It’s June and the temperatures are now starting to hot up. That can only mean one thing: Summer’s here and riding season is in full swing. For some, riding in hot weather means shedding the protective gear in order to stay cool. You don’t need us to remind you what a bad idea this is, as one of our favorite adages when it comes to riding in hot climes is “I’d rather sweat than bleed.” For this buyer’s guide, we’ve put together 10 jackets and pants that’ll both keep you cool on a hot ride and also protect your hide should you have the unfortunate fate of falling down. The list is organized in ascending order based on price.
Shoes are the most common element on earth after carbon, so we’ve barely scratched the surface here of what’s available in warm-weather, vented moto street footwear. But we did attempt to hit all the major purveyors, almost all of which pack a plethora of different styles on their web pages, from high-top sneaker wannabes to serious adventure boots. Though the boots pictured are men’s, nearly all of them are available in women’s sizes too. It’s hard to be cool on your bike with sweaty dogs. Let’s get out there and shop for some coolness, people.
When the temperature climbs, even the most dedicated rider may hesitate a moment before donning gloves. Without vents, leather and armor can turn gloves into a mobile sauna for your digits. Then there’s the indignity of sweating so much inside a pair of gloves that the dyes leech into your skin, leading to embarrassing questions. Well, we’ve scoured the interwebs to find a variety of gloves that offer both protection and a means to keep your paws cool during the summer months.
This Father’s Day, if you like your dad enough to get him something nice, but don’t want to go overboard and break the bank, the $50-$100 category of gift items is the perfect place to shop. Below are 10 items dads are sure to love. Why? Because most of them are tools. And dads love tools.
If your father’s a motorcycle guy and encouraged you to become one too, he’s already given you a great gift by making it easy for you to buy him cool stuff instead of the usual useless junk most civilian dads get. Here are 10 items to temporarily lighten the paternal frown on the third Sunday in June, the 21st this year.
If you’re reading this, you’re either cheap or broke, but you still want to do right by buying a Father’s Day gift for Dad. I’m proud of you, son. So, let me give you a few tips on how to let your old man know that you care while still leaving enough money in your wallet to put gas in your bike. The trick is – and this is true of moms, too, only to a slightly lesser extent – your parents care less about how much you spent on a gift for them than how much you thought about the gift you gave them. Just because you are struggling to afford your artisanal coffee habit doesn’t mean you can’t invest some time thinking about your father and what present would accurately represent your love and respect for him.
If you’re desiring to roll some serious mileage on two wheels but the roadways leading to all the familiar haunts (Sturgis, Daytona, Laguna Seca, et al.) are seeming somewhat lackluster, the cure may be to ride outside your national comfort zone and travel abroad. A foreign escapade brings with it a litany of uncertainties, one being insurance and how to make sure you’re covered in the worst-case scenario, a long way from home in a place where English isn’t the ubiquitous language.
A big joy of motorcycle ownership is getting out on the open road and soaking in the world around you. There are times, however, when that urge gets so strong you’re determined to go on that ride even if you don’t have a bike of your own. Or maybe you just want to sample a different bike before making a purchase. Then again, maybe you’re visiting the land of the free and want to experience it on two wheels. Regardless of your reasons, if you rent a motorcycle in the U.S., you’re going to need insurance.
When you’re flying through the air is not the time to shop for insurance. Like so many other things thanks to the interwebs, it couldn’t be easier to shop for insurance before you need it. The flipside of that is that if you have anything on your record you’d prefer not to reveal, it’s not so easy anymore to conceal it. Once upon a time, Jorge Lorenzo (lead image) might’ve been able to say his Yamaha M1 got hit by a truck while it was parked at the library: That’s probably not going to work anymore.
By the time a rider is old enough to consider licensing a motorcycle for street use, she should be mature enough to realize that humans make mistakes, and motorcyclists count themselves among the ranks of humans. Consequently, the need for motorcyclists to make sure they can pay for any damage they may cause to other vehicles should be fairly obvious. Even though bikes are smaller than cars or trucks, they can still put some pretty big hurt on the other vehicles in the right (or is that the wrong?) circumstances. With that in mind, almost all states require that the registered owner of a motorcycle carry some form of proof of financial responsibility. In most states – even those that don’t require proof of financial responsibility to register a motorcycle – the primary means of protecting oneself is liability insurance.
Sport-tourers include a variety of designs from large technology-laden models such as BMW’s K1600GT, to Kawasaki’s more traditional Ninja 1000 to Ducati’s long-travel Multistrada and Yamaha’s FJ-09. With some luggage and a willing disposition you can, of course, set out for a far away destination aboard your new Yamaha R1 and call it sport-touring. And if you do, the tires in this Buyer’s Guide will certainly be a better choice than the sticky hoops you’d normally install on a sportbike.
Want to make your old bike feel new again? Install new tires. Your current rubber hoops may have mileage left in them, but switching to new tires is an easy and affordable way to elevate the handling composure of a motorcycle. Fresh rubber not only increases both on- and off-road grip, but the manicured profile of new tires also smooths turn-in and transitioning, bettering your sense of control and feedback from the road.
Cruiser riders want what the rest of us want, don’t they? Round black pneumatic tires that hold air, provide good traction in the wet and dry while providing a smooth quiet ride. Yes, they want those things, and they also want a tire that produces orange smoke when lit off. Otherwise, we’re all one big happy family. Where sport and touring bikes have mostly settled on 17-inch diameters front and rear, with usually a 3.5-inch front and a 5- or 6-inch wide rear wheel, cruisers are less standardized. And where sportbike riders will overlook a little harshness for the sake of handling and grip, cruiser riders tend to be more concerned with ride comfort and long life. Since tire engineers aren’t having to deal with 150-mph-plus top speeds, they’re able to give it to them. Looks are important too. Buying decisions can be heavily influenced by tread pattern, and cruiser riders are swayed by whitewalls and crazy-wide rears on their choppers. Luckily, there’s a tire for every rear. Let’s try to keep it in some semblance of alphabetical order, shall we? (The orange smoker starts with an “S.”)
Tires are, arguably, the most significant factor affecting your safety on a motorcycle. We trust both our shiny, expensive machinery and our lives to what, when you really consider it, are two impossibly small contact patches with the pavement. Modern tire performance in wet or cold or dirty or hot conditions with rapidly changing forces (acceleration, deceleration, cornering, braking, and bump absorption) is nothing short of amazing. While much of the moto-press’ attentions are focused on increased engine output or the expanding role electronics are playing in riding, the unsung advances in motorcycle tires over the past decade have been astounding. There are sport touring tires with performance that was once reserved for racing rubber. Wet weather riding need not be the worrying task it was in the past. Heavy touring bikes and cruisers achieve mileage out of a set of tires that is hard to fathom.
In this month’s continuing series of motorcycle suspensions, we’ve brought you a list of suspension resources in John Burns’ Suspension Buyer’s Guide. E-i-C Kevin Duke followed that up with some tips and tricks for Adjusting Motorcycle Suspension, and most recently, Tom Roderick provided a list of companies who specialize in making the front of your bike work as well as possible in his Fork Buyer’s Guide.