Helmets

New Arai DT-X Motorcycle Helmet and XXS Helmets

Side Profile of the DT-X Helmet from Arai

Side Profile of the DT-X Helmet from Arai

If you have a very small head, or know a woman (in my experience, 99.9% of XS fit women or small children) who may even need a XXS helmet, Arai Helmets has just released a new street helmet called the DT-X

This helmet will feature an intermediate oval shape (most common shape in the US) similar to the Corsair-X and Vector-2.

Supposedly it will offer a XXS size, per the website. However, they have the same information for the Vector-2 which was never offered in a 2XS that you could actually order. The only 2XS helmet available to order from them at this minute is the Defiant (although it's currently OOS). 

I miss my trusty Arai, but it didn't fit me small enough like my Shoei does. I'm hoping if they do offer a 2XS that it'll fit my head! I've always respected Arai and their design / protection philosophies. They defy mainstream expectations and always strive to deliver the most protective helmet even if it means not having the best selling helmet, or the one that everyone thinks is "coolest".

But if you are looking for a Full Face or Modular 2XS Helmet, these are the ones that I'm aware of: 

Full Face:

  1. Arai Defiant and Defiant Pro Cruise (certain colors) 
  2. Icon Airmada (certain colors)
  3. Nexx XT1 Carbon Zero
  4. GMax GM38
  5. Nexx XR2 Carbon Pure (currently OOS)
  6. Shoei Qwest (black only)
  7. Shoei RF-1200 (if you purchase the 17mm Centerpad, then it's a 2XS)
  8. AGV AX-8 DS Evo

I have to mention the Bell Star (Street Star, Race Star and Pro Star) Helmets, because they fit so narrow. I can barely fit my head into an XS (that I can fit into pretty much every XS helmet) and the S fits like a Shoei XS. I'll bet that an XS fits like a 2XS. 

Modular:

  1. Schuberth C3Pro Women
  2. Nolan N104 Absolute 

Can't Ride, So I'll Shop. Shoei RF-1200 Photochromic Faceshield.

pinlock_transitions_faceshield Just another faceshield? Something like that. For those of you who wear fancy transition lens glasses, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

This Transitions lens is ready for my Shoei RF-1200 and in fact will only fit the RF-1200 since the shields are different on Shoei's other helmet models. It's also Pinlock ready, so that means you can transfer your clear Pinlock insert right into this faceshield (which should've come with your RF-1200, btw. If it didn't you need to call your shop/dealer/website asap).   Once you've done that, you now have a fog free transition lens!

bell_star_carbon_shoei_rf_1200

I haven't worn a dark faceshield on my helmet in over 10 years because I love my Maui Jim sunglasses so much. I'm not sure if this shield will permanently replace using them while riding but I'm hoping that they will. It's such a convenient idea, right?

I'm hoping it doesn't annoy me, and I'm really hoping I don't miss my sunglasses. I am used to having polarized lenses, so we'll see. From my understanding, the Transition lens properties aren't as quick to react as one might think. For example, if you're riding on a twisty road with trees like this:

Rossis Driveway

The lens will not transition instantly back and forth. It can't react that quickly. (If I'm wrong about this, please please post a comment with your own experience). I believe it'll maintain a light smoke color for the duration of the road. I'm also told that when the sky is cloudy or overcast, it also maintains a light smoke tint. I'm a little worried about that because my sunglasses do a phenomenal job of making things easier to see when it's gray out.

It's not cheap at $152.99 (Revzilla), but the technology might be worth paying for if you don't want to change faceshields constantly or carry your fancy sunglasses while you ride.

Fingers crossed, hopefully it'll warm up briefly for me to take Goldie out and test whether or not I'll be keeping this fancy faceshield.

*sigh*

goldie_sunflowers

Cool Reflective Accessories for Your Motorcycle

rydesafe reflective decals bicycles motorcycles helmets Woo hoo! Reflective stuff! Ok, maybe I'm the only nerd that gets excited about bright objects. But I like wearing black when it comes to my motorcycle gear. I look good in it too, what can I say? :P But I know that I need to somehow make up for all the darkness with some bright reflectives to stay visible and safe as possible. So here's a few accessories I like that can help you too.

Wearing Hi-Viz Yellow or Orange is certainly a great way to be seen by more people. There's no guarantee that you'll be seen by every person, but certainly reduces the risks in my opinion. However, for me, the bright color isn't enough for riding at night.

It doesn't matter how bright your clothes are if they aren't reflective, I really believe in lots of reflective pieces so when light hits you it reflects.

So here are 3 reflective accessories that I wanted to share that I really think are cool to use.

