hands against the elements and road debris. We bet you probably didn't think that even insects impact could do damage to your hands at high speeds!

There's a very wide variety of motorcycle gloves out there and it may be overwhelming to pick the right one for your needs, but that's why we're here to give you a hand in the selection process. (Yes, pun fully intended.)

Functionality of Motorcycle Gloves

First, let's take a look at what makes motorcycle gloves.... well, motorcycle gloves.

Just like with motorcycle jackets, any ol' leather or work gloves won't do the trick. Please don't be stingy here!

Here are the common protection features in motorcycle gloves:

- Impact protection such as palm sliders, padding in impact areas, hardened knuckles
- Precurved construction for a comfortable natural grip
- Dexterity to allow use of the brake and clutch levers and gain better control of the bike
- Sturdy closures so the gloves doesn't fly off in a crash
- Long cuffs (called gauntlets) that overlap with the jacket to seal out wind
- Ventilation, insulation, and/or waterproofing for weather protection

These Alpinestars WR-3 Gore-Tex Gloves are super durable all-weather touring gloves. They are both 100% waterproof and highly breathable. 

To put it simply, motorcycle gloves are designed to protect in case of a crash and provide comfort while riding. Your hands are such an important part of your body that it is absolutely worth it to shell out the dough to make sure they're properly protected! 

Gloves for different riding styles

There is such a huge variety of gloves out on the market. The right pair for you will depend on your most typical riding style. Here we break down the differences and what features to look for in each: 

Race and aggressive sport: As this is the most intense kind of riding, gloves designed for this are the most highly technically constructed. Racing gloves typically have a lot of armor (knuckle patches and extra padding in high impact areas) and ventilation to keep you comfortable. Leather is always the best material in this case as it provides the most abrasion resistance. These gloves are always with a full gauntlet for maximum protection. In fact, this is even an requirement to ride on the race track!

No brand does race gear as well as Alpine Stars. Their GP Pro Leather Gloves are tested in their GPMoto program and offer supreme performance protection and comfort.

Street/Touring: This riding style is the most diverse, and so the gloves built for it are diverse too. In general, touring motorcycle gloves provide a great balance between crash protection, weather protection, and riding comfort (for your everyday commute or those long rides!). They are not as heavily padded/armored as racing gloves but still get the job done. 

Looks wise, touring gloves have simple and elegant styling without the loud race inspired design. They come in a range of cuff lengths from short to 3/4 to full gauntlet. Both leather or textile make good options. Leather is always a reliable classic choice, but more and more manufacturers are going with all textile construction on these because of the versatility and ability for weatherproofing.

We love the sleek classic look of Icon 1000 Beltway Gloves

Dual Sport and Off-Road: These gloves are designed for dexterity, weather, and impact protection. Regardless of the blazing heat, freezing wind, or relentless downpours, today's off-road gloves are constructed to accommodate the most extreme conditions and protect your hands while offering a comfortable grip. These gloves have the least amount of armor as they are designed to be very flexible in order to maintain control of the bike. 

Textile is the more common choice for dual sport gloves, as it offers more flexibility and a wide range of weather protection. Most of these gloves have a short cuff for full wrist movement.

The Thor Deflector Gloves are one of our best sellers in the dual-sport category. It provides a nice balance of ventilation, durability, and protection

Here is a quick run-down of some other types of gloves you may see :

Summer gloves: Usually thin leather (sometimes perforated) gloves that end at the wrist. Only ideal for riding in warm weather as they offer no elements protection at all.

Winter gloves: Cold hands may stiffen up and you may not be able to control your bike as well. Cold weather gloves usually come with thermal lining and climate control membrane and are with long cuffs to keep the wind out.

Waterproof gloves: These have a waterproof membrane to keep the water out. They can be ventilated and are ideal for when it's wet but not cold.

Fingerless gloves: No. Just no.

Textile or Leather?

This will most likely come down to personal preference and what features you're looking for. But in general, gloves follow the same recommendation as jackets. A good pair of leather gloves is always the safest bet for racers as it offers the highest abrasion resistance. Commuters, tourers, or adventure riders will more likely deal with more weather conditions, so textile gloves that provide more protection against water and weather could be a great choice.

The Alpinestars Jet Road Gore-Tex Gloves have an innovation leather + textile construction that offers 100% waterproofing & breathability and excellent abrasion resistance.

