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Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Rider Magazine StaffDecember 04, 2015

We’ll look back on 2015 as a banner year, with more than 60 all-new or updated motorcycles that cover the gamut in terms of style, price and performance, as well as a wide range of high-quality gear to choose from. With the holidays approaching, now is the perfect time to treat friends, family or yourself with some new-fangled moto kit. Rider’s editors handpicked a bunch of new gear for bike and body that any motorcyclist will love. As Francis of Assisi once said, “For it is in giving that we receive.”


German company Abus has been making high-quality locks since 1924. Its Granit Detecto X Plus 8077 brake disc lock ($179.99) provides peace of mind when we have to park bikes in sketchy places, like downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco’s Mission District. The bright-yellow lock’s 13mm bolt, body and supporting elements are made of special hardened steel. Potential thieves or vandals will be caught off-guard by the 100dB alarm with 3D Motion Sensor Technology and Brake Disc Recognition, which will not arm and go off during transport. Once locked and armed, any movement elicits a warning reminder (so you won’t ride off with it still on the bike) and then a loud alarm. The X-Plus key cylinder offers the highest protection against picking; two keys are included (one with an LED light) along with a code card for key replacement, a zippered storage pouch and two AAA batteries.



Getting a flat tire or running out of gas can ruin a pleasant Sunday ride if you aren’t prepared. Keeping your AMA membership current (which includes roadside assistance coverage) and carrying a tire-repair kit and fuel siphon are cheap insurance. Aerostich’s E-Z Fill Siphon ($27) is a lightweight (just 4 oz.), easy-to-use fuel transfer system that doesn’t require getting a mouthful of gas. Unroll and unkink the 68-inch siphon hose, insert the self-priming pump end into a non-empty gas tank, put the other end into the 1⁄8-gallon transferring container and then move the pump up and down a few times to get the fuel flowing. A handy stopper clip maintains flow even in the “off” position so you can fill and refill the transfer container multiple times with ease. Everything fits inside the transfer container (10.1 x 2.6 x 1.25 inches) and a super-soak towel is included for cleaning up spills.



If you don’t mind trading a little protection for some comfort and versatility, BMW’s new RIDE high-top sneakers are cooler and lighter than the typical riding boot, and far more comfortable for walking. The sneakers offer a fair amount of protection on the bike, too, with a reinforced toe cap and sole, heel armor, ankle padding and an abrasion-resistant leather and textile upper with perforated panels for some airflow. BMW says the sneakers meet the Euro “Protective Footwear for Motorcycle Riders” standard (DIN EN 13634:2010) like many of its boots. Once you lace them up for the right fit, the sneakers have a full-length zipper and a pull strap that makes it easy to slip them on and off. A leather cover embossed with the BMW logo keeps the laces tucked away, and reflective patches on the heel increase conspicuity. They do lack a toe patch to prevent shifter wear. RIDE sneakers come in Euro sizes 35-48 (U.S. women’s sizes 4-11 and men’s 7-14) and retail for $199.



Lots of riders are still putting big miles on Honda’s iconic GL1200 and GL1500 Gold Wing touring bikes. There’s a 2000 GL1500 in our shop that sees monthly use as our photo wagon, in fact. We’ve found that among the limited tire choices for these machines, the Bridgestone Exedra G701/702 front/rear Touring tires are a great value. Their bias-ply construction was specifically designed for these bikes and they have a uni-directional tread pattern for good performance on dry and wet roads. The Exedras wear like iron, provide predictable handling and braking, and the 160/80-16 size is reinforced for a whopping 992-pound load capacity. Bridgestone G701 Touring 130/70-18 front tires retail for $210.17, and the 160/80-16 rear goes for $271.69.

