Posts Tagged With: accessories

Review Of Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants

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.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Comfortable
  • Cool
  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Categories: Accessories, Reviews | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

First Farkle Of The New Year?

Well maybe it’s not so much a farkle but more of a sticker. The local BMW Motorcycle dealer has begun selling some stickers after a few years absence. I could resist getting one. After all, the Magic Carpet is not a trailer queen!  I actually meant to put this in the New Years Day ride post but forgot.

If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand.

If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

Categories: Accessories, General | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Let There Be Light

4W bright white LED on left, 50W halogen on right and the HID low beam above.

4W bright white LED on left, 50W halogen on right and the HID low beam above.

The Magic Carpet has Motolights on it.  I really like the triangle of light they provide.  The right side light had stopped working and it was because one of the pins on the bulb had broken.  I had also found that the light housing was loose.  Now I know, Motolights will replace the bulbs for free.  But, you have to find them at a show or contact them and then pay shipping for the bulb.  At an open house at BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, I already did have the right bulb replaced by Motolight a few years ago.  Besides, it’s no big deal to get a bulb as a it’s a standard MR16 12V bulb available at any home improvement store.  In the process of replacing the bulb I found out that I had a 35W bulb on the right and a 50W bulb on the left.  I was out of balance!  I had already been thinking of replacing the bulbs with LED ones anyway but while both were still working it was a low priority upgrade.  I found a post on BMWLT.COM about low cost LED replacements.  The dealer was a place called Dealextreme and they’re in China.  Now before anyone gets all huffy about buying American I can assure you that had I gone to a home improvement store the name brand bulbs I purchased would’ve come from China anyway.  A few people at BMWLT.COM had ordered from them already.  I felt even more confident ordering as I was using a “gift” debit card from my healthcare provider in case the card got compromised as there was only a few dollars left on it anyway.  I was going to replace both bulbs and found the 4W (watt) bright white LED MR16 bulbs and they were only $4.90 (USD) each.  So the two bulbs were only $9.80!  That’s less than half of ONE LED bulb at the home improvement store.  Oh, the order also qualified for free shipping.  I already knew the free shipping would take a while but took advantage of it anyway, I wasn’t in a rush.

I ordered my bulbs on the afternoon of September 11, 2013 and was sent a confirmation email and that they would ship soon.  The next morning on September 12, 2013 I had an email that had been delivered overnight that my order had shipped.  Today, on September 21, 2013 the postman delivered the bulbs.  I’d say not bad, getting here in 9 days getting here to metro Atlanta, GA from Shanghai, China.  It took just a few minutes of sitting on the floor in the garage on this rainy day to swap the bulbs out.  The new ones are nearly an identical match to the HID low beam headlight in color temperature appearance.  Not a bad deal for under $10.00!  They do ship worldwide too.  The photo above shows the comparison between the old halogen bulb and the LED replacement.

Until next time, ride safe!

Categories: Accessories, Safety | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Finding A BMW Motorcycle Dealer On The Road

The BMWMOA has a list on their website of all the BMW motorcycle dealers in the United States.  An enterprising member of the organization created a Point Of Interest (POI) file for Garmin GPS units along with directions for installing the file with Garmin’s POI Uploader available as a free download on Garmin’s web site.  Of course you could enter each one from the list into your GPS address book or as a POI individually but that could be time-consuming.  And, since someone else has already done it for us, why not use their work like they want us to?  Since they are points of interest you merely open the POI file on your GPS and it then lists the dealers beginning with the one closest to your location then 2nd, 3rd, etc..  It’s a handy feature to have while on the road and even works with our lowly Garmin Zumo 220.  Our old, original BMW Navigator came with this file pre-loaded as I think the current BMW Navigators do also.  But, dealers change, move or close so it’s nice to be able to update the file.

BMW Motorcycle dealer POI listing.

BMW Motorcycle dealer POI listing.

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All You Can Ride And All You Can Eat

It was a beautiful day to go out riding today.  We met some friends and we headed up to Young Harris, Georgia.  From our meeting location in Jasper, GA to home we totaled 216 miles on the Magic Carpet today.  We took some nice roads that we’ve been on numerous times but that doesn’t make them any less fun.  We stopped in at Rider’s Hill near Dahlonega to look around before heading for our planned lunch stop at the Brasstown Valley Resort for their Pasta, Soup, Salad & Dessert Buffet!

Usually I cringe when I get behind a car with a Florida license plate while riding in the mountains.  It seems like those “flatlanders” are either scared to ride on mountain roads (but want to) or just don’t know how.  Today was different though.  We came up behind a SUV with a Florida tag and they were moving right along but then at the first paved pull off they reached, they pulled off and waved as we went past.

Our lunch view at The Brasstown Valley Resort.