Picking a glove / Fitment

Gloves fitment is crucial because well, you use your hands to control the bike. Ill-fitting gloves can have a huge impact on how well you're able to handle your bike. Gloves must be snug enough to protect you in case of a fall (and also you know, to not fly off), but also allow enough movement to use the brake and clutch levers.

Ideally, here is how a glove should fit:

- Snug, but not so tight that you feel like you're cutting off circulation
- There should not be additional material in the palm area.
- There should be some additional room at the finger tips, but at the same time, the finger should not be too long or too loose.
- When clenching and opening your fist, armor should not rub and should feel flexible enough to get the full range of movement.
- In a normal motorcycle grip, gloves should be comfortable enough that you don't really feel like you're wearing gloves.

If you're buying gloves online, pay special attention to the size chart and reviews. In general, European brands tend to run smaller, so you may need to get a size up. Be sure to measure both of your hands and use the hand with the wider measurement. 

Be aware that leather will stretch with use, so when picking a leather glove, make sure it's very snug in the beginning. Once they break in, they'll be the proper fit. On the other hand, textile will not stretch, but will get softer with time. So don't write a textile glove completely off if it seems just a bit stiff in the beginning.

As a general rule of thumb: if you're in between sizes, go one size down if buying leather, and one size up if buying textile. 

Conclusion

The kind of glove you buy will probably mostly depend on what style of riding you do the most and what kind of weather condition you usually ride in. The gloves on our site are broken down pretty clearly in categories by riding style. Generally, racers and performance riders should always go for leather, while commuters, cruisers/tourers, and adventure riders may be better suited with textile gloves that offer a wide range of weather protection.

Remember, your hands are one of the most precious parts of your body, and it pays to be better safe than sorry. When it comes to splurging on your riding gear, you're always in better hands with a high quality pair of gloves!

If you're still feeling overwhelmed by all the choices and need help picking out the right glove for you, we're here to help! Feel free to ask below, call us, or hit us up on our Facebook page!

By Daniel Relich


2016 Best Road Bikes for Beginners



Congrats! You have decided to join the league of the two-wheeled thrill seekers! You have taken a riding course and understand the basic safety tips. And now comes the most exciting part: picking out that perfect first bike.

We understand that for new riders, the prospect of picking that first bike is as exciting as Christmas morning as a kid. You can't sleep, you're drowning in anticipation, and you can't wait to get your hands on that new toy. Except now, your new toy is a sexy machine to speed down the open roads and cruise the curves.

But what is a perfect bike may not be the perfect first bike. A lot of newbie riders end up choosing a bigger bike in order to "plan ahead" for when they are more experienced and want something more powerful. But in general, we really recommend that beginners start on a bike with a smaller engine (250-300cc) and choose a comfortable riding position with a lower seat height (so you can plant both feet firmly on the ground).

We've said it before and we'll reiterate it now: there's no shame in starting out smaller. Safety while riding is the most important (because well... you definitely will not be enjoying your machine if you're injured or worse) so always start out on the safe side.

Are you groaning right now and thinking that small bikes equal boring riding experience? Think again! These great-for-beginners bikes are incredibly fun to ride, and yes, you may even find that they offer all the power you need!

Kawasaki Ninja 300

The Ninja 300 was the first of its kind in the US market, basically setting the stage for 300 class machines. Once upon a time, in a macho, over-hyped US marketplace where cc's and horsepower are king, smaller bikes like this were mocked and relegated into the dark corner of Beginner Land. However, now these little bikes come with enough cool features that they are fun to ride even for more experienced riders.

The Ninja 300 is a lightweight and nimble sportbike powered by a compact but potent liquid-cooled 296cc parallel-twin engine, delivering strong low and mid-range torque, as well as excellent high-RPM power on the open road. Its advanced Digital Fuel Injection (DFI) helps manage cold starting while providing excellent throttle response and great fuel efficiency. Beginners will find the six-speed sequential transmission helpful, and the premium race-inspired FCC clutch offers assist and slipper functions to provide a lighter lever effort and reduces the effect of back-torque. All this makes the Ninja 300 a super agile little sportbike that's easy and great fun to handle.

MSRP Cost: US $4,999

Yamaha R3

The R3 is Yamaha's answer to the aforementioned Ninja 300. The R3 features a fuel-injected 321cc twin-cylinder engine that is capable of delivering a maximum power of 10,750 rpm. The 180 degree crank design ensures that the machine is smooth when accelerating through the rpm range. Forged aluminum pistons (like the R1 and R6) provide excellent strength while remaining super light weight, while the offset cylinders reduce friction for more power. Don't let its size fool you, this little bike is a lot of fun to ride!

