All photos and illustrations are the property of Motosquirrel LLC. 2020
MOTO Sugru? Who Knew? Check out our Review! We will stop rhyming too!
Firstly, we must explain further as to what *Sugru is! Well..we DO NOT KNOW! Here is what we DO know:
Sugru is a mysteriously mould-able man-made material that was originally designed/developed by some sexy young smart chick from the UK.. It’s proprietary formula is a defiantly well kept secret! Copy at your own risk!
It is mostly non-toxic, welcome to the touch, mould-able, relatively fast hardening and can be formed into lengths, limitless shapes and can easily accept the relief patterns pushed into it. It is very heat resistant, durable and can be used as a quick fix, for initial modeling, filling gaps and limitless opportunities where a mould-able/rubbery material is needed.
It also comes in many colors as well as both black and white and can be color mixed (Albeit not easily) to better match existing colors for consistency etc.
Sugru used to create a rounded/spherical clutch end for better grip and on center.
What Sugru is NOT! Although we here a Motosquirrel have experimented with this incredible material on about ten or so occasions, we have taken note at what Sugru shouldn’t be used as. For example, this material should not be used as one would incorporate epoxies or high-stress glues like JB weld etc. This gummy yet dense material ends up feeling more like the density of your handlebar grips rather than a hard plastic that can withstand lateral stress over planes etc. So...this material shouldn’t be used to patch a punctured engine case etc. Sugru is NOT that material! It shouldn’t be employed to bind high stress or high modulus components such as metals, fiberglass or composites.
That said, there are still a million uses for this incredible material! Have a punctured hole in the rubber sole of your Moto Boot? Clean it off, slap some Sugru on it, shape it quick...and wait a day! Need a grip on a tool that has an end or has been cut off?- Wrap some Sugru around the end to either fit your hand perfectly and/or add the textured grip pattern you wish! Got a USB wire connection that is fraying? Slap on some Sugru! Got some rattling on your bike where a body panel meets the frame etc.?- Custom SLAP some Sugru on the inside or as a special washer etc.! Need some new earpiece ends for your sunglasses, goggles or a new nose-piece?- Wait for it…….Slap some Sugru on it! Have a torn grip…..no time to wait for new ones…...you get the idea!
Sugru is used to mimic a cap/cover piece no longer available as OEM.
We have included a few photo examples of how we have utilized Sugru on our bike or for our other related motorcycle products. Over the last three years we have been impressed with this products ease of use, infinite applications, colors available AND not lastly, it’s ability to save products or give them new life, especially when products are discontinued etc.(specifically in the case of boots that are our favorite(s) but no longer available and cannot be repaired by a professional). This ability is unique to Sugru!
The bad. The other two things that are unique to Sugru is its’ prohibitive pricing….at (Aprx.) .16 cents an ounce ($2.75 per .17 oz. ketchup sized packet), it ain’t cheap. The smallest size to experiment with would be a three-pack. And you WILL find a million uses for this material, as we have! Likely, you will also be combining these overly small ketchup packet sized parcels. Order more than you think you need!
Sugru is utilized here to attach a GoPro cam quick cleat to a Scorpion Helmet.
The second bad. Somehow, someway (place eerie conspiracy music here) whenever there is a fantastic DIY, how-to, or tut on how to make your own “Sugru” on any social stream or blog host provider….wait for it…., yep, it gets taken down! Someone out there is VERY protective of our little designer girl friend! Hmm…..was it her or 3M? We will never know!
WARNING: Motosquirrel provides reviews and opinions only and is not compensated for this review. Any and all purchasing and utilization of the product mentioned in the attached post is the sole responsibility of the purchaser or receiver. The host provider for the Motosquirrel website is not connected in any legal way with Motosquirrel or the products, opinions, suggestions or stories as provided herein.
*Please NOTE: Motosquirrel as well as it's Host Provider are not affiliated in any way with the product "Sugru" and are not representatives of this product and assume no endorsement or relationship whatever.
NOT a Helmet Light! (Now they will make them Mandatory) …..NO…..THEY….WON’T!
We have, on many occasions, expressed our full and unbridled enthusiasm for all things creative, self-made, DIY, customized and altered products or motorcycles in the name of beauty, function, value and just dam fun!
We believe that humans were meant to create, innovate and celebrate. It doesn’t always mean hard work (But often it does!), but it does require a passion and keen eye from the start!
With that said, just because certain innovations or trends are appreciated by some riders does not mean it should be adopted or MANDATED by higher authority in our book. In other words, if one rider enjoys and feels safer riding with a huge, high viz green “Air-Bag” vest, doesn’t mean that it should be pushed on, required or especially suggested by NON-Riders!
Whew! With that said we would like to forward an idea that we have had and incorporate in our everyday riding. This is definitely not perfect by any means, but we hope that it will inspire you to come up with some different ideas etc.
While we were riding within the city, we felt a “Bump” by the car behind us! On their Dumb-Phone? Probably. But does it really matter? If it came down to an accident situation they would just put it down and claim we stalled..etc.
It did put the thought into our head as to whether these same dumb Cagers would be made, somehow, more aware of our presence, consciously or unconsciously if we had a rear red light for them to “Sense” that was higher?. Hmmmm…...located at about the helmet area?
After searching about online and off, we settled on a product we had found hanging on a turnstile type kiosk at a retail location. It was amongst many of it’s brother and sister products under the license name of Nite Ize Helmet Marker Plus. Having NOT been impressed with many of this companies products, including a certain key-chain that did anything but keep our keys safe, together AND we also lost our keys. Your Motosquirrel was not too excited to try a certain red light product that seemed to be made of fabric and was/is operated by a wafer watch type battery (Hate em’).
