Category Archives: Riding Tips

Viking Cycle Enforcer Three Quarter Touring Motorcycle Jacket

A review of the Viking Cycle Enforcer Three Quarter Touring Motorcycle Jacket from Motorcycle House.

Motorcycle riding gear, motorcycle jacket

Viking Cycle Enforcer Three Quarter Touring Motorcycle Jacket from Motorcycle House

Good Gear Makes For a Good Motorcycle Ride – If you are like Janet and me, we have filled a closet with leather riding gear (i.e. Jackets and Chaps). It is good gear and has served us well… but there is one problem with all that leather. It’s big, bulky and takes up a lot of room on the bike. If you are wearing it there is no problem. We live in Texas which can be very, hot but when we ride north or to higher elevations the temperatures can be much cooler or even very cold and we need that gear. We need to be prepared for the cooler weather and carrying all that bulky leather gear with us limits what we are able to carry on the bike.

I was asked by MotorcycleHouse.com to review their new Enforcer Motorcycle Touring Jacket by Vikingcycle. It sells for a great price of just $99.

Details – Enforcer Motorcycle 3 Quarter Touring Jacket

  • Touring style 3 quarter jacket
  • Lead Free Tri-Tex Fabric: High-performance, breathable and waterproof
  • Tape sealed waterproof seams
  • Removable zip-out quilted lining with full-sleeve liner
  • Velcro flaps for adjustable cuffs fit
  • Multi-pocket design: Lots of pockets the biggest pocket fits up to a 10 inch tablet
  • Glove pouch on lower back
  • Phone headset wire system
  • Phone access in under 3 seconds
  • Spine, shoulder & elbow armor protection
  • Reflective front, back, shoulder & arm panels enhance visibility at night or low visibility conditions.
  • Velcro adjustable waist belt
  • Adjustable snapped tabs on arms
  • Longer in the back to prevent the back from riding up when sitting or riding
  • Front zipper closure with snapped flap over zipper
  • Vents include: 2 zippered vents at top of shoulders and large back zippered vent across the shoulders blades
  • Lower-back zipper to attach motorcycle pants
  • Overlapping mandarin padded collar secured with Velcro for a snug fit for those cold days
  • Velcro lower tabs to adjust fit around your bottom
  • Full non-removable inter liner with lower mess venting
  • Two-level lining for various weather conditions

When I received the Enforcer jacket, I gave it a good going over. It has many nice features going for it. It is well made and the medium jacket fits me very well. The Enforcer is a 3 quarter touring style jacket made from Tri-Tex high-performance, breathable and waterproof fabric. The jacket seams are tape sealed for waterproofing. The overlapping mandarin padded collar and adjustable cuffs secure with Velcro for a snug fit for those cold days. I really like that the jacket is longer in the back. This extra length prevents the back from riding up when sitting or riding. The jacket has reflective front, back, shoulder & arm panels that enhance your visibility at night and in low visibility conditions. The armor protection in the spine, shoulder & elbow seem to be of good quality and comparable with armor in other jackets. I like the double layering of the jacket. This allows the zippered inter liner to be removed on warmer days. The jacket closes securely with a large front zipper and a snapped flap over the zipper. You can snug up the jacket at the waist and arms with the adjustable snapped tabs on the arms and a Velcro adjustable waist belt.

The Enforcer jacket has many useful pockets in places I would have never thought of. There is one pocket I really like.  It is a zippered pocket on the lower part of the left sleeve. Inside the pocket is a lanyard so you can attach keys (I think) but I have found another use for it. I have attached the remote of my GoPro to the lanyard. When I’m not using the remote I can stow it in the zippered pocket. When using the remote I don’t need to worry about dropping it.  If I do drop it, it will just dangle by the lanyard. In an emergency, I just release the remote to free my left hand and it will dangle. I have used the two large pockets on the lower front of the jacket the most. The right pocket has another lanyard for keys. There is a lot of room for things you need to keep handy.

Below is a video from MotorcycleHouse.com detailing the features of the Enforcer Jacket that I may or may not have covered previously.

Back in October I was going on a 400 mile ride that I would have been riding in heavy rain. I thought it would be a good test for the Enforcer jacket. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. Before I left the weather forecast changed to the possibility of flash flooding all along my route. I don’t mind riding in heavy rain. I’ve done it more times than I can remember, but I haven’t ridden in, nor do I want to try riding in, a river of rushing water.

A couple of weeks later I made that 400 mile ride. There was a possibility of some rain going and coming with temperatures ranging from the low 50’s to upper 60’s. Not that cold and not much rain, but the jacket did well on the ride. I did ride in some heavy rain for about 40 miles and I stayed warm and dry. I’m looking forward to taking it out again in colder/wetter weather. So stay tuned for an update…

Below is a short video from that ride.