Bridgestone Exedra G702

Bridgestone Exedra G702


Now that your smartphone has mapping and navigational abilities nearly on par with GPS units, wouldn’t it be handy to have it where you can see it while riding? Cortech’s Micro 2.0 Tank Bag ($59.99) is constructed of ballistic nylon and has a specially designed smartphone pocket that tilts the phone slightly toward the rider for better viewing and to prevent the display from rotating. Its large lower pocket can hold a wallet, keys, change, some small tools or a turkey-and-Swiss on whole wheat. The Micro bag has a rubberized magnetic base for steel tanks, and it comes with mounting straps as well. The media pocket measures 6 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches (holds most iPhones, Galaxy and Galaxy Note smartphones) and the overall dimensions are 11 x 6.5 x 2 inches. With the front strap attached, it easily doubles as a small purse or murse off the bike.


Dowco, maker of Guardian motorcycle covers and Fastrax sport/adventure luggage, has two lines of cruiser luggage, Willie & Max and Iron Rider. New-for-2015 Iron Rider bags include the Quest Tour Trunk Bag, Brute and Weekender Sissy Bar Bags, and the Rumble Tail Bag ($179.99), which has a tactical, two-bags-in-one design with a 38-liter base bag (15 x 26 x 6 inches, with 5-inch drop-down expansion panels on each side) plus a 7-liter top roll bag (15 x 10 x 6 inches, expandable to 12 liters) for added storage or use as a smaller, solo bag. Made of 1680D polyester, the Rumble has a water-resistant zipper, multiple storage pockets, mil-spec MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) webbing for use with compatible pouches and accessories, a rain cover, four 1-inch quick-release buckles for mounting, abrasion resistant non-slip material on the bottom, reflective piping and a 2-year warranty.


If you spend a lot of time riding in hot weather, you probably own a mesh riding jacket or suit, which flows a ton of air while offering bodily protection in the event of a crash. But do you also have mesh motorcycle boots? Firstgear’s Mesh Hi Boots ($139.95) are affordable, comfortable, durable motorcycle boots that combine perforated leather with high-flow mesh panels. They’re lightweight, feel good on or off the bike and circulate enough air to keep feet reasonably cool on hot days. The tradeoff, of course, is that they won’t keep the rain out, so you’ll need to bring along waterproof boot covers. Mesh Hi Boots have a reinforced ankle, shin and toe box, a toe shifter patch (the rubberized coating wears off easily), a molded rubber sole and a zippered closure covered by a large hook-and-loop flap. Available in men’s whole sizes 7-13.


Giant Loop, started in 2008 and based in Bend, Oregon, designs and manufactures soft luggage and accessories for dual-sport/adventure riding. Some of GL’s tough, versatile luggage we’ve tested over the years, like its Fandango Tank Bag and horseshoe-shaped Great Basin Saddlebag, remains go-to gear when we head into the backcountry. But you don’t need a bike with knobbies to take advantage of GL’s no-nonsense designs and rugged, mil-spec construction. We used the 9-liter Kiger Tank Bag ($290) on a weeklong, rain-soaked tour of Italy and then strapped it on our Yamaha FJ-09 long-term test bike. We like its zipperless clamshell opening, touchscreen-friendly map pocket and removable waterproof Dry Pod bag. And GL’s Pronghorn Straps, made of super-tough stretch polyurethane with unbreakable fasteners (available in 16-, 20- and 26-inch lengths, two per package, $16-20), are some of the strongest, most versatile straps we’ve used for securing cargo on a bike.


Held, a family-owned motorcycle apparel and luggage manufacturer based in Germany, has been making gloves since the 1920s. Focusing exclusively on motorcycle gloves since the 1970s, Held introduced colorfast leather in 1983 and carbon-fiber protectors in 2001. We’ve been wearing its lightweight, ventilated Sambia Gloves ($120) regularly for more than a year and have found them to be ideal for riding in mild to hot weather. The palm and fingers are made of highly abrasion-resistant and tactile kangaroo leather, providing exceptional grip and feel. Cow leather detailing, Superfabric at the heel of the palm, hard plastic knuckle protectors and rubber wrist protectors further safeguard hands in the event of a crash. Spandex on the back of the hand and fingers gives the gloves a flexible, natural fit. They’ve been extremely comfortable and show very little wear. Available in sizes 7-12 in either black or gray-black.