The styling is Yamaha supersport inspired with a full fairing in an ultra-light chassis, and newly designed steel frame and swingarm. The riding position is lower with a flat seat design, so it's great for new riders as it's easy to get both feet firmly on the ground. This is an all-around great bike for everyone - from beginners to more experienced riders, from commuters to racetrack enthusiasts. And the clincher? You simply can't beat the price!

MSRP Cost: US $4,990

Yamaha WR250R

Don't let the 250 throw you off! The WR250R is probably one of the most powerful 250 cc single-cylinder engines Yamaha has ever built! This little bike is descended from Yamaha's revolutionary motocross and off-road technology, but made to be street friendly as well. The engine may be little, but it delivers excellent power throughout the entire range.

Even though this bike is in the dual-sport category, the small engine also makes it an ideal street bike for newbies, as the less powerful engine means the rider can focus on technique and the road. The seat height is high typical of a dirt bike, but still lower than the WR250F, so new riders can more easily touch the ground. The entire bike is designed for light, agile handling, so there won't be a steep learning curve to for new riders. Overall, this is a delightful little bike for those who are looking for something easy to ride and offer decent power. And hey! You can also have some fun with it off-road!

MSRP Cost: US $6,490

Honda CBR500R


For a bike with a touch more power, the Honda CBR500R is a great everyday option for those who like the look of a sportbike but want something less race-y. It features a 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine, so you know this thing will pull hard through the whole RPM range. It's got enough power to keep the more experienced riders excited too. All riders will love the incredibly smooth ride delivered by Honda's Pro-Link Rear Suspension.

Style wise, the CBR500R is very supersport inspired with a sport riding position, lower handlebars, and minimal bodywork. While definitely sporty, it is not too aggressive and still makes a comfortable choice for beginners. This is just an awesome "do it all" bike with enough power and cutting edge features that will keep you from getting bored too fast. In fact, you may never outgrow it!

MSRP Cost: US $6,499

KTM Duke 390



This little bike has a 44 hp motor, so it delivers quite a bit of power! The Duke 390 beats out a lot of other bikes in the 300 class in terms of power. Like for instance, it way out-performs the Honda CB300F (which has practically identical specs), and can even give the CB500F a run for its money.  It delivers incredible torque and acceleration at all speeds (be careful, sometimes may be a little too wild for the real real newbies), but also rides well for everyday use and offers great fuel economy.

This compact naked-style bike is extremely light at barely 300 pounds. It has a super lightweight trellis frame designed for mass centralization, which makes this Duke 390 extremely agile with great maneuverability. It's powerful enough to ride on the highway for commutes, handles well enough to hug those twisty mountain curves, and nimble enough to take off the road.

MSRP Cost: US $4,999

Suzuki SV650


The SV650 is an interesting bike. It's got a bigger engine which we usually wouldn't recommend for beginners ( 645cc, liquid cooled, 4-stroke), but its V-twin design means that it delivers very smooth power in the mid-range torque, which is the range where street riding happens. This makes it so that it's very friendly for beginners. And when paired with an ultra lightweight chassis, the bike is agile and easy to handle, allowing newbies to turn the corners with confidence. 

Another great thing about the SV650 is that it comes with three levels of fairings (from naked to partially to fully faired), so you can find an option that suits your style. The attractive price (way more affordable than other 600cc's) and the great fuel economy also make this a solid beginner option. And you'll also get to brag to your friends that you went straight to a 600cc.

Price TBD

Triumph Bonneville

A Bonneville is all about going back to classics. Just the name of it draws up images of open roads and a glorious carefree era of freedom and self expression. And now, thanks to modern engineering, you can still get the look and feel of this classic in an upgraded technology package. 

The Bonneville engine and transmission pay tribute to the classic Triumph twins, but have modern electronic ignition and fuel injection. It features an 865 cc parallel twin engine that delivers plenty of power and smooth throttle response even at low RPMs. The classic 1960s suspension is fitted with modern damping internals so the ride is smooth and the bike easy to handle. The classic riding style is great for beginners and the low seat height makes it easy to plant both feet firmly on the ground. All in all, this is a drool-worthy beginners bike for those who want a more classic look. 