The ultimate intended function of this unit is not exactly known or advertised. It hints at being a flashing or steady light for bikers, hikers, scooterers?- Not sure.
What is evident is that there is a more flexible red nylon type visible side that lights up and a female soft velcro panel on it’s back. It measures just about four inches. After attaching a more hard-core velcro of our own to our beloved and sexy helmet and discarding the included stuff it came with, the unit stayed secure and has held on nicely (YMMV). (This unit is NOT entirely waterproof)
What it does and what it does better! This is a very thin light that has to be given credit for it’s flexibility, ease of putting on a semi-spherical object (Our helmet), and it’s clean look- if you can stand the stupid little logo etc.
What it does better! It shines pretty bright for a light without depth or an incorporated reflector inside. It provides 3 modes: flashing, steady and off.
In order to turn the unit on one must give a gentle push to a (PCB) integral button which flexes in but does not give your gloved hand ANY feed back that it is on, off or flashing! Yep- you have to look!
We would not suggest using this device in any jurisdiction, state or county that prohibits the use of any non-motorcycle vehicle code lighting etc. The usage of this product is entirely your decision.
How and why we use it:
We ride way past dark along a lake road that does not have any street lights for miles. This units light power does not exceed the rear brakes steady or braking light. Having someone “Cage” along behind us confirmed that there wasn’t any confusion between the normal Moto brake lights and the helmet unit. The extra light did what was intended. It lit the rider at a higher up level which was and is helpful especially when approaching and then descending the short off-camber hills in this area in the dark. There isn’t that chance of disappearing out of sight of a car turning onto these hills or for a car following too close. Excellent.
Do we use it always? No- absolutely not!
First off, attaching anything to a helmet risks it’s intended safety and integrity. Secondly, we would NOT recommend this unit in massive stop and go traffic (Cagers may perceive you as stopping when you are not).
We do use this when we know that we are on a mostly deserted road, especially in real darkness. Also we found this helpful in the fog, which we get here in Seattle often!
Again, consult a licensed professional before you try anything! Even before you use the bathroom!
Cheers! MOTO- Out-Oh!
Side Note: We are able to turn the unit on and off while wearing the helmet by reaching back. But, because of the weird non positive feedback of the unit (No clicky feel on or off)- there is always the need to check the reflection in our mirror or somehow confirming that it is on and NOT blinking. If they just would have made it CLICKY! - Oh well next time!
The only available product remaining is…..yep...here!:
If you G_ogle (They don’t need anymore references), Bing, DuckDuckGo, Startpage or other capable search engines for reviews on Battery Tender equipment, you will get a million results! Well, maybe NOT a million, but definitely thousands!
For good reason! Battery Tender brand makes great products. They design and put innovative thought into how their products are used. What we love the most is how easy most of their charging units are to operate and understand! Not everyone wants to experiment with AC/DC current and most motorcyclists aren’t looking to gain cred as an electro-mechanical engineer etc. (Besides the certification process is pure hell!)
What we want, as motorcyclists, are pieces of gear that are a snap to hook up, operate, set and forget settings, as well as products that are quality made. Battery Tender does all this and more.
The lead(s) that the unit ships with easily hide under frames or wherever you need to hide and eventually access them! Motosquirrel + Battery Tender = Love !
BUT- What we wanted to do at Motosquirrel is mention just a few things that we found as a surprise in using this product, why we recommend it highly to newer riders and those riders who are buying used bikes as extra bikes or as first riders etc.
As with most battery conditioning equipment by Battery Tender, the first kit that we ordered and tried, shipped with a charging lead. This is meant to be installed semi-permanently on your bike. In a discreet way you can access this lead as well as charge your battery when necessary, without always having to hook up leads or alligator clips to your battery terminals every time.
Just remember to Re-cap the unit lead before you ride!
What we didn’t expect is that it was ALSO easy as pie to hook up our very own multimeter via clips to this provided extender lead. We installed our SAE port discreetly under our motorcycles side cover/panel. (When we made battery level checks on older bikes, we didn’t need to remove the tender lead, instead, we just clipped to it. This is great.
The leads that come with the Battery Tender kit (Ours came with both the semi-permanent access lead PLUS an alligator clip (For clipping to the battery or if the battery is removed etc.) are both wired with a safety fuse/breaker included. This makes it safe to approach either the outboard or inboard lead wired to your bike or battery. A very nice touch.
The one criticism we have for using these TYPES of units is that we caution how you keep your AC current leads in your garage etc. Make sure to keep your Battery Tender equipment out of the reach of water, other AC gear and the kids! Duh!
The other surprise about Battery Tender’s technologies is that it was easier to assess and recondition (Within reason- The unit we used is not Magic! Nor is it a desulferator) a battery that was falling up and down a few volt points. Again, there are a million and a half tutorials and videos on these units we just wanted to mention a few surprises.
A couple more surprises about our Battery Tender Junior unit. It has spark arresting wiring and tech built in! Which means that you can leave it for a while! Also, it will slow-off after 80hrs and will reset so as not to become a hazard. This is awesome.
We recommend the Battery Tender Junior unit to anyone who bought their first bike or just bought their first beautiful new or slightly used moto. Their is a good chance that as a new rider you will not want to be bothered with slack gear that doesn’t charge your battery for certain. The Tender does all the thinking and blinking for you! As a new bike purchaser, it is a great way of maintaining your bike if it is out of commission for a few winter months as you ride your cager or second steed on the street. Either way, if you have more than one bike in the garage or many, just add some leads to the ‘Batts’ on your bikes and you can take turns charging them (Perhaps weekly), or, you ran purchase one of Battery Tenders multi-chargers or just a few Juniors etc.
