10 Great Motorcycle Gloves For Under $100

Yeah, we know that we constantly say that you should buy the best gear you can afford. We think it’s time to show you some  glove bargains. So, we’re gonna pull back a little and show you how nice gloves that cost less than a C-note can be. In fact, some of these motorcycle gloves are almost inexpensive enough to buy two pair without breaking our self-imposed ceiling. Our reason for undertaking this exercise is to illustrate the breadth of gear available to riders who maybe just spent all their scratch on a new motorcycle and don’t have much left for gear.

Second to your helmet, gloves are probably the most important piece of gear you can buy, because it is a natural human reaction to put out your hands to break your fall, and having bare hands as you tumble towards the asphalt at 30 mph (or more) won’t keep you from sticking those poor hands out, either. We’ve seen the results too many times.

So, dive in, dear rider, and see what we’ve rooted out (in alphabetical order, no less) from the tubes of the internet.

Alpinestars SPX Air Carbon

Price: $99.95

Size: S-3XL

The SPX Air Carbon is a precurved-fingered short glove that offers features seen in more expensive gloves. The carbon compound and injected TPR knuckle protector offers impact protection and style, while the carbon compound and injected TPR sliders on palm and fingers handle abrasion in sensitive areas. The main shell is constructed of full-grain leather with a 3D mesh on the back of the hand for airflow. Alpinestars gear can be ordered direct from the manufacturer.

Dainese Tempest Unisex D-Dry Short Gloves

Price: $99.95

Size: 3XS-2XL

Both men and women can appreciate a glove that can be worn in almost any weather condition. The Tempest features a waterproof/breathable D-Dry membrane and a visor wiper to handle rainy rides. Smart Touch fingertips will enable you to fondle your vital electronics. The CE Certification means that you can ride with the knowledge that they will protect you in a mishap. Order yours on Dainese’s website. 

Held Emotion Gloves

Price: $85.00

Size: 6-12

Held takes the same quality of construction it is known for in its more expensive gloves and applies it to this basic motorcycle glove. The Emotion Glove is for someone who wants a traditionally-styled goatskin glove without all the bells and whistles of more sporting gloves. Protection comes in the form of padding across the back of the hand and fingers. Multiple layers of goatskin plus additional padding add to the palm abrasion resistance. The wrist has a hook-and-loop closure. You can buy the Held Emotion Glove here.

Icon 1000 Axys Black

Price: $85.00

Size: S-4XL

Designed for mild to cold weather, the Icon 1000 Axys Black is constructed of goatskin for a soft, supple fit that doesn’t compromise abrasion resistance. Protection of your hands and digits comes courtesy of D30 knuckle inserts while your palms receive multiple layers of the aforementioned goat hide. The hook-and-loop closure features expansion gussets to allow for free movement. Order them here.

Olympia Gloves 330 Protector

Price: $59.95

Size: S-2XL

Olympia Gloves is known for making value-priced hand protection, and the 330 Protector is no different. From the “Super Fabric” leather to the pinky slide protectors and reflective piping, the bonafides are there when you need them. Add in Olympia’s famed anti-vibration gel-padding on the palms, and you’ve got a prescription for all-day comfort in the saddle. Buy them direct from Olympia Gloves’ website.

Pilot Motosport Ventor Gloves

Price: $55.00

Size: S-3XL

While primarily known for its racing suits, Pilot Motosport also makes a line of reasonably-priced street-focused gear. The Ventor Gloves are a prime example. With calfskin providing the abrasion resistance on the palm and fingers, a carbon fiber knuckle mold protects the joints and the back of your hand. Because riders can get hot when the temperature climbs, the back of the hand is a 3D foam mesh, and fingers have air intake vents that double as protectors. The fingers also support touchscreen use. You can buy the Ventor Gloves direct from Pilot Motosport’s website.

REAX Castor Gloves

Price: $89.00

Size: S-3XL

REAX is new to the motorcycle gear scene, but the brand’s initial offerings appear to be well thought out. With an ergonomic pre-curved construction, Castor Gloves will feel natural when wrapped around the grips. Protection is provided by the durable goatskin palm and cowhide backing to the shell. Fingers are shielded by TPR inserts over the knuckles and feature reflective material for conspicuity. The wrist closure is adjustable via hook-and-loop. You can buy the REAX Castor Gloves here.

Rev’It Striker 2 Women’s Gloves

Price: $89.99

Size: XS-XL

The Rev’It Striker 2 Women’s Gloves offer a great mixture of protection and comfort. The outer shell is constructed of drum-dyed goatskin which is combined with with 2-way stretch spandex fabric. Protection of your hard parts comes from 3D Seesoft knuckle armor and TPR-injected finger knuckle protectors. The fingers even have ventilation panels and smartphone-ready connect fingertips on index finger and thumb. The wrists closes with hook-and-loop fastener. Go here to order yours. The Rev’It Striker 2 Gloves are also available for men.

