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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Goal of the blog and YouTube channel

I started this blog September 2009 with a goal of posting useful information.  On the first post I stated "part of this blog is to give straightforward reviews of items that I have personally used, places I have eaten, roads I have traveled, and/or bikes I have ridden. At times I will use the reviews of close friends that I ride with and respect." 
Lower Falls in Yellowstone NP
I have strayed off motorcycle related topics a few time i.e. my WWII veteran dad, Honor Flight..., otherwise the gear, roads, restaurants and other items have been related to my motorcycle addiction.
Dad at WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.
With the same goal and desire to provide useful, honest information and reviews I launched a YouTube channel.  

The videos are much more varied and sometimes provide just a clip of a great road to ride, a neat place to visit or some other little nugget.  In the future I will interview other "ordinary" riders about their choice of bikes, gear and accessories so riders can get the views of actual users/riders.  There will be full reviews, trip highlights and more forthcoming.
My son riding US 129 aka The Tail of the Dragon on his own bike for the first time
I would like to invite you to visit the YouTube channel and give me some feedback.  I have a lot to learn about vlogging and all comments are welcome.  If you like what you see please subscribe.

I will continue to post here on a regular basis also.

Be safe and enjoy the road. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bell Helmet Qualifier review - Awesome Transition!

I have owned six full-faced helmets and three half helmets in my 12.5 years of riding.  Due to life situations I always be on a tight budget, but over the last two years or so the budget for riding gear has increased.  So my first five full-faced helmets leaned more to the economical end of the spectrum.

During the June 2016 Moto Oz Beat The Heat Tour the chin air vent cover of my AFX Freedom Helmet, which I wore for approximately four years, fell off.  I liked the helmet, but decided to get a new one.

I did more research than usual and narrowed my list.  I decided to buy within the mid-range ($200 - $350) of helmets.  While talking about my options with a friend he praised his Bell helmet, especially the Transition visor.  That got my attention.  I ride a lot including mornings and evenings.

I had one Bell helmet in the past and like it.  With my friend's recommendation the Bell helmets moved to the top my list.  I had to decided which one.  I found the Qualifier helmet fit great.  I had the option of the Qualifier with the standard visor or the Qualifier DLX with the Transition Adaptive Shield.  I purchased the Bell Qualifier DLX Rally Helmet with the Matte Titanium Rally color scheme.
Image from BikeBandit.com
I am very pleased with my purchase!  There are several features which makes this the best helmet I have owned.  Most notable is the transition visor. 
In the shade

In the sun
The transition from clear to shaded and back is not instantaneous, but is pretty quick and sufficient. When shaded only the most sensitive eyes would need to also wear sunglasses.  Not have to take two visors when knowing there will be some evening/night time riding is so convenient.

The padding is soft, comfortable and snug.  By far this is the most comfortable helmet I have owned.  The fit is snug without being too tight and the padded wind collar reduces slippage and wind noise.  The removable lining provides moisture wicking and is washable.

The three vent locations (chin, forehead and top of the head) allow for adequate ventilation.  With all helmets more air flow increases wind noise.  The Qualifier DLX is a good combination of reasonable air flow with less wind noise.
Three air vent system - chin, forehead and top, allow good airflow
The helmet also comes with speaker pockets and a built in mounting area for Sena 10S and/or Scala Rider Q1/Q3 headset.  I found the helmet to have one of the more easy to remove visors.  Bell says the visor is anti-fog, anti-scratch and provides UV protection - all of which I have not tested.

Overall this is a great value.  The "bang for the buck" is impressive.  Having worn the Qualifier DLX for since August for 3000+ miles I am a very satisfied customer.
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Visiting Europe June 2017!

This post is both an announcement and a invitation for input.  

I will be starting my first trip out of the USA on June 2, 2017 as I fly out of Dallas Milan, Italy and I am so excited!
Received my first passport
My trip will be divided into three distinct stages.  Each stage has its own purpose, atmosphere and flavor.  The stages have been moderately planned, but I welcome input concerning sites, restaurants, roads, tips, suggestions...
Mugello Circuit - photo from MotoGP.com
Stage 1 - solo - June 3-5:
MotoGP race at  Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello (Mugello Circuit)
I will arrive in Milan on the 3rd and ride a train to Florence where I will stay two nights and attend the races on Sunday the 4th.  Early Monday the 5th I will fly to London for second stage of the trip.
Valentino Rossi's bike at Circuit of the Americas - April 2015
Stage 2 - meeting four friends - June 5-16: World War II tour 
We will spend two days and nights in London visiting numerous sites including the Imperial War Museums. On Wednesday the 7th the Chunnel will take us to Paris for one night and a visit to the Eiffel Tower.
The Texas version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas

Thursday we will rent a vehicle and visit the Palace of Versailles on our way to the Normandy area where we will stay three nights and visit the beaches, museums, memorials and the Normandy American Cemetery.

