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Shoei Neotec - Rider Review

We've got several months worth of experience with the Shoei Neotec modular helmet under our belt now so the plan is to tell you what our experience has been so far and add some periodic updates.


So let's get started...

The Shoei Neotec - modular is a well crafted helmet. It exudes quality in EVERY detail. Ours is solid white and the colour is beautiful and shiny, the Shoei logo's are prominent on the front. If you couldn't tell from the shape of the helmet alone, you'll know, and so will everybody else - that you're wearing a Shoei helmet. Note the curve at the rear top of the helmet - that's a shell integrated spoiler to reduce lift and drag at speed. Pretty cool!

- The flip up mechanism works wonderfully and once you put it on you'd never know you weren't wearing a solid full face helmet. Except when it comes time to put your glasses on, pump gas, talk to somebody, get some fresh air at a long stop light, etc. You've now got the luxury of flipping up the front of the helmet and voila - everything is suddenly a little easier!

- VENTILATION: This helmet vents better than any helmet I've ever worn. You can feel the air flowing through this helmet even at low speeds. The vents are very simple to operate - there's a chin intake and another just front top of the helmet which you just slide back to open and forward to close and a third vent, which is an exhaust vent towards the back. They're VERY simple to operate with gloves on which is nice. It's very easy to become familiar with their location and operation which makes using and adjusting them quick and safe while riding.


On cold days the ventilation might be a little too good. You can actually feel a bit of air leaking into the helmet via the vent and it seems to hit you just above the centre of your eyebrows where the inner liner touches your forehead. Apparently Shoei is aware of this and that some people have expressed some dissatisfaction with it. They indicate the helmet is designed to flow a little bit of air through the intake even when closed to keep things fog free. You can get special piece, which according to Shoei fixes the issue, if it bothers you.



This season so far has been a good test of cool weather riding with this helmet. It's typically been in the 2-6 degree celsius range for my rides to work in the morning and I can definitely feel the air leaking in a bit at the top/front of my head. It's not so bad but I may see about getting that fix just to see how it works and if it makes the ride more comfortable. The area under my chin gets the most cold air on the ride in to work and that's not really a helmet issue - I'd need a balaclava or neck warmer to cut the draft coming over the top of my jacket and under the helmet.

FACESHIELD/OPENING: The shield is great quality and vision through it is fine. No complaints there. The opening allows for excellent peripheral vision and I haven't had any issues seeing while tucked down. Upwards and downwards vision is excellent.

The shield has lots on indentations so you can open your helmet just a crack if needed and seals very solidly against gaskets. There's one spot on the visor to flip it up and it's on the left side of your head so when you're riding and want to adjust it I tend to use my throttle hand so as to avoid any jerky one handed throttle inputs while doing that adjustment. This means that you're crossing your hand over the opposite side of your head to open the visor. It becomes second nature after a bit but some helmets have the tab on both sides. Aerodynamically I suppose having it on just one should minimize noise.

FOGGING: The shield seals really firmly and in cool weather (used without the included pinlock system) I've had some fogging issues. Whenever I'm stopped I get fog and have to crack the shield open to clear it. It clears very quickly but it's more than a little fog - it's a lot. I've been cleaning the shield with Plexus but probably not enough admittedly. I'll have to find a product small enough to fit in my tail bag so I won't have any excuses. I really need to get that Pinlock shield in place as that may rectify the fogging I've been experiencing. (I'll update the article once I'd tried it out).

UPDATE: Tested out the pinlock system - SUCCESS! The pinlock system works wonderfully. No fogging at all. I do wonder why the pinlock system is so necessary with this helmet though. Even just putting the helmet on inside it'll fog up without the pinlock.

INNER VISOR: The inner visor has no indents - it operates smoothly through its entire range via a lever on the left side of the helmet. If you've ever had a dark inner visor on a helmet I'm sure you enjoy this feature. Honestly, I didn't use it much on previous helmets I've owned but this one is fantastic. The optical clarity is superb and I find it actually improves my vision on sunny days. I use the inner sun visor a lot on this helmet. Its fantastic when you're riding into the sun. As opposed to wearing a tinted visor this one is there when you need it and gone when you don't.

