The Headwave TAG turn your Helmet into an Acoustic Device


If you’re one of those riders who like to spend hours leisurely cruising along highways, listening to music that makes your ride more enjoyable, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for this one. The Headwave TAG is an adhesive acoustic device that is called a Concert Capsule, and fits onto your helmet and literally makes music through vibrations.

Yes, you read that right. It doesn’t have any speakers that you’ll need to stick inside your helmet and slightly change the way it fits. It turns your helmet into a music device and harnesses vibrational energy from an Exciter, which in-turn sends audio waves through your helmet itself, for a rather unconventional surround sound experience.

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What Makes a V4 Engine So Special?


Engine configuration is a compromise, and for a motorcycle it’s a vital one considering its interaction with the rest of the machine – both in terms of package and dynamically. However, there’s clearly more than one way to do it since there are a wide variety of possible motorcycle/engine configurations that work well, with all of their creators claiming that they are the panacea. So let’s think about the advantages and disadvantages of some…

Width is probably the most important dimension regarding how a motorcycle feels, especially for the novice rider. Simple, then: let’s build a single or a V-twin. While this is good for width at the top of the engine, the gearbox is probably the widest part – getting the gears and the clutch on a single shaft dictates this. So a two-cylinder bank probably gives the minimum practical width. And a V-configuration is nearly always more expensive to manufacture than an inline one for any given number of cylinders, too.

Of course wel all like performance, and to generate it more cylinders always helps. This is because for the same capacity and bore/stroke ratio smaller cylinders give a shorter stroke, and this, within mechanical limits, gives the ability to rev. The Honda VFR800F engine has the same bore and stroke of the original 800 from 1998, which shared its bore and architecture with the Honda RVF759R (RC45) superbike, so it can clearly make power.

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Forged Wheels or Cast Wheels


Casting is relatively simple: first you create a mold, then you pour molten metal into it. This only works for simple shapes though. Casting thin sections, for example, is difficult, as the liquid metal cools quickly as it enters these and solidifies before they’re filled.

Forcing the metal in under pressure fills the mold more quickly, giving the metal less time to cool, but this causes bubbles to form.

This is a problem for two reasons. One is that it weakens the metal, so you need more to retain enough strength, and it weighs more. Second, it means you can’t machine the metal very much. Go too deep and you’re into the porous inner, which means you get a much weaker structure and, on a wheel, it might not be airtight either.

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Lightweight Wheels Worth Buying?


Some motorcycle owner asked me are lightweight wheels worth buying. A few years back I fitted a set of lighter BST carbon-fiber rims to my Ducati 1098. I was very impressed about the lighter wheels, and would recommend them to anybody who can afford them, especially if the motorcycle has heavier cast items like the Ducati Multistrada from the person who asked about lightweight wheels.

I have used lightweight wheels over the past 10 years, and have never been disappointed by the performance they deliver. Whether you’re on road or racetrack, the significant reduction in unsprung mass dangling at the end of your fork and swingarm is revelatory.

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The Kriega US-20 Tail Bag - Two Years Old and Looks Good


I have this amazing Kriega US-20 tail pack for more than two years. I’d written about it before for another English language motorcycle magazine and concluded that it’d performed flawlessly. Two years later it’s still doing it – and that’s a sign of an extremely good product.

And as long-term testing goes, the Kriega US-20 tail pack has been through the wringer. I still use it frequently and have fitted it to at least half the motorcycles we have tested over the two-year period. I don’t know how many thousands of kilometers that might be by now, but in at least one aspect the pack has gone beyond mere milometers as a measure of its toughness. It has been swapped from motorcycle to motorcycle far more often than it was designed to be.

The straps that make up the main part of the mounting system are really intended to be put on one motorcycle and then trimmed to fit and left there. I’ve re-strapped the bag dozens of times and never trimmed the strap ends. I do carefully tie or tuck them out of the wind to reduce the damage done by flapping in the breeze or resting against an exhaust, but even so I reckon they’ve stood up to it better than expected. They’re quality items.

