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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Time to Replace the Clutch

There are several telltale signs that it might be time to replace your motorcycle’s clutch. On my motorcycle, one of the visual indications that it was ready for a new clutch was that the adjuster on the engine side of the clutch cable was near its limit.

As the clutch wears on a cable-operated clutch, the pressure plate moves deeper in relation to the clutch cover, which causes the actuating lever to move inward. We compensate for this by adjusting the cable at the hand lever, but if that adjuster reaches its limit, there’s a further adjustment where the cable attaches to the engine. On some motorcycles, like Harley-Davidson, the adjuster can be in the cable itself. If you’re at the end of the cable adjuster at the engine, it’s time to have a look at the clutch. Also, if the cable is properly adjusted for the right amount of free play at the lever and the clutch slips, well, you know the answer.

A hydraulically actuated clutch self-adjusts as the plates wear out, so if you notice that the fluid level is low and there are no leaks in the system, consider looking at the clutch.

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The 2017 Alpinestars Supertech Motorcycle Gloves

The same motorcycle gloves worn by Alpinestars’ sponsored MotoGP riders is now available with the new Alpinestars Supertech Glove. Replacing the previous top-of-the-line Alpinestars GP Tech, the Alpinestars Supetech is constructed mostly from full-grain kangaroo leather for supple feel and strength, augmented by cow leather in certain areas.

Featuring a pre-articulated finger construction with raised stitching seams that ensure there are no seams anywhere between your fingers and the handlebars or controls for comfort and feel, the Alpinestars Supertech glove also sports a unique stretch fabric insert between the thumb and palm developed in MotoGP that riders discovered made a huge improvement in flexibility.

Also new on the Alpinestars Supertech gloves are ARSHIELD reinforcement panels (made from aramidic fiber and polyamide fabric) in key areas on the palm and outer portion of the hand that offer maximum abrasion and impact resistance without feeling bulky. In addition, the new Supertech glove is lined with CarbonX fabric – developed in Alpinestars’s auto racing department – that provides both abrasion and heat resistance.

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The Chain and Sprockets - What you need to know

The chain is literally your driving force; without it you are going nowhere fast. It has to handle tremendous strength being applied against it – power and torque from the engine snap it forward when accelerating, the suspension traveling up and down constantly changes the freeplay available, heavy braking has it snatching to try to pull up a couple of hundred kilos of motorcycle and rider – all while fully exposed to the dirt, dust and water. To keep you chain at its best and improve its lifecycle, you should clean and lubricate it regularly.

The front sprocket will always show more wear than the rear as it’s smaller and in contact with the chain more often. Inspect it regularly and look for wear indicators such as chipped, broken or fish hook-like teeth and unusual shaping.

The rear sprocket is exposed to the elements more and runs the risk of being hit by dirt, grip and little stones as well as being exposed to rain water. Inspect the rear sprocket for wear the same as the front sprocket, but also sit behind the motorcycle and look for bends or twists by rotating the wheel. Especially with adventure bikes and enduro machines it sometimes happens that the rear sprocket develops a wobble.

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

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