The past weeks on MO have seen three price ranges of gift ideas for Father’s Day.
This article ups the ante to our highest price range of gifts your dad would love to receive: $100 and up. It’s tempting to include big-ticket items like a Ducati Superleggera or an overseas motorcycle tour, but we’ll keep this list limited to three-digit MSRPs.
If you like using tinted faceshields, you’ve surely more than once found yourself unexpectedly riding at night with a tinted faceshield, which is a real safety hazard, especially in dimly lit environs. The Transitions auto-tinting technology popularized in eyeglasses first made its way into motorcycle helmets in 2010 with the introduction of Bell Helmet’s Adaptive Shields, and we quickly became enamored with their convenience. A soothing smoked tint in daylight reverts to fully clear in the absence of light, so riders never have to worry about stuffing an extra shield in their luggage or jacket.
The technology made its way into Lazer Helmets in 2011, and now, in 2015, it’s available for Shoei’s best-selling lids, the RF-1200 series. Interestingly, Shoei’s CWR-1 photochromic shields retail for $169.99, while Bell’s are listed at just $119.99. Bell’s Transitions SOLFX Adaptive Shield fits Star, Vortex, RS-1, Qualifier and Revolver models, and it’s standard equipment on Bell’s Qualifier DLX.
Yes, the Transitions shields aren’t cheap, but the convenience and peace of mind are worth the money. Your dad has probably earned the right to not fuss with two shields in a day’s ride. For more info, check out Transitions’ website page on its motorcycle products.
Jewelry for motorcycle-riding dads doesn’t get any cooler than rings that look like motorcycle tires. Available in a variety of tread patterns and materials, tire rings will add bling to your father’s fingers at prices that begin well below $100 to well above that mark. Stainless steel would seem appropriate for a cruiser-riding dad, while the sportbike dad might prefer titanium construction. A nice variety of moto rings can be seen at TitaniumBuzz.com.
Help bring dad’s motorcycle adventures to life with addition of an onboard video camera. GoPro’s Hero series is the industry’s benchmark due to its ahead-of-the-curve roll-outs, and we’ve used them in our videos more than any other brand. But there are several other manufacturers who want a cut of the billion-dollar marketplace for action cams, so it’s worth shopping around for options. Keep in mind that some cameras come with accessories and mounts, while others do not.
We’ve had good success with the Contour+2 camera, which was ahead of GoPro in allowing users to set up shots via a smartphone-linked viewfinder and also has the convenience of a rotating lens that enables greater mounting locations. It retails for $300. The Contour Roam2 has several of the +2’s features (but not the GPS mapping) and retails for just $100. More recently we’ve been enjoying Sena’s first camera, the Prism, which we tested here. The Prism is especially cool because it can be linked via Bluetooth to a Sena communicator, allowing remote control of the camera and the ability to record on-the-fly narration.
A Nice Leather Jacket
Leather and motorcycles go together like chocolate and peanut butter. A well-designed leather jacket offers unsurpassed abrasion resistance, high style and long-term durability, qualities any rider can appreciate. You’re probably one of those riders. Did you ever think about how a long-lasting piece of quality gear is likely to become a hand-me-down? Yep, that jacket for dad you just splurged for will probably make its way to your closet one day, and there’s a good chance it will fit!
Aerostich Gift Certificate
Aerostich is best known as the manufacturer of the iconic and incredibly versatile Roadcrafter riding suit, last tested on MO here, but it also sells many hundreds of other moto-related items via its catalog. It offers riding apparel like helmets, gloves and boots, but also underwear, shirts, earplugs, luggage, electronics, tools, books, toys and camping gear. Your dad is sure to find something that appeals to him, so an Aerostich gift certificate of any amount would make for a nice present to show your pops that you care about him and his moto lifestyle.
As professional motorcyclists, we’re hesitant to recommend accessories that have the potential to divert attention away from riding. Several years ago we scoffed at communications systems for their bulky radio-based operation. But the advent of Bluetooth technology has changed our minds about the convenience and usefulness of these new systems.
They’d be worthwhile even if their only function was their wireless rider-to-rider communication, which offers benefits in safety (“Watch out for oil in the hairpin!”), convenience (“Do you want to get a bite to eat?”) and boredom (“Hey, Dad, did I ever tell you about the time I took mom’s car to the dragstrip?”). And now, with everyone’s smartphones having Bluetooth capability, these communicators can also field phone calls, deliver GPS directions and stream music to your ears. And the technology is getting easier to use, so even your old man should be able to figure it out!
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Riding sportbikes is a fun and exciting way to use a motorcycle, but we’re always disappointed by how few riders have ever been to a trackday. Some riders rationalize that they’re never going to enter a race, so they see no reason to go to a track. Those people probably don’t realize that a trackday can be the most fun and exciting thing they can do on a motorcycle. And as long as you keep your wits about you, riding on a racetrack is actually safer than riding on public roads – all traffic goes in the same direction, there are no curbs or poles to hit, and there are no cops issuing speeding tickets.
There is most likely a racetrack within a day’s ride/drive of your home and/or your dad’s, so do a little research to learn about the options. Joining a trackday at a regional facility is typically nicely priced and affordable for almost anyone. Check out the tracks in your area to find out your options.
For years I’ve preached how the difficulty level of riding a motorcycle falls between driving a car and flying an airplane, so I’m a big-time advocate of education. Instruction from pro coaches will make anyone a more confident rider – an emotion more valuable than titanium or carbon fiber. One can’t ever have too much knowledge about riding. I’ve been to more than a half-dozen riding schools, and, rather than claiming I know all there is to know, I’d jump again at any chance to attend another school.
Most trackday organizations offer riding instruction as part of their programs, which is a cost-effective way to start. Pony up a few more dollars upgrade to a national-caliber school for access to curricula that is more fully realized. Either way, the investment in riding skills is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to another rider.
Your dad means the world to you. Help keep him safe while he’s out on the road with satellite-based communication that can contact you or emergency services even when he’s out of cellular range. We first learned of SPOT back in 2010 when we tested the company’s Satellite GPS Messenger,which could send distress communication via satellite to 911 responders or to personal contacts, plus allow riders to check in during their trips even without cell coverage. That unit has now been replaced by the $149.99 Gen3, which adds expanded functionality and longer battery life.
The Gen3 lets family and friends know where the device is in the world via satellite networks, so you can know – even without cellular service – where your dad’s trip is taking him and if he is having any difficulty out on the road. The breadth of functionality depends on the service package chosen, starting at $14.99 a month or $149.99 a year. For more info, cruise over to SPOT’s Gen3 page.
A New Helmet
Your dad’s probably more concerned with your college fund than he is updating his chipped and tired old helmet. Treat his noggin with the cradling love it deserves by searching out a new helmet that suits his sense of style and and intended purposes. We’re currently blessed by the most comprehensive range of safe and comfortable helmets ever offered to motoheads, so there’s no shortage of good options out there. Keep in mind that the mandatory first priority is a helmet’s fit on a specific head – a brand that’s a perfect fit for one skull doesn’t mean it’ll be perfect for another’s. Take dad out helmet shopping and negotiate a deal for two!