Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bell Rogue Helmet Review


The Bell Rogue Helmet, when I first saw this I was not really sure what to make of it.  It looked similar to a tactical helmet but also it quickly reminded me of someone wearing a half helmet with a bandana over his/her face.  I was very interested to see how the fit and feel would be along with how the face mask would work.  I first gave the Bell Rogue a try during bike week in Arizona; usually I wear my Bell Carbon Star Black Beauty but figured this is a great time to change and with the weather being pretty hot why not.  My first impression was “not bad”, as I wore it more my opinion changed to “pretty nice” and by the end of the day I was on board with it.  I really liked how the fit was comfortable from the first time and the muzzle protected my face from bugs.

If you are not sure about the muzzle on how it works or if there will be a problem with vision don’t be.  The muzzle is made of two parts, a hard polyurethane outer shell that’s flexible and a soft, removable inner liner made of cloth.  You may choose to wear this snug against your face or with a bit of clearance between your jaw and the muzzle. All you need to do is remove the liner.  It also has two adjustable muzzle straps on each side of the helmet to further dial in the fit, by pushing in the button / holding them in place to move the straps in or out. The Bell Rogue’s muzzle comes with two ‘FidLock’ magnetic connections, so once it’s lined up with the slots, the magnets will pull it into place.  A bit of advice; when you first use the muzzle line up one at a time instead of trying to do both simultaneously.  With one lined up it makes the second a lot easier and faster to put in.  If you would rather not use the muzzle just slide up and out it will come.  Also once you have the desired fit adjust the muzzle straps as this will also make installing and removing along with putting the helmet on a lot easier.

Now for the helmet itself, as mentioned above the helmet was comfortable from the first time I put it on.  The ears and the lower section where it sits against your neck are well-padded. The front padding that sits against my forehead is minimal but did not rub or feel uncomfortable.  The liner is held in by four snaps and the ear pads have three snaps keep them secure.  This makes for easy removal for washing and what not.  A nice added feature is the ear pads come with speaker pockets for communication systems.   A liner of polystyrene about three-quarters of an inch thick will deflect much of the force of an impact, while a hard fiberglass and polyester resin shell is the primary protector.

What I also liked about this hybrid helmet is unlike a traditional half-shell, the Bell Rogue has an extra section that starts at the ears and extends below the half shell in back that not only makes it more comfortable but keeps it from riding up when you’re riding.  As for quiet this does pretty well, the longer shell in the back and sides helps keep some of the noise out.

Bell Rogue Features:

Lightweight composite shell
Durable and innovative Muzzle for optimal rider comfort
Adjustable Muzzle features removable liner
FidLock magnetic connection makes it easy to put on/take off the Muzzle
3 shell and EPS sizes for maximum comfort and size range
Removable and washable interior
Convenient speaker pockets
Premium stainless steel D-rings and metal badges
Five-year warranty
DOT approved

As for the whole package I was impressed.  The helmet fits much better than a half-shell, especially at speed, and if the weather’s sunny and warm, you’ve got the option to pop off the muzzle and get full, unobstructed exposure to the elements.   The Bell Rogue Helmet is available in sizes X-Small to 2XL. Choose from black, matte black, matte green or matte gunmetal. Available at The HelmetMan for $249.95.                                

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blind and Disabled Biker Sets New World Land Speed Record

 Every corner’s a blind bend for this motorcyclist.

Stuart Gunn is a blind motorcyclist but the inability to see where he’s going has not prevented him from setting a new World Land Speed Record.  In 2002, Scottish biker Stuart Gunn was involved in a horrific accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.  With determination and drive Stuart fought back and within 2 years was walking with a cane.  Unfortunately, the accident had caused more damage than anyone had realized, and in 2008 he started having really bad seizures which eventually left him completely blind and paralyzed on his right side.  Again Stuart worked hard with his never say die attitude and was able to regain 40% feeling in his right arm but none of his eyesight was restored.

Photo: Suzuki Bulletin

For most people the highs and lows of life would be too much but last Saturday Stuart became the fastest blind man on a motorcycle, after hitting a speed of 167.1mph.  Riding a Suzuki Hayabusa in Elvington Airfield in North Yorkshire Gunn made history and took the World Land Speed Record away from Billy Baxter.  Just how does a blind man ride a motorcycle, the answer is simple with his Dad.  Yes Stuart’s father (Geoff) rides alongside him and uses an intercom system to let him know when he needs to steer and brake, swerve and go straight.  Basically, keeping him on 2 wheels and moving forward.  After setting the new World Record Stuart has this to say  “I hope this proves to people that just because you are blind or have a disability, doesn’t mean it should change or limit your life.”  (Very well said)
Photo: Ross Parry

Not only did Stuart set a new Land Speed Record but he also managed to raise much-needed funds for a number of charities that he feels very strongly about.  And if setting a World  Land Speed Record  /  raising money for charities is not enough get this, Stuart wants to ride a lap at the Isle of Man TT Race.  The IOMTT is one of the most prestigious motorcycle events in the world. I cannot express how difficult and scary this event is so much that this type of racing is outlawed here in the USA.  Stuart dreamed of this as a child and feels it is still possible, his disabilities will not limit him.  “I want to do the TT, definitely. That’s my main goal; I love it,” he says. “I think maybe a year or year and half to figure out the entire track to get safely round. Being in the dark makes it easy for me to work things out, so I can concentrate on learning that and aim for 2014 hopefully.”  I wish him nothing but luck and will be looking for this to happen.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rockstar Energy Racing to replace yellow with KTM orange