1/ Reflective Decals, RydeSafe

"RydeSafe Reflective Decals are cut from an engineering-grade “conspicuity film” which contains microscopic glass spheres that reflect light back to its source. So no matter what direction the light is coming from, our stickers reflect it back. In the case of a pair of headlights, RydeSafe Reflective Decals reflect it right back to the driver’s eyes resulting in a more visible and thus safer user." - rydesafe.com

IMG_8540IMG_8541

They have a few different shape / pattern options. I opted for the chain links (white) and the modular kit (purple). I found mine on Amazon but you can buy them directly on their website as well. (Unfortunately they're still running an old promo code from October on the main page, so they're not on sale).

Even if you don't like these, just hop on eBay or Google and you'll find your favorite sports teams, animals, shapes, motorcycle manufacturers and more in the form of reflective decals. You're sure to find something you want to wear!

2/ Reflective Vests

There are a lot of vest options on the market. I still love my Spectrum vests, although they did close their business this past year.  The previous owner told me that it should be back next year under new management. They used a really really bright reflective tape that was Coast Guard worthy. If I do have to ride at night, I always wear my vest!

Spectrum Vest in Regular Light IMG_2643

You'll find a lot of different vests to choose from, including options from the bicycling world. But as a motorcyclist I would try to find a vest that uses CE / EN Certified Fabrics (less likely to fade) and 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape (even more visible, durable). These materials make a much brighter difference at highway speeds.

 

3/ Reflective Paracord

reflective paracord

I just found these on Amazon from Paracord Planet. These photos show how reflective this rope really is. I love the idea of making a dog leash out of it. I shared it with my fabulous dogsitter so she could use it too :)

reflective_paracord

reflective_paracord2

 

I bought neon yellow and purple. My plan is to weave them together somehow and then run them through the loops on the top of my Kriega R20 Backpack since the logos are the only reflective pieces. Sometimes I ride home at night with my backpack on so I want to add as much reflective as I can!

Kriega R20 Backpack

4/ 3M Reflective Tape

3M Reflective Tape Roll

I bought a roll of this on Amazon so I could make my own patterns for my last helmets. I found a ton of rolls in various colors and widths there too.

I've also started a Pinterest board to collect these ideas; check them out here.

If you have any cool reflective accessories that you like using, please share!

QnA: Summer Gear for Athletic Body Type?

olympia_womens_switchback2_jacket_pewter  

Reader Cori needs a 2 piece summer suit to ride in hot weather but still provide protection and comfort. She also needs help finding something with a little more room in the shoulders. 

I am looking for some advice on what gear to buy for riding in South Louisiana. I am a brand new rider (I actually have yet to ride and will be purchasing a bike next week). I will be a commuter with a 9 mile, non freeway, daily commute. What do you recommend for gear? I'm going to start with purchasing a helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, and knee pads. I am feeling very overwhelmed by the process, and have no idea where to start. Any suggestions, or places you can point me? In particular I'm looking for gear that's good for warm weather. (very, very warm).

Some back ground information, I am 5'3" and 140 pounds and am in the process of purchasing a honda rebel 250cc. I have an average to short torso, with broad shoulders ( my waist is a small and chest + shoulders range from a bigger medium to a smaller large. I don't know my inseam as of right now but I typically need pants that are labeled short. 

