Smartphones have integrated themselves into almost every aspect of modern life. So, it should come as no surprise that people want to make them more accessible while riding their motorcycles. A well-placed phone can make it easier to follow GPS directions or check to see who the incoming call is from to determine if you should answer on your Bluetooth communicator. This has lead to a burgeoning selection of phone mounts for securely placing your smartphone on your bike where it can be easily glanced at. Here, we’ve gathered a listing of what we think are a few of the best motorcycle phone mounts that we know of. If we’ve skipped your favorite, let us know in the comments.
The image of adventure touring is that of riders traveling the world on heavyweight motorcycles with big, aluminum panniers and a variety of duffel bags lashed to the top. And if you consider the BMW GS crowd, that is a very popular look. However, you don’t need giant hard bags to travel. Soft luggage will often do quite nicely for overnight, week-long, or even transcontinental treks, and they have the ability to better withstand tipovers without breaking, which can be an issue with hard luggage. What you want from this type of luggage platform is the ability to adjust the carrying capacity to the gear requirements needed for your particular trip. The reality of human nature is that we will find “necessary” gear that exactly matches (or slightly exceeds) the room we have to carry it. Try this quick test the next time you go on a day ride: Ask your friends with panniers what they brought with them. Odds are the bags are mostly filled with things they could need.
Here’s a dirty little secret: The typical motorcycle journalist rarely pays for a helmet, which is the reason we’re seldom seen with our heads shoved in anything less than the latest luxurious offerings from Shoei, Arai, AGV, etc. Were we doing this on our own dime, believe me, you’d be seeing us in a lot more of the helmets on this list. And truthfully, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Though the expensive lids are definitely the Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes of the helmet world, we know from experience you can have just as much fun flogging a nice Mustang or last year’s Corvette. Maybe more, since you’re less concerned with scratching them up. What you’re paying for in the high-end stuff is exemplary fit-and-finish, top-shelf materials and graphics, prestige – and sometimes hand assembly by old-world craftsmen. That’s all great if you have $800 to drop on a helmet.
But the number-one thing that defines a great helmet, in the end, is how it fits your head, and there are a surprising number of helmets in the sub-$200 category that will ensconce your skull very nearly as comfortably as the expensive imports. Well, they’re mostly imported also, often from places where labor is cheaper, but you get the picture. Buying a helmet is best done at a brick/mortar store where you can wear the thing for 10 or 15 minutes to see if your head begins to throb – and just about all bike shops still standing will match your online price if only you ask. If you’re buying online, be sure to check the return policy of the seller.
Then there’s the whole safety component of the thing, of course, but every helmet here carries at least an official DOT (Dept. of Transportation) sticker that means it’s passed USA safety tests. Some take it further by going above and beyond to meet the voluntary (and controversial) SNELL standard: It’s really going to be up to the consumer to decide which safety standard they’re compatible with. Anyway, with no further ado:
I guess manufacturers know that you’re going to swap on aftermarket parts from the get go, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying that machines like KTM’s 500 EXC-F, which retails for $12,549, don’t come with even the most basic engine protection. In the rocky terrain I find myself riding in the western U.S., a skid plate is an essential worker. But that’s not the only bit of protection I like to get my machines outfitted with before hitting the trail. We already mentioned the purchase price of a new pumpkin, so spending a few more dollars to protect components before they have the chance to get smashed seems like a worthwhile investment.
For me, and the type of riding I like to do with a dual-sport bike (almost no pavement with plenty of technical riding), a skid plate, rear disc guard, wrap-around handguards, and radiator guards pretty much sets up a new bike for withstanding some serious abuse. Thankfully, there is a company making all of that here in the States that I’ve relied on to protect my dirt bikes for years now: Enduro Engineering.
Since hearing usually plays second fiddle to vision when riding motorcycles, people sometimes forget how vulnerable their ears are out there on the road. The sound of your helmet traveling through the air at highway speeds is more than enough to damage your hearing over the long term – or even the short term if you’re wearing an open face or half-helmet. While it may go counter to your initial thoughts, wearing earplugs can actually help you hear better. When your ears aren’t completely overwhelmed, you have the ability to hear more sounds.
Until recently, your primary choice for protecting your ears was the faithful foam earplug. The good news is that, when properly inserted, they work better than just about anything else at lessening the intensity of the sound reaching your ears. However, they have some shortcomings. First, if improperly inserted, their effectiveness is radically lessened. Second, many riders feel that the uneven damping of frequencies make sounds muffled and unclear.
