Thursday, August 26, 2010

Long Term Updates

I have reviewed a number of purchases on this blog, not particularly in depth but all the same I wanted to mention how I felt about some of them after now having used them for a longer time period.

Nolan N43 Air helmet.

I still love the design of this helmet however I have found the optics of the visor not to be perfect and as I mentioned in my initial review the liner does not compare with the Shark RSR which in my opinion is equal best with Arai liners for comfort. In summer it is by far the coolest helmet I have ever worn and the internal tinted visor is a fantastic idea however it does have an issue that it splits your vision to an upper and lower tinted and clear field of view which took me a while to realise has the effect of reducing the larger field of view that the jet style helmet offers to end up making it feel more closed in. I am now having 2nd thoughts if I shall continue with the Nolan due to the optics of the visor. My Shark RSR2 is black, a colour I regret buying now however I cannot justify another new helmet so I have ordered a new visor and some reflective decals and will give it a freshen up and reuse it for a spell and see how I feel.

Further update: It may be the combination of the inner and outer visors that gives me a slight optical issue, by itself the external visor seems not to bother me however the UV here is too strong to use a clear visor except in the shadows so I tend to have the tinted inner visor engaged all the time.

Noise: it has been raised by a Motorcycle Paradise reader that the noise of the helmet is slightly bothersome. I do wear earplugs 100% when riding to avoid going deaf so the noise levels may be understated by me. 

 BMW City Pants

I purchased these some time ago now to replace (and upgrade) my Draggin jeans and I can state they are excellent. They offer a higher level of protection and are more comfortable on and off the bike. In a pinch you could wear these all year round knowing that they are not a winter or summer specialist pant. My only complaint would be that the height adjustment for the knee armor is by means of velcro which can come undone and allow the armor to move down which then pulls the pants up from your boots too much. I have reaffixed them so hope they will stay put in the future. Not cheap gear, mainly because of the label but seem to genuinely be a quality item.

Cortech HRX Jacket

I purchase this mainly to replace my very old Dryrider summer mesh jacket which was very light on in protection but also as something with the liners installed to be warmer than my leather jacket in winter. The jury is still out on this jacket as far as I am concerned. With the rain and quilt liners installed it still is no warmer than my old lined leather jacket and becomes rather bulky once the liners are installed. With both liners removed the jacket flows air to the chest well but the arms and back need more ventilation and on hot days I find it borderline on being too warm. Protection wise however it is superb and the build quality, zips tailoring and design is very good and exceeds my other new jacket. Not such an expensive brand so fair enough I guess for the price.

Alpinestars 7-10 WP textile jacket and ST 5 Drystar textile pants.

So far mostly happy with both these items. Both are strictly winter only items as would be the case with anything similar so keep that in mind if looking at these textile designs. The pants are very comfortable and do not ride up, I like them a lot. The Jacket is light to wear yet warm, and when zipped to the pants very warm. The only gripe I have is the main zipper is not a wind or waterproof item which is very disappointing for a winter jacket and somewhat worrying since this is advertised as a fully waterproof jacket. I can feel cold air getting in at the upper chest area of the zip and there is no outer storm flap either so I do wonder how it will perform in rain with only a inner storm flap. The cuffs only have two positions that you affix via snap lock buttons which is ok but looks cheap and well is cheap compared to having a traditional tailored cuff with length wise zipper.  My other concern with the main zipper is it is a very thin light weight item that could be pulled apart rather easy so what happens should you take a fall? The pants I rate excellent, the jacket was not expensive and like the Cortech is fair enough for the price but could do better.

Joe Rocket Meteor boots.

These were a bit tight and stiff at first but after a couple of outings seem to have gained a bit of flex and give, still a firm fit and probably would benefit if stores offered 1/2 sizing here as they do overseas. They are perhaps best for winter riding only as would be any waterproof boots in the sub tropics. I like the design of the graphics on the boots and the mid length suits me much better than full length or shorty boots. My only small gripe is they are quite difficult to get off since they have no side zip. The boots inner sides expand and the you affix the sides back via velcro which works reasonably well but not having a zip sure makes for hard work trying to get your foot out of them. I got these on sale and for the price I rate them as pretty good.