The only other concern I have is about my arms, I have bigger arms. ( I am a weightlifter so while I have a slim athletic build my arms and shoulders hold a lot of muscle) 
Cori in Louisiana
Hi Cori,
For your helmet, it's all based on proper fit. If you live anywhere near a dealership that has helmet options, I would highly recommend going in and getting fitted. If you can't find a dealer, then you want to check out this article on helmet shopping. Honestly, I find it impossible to help anyone get fitted for a helmet over the phone or online. There are also a ton of youtube videos for you to figure out how to fit a helmet. Do not, I repeat do not pick a helmet simply due to colors/graphics. You MUST get the fitment right for a helmet to work properly and actually protect you! I have a few favorites when it comes to helmets, but it really does come down to fitment. For example, if you have a true long oval then you need an Arai Signet-Q. But if you have a really round head and are XS, you need an Arai RX-Q. It just depends.
Gloves are also tricky in this sense, because they really require trying on and fitting. But I can give you a few ideas here:
  • Revit Bomber ; these fit longer in the fingers and narrower across the hands, but are the Best summer gloves out there. More protection and ventilation at the same time.
  • Dainese Mig C2: these fit a bit shorter in the fingers, and also are fantastic summer gloves. Avoid synthetics, they are the cheap, less protective and don't work well for pavement. You need real leather for street riding!
My recommendation for a jacket is the Olympia Switchback 2 Jacket ($239), size S (shown above). Don't worry, it's available in 2 other colors if white isn't your style! I really love this jacket not just for the fitment, but also because it has a really great fit for you. Relaxed in the shoulders, biceps and forearms, this will give you plenty of room to move around without feeling too constricting. You might feel a little tightness in the elbows/shoulders since the armor is fairly thick and rigid, so I would definitely recommend upgrading the armor to Forcefield or D3O if you find it too restricting.
The other reason I love Olympia for you is the torso is average length (lower in the back, higher in the front) and is constructed of Dupont Cordura, which provides more abrasion resistance than other mesh jackets in the same price point. The mesh is still nylon, but your slide zones are covered by Cordura.
I would also consider mesh overpants instead of just knee guards. You need more than jeans when riding, they just don't have the abrasion resistance.
First, I would recommend the matching Olympia Womens Airglide Pants ($229) in a size 4. These have a slightly fuller fit, so if you need extra thigh, hip and booty space you'll love these a little more. These are also constructed of Cordura (except the nylon mesh for airflow).
Olympia Airglide 3 Women's Motorcycle OverPants
The second pant to consider is the Revit Airwave Pants, ($199) in size 36. I would recommend these if you need a leaner leg and slightly less room in the hips/booty area. I call this table booty (which is what I have).
Rev'it Airwave Mesh Pants Summer womens textile
Both are available in lighter colors, including white (Revit) and silver (Olympia) to keep you a bit cooler.
Looking at boots, it's hard to find vented boots for women. When it's really hot, it's the opposite you actually want a slightly heavier boot to keep the heat out! Imagine a lightweight sneaker, and how quickly that absorb heat. Leather actually deflects quite a bit. A few ideas:
  • Sidi Livia Rain ($230): Ideal for wider feet, higher insteps and larger ankles. It's a very loose fitting boot. These breathe very well and are fully synthetic leather as well.
  • Dainese Svelta GTX ($289): Ideal for narrower feet (all Dainese boots are narrower, btw) and these are GoreTex which are the most breathable waterproof membrane. I've ridden in 90+ temps in GTX boots and they are fantastic.
  • TCX Aura Boots ($219): Also waterproof, they run even narrower than the Svelta in the toebox. Super comfortable and low profile.

 

Went out for a quick 150 mile ride yesterday

triumph_street_speed_triple_scorpion_zion Went for a quick 150 mile ride to Northern PA the other day for ice cream!

We used this ride route that I put together, but only did half of it since we didn't leave early enough. So we made it to just below Bangor, PA and then headed East towards the Delaware River heading south on 32.

On the way we stopped for ice cream at Homestead Coffee Roasters. Yum! They also have a small lunch menu, ice cream and misc snacks. There's also a nice patio out back to sit and enjoy your scoops. Oh yes, we're also both testing out new helmets! He got this special edition Bell Star Carbon and I picked up a Shoei RF-1200 'Graffiti' (LOVE this helmet).

bell_star_carbon_shoei_rf_1200

I don't know why the man looks unhappy posing in front (it's also called the General Store), but he puts up a good front because we had a great time that afternoon.

homestead_coffee_pa

 

And along the way down 32, we found this cute bridge to take a couple pics on.

scorpion_zion_womens_jacket (2)

The weather was perfect, high 70s for the most part. Not hot, not cold, just right. I'm testing the Scorpion Zion jacket for WRN and it worked well that day. A full review will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

 

 

Sena SMH10R Review

sena_smh10r_shoei_rf1200_graffiti  

Yay! It's review time. I finally upgraded my bluetooth head set to the Sena SMH10R. Oooooooo. Aaaaaaaaah. Ohhhhhh. Read my review here. Did I also mention that I upgraded my helmet to a Shoei RF-1200? :D

Since my Qwest fit me so well, why not go for a lighter, quieter version of it? I'm an XS, and this helmet only weighs 3lbs 5oz! So light. The shell is also really compact, so when I turn my head I don't hit my backpack or my shoulder. It's quieter, less resistant in the wind at high speed, stable and ridiculously comfortable. It comes with a Pinlock faceshield and insert, bonus!

I just picked up this helmet yesterday and have only ridden 10 miles in it so far. I will report back in a month or so. In the meantime, a couple pics of the Graffiti graphic. 

sena_smh10r_shoei_rf1200_graffiti shoei_rf1200_graffiti (2)

 

I found calculus equations underneath the graffiti:

 

shoei_rf1200_graffiti

 

I guess it's fitting since I was an Econ major in college, I did take 2 quarters of Calculus....... :D

 

 

Shoei Hornet Dual Sport Helmet for Small Heads

  riding in ireland bmw f800gs

If you have a small head, and I mean a *really*small head, now's the time to invest in one of the best dual sport helmets on the market.