Prices start at US $8,099 

Conclusion:

As a beginner, you may dream of riding a "big boy" bike, but don't knock at these small ones. They're seriously fun to ride. These days, bike manufacturers are putting enough cool features on the smaller bikes that they're fun even for experienced riders. Another benefit of starting out on entry-level motorcycles is that they are much more budget friendly and offer better gas mileage. You simply cannot argue against that! 

Which of these are you favorites? Or do you have your eye on something else?

*photos are from the manufacturers 

By Sir D


The Beginners Guide To Motorcycle Jackets



To continue with our series more geared (ha-ha, no pun intended!) towards beginners, we're introducing a detailed motorcycle gear guide, kicking off with jackets!

These days, there are a ridiculous amount of options available, everything from types of fabric to features to ventilation. It can be overwhelming to pick the right one (or ones!) suitable for your needs. We're here to break it down a little to help make the selection process a little easier.

Functionality of a Motorcycle Jacket

A motorcycle jacket is not just to make you look badass. Its purpose is to not only protect you in case of a crash, but also to make the riding experience more comfortable. This is why you can't just buy any old leather jacket from a swap meet and use it for riding protection!

Here are some primary functions and common features of motorcycle jackets:

Impact protection: Many jackets will have built-in or removable armor options.  Some common protection areas include elbow, chest, back, and shoulders. All jackets will have a different level of protection, the lowest being just foam layers to the highest being CE-rated armor with sliders  (we recommend looking for jackets with CE-rated armor!). When picking out a jacket, be aware of which protective pieces it provides. The price, of course, varies based on level of protection, but we recommend being on the safer side and going for something that offers more protection.

Abrasion resistance: Should you end up horizontal on the pavement, a good riding jacket should be made of tough enough material that it holds up during a crash, ideally so that you walk away with minimal skin injuries.

Weather protection: There are also many options for those of you who are not stopped by rain or cold weather! Many riding jackets will come with some kind of waterproof coating or internal liner in case you find yourself stuck out on the road in rainy weather. There are also insulated longer-length jackets for those brave souls who ride out in the freezing cold.

Ventilation: Just like it's important to be protected during rain or cold weather, it's equally important to stay cool while protected during hot weather. The sun may be shining, but that doesn't mean it's okay to go out riding in a t-shirt! There are lightweight jackets designed for these hot summer days with ventilation panels or mesh to keep you from heating up, and all the padding and armor to keep you safe.

Jackets for Different Types of Riding

Your most typical riding style will play a big role in what kind of jacket suits you best. Here are the features you want to look for for each riding style:

Race and aggressive sport: This is the most intense kind of riding and you will need the highest level of protection. Leather is the superior material for this case. The fit must be snug in order to maximize protection in the event of a crash. These jackets are designed with pre-bent arms, sport humps and heavy armor designed from race track development. Leather jackets are also more wind resistant and aerodynamic, meaning you can ride faster and more comfortably.

The Alpinestars GP Pro jacket is one of our best sellers in the race and aggressive sport category, with CE-rated protection, external sliders, perforated back hump and pre-curved arms

Touring and urban: Long distance touring jackets are designed to endure long hours on the road in all weather conditions, all year round. The fit and design are more relaxed than race-style jackets. Touring jackets typically have enough abrasion resistance and armor to protect the rider while still being comfortable. They make a great choice for commuting or everyday use.

Joe Rocket's Sonic 2.0 leather jacket is a stylish touring jacket with a relaxed fit, zip-close breathable mesh sleeve panels, removable insulated liner, and armor in the elbow and shoulders

Dual sport: Protection from all sorts of weather conditions is a must for dual sport riders. These types of jackets are typically specially designed lightweight jackets with less armor and road protection, but offer a great range of versatility in terms of weather protection. They are often waterproof, windproof, and breathable, with the option for liners to keep you warm.

The Moose Expedition jacket is a solid choice in the dual sport category, featuring a lightweight waterproof and windproof shell with elbow, shoulders, and back protection

Now let's take a look at the materials. Leather or textile is a great debate between riders. Let's break down the pros and cons of each.

Leather Jackets

Pros: best protection, extremely durable, classic
Cons: more expensive, heavy, hot to wear, not rain resistant

When it comes to protection, nothing can beat leather. Leather is the most durable material with incredible abrasion resistance. A high quality leather jacket can hold up for multiple crashes. But it is extremely important to choose a jacket that is thick enough to take the impact. A thickness of at least 1.2mm is ideal as it offers a great level of protection while still being soft and comfortable enough to wear.

