Thursday, November 21, 2013

Farkling Muff-tastic!

Over the last few winters, I've tried at least four different brands of handlebar muffs, including the proprietary eponymous (and pricey) Hippo Hands.  Each kept my hands warm enough, but none allowed the ease or confidence of control accessibility I wanted, and most collapsed the leading edges at speed, pushing back into the brake and clutch levers. I was about to give up on muffs when I discovered the made-for-ATVs Klopin "Geartector Mitts." Not only are the arm openings large and extremely rigid (as in you'd have to stomp on them to deform them, maybe) but the leading edges are stiff plastic panels -- probably meant as off-road branch/rock deflectors, but on the street prevent collapsing at speed. With the Geartectors, I'm able to fiddle with my helmet visor/vents, GPS and shoot the one-fingered salute to errant cagers with confidence, knowing I'll be able to quickly get my left hand back onto the controls. Until the temps get below about 20F, I'm also able to use one-step lighter gloves than I would without the mitts, allowing greater control feel.  The insulated mitts install in minutes using zippers and drawstrings with those spring-loaded tightener thingamabobs. The only change I have to make is moving the GPS inboard on the bars for the winter. The large leading edges catch a fair amount of wind, but I'm not trying to set land-speed records on cold roads and fingers with adequate blood-supply are worth trading at least 2-3 MPG. In use, the only real issue I've had is that the left mitt tends to knock the choke lever towards the off position, so I tend to warm up the engine a little longer than usual before heading out. YMMV on all this of course, because so much depends upon the specific design and dimensions of the motorcycle upon which the mitts are used. The Klopins happen to be a steal at about $30 ($24 with Amazon Prime right now.) 
Yes, they're fugly, but at 15F everyone thinks I'm stupid anyway.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Last Ephrata Ride-In of 2013

November marks the end of each year's "First Sunday" ride-in series at the American Legion in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Last Sunday the crowd numbered in the few hundreds rather than the usual thousands; I suspect the low 30s temps and gusty winds had something to do with that. I still had a great ride, some engaging conversations with fellow (fool?)hardy riders, and saw plenty of cool motorcycles, a few of which are below.

Vintage Penton enduro with period Preston Petty fenders, spare spark plug holder, etc.

Wonder if they fight over the number?

Perhaps to hairiest street bike ever sold.
Guess who I found on a bulletin board inside the AmLegion hall? I'd like to thank my hair stylist, Mr. Arai.

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United Nations of Motorcycling?

Just in from the Random Thoughts While Riding To Work Department: This morning I was wearing a helmet from Japan, neck warmer from England, jacket from Finland, hi-viz vest from Holland, pants from Minnesota, gloves from Germany, and boots from Italy.

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