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Hot Tips

Contents

  • Instructions for fitting a motorcycle helmet correctly
  • Instructions for fitting gloves correctly
  • Preparation for Have-A-Go Track Days
  • Tyre Maintanence Tips
  • MCR's Top Rides
  • Gearing Up for MX
  • Gearing Up for Road Riding
  • Motorcycling In Winter
  • MCR's Biker Flick Picks
  • MCR's most memorable motorcycle movie scene picks
  • Other movie recommendations

 

Instructions for fitting a Motorcycle Helmet correctly

The motorcycle helmet is the one piece of motorcycling equipment that can potentially save your life!  Different brands of helmets or even different models within the same brand will have a completely different fit and feel as helmets come in a variety of internal shapes, so choosing a helmet is not as easy as just picking  a size and colour.

Shape is a very important factor when purchasing a motorcycle helmet as heads come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  What is good on your mate may not necessarily be right for you. Basically the helmet should fit snugly so that it is stable when you shake your head .  Your skin should move when you try to move the helmet on your head.

Comfort The material that makes up the helmet lining is important to consider.  It should feel comfortable against the skin . The internal padding should act as a comfortable cushion and the liner shape should  match your head shape.  The chin strap should be firm but not rub the neck.  The visor should not impair your vision when opened.

Things to check for

Tip #1 Use the manufacturers guide lines and a tape measure to get a basic size range.

Tip #2 A full face helmet should grip the cheeks and jaw slightly as well as the top and sides of your head.

Tip #3 The eyes should be in the centre of the face cavity. If the eyes are too high or too low, the size of the helmet is incorrect and visibility from the helmet could be affected.

Tip #4 Do the 'roll-off' test.  With the strap securely fastened, grab the back lip of the helmet and try to roll it forward off your head.  If it comes off you need to try a different size.

Tip #5 Try clenching your teeth.  The helmet should provide enough room for you to keep your mouth closed without undue discomfort.

Tip #6 Check the helmet for a recommended safety standards sticker.

Tip #7 It is unwise to purchase a secondhand helmet.  You don't know the true history of the helmet and whether the integrity of it's safety has been compromised.

Tip #8 You should never purchase a helmet without trying it on first.

helmet check safety standards sticker.png

helmet do the roll off test.png

helmet do the thumb test.png

helmet should be a snug fit.png

Care of Your Helmet

Helmets are the most important safety equipment you use on a motorcycle.  Care & maintenance of your helmet is crucial in maintaining its structural integrity. Many things can affect the performance of the outer shell and the interior lining. Some of these tips may seem 'common sense' but you'd be suprised at the lack of thought people treat their helmet with.

Tip # 1 Don't store your helmet in direct sunlight or near heat, these will begin to affect the performance of the outer shell.

Tip # 2 Store your helmet the correct way up (collar side down). Whenever you place your helmet down, make sure it also placed in this position.

Tip #3 Do not sit on your helmet or place it under pressure. If your helmet is ever involved in any impact THEN REPLACE IT.

Tip #4 Don't leave your gloves inside your helmet, the sweat & dirt etc can affect the interior lining and inner shell.

Tip #5 Never paint your helmet. It is quite a common place for people to spray paint their helmet a matt black etc. DO NOT do this! the integrity of the polycarbonate shell can be greatly affected. If you want to change to appearance of your helmet get a professional to paint it.

Tip #6 When cleaning your visor it is best to remove it first so that residule product does not affect other parts of your helmet. Specific helmet & visor cleaning products are recommended for the best care of your helmet.  These product lines often have water repellents and anti-fog sprays that aide your vision in certain conditions.

Tip # 7 Check other safety components of your helmet such as D-rings, 'seat-belt' clasps for any deterioration.

Instructions for fitting motorcycle gloves correctly

People often feel gloves are not a necessary item of motorcycle safety.  To these people I often say…"stand there and  drag your hand across that concrete ground, whether you are going 50 or 100kph it is going to hurt"  Gloves are your best protection against road rash so make it a priority on your safety  list.

There are many differences in gloves from purpose, materials and weights.  You must consider the conditions in which you will be using your gloves.  Think about what season they will be used. Are they for road riding, off-road riding, touring or racing.  Find a glove that best suits your needs.

Summer Gloves Summer gloves should be snug but not restrictive.  Make sure they are fully usable and don't restrict your movements in controlling your motorcycle.

Winter Gloves Winter gloves should not be as snug as summer gloves (but not too loose).  Winter gloves work by trapping a layer of air which your hand warms up.

Features Other features to consider when choosing your gloves:

Check for extensions-do you want a cuff that goes over the sleeve of your motorcycle jacket or do you want it to tuck inside? Does the glove have wrist straps?, Is there padding-what kind and where? How are they stitched together? What sort of lining is in them? Are they waterproof?

Tip#1 When sizing your gloves at MCR we always leave 3 to 5mm of space between the tip of your finger and the glove.  When the gloves are new and you are holding on to the handle bars the palm of the glove will be pushed back and in turn shortens the fingers.

glove sizing picture.png

Tip #2 Think about whether you like to 'feel' more or less in your gloves.  Often the thicker the glove the less 'feel' you have.

At MCR we have a large range of gloves. Come in and see us and get the glove that best suits you.

strada corsa glove.png

strada giro gloves.png

 

Preparation Guide for 'Have A Go' Track Days

Motorcycle track days have become wildly popular events, allowing motorcyclists to ride their motorcycles to the limits in a controlled environment.

This is much safer than carving up the local public roads, but it takes a lot by all those involved to insure that each track day is as safe as possible.

