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Monday, December 12, 2016

Jeans for cold weather riding

Temperatures in North Texas don't get too cold for too long, but when it does cool off I still like to ride.   Sometimes it means I have to break out the cold weather gear and layer up so the ride is enjoyable.
Trying to warm up inside on a cold morning for a charity ride.
With the cold weather in mind I bought a pair of jeans in April and did not get to wear them until December, but I was happy I bought them!

I purchased a pair of Cabela's Roughneck fleece lined jeans.  They are traditional 5 pocket jeans with a quality YKK zipper.  The jeans are "relaxed cut" and 100% cotton fleece lined.

Fleece lined jeans - warm, but not not bulky
The jeans feel great and are not excessively bulky.  I rode the bike in the lower 40's and the legs felt great.  On a different day it was mid 30's when I started off so I wore a pair of long-johns with the jeans and it was great!  Never did I feel I needed more.

I highly recommend these Cabela's Fleece lined jeans!   If you liked the video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to get future video.

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.  
 
Ride on a great road in Oklahoma

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.

I will even post some "motovlog" video, which are spoken blogs while riding the motorcycle.  Topics will vary.
My first vlog is about upcoming trip in June, 2017

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.
Riding in Colorado with the jacket

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I have been Flashed!!

In the winter and spring of this year (2016) I debated about changing from the Honda VFR 1200 back to the Yamaha FJR 1300.  I ended up deciding to stay with the VFR 1200 and make some changes to fit what I wanted.

The latest customization has proven to be the biggest grin inducing change!  After a lot of reading and talking to a fellow VFR rider I decided to have the ECU re-flashed by Don Guhl Motors. 

It was almost time for a valve adjustment and other maintenance so I took the VFR to my mechanic.  I removed the fairings and the ECU.  While the ECU was being sent to Don the bike got a valve adjustment, new plugs and new air filter.

Removing seat, fairings and gas tank to get to ECU

VFR sure looks
Time for a new filter!
The VFR's 1237cc V4 engine comes stock with 150hp at the wheel and weights 589 wet, but Honda has several restrictions on the motor.  The Don Guhl re- flash eliminates limits and raises the rev limiter by 500 rpm (if desired).

Little box control the big engine
I mailed the ECU to Don with the appropriate information including what exhaust was on the VFR.  The day after he received it the re-flash was performed and the ECU ship Next Day back to me all for $375.

Once back installation was easy, but the fairings where more difficult.  Thank goodness for friends.  I got the bike home, but too late to ride that night.  The inaugural ride would come the next day.  While the bike was out of commission I also added the mounting plate for the Givi case I ordered.
Givi case mount installed and ready for the first ride after the re-flash
The throttle response was immediately noticeable.  I was careful not to over do it and perform my first ever wheelie, several riders had experienced an unattended wheelie after the re-flash so I was wanting to avoid that.

The transition from gear to gear is now so smooth with no lag in power.  It is like I am constantly in the optimum power band.  Acceleration is immediate and produces a big smile.
The VFR and my sons ZX6R - he noticed the difference when following.
This is the first performance modification I have made on a bike and I am very happy with it.  I would without hesitation recommend Don Guhl Motors for your motorcycle's ECU reflash.  You will be smiling when you feel the power.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Memorial Day Ride 2016

May 30, 2016 marked the 2nd Memorial Day since my dad, WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient, passed away.  During the previous 10 years or so I had spend some of each Memorial Day weekend with him.  It was my honor to take him to several Memorial Day services and accompany him in 2010 on Honor Flight. 
Wendell Osburn PFC 1st Army, 2nd Division, 9th Regiment, Company K, 3rd Platoon, 3rd Squad
I decided to take a ride and have a Memorial Day service and lunch with some fellow riders.  We gathered at a local gas station for fuel, food, drink and the pre-ride meeting.


Fueled up and waiting on others for the ride.
Bikes at the memorial
The ride was nice and cool in the morning thanks to some late night/early morning rain.  We were careful as some of the roads were still wet, but still managed to enjoy some "spirited" moments as we twisted through the country side towards the Audie Murphy Memorial at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, TX.
Audie Murphy statute
Audie was a Texas boy!
 Several friends on cruisers welcomed us as we rode into the parking lot at the memorial.  After looking at bikes and the normal comments/jokes about each others bikes we took time to read quotes, names (from Hunt county) and information that were part of the memorial.
A nice gathering of bikers to remember the sacrifices made for our country
One veteran reading names of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice




Reading the names is very sobering and humbling


The veterans in attendance were gathered for a photo.  We were all very honored to have them with us for the day.  A few words of appreciation for all our military, past, present and future, were said and a prayer for our country and armed forces was given.

Six veterans were with us and one join us at lunch.  It was an honor.
After the time at the memorial we enjoyed lunch at a local hamburger establishment before a spirited ride home on dry roads.  Several riders chipped in and bought all the veterans lunch.

Thank you to all veterans and their families for the service and sacrifice made so we can go ride motorcycles with the freedoms and security we so often take for granted.  May God bless our armed forces and the USA.

I want to thank all my friends for sharing the ride and the time of remembrance with me.

A big thank you goes to Sergey O and John B, for the photos. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kobalt Air Compressor: A review - little things impress

I am the first to admit I am not a "gear head" (good at working on bikes/autos), but I do try to learn and do more of my own work and maintenance each year.  With that said this post may seem silly to some, but for this ordinary biker a great tool has been found.

I have owned portable air compressors and shop air compressors and they have all functioned well.  However; I recently found myself without either and in need of one.  Since downsizing my life over the last 18 months I wanted/needed a portable compressors due to storage space.
Photo from Lowes.com
I had to borrow a neighbors Kobalt 12-Volt air compressor to get the bike's tires to proper pressure and loved it so much I decided to purchase one for myself from Lowes.

The Kobalt 12-Volt Car Air Inflator is very versatile and has some very useful features.  The unit comes with a power cord for use in an automobile power plug and a cord for home outlet usage.  A simple flick of the switch lets the compressor know the source of electricity. 

Use at home or with the car
Multiple nozzle options for inflating various items are included.  The digital air gauge displays current tire pressure so an additional air gauge is not needed.  I really like that once I connect the compressor I don't have to disconnect until finished.
User friendly button and display
Once the compressor measures the current air pressure the desired ("Target") air pressure is entered using the up or down arrows.  Once target pressure is selected a push of the run/pause button starts the compressor and it automatically shuts off when the target pressure is achieved.  This feautree is great because it allows for multitasking without concern of over inflation.

The cords fit neatly either in or on the unit making it easy to handle, manageable and tidy.
Automobile power plug stores inside the unit.  Photo at Lowes.com
With a width of 12 inches, a height of 10 inches, depth of 5 inches ( 30.48cm X25.4cm X12.7cm) and weight of 9 lbs (4.08 kg) it is too big to carry on motorcycle trips, but is very handy at home or in the automobile.

It is rugged, sturdy and durable and functions great!  Glad this amateur mechanic (I use that term loosely) found it.