Currently, we’re experiencing a Gold Rush of new earplugs directed towards powersports and other noisy activities. These new generation earplugs have actually been tuned for the frequencies they attenuate, making it possible for riders to protect their ears and still be able to carry on a conversation at a stoplight.
If you’ve been thinking you need a nice new jacket, we agree. Today being Revzilla’s 24-Hour Dainese Jacket Sale could just make it the day. But they’re blowing out other brands as well, including Alpinestars, Bilt, Roland Sands, Rukka… it could be the right time to take advantage as Revzilla thins the herd ahead of the spring rush. We picked five to highlight out of many.
If you haven’t heard of the Dutch motorcycle gear company REV’IT!, chances are you live under a rock or in your mom’s basement – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Founded in 1995 by Ivan Vos in the Netherlands, REV’IT! made the hop across the pond to North America in 2002. Since then, the company has grown at an impressive rate, now offering a comprehensive range of motorcycle gear from race suits that can be found protecting MotoGP athletes, to a wide swath of adventure and off-road gear. REV’IT! has also produced licensed products for major brands such as Touratech, Ducati, Husqvarna, Yamaha, and Harley-Davidson, to name a few.
To say the Dutch company is killin’ it would be an accurate statement. I’ve used a myriad of gear from REV’IT! and, in almost every instance, have been impressed by the level of thought and usefulness that has gone into the gear. Numerous Red Dot design awards over the years further prove the company’s vision of innovation through design and a willingness to continue to push the envelope to discover the next best thing.
We know that this won’t come as a surprise to you, but there are bad people out in the world, people who think that they should have your motorcycle. While we probably all agree that these dirtbags should be strung up by their thumbs with their toes ever-so-lightly touching a fire ant hill, we’re not here to think about retribution. Instead, let’s try to keep our motorcycles in our own possession. Here at MO, we’ve written about the importance of locks when it comes to keeping your bike safe. However, you can go even further in to protect your ride by using a motorcycle alarm.
Bike alarms typically are one of two varieties. The less-expensive option is to combine the lock and alarm into one noise-making security device. While these are not as secure as the category of hidden alarm systems, which can optionally kill the ignition, they do allow your bike to scream for help when someone tampers with it. Within this more secure group, a wide array of options becomes available, including GPS tracking or remote notification.
The current problem with motorcycle alarms is that the market has been inundated with extremely cheap alarms of questionable quality. Would you really want to trust your motorcycle to an $18 bicycle alarm that is zip-tied to a frame member. This is the type of stuff that we’re trying to avoid. Unfortunately, the signal-to-noise ratio is on the low side, requiring a little research on your part. This buyer’s guide is an attempt to turn up the squelch so that you can find the level of protection that meets your budget.
So, if you have a bike that you love, and you’d like to keep it, perhaps, you should look at the alarm systems below to see what steps you can take to prevent motorcycle theft.
After brick-and-mortar stores began introducing special sales on the Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, online retailers extended the concept into the following Monday with another day of deals, now known as Cyber Monday. For 2021, Cyber Monday falls on Nov. 29.
Here are some 2020 Cyber Monday deals on motorcycle gear available right now. UPDATED Nov. 29, 2021 with deals for Cyber Monday 2021. And don’t forget, many Black Friday deals are still going on.
While many of us enjoy riding motorcycles because of its solitary nature, group rides are also a source of great riding memories. Once you’ve ridden with a group of friends and been able to talk to each other during the ride, you’ll understand why Bluetooth helmet communicators have gotten so popular. You can remind everyone of an upcoming turn or give a warning about a road hazard. Or, if you’re riding with John Burns, be serenaded with an endless list of song snippets. Never a dull moment here. But there’s more to these gadgets than that. How about touring and actually being able to hear music without frightening the horses in the nearby fields? Or maybe it’s just something as mundane as having Siri whisper directions in your ear. Parents can adjust their child-rearing logistics on the fly. After a while, a helmet communicator will become an essential part of your riding kit.
When choosing your helmet communication device, you should consider how you plan on using it. If you’re a lone wolf who never travels in a pack, a simple system that connects you to your phone will likely suffice. If you’re regularly part of a gaggle of riders, you should probably stick to what the rest of the group already has in order to maintain maximum compatibility.