After lunch I forgot to put my ear plugs back in and realized it as soon as Donna said something in the intercom.  Everyone was already loaded up and ready to go, so I toughed it out.  I rode back down to Dahlonega where Sean stopped for gas and I hated it!  While Sean and Christine gassed up I put my ear plugs back in.  This was also my first long ride with the mesh jacket.  The other day I wore it and was sweating good underneath the back padding.  I’ve since taken the back pad out and I’ll just risk it with the shoulder and elbow armor.  The highest temperature we saw today was 87 degrees and I don’t think I was any warmer with the jacket.  But when stopped in traffic I did seem a bit warmer.  But as soon as we started moving, the breeze through the mesh of the jacket felt good.  I’ve never felt that with a just a shirt on.  While moving down the road I think I was actually cooler with the jacket though.  I got the jacket in hi-vis green and I think the fact that the sun is not shining on my arms makes me feel cooler.  I’m going to keep wearing the jacket in the summer.

As usual, we had a great time riding!

Categories: Accessories, Rides | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Of Mesh And Hi-vis

Back this winter I got a hi-vis mesh vest.  I like it.  I wear it over my Fieldsheer jacket and all by itself.  I’ve recently been wanting a hi-vis mesh jacket.  I’ve been hearing so many talk of how the mesh is actually cooler than a t-shirt.  Well this past week I ordered a Shadow Scorcher Mesh Jacket from Competition Accessories in North Carolina.  I ordered the jacket in the hi-vis green and black.

First off the mesh jacket is cooler and here’s why.  When it’s sunny your arms are outstretched and the rays from the sun are radiating onto them, heating them up.  The mesh keeps your arms in the shade as the mesh allow sweat to evaporate.  As soon as you start to move, cool air from the shad moves around your arms and torso.  Yes, you are cooler.  Now when you’re stopped in traffic I think I was just as warm (maybe a tad cooler) than wearing just a t-shirt.  But the breeze the mesh allows through allows you to cool off quickly.  The armor in the shoulders, elbows and back is a plus.  The jacket came with a zip out waterproof rain and wind liner too.  The only drawback is that the green is not as “bright” as the web site shows and is more “green” but it’s plenty bright enough to make you seen.  I wore it yesterday while out riding in a variety of traffic conditions in the Georgia first day of summer heat.  Temperatures were about 85 degrees farenheit (that about 29 degrees for you Celsius folk) and high humidity.  For the most part I was comfortable and liked the breeze channeled around me.  I never felt hot.  And the bright green did stand out in the rear view mirrors in the sunshine.

And what’s even better is that on Monday when I ordered, the jacket was on sale $89.99 before using my “Comp Cash” and a Father’s Day Discount coupon.  Today, the jacket is back to its normal price of $99.99.

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Garmin’s MapSource Or BaseCamp?

When we bought our GPS, a Garmin Zumo 220, it included Garmin’s mapping software MapSource on a DVD-ROM.  Using MapSource you could create routes on your computer and then transfer them to the GPS or the MicroSD card in the GPS.  It’s really a handy thing to do and I was used to it because our old GPS, a BMW NAV I (actually a Garmin Street Pilot III) used it also and I was already used to it.  Like any software there was a learning curve.  When we got the GPS we updated the maps as suggested and both MapSource and the GPS then had the same maps.  Garmin has started using software that’s a free download called BaseCamp to replace MapSource which they were phasing out.  You see, MapSource was included free only with certain GPS units but you could always buy if from Garmin for a price that they were very proud of.  But BaseCamp is a free download and is said to work with any Garmin GPS that you can attach to your computer via a USB cable.  I decided to download it and try it out.  Again there was a learning curve but using the tutorials on the Garmin web site I learned to use it and like it.  Your routes were now in collections or lists (lists were in a collection) and I could never find where they were kept on my computer, unlike the GDB or GPX files that MapSource would create.  In fact I was using BaseCamp as my sole mapping software after our installation of the Windows 8 Beta and final release.  BaseCamp would use the maps installed on the GPS create routes if the GPS was connected to the computer.  If the GPS was not connected to the computer, you’d get a very basic map.  A while back, BaseCamp decided that it didn’t want to transfer routes to the MicroSD in the GPS anymore or to the GPS.  Garmin’s first attempt at trouble shooting was to blame it on Windows 8.  So I re-installed MapSource and the map in the GPS to my computer.  They each have their advantages and disadvantages but I sure did miss MapSource!

Advantages of BaseCamp

  • It’s free and you can install it on as many computers as you like.
  • Because it will use the maps installed on the GPS you can use it on any computer you wish, without having to install the maps to the computer.
  • You can see all your “Collections” and “Lists” in one place.
  • Easy to transfer routes to GPS (although mine stopped doing that).
  • You can set it for different activities such as hiking, motorcycling, driving.

Disadvantages of BaseCamp

  • It can be cumbersome to use.
  • It tends to show all your lists (routes) unless you delete them or hide them
  • It tended to use a business on a corner as a waypoint instead of the intersection.
  • To use the same maps as the GPS, the GPS needed to be connected to the computer (although after an installation of the maps for MapSource use that’s no longer required)

Advantages of MapSource

  • It’s definitely more polished.
  • Will easily save routes as a GPX (GPS exchange for other GPS units) or GDB (Garmin Data Base) to your hard drive or any folder of your choosing.
  • Easy to transfer routes & more to your GPS when connected to computer.
  • GPS does not need to be connected to computer to create routes using the same maps as in the GPS.
  • GPS need only be connected to computer to transfer data back and forth.

