reviews

Reviews and a Riding Jean Party

It's been a busy weekend. 

First, I want to invite women riders of Philadelphia to a special pop up party that we're having:

Saturday, September 30th in Philadelphia, 7pm-9pm. 

The exact location is TBD but will be somewhere in Center City. I will do my best to find somewhere convenient to the freeways and with decent parking. 

If you've been looking for the best pair of women's riding jeans then look no further because Laura is bringing the best. She also offers fully custom - made to your measurements - jeans.

https://shop.worsewear.com/collections/all

worseforwear-party.jpg

If you've never heard of her jeans, please listen to my latest podcast interview with Laura to find out more details and information. 

This event is limited to 20 Women Riders only. Due to the intimate nature of this event, men are not invited to this party. Next time! 

Event Details and RSVP here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/804848576349084/

Don't worry, if you don't facebook just post a comment that you plan on attending and I'll make a note. Or drop me a line at gearchic at geemaildotkom with your full name and what you ride so I can add you to my list!

Please check the Facebook Page for location updates, of course I will also post on my social feeds and update this post when the location is finalized. 

Next, I've got reviews, review and reviews ready on my website: 

 

 

Sonic Troy Lee Design Toolbox

Ooooooo Shiny

Ooooooo Shiny

Sonic Tools is a Netherlands based company that makes solid tools. They have distribution in the US based in Alabama. 

This special edition Troy Lee Designs Filled Moto Toolbox includes a specific motorcycle-friendly kit that has unique tools like safety wire pliers, Torx AND Hex sockets. Gimme a 10mm hex and I'm a happy woman (almost everything on Goldie is a 10).

The box itself is solid steel (all one piece to be exact), and the all of the tools are European manufactured, and the quality is supposed to be fantastic based on various reviews we read on the interwebs. I especially like this feature: 

"All three drawers feature ball-bearing slides and are retractable and a front centralized safety lock."

Sonic offers more than just tools, they also offer storage accessories for your garage including drawers, toolboxes and cabinets. Check out their full catalog here

Since the box comes totally filled, it'll cost you a little bit. $600 to be exact. So if you're ready for adult tools, these are a nice way to go. 

I'll try to do a little video on how the drawers open, close and lock soon. So stay tuned to this post!   

New Boots from Daytona, The Lady Pilot GTX

I've always been a Daytona fan but in recent years I've left my Daytonas behind except for extreme weather conditions like freezing temperatures and heavy wet weather riding. I also have found ways of compensating for lack of height using other methods.

But if you're looking for a way to get additional height without resorting to a casual styled, chunky heel that isn't protective enough, light enough, or strong enough for riding then try these new Lady Pilots from Daytona.  

I'm liking the cleaner calf / leg design and the simplified styling. To me it also seems like there's more height offered through the soles given the wedge-boot style design. I'm going to test this theory out this week and try on my Ladystars and these Lady Pilots to see if I can tell a height difference. Fit wise, these are going to be a wider fitment overall like the Ladystars but we'll see if there's much difference. 

Either way, you save $100 and get the height you might be looking for with a simplified style and the same comfort and quality you'd expect from Daytona. 

The Perfect Bike for this Speedy Old Lady, a BMW R1200R

I know, I know. I'm not that old. Mentally I feel 21. However, I definitely cannot lean over on a sporty bike anymore for more than 10 minutes. That's really the only reason why I call it the Perfect Bike for this Speedy Old Lady. 

I'm not planning on upgrading or trading in Goldie anytime soon, however, it certainly made me think twice....

As you might recall, I rode the first 5 days of the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride last month to commemorate the anniversary of the Van Buren Sisters achievement 100 years ago.

I was able to borrow this bike from a very, very generous person in the Bay Area so I was able to pick this up early Friday morning on the 22nd of July. I've never ridden The Baron (my nickname for him) before. And it's been at least 5? years since I threw a leg over a Beemer too. I didn't know what to expect. The first thing that sort of blew my mind was how comfortable it felt from the get go. 

A break from the heat on my way to Carson City. Shown with the  Givi Tanklock XS307  (I'm pretty sure) Bag and a  Kriega US-20 Tailpack  on the rear. Perfect!

A break from the heat on my way to Carson City. Shown with the Givi Tanklock XS307 (I'm pretty sure) Bag and a Kriega US-20 Tailpack on the rear. Perfect!

I don't think may non BMW riders realize that they are ergonomically quite comfortable and so well balanced that they feel a lot lighter than they are on paper. The plethora of seat and suspension options really do allow for a wide variety of men and women to ride these things (myself included at a whopping 28.5" inseam).

Unfortunately I don't have any good up close, action shots of me actually riding so you can see how well it fit me. There are a few of me riding behind my friends Sarah and Alisa (riding an F800GS in BMW jacket, wearing a Schuberth Modular helmet) here but you have to dig to find me.  