"Have A Go' Days are about fun, enjoyment and participation.  Having the correct gear and preparation can make a big difference in the enjoyment factor so we have put together a few basic tips to get you started.

Basic Rider Preparation

Most track day organizers will examine each participant's gear and helmet when they check in. Proper rider safety, however, is ultimately the responsibility of each rider.

  • You must have a suitable safety riding jacket and pants.
  • You must have a well fitted helmet, in good condition, which meets safety standards.
  • You must have a back protector
  • Have strong boots that cover the ankles and well fitted gloves.
  • The morning rider briefing should make mention of rider fitness, but it's up to everyone to monitor their own condition at all times throughout the day.
    • Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast in the morning.
    • Riding a motorcycle on the track is physically demanding.
    • Riding a motorcycle on the track is mentally demanding as well. Focus on the task at hand.
    • Fatigue and dehydration are leading causes of track day accidents. Stay alert and aware of your condition at all times. Don't ride beyond your abilities and pull in early if you feel tired or begin making mistake.

Rider preparation is key to a safe and enjoyable track day. Track day motorcycle preparation is just as important.

Basic Bike Preparation

  • Check your tyres are in good order - they need plenty of tread and check you have the correct tyre pressure for the make and model of your bike.
  • Check your chains and sprockets - adjust the tension correctly and make sure you lube the chain well.  This will help the bike to feel nicer when riding.
  • Check your brake pads - they need to have a thickness of 2mm or more.
  • Check your oil levels.
  • Check all of your controls, meaning clutch cable, throttle cable, brake lever, clutch lever, rear brake lever, and kill switch for proper operation
  • Make sure all your bodywork is properly supported and fastened.
  • Remove mirrors and tape up lights and indicators
  • Tape over wheel weights to ensure they are secure at high speeds
  • Check with organizers for local requirements

Note; a day at the track can be the equivalent of up 1500k's of wear and tear on your bike.  If you need further help with bike preparation come and see they guys at MCR.

Spares Kit

  • Have a set of basic tools for making minor adjustments on the day.
  • Have chain lube in your kit.
  • Have a can of gas for refilling throughout the day.

Tips

  • It's better to trailer your bike if possible rather than riding it to the track (especially if travelling some distance)
  • It can be a good idea to check your medical insurance. Are you still covered if you are injured during a track day?
  • Bring things that will make your day more comfortable (for example, chairs, shade tent etc) you will have down time between races.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help and ask questions.

Tyre Maintanence Tips

Tyres on motorcycles, like any vehicle, play a vital role in the performance, handling and safety of the bike. Many times we tend to ignore the necessary maintenance needed to keep the tyres safe. With motorcycles, there are only two small contact patches for the rider to rely on, so it is extremely important to keep the tyres in top condition.

A well maintained, regularly serviced bike is simply nicer to ride. Everything works as it should, every control feels right.

Any tyre, no matter how well constructed, may fail in use as a result of punctures, impact damage, improper inflation, overloading, or other conditions resulting from use or misuse. Tyre failure may create a risk of property damage, serious personal injury or death.  Many tyre failures are preceded by vibration, bumps, bulges or irregular wear. If a vibration occurs while riding your motorcycle, or you notice a bump, bulge or irregular wear, have your tyres and motorcycle evaluated by a qualified service person.  It is recommended that riders do a periodic inspection of their tyres and have any imbedded objects removed by a qualified service person.

Inspecting Your Tyres

nail_in_tyre.jpgBeing able to identify worn treads or wearing patterns in them is a prerequisite to your safety and control.  Under well-lit conditions, look for any signs of punctures (such as nails or shards of glass) which might potentially lead to a loss of pressure or a blowout. Bulging or cracking might also occur on old tyres.  Regularly rolling the tyres and inspecting them may be the single most important check you do.

Spotting Damaged Tyres

After striking anything unusual in the roadway, ask our friendly staff at MCR to demount the tyre and inspect it for damage. A tyre may not have visible signs of damage on the tyre surface. Yet, the tyre may suddenly fail without warning, a day, a week, or even months later.

Inspect your tyres for cuts, cracks, splits or bruises in the tread and sidewall areas. Bumps or bulges may indicate a separation within the tyre body. Have your tyre inspected by a qualified tyre service person. It may be necessary to have it removed from the wheel for a complete inspection.  Inspect your tyres for adequate tread depth. When the tyre is worn to the built-in indicators at 1/32nd inch (0.8 millimetres) or less tread groove depth, or the tyre cord or fabric is exposed, the tyre is dangerously worn and must be replaced immediately.  Inspect your tyres for uneven wear. Wear on one side of the tread or flat spots in the tread may indicate a problem with the tyre or motorcycle.  Consult MCR.  Inspect your rims also. If you have a bent or cracked rim, it must be replaced.

Checking Tyre Pressure

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Tyre pressure is especially crucial on motorcycles, and handling and ride quality can change dramatically with small adjustments. Tyres also wear more quickly when they're not properly inflated, adding yet another reason to check tire pressure regularly.

The best time to check tyre pressure is before you start riding while the tyres are cool; once the bike is in motion, tyre temperatures warm up, which changes the density and pressure of the air inside.  The tyres are "cold" when your motorcycle has been ridden less than a kilometre at moderate speed or after being stopped for three or more hours.  If you must add air when your tyres are hot, add four pounds per square inch (4 psi) (28 kPa) above the recommended cold inflation pressure. Recheck the inflation pressure when the tyre is cold.  Never release air from a hot tyre in order to reach the recommended cold tyre pressure. Normal riding causes tyres to run hotter and inflation pressure to increase. If you release air when your tyres are hot, you may dangerously under inflate your tyres.  If your tyres lose more than two pounds per square inch (2 psi) (14 kPa) per month, the tyre, the valve, or wheel may be damaged. Consult MCR for an inspection.

