Motorcycle Gear and Accessories
I wrote this list back in 2001 and I updated it for a year or two. I had a 2000 Suzuki SV650 at the time, so you’ll see a lot of references to that bike. Also, I don’t buy things made from animals and as far as I know, the only products that contain leather are the gloves. Look at the description for more info.
- Slime – Yeah!!! This stuff sealed a puncture that I had in my tire and it’s held perfectly for a week now. I’m not sure, but I think I’ve gone over 85mph and I don’t see any signs of leakage. I had already bought a new tire when my dad convinced me to buy this stuff but that’s okay, I’ll need the new tire eventually and I’ll already have it. This stuff could save you a lot of money – it’s even supposed to seal new punctures as they occur. If you do buy it, make sure it’s the one for tubeless tires. They call it “Super Duty” Slime and it was a lot harder to find than the kind for tube tires. I used an 8 ounce (?) bottle for my rear tire and it cost about $6.
- Kryptonite Disc Brake Lock – Good. It’s red so it’s noticeable but I’ve seen some dayglo orange ones that are definitely more visible. I’d rather have a kryptonite than a no-name “orange” though. Fits the an SV650 disc fine and locks on rear peg heel guard without scratching anything since it’s rubberized. [05-30-2001] Actually, since I bought this lock I purchased a Kryptonite New York chain (which happened to come with its own EVO disc brake lock). The chain is 5 feet long but still fits under the SV650 seat with the documentation envelope and toolkit!!! It’s really heavy but hey, it’s a lot lighter than a passenger and I put those back there without complaining! [04-22-2005] Of course, Kryptonite had a major problem with these locks. If you still have one with a round keyhole, you can go to their website and get it replaced for free. I did it and the new one is the same size even though it looks a little different.
- Battery Tender Jr. – This works as expected. I leave my bike outside and the winters here are cold so I figured I needed this thing. [04-22-2005] I have an Odyssey gel battery nowadays and the Battery Tender JUNIOR is the one you need for gel batteries apparently. You’re not supposed to use the regular Battery Tender, or so I hear.
- Dowco Medium-Sized Cover – This is a really nice cover and it fits this bike perfectly. It has holes for a cable or padlack as well (to keep people from stealing it or seeing what your bike looks like under there). I got it with the bike so I don’t know how much they cost but it’s probably worth the money to buy a good one like this instead of the cheap JC Whitney nylon cover I had for my last bike. [07-17-2001] After I crashed my SV650 and the brake lever broke off, this cover made a few noises like it was tearing when I raked it across the sharp metal edges on the lever. When I looked, there were no marks or anything – this thing’s tough.
- Tourmaster Cortech Pants – These pants are great. Velcro over everything. Warmer than I thought they were going to be. Handy wallet pocket on front of leg. Quick on/off. Definitely recommended. [07-17-2001] Yeah, they were “Definitely recommended” back in the fall and winter. Now that’s it’s summer, man is it hot being in these things! But I guess that’s the price you pay for safety. If I wasn’t wearing these pants when I had my accident with the SV650, my knees would have really gotten hurt. I guess I’d rather sweat than bleed. Oh yeah, I got these replaced with the same thing after the accident (there was no damage to them in the accident but I figured I’d replace them anyway since the other guy’s insurance company was paying) and this time I got XL instead of XXL. They’re not as easy to put on anymore, but the knee pads cover my knees now instead of mostly covering my shins.
- Knox Spine Protector – This thing’s pretty cool. It’s not as much of a hassle to wear as you’d think. Of course, I wouldn’t wear it to a museum or somewhere that I’d have to carry my jacket and this thing around. But for going to work, riding an hour to visit friends and family, etc. it’s good.
- Alpine Stars SMX-4 Gloves – These gloves ROCK. Good for the summer. They have lots of padding on the knuckles and they look the business. My hands get really cold though so I bought skiing liners and they fit under these gloves (even though these gloves are a good tight fit – the liners are thin). Oh yeah, as I said at the top of the page, these gloves are the only products here that contain leather. They have leather on the palm, but the rest is made of what seems to be nylon and cordura. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any decent gloves that don’t have a patch of leather on them somewhere. [07-17-2001] I replaced these black/silver ones with red/black ones after the accident (even though they weren’t really damaged in the accident), and the seam on the left thumb started coming apart after a few days. I emailed Alpine Stars and they called me within a few hours. They had me ship the gloves back and they’re going to replace them. I might be crazy but the red nylon(?) material seemed a little cheaper than the black on the original pair. I told them to replace these red gloves with black ones if that’s true. We’ll see what happens. [08-30-2001] I got the replacement gloves after quite a long wait. They sent the black ones instead of the red ones. They seem different. They’re a hair smaller and they look more sturdy. I looked at the label and it says “Made in Italy”. The red ones were made in China and I think the original ones that I had last year were made in Italy. Interesting.