Spidi STS-R Glove

Price: $99.90

Size: S-3XL

Spidi’s STS-R Glove offers performance-minded styling and protection for less than you might expect. Constructed of a combination of 0.6-0.8 mm thick cowhide and goat leather with a gauntlet to securely cover the rider’s sleeve openings, the gloves also utilize EVA padding for a slide. The solid knuckle protectors help to spread out the force of impacts. Five colors are available to match your leathers. You can purchase the STS-R Glove on Spidi’s website.

Tourmaster Dri Perf Gel

Price: $94.99

Size: XS-3XL

Can a glove really be both perforated and waterproof? According to Tourmaster, the Dry Perf Gel glove pulls off this feat, thanks to its perforated goatskin outer and waterproof, breathable E-Dry inner membrane. Additionally, EVA foam padding on the outside of the fingers combine with a hard knuckle armor for impact protection. The index finger and thumb feature touchscreen compatible overlays, and the whole shebang is held in place with a hook-and-loop gauntlet closure. Buy direct from Tourmaster’s website.

The post 10 Great Motorcycle Gloves For Under $100 appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

How To Clean Textile Motorcycle Gear

When it comes to textile motorcycle gear, there’s a fine line between looking well-traveled and being just plain dirty. If you don’t notice when you’ve crossed that line, usually a riding buddy or someone close to you will let you know. For example, when I returned from my four-day Gold Wing Tour ride from Austin, TX, my wife wrinkled her nose and said, “That jacket’s filthy…and you kinda stink.” So, instead of ending up in a pile on the floor where I wanted to drop it after my 600-mile day (with a 102° fever), I carried my Spidi suit outside to my garage office and hung it up where it wouldn’t offend her delicate sensibilities. The things we do for love.

MO Tested: Spidi 4Season H2Out Suit Review

So, you’ve got dirty textile riding gear that you want to – or is that need to – clean. The process is actually pretty easy if you keep a couple factors in mind. First, and most importantly, while textile riding gear is tough enough to handle the abrasion of asphalt in a tumble, some of the treatments and/or membranes used in weatherproofing is/are quite delicate. So, you need to take this into consideration. Always consult the care tag in your suit to see what the manufacturer recommends. Typically, the gear will say hand wash only in luke-warm water. (In fact, of all the textile gear currently in my closet, only my trusty 20-year-old Aerostich suit recommends machine washing.) Every textile suit I have ever checked says do not bleach – which also means that you should check the contents of your laundry detergent to make sure it doesn’t contain bleach. Also, never use any form of fabric softener since it could adversely affect your gear’s waterproofing.

With a wet towel and a little patience, you can take care of many dirty spots.

Before you wash your gear, you’ll want to perform some spot cleaning on any particularly dirty sections of the garment’s exterior. In fact, you should spot clean your gear whenever you notice any egregious new bug impacts. This will keep the bug guts from working their way into the fibers and possibly becoming a permanent stain.  

Heavier stains require a little detergent and a soft bristled brush.

Wet a section of a clean towel and use it to moisten the offending grime for a moment. Next, try wiping the dirt away with a clean, wet section of the towel. You may have to repeat this step a few times. (Remember, you’re trying to lift away the dirt, not grind it into the fabric.) If this doesn’t work to your satisfaction, you can try a drop of mild laundry detergent (I use Woolite,  but you can also buy textile detergent from gear manufacturers) on a soft-bristled toothbrush. (I know people who use a larger sized soft-bristled brush, but I worry that it is too easy to use too much force with a larger brush and possibly damage the garment.) If this is a prewash cleaning, you can leave the detergent on the fabric. If not, use the wet towel to remove the detergent. Again, this may take several applications of the towel.

I’ve found the hand wash setting in front-loading washers to be gentle enough to wash textile gear safely.

By hand or machine?

I know, I know, I said you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for garment cleaning, but I’m gonna step out on a limb here and say that it’s safe to use a front-loading HE (high efficiency) washing machine that has a hand wash cycle. The problem with machine washing, I have been told, is that the twisting motion of the center agitator in most top-loading washing machines puts too much stress on textile riding gear – particularly their waterproof membranes. After watching the hand wash cycle on my front-loading washer, I can honestly say that it is more gentle on the textiles than I am when performing the chore in a tub or sink. 

Regardless of which washing technique you chose, you’ll need to make sure that all of the garment’s armor has been removed. Similarly, go through every pocket and make sure that it is empty before zipping or snapping it closed for the wash. If you don’t, you could be in for a big surprise later. 