Every unit is bright, smart and informative- Indicating what is going on, if there are faults in the system and when your battery is charged up! Oh sweet, sweet Battery Tender! Tender us a fresh battery! (You worry when they start talking back!)
We have used this unit and others by Battery Tender for almost three years without a hitch! Reminds us of the “Old” days when things were designed and made well. Now...to get some more products made in the U.S.A.!
Reminder: This company is offering more Solar Powered models, water resistant units and mulit-charging systems. We would love to see them come up with a UPS solution for computer and desktop multimedia uses! Hoorah!
Motosquirrel is not contracted or affiliated with any of the above manufacturers or retailers referenced in this article. The information provided is for reference only. If Motosquirrel is officially representing ANY product, our readers will be notified!
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When we were searching a few years ago for a product that would cut down on the amount of pull required at the lever of a sport bike, a few folks suggested a little known product outside the motocross or supermoto world, namely, RSC or Righteous Stunt Clutch.
In the last few years OEM Motorcycle manufacturers have responded to an ever growing request by both newer and seasoned riders alike for better and easier clutch pulls at the lever. Enter “Slipper/Assist Clutches. So many people, in the west especially, have been repetitively damaging their hands, wrists and fingers due to too much computer station work (Hmmm….what we are doing now!). Add in daily life tasks, other activities….well….folks and kids are burning out the strength in their hands! They also, most likely, do NOT wish to deal with anything that “Hand” strenuous after spending all day fighting with keyboards, mice and various peripherals at job places!
Please welcome: Righteous Stunt Clutch! Do you want more feel at the clutch lever? Would you like more control and the ability to have two or one finger(s) pulling the lever while the remaining are grabbing the grip? Do you want to make a difficult lever pull on an old bike more manageable, less straining, smoother and about 10 to 15 percent easier?
How about a clutch lever that incorporates a pretty smart pivot mechanism that will give you the leverage you need plus the ability to choose: three lengths of lever, two choices of bearing type (ball or delrin plastic bushing), color choice, plus the ability to “Perch” or raise up the lever unit with a spacer at the bar or …..a choice of two positions to anchor the clutch cable (One which is an easier pull at the bar, and the other which is more progressive but harder)? Whew!- A lot of “How Abouts”…! How about a great warranty?
Righteous provides all of this in a very distinctively designed packaged that speaks quality and durability.
Righteous Stunt Clutches were still Made In The USA....last we checked!!
When we received ours we were impressed by the attention to detail and the smoothness of the Delrin bushing unit. (We ordered both the Med and XL).
We installed the XL on a sport bike and were impressed with it’s ease of function, fluid movement and overall feel of this lever. It is NOT a sterile or wooden feel. It makes your hand confident at where you are in the clutch engagement. This is an excellent attribute for stunt riders, supermoto, wheelie freaks or just those who want to learn better clutch techniques etc. .
In our case we can say that we loved and used this unit for about four months until…..we found Magura Hymec (This will be another review).
Why the trade up? As fantastic as the Righteous was/is, the longest length that the lever comes in is about three inches (See photo). Because we ride in the city and on bikes that do not have newer assist type clutches, we find ourselves often in a position of maximum clutch pull (complete mech disengagement) a lot! There is never enough time to put the bike in neutral, but we still have to keep the clutch lever “Clamped” at the grip for many seconds at a time. The Righteous unit(s) do not come in a length that provides enough real estate for a full four finger throw down at the grip for times when you need your clutch in “Safe Mode”. It was for this reason alone that we decided to attempt the Magura install instead.
Is the Righeous Stunt a great product? Absolutely! We recommend trying this product highly. Just don’t expect miracles. This product was intended to make the pull easier while offering more grip to grab with your non operating fingers, therefore it may not feel that much easier when compared to a regular lever. That said, we at Motosquirrel feel that RSC should really come out with a much longer and more regular lever length for the rest of us non-dirt riders (Well Non-Dirt NOT for Long!). We are guessing that the designers worried that if the lever(s) were designed too long than there would be a likelihood of installation adjustment mistakes and lot’s of clutches getting burnt from not reaching full disengagement etc.- just a guess!
Righteous Stunt Clutch feels paired down, smoothed and a few percentage points smaller in size than an old OEM unit.
We also feel RSC should produce a fully adjustable reach lever and/or/plus this unit should be attenuated to all new assist clutches to make it easier or…..wait for it….even a a bit more of a harder pull- because some of the OEM’s releases have been deemed TOO silly easy to pull! (Hint Hint Righteous- Make It!).
Righteous Stunt Clutch is available in a host of colors. Even models to serve duty on Harley's! (We chose black- Sexy!)
In our view, those manufacturers who make boutique/secondary market clutch and brake levers with the most adjustablity, ease of use, smooth operation, quickest maintenance and the most versatile fitment to various motorcycles will win the game!
We at Motosquirrel have been preparing a winter “Tell new Tails!” series when it comes to riding stories, reviews and …..wait for it….TIPLITS!- Yes we coined it here first! (Just as we paired photo graphics of bikes in profile view in our “Size Matters” series- Now everyone is doing it!
It never pays to be trendsetters!
Back to the story at hand: New brake lines (Hydraulic hoses).
So many Cool People talk and review their motorcycle(s) along with products in a way that makes the reader/viewer feel that they have ALWAYS been cool! Very few speak of their humble beginnings which are full of mistakes, misunderstandings and absolute accidents!
We are not mechanical engineers here at Motosquirrel and we do not pretend to be. We encourage all new and long time riders to research, qualify, get advisement and purchase equipment for your bike through highly trained professionals.
With that said, when we started riding no one specifically or expressly forewarned of how important brake lines, their state of function and the usage of higher quality metal braided outer lined units are!