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Fake Motorcycle Helmets Pretending to be Big-Brand Units


There are counterfeit motorcycle helmets out there pretending to be big-brand units, but built cheaply and badly by shonky factories. There are also so-called novelty helmets, some of which are so novel they have replica approval stickers and labels on them…

I once met a guy, who was a motorcycle safety expert described one fake helmet he’d come across as being ‘like a plastic bucket with a visor, definitely unsuitable for use on the road’. Yet the helmet looked for all the world like a real one.

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The Metzeler RoadTec 01 Tire - Amazing Grip on all Road Surfaces


If someone had told me that a set of tires could transform my motorcycle overnight I’d have thought they were mad – but that’s pretty much what happened when I fitted a pair of Metzeler RoadTec 01 tires on my sport-touring motorcycle.

The Metzeler RoadTec 01 is not just an upgrade from its predecessor, the RoadTec Z8, but a brand new tire that has been developed to offer a higher level of grip in all weather conditions white extending the durability by up to 10 percent, according to the technicians at Metzeler. As I got over 16,000 kilometers out of my previous Michelin Pilot 3 tires, it’ll be interesting to see if the Metzeler RoadTec 01 tires can match that distance.

Metzeler have achieved this apparent tire trickery courtesy of a new tread pattern design: the grooves on the front are positioned more transversely to the rolling direction along with new longitudinal groove angles, which are apparently better for dealing with water drainage. The rear has a ‘Drop and Saber’ tread pattern on the sides and this is positioned in the opposite direction to the rolling direction.

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The BMW Cool-Down Vest for Safety


With the end of the raining season we’re blessed with 2 months of mild weather (for Thai standards), but after that the mercury will rise again. For new motorcycle riders it’s easy to think that you cannot be too hot on a motorcycle. Unless you have experience from previous hot season riding – in which case you know how hard it can be when the mercury’s nudging 40º Celsius.

Riding in hot and dry weather is exhausting and, as concentration suffers as the body overheats, potentially unsafe.

The BMW Cool-Down vest is made from HyperKewl material, this material is capable of soaking up water and evaporate water like the human skin does by sweating. The cooling effect through an higher evaporation rate than we humans can.

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The Shark Race-R Pro Carbon - Lot more Carbon-Fiber


I have had several motorcycle helmets this year to test out. One of the best, though, was the Shark Race-R Pro Carbon. The original Shark Race-R Pro, release in 2011-2012, was Shark’s range topper. The Race-R Pro Carbon is the latest version and is basically the same, but with a lot more carbon-fiber – hence the name.

The extra carbon also means it is lighter (1370 grams) for the helmet with the medium sized shell.

Other features include a bamboo interior fabric, which is naturally anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and makes the helmet super-quiet, plus one of the thickest anti-scratch visors on the market (4.25mm in the middle) – great for protection from killer bees without sacrificing vision.

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Mystery of Broken Crankshaft Resolved


As you should know we rebuilt, modify and tune motorcycles. Recently, and for no apparent reason, we had a spate of cracked crankshafts on one of our motorcycles. After years of running standard cranks, we’ve never had one break before – and we’re producing big horsepower numbers continually.

It took us a long time and cost us a lot of money to find the cause. In search for lighter weight and marginal gains, little did we know that we sacrificed reliability. Once we looked at what was going on in greater detail, we built an engine with a billet crank just to make sure we weren’t doing something wrong, but we still broke a billet crank, which is virtually unheard of. I went back to the manufacturer of the crankshaft who is well-known worldwide, and they’ve never had one break before, too.

We looked into why this was happening because we weren’t cracking crankcases. We had some titanium bolts made to hold the engine in the frame, fitting them and torquing them up as per the specified figures. The bolts were fine, there were no manufacturing issues.

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How many times have you crashed your motorcycle in the last three years?

  •  Never
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  •  Twice
  •  Three times
  •  Four times
  •  Five times
  •  More than 6 times
  •  More than 10 times
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