The optics quality is excellent and it has sufficient range so the bottom edge doesn't provide a visual distraction.

From the Manufacturer:

Multitec’s modular design was used as a backbone, analyzed with scrupulous eyes, and tweaked ever so slightly to yield the most progressive flip-up helmet on the market today—the all-new Neotec. Boasting improved shell aerodynamics, a wider and taller field of vision, a reduction in wind noise, an internal sun shield, and a fully removable, washable and replaceable liner system, the Neotec is the next level of modular helmet design for today’s hybrid motorcyclists.

The Neotec’s flip up design offers the convenience and versatility of a full-face helmet that converts instantly into an open-face configuration. Utilizing an enlarged lock release button to facilitate easy handling with gloves on, the Neotec’s lightweight chin bar and face shield rotate with smooth precision on a single axis point, yielding the seamless versatility of a true two-in-one design.




For more information and details specs for the Shoei Neotec be sure to visit their website HERE.

Canadian MSRP pricing is $759.99 -$779.99 but you can pick one up online in the $683.99 - CA$701.99 range for a solid colour.


Gear Review: TekVest OffRoad Max

TekVest Review
Republished with permission by author Rob P.
* (Leatt brace attached in pics).


Riding a bike offroad in Newfoundland has it's rewards in scenery and unlimited riding areas...it's beautiful and dangerous. Newfoundland is affectionately known to many as "The Rock" and for good reason. We have lot's of rocks (the oldest in the world in fact ) We have little rocks and bigs rocks, dry rocks and wet slippery rocks...they all hurt when going down. I hate riding on rocks, and I'm very much afraid of them.

After having suffered some very serious injuries in the recent past, safety is of the upmost importance to me and my family. I need protective riding gear, and I need good stuff. 

I researched every piece of riding armour I could find. Everything from the Batman suit to plain roost guards to compression suits to hockey equipment and everything in between. My search for riding gear ended at the Tekvest ( Offroad Max model with optional arm pads ). There is no other product that I have found that offers the level of protection and comfort that the Tekvests offer. 

I have tried on various compression suits and instantly disliked the tight constricting type of feel. I hear that you forget about comfort or lack of with the compression suits when riding but I hated them when simply trying them on. That said it was not comfort that drew me to the Tekvest, it was the protection. The type of plastic used (UMHW) is unbelievable stuff, a 1 inch slab of it will stop a .45 bullet @ 25 feet (the vest is not 1 inch thick so do not test this!). To me that means it's rock proof. The Tekvest also floats! The vest does not offer enough floatation to be classified as a certified floatation device, but it will keep you afloat for those deep crossings. 

The Tekvest completely wraps your torso and the level of protection is clearly evident. As for sizing, it's very adjustable and can be worn inside the Jacket or over. Lately with the warmer weather I wear a dri-fit type t-shirt under the vest, and it's super cool and comfortable. For the cold days I have worn a couple different jackets under the vest and it's awesome and warm. Under the jacket wearing is a bit too warm for this time of year (late July). 

The Offroad Max has A LOT of vents so air passes though when it's exposed. The thing is built tough as nails so, wearing it on the outside exposed to the elements is not a concern (hose it off baby). I had mine made in black for easier cleaning. 

As for fit, mine is a large (I'm 6' and weigh 210-215 on average). Certain models of Tekvest fit differently and one should talk to Tekrider and give body type to ensure best fit. The Offroad Max is a big fit. Some of the winter versions are smaller fits. The proper fit is for the vest to float on one's body - not too tight. Mine literaly floats and the comfort level cannot be described. There seems to be very little contact points on the body, but at the same time you're completely covered.

Awesome! 

The Vest accommodates a Leatt brace absolutely perfectly with no need of straps on the brace (I've been told that the Offroad Max will accommodate all the current models of neck braces). Not all Tekvest models are neck brace compatible though.

