I’ve received a Laughlin jacket made by River Road from Motorcycle House in order to write a review of the jacket and Motorcycle House.
To be honest, I picked the Laughlin because it was a fabric jacket and was not leather and was available in a color other than black. Many of the jackets were nearly identical to a name brand jacket that I already had or were black leather. I was pleasantly surprised when this jacket arrived. The jacket is a nice brown color and had the appearance of Carhartt jacket. When I tried it on Donna even asked “Are you sure that’s a motorcycle jacket?” She commented that from a distance the jacket even looked like it was suede. Now on to the review.
I ordered the jacket in an XL and the jacket is true to size and maybe even a little larger as it is not snug and has a looser fit but can be adjusted somewhat by the tab at the waist. It is a waist length jacket. It is a polyester/nylon blend jacket that has the appearance of cotton or canvas. It definitely does not have the nylon or carbolex look. The Laughlin has reflective piping on the front and the back. There are a total of NINE pockets on this jacket! There are 2 snap pockets on the chest, the 2 zipper chest vents are also pockets, 2 zippered handwarmer style pockets, on the inside of the jacket there is a zippered map style pocket and the liner has a cell phone style pocket and large Velcro pocket. If you remove the insulated liner, the cell phone pocket and Velcro pocket are also on the mesh lining of the jacket itself. The waist can be tightened by tabs with snaps on them. The sleeves zip to the wrist and can also be cinched tighter by snaps. The collar can be snapped down so that it does not flap in the wind, but can also be zipped all they way to cover your neck and keep it warm. I rode about 100 miles wearing the jacket yesterday. It was 46º F and sunny when I started. I had a long-sleeved t-shirt on and was quite comfortable. Although I could feel some cold air seeping in at the waist I merely tightened the snaps when I stopped to meet my riding partner for the day. I also had the neck zipped all the way up covering my neck and it was soft and comfortable and more importantly did not interfere with my helmet. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon I was very comfortable. But as normal, if it were to be colder I would’ve been wearing more than a long sleeve t-shirt. While we crested some mountains in north Georgia the temperature dipped back to 45º. As the afternoon warmed up into the mid 60′s I stopped to remove the liner. I also opened up the vents and felt good air flow around my torso using the front should vents and the rear exhaust vents. This is an armored motorcycle jacket having CE Approved armor in the elbows and shoulders and a foam protection pad for the back. All of the armor is removable. The armor is not noticeable perhaps making this jacket appeal to even a broader spectrum of riders. I rode about 100 miles with the jacket yesterday. This jacket is so comfortable that it will quite likely be my “go to” jacket next winter for casual wear. I really like this jacket a lot if you can’t tell.
You’ll see my review of Motorcycle House along with the jacket’s pros and cons below the pictures of the jacket and the video. You have to review the retailer too don’t you? Especially when that’s what they want!
- Warm and comfortable in cooler temperatures. With liner removed and vents opened jacket moves air around body.
- Collar will snap down or zip up to cover neck.
- When off the motorcycle it does not look like a motorcycle jacket.
- It has a lot of pockets.
- Cell phone pocket will even accommodate a smart phone in an Otterbox case.
- True to size fitting.
- CE Approved armor in elbows and shoulders with foam padding for the spine.
- The armor is not highly visible.
- Reflective piping.
- Water repellent.
- Back vents can be hard to reach while wearing jacket.