Before you wash textile riding gear, remove the armor and the liner (if possible).

Textile gear can soak up and hold on to detergent with remarkable tenacity. So, if you machine washed your gear, run it a second time with no soap (and never any fabric softener). With hand washing keep rinsing with fresh water until you can plunge the garment into the water and squeeze it with no soap residue coming to the water’s surface.  Some water-resistant gear uses a durable water repellent (DWR) that needs to be recharged after washing. In many cases, using Nikwax Tech Wash in the final hand/machine wash will suffice. 

Tumble or hang?

Simply put, do what your gear manufacturer recommends. Some DWRs need to be heated to reactivate, while other waterproofing methods will be damaged by the heat. Do not wring out your garments to make them dry faster because you will risk damaging the waterproof membrane.  Hang up your gear and let it drip dry. You’ll want to choose a place that it can drip, too – particularly if you hand-washed it. If you need to speed up the process, you can aim a fan at it for more airflow. 

If you hang your gear to dry, make sure it’s a place that the excess water can drip safely.

When the gear is dry, some of the finer-threaded fabrics may look wrinkled while heavier ones may not. Some textile gear labels say it is safe to iron them, but I’ve never tried it since I prefer for the fabric to regain its natural patina through riding. However, you should abide by the recommended temperature – again because of the waterproof membranes. 

If you follow these steps, you’ll find that your textile gear looks newer and likely performs better over the years you own it. 

Here’s a before and after of my Spidi jacket – almost like new!

The post How To Clean Textile Motorcycle Gear appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

MotoAmerica 2018 Season Starts This Weekend

Ah Spring, when young motorcyclists’ thoughts turn to…roadracing! The MotoAmerica 2018 series kicks off this weekend at Road Atlanta. Be there!

Begin Press Release:

MotoAmerica 2018: Ready To Rock And Roll
The Series Starts This Weekend At Road Atlanta

COSTA MESA, CA (April 11, 2018) – After an off-season that saw the addition of two new classes and the tweaking of a few others, the 2018 MotoAmerica season is ready to kick off this weekend in high-flying fashion with the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta, the opening weekend of the 10-round series that features the premier Motul Superbike class.

This weekend, April 13-15, marks the debut of the MotoAmerica Twins Cup and Liqui Moly Junior Cup classes. The Twins Cup is all-new and will feature multiple brands of highly tuned twin-cylinder motorcycles doing battle, and the Liqui Moly Junior Cup class takes the place of the spec-class KTM RC Cup. While the motorcycles will change as the class is now open to all manufacturers of small-bore sportbikes, the riders will be the same hard-charging youngsters as before – many of whom are on the fast track to move up through the ranks of MotoAmerica with a goal of reaching the Motul Superbike class.

MotoAmerica 2018

MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion Toni Elias is the man with the big number one on his bike as the 2018 MotoAmerica Series heads to its opening round in the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta, April 13-15.|Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

The Motul Superbike class remains unchanged except for the fact that it is now a class for just Superbikes. Gone is the integration of the Superstock 1000 class on the Superbike grid as most of the top Superstock 1000 teams have kicked it up a gear and have built pure Superbikes with which to do battle, meaning the top Superstock 1000 riders have also made the jump to the Motul Superbike class.

Superstock 1000 is completely gone, replaced by Stock 1000, which will run by itself and on motorcycles that are based on what the class implies – stock 1000cc motorcycles. The Stock 1000 class will offer the opportunity for riders to get a taste of racing 1000cc motorcycles prior to moving to full-blown Superbikes.

The Supersport class returns in 2018, but without the Superstock 600 sharing its grid. The Superstock 600 class has been eliminated with new Supersport rules modified to somewhere between last year’s Supersport and last year’s Superstock 600 rules, allowing the majority of those in the Superstock 600 class to make the necessary changes to their motorcycles in order to compete.

All told, there will be five classes racing in the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta this weekend: Motul Superbike (Saturday and Sunday); Supersport (Saturday and Sunday); Liqui Moly Junior Cup (Saturdayand Sunday); Twins Cup (Saturday); and Stock 1000 (Sunday)

Of course, all eyes will be focused on the Motul Superbike class as the MotoAmerica Series opens its season for the first time at Road Atlanta. Remember last year’s clash between Cameron Beaubier and Toni Elias? Well, those two are certainly among the favorites for victory in the two races in Georgia as both of them rank Road Atlanta among their favorite tracks.

“My favorite track is where we start the championship – Road Atlanta,” Elias said. “It is a really difficult track, but I love it. It has a lot of hard braking areas, a lot of ups and downs. It’s amazing and one of the best tracks I’ve ridden in the world.”