Looks-wise, leather is also the most classic option. It will always look cool and never go out of style (and let's be honest, a bonus of riding is looking like a badass!).

We love the vintage look of Alpinestar's Charlie leather jacket!

However, leather does have its downsides. It is heavy and hotter to wear. Many modern leather riding jackets are trying to overcome this issue with features such as perforation or zippered vents to help with heat dispersion, but you may still find that it is not enough if you're riding during summer or live somewhere very warm and humid. (It is a great choice however for riding in cooler weather due to its wind resistance.) Leather jackets also don't hold up in the rain. Contact with water can cause the jacket to discolor or shrink, and in some cases, even get completely ruined. It will be necessary to get a rain shell to go over the jacket.

Shop for leather jackets here: http://www.solomotoparts.com/Motorcycle-Leather-Jackets-Men/


Textile Jackets

Pros: inexpensive, lightweight, comfortable, better for riding in weather
Cons: not as durable or abrasion resistant

There is a wide range of high-quality textile jackets on the market today designed for all riding styles, making it the more versatile choice. With more and more advanced textile construction these days, some can argue that textile can even rival leather in some cases, but we'll get into that in a bit.

Textile jackets are the better option for riding in all kinds of weather conditions, due to the variety of materials used. They can be waterproof, windproof, insulated, or ventilated - they can do it all, sometimes even all in one jacket by snapping in liners!

Textile jackets come in the full range: from lightweight mesh to keep you cool (a lot of riders who live in very hot and humid States find that this is the only viable option), to heavier advanced fabrics like Gortex or kevlar to protect from harsh climates. Textile jackets can also offer 100% waterproof protection and will not damage, whereas leather will in wet conditions. Basically, for ever changing weather conditions, textile jackets make a great choice.

Alpinestar's Valparaiso Drystar Jacket is a premium textile jacket with features such as waterproof and breathable membrane, sonic quilted liner, and CE-rated armor. A great all-weather jacket.

The lower cost and light weight make textile jackets a good option for general all-around riding, but they do not have the durability and abrasion resistance of leather. They're an ideal option for touring, sport touring, or adventure riding due to their flexibility, many versatile features, and the ability to be worn in many weather conditions.

Shop for textile jackets here: http://www.solomotoparts.com/Textile-Jackets-Men/

Cost Considerations

Leather is the more expensive choice, when comparing jackets with similar features and levels of protection. It could go for upwards of $500 to even $1000 for GP-technology race jackets. However, a good one could last for multiple crashes, or even a lifetime if well taken care of. Textile jackets are definitely the more budget friendly option, however, they may need to be replaced after a single crash. It is also possible to patch and repair leather, whereas with textile, damage would usually mean having to buy a new jacket.

In the long run (though we really hope you don't experience too many crashes!), some may find that just getting a leather jacket upfront end up being more cost effective.

Picking a Jacket

The fit is extremely important when picking a jacket that will protect you. In general, a jacket should be snug. The protective padding/armor should not move out of place when the jacket is on. When you're in the riding position, the protective pieces should still fit snugly where they belong (elbow pads at the elbow, etc.).

The right fit not only will protect you better, but also makes a big difference in your riding comfort. Too loose jackets means extra material flapping around in the wind. A tight fit will decrease the wind strain, which will translate into a much less tiring and much more enjoyable ride.

Conclusion

Of course, the best option is to have a few jackets to suit different weather conditions and riding situations, but we understand that the average person does not have that kind of budget. There are strong cases of pros and cons to be made for both leather and texture, so the jacket you choose will all come down to personal preference. But in general, leather is the safest bet for performance riders, while commuters or adventure riders could opt for the more budget friendly and versatile textile jacket.

But remember, whatever jacket and material you choose, the golden rule of "you get what you pay for" applies here. A good motorcycle jacket means the difference between severe bodily injury and walking away without a scratch, so don't risk your safety by going too cheap!

If you have questions or need help picking out the right jacket for you, feel free to ask below, call us, or hit us up on our Facebook page!

By Daniel Relich


Ten Things to Remember when Riding on Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has long been a day that many Americans use to enjoy great Mexican food and margaritas with their friends and families. However, much like on holidays such as the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve, these celebrations can lead to an increase of intoxicated drivers on the road. Here are ten tips to remember if you decide to go out on the roads on your motorcycle this Cinco de Mayo.

