Father's Day Buyer's Guide 2016 - $100 Plus
So, Father’s Day is here, again, and when I complained to my wife about how I’d made a list of my ideas for motorcycle-related gifts only to discover that it almost exactly mimicked last year’s list, she said, “Remember, you’re providing a service. As a non-rider, I have no idea what to give you for Father’s Day.” My response to her was a simple, “You’re willing to spend more than $100 on me for Father’s Day!” Clearly, this buyer’s guide just became much more important.
So, what follows in an attempt to address – in alphabetical order – the varied needs of male motorcyclists with offspring – though they really apply to all riders, regardless of which bathroom they choose to relieve themselves in or whether they’ve successfully combined chromosomes with another human. Yes, there will be some overlap with previous lists of this type. Motorcyclists have simple needs…
Aerostich Courier Bag
Just like Dad, some classics never go out of style. The Aerostich Courier Bag is one of those motorcycle accessories. Triangular in cross-section, messenger bags wrap around your back and stay in position when riding, and this one is constructed of 1000-denier polyurethane-backed Cordura nylon, with a seamless bottom for maximum strength and durability. It also features a bright yellow reinforced PVC waterproof inner lining and a nifty inner pocket. The flap closes with a wide strip of hook and loop as well as adjustable side-release buckles to accommodate oversized loads. The over-the-shoulder strap adjusts easily with one hand, and a wide strip of 3M Scotchlite adds some conspicuity. This quintessential motorcycle bag comes in four sizes: Letter (9“×3.75”×9“/12”), Dispatch (12“×7”×12“/18”), Courier (12“×7”×18“/23”), Parcel (14“×9”×18″/26”). Color choices include: red, black, grey, hi-viz lime yellow, or blue. The retail prices range from $77-$117. Available from aerostich.com.
Want to really spoil Dad? Give him a set of top-notch gloves. The little extras are what separate $100+ gloves from bargain basement ones. You’ll start to get luxury skins, like kangaroo. The fit and finish will be plusher. Also, the protective options increase dramatically. Yes, you can get basic abrasion resistance from low-cost gloves, but the features begin to add up. Multiple-closure gauntlets, exterior seams, linked pinky and ring fingers, and palm heel armor are just a few of the niceties offered. Looking for more weather-specific needs? Check out the waterproof or insulated gloves for the man of your family.
Not all motorcycles come with saddlebags, and not all Dads want bags mounted to their bikes all the time. Still, the riding father will have occasions where he needs to carry more than he can strap to the pillion with a cargo net. Motorcycle luggage comes in a wide variety of styles and sizes. From the smallest of tank storage straps to complete saddlebag and trunk kits, you can find just what he needs. Look for soft luggage, like with Tourmaster, or hard luggage with Givi. The options are almost endless – as are the levels of pricing.
If Daddy-O loves to wrench on his bike(s) in his garage/man-cave, why not demonstrate your love of him with a stand to help save his lower back from sitting for hours in an awkward position on the floor. After all, he’s not as young as he used to be, and we all know the kind of wear-and-tear childrearing can put on a body. Motorcycle lifts come in a variety of sizes from ones that just get a bike’s wheels off the ground to ones that allow the bike to be wheeled around the garage while it is airborne. Then there’s the ultimate lift which is what the professionals use daily. We can only dream that our families could love us this much…
What’s more important than being able to see well while riding a motorcycle? Why not give Dad some quality riding glasses to ensure that his vision is protected on the open road. We’ve tested various kinds of glasses, and the key features to consider are the protection from dirt or grit getting around the edges of the glasses and the ability to survive an impact without shattering. Be sure to look for ANSI Z87.1 certification as proof of impact resistance. Glasses should have a means of fitting securely to the rider’s head, too. Then you can look for other features like Transitions light-sensitive tinting or polarizing filters.
The new frontier in motorcycle gear has to be riding jeans. Some simply feature abrasion resistance in the form of Kevlar and similar material liners on the inside of the denim. Others include armor while still looking, for the most part, like regular jeans. The sign that riding jeans have reached the mainstream of motorcycling is that now some are not trying to hide the fact that they are motorcycle technical wear. Regardless, riding jeans can be found for below and well above the $100 threshold of this article.
Does Dad’s riding jacket stand on its own in the closet waiting for him to go for a ride? Well, perhaps it’s time to pony up for some new gear. A riding suit may be just what he needs. Riding suits come in a variety of styles and purposes. First, one-piece racing leathers cost considerably more than $100 – often more than ten times that, but they offer the best protection available for track days and sport rides. Next come the two-piece riding suits. Leather two-piecers may be eligible for some track days, and they offer the riding flexibility of wearing the jacket with jeans during more casual jaunts. Two-piece textile suits are becoming increasingly popular as the protective state of the art advances. Now, textiles can come close to rivaling the protection of leather and (depending on the suit) deliver increased versatility thanks to removable waterproof and insulated liners.
Tires are consumable items for motorcyclists, so they’re always a good choice. Additionally, tire technology keeps changing – seemingly exponentially! Sport-touring tires of today offer performance levels that were considered impressive for track tires just a decade ago. Only now they last more than just a couple thousand miles. In recent months, we’ve reviewed adventure tires, cruiser tires, sport tires, and sport-touring tires. Odds are that the biker dad in your house would be stoked to get a set of fresh buns given to him on his special day!
Track Day/Riding School
One of the beauties of riding motorcycles is that the craft of riding is one which can provide a lifetime of learning. For sporty-bike riders, the closed-course environment allows for motorcyclists of all skill andexperience levels to test their limits and practice new skills without the interference of changing road conditions and oncoming traffic. While track days, which take place all over the country during the riding season, always offer a chance to expand Dad’s skills, a dedicated riding school usually provides the structured environment and trained instructors to cram the most education into a single day.
They say that the best gifts come from the heart, and this one won’t cost you anything but is priceless. Simply tell Dad that he has a weekend pass to do whatever motorcycling-related thing he wants. That could be overnighting with his riding buddies. Or maybe a Saturday MotoGP-fest, watching all of the classic races available on MotoGP.com. Perhaps he’ll just want to spend a weekend wrenching without honey-dos hanging over him. Whatever he chooses, you can bet that the gift of time to devote to motorcycling without feeling like he is shortchanging his family will be appreciated.
Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.
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