It was a bit odd when the marketing representative from Motorcycle House contacted me about this. They supplied the choices to pick from after we started firming things up. Most were jackets of the “cruiser” variety or something I already had. I then selected the River Road Laughlin. I’ll admit there were some bumps in the road that made me wonder things. It was took over a week to ship and they said it was due to weather. I then realized the area had an earthquake about 2 days after they said they’d ship. They are located near San Bernardino, CA and the jacket was sent to them from a warehouse in Illinois. But to their credit, they stayed in near constant contact through email. Once they shipped from California it made it here in under 4 full business days (shipped late on Wednesday and arrived on a Monday). They also provided me tracking numbers from the warehouse to them and then from them to me. The jacket did arrive a day earlier than UPS had estimated. When you go to the web site you’ll often quickly get a chat window from customer service asking if they can help you. If you click on the chat link for them, they quickly respond. I did notice that they nearly always had their own brand of article in stock but currently (as this can change) nearly all Tourmaster or Cortech items will show as out of stock. They did deliver to me as a demo within what I would consider a reasonable time. I was always able to get in touch with someone, even when being anonymous using their support link while browsing. I’d give them a chance if you’re looking for motorcycle gear or even saddlebags. Yes they even sell saddle bags! They made me wonder at first but I can be cynical, but in reality they came through as promised. Motorcycle House is just trying to get their name out there and spread around. They’re at motorcyclehouse.com if you want to take a look.
A while back I was contacted by a representative of an online motorcycle accessories and apparel retailer. Initially he had inquired about being a guest blogger here. I had told him that since this was personal blog of ours that we were not interested in guest bloggers. He contacted me again about me placing a link to their site on the blog. But offered to send something for me to try out and review. I would keep the item, write and post the review and hopefully a video review also. Emails were exchanged and I was given a list of jackets to pick from. Yesterday I received the jacket and in the next few days I plan on riding with it and writing the review and posting it. I get a jacket and they want the link along with not only the reviews but to possibly link to the reviews and any video reviews. So far it seems like a pretty good deal! Stay tuned for a review of the jacket in a few days.
Yes we took a vacation 2 weeks ago on the motorcycle. But Donna said she hadn’t been on a 100 mile or more day-ride in a long time. The dogwood trees are in full bloom here so we decided to ride. No, the two are not related in any way other than the dogwood trees are in bloom and we rode. I was also trying out my new Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants (you can read the review on this link; wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
Donna had a store meeting this morning but was off the rest of the day. I dropped her off in the car and headed back home. Then when her meeting was over I headed back. There she was on the curb so I pulled up and asked “Hey lady do you want to go for a motorcycle ride?” She said she wanted the Italian hoagie sandwich for lunch at Turner’s Corner near Cleveland, GA and I wasn’t going to argue, nor did I want to. We went and met Sean & Christine (and their Victory Cross Country Tour) and we were off. It’s a destination and route we’ve taken numerous time before but it’s always fun. We headed up towards Jasper, GA and then on to Marble Hill. Before we reached Dawsonville we headed north on Steve Tate Highway (it’s really just a two lane road) until it dead ended at Georgia HWY 136 to HWY 183. It was then literally just down the hill to HWY 52 which would take us to Dahlonega. While on HWY 52 we came up behind a motor home towing a car. They had South Dakota plates so they weren’t local. Now normally we hate being behind a motor home on mountain roads but this guy could drive. He was moving along well enough that we had no desire to pass him. He seemed to not like when an SUV got in front of him on HWY 9. We headed for Turner’s Corner. Along the way approaching motorcyclists were patting their helmet warning of the police ahead. It wasn’t long before we found the Sheriff’s car on the side of the road. There was a motorcycle in front of us and the female passenger waved at him as they passed. He stuck his arm out the window and waved back. We know he was out there looking for scofflaws on the curvy road but he was also waving at passing motorcycles too. After lunch we rode up US129 on Blood Mountain and it’s combination of sweeping and sharp curves. After Blood Mountain it was a short trip over to The Richard B Russell Scenic Highway (GA HWY 348) and its nice curves going up and down the mountain. On the way back down, heading south we noticed we were on fresh asphalt. Sometimes motorcyclists are so easy to please! The new asphalt was nice and smooth. The tires gripped the curves like glue and we took those curves at a higher speed and even left some scrape marks in the new pavement. Once we reached the bottom at HWY 75 Alt. Sean took the lead and took us on Adair Mill RD eventually bringing us out on US 19 where we headed up to Rider’s Hill for ice cream. While sitting in the rocking chairs not one but two of the new BMW R Nine-T motorcycles pulled up. The tall, bald-headed guy looked familiar but at the moment I couldn’t place him. I went inside and noticed the owner of BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta in the shop. He was with the bald-headed guy who I now recognized to be BMW factory rider Nate Kern. The owner, Bob recognized me and we chatted for a moment. They headed out and Nate got on one the new R Nine-Ts and Bob the owner got on his R 100 Dakar. From there it was time to head for home. The only bad part of the day was the yellow pollen that coats everything, including us, this time of year.