Update: the positive of not having a side zip is the boots will perform better in rain than any with zips.

I only have one last item I needed to get for the Europe tour which was new gloves. Will review those in the near future. Regards IC.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back Road Bliss

Finally got out for a ride, and while not setting out with a big ride in mind it turned out that way.

First up here is today’s route and I owe an apology to readers as I have been giving you the wrong route south of Rosebank NSW. When riding the Repentence Creek road it becomes Dunoon road and unknown to me the sealed road becomes Fox road. So my maps showing me riding Dunoon road were wrong as that is dirt. To get to Dunoon you ride via Corndale and cut back across to the Dunoon road which is sealed all but that small section near Rosebank. More on this later.

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Well you can never trust the weather and despite all the forecasts of a cold weekend it was 26 degrees this afternoon. Guess who was in his full winter gear and baked. Actually it wasn't too bad, morning was chilly until about 9.00 and during middle of day I simply let some air in to try regulate the temperature. Pulled both liners out tonight to wash however as did perspire a bit at one point.

Riding south from Currumbin I was flagged by another rider of police ahead but nothing about over the range so made for a slow run over before I dropped down into the Tweed valley. Zig zagged over to Tumbulgum, I like that roads flow in that direction best I think. Then did the rest of the zig zag route south to Mooball via Duranbah, Farrants hill etc. This route need attention to be paid in either direction but might just ride better north to south as well.

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Tweed Valley way then Coolamon Scenic way to Mullumbimby and Federal then the above mentioned route over to Clunes and then Eltham pub for lunch. So coming over from Dunoon road I have previously shown taking Dorroughby road then Corndale road then Jack Gibson road, the route I take is actually Fox road then Mackie road then Jack Gibson. Eltham pub was packed, ate in the bar as not a table left (and they have a lot of tables!) Tip if you go, ask for the bar snack food menu, the restaurant menu suits if you want to do something nice with a partner however it’s more than most would want for a typical Sunday ride lunch. I had a burger and chips for $9 and it was tasty, good size and quality. (sorry no lunch photo today but here is the pub)

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And now for something completely different (said in the monty python flying circus tone) Leaving Eltham did a loop around Alstonville and then rode towards Tintenbar then via Fernleigh and Possum Creek. (see today’s route map) I actually have ridden these roads before but had forgotten them. You can fuel at Alstonville or Wollongbar and the Rifle Range road from Wollongbar is superb as is the Teven road range. The road via Fernleigh has a few pot holes and mixed surface. The other roads closer to Alstonville are excellent surface.

To round it all off, did Buringbah range and Numimbah on way home.

Just so many good roads to ride in this area.

looking back

Monday, August 02, 2010

Winter gear build up

My collection of winter gear continues to grow in preparation for the Europe tour.

My latest additions are a mid layer and a thermal base layer. After looking about a bit I settled on the Alpinestars mid layer jacket. I have looked long and hard at all the outdoor store mountain type gear but it was 3 times the price and not sure if truly 100% windproof. Then I looked at cycling winter garments which are windproof but they were still 50% more expensive and so given the cheapest option was actually designed for motorcycling it wins out easy. The simple design suits my plan to use it as a light jacket after hours. My around home test shows it to be very warm with a windproof front and zipper however road test is needed to confirm and I shall update further in the comments very soon.

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The other item I have is a new thermal base shirt. This comes from Ground Effect in New Zealand, makers of rider apparel for cyclists. I am going to try it out and if suitable get a couple more and use these in rotation on the ride washing one each night my hotel room bathroom. The shirt is a hi-performance thermal item that combines a merino inner layer with a fast-drying polyester outer, so I should be able to get one dry overnight no problem. Being made for cycling means it has a longer back to stay tucked in which is also what us motorcyclists need. Lastly it is made in New Zealand yet priced less than my local camping and outdoor shops Chinese imported items.

My strategy for this tour is I can always remove layers or vent air to reduce warmth but cannot get warmer if I go under prepared.

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