If you are looking for a good riding jacket for a great price, I think you may want to give the Enforcer Touring Jacket  from MotorcycleHouse.com a hard look.

Ride safe… I hope I see you down the road somewhere.

Goldwing Handlebar GOPRO Camera Tripod

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

GoPro Photo from handlebar tripod

Goldwing handlebar GoPro camera tripod is my solution to using a GoPro on a motorcycle. My daughter gave me a Gopro Hero 3 for my birthday. The GoPro has been gathering dust on the shelf while I have been figuring out the best way to use it while riding the wing.

Gopro handlebar tripod, motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

The finisher handlebar tripod

I have seen several mounts stuck in many places on other motorcycles. None of the mounts seemed to fit my needs logistically. When riding, I really don’t want to stop to change or move the camera from one mount to another to get shots while riding. Mounting the camera on my helmet didn’t seem like a good idea either. I wanted something I could safely access while riding. Something that could capture forward, side and rear shots while riding…  Like a tripod, mounted on my handlebars.

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

GoPro handlebar tripod

After searching the net, I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I designed and built one myself. It was a pretty simple design made from a 4 ¾” by 1” inch by 1/8” aluminum flat bar and using the head of an old mini tripod I had.

The other issue is operating the camera safely while riding. A remote was an obvious the answer. I decided to attach it to my wrist using a lanyard. The lanyard made it easily accessible and I could release it in an emergency.

The other day I took it out for a test ride… It all worked amazingly well… I do need to do more riding to get familiar with using the GoPro, the remote and developing techniques to get the best pictures and video.

Below are pictures and video of my first attempts…

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

GoPro photo from handelbar tripod

So… do any of you have suggestions or tips for using the GoPro? If so let’s hear them…

Ride safe and I hope to see you down the road somewhere…

On The Road Again – DIY Goldwing Repair

Yes, back on the road again. Goldwing repair is necessary just like on all bikes.The Honda Goldwing is a great touring motorcycle and it is the only bike for me. It is a well designed bike except for one really big thing… maintenance… I miss my old bike when it comes to maintenance…

Goldwing air filter  replacement

Air filter compartment in the bowels of a Goldwing

Case in point, changing the air filter. On the old bike (2000 Kawasaki Nomad) you removed one screw, removed the cover, removed the old filter, installed the new filter, replaced the cover and screwed in the one screw… Not so easy on the Goldwing. The air filter is in the bowels of the beast, requiring dismantling a lot of stuff. Once you finally get to the air filter there are 7 very hard to get to screws to remove the cover. Because of the tight fit, the old filter is a pain to remove and the new filter even harder to get back in.  Needless to say. it took a long time to complete. I’m so glad this does not need to be done frequently. Frequent maintenance (oil and filter change, battery and coolant check and adding) aren’t too bad. Hopefully Honda will rethink doing maintenance on newer models.

Note: If you do anything on the Goldwing, label all the bolts and screws as to where they go. It’s not obvious, but there are many different sizes and lengths. They look the same until you try putting them back. It is a bugger figuring which ones go where.

Replacing front fork seal, Honda Goldwing, maintenance, anti-dive

Leaky left front fork on the Goldwing.

The other repair was to replace the fork seals. Apparently the Goldwing has a common problem with the fork seals; or I should say, the left fork seal. When breaking hard and the anti-dive kicks and if you are on a rough road; that can blow the left fork seal. Why the left you ask? The anti-dive mechanism is only on the left fork and works by locking the left fork.  I have had to break hard several times. Once for a big Elk in Wyoming and for several idiot drivers. I don’t remember doing it on a rough road but once going over a railroad track. Anyway the left forked was leaking and needed the seal to be replaced.

I did some research on the subject and found many remedies but I didn’t like most of them that disabled the anti-dive. I decided to repair everything with stock parts. If it happens again I may revisit the other options.

I have never done any work on forks before. I was going to have the Honda dealer do it until they quoted me the cost of $600 plus. I was afraid to ask about the cost of replacing the air filter. I decided to make good use of my shop manual and do it myself. The parts were less than $100 from Wing Stuff. I also bought the Traxxion fork serve tool kit. The tool was a big help when installing the parts. After checking online for tips and information, I gave it a try. It really wasn’t too bad except for constantly referring to the shop manual or online video.  Just take your time and do it right.

Honda Goldwing, left fork removed

Left fork removed

This video was a big help. The video shows how to install  “Progressive Monotube Fork Cartridge Kit” for the Goldwing. It showed how to disassemble the forks. Watching the video was better than reading the service manual for the disassembly.