Rockstar Energy Suzuki has announced that they have signed a three-year contract with KTM Motorsports.  The former Suzuki mounted team has replaced yellow with KTM orange for the 2014 season and will contest the AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross Championship Series.  The title sponsor will remain with Rockstar Energy Drink and all of the supporting sponsors will be back for the 2013/2014 season.  Rockstar Energy KTM will make its debut on October 19, 2013 at the Monster Energy Cup, even more reason to get your tickets for the event.
According to the team owner, Bobby Hewitt  “As a satellite team, we will always be the little engine that could, but having the support of KTM is a huge advantage. We are delighted and grateful to race KTM motorcycles and eagerly excited for the opportunity to utilize KTM’s new Factory Services program. This will be a very exciting venture for our team.”  The Factory Service program allows racers and support teams the opportunity to purchase the same engine and suspension components as the factory team.
KTM has come a long way, thinking back when Grant Langston was the sole pioneer till now with Roger DeCoster and Ryan Dungey.  Overseas in Europe KTM is a powerhouse with world champions but here in the states they really did not shine until the last 2 seasons.  Dungey won the 2012 AMA Motocross Championship and numerous Supercross / Motocross class wins along with Roczen capturing the SX Lites title in 2013.
Rockstar Energy Racing will field a 3 man team, Davi Milsaps as the premier 450 Supercross and Motorcross class rider and a two-man lites team with returning rider Jason Anderson and Joey Savatgy.  Savatgy was the 2013 Rookie of the Year, Anderson raced KTM’s as an amateur and Milsaps had the best  SX season of his career so on paper this looks good.
This is great news for the sport, manufactures and fans – for the first time in years a non-Japanese brand is stepping up and really making a push.  Over the years the KTM motor has always been top of the line but overall the bike fell flat; with a great factory team and now a solid support team you may just see the orange bikes on the podium every round.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Another chance for Indian Motorcycles

The new owner of Indian Motorcycles shows off three models as it aims to go head to head with Harley Davidson.  Since Indian’s founding in 1901 and bankruptcy in 1953, about 10 owners have attempted to revive the brand, only to abandon the effort or declare bankruptcy themselves.  Polaris Industries became the latest owners in April 2011 looking to bring the oldest motorcycle manufacture back to life.  Known for speed and innovation Indian Manufacturing Co. introduced many items we still use today -   Floorboards in 1913, passenger seat in 1915 and the round electrical headlight in 1923.  In the 1910’s Indian was the largest motorcycle manufacture in the world but after WWII the company went bankrupt due to the fact that the management decided to move from the heavyweight V-twin format and began making lightweight machines which the public did not want.  Polaris is a powerhouse pulling in 3.2 billion in sales last year and giving hope that the new Indian revival could actually stick.

Chief Classic
Chief Vintage

The display was set up in Sturgis South Dakota just in time for the thousands of bikers that attend the event and consisted of 3 model releases.  The Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain all draws inspiration for the iconic Indian Chief introduced by the original manufacture in 1922.  One of my favorite features that were left on the bike is the Indian head ornamentation and the new 111-cubic-inch engine that still looks like a vintage 1950’s Indian V-twin but with the modern technology.  Starting in at around $18,999 to $22,999 for the base models, Indian could be the real deal  at least that is what Polaris is counting on. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

6 Over 60 Riding Coast to Coast for Wounded Warriors – 43 days

Day 43 Kimball, MI

Over the halfway point and still going strong.  The group arrived in Ludington, MI on July 28 and will be leaving tomorrow for London, ON.   Since the last post the guys have rode across – MN, WI and MI.  As of July 27 here are the stats:
Number of Rides                      35
Total Miles                              2,496.23
Total Riding Time                    181:47
Total Elevation Gain                82,463 feet
Average MPH                          14

Sat. July 27 was a special day as Jim paid tribute to a buddy Ray Burbag –“ My good buddy Ray was killed in Vietnam February 1968. We were both due to be discharged in the fall of '68. We had planned to take a few months off and tour the US before going back to college.  44 years later I'm making that tour to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project in memory of Ray”
Ray, with his Mom
  Funny how everybody has that special someone that they will never forget, I have a pal that passed away 10 years ago come Dec. and I still think about him every day.  He is buried in a small cemetery in Texas and twice a year I have flowers delivered (I live in Calif.) on his Birthday and Christmas.  There is a flouriest there that expects my call and always has them ready, even today he is still special, not on this earth but still special.  This says it best at the end of Young Guns the movie there was a short verse that was something like this,  “A man snuck into the cemetery and etched one word on the tombstones “Pals”.”   I know the verbiage may be a bit different but you get the point.

Don’t forget The HelmetMan will donate $5.00 for EVERY bicycle helmet sold to the Wounded Warriors during the ride.

Ride Safe and Enjoy,