1. Never ride intoxicated
The only thing more dangerous than riding among intoxicated drivers is riding while intoxicated yourself. If you feel uncomfortable operating your motorcycle after enjoying a few drinks, then trust your gut and find an alternate way home. It may also be a good idea to purchase a home breathalyzer test kit, which can be found for cheap prices at many pharmacies and convenience stores. Even if you feel comfortable riding, your blood alcohol levels may tell a different story, so a breathalyzer test can be used to make sure your BAC is within legal standards.

2. Avoid riding late at night or early in the morning
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has often found that the hours between midnight and 3 a.m. feature the most fatal drunk driving accidents, especially on weekends and holidays. If you must ride your motorcycle following a Cinco de Mayo celebration, try to be extra cautious during these times or avoid these hours on the road altogether. 

3. Have a designated driver
If you have any close friends or relatives who live with you or close to you, it may be a good idea to hitch a ride with one of them. However, it is unsafe to be an intoxicated passenger on a motorcycle, so make sure you choose a friend who will be driving a car for both you and your friend's safety.

4. Avoid long road travel if possible
Whether you are starting a vacation or planning to visit family in another state, it is generally best to avoid long travel on days such as Cinco de Mayo. The more time you spend on the road on Cinco de Mayo, the more likely you are to encounter dangerous situations. Furthermore, drowsiness from long travel will decrease your awareness and slow your reaction time to those situations, so try to arrange your travel to occur the day before or the day after if at all possible.

5. Do not let others ride intoxicated
If one of your friends or relatives is ready to leave a celebration and is not sober enough to travel on the road, do not let that person ride a motorcycle. If you are hosting a party, you may want to encourage him or her to stay the night. If staying overnight is not an option, you may want to arrange for a ride sharing service or friend in a car to bring him or her home.

6. Enjoy an alcohol-free Cinco de Mayo
There are countless ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, so if you are not interested in drinking, try to celebrate simply by enjoying some great Mexican food and culture. Doing so will mean you will not be endangering yourself or others with intoxicated riding nor will you have to worry about issues at DUI checkpoints.

7. Enjoy great Mexican fare
It is well-known that drinking on an empty stomach increases impairment from alcohol, so go ahead and enjoy some great Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo. While eating will not prevent impairment, you are less likely to be too impaired to ride after one or two small drinks if you drink them on a full stomach rather than on an empty stomach.

8. Wear proper protective equipment 
There are some states where helmets are not required to be worn by law. However, wearing proper protective equipment such as helmets, jackets, boots and gloves will significantly reduce your risk of fatal or severe injury in the event of a crash. The NHTSA estimated that more than 1,600 motorcyclists' lives were saved by helmets in 2013, and more than 700 more could have been saved if all states required helmets by law. On a day when there is an increased risk of auto accidents, it is more important than ever to wear proper protection while riding.

9. Arrive at a celebration with a friend or in a taxi
One major issue that leads to people driving or riding while impaired is not being able to leave their vehicles or bikes somewhere overnight. If you are going to a celebration where you know that could be a possibility, avoid that issue by riding with a friend or using a ride sharing service or taxi. In fact, if you plan to drink on Cinco de Mayo, leaving your motorcycle at home to begin with is likely the best course of action.

10. Put down the phone
While there are helmets that come equipped with bluetooth capabilities to allow you to listen to music or receive phone calls while riding your motorcycle, it is still best to avoid those activities while riding. Talking on a phone, even hands-free, can distract your mind from events on the road around you. To guarantee your safety on the roads, it is of utmost importance that you stay as alert and focused as possible by concentrating solely on riding.

Do you have any safety tips to share? Let us know!
By Daniel Relich


The Ups and Downs of Motorcycle Suspension


When it comes to motorcycle aftermarket improvements, replacing the suspension is often seen as the ultimate upgrade for performance riders. This is one of the few upgrades that allows you to feel IMMEDIATE improvement after installation (and some slight adjustments to dial it in). 

A good suspension setup can take a mediocre bike and transform it into the smooth handling beast you didn't even think was possible. And more importantly, it can inspire confidence that you never knew you had, transforming you into a riding superstar, whether on the street or track. Confidence while riding is a huge deal that will ultimately translate into a safer, funner riding experience.

Even if you're not sliding the back end around on a race track, upgrading your suspension whether in whole or in part, will vastly improve the riding experience because, after all, it's really all about the experience. That's why we ride!