Check your tyre air pressure at least once a week and before long trips. Be sure to use an accurate pressure gauge.  Always keep the tyre manufacturer's recommended air pressure in both tyres. This is an important requirement for tyre safety and mileage. Also consult your motorcycle owner's manual, it will tell you the recommended cold inflation pressure.

Adding Air Pressure to Tyres

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Always use your tyre manufacturer recommended PSI levels. If you're using non-standard tyre sizes on your bike, go by the pressure figures printed on the sidewall.

After checking tyre pressure, inflate them using compressed air until they reach the recommended pressure. If they're over-inflated, simply bleed them by depressing the centre of the Schrader valve until they are properly inflated.

Under inflation may damage the tyre leading to tyre failure, affect vehicle cornering, reduce tyre life, increase fuel consumption and produce fatigue cracking.

Riding on tyres with too much air can be dangerous. The tyres are more likely to be cut, punctured, or broken by sudden impact.

Valves, Stems, Cores & Caps

Use valve caps to keep valve cores clean, clear of debris and to help guard against air leakage.

Old or damaged valve stems and cores may cause air loss. Replace them when mounting new tyres. Use caps (finger tight) on the valve stems to keep dust, dirt and DSC03541.jpgmoisture away from the valve.

How to Check Tread Levels

Adequate tyre tread not only ensures tyre integrity, it allows water to be channelled away from the contact patch, which helps maintain grip under wet conditions.  Minimum tyre depth may vary country to country but in NZ the minimum legal tread depth is 1.5mm.

Removing and Replacing Tyres on Rims (Tyre Mounting)

Removing and replacing tyres on rims can be dangerous. Attempting to mount tyres with improper tools or procedures may result in a tyre explosion causing serious personal injury.  This is a job for the experts at MCR.

It is extremely important that the proper size of rim is used for your tyres. Be sure to match your tyre size to the size allowed on the rim. Improper rim width may affect handling and stability. Consult the sizing information of the tyres you want to install for rim width allowances. Be sure that there is proper clearance between the tyre and swing arm and any fender areas.

Tyre Size Selection

All motorcycles should be equipped with the tyre size specified by the motorcycle manufacturer as found in the owner's manual or manufacturer's website. Be sure to equip the bike with radial tyres only when they are required by the bike manufacturer.  Our experienced staff at MCR is on hand to give advice for correct tyre fit michelin_pilot_sport.jpgand purpose.

Front & Rear Tyre Matching

For optimum performance, it is very important to correctly match your front and rear tyres. Riding your motorcycle with an improper mix of radial construction tyres with bias or bias-belted construction tyres is dangerous. Your motorcycle's handling characteristics can be seriously affected.

Tyre and Wheel Balance

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Wheel balancing provides a smoother ride by minimizing tyre vibration and bounce. This helps improve traction, steering control and extends the life of your tyres. A properly balanced wheel makes the small shakes go away and the rider will feel more secure at speed.  To avoid vibration and accelerated tyre wear, it is essential to balance the tyre & wheel assembly before use and each time the tyre is removed or replaced on the rim. Also, check the rim for any imperfections as they could affect the overall balance. No matter how carefully wheels and tyres are balanced, they will eventually lose their balance. As the tread wears, the distribution of weight around the circumference of a tyre changes altering the balance of the tyre and wheel assembly. Eventually the tyre may have to be rebalanced. If you have a vibration problem bring your bike into MCR's workshop so we can check the balance of your tyres.

Break In Period

In order for your new tyre(s) to provide optimum performance, tyres should be ridden very cautiously for the first 100 kilometres in order for the tread surface to be "Scuffed-In" and work properly. Directly after new tyres are mounted, sudden acceleration, maximum braking and hard cornering must be avoided. This will allow the rider to adjust to the "feel" and handling characteristics of the new tyre and for the new tyre to be "scuffed-in" correctly in order to achieve optimum grip level.

Tyre Loading

Riding your motorcycle in an overloaded condition is dangerous. Overloading causes excessive heat to build up in your tyres. This can lead to sudden tyre failure and serious personal injury or death while the tyre is overloaded or at some later date.

If You Experience a Blow out or Tyre Failure

tyre_blowout.jpgIf you do experience a blow out or sudden tyre failure, the following information should be helpful: When the failure occurs, slowly decrease the amount of throttle, hold the handlebars firmly, and steer to maintain your lane position. Once the motorcycle has slowed and is fully under control, apply the brakes gently. Gradually pull over to the shoulder and come to a stop.

References:motorcycles.about.com, totalmotorcycle.com

 

MCR's Top Rides

The South Island's stunning scenery and superb roads are perfect for motorcycling. Having some of the most diverse scenery in the world with mountains, lakes, rain forest, glaciers, coastal areas, farmland, fiords and many attractions and activities to enjoy en route, Motorcyclists in the South have it all at their own back door.
These handpicked routes showcase the first in a series we will be listing.  We will start with the best of what the Otago region has to offer. A ribbon of tarmac lying across the jumbled topography and rolling pastures, rugged coastline, tussock covered hills and amazing rocky terrain makes Otago a two-wheeled playground!

MIDDLEMARCH GP

Middlemarch_GP_circut.jpgDunedin-Palmerston-Kyeburn-Middlemarch-Mosgiel/Dunedin with a detour option through Macraes to Middlemarch.

This route will take you through some of NZ's best scenery.  Lush green farmland and tussock covered hills to the most spectacular rocky terrain, the view is almost as good as the ride.