The overall ergonomics were fantastic. The reach was perfect, I felt ridiculously comfortable slabbing all the way to Nevada (Hwy 80 East to 50 East to 395 North). I would say almost a 90 Degree seated position but the bars are tapered closer to the front forks. So a modest sport touring position. My shoulders/back never felt a thing and it was too easy to ride 100 miles before pulling over for a break.  

The overall height and fit below my waist was quite perfect, and I didn't really feel any discomfort except for my right hip which I've had issues with since an accident I had back in 2009. It gets achey if my knees are bent at 90 degrees from my hip or higher. So I did have some minor discomfort due to this, but nothing that kept me from riding 250 miles in an afternoon to Carson City (11am to 4pm, with 60-75 minutes worth of breaks for lunch and gas). 

Because of my hip, I would probably opt for a slightly different seat to increase the seat height. You're probably wondering, but how tall is it?  If I had to guess, I'd say it had about a 29" seat height (before compression). It has a very narrow tankspace because the fuel is mainly below you, so the center of gravity is much lower overall. But with the combined seat shape and skinny tank, it makes for a very easy reach. Because a bike with the same seat height but with terrible ergonomics (wider, flatter seat or wider, fatter tank) can limit how your toes touch the ground. A good example of this is my husband's Speed Triple:

Me on his 2007 Speed Triple

Me on his 2007 Speed Triple

This bike has the same exact seat height as my STreet Triple R, but I can reach much much closer to the ground because of two very important details:

  • customized rear shock, which compresses underneath my weight 
  • and skinnier tank shape, bringing my knees closer together
Me on my 2012 Street Triple R with a custom Ohlins Rear Shock

Me on my 2012 Street Triple R with a custom Ohlins Rear Shock

I would say the R1200R is perfect for a compact body type; assuming the rider has adequate experience on smaller, lighterweight sportbikes. Just because I'm smaller and I can ride this doesn't mean that everyone at my height/weight should be. It's still a 1200cc bike that weighs 500lbs. And managing the weight, getting used to how it handles (especially slow speeds), and feeling 100% comfortable in corners only comes with the 10+ years of experience I've had to practice my braking and cornering skills to ensure I don't drop any of my bikes). 

If I were smart I would've played with the Dynamic Suspension, because changing the modes would've probably stiffened up the rear a bit and brought me up to a slightly higher point to ease this discomfort.

The Speedo also has KM in addition to Miles so that threw me off as well. At one point I thought I was going over 100mph (which freaks me out). 

The Speedo also has KM in addition to Miles so that threw me off as well. At one point I thought I was going over 100mph (which freaks me out). 

Let's look at the Electronic Suspension Adjustment (my favorite part of this ride). 

"Dynamic ESA enables you to adjust your motorcycle's suspension to suit the load and the road conditions." - BMW Owners Manual

You can actually adjust the spring preload and the dampening all in the dashboard. But you cannot adjust preload while riding. There are two modes: Road and Dynamic. I had it set to Dynamic the whole time, and I didn't even realize I could adjust preload. But since this was a borrowed bike I really didn't want to touch the settings so I left them alone. 

I could tell that it was definitely set too cushy in the corners, because it felt far too 'floaty' going through sweepers. Otherwise it felt smooth, stable and easy to push through the corners. 

In addition to various suspension modes, the Baron also had additional features including but not limited to: 

  • ABS
  • tire pressure monitoring
  • heated grips (multi level)
  • cruise control (which I never used)
  • electronic suspension adjustment (!!!! :D)
  • keyless ignition (so strange not needing a key, but so damn handy)
    • all you have to do is have the fancy keyfob in your pocket when you're ready to press the ignition button and voila! it starts right up. 
  • digital gear indicators
  • automatic turn signal cancellation (above ~15mph)
  • digital readouts of almost everything
    • the only readout not digital was the Speedometer. Which seems silly at this point, with everything digital why not add the Speedo as well? Even Goldie has a digital readout. 

Overall, such a ridiculously fancy bike. So much technology. By far, the most advanced bike I've ever thrown a leg over. 

One of the main features I used were the heated grips. Wheeee! I didn't anticipate chilly temperatures, but the morning of Saturday, July 23rd it was Mid to High 40s in Lake Tahoe on the north side. Luckily the heated grips saved me because I didn't expect that at all. 

Oh and I can't forget to mention the Power. I forgot how easy it is to cruise at freeway speeds on a Liter Bike. It comes to easy to this one, if I'm going 60-65mph, with just a light flick on the throttle and it easily kicks up another 10-20mph without a hiccup. The tiny windscreen seems useless but it definitely made a difference. I think I have to revisit a small windscreen with Goldie, getting out of Philadelphia requires slab sometimes to I may have to add this to my farkle list soon.