When learning to ride within the greater Seattle area (One of the most hilly and steep cities in North America- Yep even worse than S.F.!) it didn’t occur to us how much of a role engine braking would be required as well as how essential it’s usage needed to be learned! As a matter of fact- we barely new what Engine Braking was… Wait a minute (You newbs are saying)! You said that you Squirrels were going to talk about brake lines! We are! Read further.
Like so many towns and cities in the Northwest, Seattle has only one major artery running through it’s middle, namely, I-5 (Evil). The area has grown twice the size in ten years (Thanks Bezos, Bill and on and on) so all the state roads are hyper busy. Which leaves the minor avenues packed full of cars. Add in Communitarian special bike lanes, devoted bus lanes, plus idiots on small electric bikes taking up whole lanes….well- it is a recipe for disaster. Or, perhaps it is a finely tuned and orchestrated plan to promote a need for more tunnels which will birth an entirely new tax boondoggle on the people! Ermm….we digress! Sorry!
Back to hills and traffic! While residing in a city such as this it is mainly impossible to learn to ride in massively chaotic bumper to bumper traffic. A new rider has to get up at 5:30 am (Timing the commuter traffic perfectly) as well as Leave The Bubble and find roads to practice on!
In our neighborhood, in order to orchestrate any ESCAPE, it requires that a rider or driver take on extreme grades that feel like climbing a wall! Add into these hills too many parked cars on either side, construction everywhere, frantic traffic, deliveries (Thanks Amazon!), and commuters following their GPS’s through small streets...well this is hell on earth for a new rider!
What happened: While practicing on Motosquirrels very first sport bike through the peaks and valleys of a very posh neighborhood overlooking Lake Washington, the front brakes gave out while careening down an extreme incline that would eventually end and abut at a T cross street at it’s bottom!
Having ridden this bike for about an hour through the hills and NOT knowing (through ignorance- as well as a lack of video tutorials covering motorcycles on hills) that a motorcycle is NOT a bicycle- this Squirrel used the moto brakes like a bicycle’s brake system. Over and over while descending quickly, and sometimes abruptly, I overused the brake set without having any mind to utilize the engine! Through ignorance and an excitement to learn I overlooked what a combustion engine and geared motor can do!
Little did I know (Always wanted to use that cliché) that all the while those old rotting brake lines were heating up, become more flexible and unable to maintain pressure to the lower cylinder! Also when I bought my bike used, these very brake lines had been completely overlooked by my Squirrel self! I was told the bike was like new and the brake pads were barely used…...(But the bike had been sitting in someones garage for years!). I don’t blame the dealer, BUT we at Motorsquirrel feel that there should always be special considerations for new riders!
Back to careening down a super steep four hundred yard hill only to face a brick wall at it’s end! Luckily, this Squirrel has had umpteen years of experience riding bicycles and I believe that in this case it truly saved me! Reaching the lower third of this hill which abutted a cross street (And most likely after soiling myself!), out of habit from mountain bike riding, I reacted by jumping up onto the foot pegs (Like pedals of a bike) and haphazardly slammed the ball of my foot onto the rear right brake foot lever of the motorcycle. I began to slant and skid my way along the curbside and road seam that caught my bike for about ten yards eventually hoping up to the grass that ran along side the brick wall. I skidded, hopped a curb, slid some grass and slammed my motor off – ALL without being a professional Supermoto Driver! It scared the Sh*f out of me!
Being Stooopid (Wanted to write that too!) after this accident, I did not know entirely whether the bike was safe to ride further down the major hill to the Squirrelpad. “Were the lines leaking?”- I asked my squirrelself. “How about the levers themselves?” I didn’t know anything at that time, but one thing was for sure- it was time to replace everything if I could. This meant new brake lines (I was determined to find higher quality), new hydraulic fluid and a test of all the levers and seals.
The only problem was that my bike was now stuck at the top of the hill, in a posh neighborhood overlooking Lake Washington. Being under a mile away from home, it felt silly towing my bike from there! Plus spending more money on stupid! I decided to leave my not-so-priceless toy among the toy buyers homes up on the hill!
I immediately researched all things brake lines, fluid, replacement, testing and being a D.I.Y. Squirrel that is not afraid of wrenching….committed to the idea that I would remove and replace the system out on the street in the Uber rich reserve.
After purchasing and receiving Galfer (Based on great reviews, match for my bike, and price) brand brake lines from Revzilla (The very next day!) and all the materials I needed to replace my old worn-out brake hoses- I made haste to rectify my mechanical breakdown with a mobile fix-it Takedown! (Note: the materials required to replace my old brake lines consisted mainly of: Brake line fluid as per manufacturer suggestion, New braided brake lines, Brake cleaner, plus ensuring that the Galfer’s came with proper copper crush washers plus banjo bolts etc.)
Armed with tools, my mobile mechanical pit crew vehicle (Econo-Car Hatch Back!), newly gained knowledge on how to bleed brakes and regain/install new lines, I arrived at my bike in millionaire world and determined to brush off the scoffs and stares!
Your Squirrel worked quickly but with great care. I also filmed it! Squirrels film themselves all the time don’t ya know!
The Galfer’s fit perfectly! And once tightened down and brakes were tested- I could feel the difference immediately! There was/is a night and day difference in brake pressure, sensitivity, actuation/return and quality feel to these brakes now. Combine this system to a very light (325 lb.) motorcycle and suddenly you feel that this new monster could race on a track. NOT kidding! Go Galfer! I will NEVER go back to crappy brakes!