To move forward, you must sometimes look back and last year’s two races at Road Atlanta were epic. Race one went to Beaubier and his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1 and that was the race where Beaubier and Elias clashed in the final corner, with Elias voicing his complaints during the podium ceremony before the war of words went public in the post-race press conference. Roger Hayden, meanwhile, finished third in race one behind his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Elias.

In race two, Elias turned the tables on Beaubier and took what was his third win of the year (he won both races at the season opener at Circuit of The Americas). Hayden was second with Beaubier third.

The three podium finishers in both races at Road Atlanta last year are back for more and with their same teams. The Yoshimura Suzuki team is intact from last year with Elias coming into 2018 as the defending MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion by virtue of a season that saw him win 10 times in 2017. He will be joined again by Hayden, who finished second in the title chase last year with three victories on the year.

While Beaubier is back on the Yamaha Factory team, he is now joined by two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion Garrett Gerloff, the Superbike rookie impressing during the off-season tests on the team’s second Yamaha R1 Superbike. Gerloff takes over from four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, the veteran making his debut this coming weekend in his new role as rider coach for Yamaha.

Road Atlanta will mark the first race for Beaubier since his season was cut short at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex round in August where he suffered a dislocated shoulder that required season-ending surgery. Beaubier still ended up third in the title chase and won five races during his shortened season. The Californian has led all the off-season tests and comes to Road Atlanta bristling with confidence.

With the Superstock 1000 class going away, there’s an influx of hungry young riders making the move to the Motul Superbike class. First among them is Mathew Scholtz, the Yamalube/Westby Racing rider coming to the Superbike class after winning last year’s Superstock 1000 Championship on the team’s gold-liveried YZF-R1. Like Gerloff, Scholtz was impressive during the recent Dunlop Preseason Test at Barber Motorsports Park with his lap times bettered only by Beaubier.

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis finished second in last year’s Superstock 1000 Championship and he too makes the move to the Motul Superbike class this season. Lewis rode his Superbike-spec GSX-R1000 for the first time at the recent Barber test.

Bobby Fong, who rode a Quicksilver/Latus Motors Racing Kawasaki to third in the 2017 Superstock 1000 Championship, not only makes the move to Superbike but he does so on a new team with a new motorcycle. Fong will make his Superbike debut at Road Atlanta riding a Yamaha YZF-R1 for the Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles team. Joining Fong and the other top Superstock 1000 men in making the move to Superbike is Danny Eslick. Eslick also changes teams, going from the now-defunct TOBC Racing team to Scheibe Racing where he will compete aboard a BMW S1000 RR. Eslick rode the bike for the first time just a few weeks ago at the Dunlop test in Alabama.

The list of returning Superbike racers from last year is led by Kyle Wyman Racing’s Kyle Wyman. The team owner/racer ended up 10th in the Motul Superbike Championship last year with the highlight an impressive second-place finish to Elias in race two at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

With the ever-popular Jake Gagne headed overseas to compete in the 2018 World Superbike Championship, his spot on the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda team has been taken by South African Cameron Petersen. The talented young Petersen competed in the Superstock 1000 class last year, though he didn’t complete the full season.

Josh Herrin will also be back and ready to fight for race wins in 2018 and he’ll be armed with an Attack Performance/Herrin Compound/Yamaha YZF-R1. Herrin finished eighth in the Superbike title fight last year, highlighted by a second-place finish at Barber when he filled in for the injured Beaubier on the factory Yamaha.

Team owner/racer David Anthony will field himself and two other riders in the Motul Superbike class as he’ll be joined on his Fly Street Racing team by Roi Holster and Sam Verderico. Anthony will ride a Kawasaki ZX-10R while the other two will be mounted on Yamaha R1 machines.

With practice and qualifying taking place on Friday, racing action begins on Saturday with the Liqui Moly Junior Cup race at 1 p.m., followed by Supersport at 2:30 p.m. and the first 21-lap Motul Superbike race at 3:30 p.m. The day will conclude with the first-ever Twins Cup race at 5 p.m.

Sunday’s main events start at 1 p.m. with the second Liqui Moly Junior Cup race and the one-off WERA Superbike race, which is the opening round of WERA’s Triple Crown Series, at 1:45 p.m. The final three races of the day are the second of two Supersport and Motul Superbike races and the Stock 1000 race, which ends the weekend with its 4:30 p.m. start time.

In addition to the on-track action, the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta will feature skateboard legend Tony Hawk & Friends, The Wall of Death, a Kids Zone, a BMX Pump Track and renowned LA and Vegas dance music DJ Jayceeoh.