For the low low price of $349.99, the Shoei Hornet DS helmet is on sale! Snell rated, Fiberglas shell, lightweight, Pinlock-able, well vented, removable liners and more.

shoei helmet hornet ds crystal white xs xxs dual sport helmet

If I needed a dual sport helmet, this would be at the top of my list. One because it weighs practically nothing (~3.5lbs) and also because Shoeis fit my head really well.  I've never met a man that fit a XS let alone a XXS helmet. There are only a handful of people who need XXS helmets, and it's extremely difficult to find really good ones.

If you fit any Shoei, you should easily fit into this one. Similar to their intermediate oval headshape (so your head from front to back is a bit longer than ear to ear).

As of right now, Revzilla has XS and XXS (DOUBLE Xtra Small!) for the same price in solid colors.

Hurrrrryyyyyyy before they run out!

Ride Report: Central Pennsylvania

coveredbridge_PA-1.jpg

Our first road trip through Pennsylvania. Having just moved from CA, I knew that finding worthy twisty roads was going to be a challenge.  

Almost ready to go!

The Gear

We loaded up the bikes, each of us carrying 20L of Kriega Packs on our backseat. Because look at those backseats, they're tiny! Since we were preparing for hot weather, we both packed ultra light. (3 nights, 4 days in 20Liters; not normal for me. I usually need all 40L). On the Speed Triple, we have 2 US-10 Liter packs and on the SV I have one US-20. I offered to carry all of it but someone was being chivalrous. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between having just one or all 3 even fully loaded!

As far as myself, I wore my hybrids, Revit Galactic and Gear 2's, which were perfect for the 70s-80s that we were riding in. Looking back I should've worn my Schuberth C3ProW but decided to go with my Arai Vector-2 since it flows so much more direct air. I was expecting a really hot weekend of riding so I opted for the lighter option. It was my first time riding a considerable distance on my new to me ride, without a fairing and windscreen. We also spent a lot of time on more scenic roads and the winds were pretty miserable. I know the Schuberth would've been quieter and a bit more stable at speed; and since it was cooler than I expected less wind in my face!

dreibelbis_covered_bridge_pa

For the man, we picked up a new mesh Dainese Air-3 jacket (Euro 54; 5'11", 210lbs) for him, which he says flows an incredible amount of air. Definitely too much for 70s-80s but perfect for the hottest riding conditions. A pair of Alpinestars GP Air gloves  followed him home as well, a really nice pair of summer gloves with a nice balance of protection and ventilation.

dainese air 3 jacket

Sidenote: this jacket is available all the way down to Euro 44 / US Women's 6. If you dont have a huge hip differential (more than 2-3 inches between the difference of your waist and hip measurements) then it's a great option for women too.

I also want to mention this cute little handlebar bag that the man wanted for his S3 instead of a tank bag. It had just enough space to keep basically what you see below; wallet, keys, small necessities. The GiantLoop Zigzag Handlebar Bag, $52.25 on Revzilla.com.

Zigzag Handlebar Bag-1

Friday July 4

I prepared a mighty route, mostly off the interstate/turnpike. Lots of local roads. We spent about 30 minutes on Interstate 76 before reaching 422.

philly2williamsport

The highlight of the route was 125 to Shamokin. It was definitely the longest stretch of a twisty road, maybe 10-15 miles? I figured out how to make a step by step map via google maps! It's 225 miles, about 6-7 hours from start to finish with quick breaks here and there.

Actually a really nice mix of sweepers and a few tight turns. I'd call it more of a beginner road, not really technical. This was one of the nice stretches of open space on 125, just beautiful. After we got to Shamokin, it was late so we decided on a more direct route from 61 West to 15 North and didn't get to explore the route I planned after that point. :(

somewhere in PA

shamokin route 125 pennsylvania twisty

A nice view coming up 125

Budget Inn Williamsport

I would say that most of the roads were very scenic, with some nice sections of twisties here and there. Being a California girl, my standards are high. Probably too high. But it was definitely one of the best roads I've ridden in PA so far. We also made a point to ride it again on the way back home.