Suspension 101

Before we get too far into this post, let's quickly review the setup and function of a suspension system.  A motorcycle suspension system is typically made up of shock absorbers in the back and forks in the front, acting as a cushion between you and the road. (After all, you're basically sitting on a chair on two wheels zooming down the road at 70+ mph!). The suspension system is usually made up of an assembly of dampers and springs (for the rear) and forks (for the front) to insulate you from road vibrations and bumps by compressing and rebounding. These are basics.

In a well set up system, in the event of a road bump, the suspension would take in all the impact, keeping the wheels in contact with the road at all time so that you can ride hard, safely and comfortably. In the simplest of terms, an awesome suspension system will make you feel like you're gliding on velvet and riding as smoothly as silk. It will let you ride faster and smoother while being more controlled and, as a result, you'll enjoy the ride more and feel like a superstar.

Benefits of Upgrading the Suspension

Upgrading your motorcycle's suspension system is one of the most costly aftermarket improvements. It could cost thousands of dollars depending on how much of it you want replaced. So for anyone who's not a serious performance or track rider, what would be the benefit of investing this much money? Good question.

Stock suspensions are usually fine (until they wear out), but manufacturers still must cut costs where they can in order to produce their bikes at an reasonable price. A truly great suspension that works for you will have to put weight and road conditions into consideration. So as a result, manufacturers end up supplying a suspension system that fits the "average" rider for "normal" roads. Anything not average or normal and the suspension suffers. This is when riders look to aftermarket systems to boost performance and to dial in the ride for each rider's personal differences and preferences.

Here are the benefits of buying an aftermarket suspension:

It makes the bike smoother and safer! -  When you encounter a bump or a hole, your bike will jerk up or down. The travel distance is how much your suspension is able to move before being fully compressed, or "bottoming out."   The amount of travel affects the handling characteristics of the bike. Aftermarket shocks often offer a longer travel distance, meaning the bike will not "bottom out" as easily. The bike will also turn much smoother with the wheels gaining better traction on the ground. Better handling + better traction = a safer ride!

They are adjustable -  Stock suspensions do not take into consideration the terrain or additional loads and, more often than not, do not have a wide range of adjustment capabilities and some don't even allow for compression or rebound adjustments. Carrying more load, riding with a passenger, or riding on more twisty or rough roads will all burden the stock suspension.  Aftermarket suspensions typically have a greater range of compression and rebound adjustments, thus allowing you to custom tune your suspension to suit your weight and riding style. With some prestigious brands, such as Ohlins, even the shape of the damping curve can be changed to suit all types of tracks and conditions.

Öhlins: The Best of the Best

Öhlins was founded in Sweden in 1976 by Kenth Öhlin, and since then has dominated the motorcycles suspension market. Their products can be seen on race tracks all over the world on world-championship winning motorcycles in every class of racing.  By 2012, over 300 World Champions have won using Öhlins products.

Öhlins suspension products are developed with state-of-the-art technology and thousands of hours of research and test data from race teams across the globe. With a focus on service and support, Öhlins have their distribution networks across 50 countries ranging from MotoGP circuits to the local national racing events.

Some special features on Öhlins shocks include:

-All independent settings, with high and low-speed compression and rebound damping.

- A huge range of adjustments with equal increments of force. Even the shape of the damping curve can be changed to suit all types of tracks and conditions.

- Unique compression damping forces caused by an increase in pressure on the compression side (as opposed to a drop in pressure on the rebound side of the piston like in conventional shocks). This reduces cavitation and makes high gas pressure in the shock reservoir unnecessary. The internal pressures in the shock unit is kept low, which results in excellent suspension response.

- A piggyback-type shock reservoir gives improved cooling to the shock oil for more consistent damping and long damper life

- Integrated remote hydraulic spring preload adjuster.
Quite simply put, Ohlins is used in most aspects of motorcycle racing so they have an immense amount of product feedback and development to go off of so that the end consumer product is absolutely brilliant.

Conclusion

So is a suspension upgrade worth the steep cost? We think most definitely! The price may be hard to swallow, but once you feel the difference in handling, we can't imagine anyone regretting it! If going for a full system upgrade is not possible in one shot, we recommend first checking and setting the bike's sag and possibly adding aftermarket springs and valves, as it'll give a significant improvement over stock while you save for the big upgrade!

*photos via Öhlins 
By Daniel Relich