Road Atlanta Notes…

Who is the winningest active Superbike rider in the MotoAmerica class? Cameron Beaubier. The two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion (2015/2016) has won 21 MotoAmerica Motul Superbike races – eight in both 2015 and 2016 and five in 2017. Next best is Toni Elias with 16 wins – six in 2016 and 10 last year. Roger Hayden has five MotoAmerica Superbike wins to his credit (nine counting his other four AMA Superbike wins). The only other riders to have won MotoAmerica Superbike races are the retired Josh Hayes (13 MotoAmerica wins/61 total Superbike wins) and Mathew Scholtz, who took his maiden MotoAmerica Superbike win in the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park while riding his Superstock 1000-spec Yamalube/Westby Racing Yamaha.

From a manufacturers perspective, Yamaha has won 35 MotoAmerica Superbike races with Suzukitaking home 21 wins thus far. Yamaha got a headstart to that number when they swept all 18 races in the first year of MotoAmerica in 2015.

If they have the kind of season expected from them, Suzuki could reach the milestone of 200 Superbike victories in 2018. Roger Hayden gave the brand its 194th win when he rode to victory in race one at the season finale at Barber Motorsport Park in September of last year, putting them six wins shy of the mark. Honda is second on the all-time Superbike win list with 116 victories, while Yamaha’s 107 wins puts them third.

As previously mentioned, Beaubier and Elias won the two Motul Superbike races at Road Atlanta last year. Pole position went to Beaubier with his 1:24.555 lap in Superpole. The Superstock 1000 wins last year went to Mathew Scholtz and Jake Lewis, their first career wins in the series. In Supersport, Garrett Gerloff and Frenchman Valentin Debise split the two wins while Nick McFadden swept to both victories in the Superstock 600 class. As for the KTM RC Cup (now Junior Cup), those two race wins went to Benjamin Smith, the young racer who would end up taking the KTM RC Cup Championship. Smith will compete in the Supersport Series this year on a Team Norris Racing Yamaha.

MotoAmerica 2018 Season Starts This Weekend appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

MO Tested: Shoei Neotec II Helmet + Sena SRL Communicator Review

Shoei Neotec II Helmet

Editor Score: 90.0%

Aesthetics 9.5/10
Protection 9.5/10
Value 8.0/10
Comfort/Fit 9.25/10
Quality/Design 9.5/10
Weight 8.25/10
Options/Selection 8.5/10
Innovation 9.25/10
Weather Suitability 9.0/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 9.25/10
Overall Score 90/100

Learning about new products is always exciting here at MO. Testing and reporting on motorcycle-related products is an important (and fun) part of our job. When the new product in question is a makeover of one of our favorite pieces of gear – as is the case with the Shoei Neotec II – the excitement is even more pronounced. (There was even a little behind-the-scenes wrangling over who would be assigned the review.) Still, I’ve got to be honest. I was also a little bit worried about the update. What if Shoei changed my absolute favorite modular helmet – the helmet I wear almost every day – in ways that made me like it less? Given the popularity of the Neotec with the riding public, I’m sure I’m not the only one who may have wondered if the changes would all be good.

Shoei Neotec Helmet Review

Well, I needn’t have worried. While Shoei may have refined just about every aspect of the Neotec before adding the II to the name, I haven’t found a single place where I would choose the old version of the helmet. That’s before I even consider the availability of an optional, bespoke communication system in the form of the Sena SRL, but we’ll get to that in a bit. For now, we’ll focus on the helmet itself.

New aerodynamics

Other than the DOT-certified safety rating, the most important feature of a motorcycle helmet is its aerodynamics, which affect everything from helmet stability to wind noise. According to Shoei, the Neotec II’s shape was optimized in the company’s wind tunnel to reduce lift and drag at elevated speeds. Since different motorcycles have different riding positions, the Neotec II’s shape was tuned to account for a wide variety of orientations towards the wind. For example, the design of the top air outlet acts as a spoiler, reducing helmet lift, in an upright riding position.

Thanks to wind tunnel testing, the exhaust vent (top) acts a spoiler when the rider is in an upright position.

Changes were also made to the shape of the chin bar. The “Vortex Generator” on the leading edge of the seam between the chin bar and the main section of the helmet improves the flow of air over this opening that is typically a major source of noise on modular helmets. Similarly, an “Aero Deflector” on the base of the chin bar acts as a spoiler to manage the airflow around the base of the helmet, reducing noise through improved aerodynamics in a variety of riding positions.

The Neotec II cuts through the air without a hint of lifting – even at supra legal speeds. I tested this both sitting bolt upright in the saddle and hunkered down in a sport-riding crouch with no perceptible difference in stability. Similarly, when looking over either shoulder for checking my blind spots, the helmet didn’t interact with the wind in any way.