- [05-17-2001] AOSafety Ear Plugs – This is one of the best purchases I ever made! Ear plugs make riding on the highway without any real wind protection bareable. I’ve tried a few different kinds of disposable ones and I didn’t really like the way any of them fit. The ones that work well for me are the AOSafety rubber ones that I got for about USD$3 in the paint section of my local TruValue hardware store. They’re reusable and come in a little carrying case. Eventually I’d probably like to get the kind that are molded to my ears by an ear doctor but in the meantime these work great.
- Alpine Stars Spark Jacket – This jacket’s cool because it doesn’t look like I should be on a racetrack or riding a 2000 pound tourer when I’m wearing it. It’s in-between. It’s got a zip-in (warm) liner. You can take the elbow/shoulder pads out. I was in a pretty good rainstorm once and it kept me dry. Mine is black with some reflective stuff on the sides and piping. No big ASTARS logo on it, like most of their stuff. My only complaint is that the middle (where the main zipper is) gets a little cold if you don’t have any kind of windscreen since the liner doesn’t cover that area.
- [07-17-2001] Tourmaster 3/4 Cortech Jacket – I miss my Alpine Stars Spark jacket. This one is okay and will probably be much better in the fall, winter, and rain, but it’s summer right now! It’s hot, heavy and the vents don’t really work. It also doesn’t look as cool as the Spark jacket. The padding is better and it has protection in the back. Lots more pockets. It seems like it will be pretty water-tight and it’s not uncomfortable..
- Shoei RF800 – Good mid-range helmet I guess. It’s a lot more comfortable than the cheaper HJC equivalent. Nothing fancy. It has closeable vents on top and in front. The lever that pops the faceshield up a little was really handy until it broke.
- [07-17-2001] Shoei RF900 – I replaced the RF800 after the accident with my SV650 and this is the model that’s around now. It’s got more vents than the RF800, a little red dangley thing on the strap buckle that makes buckling it a little easier, and the lever that pops the faceshield up seems to be designed a little bit differently and hopefully won’t break like the one on the RF800. This model takes the same faceshields as the RF800. Both helmets were size XL but this one fits a little more snug – which was good in this case.
- Widder Lectric-Heat Gloves – They seem to work pretty well. I got them as a gift from my dad and I just had to buy the cable to connect to the battery (USD$9 + USD$7 shipping). It turned out it was cheaper than buying the inline fuse connector, battery connectors, etc. just because i don’t have those little nicknacks laying around. Anyway, the gloves work good and are actually pretty damn warm even without the electricity. Recently they stopped working but I think that’s because the contacts are all corroded. Why didn’t they just give me a cap of some kind like the Batter Tender pigtail has?
- [07-17-2001] Sidi Champion Boots – These were good boots. Sidi is a pretty big name in motorcycle footwear and the customer service from Motonation was good – I had to send them back for a different size in the beginning. They only come in european sizes and my calculations using the chart on their website were a little too big. I replaced these boots with the ones below when a moron caused me to get into an accident on the SV650 and I had his insurance replace all my gear. The reason I didn’t buy the sportier Strada ones in the first place is because I figured the Champions didn’t look as motorcycle-bootish and I might actually be able to wear them around after I got off of the motorcycle. Well, black boots are goofy looking no matter what the style is, so basically I ended up packing my sneakers when I went on rides where I’d be off of the bike for a while. When it came time to replace these boots, I decided I should just get the higher, sportier, more protective Strada model below since I wasn’t really wearing the Champions around anyway. The Champions were more comfortable to walk around in than the Strada so that’s the tradeoff. Both models are made of a non-leather material called Lorica. They have more info about Lorica on the website and there are a couple other models made of the same stuff. In the end, I think these are probably not quite as tough as leather ones but I don’t buy leather so these are a good find. One of the Champions got a not-too-deep slice along the side when I got in the accident, FYI.
- [07-17-2001] Sidi Strada Boots – I mentioned these boots a little bit above. I think these boots are definitely better for riding than the Champions, but definitely not better for walking around. They’re more protective since they cover your shins and they feel a little better on the pegs than the Champions did. These, too, are not made from leather thankfully. Oh yeah, the Champions don’t have zippers like these do – only Velcro. I like the zipper better.
- A Twist of the Wrist II – Good stuff. I’ve heard that the first book isn’t so great so I just bought the second one. Definitely helpful but the other book that I bought (Proficient Motorycling)I has a lot more practical information. The 2nd grade level footnotes are annoying as hell but this is still an okay book.