Addendum: A year later I would find myself on this very same bike with this updated state of brakeage (Yep said it). And thank the big man that I was. While I was about to traverse across a busy commercial street in a nearby town, an autistic child who was hiding (literally hiding from his family) behind a light pole decided to forgo the crosswalk light and ran full pace into my bikes path. My heart was in my throat! I used these updated brakes with full force and not only stopped, but I stopped straight, within feet of missing the child plus we both lived to talk about it! No joke. If I would have still had older or less quality brake lines fitted onto that bike I am certain that I would not have been able to stop so quickly and efficiently! Period! Update your lines!
Light It Up Baby!! Light-Up Tire Pressure Gauge?…..Always!
Go Ahead and Splurge! (Also a Great Stocking Stuffer!) ; )
Sometimes a million copied, inexpensive and handy Tire Pressure Gauges is a good thing (....Really!)
Most of us who have been riding long enough to forget how many hot and cold seasons we have gone through with our motorcycles, most likely, also forget how many tire pressure gauges we have lost along the way!
Whether for better or worse, the days of owning a very well made, metal constructed, warrantied and fixable tire pressure gauge are gone (Almost) forever!
Most of the moderately to cheaper priced gauges come in the variety that are only built to last so long. So be it.
What does Motosquirrel suggest? We suggest purchasing or utilizing a pressure gauge within your garage that can be calibrated and rebuilt or fixed. This should be an accurate unit that you DO NOT LOAN to neighbors (Unless, like great books, you are willing to not read it again!). It will also be of a higher cost and more valuable. When doing home wrenching you can use this unit without fail.
It's Murphy's Law: Your bike WILL flat in the dark!
We also suggest carrying a small, relatively inexpensive, easy to use, easy to fit in your travel gear, stow on the bike, easy to find (get to that later) as well as…..wait for it….the ability to light up!
One of the few benefits to having most of our products being made overseas (Don’t get us started), is the fact that many of these foreign manufacturers constantly copy each others products most liberally and specifically. But this brings the cost down to consumers! To be able to purchase a small, somewhat accurate, digitally operated, LCD displayed, light up and portable tire air pressure gauge- that can also measure in both metric and pounds (for less than 15 dollars) a few decades ago would be unheard of!-(Patents were once protected in the good ol’ days as well...oh we digress!).
Enter the plethora of small and very usable gauges that are available to keep your bikes tire pressure up to snuff!
There are many to try and so many to eventually lose! When it comes to choosing a small gauge be wise when striking the balance between something that is affordable enough and accurate enough without being too precious to lose while on the road.
There are many small and very handy units (See the one illustrated in our photo set as well as links etc.) that are now coming with the ability to light up. This may seem like a small thing but The Squirrel recommends this highly! It is not that you need or must absolutely have such a unit. But we cannot ignore innovation- even if it comes in the form of a small plastic tire gauge that lights up like a lightning bug!
Let’s face it! When are we most likely checking our tire pressures? It is often first thing in the morning or at the end of a ride commute day when there is less light at dawn or dusk. And it is Murphy’s law that dictates that when we get a blow-out, it will most likely be during a raining late night ride when we forgot a flash light and will need to see into tiny places. What makes this little unit illustrated here (And it’s many sisters copies/knock-offs) so great is that it can be used as a small light to guide you as you find your way with your patch kit, pump or are just double checking in the dark etc. Do many mobile bike battery operated emergency pumps come with their own lights nowadays- why yes they do! But this little unit let’s you check in the dark both before and after filling with your emergency kit without pulling everything out.
So far, we have found this unit accurate enough to keep your tires rolling (Plus or minus a pound) or to be used as reference or in an emergency. It is also handy coming in a yellow color which makes it easy to find in your kit and will be less likely to lose.
This would also make a perfect motorcycle crazy's stocking stuffer!!
Not every Moto Gift has to be expensive! Goes in X-mas stockings nicely as well!!
Shin Armor (Not just for breakfast anymore!)
We at Motosquirrel love all things Dual-Sport, Enduro, Motocross, Flat-Track, Evel Kneivel, Supermoto and appreciate that in professional baseball, catchers wear very mighty protective gear to fend off baseballs traveling at over a hundred miles an hour aimed at their faces and knees!
What all of these super-whack attack activities have in common is the usage of proper knee and shin armor (as well as much protection everywhere else including their heads!)
What makes the mention of all these types of riding most interesting for us at Motosquirrel is the fact that while we had been wearing all kinds of gear, including gloves, boots, helmet and CE rated armored jackets, we never saw the need for lower leg protection (Both shin and upper knee cup etc.). We are all for A.T.G.A.T.T…….but we reside in the city. What need would we have for lower leg armor? Read on!
After injuring our front right shin during an Outside Of Motorcycling Activity (OOMA! For short!- sometimes we do things outside of motorcycles! Coined another one!) it didn’t take long to compound the problem by smacking our many hundred pound Motorcycle’s hard aluminum left foot peg against that very same shin injury first thing in the morning! It was while putting the bike back up on it’s centerstand. The Squirrel just wasn’t paying proper attention, but the neighborhood did when they heard a wailing yell of pain as Motosquirrel received the smacking!
In order to avoid more injuries like this and to circumvent the actual thinking process required to remind oneself (Please refer to our Duck Switch article!) NOT to be smacked by the same two wheeled metal monster mentioned prior; your Squirrel resolved to purchase some lower leg hard protection!(To be used temporarily of course!)
Well, your Motosquirrel smacked that same furry little leg again! But this time, after the decision to protect our furself was made! After purchasing and receiving an inexpensive, but effective, lower leg pair of protection guards from Revzilla (Thor Sector Knee Guards), that same evil little footpeg rendered a “ZERO” effect upon the shin in question and added no new pain! The protection just pushed the Squirrel’s lower leg backward (Which was still scary enough!) and did what it was supposed to do- protect!
It took weeks for this initial injury to heal and the black and blue to turn into normal colors again. During this time, team Motosquirrel rode with this protection as a matter of defense in the beginning, but putting on this gear became a habit after the first week.