Providing nice twisty roads with sweeping corners and tighter turns this is a popular ride for local motorcyclists.  The road surface is really good but in the midst of summer riders need to be aware of melting patches on the road.  At times this route can also be windy but overall it's lightly populated road making it our top pick for a good scratch.
View Larger Map

COASTAL CATLINS RIDE

Balclutha - Owaka - Invercargill (Coastal Catlins ride)

balclutha_to_Invercargill.jpgThis coastal route takes you through the scenic Catlins area of South Otago.  This varied road provides lots of great cornering with a good road surface.  There are some mossy patches on the road but genereally these are not slippery.  This is a reasonably unpopulated road but as it is a tourist, coastal route, so be aware of campervans and tourists using the road.  With lots to see and do along the way, this route is great for a touring ride.
View Larger Map in a larger map

 

THE RIVER RUN

Balclutha_to_beaumont.jpgBalclutha - Clydevale -Beaumont

A fun ride along the river.  Reasonably open windy road.  Fairly good road surface.    Lovely scenery.  This is a farming area so be aware of roaming stock and effluent patches on the road.


View New Zealand Map in a larger map

MANUKA GORGE GRIND

Milton_to_Lawerance.jpgMilton to Lawerance

Starting with a huge long straight and moving into a good mix of sweeping and tight corners the Manuka Gorge is great choice for a shorter ride.  The quaint destination of Lawerance offers a variety of cafe options. At times this can be a heavily populated route so be aware of buses and other traffic.


View New Zealand Map in a larger map

THE WHITESTONE DETOUR

Maheno-Kurow.jpgMaheno - Five Forks - Kurow

This technical route provides plenty of skinny road and tight corners.  It takes you through the ancient limestone formations at Elephant Rocks in North Otago whcih was the set for the scene for Aslan's Camp in the Chronicles of Narnia movie.

Almost a forgotten part of the country, after one ride through it, this will become a favourite route.  It is a farming area so be aware of lifestock and effluent on the roads.


View New Zealand Map in a larger map

 

Gearing Up for MX

Equipping yourself with all the motocross gear you need to go racing can be expensive, so we've created a list of gear (in order of importance) to help get you started and help you decide what you should spend your money on first.

FLY_2010_KINETIC_HELMET_MATT_BLK_GRY.jpgHelmet

This one is a' no-brainer',  your helmet is the most important piece of riding gear you must have.  In buying a helmet you need to make sure it suits the purpose.  Be sure the helmet you're using for Motocross is an actual "Motocross" helmet and meets recommended safety standards.  You also want one that's lightweight and built with good ventilation.  Never purchase a second hand helmet.  Regardless of how tidy it looks, you don't know the true history of the helmet and injury to your head is not worth the risk.  It is recommended to try on the helmet before you buy it...a helmet is only effective if it fits correctly. Correct sizing is very important. The helmet should fit snug so it's not shifting around but it should not be so snug that it's giving you a headache.

 

Goggles

Pro_GRIP_roll_off_goggle_carbon.jpgNext you will need a good pair of goggles.  These provide protection to your eyes but a good pair of goggles also ensures you can see clearly.  'Tear offs' are also available.  These are thin film sheets that go on your goggles.  As they get dirty, simply tear off a sheet to reveal the next clean one.  Be aware some events are no longer allowing tear-offs due to environmental effects.  The popular alternative are 'roll-offs'.  These are attached to the goggles and work in the same way as tear-offs but are not removed altogether, they are simply wound on to produce clear sheets.  There are heaps of options on the market to choose from including colour ranges so you will easily find a pair that suits your style and purpose.

 

Boots

Boots are probably one thing you spend the most money on but they are important.   There is a huge range of brands, styles and prices on the market so,  it pays to do a little research and find what best suits your needs, style and budget.

Gloves

Things to look for in a pair of gloves are, firstly, a good fit. Put them on and make your hand the shape that they would be if you were holding onto your handlebars, make sure they feel comfortable in that position. Be aware of any seams on the inside of the glove that may rub on your fingers, particularly in between your fingers.

Look to make sure they don't bunch up in your palm with your hand curled also. When wearing gloves don't have the wristband too tight, you want them done up to keep mud and dirt out but not too tight that they restrict the flow of blood into your hands. Beware the dreaded arm pump!

FLY_Moto_Knee.jpgKnee Braces

ACL injuries are one of the most common injuries with motocross riders.  Motocross riders should consider knee braces as a great way to lesson injuries or, better yet, prevent them altogether.    Knee braces range from basic padded plastic shells all the way up to custom fitted, kevlar composite knee braces. The cheaper knee guards really only offer impact protection but the more expensive guards should offer some protection against your knee being turned and twisted in ways it shouldn't.

Elbow Guard

Anyone riding motocross can expect some loss of skin at some time, but you can help protect the areas that are most vulnerable.  There are a range of elbow guards on the market to meet your budget. Elbow guards should be designed to provide full elbow FLY_FLEX_ELBOW_GUARD.jpgprotection while providing a comfortable fit.  Incorporating foam padding with nylon guards or inserts for impact protection.   There are some points to note when choosing guards.  Note how they are fitted.  Some guards have Velcro fastenings these are perfectly fine but be aware if they are fastened too tightly it can cause restrictions and make arm pump worse.  Some guards come with a lycra sleeve which has less restriction but can tend to stretch a bit with age and slip down the arm.

For a fuller protection choose guards that extend down the wrist for forearm protection and some brands also have a special lining that removes moisture to keep you cool and dry.

Body Armour

Body armour offers protection from falls as well as protection from roost and rocks thrown up by the bikes in front of you.  Some body armour suits incorporate a FLY_CONVERTIBLE_II_CP_in_Black.jpgkidney belt, chest protector and shoulder pads. These types of armour are usually worn under your jersey and are made from padded material.