- Proficient Motorcycling – This book’s actually way better than the other one. Lots of elaboration on the stuff that they mention in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to start riding as well as those who have been riding for a long time.
- [01-19-2003] Goodridge Steel Braided Brake Lines – I had some trouble with these. Cycle Center of Denton sent me the lines for an SVS (the lines are a different length). The guy who screwed up the order actually doesn’t work there anymore. Usually they’re really good. Anyway, I finally got the “right” ones (according to the label that Goodridge put on the package) but the banjo bolts in the kit were wrong. The threads were not the same pitch. Anyway, long story short is that I ended forcing the bolt into the caliper, it broke off, I called and complained, they promised to fix the caliper and refund my money, they fixed the caliper and I never heard about the money being refunded again. In the end, I don’t think there’s that much of a difference in performance. I will probably bleed them again once the weather’s better but I have a feeling this was a purchase that wasn’t worth the price – unless they end up refunding the money, of course. Oh yeah, I used a Mityvac to bleed the brake system. Easier than doing it by other means I think but it’s still a hassle. I’ll be adding a page showing that process.
- [06-11-2002] Ventura Aerodynamic Bike-Pack System – I debated for a while about how I’d resolve the problem of not being able to carry much of anything on my SV650. I bought the courier bag, then I saw the article linked below and figured it wasn’t such a good idea to carry oil filters and wrenches on my back. Then I bought the Chase Harper trunk bag (below). Works really well, but I wanted more space. The Ventura system is really nice. It’s easy to install, it comes with 2 different sized racks, it’s expandable by attaching a second bag, it doesn’t interfere with my high-mount exhaust or a passenger, and it doesn’t look bad when it’s in use or the bag is detached. Those were all my requirements and it met them all perfectly. Definitely recommended.
- [06-11-2002] J.C. Whitney Comfort-Gel Cycle Seat Cushion – In case you’ve never heard of J.C. Whitney, they sell stuff for cars and motorcycles through print catalogs and their super-slow website. Their stuff is usually pretty cheap. I got the “Front Comfort Gel Seat Pad” from their website – it’s just the green gel pad without the cushion and straps. I took the front seat off of my SV650 and removed the staples that hold on the upholstered covering. Then I just placed the gel pad on top of the foam seat and stapled the upholstery back on with a staple gun. I didn’t trim the gel pad and I didn’t cut any of the foam off of the stock seat. Part of the reason I did this is because the stock seat was too low for my tall body. Most people that I’ve heard from are trying to find ways to lower the seat and you could slice off 3/4″ of the foam before putting the gel pad on top of it. That should keep the seat at its original height but give you the comfort of the gel pad. The only problem with this setup is that it seems to absorb and amplify heat when it sits in the sun too long. Ouch. Anyway, here’s a picture of my bike after this seat modification. Not too bad, eh? Most people have said that they thought I had some kind of aftermarket seat when they first looked at it.
- Raask Laverda Handlebars – I bought these bars from Mike Knapp. I mention that because I feel privileged to say that the handlebars on my bike came from his Eraserhead. Anyway, these bars are awesome. They are adjustable in a bunch of different directions and, in fact, I mounted them upside-down. The only thing I’m a bit worried about is that the alan bolts that allow the adjustments might get rusty because of the way they’re pointed. If the bars weren’t installed upside-down this wouldn’t be an issue. [06-11-2002] Here’s a picture of the Raask Laverda bars on my SV.
- Bluhm Enterprises website – Well nobody’s mentioned anything about my rainbow strobe yet but it definitely seems worth having for the safety factor (I hope). I can’t say I’ve seen any heads snap to see what the hell’s going on with the colored lights in my headlamp but i guess it’s one of those things like medical insurance; I’ll second guess paying for it until it helps one day.
- Bluhm Enterprises Bright-Lights – I got the bulb that’s DOT legal. It’s bright but I should’ve just decided to be a law breaker like everyone else and got one of the SUPER bright bulbs that they have. Oh well.
- [05-17-2001] Chase Harper 4200 Hideaway Trunk Bag – This is a pretty cool trunk bag. It’s a much safer alternative to having hard or pointy things in a backpack or my courier bag and it holds a lot more. It’s big enough for a helmet and it fits under the SV650 seat with the tool kit and disc brake lock when it’s rolled up. It’s cool that the bungees zip inside a little pouch when you take the bag off of the bike so it looks like a regular duffel-type bag. The only thing that would make this better is if it had some kind of pads on each bungee to keep it from scuffing the paint. I’ll have to make something that works like the others that I’ve seen.