Because we purchased a thinner (Most likely LESS protective) lower leg guard set, it was possible to wear normal riding pants and, in some cases, regular pants (looser). The caveat being that there is no hiding the fact that you have armor on while sitting, as was our case on a sport bike. Even with a thinner pair of protective leg armor, the knee cup portion must surround and rest over your kneecap area.
That said, the look of having extra armor adorned down below didn’t look “Un-Cool” or out of place in our opinion. As a matter of fact, this extra bump up at the knee looked race oriented, purposeful and serious in our view plus reactions of others etc. These particular guards came in black and especially looked cool on top of black pants or under riding pants ….of course every Squirrel has their own taste and everyone thinks they are nuts anyway!
After riding with this protection we were able to note quite a list of benefits to wearing them. Among these reasons are: better wind and cold protection on an un-faired naked or sportbike, no fear of clamboring on or off the bike and smacking your knees through doorways etc. (Especially with limited view while wearing a helmet), gripping the tank with your knees feels more solid (in our experience), less worry when wearing low-top riding boots for accident protection and……...our favorite ….wait for it….when kneeling to work on your bike because of minor maintenance or a break down- it’s just dam comfortable! (Note: CE armor manufacturers most likely will not warranty your gear if you use it in this last example).
That was the good……...so here is the bad!
Although we feel the benefits of riding with this lower protection outweigh the negatives , we still feel a few warnings are in order.
Firstly, this particular pair could breath better. In hot weather and at low speeds you are going to feel hot. We recommend finding a pair with the most ventilation!
Next, we also need to mention that the amount of tightening required to wrap the velcro type straps around your lower calf and just under your knee is up to you! A definite forewarning that if you have circulation problems or massive calves- you may not want to ride with these. Also, you may need to briefly stop your ride to readjust the straps to your liking. Once properly snug they do not slip!
Black, white, black, white…..sometimes grey! If you want a lot of these lowers in colors you like…...well you will mostly find crazy motocross colors or black, white, black , white…….you get the picture!
They get STINKY! Yes they need to be washed often and we recommend purchasing (2) if you appreciate riding with them. Rotate and wash as you go!
If you are extremely furry like us and are easily bothered by coverings or straps that pull on your leg hair (or just your skin) then you will either need to wear them outside your pant set (Motorcross style) or abandon this type of riding protection.
The nuanced untouchable weirdness suggestion by Motosquirrel: We love riding nowadays with this type of protection and will whenever and wherever possible. That said, we feel it important to remind our fellow Motosquirrels to never allow any protective gear to lull you into a false sense of security, superiority or immunity from accidents on the road.
Now let’s go shake some tail!
Via Revzilla: Thor Sector Knee Guards Careful! Link above will take you to Rev's site! Pricing (At the time of this writing) $13.95
You got your new boots- check! You got your new riding Jacket, gloves and pants- check, check and...check! Got your helmet? Check! Of course you have every cozy protective gear for your bike but, perhaps, there remains once last problem. That problem is the lack of grip that your lower body and/or upper legs have in their connection to your gas tank and bike control.
We cut the whole adhesive backing panel out in order to get a feel for the position of the grip placement etc. Get a good idea of placement and work with some water based markers or paint tape etc.
Shut-the-*-UP! You reply so smugly to our wonderful Squirrel staff. “How Insulting!” you exclaim when we suggest a product that has been around for quite some time! This is not NEW...(Say it like Noowha! CA style- sorry CA!) you think, as a matter of fact Stomp Grip seems to go in and out of trend in the Motoworld all the time. There are plenty of products that have mimicked or “Aped” this product since coming out on the scene years ago.
There are many motorcycle tank protection products made of various plastics, kevlars, carbon and other grippy or protective materials to choose from. But not many that succeed in protecting your bike, giving you grip around the tank (Not just for racing- we’ll discuss further down) AND also while reducing minute vibrations in a steel tank if your bike suffers from higher frequency shaky shake!
Prior to peeling, you can re-draw and cut down the pattern(s) to the size or shape that is best for your bike and usage. If you are not so visually acute- have someone else take a look. Remember that these clear examples won't look tan!
For many of you new riders out there or experienced riders who have never considered StompGrip type(s) of covering on your equipment before, let us explain briefly and generally why and how it is and CAN be used as hinted above.
In a forever quest by racers of the GP and sport variety to give themselves a better connection to their bikes as they make sharp bends, weighting and unweighting the moto, as well as countersteering and braking- the quest is realized when they have found a product or combination of products that allows a grabbing of the tank with their legs.
YOU don't have to get as precise as we did here....! Heck- We didn't have to get as precise as we did here!
Grabbing the tank with both legs allows the rider to have a more loose and controlled steering grip in the front without accidental whiskey throttle etc. When a rider can grip the tank beneath him/her there is an infinite possibility of body position fore and aft, hanging off angles, leg down without slipping and less muscle aches and calorie burn from just trying to hold on!
Updates in OUR usage:
Sure, having more grip on your sport bike is cool, sounds cool, looks cool and you know ...is COOL. With the above product usage definition there is no need to look further right? Wrong!
StompGrip (And any close wannabe’s- Just buy the REAL thing darn-it!) have many more benefits than just rider control!
Here are a few to consider:
Application: This product is easy to apply (As long as you are handy!) and….wait for it…. easy to remove (although, it is NOT reusable- just impermanent). It allows you to cut it to fit the contours to your liking. Even after ordering a fit for your bike, it allows you to further customize the product as you need! The harder plastic products are a bit more tricky!
We found that it provides an extra dampening quality for small vibrations versus holding onto a naked tank (YMMV).
