To ring in the New Year we've decided to share some of our favourite products from 2014. Some are things we used everyday, some are things that saved the day and some are just pieces of gear that we loved and made our riding experience that much better. Without further ado, everyone from Town Moto's top 4 for 2014.
1. Tirox Snap Jack Stand - I have tried a lot of stands, but always end up having to manually move my bike back and forth for chain maintenance. This is finally an option i can use without a second set of hands!
2. Roland Sands Vada Jacket - I wasn't expecting to like this jacket as much as I did because I bought it more for style reasons than for its technical features. After wearing it through the hottest weather on a trip through the desert I found it to be a perfect warm weather riding jacket, plus it looks great with a full set of armor.
3. La Motocyclette Magazine - I am super stoked to see more sides of women riding being presented by women who ride all kinds of bikes in all kinds of settings. This magazine is in its early issues but I hope more and more people support it so it has the opportunity to grow into something really awesome.
4. Held Windblocker Skin Pant - These are the best option for keeping the cold off your legs. Although they come in unisex sizing, they fit great and even though they are a pricier option that the basic waffle style long john, they are more than worth the investment. I have taken and worn them on every trip this year.
1. Cruz Tool - I keep this in my backpack and use it all the time. Super versatile and I use it on stuff around the house as much as I use it for my motorcycle. Great tool to always have on hand!
2. Tough Duck Vest - Great as an extra layer over a lighter jacket. It’s easy to put on or take off if you're too cold or hot. I wear it pretty much year round and love it. Big pockets make it easy to stash your wallet, phone, keys even with your gloves on.
3. RSD - Dezel Glove - I have had the chance to really test these gloves out over the last year and I love them for long riding days. They are super comfortable and never develop any pressure points. They wear nice and have a classic look I really like.
4. Kriega R20 - I needed a small backpack for going between home and the shop as well as for shorter rides under two hours. The Kriega R20 checked all the boxes and is a super comfortable bag. I've ridden all day with it as well and barely noticed it was there. Kriega stands behind their products as well and offers a 10 year warranty on all of their products.
1. ACF 50 - This is probably the most advanced anti-corrosion lubricant on the market. It was originally designed for use in the Aerospace Industry, so it is certainly good enough for the old Honda or Ducati. I like that it is safe on everything from electronics to paint. It is something that I use 12 months of the year, not just for winter storage.
2. Por 15 Tank Sealer - This is a product that actually works, as long as you take your time and follow the instructions. I used it when sealing the tank of my CB350 and it did a fantastic job. It is a three stage process involving a degreaser, a metal prep, and a rust preventative coating. When doing it, it is very important that the tank is completely dry before applying the coating. This will allow the coating to adhere to the metal with no interference from any moisture.
3. Roland Sands Ronin - This is a great looking, leather, armored riding jacket. It is perforated enough to keep it cool in summer and with a few layers can be worn well into Fall. I like that it doesn’t look like a bulky, armoured motorcycle jacket off the bike even though it offers that protection.
4. Arai XD-4 - It's Arai. If it's good enough for Joey Dunlop, it's good enough for me. I have had this helmet for year now and I love it. It's comfortable, quiet and incredibly light. Aside for the technology and the safety of the helmet, I really like that the padding inside the helmet can be customized to my face by peeling precut layers of padding off of each pad. This really made the helmet very comfortable. It also doesn't hurt that the helmet looks absolutely awesome.
1. Sena - I am useless at directions, so when I got my W650 this year and could finally hit the highways and ride out of the city for location scouts/photo shoots the Sena was basically my God send. It allowed me to synch with my iPhone's Google Maps to get GPS directions to my destination, speaking them to me through the system's helmet speakers. Knowing I had directions covered definitely up-ed my confidence riding solo on the highway and made the rides that much more enjoyable! Love the Sena.
2. Spark Plug Wrench - My old little CB200T used to eat spark plugs for dinner. My saving grace until I got it dialed-in was the spark plug wrench and spare spark plugs that I'd keep stashed in the bike's tool box compartment. A super handy tool that’s easy to store on any bike.
3. Vika Jacket - The way this jacket fit was really the big sell for me. I had basically given up on finding a women's armored jacket that didn't make me look like a body builder. But I threw this on one day and was sold. This jacket is armored (shoulders & elbows) and has a real flattering slim and stretchy fit that never feels tight due to the jacket's built aramid stretch panels on the sides, which are also a great ventilation on summer rides. I've worn this jacket year round - with a long sleeve layer & heated vest in the fall/winter and as is in the summer. If you're as picky as I am about riding jackets, this may be the one for you.
4. Battery Tender - Before I had the money to fix some of the little running 'hiccups' and replace the regulator/rectifier in my CB200T, I had some battery draining problems. My bike would die all the time around the city. Then I got a Battery Tender. Hooked my little 200 up every single night and my break downs reduced by like 80%. Huge improvement and great for storing the battery over the winter when the bike isn’t running.
1. Roland Sands Tracker Jacket - I purchased this jacket because I wanted something traditional looking and armoured, that would offer versatility against the elements. 2014 saw this jacket go up against just about everything nature could throw at it (rain, wind, snow, HALE, extreme heat) and it has stood up trememdously to the amount of abuse I've inflicted upon it. I'd recommend purchasing it with D3O armour (very flexible, and hardly noticeable in shape) and re-waxing it (Filson or Martexin will work beautifully) for comfort and longevity It also develops a great patina after extensive wear!
2. Aether Compass Pant - Much like the RSD Tracker, these were purchased somewhat last minute before a trip up north. I used them extensively from the summer onward, and have yet to find a single flaw, aside from perhaps being hot when stationary. However, they do come with large side vents that work well at keeping you cool as soon as you're moving again. Protection from the wind has been excellent, and they've become my staple winter riding pant. In addition, they're decent in, but not impervious to the rain.
3. Black Jack Heated Vest - Having finally made the jump the a bike with a slightly beefier charging system, I thought I'd try one of these out as an alternative to the 30 layers I'd worn during previous winters motorcycling. No complaints! With the right undergarment, they're even better at circulating heat and getting rid of the need to wear a bunch of bulky gear. The included SAE adapter can fit a host of other options (usb charger for phone, gps, etc.) Make sure you buy one that fits close to the body, you'll ideally wear this just over a tshirt or base undergarment, with layers on top.
4. Battery Tender USB charger - Purchased just before a trip up north as my poor old phone has terrible battery life. This little item was circulated amongst friends during all subsequent trips, in order to charge dead phones (which also doubled as cameras). Simple, handy, and well built piece of kit. Nothing crazy here, just something to keep your comms going, especially if you're alone and need to contact someone!