The importance of being quiet

In recent years, premium helmet manufacturers have been spending an increasing amount of time on decreasing the wind noise that motorcyclists are subjected to as they ride. Many of the improvements to the Neotec II were designed to assist in this goal. The new visor is a prime example. While the 3D injection-molded CNS3 shield was designed to be optically correct and give a large field of vision, its new sealing system provides water- and air-tightness to better seal out wet weather and wind noise. Using a system similar to that released on the Shoei RF-1200 in 2014, the visor has stiffening ribs at the top and bottom to decrease the amount it flexes as it’s being opened or closed against the detents that hold the visor partially open. When snapped into the fully closed position, the spring-loaded base plate physically pulls the visor back against the rubber weather stripping that lines the top and bottom of the helmet’s eye-port, completing the seal.

Shoei RF-1200 Helmet Review

The base of a helmet is the place where most noise gains access to the rider’s ears. Shoei has taken steps to address this issue. First, the removable chin curtain reaches back further towards the chin strap. The curtain is constructed with noise-damping foam sandwiched between layers of fabric. New to the Neotec II are the “Noise Isolator” cheek pads that wrap around to make the opening smaller below the rider’s ears and then expand slightly to fill more of the gap to the rear of the chin curtain.

Here is a side-by-side comparison between the Neotec (right) and the Neotec II (left). The Noise Isolator and the chin curtain cover a large amount of the formerly open real estate under the helmet.

The larger chin curtain makes the Neotec just about impossible to don with the chin bar closed, but how many modular helmet owners would do this, anyway. Out on the road, in a direct comparison between the Neotec and the Neotec II, the noise levels reveals a clear difference. The chin curtain combines with the Noise Isolators to create an environment that I would gauge as being approximately 10% quieter. Although the noise level is lower, I would still recommend protecting your hearing by wearing earplugs when riding at highway speeds.

The only question I have remaining about the effectiveness of this combination of coverage of the helmet’s openings concerns what the airflow will be like in around-town traffic during hot summer weather. In those situations, I expect to crack the visor a bit more frequently than I would with the previous generation. This doesn’t seem like it will be a big trade-off for the increase in quietness every time I ride.

Although the top vent offered plenty of cooling breeze, it was difficult to open/close with gloved hands.

Speaking of venting…

Helmet venting is always a compromise between airflow and the noise that the atmosphere makes while moving through the helmet. The redesigned, larger chin vent is much easier to open with a gloved hand and flows an impressive amount of air. The opening’s shape feels like it actually catches the wind and directs it into the opening which, in turn, directs it towards the inside of the visor.

The chin vent’s fat lower lip catches the air and redirects it into the helmet quite effectively.

While the effectiveness of the three-position top vent is quite noticeable when out on the highway, the operation of the vent is much more challenging. The slider shape which is so slippery to the wind also makes it difficult to slide open with gloved fingers and requires quite a bit of downward pressure to achieve an effective grip. Consequently, the middle position (half-open vent) is difficult to achieve when riding. I had more success changing the vent from the fully-closed to the fully-opened position (and back). Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the amount of air that the Neotec II flows, and I rank it as allowing slightly more cooling breeze than the helmet it replaces.

Quality of construction

With the attention to detail Shoei directed at the features we’ve covered so far, it should come as no surprise that the build quality of the Neotec II places it firmly in the premium helmet category – as it should with an MSRP of $699 for solid colors and $799 for the Excursion TC-3 that I tested.

From the Aero Deflector (black) on the bottom of the chin bar to the slider for the internal sunshield, the fit-and-finish of the Neotec II is top notch.

For example, the locking mechanism of the modular chin bar is constructed of stainless steel. The centrally-located lock release (which looks like the only part that carried over from the old Neotec) is large and shaped to accommodate the thick fingers of insulated gloves. Additionally, the Neotec II now latches more securely in the fully flipped-open position for folks who like to ride with the chin bar up – though Shoei’s lawyers hedge their bets with the following statement: “In order to maximize head protection performance, riding your motorcycle with the face cover in the fully closed position is strongly recommended.” Personally, I can’t imagine doing this at anything but the lowest speeds since the open chin bar is an aerodynamic nightmare.

Among the premium features, the internal sunshield is activated by cables and not a spring that can lose strength over time. Additionally, the passages for routing the mechanism’s parts have been made smaller to help reduce noise. The external slide is easy to feel with gloved fingers on the left side of the helmet.

Shoei finally eschews the D-ring in favor of the Micro Ratchet Chinstrap.

In a Shoei first for the American market, the chinstrap’s D-rings have been replaced with a Micro Ratchet Chinstrap. Once the rider sets the length of the chinstrap, securing the helmet is as simple as sliding the stainless steel interlocking ratchet halves together for a secure fit. Removing the chinstrap only requires lifting a lever. This is a feature I’ve watched with envy of the European market for years!

