6.04.2015

Contour ROAM durability test

My friend and future riding buddy (we've been resurrecting his G650GL) loaned me his Contour ROAM back in 2013. I used it on the Ulysses on an almost daily basis and got some great videos. I finally mounted it to the XJ over the weekend and yesterday I used it for the first time.  I was traveling from the north to the south side of Indianapolis to do some training when I hit the I65 exit, I noticed something was missing.  That something was the ROAM.   That meant, I had almost 14 miles of 3 lane highway to retrace and search.

After the training session, I rode back to the start of my trip and started looking.  I had the camera mounted in it's waterproof case to help keep it safe from flying road debris since it was mounted fairly low.  Riding down 465, everything on the side of the road looked like it.  Shiny and clear. "There it is! Oh, nope, another bottle. Wait, is that it? Damn." This happened over and over.  I was worried that I lost it while in a middle lane and it got run over or worse, it bounced and hit someone's windshield.


It's lost somewhere along the blue line.

Finally, I tell myself I'm not going to find it and then, what the hell? There it is laying on the stripe between the breakdown lane and the fast lane!  I quickly scan the breakdown lane, merge over and jam on the brakes! Kill the bike, put the side stand down and start the long walk back to find it.  By the time I stopped, it was probably 150 ft behind me.  Thankfully, I got to it before it got hit.  The waterproof case was ground down in places and the door was broken off.  However, the camera was intact! It survived an impact at roughly 65-70 mph and a slide from the middle lane.  Unfortunately, I don't have video of it hitting the ground and sliding through traffic, it stopped recording when it broke free of the mount*.





Way to go Contour, you make one hell of a product! Now, it's secured via camera lanyard looped around my helmet strap.





* Disclaimer:  I was not using the stock supplied double sided tape.  This failure was not the fault of Contour.  It was purely user error.  

5.25.2015

Initial Review: Icon Airmada Stack Helmet

Icon Airmada Review
Both of my helmets are well past the standard 5 year replacement recommendation.  My M2R helmet got decommissioned after the 2015 Indy Mad Max Run and my Caberg V2 is now my backup helmet and will be modified for next year's run.  Knowing I needed a new lid, I've been doing a lot of research on the net trying to find the best helmet for my penny tech budget.  Thankfully, there is some merit to having a small head.  I wear an XS in most brands and that size tends to be on clearance fairly often.  However my small head and long oval head shape makes finding a proper fitting helmet difficult.  Especially since a lot of manufacturers use the same larger shell for the smaller size helmets.   Ever since reading Dexter Ford's report, "Motorcycle Helmet Performance: Blowing the Lid Off" I've tried to find a helmet that fit the following criteria:

1. Multiple Shell Sizes
2. Polycarbonate Shell
3. Long Oval Fit
4. ECE Rated

Originally, the Icon Airmada Stack helmets caught my eye due to the dazzle camouflage style graphics. When I read the features, I was surprised to see it fit all of my criteria.  Plus, most of the colors I liked were the previous style and on clearance.  It's no secret I am a big fan of a lot of Icon's products. I have a pair of the first gen Super Duty Gloves that are pushing 10 years old now and they still get regular use.  Plus, the ICON 1000 line is damn cool and basically what I would wear all the time if I could afford it. (I'm really hoping to pick up a Basehawk Jacket this year.)

I'm a die hard Revzilla  shopper but I found an absolutely killer deal on the Hi Viz Yellow Stack in XS from Riders Discount.  At $101, I couldn't pass it up.


I'm still not a fan of the white trim but it's tolerable and the pros greatly out weigh that little quirk.


The SENA SMH5 had to be mounted with the adhesive plate instead of the clamp due to the PVC neck collar.  I peeled off the stock tape and used Gorilla Glue Mounting Tape.

Rear Shot


The shield features a metal pin that locks the visor closed.  This makes it a bit more difficult to open but it's worth it. 



The Airmada fits me better than any helmet I have ever tried on. The internal shape fits my head perfectly with no hot spots or pressure points.  The small shell size makes the helmet feel tiny and feather light in comparison to my last two.  While riding I get minimal head buffeting and the wind noise is very low.  I think the PVC neck roll really helps cut down on the wind noise. The Icon Optics shield gives me a wider field of vision and is optically perfect with no distortion.  

