Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cat Crap Anti-Fog Treatment

If you ride in the cold, high humidity, rain or fog, you're very familiar with annoying (and potentially dangerous) faceshield/visor fogging. There are many commercial products and home remedies out there, ranging from a potato rubbed on the visor to fabric breath guards to special anti-fog visors and inserts. The bulk of the anti-fog products on the market are liquids designed to coat the visor's inner surface to prevent fog from adhering to it. I've used a few such anti-fog coatings over the years; some have not worked at all, while others have worked well but only for a very short time. So in my quest to find an effective and long-lasting anti-fog coating, I recently tried Cat Crap Lens Cleaner & Anti-Fog.

This product, and others under the Cat Crap moniker, is well-known to skiers and readily available in the USA -- I bought mine from a local ski shop. Following the directions, I cleaned
the inner surface of my visor and then smeared on a thin coating of the green, waxy Crap, followed by a thorough buffing with a lint-free cloth. I plopped my Arai Signet on, closed the visor and vents, and exhaled heavily several times: only very slight fogging, and that was around the edges I couldn't coat with Crap with the visor installed -- so very good anti-fog properties. While commuting to work on a dark, clear, cool (about 52F) morning, I discovered that Cat Crap was doing a good job of keeping my visor clear, but was causing a rather large "halo" around all street lights and oncoming headlights, the effect of which grew in proportion to the closing distance to the light source. On a few sharp backroad corners, I was essentially blinded for a second or two when the multi-colored halos from oncoming headlights filled large portions of my field of vision. Thus, while it is relatively easy to apply, inexpensive, fairly effective at keeping fog at bay, and small enough to carry along in a tankbag or jacket pocket (and has a cool name!), I must deem Cat Crap unacceptable for motorcycle use. I may work fine for skiiers and such, but motorcyclists can't afford any degree of reduced visual acuity, particularly in the dark. I haven't tested it in rainy daylight conditions, and frankly won't. While I expect the loss of vision wouldn't be as bad as in the dark, I'm not willing to take the chance. Bottom line: Don't buy this Crap. Hmmmm, now where's that potato?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Motorcycle Messenger Bags for Commuters

Messenger bags seem to be gaining popularity among motorcycle commuters in the USA (they've apparently been used for years in Europe). I've tagged some popular brands in my account. Check 'em out (and other commuting interests) by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another One for the Hits & Near Misses List

On my ride to work this morning at 0:dark:30, two playful foxes (no, the 4-legged variety) thought it would be great fun to dash in front of my bike, which happened to be banked fairly hard right at the time. Fortunately, there was no meeting of rubber and fur, and all three of us continued on our merry ways. As it was my first up-close encounter with fox while on a motorcycle, it got me thinking about updating my list of things I've either hit or nearly so, which I posted back in November 2006. Close encounters with automobiles aren't included; too many of those to count as my fellow motorcycle commuters know all too well. New stuff is in red.

  • 1 each (amazingly only one) squirrel; he must've been real old 'n' slow
  • a smallish bat that kamikazed into my left hand on I-95
  • 2 nails (only nails punctured tires count here)
  • a brake caliper slider pin that some kid down the street lost during a curb-side brake job; guess whose rear tire found it?
  • many deer (including a few dead ones)
  • a large turtle, and another one
  • 2 or 3 snakes
  • thousands of squirrels
  • a few dozen chipmunks
  • a few 'possums
  • the occasional turkey buzzard
  • a few dogs
  • very few cats (they're smarter than dogs)
  • a few dozen pedestrians (largely jay-walking college students)
  • 1 young bovine on the loose
  • a couple of ill-placed orange warning cones
  • a construction barrel blowing around in the wind
  • a large plastic kiddie-pool blown by the wind
  • various trash cans and bags of garbage blowing around in the wind
  • 1 water-cooler that flew out of the back of a tradesman's truck
  • the odd piece of lumber
  • dozens of beer bottles
  • lot o' squashed-flat waxed cups (ice has more traction) and soda cans
  • a few Amish buggies
  • a roof from a recently-collapsed small barn (!)
  • 2 foxes
Please share your own list or a few of your weirdest hits 'n' misses by clicking on "Comments" below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Deal of the Day: Lee Parks DeerSports Gloves

Lee Parks Design "DeerSports" gauntlet-style deerskin gloves in in Gold, sizes Small and under and XXL and up, for only $55! That's half price. I own 3 pair of Lee Parks' gloves, including the black 'n' tan version of DeerSports, and I love 'em! Simple design with very few seams for comfort and safety (fewer seams = less thread to potentially fail in a crash). Soft, great control feel, washable and repairable. If you've got really big or really small mitts: these are awesome gloves at a great price. Here is the link to the closeout sale.

As a service to my fellow motorcyclists, I've begun posting information on sales and closeouts on quality motorcycle gear. I get this information via subscriptions to email notices and newsfeeds of some of my favorite vendors, and I also stumble across this information during my daily travels on various online forums, etc. Unless otherwise noted, I haven't used or tested this gear; I am simply giving a "hey, lookee here!" on what appears to me to be a good deal on quality stuff from a good vendor. Be an informed consumer and research before buying.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

πR2...and so are my rear tire!

My rear is getting a bit squared-off, with the accompanying squirrely feeling at moderate lean angles or when transitioning. Steep lean angles feel fine, I assume because the contact patch is outboard of the edge of the "center square". OEM rubber on my ZR-7S was the Bridgestone BT-020 and I've only ever used BT-020s as replacements. Bridgestone has recently begun selling a replacement for the BT-020s aimed at the sport-touring crowd, the new BT-021. The BT-021 rear is a dual-compound tire with a harder compound in the middle to help reduce squaring-off, with a softer compound on the edges for cornering traction. I ordered a set from my favorite tire vendor, Southwest Moto Tires, at a few ticks before 1500 EST on the 4th, and when I rode into my driveway after work on the 5th I was greeted by 2 new rubber donuts left by UPS by my garage door. Less than 24 hours to deliver tires (shipping was free, BTW) from Arizona to Delaware. SWM rules!

Look for my review of the BT-021s in the near future. If they handle even as well as the BT-020s, particularly in the wet, I'll be happy. If the rear stays rounder longer, and the front doesn't cup quite as quickly as does the -020, I'll be ecstatic.