The Magic Carpet amongst the dogwoods at Rider’s Hill in Dahlonega, GA.
Earlier this week I had received my pair of Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants. The pants have mesh panels in them to allow for air flow when it’s warm. I got ride over 200 miles while wearing them today. I saw reviews on several websites that the pants were “true to size” or even big. When I took the pants out of the box, they seemed huge! I tried them on and they seemed a bit big and made me think for a while that I should’ve ordered the L instead of the XL. You see, I already have a pair of Tourmaster Quest pants in L and they seem snug but are cut more like jeans. Tourmaster L says 34-36 and XL says 36-38. I can comfortably wear name brand blue jeans with a 38″ inch waste and can squeeze in a pair of 36 so I thought I’d be okay. These pants are also much darker in color than is shown on the Tourmaster and other web sites.
The Tracker Air Pants come with the nylon wind liner already in them. The liner is easily removed with Velcro tabs. I first tried the pants on with the wind liner in them and could already tell that I don’t like it. Unless you are VERY careful putting the pants on, you will pull the liner off the Velcro tabs. Then the wind liner looked like it was longer than the pants themselves and stuck out from the bottom of the legs. It really doesn’t bother me though because I wanted the pants for warm weather wear as I already have cool weather pants. The pants have legs that zip off so you can make them into shorts. I did zip the legs off and on and it was easy to do. Again though, I didn’t buy them to wear as shorts so doing that is something I will probably never do again. The only armor in these pants is the CE rated armor in the knees. The knee armor is not adjustable like it is in other Tourmaster pants, it only has the one position. I think if I had ordered the L the armor would be too high while sitting on the motorcycle. The pants have no back pockets. The only pockets are the 2 zippered front pockets and the cargo pockets on each leg. But the cargo pockets appear to be waterproof (Tourmaster does NOT advertise these pants as having a rain liner to keep you dry). The side zipper on the legs goes all the way to the knee and the cuffs are secured by Velcro. The zipper is covered by a Velcro secured flap which I think is unneccessary. Unless you’re going to put the pants on or take them off while wearing boots you shouldn’t even need to use the leg zippers. There are no belt loops on these pants and you adjust them using the Velcro strap on each side.
Now for the good part….wearing while riding.
I wore them today on a 200+ mile ride with temperatures in the mid 70′s F and a partly cloudy sky. As soon as you start moving you can feel the air moving through the pants. The mesh panels are on the shins, thighs and the backs of the legs. Right away you feel the shins and I’m being a full fairing. As your speed increases you can feel the air on your thighs. I never did notice any breeze on my calves but interestingly could feel it on the back of my thighs. Getting on and off the motorcycle was easy and comfortable, probably due to the stretch panel in the crotch. I felt no binding or tight spots. The legs did not flap in the breeze. Are they cooler than jeans? You bet they are! Even when stopped in traffic they were quite comfortable. The knee armor seemed a bit high but I was able to move around and adjust it before riding off. I found no defects and they are well made. Even though they are mesh, you can’t see skin through the material due to the thinner mesh lining like Tourmaster and Cortech use in their jackets. I do think they are a very worthwhile purchase if you ride in warmer climates as they are cooler than jeans and offer more protection than jeans.
- Well made
- Knee armor
- Cargo pockets appear to be waterproof
- Allow good air flow
- Cuffs are adjustable
- Reflective piping down entire length of leg
- Reflective piping matches pants and is invisible until light find it in the dark
- Don’t ride up while riding
- Don’t flap in breeze
- Cooler than jeans
- More protection than jeans
- You may be able to wear over a pair of jeans
- Wind liner comes loose
- Wind liner appears to be an after thought
- No belt loops for wearing a belt
- Knee armor is not adjustable
- No hip armor
- Seem to run large
- No back pockets
We took a short vacation on the motorcycle that took us through three states and through one of the states three times. We left Georgia for our first destination in South Carolina where we stayed for two days. Then we left South Carolina going through Georgia to head for our next destination in Florida for a few days. Then we finally left Florida to head back into Georgia. This time the Magic Carpet was our transportation to our destinations. Once we arrived there were no plans to ride anywhere. The bike got us from to each point on the leg. At least it’s more fun than a car!