The increase in power and comfort certainly made the long distance ride feel like a much shorter one. But cruising right now for me, is a low priority. I'd rather have a nimble, lightweight bike with the type of riding I'm doing. But who knows? A lot can happen in a year :D

Besides the pricepoint (which I'm just not ready for) the way the 2 cylinders stick out right by my legs are in my way when I'm trying to park. I had to get off the bike to park only because it was so heavy. I actually had two firm balls of my feet on the ground, so stability was fine but it weighs 508lbs (curb weight, fully filled with liquids). Another 100lbs over Goldie. But honestly, other than parking lots and 3 point turns, I really couldn't tell. Something that I really really appreciate with BMW. The distribution of weight is very well balanced. BMW offers variable seat heights between seats and suspension options (from 29" - 33").

Sturdy footpegs! Just in my way a little bit. I actually felt really stable standing up on the pegs a couple times to stretch out. It almost felt as if I  were riding a GS instead  :D

Sturdy footpegs! Just in my way a little bit. I actually felt really stable standing up on the pegs a couple times to stretch out. It almost felt as if I were riding a GS instead :D

The only other issue I had were the footpegs. Being of shorter stature, almost every bike I ride, the footpegs are right where my feet want to go when I come to a stop. So it just took a little more effort to be conscious of where my foot went down. 

Not bad from this view, eh? 

Not bad from this view, eh? 

Luckily the owner of this steed had a Ram Mount set up already just to the left of the mirror. So all I needed was my Universal Cell Phone Holder for my trusty iPhone 6. And as you can see my Kriega US-20 Pack was all I needed for 2 days. 

Kriega US-20 pack  securely mounted on the backseat, no problemo.

Kriega US-20 pack securely mounted on the backseat, no problemo.

Besides price point, I really can't say anything truly negative about this bike. Things like the cylinders sticking out and the footpegs are minor, in my opinion. 

And if you're still worried about seat height, please dont look at the numbers and think "Oh no, there's no way". Because sitting on the bike gives you a completely different feel and perception of what you think you might be able to ride. And of course, if you're considering a bike like this as a first and you're of shorter stature you sure as hell will need to flat foot it because you have NO experience riding. And I truly believe that riding taller bikes when you're shorter is only possible with substantial riding experience.  

Overall I'm a huge fan of this bike and would recommend it heartily to anyone who wants a rock solid sport tourer, that offers sportbike like performance in a comfortable riding position, technology and more speed. :D

Parked next to a Suzuki Vstrom. Size wise, the R1200R doesn't seem like it's that much smaller than the Vstrom. And it really didn't feel that 'big' to me.  

Parked next to a Suzuki Vstrom. Size wise, the R1200R doesn't seem like it's that much smaller than the Vstrom. And it really didn't feel that 'big' to me.  

Don't Date a Girl Who Rides Motorcycles

neptune's net advgoddess gearchic  

In case you didn't know, my awesome friend Cristi aka ADVGoddess and I have a great motorcycle podcast called Moterrific where we chit chat about all things motorcycle related; travel, gear, maintenance, recalls, new bikes, events and more.

Cristi also wrote this killer editorial awhile ago that you must read if you missed it!

Don't Date a Girl Who Rides Motorcycles

And of course, don't forget to catch up on the latest episodes of Moterrific, available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Scorpion Zion Adventure Touring Jacket

scorpion_zion_womens_jacket  

Over the next few weeks I'll be reviewing the Scorpion Zion Touring Jacket. This $299 jacket from Scorpion is a multiseason, multilayered jacket that offers you flexibility in various climates. With 2 removable liners (one waterproof, one thermal) you can go from hot to cold temperatures easily by adjusting your layering and closing or opening your vents.

It also has a rather long adventure style cut, with a slightly longer sleeve length and elongated torso. If you're searching for a jill of all trades outfit to take you from spring to summer to fall, this suit might just do it. Although I'm only testing the jacket I'm sure the pants will perform in the same way.  I'm actually fitting into an XS, although I've dropped a few pounds these past couple of months. I'm down to 125-127lbs from 135-140lbs, and was worried the XS might be too big. But the fit is actually perfect for my broader shoulders and freakishly long arms (for someone 5'3").

 

scorpion_zion_womens_motorcycle_jacket_back

 

Stay tuned for a detailed, full length review exclusively on Women Riders Now.

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

 

 

My Recommendations for Women's Motorcycle Gloves for Winter

alpinestars_wr-3_goretex_womens_gloves Winter is around the corner. The temperatures are already dropping if you live on the East Coast, so you might be looking for winter motorcycle gloves!

Here's a 5 minute review of 6-7 gloves to try to keep your hands nice and toasty. Click on the link below to listen:

http://www.gearchic.com/podcast/womens_motorcycle_gloves_winter_2014.mp3

 

Episode 20 of Moterrific; Lanesharing Liability, Tips from the CHP, Baselayer Review and More

We go over lanesharing guidelines, including who's at fault in an accident, how the CHP sees you as a motorcyclist when you laneshare; new rider tips including knowing your motorcycle, cornering techniques, baselayer reviews and more!

Full episode details here

Ways to Listen:

  1. Install the Quicktime Plugin to listen above
  2. iTunes 
  3. Stitcher.com or Stitcher App
  4. Moterrific.com