The front or middle most Grip piece section (Which can be purchased separately) acts as a protector AS WELL as a grip surface. Straight on use will obviously hurt the private places...but, when hanging off the side, this middle part will grab the inside of the higher leg!
There is nothing that says you can’t use this product entirely or in part on other outer panels of your bike either for protection OR for extra grip on an Enduro or Dual-Sport for leg grib when standing or wheelies etc.
Natural tank bag protection! Especially if you do not use a lock-in Givi type unit; it will keep your regular tank pack from rubbing etc.
Unmentioned protection! Plenty of riders forget small items, keys, bike parts, crush washers (Happened to US) inside their rider pants only to dig, gouge or scratch your tank plus burn the same in your gear. Not only will it NOT happen with StompGrip but it will remind you right away when there is extra grab and you will feel it readily.
Moving your bike or when, on occasion, you find that you need to lean it against you as you re-position or move the bike while standing beside it- is made a lot easier!
General vandalism protection (More for urban dwellers). Yes- If someone (SomeThing) wants to do damage to your bike, THEY WILL. But, having this protection just cuts down on the possibility.
Pay attention Tour Guides!: When fitting or having people of all types and sizes riding on your bikes or if you have the opportunity to ride a bike with StompGrip applied, there is a (in our opinion) better chance that a slightly larger rider or smaller rider will be able to grip the tank better and have better control of the Motorcycle. This is comforting to all parties- add in the protection factor…..the dropping the bike factor…..!!
So far no fading or color variation of original paint as per the parts exposed or NOT exposed with StompGrip (Clear Variant utilized)(YMMV). This is awesome!
Tank less cold to the touch in cold weather. Seems like no big deal….but…..wrap your legs around StompGrip or cold steel in Winter!
If you choose the clear color variant you barely change the look of the bike. If you choose black etc. you can change the look in some very cool and custom cut-out ways.
Aids in taking pressure off your wrists. We cannot promise that this experience will find you the way it did us. We can say that if your inner legs are in shape, you are willing to practice and trust your legs plus middle body core….your riding WILL transform!!
All apologies for the fuzzy photo here! You get the idea!
StompGrip- The Good, the bad and the Ugly:
Well, we already raved about this product above- so we will list some of the “Ugly”...
Be sure you measure (Twice) and get your initial application the way you want to. There is no going back unless you bought two kits!
Our clear kit takes on the purplish color of our wannabe/faded bike cover. This is NOT permanent and can be wiped off.
Our clear variant has taken on a slightly yellowish hue over two and a half seasons. (We don’t know a product that is plastic and clear that doesn’t yellow a bit over time).
The very outer edge of this product will get slightly gooberish as it expands and contracts in the hotter season. This is NOT a big deal and can be pushed off with a fingernail, eraser or even a credit card (If bike is not valueable).
We do not recommend this product on highly valuable, classic or collectible motorcycles unless replacing an authentic race bike that had them initially installed. There is just not enough information on the long term effects to paint, fading, hardening or chem adhesive effects to old paint etc.
We would not recommend this protection for use on Polyethylene or “Plastic” tanks.
Stompgrip instructions recommend using a lower temp heat gun to both heat the tank (or body) surface prior to adhesion. They recommend reheating and pressing as well while working the material flat and you can still pull the sides a bit while hot etc. We found a pro-grade hair dryer worked fine!
Disclaimer: Please consult a professional before daring to do anything whatsoever! Even using the bathroom!- Ha!
The Good: STOMPGRIP! We at Motosquirrel recommend this product highly!
There are a lot of fads that come and go in the Motorcycle industry. This year’s suede boots were last year’s B-ball looking High-Top type Moto kicks.
We at Motosquirrel are very leery of trends. It takes some persuading to get us to try something different (Roll in the Bates Adrenaline here). But, as in our change of heart for a good try of Bates’s motorcycle line-up of last year, so many times we get burned in either quality, availability, fit/finish or especially in the price of something deemed “New” or “Different”.
We also love (Oh No! We just lost our vegan-save-the-animals folks here) the use of as much leather (Where possible) on bike boots, gloves, pants/parts etc. Leather has proven itself over time as a very protective, long lasting and good looking material. Trouble is…..that the more people complain of it’s use and express it’s usage in products as being terrible, inappropriate, or should not be condoned – then the more expensive it gets! Hence the high price we pay for leather in anything! That said, there are many applications where leather is proving to hold a second place to higher end and not-so high end man-made synthetic materials.
TCX, an Italian motorcycle boot manufacturer, prides itself on making many of their goods out of man-made synthetics. They also pride themselves on making boots and shoes exclusively (Well almost!).
In a world which seems hell-bent on denying individual countries their own heritages, pride in culture, sovereign economies, borders and language, it is hard for we at Motosquirrel to believe that Italy has been able to hold on to their own super history in shoe making- OR motorcycle manufacture for that matter!
The amount of styles and purposes for their boot lines are very great. We were attracted to their Blaze line when we were searching for a pair of boots that fell within these guidelines (Not prioritized here):
1. They must be comfortable 2. These boots can’t have any gimmicks (Weird buckles etc.) 3. Cannot look like heavy boots at a distance or at work 4. Must be water-repellent (We haven’t found a boot that is H20 proof!) 5. Mostly black in color 6. No weird tread that will get in the way of our shifter! 7. Good for mid-season Fall and Spring (Not Summer or Winter) 8. Over ankle height 9. Comfortable to wear for wider feet (Tough One!) 10. Durable 11. Stiff enough 12. NOT EXPENSIVE (Another Tough One!) 13. Hopefully NOT heavy!
