From Z900 to S1000R to Street Triple, we love our naked bikes and even the ones that leave a little to the imagination with what we once called bikini fairings – especially when it’s hot. When it cools off a little, though, maybe you’d like a light wrap. A jacket. A flyscreen, a windbreaker, as it were. Especially if you use your naked as an everyday bike to ride even when the weather’s brisk, or if you spend more than a little time at freeway speed. At the same time, you don’t want to be duct-taping some ill-fitting piece of tacky plastic onto your darling. There are probably some decent “universal-fit” windscreens and other bargains, but the best ones are going to be bike-specific. We asked around for naked bike windshields people like the best, and this is them.
The perfect solution for being able to ride year-round would be to have gear that can handle all four seasons. Wait – we do! That’s exactly what this list is about. Well, at least your upper half, anyway. What you’ll find below are our picks for four-season motorcycle jackets. You’ll notice as you scroll down that most of these jackets are touring-oriented. The reason is pretty simple: those are typically the riders that will face the gamut of weather extremes on just one ride. So, if a jacket will work for them in extreme conditions, chances are they’ll handle your ride to work in December just fine. Assuming you’re not working from home, that is.
Before we jump to the list, realize that while these jackets are made to handle all four seasons, by that very definition these jackets are a compromise. None of these jackets will outperform a dedicated summer jacket in the middle of July, but if you truly only have the budget for one jacket, and are willing to sweat a little, all of these picks are very versatile.
As motorcycle technology has advanced, the tolerances to which they are manufactured have gotten ever tighter. While torque wrenches have always been important, modern motorcycles, and particularly their engines, depend on the exacting tightening specifications allowed by a torque wrench. Every motorcyclist should have one to assist them in their home-mechanic efforts.
When looking for a torque wrench, it’s easy to get lost in the woods of specifications and prices. To ease your buying decision, look for these attributes: brand, size of ratchet drive, type of wrench, quality, and price. When choosing a brand, go with one that has a good reputation. You may save some money with a no-name brand, but the quality and durability may be suspect. The size of the square drive on the ratchet will determine what sockets can be mounted to it. Larger, higher-torque fasteners will usually require a 1/2-inch drive, and smaller, a 3/8-inch drive. (In my toolbox, I have both a 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch drive for foot-pounds and inch-pounds, respectively.)
As you choose the type of torque wrench you buy, stay away from the cheap bar-type, which is hard to use and easy to misread. While I have always used click-type torque wrenches, which briefly release with a click when the specified torque is reached, digital torque wrenches, which use a beep and/or vibration to let you know when proper torque is reached are increasingly popular. Since quality and price often go hand-in-hand, you should avoid the cheapest ones but the average user doesn’t need to go out and buy the most expensive one, either. Look for calibration accuracy of around 4%-5%.
Below, you will find a listing of some of the best torque wrenches we can find, based on the manufacturer’s reputation, specifications, and reviews.
It’s all fun and games riding around in your Chuck Taylors or work boots, until Old Granddad turns left across your bow or you come up short on a double. Sometimes, even the most talented among us wind up layin’ `er down – and if you lay her, or him, down on top of your ankle, well, then you might suddenly and painfully appreciate what a wondrous and complex organism the human body is; things like ankles and wrists and knees, once mangled, take a lot to put back together again. Good boots aren’t always going to save your underpinnings, but motorcyclists who’ve been around the block a few times like our chances much, much better with some serious soles and ankle protection – and a little (or a lot) of protection over the easily-injured tibia is never a bad idea either.
Bear in mind that, like when buying a helmet, fit is critical to comfort. If you have wide feet, you probably already know it. Shop accordingly. If the boots you love don’t love you back, a happy marriage just isn’t in the cards. If you can’t try them on first, be sure to check the fine print in the return policy.
Let us scratch the surface, shall we? In no particular order at all, here are a bunch of our, and our experts consultants’, favorite motorcycle boots…
Have there been any great motorcycle movies lately? Maybe some cameos and probably some documentaries that I can’t think of at the moment. What is certain, is there have been many great (and not so great) motorcycle movies over the past seven decades or more. Movies depicting the Hell’s Angels in the late sixties, documentaries following travelers around the world and riders racing at the ragged edge, and even some light-hearted comedy make up our 17 movie list. So grab your Rolos, Junior Mints, popcorn, or whatever it is you like to enjoy with a movie. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Any lock is better than no lock – including your bike’s built-in steering lock, which might prevent the average drunk from rolling it down the alley. At the same time, not even the burliest, most expensive lock is invincible if it’s up against an angle grinder in a forest where there’s no one to hear it scream, or a tree fall. Some locks, however, are way better than others. There’s an entire continuum of convenience and security, price and peace of mind.
Determine what fits your needs and bottom line, then use your lock. Or locks: Experts agree that multiple locks are another good way to go. It’s best to secure your bike to an immovable object to deter perps from rolling it into the back of a van. But anything you can do to at least make it tough to roll helps. Making it as time-consuming as possible for a thief to steal your bike is the best deterrent.