Motorcycles and leather jackets go together like burgers and fries. Just as some motorcycles are cool, tough and timeless, so are certain jackets, like Joe Rocket’s Classic ’92 ($319.99-335.99), which has a clean, minimalist design that looks right at home on a cruiser or café racer. Made of topstitched 1.0-1.2mm drum-dyed cowhide that feels soft and broken-in, we like its relaxed, comfortable fit with pre-curved sleeves. On the outside there are four pockets with YKK zippers, adjustable waist and cuffs, an adjustable neoprene-lined mandarin collar and stripes on the upper arms and across the back. Inside are pockets for optional shoulder, elbow and back armor ($19.99-80.99), two utility pockets, a zip-in full-sleeve quilted liner and a 1.5-inch storm flap at the main zipper. Available in black or brown with white or orange stripes, in sizes S-2XL (3XL in black with white stripes).


Best known for its high-quality dual-sport/adventure apparel, Klim now offers apparel for street riding. The Blade Jacket ($499.99-549.99, black or gray, S-3XL) is made of 500D Cordura nylon with a breathable, waterproof Gore-Tex 2-layer Performance Shell. We like the Blade’s “high-mobility active fit,” which allows freedom of movement and never bunches or binds. It has CE-approved D3O Evo armor in the elbows and shoulders and a D3O Viper 1 back pad, as well as numerous vents, pockets, fit adjustments and reflective material. K Fifty 1 Jeans ($289.99-299.99, light blue or dark blue, 30-42 or 32-38 tall) are made of heavy-duty Cordura denim with Kevlar panels in “slide zones,” D3O Evo hip and knee armor, and a Poron XRD foam tailbone pad. Stone washed and comfortable from day one, they have five traditional jean pockets, belt loops, a zipper fly and a full mesh comfort liner.


Nolan’s N-Com B4 Bluetooth headset has served us well in the past, and now the company has released an updated B5 model ($309.95) just in time for this guide. Designed to integrate seamlessly into Nolan’s N104 Evo, N104, N44, N40 Full and N40 helmets for minimum aerodynamic impact, the B5 system is compatible with any brand of Bluetooth intercom system and can connect with up to six bikes and two phones simultaneously. It will also connect with your GPS for spoken directions, has an FM radio and will stream music via Bluetooth from devices with A2DP technology. The B5 is manageable via PC and the N-Com app, and it offers noise reduction, voice prompt, individual “friend” numbers, mobile phone conferencing, GPS conferencing, a Smart Navi System, battery saving mode and flash recharge. Let’s communicate!


Mesh riding apparel has improved our motorcycle riding lives immensely, because we can wear All the Gear, All the Time, even on hot days, and stay comfortable. Olympia Moto Sports’ Mesh Tech Switchback II jacket is available for men and women and has a two-layer system for versatility. Layer one is a Cordura mesh nylon shell with ballistic nylon panels for abrasion resistance and CE-rated armor in the elbows, shoulders and back. It has two zippered side entry pockets and an interior chest zip pocket, and hook-and-loop straps snug the waist and sleeves. Layer two is a windproof, waterproof ripstop-nylon liner that can be worn over or under the shell when the weather turns, and it can be worn by itself off the bike. The $239.99 Switchback II jacket comes in men’s sizes S-4XL and women’s XS-3XL in the pewter/ivory shown, or black/pewter and black/neon yellow.