Of course, the Neotec’s comfort liner is removable for cleaning. The cheek pads are available in different sizes if you don’t like the fit.

The attention to detail exhibited in the comfort liner illustrates what separates premium helmets from bargain models.

The Neotec’s head form is a long oval, and the XL fits my big melon right out of the box. The exterior shell is Shoei’s Multi-Ply Matrix AIM construction which combines “fiberglass with lightweight organic and high-performance fibers.” The shell is produced in four different sizes to accommodate heads ranging from XS-XXL.

Inside the shell, the rider’s noggin gets DOT-approved protection courtesy of a variety of Expanded Polystyrene foam densities which tune the impact absorption to the position in the helmet. Also, the different EPS sections allow for the tunnels to deliver the Neotec’s ventilation.

What about the Sena SRL?

For many riders, I may have buried the lede by placing information about the Sena SRL (Shoei Rider Link) this far down in the article, but by no means does this lessen the importance of the inclusion of this Bluetooth communication system designed specifically for the Neotec II. When you plunk down your $299, you get a communicator that fits perfectly inside the helmet with notches and cutouts for the microphone, speakers, the control panel, and even the battery. I’ve installed Sena systems tons of times, and the SRL only took about five minutes. A first-timer may need 15.

When the helmet and communicator’s designers work together, you get this tightly-packaged, easy-to-install system.

Unlike the universal-mount systems, the SRL doesn’t stick out from the side of the hemet – meaning it doesn’t add to the noise of the helmet. Instead, its three buttons are flush with the left side and look like a factory installation – as it should since both the Neotec II and the SRL were specifically made for each other.

Operating the system takes place via pressing various combinations of three buttons, but if you don’t like that, you can change functions by simply saying “Hello, Sena” followed by a command. Very nice.

Everything you need to control your Sena SRL is right here at your fingertips – or you can use your voice.

The biggest advantage to having the SRL built in conjunction with the Neotec II is that the interaction between the two companies allowed the speakers to be placed more directly over the ear canals instead of above and slightly behind as with the previous Neotec. Since intensity is an inverse square of the distance from the sound source, having the speaker closer makes a huge difference in sound quality and the volume level to hear the speakers. The speakers are powerful enough to hear clearly when I’m wearing earplugs – which I wear, without fail, when I ride on the highway.

As far as the quality of my connection with other riders, it is on par with the other Bluetooth communicators from Sena. Line of sight gives the most distance, but when I ride with someone, we usually don’t spread out too much. Using the phone is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Sena’s communicators. The reception on the other end of the call is clear, and the noise reduction feature of the microphone filters out all of the road noise – even when riding an unfaired motorcycle at more than 80mph.

The only drawback to the SRL that I have found is pretty specific to me and my family: I get teased by my wife for placing the helmet on the kitchen counter when using the charging station we have there.

In summary

Shoei’s update to the Neotec modular helmet is a fitting replacement. Every feature, from the aerodynamics to the venting to the noise level and even to the availability of the optional Sena SRL has made my current favorite street helmet even better. I can’t think of any higher praise than that.

Buy the Shoei Neotec II

Buy the Shoei Neotec II Excursion

Motorcycle.com has formed affiliate partnerships with some retailers, so we may earn revenue from the products and services you buy.

The post MO Tested: Shoei Neotec II Helmet + Sena SRL Communicator Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

New Rider: 5 Tips For Riding In The Rain

Maybe I’m not your typical motorcyclist because I absolutely love riding in the rain. I find that it heightens all my senses and can turn a mundane ride into one that becomes an intensely-focused experience. Perhaps my love of rain riding comes from the fact that, the very first time I commuted on a motorcycle, it rained – and I was prepared. (I was also terrified, but I’d only been riding for a few days.)

Still, many new (and experienced) riders won’t even consider riding when the rain comes down, and that’s really too bad. They’re missing out on what separates the weekend warriors from the hard-core motorcyclists.

If you’d like to improve your game in the wet, read on for some tips on how to ride proficiently when the skies open.

1. Wear proper gearRiding In The Rain

It’s hard to have fun when you’re soaked to the bone. Plus, once you are good and wet, getting cold follows in relatively short order. Becoming hypothermic on a motorcycle is no joke. Your ability to concentrate and perform challenging mental tasks – like operating a motorcycle – is diminished. That’s before we even consider the creature comforts, like warm hands (that can actually manipulate controls).

At the bare minimum, you need a rain suit for inclement weather. It doesn’t need to be expensive, just sturdy, waterproof, and preferably brightly colored. My first rain suit only cost about $35 and was just a bright orange PVC-coated, one-piece jump suit I bought at an industrial supply store. It lasted me about a season. I also used a pair of pull-over rubber galoshes to keep my riding boots dry. They cost about $10. For gloves I used the largest dishwashing gloves I could find and wore them over my summer-weight riding gloves. These were nothing fancy, but they got me through my first year of riding motorcycles on the limited budget that I had at the time.