On the first day we left home in Georgia for our first stop in Beaufort, SC in the Low Country. About half our ride was along Interstate 20 East heading from the Atlanta, GA area to the Augusta, GA area. The forecast called for a distinct chance of rain showers for that part of the route but we were very lucky to get just a few drops of rain on the windshield a couple of times. It did look ominous for a while when the sky ahead turned dark and cars approaching on the other side of the highway all had their headlights on but somehow we dodged the rain. The temperature stayed in the mid 50′s° (F) the entire day, forcing us to keep the liners in our jackets. After lunch in Augusta it was just a short hop over the border into South Carolina to get off the highway in North Augusta, South Carolina. We were now ready to head south-east on SC HWY 125 which is also known as Atomic RD. You see, SC125 goes through part of the Savannah River Plant. The Savannah River Plant is a nuclear plant but it’s purpose is not power generation but making things that go BOOM. The stretch of SC 125 that meanders through part of the plant is a two lane stretch of about 25-30 miles through forest and has no intersections. There are a few plant entrances but no intersections. While we didn’t see any 8 foot tall grasshoppers we did see a few streams with warning signs that said “Caution: Stream Temperature May Change Rapidly”. The fence lining the highway had the nice government “No Trespassing” signs. There were plenty of signs telling us not to stop except for an emergency. I found it amusing to see a sign about a historical marker a half mile ahead and sign under it commanding “No Stopping”. After the plant it was time to head for US HWY 278 and some of the small rural towns of South Carolina. It wasn’t long before Interstate 95 came into view but we were going to go under it and keep going. As we got deeper in the Low Country we could notice small fields of water and marshes along the road. Even while still a good distance inland, these marshes were controlled by the tides. It was also starting to get very windy while the sky was clearing. Live oaks with Spanish Moss began to form a canopy over the road. It wasn’t long before we were in Beaufort and checking in at the Best Western Sea Island Inn on Bay ST. Beaufort is a low country town very near the coast and is situated nearly equally from Charleston, SC as it is from Savannah, GA. It is also the county seat for Beaufort County. The town is loaded with ante-bellum homes built in the mid 1800′s. If you want to buy one, a small one could start at $750,000. We’ve learned that Beaufort was also an area were freed slaves were allowed to settle before the Civil War. The freed slaves could own businesses, buy property and had their own bank and churches. If you consider that this was South Carolina before the Civil War it was actually pretty amazing. The Magic Carpet stayed parked and resting during our two-day stay. Everything we wanted to do or see was right along Bay ST and a short walking distance. The hotel has 5 of its rooms overlooking Bay ST. Our door opened to a view through the trees of the Beaufort River and the downtown city marina.
After two days in Beaufort it was time to pack the motorcycle and head for our next destination in Port Orange, FL near Daytona Beach where we’d be visiting my Dad. I had planned a route that would take us in a south-west direction on state highways before we reached Interstate 95 which we would be using this time. Although we did get some nice scenery on the two lane highway in the low country and crossed the Broad River. It was still quite windy too. There were quite a few times that our heads got tossed around by wind and even began activating the VOX on the intercom. We stopped for gas just north of Brunswick, GA and were also able to take the liners out of our jackets. From there is was all interstate on I-95 into Florida, through Jacksonville and on into Daytona Beach and Port Orange. On both our ride to Beaufort and to Florida it was nice that we could get a late start in the morning and be at our destinations in the mid afternoon. It’s a good thing we didn’t plan on any sight-seeing or riding or riding while in Florida as one day was high winds and rain. But we spent time with my Dad and helped him out with a few things.