However, one thing that did meet my expectations was the motel we stayed in. Motel price, but much much nicer than other motels I've stayed at. It's a family owned motel, very reasonably priced (less than $80/night), non smoking, and pet friendly! We were able to park right out front too

nice, clean motel in williamsport - Budget Inn Williamsport

Since we rolled in rather late on 4th of July we ended up ordering from Little Caesar's Pizza, the only thing open in town. We planned a route for Saturday, pretty ambitious because our goal was to ride as many of the twisty roads we could find. A couple weeks before we left, MadMaps generously sent me a set of maps for Pennsylvania! Check out everything they have to offer on their website.

maps pennsylvania roads motorcycles

Saturday July 5

The day started with breakfast at the Texas Diner in nearby Lockhaven (tasty and cheap!). We decided to ride a few different parts of several different routes. We definitely found some fun stretches, lots of scenic routes that really showcased how beautiful the state of Pennsylvania is once you leave the big city.

somewhere in PA, shot on the new GoPro Hero 3+

Riding with Sue!

Our goal that day was to check out the Pine Creek Gorge, aka Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Our route started out like this out of Williamsport:

220 North --> 44 North --> 144 North --> 6 East --> 362 East

Since Sue was leading us into the park entrance, I'm not entirely sure where we entered. We took the turnoff from 6 and then entered on the North end to Leonard Harrison State Park. There was even free motorcycle parking right in front.

pine creek gorge PA

pine creek gorge pa

Unfortunately my mind is a blur as to what our return route was back to Williamsport. All I know is that we rode about 400 miles that day and it was a lovely ride back. Since we rolled in around 7pm we decided to pick up sandwiches and enjoy a nice meal outside.

Sunday July 6

I don't want to mention breakfast because it was rather sad, not nearly as good as the Texas Diner, so go there! Sunday's route was a little different:

williamsport to punxsatawney

Welcome to Punxsutawney!

After we all got our photos in, we decided to head back. Unfortunately this is where we decided on an improvised route. All I can remember is that we got over to 219 South and stopped at 22 for a gas break. :-(

Monday July 7

The good news, I saved my ride route back home! I overlapped a few roads without knowing it.

Williamsport to Philadelphia

Williamsport to Philadelphia

I basically looked at google maps and picked the twistiest routes I could. Of course, we had to do 125 again. The best part was stumbling upon 2018 and the covered bridge! It was beautiful, just like in the movies. I've never ridden or driven through one before. We found it off 143 just south of Lenhartsville. It's on the left, less than 2 miles south. You need to look for it because if you don't, you'll pass it. We were so excited we forgot to take pics of the front. But here are some awesome pics of the back!

the covered bridge! built in 1896

cool house at the end of a covered bridge

covered bridge hwy 143 Dreibelbis Station Bridge

following someone thru the bridge

Looking at the map, the road behind the bridge looked really fun too.

We hit some traffic on the way back into Philadelphia so the entire day was a long one, leaving at 10am and getting home at 6:30pm. I'd say we were out riding every day from 9am to 6pm. Overall we rode ~1,100 miles and I enjoyed almost all of it, except for my horrible stock seat. We can't wait to send our seats to this guy in Florida: A Great Day to Ride. The riders on the Triumph Rat forums swear by him, and for the price I can't say no. Especially since we can do both of our seats for the cost of one Sargent or Corbin.

sue and gin 2

riding with women

I also have to mention my wonderful friends, Sue and Gin of the Women's Motorcyclist Foundation. Between the two of them they have well over 1,000,000 miles (literally) under their belts from all the roads they've ridden over the years. They won't stop riding even though they technically "should" due to them being at the age of "retirement". Not likely, anytime soon. I've learned so much from these two, I'll never stop riding until I absolutely, positively have to. They're living proof that riding motorcycles keeps you young :)

To sum it all up, I have to rate the riding as scenic, and nothing like the technical riding we have in CA. I know that there were a LOT of roads we didn't explore, because they didn't appear to be fully paved. If we all had dual sport bikes, I know we would've been more adventurous to find out what all these little roads were like. I found a TON of twisty routes in my atlas but none of them were clearly paved. I don't mind exploring every now and then and may do that on my next ride because I don't care if I hit some sand or gravel. If it's too much I'll just uturn. But I feel like there were a lot of potentially amazing roads that just need a slightly different bike...

Next Trip: Either up north to NY mountains or south to VA. Stay tuned!

New Reviews! Arai and Kriega

araivector2_white kriega_US10pack These are long overdue reviews that I'm finally posting. The first is of my beloved Arai Vector 2 Helmet. If you want to step up your game and invest in an incredible helmet, then you can't go wrong with Arai.

The second one is the Kriega Universal Tailpack System. I love this system because for those of us with tiny rear seats, saddlebag systems can be too wide or just not a perfect fit. They can also add width which interferes with swerve clearance and can redistribute the weight. I love these for my SV650 and I think you will too.