Venting is great and you can really fine tune how much air and were it goes by using different combinations of the four different sets of vents (upper, brow line, under nose and two on each side of your chin).  I've ridden at commuting and highway speed, the venting was great at both. 

The only thing I don't like (besides the white trim) is the texture of the HydraDry liner material, it's a bit rough.  This might smooth out over time but it's a small price to pay for a wicking liner.  


After I've but a few hundred miles on it, I'll post an updated review.  

5.11.2015

Adding a Pelican case to an XJ600 Part 3

The front top case mounts failed last week.  When I built them, they had to be tall enough to so I could still remove the seat but I was worried that they were too tall and the weight of my laptop bag would bend them.  However, I didn't think they would break at the bend so quickly.


The case barely made it home.  After stripping the mount and racks apart, I dug out the parts for my original plan.  Basic PVC spacers to go between the case and the bike.  Since I swapped my Corbin seat for a stock one, the case no longer needs to sit almost 3 inches off the bike.  Everything went together perfectly.  The case is very stable but I did add a friction fit rubber spacer at the tail of the bike to help support the case.






5.06.2015

Review: Cycle Gear Trackside CR HI Bend bars

The stock handlebars on the XJ have always bothered me. At first, I thought it was the height, then I rode a few bikes with dirt bike / mx style bars and I knew that was the fix but finding the right bar was turned out to be trial and error.

I started off with a set of bars that came stock on my friends Yamaha that he uses for flat track.  They were good but too wide.


The 2nd Annual Indianapolis Mad Max Run was fast approaching and I needed a solution.  So I picked up a set of Trackside steel CR HI Bend bars from CycleGear. In the store, I waffled between these and a set of FLY ATV bars that were taller.  The Trackside bars installed just as easy as any others with the exception that the left grip area is scored to help the grip stay in place.  I'm running heated grips with heat shrink tubing under the left side for added insulation, so this wasn't a big deal. However, it did cause an issue sliding my mirror mount on.  These bars are about an inch and a half shorter but with more pullback or sweep.  



The riding position is much better than stock in my opinion.  I feel like I have better control over the bike, especially over rough terrain.  To cut down on the buzz, I added a set of SPEEDMETAL milled bar ends.  They aren't as heavy as the stock set but they definitely help.  

4.28.2015

2nd Annual Indianapolis Mad Max Run 2015 report!

On April 26th, over 135 riders took to the streets of Indianapolis and put the apocalypse on full display for the 2nd Annual Indianapolis Mad Max Run!  Just like last year, the ride went off without a hitch.  No crashes, no issues from the cagers and no performance awards from the local Bronze. I had never ridden in such a large group before and while not something I would do often, it was a great experience.  A big thank you to Seth and all the other organizers that helped make this an awesome event.

Don't miss your chance to roll with the Wastelanders in 2016. I need to seriously step up my game for next year.  Time to paint my XJ and put it on the path to it's rat bike destiny.


I didn't get a lot of pics but check out the Facebook page for some really great shots.

































I'm the one wearing the black leather jacket. 



3.30.2015

City Moto, Indianapolis IN


The north side of Indianapolis has needed a good gear shop for a long time.  Sure, you can go to a dealership and browse their minimal selection of gear but selling gear is not a bike shop's main priority.  There is also a shop on the south-side of Indy but we needed a shop that wasn't all moto cross or power ranger sport bike gear.  Something for the other riders.  The kind  that like matte black paint and classic black leather.  Vintage style gear with modern day protection.



In 2013, City Moto answered that call and opened it's doors to Indy's growing population of motorcyclists.  Located on the northeast corner of 49th and College Ave, the shop sells brands ranging from: BELL, Vanson Leathers and Belstaff to Corazzo, Rev'It, and Biltwell Inc.  Recently, they started carrying the ICON 1000 line, (just in time for the 2nd Annual Indy Mad Max Run).


You can pick up damn near anything you need for your ride. 


When you see a vintage Ducati in a store window, you know it's a cool shop.


Flyers for local races and events.










Some kick ass heavy weight belt buckles made by a local member of the Ton Up Club


Lids ranging from vintage style open face to full face and race ready.


If they don't have it in stock, chances are Joe can get it for you. 

City Moto doesn't just cater to us on two (legs that is), they also hold a yearly silent auction / fund raiser to benefit the low-cost spay and neuter shelter, FACE.  The auction features some great custom painted helmets. 

Click over to their Facebook page, website or better yet, swing a leg over your bike and ride there.