The Tekvest does not provide elbow protection, so I have been using my hockey elbow pads (they are awesome, and I know they will protect my elbows if I want to elbow someone in the face)

All in all I am delighted in my Offroad Max Tekvest and feel a lot more secure when riding with it. In fact I will never ride without it. Karen @ Tekrider.com was awesome to deal with and answered all my questions. She accommodated my request for color and gave me a great price (sent me an invoice via e-mail, and a day or so later Purolator delivered my Vest right to my door). She also extended any RTR member 20% off the products. They have made deals like this with other riding groups before.

If Tekvest ever extends their product line to other pieces of riding gear. I'll be the first in line to get them!



Additional Comments:

Question: Do you figure this type of suit is no worse than the old-school vented flack-jacket style MX gear, when it comes to being too warm?

Answer:

Not sure how the two would compare with regards to warmth. But one of the reasons I chose the Offroad Max model was for the extreme amount of venting.

You can make out the vent holes in the pics. They're through the mesh (there are a lot of them, even in the arm panels). They allow a lot of airflow let me tell you (you can actually feel the wind blowing through it ). I have been cold while wearing the vest but only when wearing it above a shirt (long sleeve and short) in cool weather.

I have also practically cooked in it while wearing the vest inside my Tourmaster Jacket on very warm day (the vest was then sealed up so to speak ). I believe it's very versatile in its ability to keep you cool or keep you warm. I guess it all depends on layering or lack of it. Most MX protectors/pressure suits have a big slab on the front with little or no venting.

Another great feature of the Tekvest is that it's lined inside with Coolmax so it wicks moisture away. Not all the Tekvest models offer the same amount of venting. Especially the winter models which feature mostly solid panels.


Product Review: Tirox Chain Cleaner

I've had a can of Tirox cleaner on the shelf in the garage for a little while now, just waiting until I had a little time to break it out for a test. My chain was good and dirty so this would surely be a true test of the cleaning power of Tirox. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a "before" picture - but trust me... it was really, really dirty!  Tirox - it's pronounced "Tie-Rox" by the way, or at least according to the manufacturer.



There's a few things that really created some interest in the Tirox brand for me, and this motorcycle chain cleaner in particular.

Firstly - I was looking for an easy to use product that didn't involve a lot of effort. I didn't want to have to remove the chain or break out any tools to get the job done. When researching on forums what people use to clean their chains one thing regularly sprung to the top of the list - kerosene. In fact, kerosense is recommended as a cleaner from most leading chain manufacturers.



I didn't want to buy kerosene and research just where to get it in a small quantity, deal with storing it, and after the chain was cleaned - disposing of it.  It seems just plain easier and more convenient to have an aerosol can of product that I know is specifically designed for cleaning chains.  It just so happens that Tirox chain cleaner contains mostly kerosene so you can be sure it's not going to cause damage to the o-rings in your chain.

Second - I wanted a product that worked. I had to take the word of the guy at the parts counter at the shop I'd bought it at but figured I'd give it a try and see for myself. Given the thought that seemed to have gone into the product it seemed that they likely had put some similar thought into a product that worked.



A prime example of the thought put into their product; their 360 degree chain brush that comes with the cleaner. With thousands of bristles, this handy little brush comes packed in the cap of the cleaner and you stretch it out and spin it on your chain. It's a patented design. And yes, it's a huge leap in effectiveness over the old paintbrush or toothbrush option. Once the 360 degree brush is in position you just spin your back wheel and hold the brush in place to give it a good scrub. My bike has a center-stand so it's a pretty simple process.

Don't be 'too' delicate with the 360 degree brush when trying to get it on the chain; it seems to require a somewhat forceful effort to spin it on. Once on, it scrubs the chain from every angle. When the chain is cleaned to your satisfaction you just spin the brush off and give it a spray with the chain cleaner to clean it up a bit. Fold it back up and back in the cap it goes. Easy!

And finally, but not least importantly - this product is Canadian! That's a big bonus. Tirox is based in the southern Ontario manufacturing hub. So buying this product is supporting a Canadian company and Canadian workers.