Chest protectors are designed to be worn over your jersey and consist of an injection moulded durable polycarbonate chassis and shoulders. They include a back protection system, and upper arm guards. Typical models include integrated venting, and quick lock buckle closure systems to keep you cool and to make it easy to take on and off. For maximum protection during fast riding or racing, a plastic chest protector is usually the best choice.

Kidney Belt (flight belt)

A kidney belt isn't a must have in terms of protective gear but they can save your back and kidneys from a lot of the impact and jarring that you receive when riding.

all_geared_up.jpgJersey & Pants

These are probably one of the least important items on your motocross gear list as far as functionality and protection goes but they're definitely the 'LOOK GOOD' bits.  What you choose will depend purely on your style and budget.

Riding jerseys should offer comfort but also think about whether the fabric allows it to dry quickly, can keep you cool and offers some resistance to tearing and the odd 'off' you may have.

Pants should also offer some resistance to tearing and the odd 'off' you may have and need to be comfortable to wear in a riding position.  Some pants offer added protection (often Kevlar inserts) around the inside knee area to minimise rubbing.

References: cyaprotectivegear.com; motocross-racing-tips.com

 

 

 

Gearing Up for Road Riding

Wearing the right gear is just as important as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it.

To protect yourself from injury and stay comfortable, invest in good quality clothing. This should include:

  • helmet
  • visors or goggles
  • a jacket
  • trousers
  • gloves
  • boots
  • visibility aids

It is a good idea to get clothing with armour at points which are most vulnerable in a crash like:

  • shoulders
  • elbows
  • back
  • knees
  • ankles

HELMET

HJC_CLST_THROTTLE_MC2.jpgThe motorcycle helmet is the one piece of motorcycling equipment that can potentially save your life!  Helmets are designed to protect the head and neck (at a minimum) against impact, crushing and friction damage (rubbing over another surface). While helmet construction, style and type vary they all share this same purpose.  Different brands of helmets or even different models within the same brand will have a completely different fit and feel as helmets come in a variety of internal shapes, so choosing a helmet is not as easy as just picking  a size and colour.  It's a legal requirement to wear a helmet whenever you ride your motorcycle.  Even in a minor accident, your head is extremely vulnerable.  This is not the time to bargain shop, never buy a secondhand helmet you don't know the true history and integrety of the helmet.

Shape is a very important factor when purchasing a motorcycle helmet as heads come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  What is good on your mate may not necessarily be right for you. Basically the helmet should fit snugly so that it is stable when you shake your head .  Your skin should move when you try to move the helmet on your head.

Comfort The material that makes up the helmet lining is important to consider.  It should feel comfortable against the skin . The internal padding should act as a comfortable cushion and the liner shape should  match your head shape.  The chin strap should be firm but not rub the neck.  The visor should not impair your vision when opened.

A full-face helmet gives the most protection since it covers all of the head and face but there are a variety of options on the market including open-face and flip-up helmets.  It is important to care for your helmet.  It should not be placed 'upside down' on a surface or dropped.  If you do drop your helmet onto a hard surface, or it receives a heavy blow, it is probably time to buy a new one. A motorcycle helmet is designed to absorb the impact of a blow, and a helmet should only do that once.  If in doubt, get a new one.

Check our 'How to fit a motorcycle helmet' guide for more tips

Visor

A windshield on a motorcycle is not eye protection.  Proper eye protection means an approved shield on your helmet, a pair of goggles, or shatterproof glasses. Settling for less just isn't worth the risk.  Make sure your eye protection is clean and unscratched. If you use a tinted lens or shield for riding in the bright sunlight, take a clear one along as well, in case you are riding after dark.

GLOVES

Gloves

macnaRegionGlove.jpgPeople often feel gloves are not a necessary item of motorcycle safety.  To these people I often say…"stand there and  drag your hand across that concrete ground, whether you are going 50 or 100kph it's going to hurt"  Gloves are your best protection against road rash so make it a priority on your safety  list. What's the first thing you do when you go down?  Put your hands out to save yourself. Always wear proper motorcycle gloves with armour protection, even on a hot day. Riding gloves are also extremely important pieces of your safety equipment.  There are dozens of features in motorcycle gloves and they all contribute to comfort; wrist straps, washable liners, insulation for cooler temperatures and water resistance are just a few.    There are many differences in gloves from purpose, materials and weights.  You must consider the conditions in which you will be using your gloves.  Think about what season they will be used. Are they for road riding, off-road riding, touring or racing.  Find a glove that best suits your needs.

What to look for:

  • Gloves that were designed to meet or exceed what you are going to be using them for.
  • Good stitching, especially in areas that will absorb any impact
  • In the case of leather, thickness.
  • Armor/Padding in areas that will absorb any impact, especially the palm area.
  • Fit. Make sure you can use all your fingers without binding, and you can use the handlebar controls effectively.
  • Warmth/Cooling. If you are going to ride in very hot or cold weather, pay attention to the gloves ability to provide that for you.
  • Waterproofing.  Wet gloves are not only cold they can restrict movement.

Whether you are just riding around town,  touring or pushing it to the limits on the race track you can find the right glove to suit the style and protection level you need for what you are doing.

 

BOOTS

Feet and leg injuries are some of the most common in riding accidents.  Proper motorcycle boots with built in armour provide the best protection.  There is a huge range of brands, styles and prices in the market,  so  it pays to do a little research and find what best suits your needs, style and budget.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

  • SIDI B-2 BootAnkle support and above the ankle coverage by leather or other good protective material.
  • Grip: Oil and/or Gas resistant sole for durability and better traction
  • Comfortable to walk in for long distances
  • Armor or other foot protection  and consider waterproofing
  • Toe of the boot fits in between foot peg and shifter comfortably
  • Fastening details, zippers or Velcro are better options than laces.