Disadvantages of MapSource

  • Only included with certain GPS units.
  • Is not free if it did not come with your GPS.
  • Software and maps take up quite a bit of room on your hard drive.
  • Since it’s commercial software you’re only to install it on a single computer.

Below are pictures of both  MapSource and BaseCamp showing the same location at the same zoom factor (0.5 mile) and same detail level using the default setting without the GPS attached to the computer.

MapSource without GPS connected to computer.

MapSource without GPS connected to computer.

BaseCamp without GPS connected to computer.

BaseCamp without GPS connected to computer.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Can You Hear Me Now?

Well since Christmas I’ve been riding with earplugs.  I guess I want to preserve the hearing I have left along with reducing the effects of my tinnitus.  Actually, I’ve been using two different kinds of re-usable plugs, Etymotic ER20 and E.A.R. Do It Yourself Custom Molded Ear Plug.  I’m now thinking that I like the Etymotic plugs better.  They really muffle wind noise around the helmet and do just as they advertise and let “gas station” conversation be heard.  They are comfortable (at least for me) to wear.  I found no real need to raise the volume on my in-helmet intercom and the helmet doesn’t affect them.  I do like the E.A.R. plugs too and my problem may simply be the way I made them.  You need to knead two compounds together, then mold them into your ear and let it set up for about 10 minutes.  I think I may have kneaded until it started to harden too much before placing it in my ear.  The second ear went much smoother than the first one did.  Because they are custom molded they are really comfortable.  They also actually do supply more material than you’d need.  The optional screw-in neck cord is a big plus too.  Wind noise around the helmet seems louder with the E.A.R. plugs though and more bothersome.  Off motorcycle conversation is muffled quite a bit and I did need to raise the volume of the intercom too.

I’m keeping both sets handy but will probably use the Etymotic ones the most.  I did get the E.A.R. plugs at Earplug Superstore (I happened to use their links for both plugs as they sell both) and got the Etymotics from Aerostich.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

We Don’t Have Date Night, We Have Date Rides

Yep, you read that right we have “Date Rides” and today was one of them.

It had been a while since Donna was on the back of the Magic Carpet.  In fact she may not have ridden yet this year.  This past Wednesday we woke to a dusting of snow on deck and rooftop here in northern Georgia.  Further north in the state they had snow on the ground again.  Fast forward to today, Friday.  The forecast was for temperatures just above 60 degrees and for a cloudless blue sky.  Over morning coffee we decided it was time for a “Date Ride”.

We headed north from the house going through Canton and Jasper while headed for a different than normal route, going through Talking Rock, Georgia this time.  In Talking Rock we took GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain were there was still some snow along the side of the road at the higher elevations.  There was also a good bit of the gravel that GDOT had so generously spread on the road, especially in the curves on the mountain.  There was enough that you could see it in the center of the lanes so we didn’t take the curves as “spirited” as we would’ve like to blow out some cobwebs.  The plan was to head up through Dahlonega then up over Blood Mountain and have lunch in Blairsville before heading for home.  Now here’s the advantage to a “Date Ride” with just the two of us.  We changed our plans along the way while riding.  We decided on lunch at Turner’s Corner Café in Cleveland and then heading for home.

During the ride, Donna said she was formulating an article in her head about the floorboards that she likes.  I like the ear plugs so much that I recently got some E.A.R. Do It Yourself Custom Molded Ear Plugs.  The jury is still out on the custom plugs.  I had to raise the volume on the intercom to hear it and the GPS (and they were muffled) so they’re definitely quieter.  But there seemed to be more wind noise.  The other Etymotic plugs I had gotten are designed to block sound but let conversation be heard.  I’ll have to try them both on a ride one day to compare them better.

It was a really great day for a “Date Ride”.

Until next time, Ride Safe.

Categories: General | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

An Accessory for Donna

Get your minds out of the gutter!

But on the BMWMOA flea market I bought Donna a pair of BMW floorboards for the K1200LT.  Their was an owner who had sold his K1200LT and removed some accessories to sell separate from the motorcycle.  Donna had floorboards on our Suzuki C50T Boulevard, one of those “Harley-A-Like” motorcycles.  Since getting the K1200LT she has mentioned the idea of the floorboards a few times.  You see, for some reason the BMW K1200LT was the only luxury touring motorcycle that came with footpegs instead of floorboards.  BMW of course would sell them to you for a price they were very proud of.  A company named Illium also makes passenger floorboards for the motorcycle but they’re smaller and if you want the adjustable ones (like the BMW ones are) instead of fixed, their price approaches the BMW boards.  I got these used floorboards at a nice discount as they were used.  The advantage of the BMW floorboards is that they are adjustable up and down (6 settings) without the use of tools, are larger and the entire foot surface is rubber.

I hope to be able to get Donna to write an article on the floorboards after she’s ridden with them.

Original, wide BMW footpeg.

Original, wide BMW footpeg.

The adjustable BMW floorboard.

The adjustable BMW floorboard.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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