The instructions on the can tell you that it works best on a warm chain. A version of the instructions on  the Tirox website doesn't but I cleaned my chain on a bit of a nasty day in my garage so I skipped the chain warm up. I suspect a warm chain might help the cleaner penetrate quicker and you might get away with using a little less product.  I'll perhaps give the warm chain a try next time to compare.

I'd definitely recommend getting yourself a set of gloves for this job. It's messy!  I have a big box of blue nitrile gloves (Costco, Princess Auto, or any hardware store ought to have'em) in the garage for just such jobs. I also grabbed a bunch of papers from my recycle bin and laid them out on the floor to absorb all the drips and to keep all the gunk off the rear tire too.



I paid $16.95 for a 312 gram can. It took about half the can to do a thorough cleaning. If you didn't let your chain get quite so dirty and used it on a warm chain I suspect you could probably stretch out the number of cleanings you'd get out of a can up to 3-4 cleanings.

The Tirox website shows that you can buy the 360 degree brush separately now too. Their MSRP is $12.95. So, that makes the $16.95 for the brush and can of cleaner seem like a pretty good bargain.


This product is available at most motorcycle dealerships in Canada and is indicated to be manufactured for Parts Canada on the can. If you don't see it on the shelf at your local shop then they should be able to order some in for you.

Final Thoughts:

- Great product!
- Convenient and easy to use.
- Makes cleaning your chain pretty easy.
- Would definitely buy it again and highly recommend it to others

- Cons: There's only one that I can see, it's more expensive than using simply kerosene. That's not really a con for me because using kerosene just isn't practical for me. I have a limited amount of space in my garage and desire a simple and quick chain cleaner. Tirox fits that need - kerosene doesn't.

I might have to pick up some of their other products: Ultra-Lube, and Bike-Wash and give them a try.

Links of interest:

More details on Tirox can be found on their website HERE.


Scala Rider - Q2 Multiset Review

Scala Rider - Q2 Multiset Review


I'll admit - I had misgivings about wireless communications system. I assumed that it would detract from the 'zen' of the ride or perhaps affect my concentration. I figured it would take away from the ride. So, I've never once listened to music on a ride much less take a phone call.  That is, until I tried out the Q2 Multiset from Cardo.

The Cardo MultiSet Q2 is basically two communications systems that come factory paired so that two people - whether they're on the same bike or on different bikes - can use them to communicate with one another; straight out of the box. They can be used on their own too, or paired with other Scala wireless systems - which could be useful if you're traveling with friends for example. They could be used for ATV's, snowmobiles, dirtbikes, or side-by-side's too. Anything that makes a bit of noise really, as they're designed to be used in a environment with some noise.

My first test with the Cardo system was to use it for a solo ride so that I could be sure I was familiar with its operation. A nice run of about 200 km's of secondary roads along the coast of Nova Scotia near Halifax provided the testing grounds.

What's in the Box:

Two headsets, two helmet clamps, 2 wall chargers, 2 allen wrenches, 2 sets of velcro pads, 2 MP3 cables,  2 glue plates, 2 pre-moistenend towelettes, 2 carry pouches, 4 microphone sponges, and a user guide with warranty and registration form.

The user guide is excellent and gives clear explanations (with pictures) of what each piece is and how to operate the device.

Once the box was opened up and I had figured out what all the little bits were for, the next step was to get it hooked up to my helmet.  I didn't want to stick the device to my helmet so I was really hoping that the helmet clamp would work on my Scorpion EXO-1000. The Scorpion EXO-1000 has an internal air bladder that sits between the shell and the helmet padding; there's also a really thick band of plastic along the bottom edge of the helmet where all the pieces are sandwiched together. Well, it took a little persistence but after opening up the clamp as wide as it would go and easing it on with a little pressure (but not enough to break anything) all was well.  I tightened it down with the supplied allen key. It is surprisingly secure actually. Pushing on the unit in any direction and there's no movement whatsoever.