 

 

JACKET

The jacket provides the rider with protection from the weather, flying road debris and road contact in a fall. Today, jackets are made from leather or synthetic materials and usually have padding on the elbow, spine and shoulders. This padding will help to protect the rider from impact by providing cushion for the areas that are most likely to be points of impact in a crash.  Both leather and Textile are designed to address these issues using thick, high-grade leather, armor pieces (hard and soft), double stitch sewing, Kevlar, rivets and foam in the joints. Regardless of your choice of leather or synthetic options, it is imperative that the jacket fit snugly to prevent it from moving out of position, twisting or riding up during a crash. All other features, such as waterproofing, ventilation and pockets should be second to proper fit. However, once you determine the correct fit you should feel free to explore the wide range of features now available in jackets. Visit us at MCR to find something that will suit your style and budget.

WHAT DO LOOK FOR:

  • 2010_TEKNIC_MERCURY_JACKET_-_BLACK.jpgA good fit in very important with room to have a sweater underneath for cold days.
  • If the jacket has armor make sure it is over what it should be protecting.  Check the shoulders and elbows especially.
  • Construction:  Look at the seams and stitching, see if it looks strong where impact points are, take the time to notice smaller details like pockets, zippers vents, wind protection
  • Reflective/White strips. They will reflect headlights at night making your otherwise dark jacket noticeable. To be seen is important, and doubly so at night or in weather when visibility is poor.
  • Thickness of the Leather. Good leather should be at least 1mm thick and ideally thicker. The thicker the leather generally means more protection for you all over.
  • Vents. If you ride in hot weather, you will appreciate that your jacket is equipped to let the wind pass though it and cool you down.
  • Colour. As mentioned, look for bright colours over darker ones. This helps ensure your visibility to other road users.

Note:  Next to head injuries, spinal damage is the most serious threat. An approved back protector, in or under your jacket or leathers, is a must.

 

PANTS

2010_TEKNIC_CORSAIR_PANT_-_BLACK.jpgRiding pants, like the motorcycle jacket offer the rider protection from the weather, debris kicked up from the road and the road itself. These pants come with built in padding in the knees, hips and seat, options for additional padding, ventilation, stretch panels and higher waistlines and/or zippering and attachment options to the jacket for maximum coverage of the body. The pants are offered in both leather and synthetic options and complete the look and the full protection that proper riding equipment has to offer.

 

HIGH VISIBILITY GEAR

Many road accidents involving motorcyclists occur because another road user didn't see them. Using some form of visibility aid will help others to see you. Remember you need to be visible from the side as well as the front and back.

'2010_TEKNIC_KICKER_VEST_day_glo_yel_blk.jpgYou can buy special vests which are designed to make it easier for others to see you.  Wearing fluorescent orange or yellow clothing in daylight will improve your chances of being seen.

For night time, you can buy clothing that reflects light or put reflective strips on your helmet and the backs of your boots. Every little bit helps.

Reflective Strips. Cheap, commonly available and bright,  put reflective strips on your jacket, pants helmet and the backs of your boots. Every little bit helps.

 

foam-earplugs.jpgHEARING PROTECTION

Long-term exposure to engine and wind noise can cause permanent hearing dam­age, even if you wear a full-face helmet. Whether you choose disposable foam plugs or reusable custom-molded devic­es, proper protection reduces noise, while allowing you to hear important sounds like car horns.

 

References: rideforever.co.nz;  msf-usa.org; directgov

GEARING UP WITH MCR

Regardless of the style, material or features that you decide upon for your motorcycle gear, spending the time to research your equipment and investing the money in your personal safety will both contribute to an optimal riding experience that lasts for years to come.

Getting yourself completely kitted out for riding can be a gradual process, not everyone has the cash to get it all at once but there are certain bits that are more important than others.  If you need help getting started, come in and see the team at MCR, we will find the right product to meet your needs and fit your budget.

 

 

Motorcycling In Winter

Be prepared for riding all year round.MCR webpage 066.jpg

Many motorcyclists enjoy riding their bikes all year round, even when it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.  However, riding in winter brings a new array of hazards.  Here are a few tips to consider before you go throwing your leg over on your next winter ride.

Prepare your bike

This should be a routine habit before any ride, but winter conditions can increase the wearing of parts on a motorcycle.  Check your bike for any mechanical problems.  The battery, motorcycle fluids such as oil, chain tension and very importantly tyres should all be checked.  As your tyres are the only thing gripping you to the road, make sure they are safe to use (check tread and tyre pressure).  On your ride it is important to let your tyres warm up. Rubber gets harder as it gets cold. As this happens, tyres will provide less traction than they can in warmer temperatures. Friction with the ground will cause the rubber to warm as you ride so until the tyres warm up, it's a good idea to limit high-traction situations as much as possible.

To make your bike a more comfortable ride during winter periods, consider installing a windshield or another type of wind deflector that will divert wind around the hands and legs.  Heated hand grips or heated seats also add to the comfort level on those cold winter rides.

Prepare yourself

Riding a motorcycle in cold weather comes down to one simple thing:  insulation.  Insulating your body comes down to layering and wind proofing.  Layers arethermerino critical for riding a motorcycle in the cold weather of winter. How many layers you wear is really down to personal preference.  They need to be effective in keeping you warm and protected without restricting your mobility. Modern textiles are generally lighter, quite breathable and more moisture resistant.  Your bottom layer should be something snug such as thermal wear.