Honda Goldwing, left fork

Left fork ready to disassemble

I was going to add a few links about the fork problem but there are so many it might be better if you “googled” them yourself. Here are some terms I used…

  • Goldwing fork leak
  • Goldwing anti-dive problem
  • Goldwing left fork leak

I thought about making this a how to post. There is so much good information out there, I really can’t add much except for my 2 cents worth. So I will leave it at that. I actually enjoy working on my bike but with the Goldwing it can be real work. I would suggest doing it yourself if you are mechanically inclined. Just take your time to do it right. Rush it and there will be do overs and it could affect the safety of your bike.

So what are your experiences with maintenance on the Goldwing or other bikes. We would love to hear about it. Got any tips or tricks?

Have Goldwing will travel. I hope we meet somewhere down the road…

“That’s For People Who Can’t Read Maps!”

On the Texas Independence Trail

On the Texas Independence Trail

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

On our “National Park Motorcycle Ride” in July we stopped for gas in Gardiner, Montana.  When I started my bike the GPS announced “Turn right in fifty feet”. The woman filling up her car on the other side of the pump I was at exclaimed… “What was that!” The guy filling his truck behind her exclaimed…  “That’s for people who can’t read maps!”

To be honest I was a little annoyed… and I wanted to say something back. Fortunately, I couldn’t think of a good come back. It was probably a good thing I had left well enough alone. Thinking back I know there was a time I might have said the same thing. I didn’t have a GPS and I couldn’t figure out why I needed one. I probably would have never bought one for myself… What changed that you ask? My lovely wife bought me one for Christmas! When I got it I smiled and said thank you… thinking I would probably never use it… Besides it was just some fancy electronic gadget that I would have to learn to use. Yeah, it had only a few buttons… buttons that did many things and to know what those things are require reading the user’s manual…  I know some people consider me a bit of a geek but I, like most men, don’t like reading user’s manuals… and besides reading a map was much easier… right.

How did I end up learning to use it? To make a long story short, shortly after I got my GPS, I was put in a situation where I had to use it… In a city I did not know and I needed to get to many places. The GPS got me to those places without a hitch. Now the GPS is an invaluable tool of my travels.

Now back to the guy who said… “That’s for people who can’t read maps!” This is how I might have responded to him and other people like my former self.

Can you get this from a map?

  1. Find motels near you.
  2. Location of the nearest gas station.
  3. Restaurants nearby.
  4. Hospitals
  5. Shopping
  6. Parks, museums etc.

Can a map give you real-time information as you drive? Like…

  1. How far it is to your next turn.
  2. How far it is to your destination.
  3. Whether you will be exiting right or left from a freeway
  4. Does it give lane assignments for proper exiting?
  5. If you miss a turn can a map get you back on course (without stopping)?

Actually, to use a GPS effectively you need to know how to read a map. You must be able to read a map to plan routes… to add via points and add roads of your choosing and not just go from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. A GPS is just a tool just as maps are tools. A GPS is just a better tool…

The other advantage of using a GPS is you don’t have to read it as you are driving or riding. Reading a map while riding is hard… Unless you know the route by heart you will need to refer to the map. Reading those little road names are not easy and distracting…

Now I’ve got that off my chest… What can you add to this?

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

Riding Fit… Riding Smart…

IMG_2205

Riding fit… riding smart… my new motto. I am 66 years young… and not getting any younger ;). This past July I rode my longest ride in terms of miles and days (5500 miles in 16 days). It was the best ride to date.

As I have gotten older I have noticed things don’t function as well as in the past. I am not as strong as I once was. Fatigue takes a toll on me physically and mentally. I get pains in places I have never had pain before.  I don’t like these changes. I have had to adapt these to my riding style.

My daughter Katie is a triathlete and knows how to keep her body functioning at its peak. I asked Katie for some advice and tried to incorporate her tips into my ride.

I’ve always known it is important to stay hydrated, but she suggested replenishing my electrolytes. When you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. Many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. They also have sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better. Electrolytes are what your cells use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, heart & muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. The human body needs various kinds of salts to be healthy and to function normally. Serious salt imbalances, like those that occur with dehydration, may lead to heart and nervous system problems that, unless they are rapidly resolved, can result in a medical emergency. So you can see why this is important to a rider and very important to an aging one…

On previous trips I had, on occasion, bought a sport drink when we stopped. Katie suggested I drink one at every stop. That was a bit of a problem since we sometimes stop in the middle of nowhere and drink just water. Now I would have to carry sports drinks too… Katie suggested we carry electrolyte tablets that we could add to our water. That way we didn’t need to carry both. I actually carried several different brands (Hammer Nutrition & Nuun tablets and Mio Fit liquid). The brand I liked the best because of taste and it seemed to give a better boost of energy too, was by Hammer Nutrition (Electrolyte Fizz Tablets). I am amazed how much this helped. Even on long mileage days I felt great at the end of the day.