If you ride in a part of the country that experiences frequent rain, you might want to invest in some pricier rain gear that has venting and safety features like reflective striping. I’ve never understood why so many bikers insist on wearing black rain suits – they only make you harder to see in situations where visibility is already reduced.

When it comes to rain gear – or any motorcycle gear – buy the best gear you can afford, and it will last you many years.

2. Use smooth control inputsRiding In The Rain

Yes, traction is limited in the rain when compared to dry pavement, but the wet weather grip of motorcycle tires has made tremendous strides in the last couple of decades. Still, you shouldn’t go around making ham-fisted control inputs unless you want to end up on your head.

Smooth is the operative word, here. In order to give yourself time to be smooth with your control inputs, you’ll want to increase your following distance and lower your speeds.

Although ABS has transformed wet weather braking safety, you’ll stop quicker if you learn how to build braking pressure up to the point of lock-up when needed.  An increased following distance gives you a little more time to apply your brakes and have the bike’s weight shift forward as you build in pressure. Abruptly applying the brakes in the rain will cause them to either immediately lock or have the ABS take over – neither of which are optimal braking techniques.

Smoothness is also key for cornering in the wet. Bend your bike into the turn. Don’t flick it. Choose more arcing lines rather than those with sharp turn in points if possible.

3. Pay attention to the pavementRiding In The Rain

The pavement surface can vary quite a bit as you travel down the road. In the rain, you should do your best to avoid paint and tar stripes. If you must go over them, try to be as upright as possible. The same goes for metal. Avoid manhole covers, metal plates covering construction, and railroad tracks like the plague! They can be as slick as ice if you try to turn or stop on them. If you absolutely must cross them, do so straight up and down while trying to avoid any steering, acceleration, or braking input.

At intersections, you should also do your best to avoid the center of the lane and, instead, stick to the car tire tracks. Any place that cars stop can accumulate oil drippings in the center of the lane while the tire tracks tend to be cleaner.

Be extra careful when crossing through puddles. Unless you can follow the tracks of a car immediately in front of you, you never know what lurks below the deceptively smooth surface of a puddle. It could be a huge pothole.

Once it stops raining, start looking for dry lines on the road. These will usually appear in the tire tracks first. In corners, look to the tire tracks on the outside of the turn.

4. Maintain your motorcycleRiding In The Rain

Proper maintenance of your machinery is important in every riding situation, but it plays a surprisingly big role in wet weather riding. Track your tire wear. When the wear bars begin to show, you will begin to have compromised traction in your tires if there is water on the road. The same is true of maintaining proper air pressure in your tires. Manufacturers design the tire tread to operate with a particular contact patch shape. If your tires are either over- or under-inflated, you’ll have less traction available because the grooves can’t channel the water away as effectively.

Believe it or not, an improperly adjusted chain can also affect your available rear wheel grip. Excessive chain slack can abruptly transfer power to the rear wheel, causing it to break traction – something you don’t want to do when going around a corner.

5. Improve your visionRiding In The Rain

During rain, your vision is impaired by many factors. So, anything you can do to keep your vision clear is important. First, don’t wear a tinted visor. It’s already darker in the rain. Why further reduce the amount of light that reaches your eyes?

The build-up of water droplets on the exterior of your visor is one of the biggest impediments for your vision. Ironically, it is more of an issue in light rain (or mist coming off the vehicles in front of you) than in a more continuous rain. The reason being that the smaller droplets can build up more densely on your visor. At low, around-town speeds, the best remedy is to wipe your visor with your glove. Some waterproof gloves even feature a wiper blade built-in to a finger for this purpose. At highway speeds, briefly turning your head left and right will allow the air-flow to push the droplets off your visor.

If you live in an environment where it frequently rains, treat your visor with a hydrophobic fluid such as Rain-X. This can help minimize the amount of water that will attach itself to your visor.

The other major contributor to poor vision in the rain is fog on the inside of the visor. More and more helmets come with pins to accommodate Pinlock anti-fog insert lenses. They are well worth the approximately $39.00 they cost.

If there is not a Pinlock lens available for your helmet, you can treat the inside of your visor with an anti-fog coating. Cat Crap is a popular brand that can be found at many outdoor products retailers. Simply apply it to the visor interior and buff away the excess, and your fogging problems should be minimized.

If you follow these tips, you’ll find that riding in the rain is much more pleasurable. While you may not learn to love riding in the rain, you may find yourself parking your bike less when the weather report calls for something other than sunshine.



The post New Rider: 5 Tips For Riding In The Rain appeared first on Motorcycle.com.