After a few days in Florida it was time to head back north and in the direction of home. Donna had once again decided that since we would be on the boring highway that she wanted to stop for the night somewhere in south Georgia and then finish the journey home the next day. It also gave me the chance to take her on different route home that she hadn’t ridden on before. I took us up to Ormond Beach where we then used FL HWY 40 to head west to the middle of the state and got on Interstate 75 near Ocala, FL. FL HWY 40 is nice mostly 2 lane highway going through the Osceola National Forest. Our normal trip home would be I-95 to I-295 to I-10 and then I-75 into Georgia and all the way home. The trip on FL HWY 40 takes us up I-95 a very short distance and FL 40 to Ocala and then I-75 all the way home. The mileage of the two routes are nearly identical and the route on FL 40 is about 15 minutes longer but worth every minute of it. Somewhere north of Ocala the odometer on the Magic Carpet rolled over to 80,000 miles too! Again we were dealing with wind strong enough to toss our heads and loud enough to activate the VOX on the intercom. We headed up to our stop in Tifton, Georgia for the night. Although we picked the hotel for its close proximity to being able to walk to any number of restaurants we decided to stay in the room and order pizza to be delivered!
Tifton is nearly the half way point for us. So we could once again get a late start in the morning. It also gave us a chance to let the sun warm the day up. Another advantage of Donna’s idea is that it guarantees that we should miss rush hour traffic while going through or around Atlanta. Her way also got us home at just after 1:30 in the afternoon.
The Magic Carpet now sits in the garage with more than 80,000 miles on her odometer and she’s ready to go out again!
You can look right through to the Beaufort River.
View from our hotel room door overlooking the downtown marina and river.
Downtown Beaufort, SC on Bay ST.
Restaurant sign in Port Orange, FL. Unfortunately is was in the back corner near the dumpster.
Lady’s Island bridge seen from the residential end of Bay ST in Beaufort, SC.
Beaufort River bridge to Lady’s Island from the downtown battery park.
Lady’s Island bridge seen from battery park.
View of the marsh from a dead end street in Beaufort, SC.
Sign at Boondock’s in Wilbur By The Sea, FL.
Marsh view preserved by…….
There are three separate oil changes that periodically need to be performed on a BMW K1200LT. There’s motor oil, transmission oil and final drive oil. The motor oil service recommendation is every 6,000 miles with 20W50 while the transmission and final drive recommendations are every 12,000 miles with 90 weight GL5 gear oil. So guess what? I figured out some time ago that every other oil change all three oils get changed and today was one of those days. The motor oil and the final drive oil are a snap to do. But I hate doing the transmission oil. It’s just that it’s a pain to do with parts to remove and hard to get to. You usually end up getting the old oil on the floor because you can put the pan under it and have to fashion some sort of funnel. Mind you, BMW probably sells a nice, expensive part just to do this. Today I was prepared and put a very large piece of cardboard under the motorcycle and then put it up on the center stand. I fashioned a funnel out of one my empty oil bottles lengthwise and about ½” tall so that it was flexible enough to bend and thin enough to be able to reach the recessed drain bolt. This time it worked like a charm and I even get very little oil on the cardboard!
The motor oil would’ve been due during our upcoming trip and looking back on the mileage, the final drive and transmission probably right after the trip. But I may as well get all of my laying on the garage floor done in one day and keep with the every other change philosophy. I found no metal flakes on the magnetic drain plug for the final drive and only the dark sludge that’s expected. The magnet on the transmission drain plug also had no metal flakes or shavings (even though the manual says a few are acceptable), again another thing good sign. The gear oils were both still a dark golden color this time, yet another good sign.
Another service date out of the way!
Two things always bring up debate between motorcyclists and they are tires and oil.