Motorcycles seem to attract dirt. Even sitting still in the garage for a couple of days, they attract dust, but out on the road, bikes ride plow right into all kinds of sticky substances (mostly a wide variety of bugs). Also, they’re not immune to the dreaded water spots of the afternoon shower. So, naturally, since motorcyclists have a great affiliation to their machines, a cottage industry of motorcycle cleaning products has grown to a remarkable size. Here, we’ve listed a selection of the top cleaning products that we have personally used over the years. While there are many great motorcycle cleaners out there, you can also stumble onto some snake oil. With these cleaners, you’ll know you’re getting the good stuff.
If you’ve got a favorite cleaner, list it in the comments below.
What makes for the best motorcycle gloves? That’s a loaded question, we know. How could we at MO possibly know what the best motorcycle gloves are for you and your situation at any given moment? Well, to be honest, it’s because we’re moto-wizards. Ageless beings that hold the secrets of the universe among our homes offices. We know all, what has been and what will be. Including what’s best for you, same as your parents.
In all seriousness, there are an endless amount of variables that will influence what the best motorcycle glove is for you at any point in time. What we’ve done is highlighted a glove in each category that we’ve tested over time and deemed an exceptional option in it’s own space. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but these are some of our favorites.
As it does every year, Father’s Day is coming up fast (it’s June 21 in case you didn’t know), and if you’ve got a moto-loving pops you care about, a moto-themed gift will undoubtedly put a smile on his face. Let us help with this collection of gifts for all the moto dads out there. With prices running on the gamut on the affordability chart, there’s bound to be something here for any budget. So, without further ado, let’s get started:
*Also, a quick aside: if you click any of the following links and actually purchase something, a small kickback goes to us to help keep the lights running. We appreciate the support.*
The Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have given us a lot of time to wrench on our motorcycles – good thing riding motorcycles on the open road is about as socially distant as you can get. Still, the fact remains that turning a wrench on your bike, whether to perform basic maintenance or even a complete teardown, is a part of the ownership experience many of us enjoy (or at least tolerate). While a good set of basic hand tools is an essential part of anybody’s garage, when you’re ready to step up your game then it’s time to get some power tools.
Here we’ve assembled a few of the basic must-haves for anyone looking to expand their tool chest to include some battery-powered goodies.
One of the essential ingredients of any home mechanic’s toolbox is a set of combination wrenches in all the common sizes for your bike. After a while, many motorcycle mechanics find they need a stubby set of combination wrenches to get into a tight spot. With that first step down the rabbit hole of wrench variations, they begin a long and interesting journey toward adjusting fasteners that previously were unreachable. Here are some of our favorite styles of combination wrenches for your perusal. And remember, if you happen to buy any of these wrenches MO gets a small infusion of cash to keep the doors open and the motorcycle articles coming.
Updated March 2020:
With summer right around the corner, many of you will face motorcycle rides in really hot climates, and while much attention gets put towards ventilated jackets (and rightly so), there’s another piece of gear that’s less talked about, but also important: boots. Hot, clammy feet are pretty gross, and wearing non-ventilated boots can make the situation even worse. Here, we’ve collected a small sample of vented motorcycle boots that will not only protect your feet, but also flow some air. They probably won’t do much to prevent the stench, but at least they can make your feet a little more comfortable on a hot ride.
Updated, February 2020
One of the greatest thrills of going roadracing or doing a trackday is having a legitimate excuse to dress up in a skin-tight leather onesie. Ay, caramba! Apart from your bike, a good set of leathers is probably going to be the biggest purchase you’ll have to make when you decide to take the racetrack plunge. You’ll be glad you bought the cheapest pre-owned suit you could find, right up until you have your first gnarly, high-speed get-off. After that, you very well might wish you’d spent a bit more. You don’t have to have the latest airbag technology from Dainese, Alpinestars, et al, but if it saves you one broken collarbone or worse, maybe think of as much protection as you can afford as a wise investment. Most of the suits we’ve listed here are each manufacturers’ creme de la creme, but all of them make more affordable suits, many also come in women’s sizes, too – as well as two-piece zip-together suits that are nice for when you just want to wear the jacket. On with it!
Motorcycle touring, traditionally, means we’re sticking pretty much to pavement. Though you can wear any of these for Adventure riding, we have a whole other list of suits more suited to life off the beaten path, designed for the most part with even more freedom of motion and impact absorption. Every suit here, from the one-piece Aerostich to the jacket/pants combinations of the others, are a bit closer-fitting for reduced drag at highway speeds, with plenty of ventilation but not too much, and with enhanced abrasion resistance as well as armor. When you’re caught out in the rain after dark, you’ll be glad to find yourself inside any one of them.
Updated February 2020
Heated grips are nice, but some people like to ride even when hot grips aren’t enough. If you’re riding a sportbike, for instance, with no fairing or handguards, heated grips might not be able to keep your hands thawed even if you had them. Heated gloves, on the other hand, will keep the backs of your paws warm as well as your palms. Heated gloves also gallop to the rescue of motorcycles that just don’t generate enough juice to power a bunch of accessories, because in addition to the ones that plug into your bike’s wiring harness, there are now a bunch of gloves that draw power from their own rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Just beware how long a charge will last, and buy a second set of batteries if you need to. Here’s a quick pu pu platter of the ones people seem to think are the best heated motorcycle gloves.