- Baglux Bagster – Works great. Comfy for the knees. I think the colored ones look kind of ugly (at least on the website) so I got a black one. Kind of Edward Scissorhands meets Mad Max. I’m not sure if I’m a big fan of the looks yet but it’s definitely practical for many reasons. I had a friend ship this to me from London so I don’t know how you’d get one in the US. [08-30-2001] So my first Bagster tank cover got punctured when I crashed into a stupid kid in an Audi A6 wagon a few months ago. I got a replacement from Bagster. This time I had it shipped. After about 3 days of having it on my bike I noticed that the stitching was coming apart right on top! I emailed them and they got right back to me. Instead of dealing with the shipping back and forth (which they automatically offered to pay for), they suggested that I bring it to a shoe repair place and have them fix it. I did that and it seems to be holding up fine. You can’t really notice that it’s been restitched anyway. Anyway, the Baglux people refunded some money to my credit card and they were really cool about it. I’d still recomment buying from them.
- Lockhart Phillips Carbon Fiber Buell M2 Flyscreen – This is the carbon fiber flyscreen they use on the Buell M2. I bought the bolts and nuts from a Buell dealer. The nylon washers were $1 each though so I didn’t buy those. I’m still not sure how the wacky bolts are supposed to work. If I had to do it again, I’d probably just buy bolts from a hardware store. It was worth buying the brackets from the buell dealer though. Anyway, this thing does make a difference in wind management and it looks pretty cool too. Unfortunately, it was kind of expensive since it’s carbon fiber. I guess I could’ve just gotten a black one but it wouldn’t have looked as cool. The ones from the buell dealer would’ve taken a couple months if i wanted them paint-matched (to a Buell of course).
- [05-17-2001] Renegade Carbon Fiber High-Mount Single Pipe Exhaust – This exhaust is awesome!!! It looks and sounds really cool. Contrary to what people may tell you, if you’re in the US you probably will need to rejet or you’ll be running lean. I used John Callahan’s instructions for rejetting and I ended up with 140 mains, 17.5 pilots, 2 turns on the fuel screws and 2 shims under the carb needles. (More info on that later, on a separate page on this site). The pillion footpegs can be retained using the spacers they provide. I got this pipe from the UK but it came really quickly. Renegade provided the best customer service I’ve experienced in a long long time. I’d definitely recommend them. I don’t remember the exact price but it was somewhere around USD$400. I’m not a mechanic and I installed the thing in 30 minutes. [06-11-2002] I added a page showing how I repacked my Renegade exhaust
- Eurobikes Carbon Fiber Rear Hugger Fender – Worked great. It fit just fine, which is better than the stories I’ve heard about a lot of other brands. I did have to use a Dremel to grow a screw hole, but in general the shape and placement of holes was good. Don’t forget to wear a mask when using a dremel/grinder on these parts! Yikes!
- Harcore-Racing Rearset Plates – I wasn’t super happy with the quality. There were a couple of nicks/pits in the plates. Also, the instructions were lacking. They didn’t mention that you aren’t supposed to use the supplied shifter rod when using the lower setting. If you get any rearsets, make sure that the ball joints on either end of the shifter rod move freely when everything’s put back together. In any case, I’d recommend spending the extra bucks and getting real rearsets.
- [07-17-2001] Traxxion Dynamics .90 kg/mm Fork Springs, Belray 20wt Fork Oil and Race Tech Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators – Well it’s hard to give an opinion on a specific part, but the combination of these three things made a big difference in the handling of my SV650. I still have to do a little tuning so I can’t say I’m 100% happy with way that it handles yet, but I think that’s mostly due to the rear shock at this point. As far as the forks go, these three things have reduced the dive that occurs under heavy front braking a lot. Now I feel like I can actually use the front brake without using the rear to keep the suspension from throwing me forward. I also am not getting thrown all over the place when going over a series of bumps. Hitting potholes while leaned over in a corner isn’t as scary anymore either. The streets in Boston suck but this makes it a little less of a nightmare. I have more fiddling to do, but I’m planning to add a description of what I did to install all this stuff soon. Check back for that.
- [05-17-2001] Morgan Carbtune II – This is a carburetor synchronizing tool that I got after my bike felt like it was idling wierd. Turns out, the carbs weren’t really too out of synch and it was probably idling wierd because the carb jets that I put in were too large. Anyway, I’ll definitely be using this tool again so it was worth the purchase price. The company that sells this is in the UK, but I received it within a week of ordering so that wasn’t a big deal. The best part about this tool is that it doesn’t use mercury like some other carb synch tools. It would be nice if the open space on the front of this gadget had a piece of clear plastic instead of leaving the two glass tubes exposed. I can definitely see myself breaking the tubes someday if I’m not careful.
- Pitbull online catalog – Don’t bother buying any other one. This is definitely worth the money. I’d rather pay a few extra dollars and not have to worry about the bike falling over when i’m putting it on or taking it off the stand.
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