Why We Need Quieter Helmets

Most of us know that riding fast without earplugs makes you deaf. Scientific evidence shows that 40 percent of professional riders, such as police, paramedics, instructors and racers, have damaged their hearing. It's also likely that the sustained wind roar inside a crash helmet, coupled with poor ventilation, can interfere with your concentration and perception.

You might think that earplugs would get round the problem of hearing damage. But, according to doctors, they don't entirely. Earplugs give some protection but a lot of what you're hearing isn't arriving via your ear canal. It's being transmitted through your skull. Essentially, a helmet is a very noisy device attached very intimately to you head. So part of the potential damage comes from direct vibration of the cochlea.

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Changing the Rear Sprocket, Two Teeth Up

If you want to make your bike more responsive by going up two teeth on the rear sprocket. Being told that the adjusters will move enough to give you the slack th the chain, but you still worried that shortening the wheelbase in this way may disrupt the handling.

The truth, by adding two teeth to the rear sprocket you're making it easier for the engine to accelerate the bike. Positive when driving in Bangkok, where every traffic light looks like the start of a motorcycle race. This alone will change your perception of the bike's handling as it's going to spend more of its time on the back wheel.

This is compounded by the fact the wheelbase is shortened, which means the bike will naturally be more wheelie prone.

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Which Exhaust System for our Bike

You want a bit more noise from your bike, and have been looking at some after market exhausts systems, and got lost in what is on offer. Then let us explain the biggest difference is whether you go for an end-can of full system. Unless you've looking for big power gains, the cheaper option of just the end-can would be best for you, most bikes have stainless-steel down-pipes anyway.

Looking just at end-cans, some are four or five times the price of others. Really cheap ones may have internals that are generic while the top-end ones will be designed to suit your bike, so perform better and are less likely to cause engine problems. Materials and construction are another area where price shows.

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Bedding in New Tires

The sheen on a new tire is the release agent applied to prevent the tire sticking to the mold that formed it. That thin layer of release agent is as slippery as hell until it's scrubbed off, and you'll only do this by riding.

So imagine your tire's contact patch is the palm of your hand. The center of the tire will quickly scrub, but that's the easy part. Just don't accelerate too hard straight off or you'll get wheel spin. The best approach to scrubbing the edges is not to ask too much too quickly.

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Shoei Helmet X-Spirit replacement cheek pads

Being a parsimonious and frugal man I'm less inclined than some to change helmets at the drop of a hat, even if someone else is footing the bill. To that end my Shoei X-Spirit has been used and the visor mechanism is in tip top nick, the lining has taken a battering from the repeated insertion and removal of my head, itself invariable coated with all manner of hair conditioners and gels.

Rather than change the whole helmet, I opted for a set of new cheek pads. And blow me down but what a difference. The Shoei smells like new again, and putting it on is once more a luxurious and pleasant experience.

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Metzeler Tourance EXP Great Tires

Metzeler's Tourance tires has been around since 1998, so after 20 years it's about time it was finally changed. Big trailies have grown both physically and in terms of power output so while the Tourance still works, it was never designed for the weight and performance of today's 100 horsepower power bikes.

While looking ostensibly the same as its predecessor, the EXP now benefits from features Metzeler's 0 degree steel construction in the front tire together with a rehash of the block pattern and compound. So the EXP, while remaining a long distance tire will now do performance riding much better.

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Yamalube now taking performance from the paddock to the street

2008 will see Yamaha's principal factory racing teams hit the circuits of the world with Yamalube as an important part of the technical set-up; drawing the bridge between works machinery and production motorcycles even closer.

The Fiat Yamaha MotoGP squad, Yamaha World Supersport Team and the Yamaha Motocross Team have all reached multi-year agreements to embrace the use of Yamalube for their 2008 competitive campaigns.

The Yamalube range has already been used by Yamaha and their factory motocross effort since 2005 and in that time two world championships have been won by the team. Yamalube already has a long-standing racing tradition in non European countries such as North America and Australia.

With a legendary reputation built on countless victories, Yamaha is the name trusted to deliver 'Quality before anything'; and the company's oils are no different.

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Analogue and Digital Signals

Remove the bodywork and lift the tank on modern bikes and you're bound to find a plethora of wiring without which the bike simply won't run. But what does it do?

As one of those signals, I feel duty bound to explain myself. The first thing to understand is that signals are simple. We have to be by nature. The complicated bit is understanding what information we relay, but you don't need to for now.

In the simplest sense there are analogue and digital signals. And, just like television, this relates to how the information is transmitted, rather than the content. So, let's look at one of each sort. The throttle position sensor on your bike is almost certainly and analogue signal - and works from 0 to 5 Volt. That means depending on how open the throttle is, the signal wire will have anywhere between 0 to 5 Volt on it.

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How do we reach Tire happiness?

Get yourself a decent pressure gauge and check your tires regularly, they lose pressure over time. A decent pressure gauge can't be beaten for accuracy, but if you're on a budget by the simplest. Oh, and never trust the petrol station pressure gauge's, it they even have one. It is not uncommon that a Thai boy does the tire pressure on good luck, as no pressure gauge is available.

Correct inflation is very important. Tires are remarkable things designed to cope with all kinds of abuse, but to maximize the grip they need inflating to the tire manufacturer's recommended pressure. If you've got a memory like sieve, scribble the magic numbers on a scrap of paper and keep them in your wallet.

Track pressures differ to road pressures and you need to adjust them accordingly. Generally, that means lower.

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Radical New Motorcycle Back-Protector

Most back-protectors have a hard outer-shell, so wearing one is rather like strapping an armadillo on your back. But there are other options, Forcefield an English company, sales the Forcefield Pro L2 back protector which is radically different in that it features a flexible, honeycomb-type construction.

Just because it's soft and flexible doesn't mean it's less protective, though. On the contrary, in several international independent impact-absorption tests the Forcefield Pro L2 back-protector outscored several of its "hard outer-shell" major rivals. On the level of wearing comfort the Forcefield back-protector has little competition, being one of the only flexible products on the market.

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