It was time for a new rear tire on the Magic Carpet. My tire of choice for it is the Bridgestone BT020 Battleax (with the proper load rating of 79V for the K1200LT). So once again it was time to call Ken’s Motorcycle Tires in Woodstock, Georgia. I don’t even shop around anymore. Ken usually comes pretty close to meeting any online prices and with the mounting discount on tires purchased from him along with the great personal service, you can’t beat it. Here’s a prime example:
- I called Tuesday and ordered the tire (he normally doesn’t have tires in his small shop for a BMW K1200LT) and was quoted a price of $151.14 for the tire. Because the rear wheel is so easy to remove on the K1200LT I was going to bring just the wheel in and was quoted a price of $10.00 to mount the tire. Yes, $10.00. Mounting when bringing in the motorcycle is approximately $40.00. The tax and fees pushed it to a whopping $14.81.
- On Wednesday they called that the tire was in and to set my appointment to have it mounted.
- On Thursday morning I went and had the tire installed. It took all of less than 15 minutes!
- Just out of curiosity when I got home, I checked 2 online retailers who normally have good tire prices and they did, $164.00 at one and $153.00 at the other. This was for the same tire. Ken charges significantly more to mount tires that are not purchased from him.
We put 14,674 miles on the Bridgestone that was just replaced. I knew there were some miles left on it but with an upcoming trip I figured it better to replace the tire now when I could instead of when I had to. Ken said there was maybe “1,000 to 1,500 miles left on it” but agreed riding local is one thing and on a long trip is another. Our trip looks to be about 1,100 miles at minimum and that’s just to the destinations with no extra riding. I think it was a wise choice to change it now. I mean what if I put another 4oo miles on it before the trip. Maybe we’ll see about breaking in the new tire this weekend.
Regardless of brand this is just a cool gesture! A son surprises his Dad for Christmas Day 2013 with a BMW K1600GTL. I found this when I looked at something else and it was just too good not to share, regardless of what kind of motorcycle you prefer.
This morning we had a Blue Knights breakfast meeting in Alpharetta. The ride over for breakfast was a bit chilly starting at about 44°F but it was forecast to be sunny and warm today. After the meeting there was a ride planned to go over to the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville where the Southeaster Gathering of Cowboys was going on. One of our Blue Knights members would be at the gathering and invited us over. After the meeting a group of 6 motorcycles made the trek over from Alpharetta to Cartersville, going through Canton. There was an assortment that included a few Harley Davidsons, our BMW, a Victory and a Gold Wing. We got there and there were cowboys all over the place! We took a stroll through the museum but the chuck wagons were beginning to close down by the time we toured the museum. As we mounted our steeds and went our separate directions for home the sunshine was warm and some even packed their jackets away. I was happy enough with the vents opened on mine. On our trip home (again avoiding highways) the temperature was just at 70ºF. It looks like winter might be loosening its grip on us.
Tags: BMW, georgia, rides
When we replaced our cruiser style motorcycle and bought our BMW K1200LT we did it to travel and take trips. Sure it’s comfortable to ride on all day. We’ve taken numerous trip to Florida, a number of overnight or weekend trips to North Carolina and we’ve ridden the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s time to ride somewhere again.
We had already planned on riding down to Florida to visit my Dad after Bike Week in Daytona Beach had come and gone. Donna started looking for places to go, either on the way to my Dad’s or on the way home. Thoughts she came up with were Bush Gardens in Tampa, one of the Disney resorts or St. Augustine. Then she came up with a possible winner, Beaufort, South Carolina. We’d been to Beaufort a few times, our first right after we got married. Beaufort is a nice small southern town on the water. We’ve never ridden through the South Carolina Low Country. The last time we went to Beaufort we flew there in a Cessna 172XP Hawk. This time we’ll ride. Of course we could take the fastest way, using the interstate, taking I-75 to I-16 and then I-95. But that’s boring and believe me, that stretch of I-16 is extra boring! I’m already looking at a route out I-20 to Augusta then it’s all US and state highways the rest of the way in South Carolina going through towns such as Allendale, Fairfax, Hampton and Yemassee before getting to Beaufort. This more scenic route is only a half hour longer and well worth it. So it looks like a trip to the Low Country is in order before heading for Florida. We’ll have to have Frogmore Stew (also know as Low Country Boil) while we’re there.
The last time we went to Beaufort this is how we arrived.