When we first unboxed our pair of Blazes’ Blazers...hrmm.., we were impressed with how light they felt in our greedy claws! Although this design by TCX is billed as one of their “More Affordable” styles by many retailers, we couldn’t help but notice how well they were made. The laces were quality and the boot sole itself felt stiff. There was also a noticeable protective cup over the outside ankle areas.
These shoes were simple, sleek and…..wait for it…..well made! Yes they were synthetic, BUT they didn’t feel CHEAP! Also noticeable with this pair is a set of Velcro closure bands that are meant to cover and secure the tied laces which would ordinarily just dangle out of place - nice touch!
Extras: Sets of stickers, warranty as well as reflective tabs on the back of the heel. Good stuff.
Parking our two wheeled monster after our first ride with these boots, we became believers. While dismounting, we scraped the top of the left boot front on the underside of a very jagged lean whisker under our right foot peg. It was instant frustration as we felt that all-too-common: “Dam- we just got these boots!”. But, here is the good part! The small/thin scratch or mark that was left very easily rubbed out with a few brushes of our thumb! Hmmm this microfiber is a …..a bit like leather!
The ride itself showed that these boots were comfortable, supportive and inspired confidence when riding. The coolest thing is that you can actually walk a great distance in this pair after you dismount! Pretty comfortable! They were also very comfortable once we got to walking about the studio.
Sixth month update:
The conclusion to this article which began in the Spring is that this pair of boots is very special indeed. They provide comfort and a sense of security at the same time! They are also very wet resilient! Well done TCX! (They are a steal at $99.00 U.S. via Revzilla)
Soft Touch matte microfiber construction
Air Tech lining
Ankle, toe and heel counter reinforcements
Easy lace-up system with VELCRO® brand strap closure
Multi-purpose and high wear-resistant sole
Blaze Me Baby!
P.S.- The sizing of these particular TCX boots were spot-on for U.S. Sizing. They also fit a wider foot quite well…..without discomfort or splitting!
Should YOU ride your motorcycle at night?- The short answer is …..YES! Absolutely!
Before we buttress this and ADD our own take, we want our Motosquirrelfriends to know that we are not going to take on the typical caveats. You are aware of the continuous, ubiquitous and constant “Safety Culture” we are barraged with everyday! In the area of motorcycles alone, there is an endless stream of safety classes, equipment, digital rider aids, smartphone GPS applications, inertial motion sensing engine management and on and on and ON!
We absolutely REFUSE to be your Safety Susan friend (Apologies to all the great Susans out there!) who is here to make you believe that, as a rider, you can be ALL SAFE by using these certain cutting edge products. Not here. Nope, not gonna happen!
Motosquirrel understands that at any given moment there are literally millions of riders (And Billions throughout history) who take on the challenge of riding in all sorts of conditions throughout the world and at all times of the twenty four hour slice of pie! India, Columbia, Phillipines, Malaysia, China, Thailand and so many others still have many intricate, beat-up, pot holed, ruined and otherwise barely navigable roads. Add in millions of people, hectic byways, terrible weather systems and you have the makes of challenges to those who would most likely not even COMPLAIN about their commute.
Here in the west, many of us are sitting by and sucking our thumbs!
If you are a weekend, sunny day rider or someone who has had tragic happenings at night- we understand. But, if you are someone who is on the fence about riding, or is considering riding more after the sun goes down, we are are giving you the full thumbs up!
Before you go, here are a few things to consider:
1. Are all your signal, headlights AND speedo equipment in full functioning order? a. If so, CAN you read them? (Do you need to purchase an L.E.D. turn signal kit?) b. Did you know that if your headlight is TOO bright, you can blind oncoming drivers? Scope it out first!
2. KNOW where you are going BEFORE you get there- NO EXCUSES and DON’T rely on GPS only! a. At night everything happens, seemingly, quicker than at any other time. Be ready, travel slower AND don’t be distracted by extra displays or phones- Use these as supplemental only!
3. DON’T over do it with crazy reflection add-ons or Super Flourescent brights! Remember to dress as to be seen BUT – don’t be ridiculous. If you have a million Mirror Ball reflectors all over your helmet and a Giant Reflective light-up phrase on your Rider jacket- there is the danger of TWO things: a. Target Fixation: Humans have a tendency to guide, walk or drive towards something unfamiliar, overly attractive or bright. Most of the time this is completely unconscious on the part of the driver. b. Target Fascination: (Especially in today’s climate of Video Everything) If you have a strangely written or bright phrase on your jacket back (Not talking Harley Club names here)- there is a good chance that this will ATTRACT drivers to get close in order to read what it says. Especially in poor or wet weather. The last thing you want as a night rider (Yep Said IT) is to have a bunch of youths in THEIR first ride at night on the highway trying to film your crazy phrase done in reflective glitter and homemade……only to get run over for them to read it!
4. For the WEST: If you have the opportunity (This can be difficult), ride with others at night. If there is another person at your work or school who rides a motorcycle, but doesn’t commute- there could be a good reason. Or, they are apprehensive about traveling alone. The chance that this person would be more willing to ride to work with another is high. (Of course this depends on where and when you work etc.).
a. You can always approach another rider on the road (Forego the snobbery if they don’t RIDE YOUR RIDE) that you see who also travels your way to work or the events or places that you go to. Strike up the conversation. Ride together DAMMIT! (Motorcyclists should LOVE other Motorcyclists!)
5. Dress for the cold. Duh. But also bring along in your pack a few extra mini lights along with your tool kit as well as a few snacks. You would be amazed at how much better you will feel about a break down at night if you have a few of these small but essential things.
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY: RIDE AT NIGHT. The more you do it, the more you will figure out what you need, where and how you will use it and …...wait for it…….HOW MUCH FUN IT IS!
Note: We will be reviewing (Showing off) some of the mods we have made to our night ride helmet, for better night riding, in the future…….see you then!