Next step is to get the placement of the microphone just right. This part isn't too difficult really - you just have to place the helmet clamp in the appropriate place, the microphone is attached to the helmet clamp via a flexible arm so you can move and twist the microphone into the exact position you want. I couldn't even tell the microphone was there when it was properly placed in my helmet. The speakers are ultra-thin so that they'll fit into even the tightest of helmets.

The Scala Rider system is more than a communication system. It has a FM Radio built in, you can hook it up to an MP3 player through the integrated jack, a voice activated GPS, or a cell phone.  These are the features that will make it particularly useful for a wide variety of riders. I synched my iPhone to to the Scala System following the easy to read and clear instructions.

Cardo claims a 1,640-foot range under ideal circumstances but says that typical is range is more like 800 feet. The range of the communicators is pretty impressive even at the typical range. Riders can communicate in full duplex contact (you're able to talk and listen simultaneously) with each other.

Cardo Scala Rider Q2 MultiSet Specifications (Per Cardo)


MultiSet includes two intercom systems.
- Bike-to-bike Intercom up to 1,640 feet. 
- Cell phone connectivity along with FM and MP3 audio.
- 500 meter (1640 foot bike-to-bike intercom range and cell phone connectivity
- Rider-to-passenger communication
- Optional receiving of GPS voice instructions or music from an MP3 player (cable included) or embedded FM radio
- Headset automatically adjusts the sound level
- Incoming calls may be rejected or accepted by voice-control

Pros:

- Easy to read instructions
- Well designed system with all the elements required to get you using the system quickly and with minimal fuss.
- Excellent for business people who commute via bike and need to take calls.
- Very clear communications; I was told from those who called me that reception on their end was excellent too - even at highway speeds.
- An easy way to add music, GPS, and ability to use the phone on the bike. Remember, it's for your convenience so you don't have to answer calls if you don't want to!
- Rugged design that's rain and snow resistant.
- Cardo’s AGC Technology automatically adjusts the volume of the unit according to wind noise.


Cons:


- Lack of volume control with the MP3 player hookup.
- FM tuner didn't seem to pull in strong signals and scanning for stations is done via the volume control which requires a very firm push to operate.


Overall Impressions:

I really enjoyed using the device to listen to music on my iPhone and I even took a couple phone calls. If I was going on a long distance solo trip, or especially if I were riding two-up, or with a group - I'd definitely have one of these systems. If I needed to be readily available via telephone, I'd also recommend it highly. While I didn't test the system with a GPS system I can see that a voice activated control GPS would work very well as it would allow for hands-free use of the GPS.

Now, when you're on a group, or two-up ride you'll be able to communicate with those you're riding with without resorting to high-speed charades. Pit stops and breaks can be easily coordinated. You can warn others in your group about road hazards, or point out some interesting scenery. Even if you're just riding alone the device can keep you connected or allow you to listen to some of your favorite tunes.

For more information about Cardo and the Q2 Multiset you can visit the company website HERE.

Support CMR and get a great deal on the Cardo Multi-set Q2 system by purchasing it via Amazon:




Cardo Multiset Q2 picture slideshow:






The Lowdown On Helmets:

UPDATE (Jan 20th/08): Motorcyclist magazine has recently (Jan or Feb/08 issue) published another article on helmet safety and indicate Snell has a new standard coming out that accounts for the size of the head of the person wearing it. They believe that their article had a lot to do with Snell coming out with the Snell M 2010 standard. Motorcyclist goes further to say that many helmets that pass the current Snell M 2005 standard won't pass the M 2010 because they're too still. Manufacturers can still make helmets to the M 2005 standard until March 31, 2012 and Snell 2010 helmets won't be available until October 1, 2009.

Most people realize the importance of a wearing a helmet on a bike and if they don’t, for the most part it’s legislated here in Canada that they wear one anyway! There are cases in some provinces that will permit you to not have to wear a helmet. For example in Manitoba you don’t have to wear one if you’re in a legally authorized parade, if you’re a bona fide member of the Sikh religion, or you’ve got a medical condition that would prevent you from doing so and have a signed certificate from a qualified medical practitioner.