Thermerino  range: keeps you insulated with the outstanding properties of Merino 100% wool which creates a warm layer of air between your body and the fabric.

The biggest issue that you will have when riding a motorcycle in the winter is keeping the wind out. Wind, specifically wind chill, is your worst enemy on a motorcycle in cold weather.  Protective clothing specifically designed to minimise exposure to wind can be a very good investment.

The insulating layer of warm air that sits between riders' skin and their outer layer can be blown away easily. In colder conditions this can be as severe as leading to the onset of hypothermia.

Oxford chillout range:  The abundant use of Chilltex™, an extraordinary waterproof, windproof and breathable material used in all of the chillout rangeChillOut range, prevents this by keeping cold air away from riders' bodies, allowing the insulating warm air to stay.

Pants:  In addition to wearing thermals or chillouts, motorcycle pants that are windproof are essential.  A good pair of well insulated motorcycle riding pants will keep your legs warm during your ride while also providing you with abrasion resistance and armoured impact protection.  Having pants that zip to your jacket also creates a seal ensuring no wind gets in between the layers.

Boots: There is a huge range of boots available on the market.  Consider the fit as a boot that is too tight can affect circulation and make your feet colder.  Find something that is comfortable, waterproof and windproof.

Gloves:  Finding the right pair of gloves can be a bit of trial and error.  The basics tips are:  wear gloves that come up over the wrists, ideally with adjustable straps to ensure a snug fit.  Make sure the gloves fit correctly in the fingers as this can affect your circulation and make your fingers colder (not to mention make it harder to use the motorcycle controls.  Look for gloves with the appropriate insulation for the conditions you intend to ride in.

Neck warmers:  One area that quickly gets cold especially on a cold and windy day is your neck area.  Wind will make your neck cold and can move down the collarOxford heated vest (front).jpg of your jacket cooling your body core.  A neck warmer can ensure this part of your body stays warm and acts as a seal between your helmet and jacket.

Heated vests: keeping your body's core warm is important.  There are heated vests on the market which can be worn under your jacket to keep you warm and toasty.

Whatever you choose to wear ensure you're not exposing any skin.  During winter riding, the wind chill can lead to frost bite and hypothermia.

 

Riding Hazards

Road Surface: It is important to respect the riding conditions of winter.  Road surfaces are affected by conditions such as dew, rain, snow, ice and black ice.  Areas such as bridges and tree-lined roads are susceptible to lower temperatures so ride accordingly.

Wet Roads: Increase the breaking distance between you and other vehicles to account for wet and greasy road conditions.MCRmotorcycleReplacementsSocialRides 19.jpg By increasing your distance you will get minimal spray of other vehicles and will be able to judge and anticipate other road users driving much easier.  The first few rains in winter will often wash up oil that has built up on the roads during the summer. This can make roads slippery and will affect your tyre grip. Take your turns cautiously, give yourself more time to come to a stop and accelerate slowly.  Also keep in mind that a puddle can actually be a pot hole that is filled with water. Painted stripes (centre lines, arrows) get slippery when wet and are often coated with fuel and dirt, ride with caution over these areas.

Other Road Users:  It's worth remembering that poor conditions affect everyone else around you too. Other drivers may have their vision impaired with misty windows.  Be on the lookout for pedestrians who are not aware of their surroundings because they are anxious to get out of the cold and wet weather, they often have their heads down and may walk out in front of you without looking properly.

Vision: Bad weather such as fog or even low winter sun can restrict your view. (and/or the view of other road users) Be aware of the hazards; ride to suit the road conditions and make yourself visible to others.  Also using anti misting sprays for mirrors and visors to help prevent fogging and keep your vision clear.

Check the forecast:  Always check the forecast before heading out on a winter ride.  It is important to be aware of the wind chill factor.  Riding in the cold is heightened on a motorcycle due to this factor.  Below is a wind speed and wind chill chart that may be a helpful.  This is a guide only.

wind speed. chart

windchill factor chartreference:  www.alivetoride.com

Take frequent breaks: If you are taking longer trips make sure you take frequent breaks to help get your body temperature back to a normal state (more than you normally would). Stop for coffee, this will enable you to stretch your legs, getting circulation flowing and a hot beverage will warm you from the inside out.

Check your insurance cover. Ensure your insurance policy up to date and you are fully covered.

In short:

  • Make a judgment call on whether the conditions are suitable for riding or not (taking road conditions, weather forecast and the wind chill factor into account)
  • Be prepared - your bike and yourself.  Check your bikes safety and dress appropriately with sufficient insulation and protection.
  • Be aware of winter hazards such as road conditions, other road users (including pedestrians) and visibility.
  • On longer journeys, take regular breaks
  • Check your insurance cover
  • Ride safely

 

MCR's Biker Flick Picks

Biker movies have been around since the 1950's.  We've compiled a list of motorcycle movies. In terms of genre, we have chosen motorcycle movies which feature some sort of motorcycling being the main plot. How many of our Top 10 have you seen?

choppertown_the_sinners.jpg

Choppertown: the Sinners (2005)

Custom chopper builder and punk rocker Kutty Noteboom builds his working man's chopper from the ground up with the help of good friend Rico and the rest of his biker brothers in this intimate award-winning documentary about renowned hot rod and motorcycle club the Sinners.

Starring:  Kutty Noteboom, Rico Fodney, Rob Fortier, cole Fisher

Genre: documentary/action/adventure

 

 

 

 

Dust To Glory (2005)

A documentary on the Baja 1000, an annual off-road race held in Baja, Mexico that attracts hundreds of racers, dust_to_glory.jpg

their souped up machines and thousands of fans.