Normandy beach - photo by Leland Giles co-owner of Moto Oz

On Sunday June 11th we will drive to Bastogne in Belgium and spend one night.  This is an area where my dad, Pfc Wendell A. Osburn, marched with his platoon during the war on their way to Germany.  His platoon replace men loss during the Battle of the Bulge.  It was later in the forests of Germany he was shot.
US Army PFC Wendell A Osburn - 2010


We will travel to Luxenburg for a night before return the vehicle to Paris on Tuesday the 13th and flying out to Munich.  We will spend three nights in Germany and visit Dachau, Eagle's Nest, Neuschwanstein Castle and other sites.
Road to Eagle's Nest - photo by dangerousroad.org
The Alps in Germany - photo by wikimedia.org
Stage 2 - meeting a friend from the USA in Milan - June 16 - 25: Riding the Alps
Brian and I will meet in Milan and rent motorcycles to ride in the Alps for a week.  We will ride Stelvio Pass, Susten Pass and more.
Stelvio Pass - photo from Pintrest

My research has found so many awesome roads in the Alps.  Probably can not get to them all, but looking forward to riding all I can.   

The flight home will be Sunday June 25 from Milan to Dallas, Texas.

As plans are being finalized any suggestions or comments are welcomed.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Need extra storage for the trip?

Extended motorcycle trips are a lot of fun and I look forward to those trips.  The challenge with trips lasting several days is packing what is needed and/or wanted for the trip.  Storage/luggage space can be a concern for all but a few touring bikes.

For my June trip to the CMA National Rally in Hatfield, Arkansas and  the Moto Oz Beat the Heat tour to Colorado I knew I would need some additional luggage. The Seahorse side cases are narrow (6.2 inches - interior) and I had a lot of camping and hiking gear as well as my food to transport.

Being a budget minded rider I wanted to get the biggest "bang for the buck" I could.  I opted for the Viking Bags Economy Line Bag system.  The bag is a combination of leather and Cordura.  The stitching looked good and held up to tight packing and rough handling.
The main bag's dimensions are 19X17.5X8 and the roll bag is 14X9.  The mounting straps for the bags are sturdy and work to make a good tight fit.  A rain cover, adjustable universal mounting system and backpack straps are included.
Photo from Vikingbags.com
The big zippered top opening allows for easy access which makes packing larger items convenient.  It held up to being stuffed tightly, the seams did not appear stressed.  The front pouch, with quick release strap, held smaller items for quick access.
Nice fit on the VStrom.

The D-hooks worked efficiently with the mounting straps or bungee cords to secure the bag on the bike and still allow for easy access to what is in the bag.

While on my trips I never had to use the rain cover so I decide to test the cover.  The video below shows the rain cover works great.  (Please excuse the amateur videoing)


I found the Viking Bag highly functional, well made and versatile.  If you are needing some quality motorcycle luggage I would recommend Viking Bags.  The Economy Line offers big bang for the bucks!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Riding Jacket - Let the air FLY

Texas gets hot.  The Weather Channel's website states the average temperature from June to September is 90+ degrees with an annual average of 16+ days of 100+ degrees and record highs of 110+ in all four of those months!

A high air flow jacket is a necessity for riding in the heat.  While allowing a breeze while riding it also provides protection from the sun.  Earlier this spring I decided to try the Fly Flux Air Jacket (I did NOT get it from Motorcycle House, but they carry the jacket at a great price).
Fly Racing's Flux Air Mesh Jacket
The jacket has armor in the shoulders, elbows and back.  There are two zippered exterior hand pockets and two interior pockets on the left chest (one is zippered and one uses hook and loop).  The HYDRA Guard water and wind resistant liner is removable and useful for light rain and/or wind.

Adjustable waist straps and 3-snap sleeve adjustment allows for customization of the fit.  Zippered side expanders run from armpit to waist and allows an extra inch on each side.  The reflective piping works great and provides greater visibility at night.
The reflective piping really lights up!

The jacket comes in six different color options.  The back panel is large enough to accommodate a rider's patch if desired and also has reflective piping.
Simple design works great.
The blue looks great with my VFR 1200
Fly Racing states the mesh material is "abrasion resistant" (hopefully I will not find out).  The mesh allows great airflow.  Earlier in the spring I had to wear a flannel shirt or light jacket on early morning rides.  In the warmer temperatures the jacket is great.  The wind moves through the jacket while the sunlight is kept off of me.
The double layer of mesh allows air flow while protecting the rider.
I wish the cuffs had velcro instead of zippers and snaps, but otherwise I love the jacket.  The fit and the look are great.  The air flow when riding is superb.  If you ride in warmer climates you will find the jacket a great buy.