For the rest of us, that brings about the inevitable question. What helmet should I buy? That’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself in the end because there isn’t a simple answer. Hopefully ou’ll be able to make a more informed decision after this article though. What you should know before you make that decision is that a helmet must conform to standards; which standards the helmet must meet can vary by province but in general, two standards that typically appear on helmets produced for the Canadian market; Snell and DOT. In some provinces you can also use helmets that meet the Canadian Standards Association Standard D230, the American Standard Institute label, or the British Standards Institute respecting motorcycle helmets. I’d say the majority of riders in Canada have either a DOT approved helmet, or a Snell approved helmet. Snell helmets meet or exceed DOT requirements. Since these two standards are the most common here in Canada we’ll focus on those two.

There are some differences between the two standards that motorcyclists should be aware of when purchasing a helmet. DOT has been around since 1974 and was based on standards developed before that time. The Snell Memorial Foundation (SMF) was formed in 1957 after William “Pete” Snell died from massive head trauma sustained in an auto race. The SMF is a non-profit organization that developed a standard for testing motorcycle helmets that they continually test and update every five years.

The testing standards are different and the verification required of the results are different as well. DOT standards are not as stringent as Snell’s and Snell tests for a greater variety of impact types and severity. In order for a company to claim to meet Snell requirements the manufacturer must submit several helmets to Snell for testing. If the helmet passes the test they enter into a contract with SMF which allows SMF to buy and test the helmets on an ongoing basis to ensure they continue to meet the requirements. DOT allows manufacturers to perform their own tests to determine if their helmets are DOT approved. The government may on occasion run some tests to check on manufacturer claims.

How does a helmet protect?

Helmets are composed of two parts: the outer shell and an energy absorbing inner liner. The inner liner is made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) and the outer shells are made from resin/fiber composites or molded thermoplastics. The shell does a few things; it protects against sharp objects from puncturing the helmet and skewering your head and protects against abrasion. The EPS does a lot of work too though; it’s the liners job to slow your head down over a great as distance as possible when you hit something solid with your noggin. The goal is to reduce the G-loads on your brain in a crash.

Snell helmets are a bit firmer because they must meet higher energy impacts to meet the Snell standard. A tough part of the test is a two strike test on the same spot of the helmet that isn’t allowed to transmit more than 300G’s to the head form in either hit. This might sound like what you want but some argue that the harder helmets are unnecessarily hard and transmit more G-forces to your head rather than using up the EPS liner.

Motorcyclist magazine came out with a very controversial article a few years back that analyzed several helmets and compared the DOT helmets to the Snell helmets. I won’t get into the findings of the article because it is lengthy and very detailed. The article does say that helmet safety has come a long way and helmets you buy today are very good at their intended purpose. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better though. In addition to the standards a helmet meets there’s also the “fit” of a helmet that is very important. Helmets come in different shapes and sizes so what’s comfortable to one person can feel very uncomfortable to another. It’s essential to try on a helmet and keep it on for a while to truly test it. A helmet can feel great when you initially put it on but after ten minutes it may feel like a torture device.


Also consider the color; conspicuity is critical on a bike and many say that white or yellow helmets are among the most visible. Another very important test when getting a new helmet is a roll off test: fasten the helmet up snugly, grab the rear of the helmet, and try to lift up and forward to roll it off your head. To protect you a helmet has to stay on your head. If you can roll it off – it doesn’t fit properly.

So be careful to get a helmet that fits and you may also want to read up about safety standards.

Here’s a couple of links that you may find helpful when you’re in the market for a new lid:

--

- Link to the Motorcyclist Magazine article that created a firestorm of controversy when it was first published. It’s a long one! It’s got some really interesting information in it though you may want to skim through it at least.
- Link to the Snell Memorial Foundation (SMF) website. This website has a lot of helpful information on helmet safety and in particular the Helmet FAQ section has some interesting reading.
- Link to an article on Motorcycle Cruiser about helmets (it’s an old one but still surprisingly relevant!)