Electric Moto - Victory Motorcycles - Josh Katt
Most people ride motorcycles for pleasure, and many as a means or preferred means of transportation. We are quite used to our gas powered engines, with lots of torque, tanks that hold enough fuel to travel long distances and easy refuelling stations. Hey, it’s a tradition and who doesn’t love to hear the power in their engine?
In the last few years though, motorcycle manufacturers have been introducing electric motorcycles. And while it is still a very new thing to us diehard bikers, electric motorcycles are starting to gain a toehold in this competitive industry. Till recently, it’s been the smaller manufacturers that have been leading this possible upcoming trend of quiet moto transport, but the major manufacturers are starting to come on board.
When comparing performance of gas power to electric powered motorcycles, a few key points stand out. While traditional gas powered motorcycles are averaging 200 miles on a tank, electric powered motorcycles are only reaching just about half of that amount. But they require almost no maintenance and there are very few moving parts.
You can refuel your gas powered motorcycle at almost every corner in any city and almost every town around the world, but it may be more difficult to find a place to recharge an electric bike. And when you do you may need to dedicate some time to this if using a regular 110 V outlet, as it may take up to 10 hours or more. But, dollar for dollar, with fuel costs being so high in some countries, the electric motorcycle could save you $100’s of dollars a year.
Victory Motorcycles Product Manager at Polaris Industries, Josh Katt, talks electric motorcycles with Jim Martin.
Leatt STX Road Neck Brace
Review by Spencer Hill - The Gear Dude
www.the gear dude.com
Every time you swing a leg over a motorcycle you are assuming a certain amount of risk. If you were able to reduce some of that risk by wearing a neck brace would you take advantage of that?My main question going into testing of the Leatt STX Road neck brace was: Is the added protection this offers worth the additional bulk and effort of having take it on and off every time I ride?
The STX Road neck brace is Leatt’s “street” specific entry in their lineup. It shares the same technology and many of the same features as one of Leatt’s racetrack or off road specific braces but has a lower profile and some design differences that make it more adept for street/adventure riding. These differences include a gap in the front of the brace for zipper access, rear scapula wings designed to fit around a back protector and most importantly it is optimized to fit over your riding gear.
The general concept of the Leatt neck brace is to prevent extreme forward, backward or sideways extension of the neck in the event of an accident or impact. It also helps prevent compression of the spine by transferring impact force from the helmet to the brace.
According to Leatt the use of one of their neck braces reduces the force of hyper extension (over-bending of the head in rearward direction) by 46%, posterior hyper-translation (extreme movement of the head and helmet to the rear) by 17%, hyper- flexion (over bending of the head in forward direction) by 21%, lateral hyper-flexion (over-bending of the head to one side) by 20% and coupled axial loading (axial force on the spine) by 17%. Those are real numbers that make a very strong argument for wearing one of their braces. Additionally the STX is CE tested and certified as personal protective equipment.
After using the brace for a short period of time it became easy to forget that I was even wearing it. With it’s lightweight build and unobtrusive fit it seems to meld into your riding gear. Also after donning and doffing the STX multiple times with and without gloves in different circumstances it became second nature. The STX has a simple clamshell design that can hinge or be opened on either side with bright red clasps to help draw attention to emergency personnel in the event of an accident. Almost immediately after I started using the Leatt brace I new that the added “hassle” of this extra piece of equipment would be worth it, mostly because it wasn’t really a hassle at all. Honestly the most difficult aspect of getting used to wearing this brace was having the collar on my riding jacket fully fastened with the zipper all the way up.
Head checks were another concern I had as far as the day-to-day use of this brace. I had heard from other riders that this was a real issue in older Leatt models, but I found that after a few rides it was just another thing about the STX that I didn’t notice much. My head checks have become much more pronounced because I cannot just glance down and back to either side over my shoulder like I used to but I think that is a good thing. Now when I go to do a head check I keep my chin up and look over my shoulder instinctively getting a good look at my blind spot. In my case it has helped me develop a positive habit. It also helps that the STX Road was designed for street and adventure use giving it a lower profile on the shoulder for this very reason. It may also be worth mentioning that I have a world-class short neck so if I can look over my shoulders to do head checks with this brace on then so can you!
Quality and fit have a lot to do with how easily the STX became part of my riding routine. Strait out of the box I was impressed with the STX. Leatt ships every unit with detailed fitting instructions, different sizing pieces, a optional harness to keep the brace in position and all the tools necessary to make adjustments. In my case it took only a few minutes to swap out the medium spacers that come installed on the large size unit for the large spacers. After that one adjustment I haven’t looked back, the fit has been excellent. Leatt has very helpful sizing charts online to ensure you order the proper unit as well. The adjustments you make when you receive the brace are mostly just to dial in the fit for the particular gear you wear or unusual dimensions you might have.
All and all I think that the Leatt STX Road neck brace is a fantastic product. The added level of protection is well worth the short adjustment period it takes to get used to wearing it. After several months of testing I feel almost naked riding without it, like I forgot my helmet or gloves. Leatt offers phenomenal quality and more experience in this field than any other manufacturer. After all they invented this style of neck brace. I have made the STX Road a permanent part of my riding gear and I can’t recommend it enough.
- Phenomenal quality
- High level of protection
- Vasty array of sizing options
- Takes some getting used to
- Can make contact with some Bluetooth communication units depending on the helmet
MSRP: $399.00 US
First Ride Up The Divide
Spencer Hill and two newbie riders plan a trip from Mexico to Canada, off road up the Continental Divide to showcase the accessibility of adventure rider.
http://www.the gear dude.com/#!First-Ride-Up-The-Divide/c20ru/564107d60cf21009be7ef127
ARR RAW is a spin-off show from Adventure Rider Radio that has a different format and audio style. Although connected with Adventure Rider Radio the show is round table discussions about motorcycles, travel and anything else that crosses our minds completely unscripted, raw and personal.
At the virtual round table, we have our regulars - Sam Manicom, Graham Field, Shirley Hardy-Rix, Brian Rix, Grant Johnson and Adventure Rider Radio host Jim Martin.
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Puget Sound Safety Off Road
PSS Off Road provides world class motorcycle training to new and avid motorcyclists. Since 1996 they have been dedicated to offering programs that suit the interests and needs of adventure, dual sport and dirtbike riders. Their training programs are skill focused, catering to all types of bikes and riders. Learn from top notch instructors with decades of riding and travel experience. Riders aged from as young as 6 to 60+ will benefit from one of their multi-day training camps or tours.