As the name implies, Racer makes gloves for racing and track riding. But the company, which designs and manufactures its gloves in Austria, also makes gloves for street riding and adventure touring, some with Gore-Tex to keep your hands dry and others with insulated liners to keep your hands warm. If they aren’t the best-fitting motorcycle gloves you’ve worn, Racer will refund your money. And to that end, it has unique designs for men and women. We’ve been very happy with Racer’s Feeling and Dynamic II gloves tested previously, and for the past year we’ve enjoyed the fit, feel and durability of its Summer Fit gloves ($99.99 with free shipping). Lightweight and vented, they’re made of goat leather with a Kevlar-lined palm, padded protectors across the knuckles and fingers, full gauntlets with hook-and-loop closures and silicone anti-slip fingertips (not touchscreen-friendly). Available in XS-3XL.


Although we always wear full-face or modular helmets when riding, we sometimes wear sunglasses as well. If we crack the face shield open to get some fresh air, we still want our eyes protected. Revision makes eyewear for the military and law enforcement, and its Hellfly sunglasses exceed ANSI Z87.1-2010 and meet U.S. military ballistic impact requirements for spectacles, which includes resisting the impact of a ¼-inch-diameter steel ball traveling at 102 mph. Distortion-free lenses offer 100% protection from UV A-B-C rays. Weighing just 1.25 ounces and featuring an ergonomic design with an adjustable nosepiece and flexible arms covered in silicone rubber, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing Hellflys. The wrap-around design provides an unrestricted field-of-view and protection from wind, dust and debris. Hellflys ($99.99) include a durable storage case and microfiber cleaning cloth. They’re available in various frame and lens colors, as well as photochromic, polarized and prescription lenses.


This is the perfect gift for a rider who takes pride in his or her bike’s appearance. The S100 Care Set ($59.95) includes five of S100’s best-selling products in a convenient carry-organizer. Total Cycle Cleaner pump spray loosens and dissolves dirt and grease so that it comes off easily with a spray of water. Follow that up with the lint-free Drying Towel, which has more drying power than a natural chamois. Detail & Wax aerosol spray has a carnauba and beeswax formula that leaves a great shine after washing, and removes dust, rain spots and bug residue between washes. The tube of Finish Restorer renews tarnished metals (aluminum, stainless, chrome, etc.) to a brilliant shine, and even takes small scratches out of plastics. Finally, there’s a can of Corrosion Protectant spray to keep your bike’s “precious metals” looking great and protected from humidity, salt air, road salt and pollution.


When it comes to adventure touring, you can never have too much protection from the elements or unintended contact with terra firma. Spidi’s H.T. Raid Jacket ($849.95) has a water-repellent triple-layer shell with leather reinforcements on the shoulders and elbows. There’s CE-certified Forcetech armor at the shoulders and elbows; at this price point we wish a back protector was included, but the CE-certified Warrior Evo Level 2 back protector costs $109.95 and the chest protector costs $69.95. The jacket has a mesh comfort lining, dynamic vents on the shoulders, arms and back (elastics keep them flared open), numerous fit adjustments, six external pockets (one has a waterproof document pouch) and one internal pocket. Inside is a removable waterproof, windproof, breathable H2Out liner and a separate aluminized 200gr hollow fiber liner for warmth. Accessory Hydroback drinking system is $69.95. Available in men’s sizes M-3XL.


Sometimes the toughest part of a long ride on an adventure-touring bike is dealing with its uncomfortable stock seat. Touratech’s line of Comfort Seats can solve that problem with an ergonomic design that is wide in back for comfort and narrow in the front for ease in standing off-road and getting your feet down at stops. Proprietary high-density foam provides firm support and reduces “hot spots” often found in too-soft stock seats. A two-way elastic non-slip cover flexes to allow riders to shift their weight, and seams are positioned so they don’t make contact. Matching passenger seats and heating are available for many models as well. No trade-in is required—you keep your stock seat—and different heights are available depending upon the motorcycle model. For wet weather riding a Dri-Ride version keeps water from pooling in the seat area. Comfort seats are available for most adventure-touring bikes.



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