I have had a few back problems that have put me out of commission for days. This is always a concern when I am riding. Back problems on a ride would not be good. So far so good. I did have a problem with my back several months before our trip. Since this would be a long trip with many days in the saddle I wanted to do whatever I could to prevent any back problems. Katie suggested I do exercises to strengthen my back muscle. She gave me some exercises to do, but I modified them to suit me and my back. The exercises seemed to help a lot. I never noticed any pains hefting the Goldwing off the kickstand or any pains when staying in the saddle for hours on end.

The other issues I’ve had in the past were getting a good night’s sleep. Long hours in the saddle, not sleeping in my bed and the excitement of the day sometimes take a toll. I have trouble getting to sleep but once asleep I’m out until the alarm goes off. So on this trip I would take half a Ibuprofen PM and one Ibuprofen (muscle relaxer and helps with stiffness) an hour before bed. I slept really well during the whole ride.

Another concern is getting sick while riding. It’s no fun being sick (even a little sick) and having to ride. No fun for you and no fun for the other riders having to worry about you being sick. As a precaution I took an “Airborne” every night. I don’t know if it kept me from getting sick but it couldn’t have hurt and I didn’t get sick…

Riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car… I’ve found too that knowing your limits is as important as all the above. Of course this is continually evolving. Exceeding your limits will put you on shaky ground both physically and mentally. Staying within your limits makes for an enjoyable riding day. At the end of the day you can wind down and reflect on all the fun of the day instead of wishing you had made better choices.

Having taken these steps to ride fit and smart, I can see myself riding for years to come. It was a great ride and an even better ride not having to deal with any above issues.

I hope this is of some use to the older riders and the younger ones too.

If you like this post you may also like these related posts…

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

What Is Going On With My Motorcycle’s Front Tire?

Front tire wear

Front tire wear

What is going on with my front tire (tyre)? I checked my tires (tyres) a few weeks ago and found my front tire was wearing just on the left side. The right side had a lot of tread but the left side tread was gone! What could cause that? It looked like a major problem to me. I have never had a tire wear that way before. My first thought was to take my bike to the dealer to have them check it out but I didn’t have time. A week or so went by and it was still bugging me. I thought I would google it and see what would come up. WOW, a lot came up. There are a lot of riders out there with the same problem asking the same question. I found a lot of answers but some of them were pretty crazy… Below are some of the answers…

  • Something else that affects left side tire wear is a lot or riders cruise with only their right hand on the bars. The left hand sitting in your lap or resting on the tank. This causes you to subconsciously shift your body weight slightly to the left to compensate for holding onto the right side of the bike.
  • Were you ONLY turning left? Not a good thing at all.  Left fork and left rear shock on different settings/ fluid levels than the right?
  • You may want to watch how you load the saddle bags, if your heavy on the right side you will tend to lean left to keep going straight….
  • Actually, how badly crowned are the roads where you live? Here in Maine, we have some roads at, if they got more crowned, you could confuse them for the roofs of houses. That can (and does) cause uneven wear on tires. (will cause a little less than normal wear on the right, a LOT more wear on the left)

This is what I believe to be the correct answer or reason for the left side tire wear. Last September we did a ride with thousands of curves. Lately, we have done a lot of rides with a lot of curves… more curves than normal… That’s normal for around where I live. You folks who live in countries that ride on the wrong (left 😉 ) side of the road may notice the same tyre (tire) wear but on the right side. The short answer… Each left hand turn is longer than a right hand turn because we ride on the right side of the road and most people are more comfortable taking left hand turns and will ride more aggressively. In other words you are riding longer distances making left turns and you are riding harder… I did find several posts stating this same reason. This post goes into great detail about all types of tire wear. If you have a tire wear question, this post probably answers it. Here is another post worth looking at… Problem solved… answered… Ride safe…

What Motorcycle Do You Ride?

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So what motorcycle do you ride? If you ride, you will meet people who ride and people who do not ride. The conversation always gets around to your ride and why you love… or in some cases hate your bike… or trike. Everyone has good reasons what and why they ride. I have learned a lot over the years talking to other riders. There is no one bike for everyone… If you have ridden any length of time you know that. The bike you ride is as important as the gear you wear. A bike that does not fit your style of riding or how well you fix on the bike will eventually cause you to want something else. I’m vertically challenged and that affects what bikes I have to choose from.  All the vertically challenged know exactly what I talking about. Vertically superior riders have their issues too. I think I would rather have their issues… but they may not agree.

I’m always getting prospective first time riders who ask what bike they should buy. I have my experiences and they have served me well… but I feel I could know more.

No one wants to buy a bike and wished they had bought something else. They say it takes 3 bikes to get to the one you really like. From my experience I think that tends to be true.

Please take a few moments and tells us what you ride and why… We could all benefit from your knowledge.

 

Rest stop with town in the distance...

Rest stop with town in the distance…