HJC RPHA MAX Modular Helmet Review, Take 2!

The RPHA MAX Modular that HJC so graciously sent to my passenger Chrissy Rogers for our recent Yamaha Star Venture first ride was such a nice-looking lid when it popped out of the box, I thought it was a new model. I was wrong; T. Roderick tested it five years ago.

The RPHA (Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advantage) MAX was actually HJC’s first premium modular, and by now you’re probably aware of how much we like our modulars at MO. They’re super convenient, especially for people like us who need to stop and swap inanities every 20 minutes whenever we’re out on a group ride.

I thought the RPHA MAX was new, I guess, because it seems quite a bit nicer than the HJC IS-MAX II modular I sang the praises of about a year ago, and have been wearing quite a bit ever since. For the money, $230, that thing is hard to beat.

The RPHA MAX beats it handily, though, with a plusher interior, a much better-sealing face shield, and the overall feel of a helmet that sells for twice the money of the IS-MAX II – $464.99 for the Silver Metallic helmet pictured. (It makes you wonder how they can make the IS-MAX II so cheap, and wonder even more how HJC’s CL-MAX II modular is even less expensive than it?) Our benchmark modular helmet remains the Shoei Neotec, which currently retails for $649 to $753.

The black deal at the bottom is for the hardwired JM speakers inside.

Even if it’s not quite as nice as the Neotec, this HJC seems damn close for the money. My head was not in the RPHA MAX for two long days in the saddle, but I was well aware of whose appendix would be in the wringer should anything go wrong or anyone experience significant discomfort: The only thing worse than having your own head ache is having your co-pilot’s head ache, especially in the high 90-degree days that were forecast. Ms. Rogers had barely ridden at all and did not own a helmet; measuring her head according to HJC’s online instructions called for an XS, which arrived not long after and fit just right. Would things continue to be so happy on the road?

Well sir, thanks to the cool Dainese gear we reviewed last week, and to this helmet, there were zero complaints from steerage, and everybody concerned had a lovely time. Built-in pockets for stereo speakers made it easy to mount them, and the Star Venture’s sound system kept everybody rocking out and happy. The sun visor lever Tommyguns was worried might break in his initial review does seem a bit flimsy, but it hasn’t broken yet and I don’t think it will. Airflow looks to be pretty good with vents open, the chinbar release lever works great and positively, and makes it easy to fend off claustrophobia and to express oneself verbally whenever one feels the need – quite often, in this case. But mostly only to express what a great time she was having. God save the Queen.

HJC RPHA MAX
XS – XLL (three shell sizes)
$459.99 – $499.99

HJCHelmets



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ExoDyne Electric Motorcycle

A veterinary superhero by day and engineering extraordinaire by night, when Dr. Alan Cross isn’t performing orthopedic surgery helping animals, he’s in his garage at home in Atlanta designing and engineering his next creation. Pictured here is what he calls the ExoDyne. This is what you get when you cross a motivated doctor with an engineering degree and a passion for motorsports! And that’s not to mention the metalworking and fabrication skills he’s learned on his own.

The ExoDyne is just one example of Dr. Cross’ long list of accomplishments. He has a passion for restoring vehicles and even built a race-spec Mazda RX-8 that he competes in on weekends. It took nine months of research, design and fabrication to complete the ExoDyne. Cross did all the work himself with the exception of the seat upholstery and powder coating.

Where electricity meets simplicity.

The ExoDyne features an exceptionally minimalist yet functional design with equally impressive style. At the heart of the bike lies a boxed frame that contains 8 lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) battery cells arranged in a 100V 32-Ah configuration and is capable of producing an output of 600 amps. Lithium-ion polymer batteries use a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid one, which provides a higher specific energy as well as decreased weight compared to other lithium battery types. Complete with the use of carbon fiber, the entire battery box weighs an impressively light 48 pounds. All of this translates to a lighter, faster motorcycle.

Not the typical AAA batteries found in your TV remote.

Paired with the battery, the ExoDyne is driven by an 11 kW (30 kW peak) rear hub motor from EnerTrac and a Sevcon Gen 4 motor controller. This setup stays true to the sleek, minimalist design of the bike by eliminating any sort of a drivetrain, however it does pose a couple challenges. An in-hub motor significantly increases unsprung mass that in turn compromises overall suspension response and handling. Also, due to its natural lack of leverage, it needs incredibly high amperage to operate. However, Dr. Cross says has all these bases covered. He explains that the 600-amp lithium-ion polymer battery produces more than enough power and that output is actually reduced to 200 amps and provides exceedingly good torque.

Now I’m not well versed in the language of electronics; it might as well be magic to me, but my inner throttle-jockey degenerate is curious about what kind of power the full 600 amps produces. I imagine the battery would be drained pretty quick, but not before delivering one hell of a kick!

The in-hub motor may look like a drum brake but in fact does the exact opposite.

When I asked him what his inspiration was to build such a thing he replied, “Inspiration? Nothing significant. I find I always need to have a project of some sort. I’m happiest when I’m creating something.”

