Though he’s in Spain currently testing the new Triumph Bonneville Street Twin, Ultimate MotorCycling Editor-at-Large continues to crank out the articles. With holiday shopping at wide open throttle, Handler offers his top 10 gifts for motorcycle riders of all kinds.
1. Aspect Solar SB-37A Portable Battery Pack + AC Charger
This battery pack is about the size of my iPhone 5S and almost twice as thick. With its sleek look, two USB ports, claimed 10,000 mAh capacity and ability to charge my phone and/or tablet many times over, it has kept my connected.Now that my phone is getting older and its ability to keep a charge has diminished I don’t leave home without it. It will keep my phone 100-percent charged through constant use, including GPS with the screen on all day, and still have three out of four bars left on the power meter. Beware of similar products with grossly overstated capacity. On sale now for $48 on the Aspect Solar website.
2. Stop & Go Tire Plugger Kit
Be a hero. The difference between having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and spending the rest of the day dealing with it or taking 15 minutes to be on your way is the Stop & Go kit. I’ve seen others on the market but this unit is my favorite.It will inject a rubber, mushroom-headed plug into the unwelcome hole in your tire and you’ll be back on the road in no time. Keep a compact compressor or CO2 cartridges with you to fill the tire back up. During the last five years I’ve used it twice for my own tire and about five times for very grateful riders. About $35.
3. Dainese D-Explorer Jacket
One of the few 3-season suit jackets that really can do well in summer too, making it a real 4-season garment. The Dainese D-Explorer jacket’s three-fold front vent panels and rear panel that can be removed allow this jacket to really work in winter, summer and all times in between. Go around the world with one jacket? This could be it. Matching trousers available, too. About $899 (jacket only).
4. BMW Ride Sneakers
The BMW Ride Sneakers are build and certified just like riding boots with a stiff sole and comfy padded, over-the-ankle upper. Constructed with perforated suede, they are comfortable to wear all day walking or riding. They zip on and have laces too. Riding in them on a warm and sunny day is a joy. About $199.
5. Joe Rocket Accelerator Jeans
You can spend a lot on riding jeans but the Accelerator jeans have all the desirable features at a great price. The Joe Rocket Accelerator Jeans are constructed of 12 oz. denim reinforced in all the right places with Aramid fibers. There are inside pockets for optional knee protection and 7 pockets, including two zippered, to carry your possibles. There are stretch panels above the knees and seat and they look good and are true to size. About $100.
6. Held Rain Cloud Gore-Tex X-Trafit Gloves
The Held Rain Cloud is simply a fabulous glove on any day but warm or very cold. Goatskin, Nyspan and Superfabric construction make for a glove that has good insulating loft while retaining great feel and all-day comfort. Hard plastic knuckles complete the look and a mid-sized cuff will fit over your jacket. Gore-Tex X-Trafit lining will give you the breathability you want and keep you dry regardless. About $220.
7. Klim Blade Jacket
Klim incorporates the latest D30 reactive armor at the elbows and shoulders on the stylish jacket that is geared more for around town than around the world. There is an internal pocket for a back protector but it is not included.Other details include five vents that are extremely efficient; two on the biceps that act as ram-air collectors, two more along the sides of the torso and one across the back. Not only do they work well but I am able to open and close them all with gloves on while wearing the jacket. There are two external handwarmer, two vertical chest and one small left forearm pockets. There is a phone sized vertical pocket behind the storm flap and five internal mesh pockets, three with zippers. About $500.
8. Sena 10U Bluetooth Communicator
Sena’s new 10U is an internally installed BT headset now only available for the Shoei GT-Air and NeoTec as well as the Schuberth C3 and C3 Pro. The 10U has most popular features in BT headsets today including operation of your smartphone and its music, bike-to-bike intercom and FM radio.Sena claims new, advanced noise control and a more reliable wireless protocol, all wrapped in Bluetooth 4.1. I don’t know where they stashed the electronics that make it all work but I suspect they’re built into the headphones. Their Sena Headset App (for iOS and Android) “allows you to configure device settings, set groups of intercom friends, and access a Quick Guide. The 10U also offers the ability to pair with up to two mobile phones for convenient hands-free calling.” About $299.
9. BMW Rider Pants
BMW’s Rider pants are sure to get the attention of the devoted throng who think BMW’s City and City 2 pants are just about the best all-around, almost three-season pants they own. I always wanted City pants in black and these new trousers may just be better than the City. They’re black, cut sleeker, softer and have a wider temperature and weather range.They are constructed of 50-percent Polyamide, the stuff they use in their Rallye suit, and 50-percent cotton. It’s that cotton content, methinks, that made the City and City 2 pants so popular. The pocket quotient is high on this model with two slash front pockets, two flap-and-snap rear pockets and flap-and-snap waterproof cargo pockets on both thighs. About $349.
10. Track Tracker – Trackday App
TrackTracker is the first app for that is dedicated to helping you go faster at the race track. It allows you to collect all pertinent data from trackdays or even race days so that you can refer back to what worked for you last time you went racing.Stored are your lap times, suspension settings, tire info, engine mapping, gearing, fuel, weather conditions and even where you mounted your camera last time out. For trackdays you can keep records of your experience with the provider, facilities, pit area and other information that may help you next time.You can also store any contacts you made at the event for reference next time. When you want to take the data off line, you can export all data stored as a spreadsheet on your computer. Available on Google Play for Android devices and at the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad. About $2.99