Starring: Chad McQueen, Mario Andretti, Sal FishGenre:  documentary/action/adventure

 

 

 

 

 

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The dramatisation of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his lifes calling.the_motorcycle_diaries.jpg

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Mercedes Morán

Genre: Adventure/biography/drama

 

 

 

 

 

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)

 

harley-davidson-the-marlboro-man.jpgAn old fashioned 'buddy' adventure.  After learning they are about to lose their favourite hang-out the boys decide to rob a corrupt bank but find themselves the target of criminal bankers and killers of a drug mob.

Starring:  Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson

Genre:  action

click on image to view movie preview

 

The Wild One (1953)

the_wild_one_brando.jpgThis iconic biker flick was a landmark film for the 1950's rebellion.  About two rival motorcycle gangs who terrorize a small town after one of their leaders is thrown in jail. The Wild One was loosely based on on two actual California motorcycle clubs of the day having a highly charged clash in the small town of Hollister, CA. However, in true hollywood fashion truth is soon blended into fiction.

Starring Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin

Genre:  Classic film

Click on image to view movie preview

 

 

 

Mad Max (1979)

Mad_Max_2_The_Road_Warrior_04.jpgMad Max tells a story of breakdown of society, love and revenge.  A vicious biker gang murder a cop's family and make his fight with them personal.  Filled with rage, Max dons his police leathers and takes a supercharged balck pursuit special (Ford Falcon XB GT 351) to pursue the gang and methodically hunts down the gang members one by one.  This movie features breathtakingly fast car and motorcycle chases. All stunts were performed on location.  The Mad Max trilogy is brutal, fast, and most importantly, extremely fun and one of the all time classic cult 'road' flicks.

Starring:  Mel Gibson

Genre:  Sci-fi action

Click on image to view movie preview

 

 

Easy Rider (1969)

easy-rider-big-pic-1024.jpgEasy Rider is an American road movie that tells the story of two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South with the aim of achieving freedom. It explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use and communal lifestye.

Sarring:  Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper & Jack Nicholson

Genre:  cult film

click on image to view movie preview

 

Faster (2003)

faster.jpgA masterful depiction of the 2001 and '02 MotoGP seasons that gives international roadracing its due. The director  takes us through four main subplots, beginning with a sort of MotoGP primer. Then there's the Valentino Rossi versus Max Biaggi duel that winds its way through the film. There's Garry McCoy as the long-suffering protagonist, carrying on through the unthinkable pain of horrific crashes, and John Hopkins, the American prodigy, struggling to make good in his first GP season.

Starring:  Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi and narrated by Ewan McGregor

Genre:  Documentary

Click on image to view movie preview

TT3D: Closer To The Edge

closer_to_the_edge.jpgTT3D: Closer to the Edge is a stunning a film about the 2010 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, the world's most famous annual road racing event which transforms this beautiful small island into a bikers' paradise where riders pit their skills against each other with a determination to win and push themselves beyond their limits in their bid to become "King of the Mountain". The races take place along public roads packed with spectators who have come from all over the world to watch bikes racing just inches apart.  With speeds hitting 200mph the TT has a reputation for excitement, courage and danger.  Following the journey of outspoken biker, Guy Martin, and his bid to win the 2010 event the event also touches on the harsh reality of the dangers: every rider knows that each race might be his or her last.  TT3D: Closer to the edge lets you in on the heart-wrenching story of Bridget Dobbs, whose husband, Paul Dobbs, lost his life during the Supersport 2 race in 2010.

Starring:  Guy Martin

Genre:  Documentary

Click on image to view movie preview

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

The_worlds_fastest_indian.jpgNew Zealand film based on the Invercargill speed bike racer Burt Munro and his highly modified Indain Scout motorcycle. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1000 cc at theBonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950s and into the 1960s.  This true story of a man who never gave up on his dreams of doing something big -- and doing it very, very fast -- provides the basis for a very engaging comedy drama.

Starring: Sir Anthony Hopkins

Genre:  Biographical

Click on image to view movie preview

 

 

 

On Any Sunday (1971)

on_any_sunday.jpgA documentary following the lives of motorcycle racers and racing enthusiasts, including actor Steve McQueen. First asking the question "Why do they do it?" this film looks at the people who devote (and sometimes risk) their lives to racing on tracks and off-road courses around the world

Modest aspirations, budget and technique made this a surprising box-office hit back in 1971. Populist documentarian Bruce Brown (of ENDLESS SUMMER fame) wanted to show how much fun motorcycling is and succeeded. It's that simple.  On Any Sunday is a film you will definitely enjoy...even if you've never been on a motorcycle. Not only is this film highly entertaining, it's also beautifully photographed and filled with many laughs. The segment with Steve McQueen at the end of the film is wonderful and it truly captures what going out and taking a ride with your friends is all about.

Starring Bruce Brown and Steve McQueen

Genre:  Documentary

Click on image to view movie preview

MCR's Top 10 Most Memorable Motorcycle Scene Picks

10.  The Bourne Ultimatum

9.  The World's Fastest Indian

8.  The Wild One

7.  Mission Impossible II

6.  James Bond: Tomorrow never Dies

5.  Terminator II: Judgement Day

4.  The Great Escape

3.  Batman: The Dark Knight

2.   Matrix Reloaded

1.  Easy Rider

Other Recommendations
  • Winners Takes All
  • On the Pipe
  • Long Way Round
  • Long Way Down
  • Nitro Circus
  • Crusty Demons
  • The Doctor, the Tornado and the Kentucky Kid
  • Erzberg
  • TT Review
  • The Great Escape
  • Hell Angels On Wheels