His initial plan was to build an electric, adult-sized Green Machine he enjoyed in his youth, but as the planning phase progressed, he realized that for what he was spending it would make more sense to build something street legal.

“I had a general idea in my head of what I was building and it evolved from there,” he explained. “People ask me for the CAD files; there were none.”

The front suspension is from a 2005 Suzuki RM-Z250, and the neck and rear swingarm are from a 1995 Suzuki RM125, eBay and Craigslist finds, respectively. But the rest of the frame is designed and handbuilt by Dr. Cross and has a Ducati-esque inspired skeletal structure to it. An Öhlins rear shock handles the extra unsprung weight of the in-hub motor. The wheels are from Warp 9 and feature a Brembo brake setup in front and a Suzuki setup out back that bring the 248-pound bike to a halt. Dr. Cross explains that weight savings were paramount to the build and that titanium hardware from ProBolt, as well as carbon fiber, was used wherever possible.

Despite having street tires, the RM-Z250 suspension can handle any type of terrain you throw at it.

An Öhlins rear shock – just one example of the many high-quality components found on the ExoDyne.

The fit and finish of the ExoDyne is remarkable considering one man handbuilt everything in his free time. Other cool features that complete the bike include an LED light bar headlight, custom rear-set footpegs and a small Cycle Analyst display that reads speed, amps, total discharge and other essential information. As far as performance goes, the ExoDyne purportedly has a top speed of 60 mph and a total range of about 20 miles in its current configuration – not bad numbers for a do-it-yourself, garage-built bike if you ask me.

A very minimalist, uncluttered cockpit.

Currently, the ExoDyne is for sale in order to fund Dr. Cross’ next project. He tells us that he also just finished building a new race car and is currently restoring a vintage shotgun. Future plans include possibly restoring an old International Scout for a friend. Other than that, though, who knows, but whatever Dr. Cross decides to build next will be pretty awesome, that’s for sure.

Carbon fiber makes everything look better.

An insight into what Dr. Cross has been up to lately:

A Mazda RX-8 race car that Dr. Cross recently completed building.

An MP3 player built from an old voltmeter he’s proud of.










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Sena unveils Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System at AIMExpo 2017

Sena Technologies, Inc. will showcase its new range of communication units, helmets and accessories at the American International Motorcycle Expo in Columbus at Booth # 1311. Sena will be showing the Momentum smart helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom communication system, which have both been revamped since last seen at AIMExpo in 2016.  

Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

Sena is introducing its Mesh Intercom technology on the new 30K system. With one click of a button, you can connect to an unlimited number of riders within a mile range using the 30K’s public mode feature. When a rider from the group falls out of range, the rest of the group should remain seamlessly connected thanks to Sena’s mesh technology. In private mode a rider can create a group with up to 16 riders and an endless amount of guests can listen in. The 30K is still Bluetooth 4.1 compatible and able to connect to up to 3 other Sena and non-Sena Bluetooth devices. In addition to the mesh technology, the 30K packs the same feature set as previous Sena devices such as audio multitasking, take and make phone calls, listen to music, hear turn-by-turn GPS direction, and much more. The 30K will be available in early Q4 2017 and retails for $329 single / $579 dual pack.  

Momentum Smart Helmet Series

Soon to be released to the public, the Momentum smart helmet series will be on display at AIMExpo. The series includes the Sena Bluetooth-integrated INC helmet. Sena has engineered this helmet from the ground up and has built it in such a way to best showcase its audio and bluetooth functionality.

Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

Momentum: The Momentum takes the 20S technology and packs it into a DOT-compliant fiberglass shell. Speaker position combined with Sena’s Advanced Noise Control technology allows riders to take and make calls, listen to music through their phone or the built in FM radio, audio multitasking, hear turn-by-turn GPS directions, and chat through the built-in intercom with up to 8 other riders for a claimed 27 hours on one charge at a distance of up to 1.6 km (1 mile). Momentum will be available in glossy white and matte black in sizes XS-XXL and will be available in early Q4 2017 at a retail price of $449.

Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

Momentum Pro: The Momentum Pro takes all of the features mentioned above and adds a QHD action camera affixed directly to the center of the helmet. While the camera design allows riders to effortlessly capture any moment along the ride with the touch of a single camera button. The QHD(1440p, 30fps)/FHD (1080p,60fps) camera boasts a 135-degree field of view and has a looping video recording time of 2 hours. Connect to the Sena Camera App using the helmet’s built-in wifi to preview the camera as well as download videos directly to your smartphone. The Momentum Pro will be available in Q1 2018 and will retail for $599.

Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

Momentum Lite: The Momentum Lite uses Sena’s 10 series technology with the same shell design. Like the other helmets in the Momentum series, the Lite comes with everything pre-installed and ready to ride straight out of the box. The 10 series technology allows you to intercom with 3 other riders over a mile distance, connect to your smartphone to take and receive phone calls, listen to music and GPS navigation, or the built in FM Radio. The Lite will be available in early Q4 2017 and will retail for $399.

Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

Momentum INC: Again using the same 20S feature set, the difference for the Momentum INC is the integrated noise-canceling headphones which still allow you to hear audio cues like sirens, traffic, and your engine. Toggle the “on” button and the built-in INC™ system is ready to go. The system analyzes sound information from four networked microphones and adjusts in real time to phase out harmful helmet noise. In addition to the INC mode, the helmet also features an Ambient Mode that can be easily switched on with a button on the helmet’s exterior, allowing the user to better hear outside noise without removing their helmet. The Momentum INC will be available within Q4 2017 and will retail for $549.

Momentum Smart Helmet series and 30K Mesh Intercom Communication System

Momentum INC Pro: The Momentum INC will also have a Pro version which includes the built-in camera on top of the INC feature set that will be available in Q1 2018 and retail for $699.

All models are DOT-approved and feature a composite fiberglass shell with multi-density EPS for added protection in the case of impact. The Momentum series features a ventilation system including chin and forehead air intakes, along with an exhaust port in the rear of the helmet. The helmet’s visor is scratch and UV resistant, pinlock-ready (Max Vision 120), and features a quick-release system for ease of use. The Momentum’s quick-dry lining is removable and washable along with the chin curtain. The Momentum series of helmet also features a reinforced, nylon strap d-ring retention system for a secure fit.

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Motorcycle Industry Veteran Scot Harden Launches Website

We at MO have known Scot Harden for more than decade. During that time, he’s impressed us with his illustrious career as a champion desert/off-road racer and multi-time Baja winner as well as his key leadership positions at KTM, Husqvarna and Zero Motorcycles. After leaving Zero, the AMA Hall of Famer is reinventing himself as a consultant, historian, event manager, marketeer and part-time blogger at his new site, www.Harden-Offroad.com.

Our favorite time spent with Harden was when we tested a Zero FX in a field behind Harden’s home, which brought to our minds the noise-emissions benefits of riding electric-powered motorcycles within close proximity to the general public. I wrote an editorial about it here. The video below (shot and edited by Andy Vu) features Harden, Troy Siahaan and me in action aboard FXs near Harden’s home. It’s one of my higher concept pieces, rather than a simpler bike review, and it’s one I’m still proud of.

We wish Harden well in his new ventures, of which you can read more about in the press release below the video.

Begin Press Release


HARDEN OFFROAD LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

Focus on Business Services, Nevada 200 Trailride and Personal Blog

MENIFEE, CA. (Sept. 18 th , 2017) – Motorcycle industry veteran and AMA Hall of Famer Scot Harden today announced the launch of a new corporate website www.harden-offroad.com. Harden Offroad is a powersports consulting, marketing, event management, product development, m/c industry career and rider training company serving the powersports industry and motorcycle enthusiasts since 1987.

The new website contains detailed information on the company’s services, Harden’s professional racing and motorcycle industry career along with a special section dedicated to the Nevada 200 Trailride. In addition the new website includes Harden’s personal blog on life and motorcycling called “Roadbook.”

“I recently published a number of articles for various websites and magazines and discovered I have a receptive audience,” Harden commented. “My new site will be a great way to share my opinions, observations and outlook on the business and sport of motorcycling and the lifestyle that surrounds them. I’ve got some great personal stories from Baja, Rally, ISDE and desert racing in addition to a lifetime of travel and corporate adventures, not to mention some great behind the scenes insight on the powersports business and the industry itself. My new website will be a great way to engage with fellow motorcyclists, industry associates and friends and perhaps inspire others to pursue their own motorcycling dreams.”

To kick off the launch of the new site Harden Offroad is releasing an in-depth review of the Dakar Rally with a history of American rider participation in the event. Titled “Why Hasn’t an American Won Dakar?” the article chronicles U.S. rider participation in the Dakar Rally, our results to date and opinions from U.S. Dakar veterans like Danny LaPorte and Jimmy Lewis along with Harden’s personal perspective on what it will take for an American to win the event. Other blog articles featured with the new site launch include product reviews of the 2018 Suzuki V-Strom XT-1000 and Nuviz’s all new HUD device, Harden’s Top 10 All-Time Desert Racer List, an article on sales training Moroccan style, an adventure travel story on the Mojave Preserve and last but not least an op-ed piece on the Antiquities Act and its impact on off-road recreation.

In addition to the many articles and reviews the website includes detailed information on the wide range of consulting services and business solutions Harden Offroad offers. From Strategic Planning to Brand Building, Marketing, Product Development, Event Planning and Rider/Rally Training Harden Offroad offers solutions and support for companies currently engaged in the powersports business as well as those thinking about getting involved.

“Building this new site has been fun and rewarding,” said Harden. “Dan Gysel and the team at Dang Designs did a great job pulling it together especially considering they are based in Tampa, Florida, and were in the middle of construction just as Hurricane Irma hit. Hopefully people will enjoy it.,

ABOUT HARDEN OFFROAD

Harden Offroad is a powersports business consulting, marketing, event management, product development and m/c industry career/rider training company. We specialize in all things powersports related with special emphasis on the off-road market. The company is based out of Menifee, Ca. and has been in business since 1987.

FOLLOW US – SOCIAL MEDIA:

Harden Offroad Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nevada200Trailride Harden Offroad Twitter: http://twitter.com/scotharden

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