You should also take a look at your helmet to make sure that it has speaker pockets. Most current-generation helmets do, but it’s always a good idea to check. Even if your helmet doesn’t have dedicated speaker pockets in its physical structure, it is sometimes possible to fit the speakers inside of the padding that forms the ear cut out in the liner.
The helmet type will determine the kind of microphone you use. An open face or modular helmet requires a boom mic that sits on an articulated arm mounted under the cheek pad. A full-face helmet will need a mic stuck to the inside of the chin bar. Some helmets even offer recessed mounting points for the microphone and wiring, too. In fact, a recent trend is to pair a helmet with a specifically-designed communicator for that model. (See our reviews of the Shoei Neotec II Helmet + Sena SRL and the Shoei GT-Air II + Sena SRL2.)
When looking at Bluetooth helmet communicators, you’ll notice that some of them can get pretty pricey. You should avoid the siren song of the cheap, no-name knockoffs as they typically lack the reliability and durability of those of the major players. Instead, if you’re on a budget, shop by the features you’ll need. Below, you’ll find a selection of the best communicators available. Click the links for discounted pricing.
Motorcycles seem to invite their owners to tinker with them. Maybe it’s the fact that often the components are easy to get to once the bodywork has been removed. Regardless of the reason, we, as motorcyclists, tend to maintain and modify our own machines, leaving only the most highly technical items to the mechanics at our local shop.
But what if you’re new to motorcycling? Where do you start? Most budding mechanics begin with a basic mechanics selection of tools: sockets, ratchets, open end wrenches, and a selection of pliers. If you shop carefully, you can score some good deals on quality tools. However, there are some specialized motorcycle tools that may not be readily apparent that can make your wrenching so much easier.
Read on to find out what the staff at Motorcycle.com considers to be the essential motorcycle tools in their garages.
Like most things in life, we can’t always have everything we want. The same principle holds true with motorcycle helmets. For ultimate protection, full-face helmets are the way to go. But sometimes the ease and convenience of an open-face is really hard to pass up. What’s a motorcyclist to do if he or she wants both? Thank goodness modular motorcycle helmets exist. Offering both full-face protection with open-face convenience, modular helmets are a compromise everyone can live with. Here, we’ve gathered some of the top modular motorcycle helmets available today from a variety of manufacturers.
The longer you ride the more your seat matters – in both years ridden and distance traveled. Air bladders and rubber donuts and bead seats can take you so far; past there it might be time to bite the bullet and replace your factory seat with something upscale, something more befitting your two-wheeled station in life. Here’s a smattering of what are widely regarded as the best motorcycle seats on the market for a wide range of bikes, from Goldwing to sportbike, but be aware that people come in so many shapes and sizes, what’s right for one person may not be what’s best for you. Be sure to perform your due diligence as you figure out what the best motorcycle seat is for you, to keep you riding farther, longer, and happier.
Evans: Writing about oil is like discussing politics, guns, abortion, and religion all rolled into one. You’re sure to offend a few people, from the “any oil is fine as long as it’s changed regularly” set to the “I only use the most expensive stuff on the planet” types. Then the interval will raise hackles, too. I wish you luck, Ryan.
Great, I thought to myself after being sent the assignment. There are a few ways to approach this topic. I could try and defend marketing claims from major corporations about how great their oil is or, I could give some basic information about what makes motorcycle oil different and what certifications to look for – which you’ll find after the product recommendations – and also a few options our staff has used or knows to be of good quality. But first an explanation…
In essence, an internal combustion engine is just a big air pump. Air comes in, then air goes out again. In a perfect world, engines wouldn’t even need air filters, but as we all know, there’s a ton of dirt, grime, and other airborne crud on the roads (or off the roads!) which, if ingested by your engine, could spell terminal damage. Or at least a lofty repair bill. Many of today’s motorcycles have well-designed intake paths and airboxes, but in many cases the stock paper filter element restricts the amount of air your engine could be breathing, robbing power in the process. Here we’ve gathered some aftermarket air filter options to help your motorcycle breathe as best it can. Of course, the most obvious plus side in doing so includes gaining more power, but in some cases you can achieve better fuel mileage. You can even save money in the long run, too, as some aftermarket filters are designed to be washable and reusable. See our top picks for best motorcycle air filter below, and remember, the prices will vary depending on the application.