TIPS TO CHOOSING THE BEST MOTORCYCLE HELMET FOR YOUR RIDE

Even though motorcycling is adventurous and gives so much freedom feeling, you gotta do it with full caution. Before any riding trip, you need to make sure all safety requirements are met. One of the best ways to protect yourself for any possible accidents is to wear protective gears on every ride you make. And the most important item we will discuss today is a motorcycle helmet. And how to find the best motorcycle helmet fthat must have high protection level but also have a reasonable price that you can afford.

Best Motorcycle Helmet
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/62146734@N08/14774617370

Types of Helmets

First of all, you need to understand differences between types of helmets to see which one suits your using the most.

The categories can be described into 3 big groups:

  • Open face helmets
  • Full face helmets
  • Modular helmets

Motorsport helmets can also belong to one big category. However, they are quite specialized and not really popular for common uses. So let’s just discuss the most typical ones here.

Open face helmets are the most basic ones, which typically have lowest prices and provide the least protection for your head. They only cover the upper part of your head. If you just ride in low traffic areas, on flat roads and under good weather, these are reasonably enough for you to buy.

However, if you want to ensure an overall protection, I’d recommend 2 types of helmets mentioned below

Full face helmets are the most preferable ones in my opinion. Why? Simply because it covers all the head including forehead, eyes, ears, nose, chin and overall the whole head – which means wearing a full face helmet equals to maximum safety to the most important part of your body: your head. However, there are some disadvantages to this type of helmet that makes some people don’t prefer them. Full face helmets are tend to be heavier than other helmet sections because they are made with extended components to maximize guarding for the head. On top of that, they might restrict the movement since you need to remove the full face helmet completely out of your head if you need to stop by for a quick drink, snack or phone call.

Modular helmets are made between the line of full face and open face helmets.  They cover up your three quarter of your head plus the lower parts of your face (including jaws and chin). Compared to full face ones, they allow riders more freedom of movement since riders can eat, drink or make a call without taking off the helmet.

Price

The next thing people might care about is the price. It would be such a breeze if you have a generous amount of cash on hands and don’t have to worry about the price tag. But the chance is you just have a limited budget for purchasing a motorbike helmet.

However, price tags of helmets vary a lot from under fifty bucks up to hundreds or even a thousand dollar.

So, let just discuss what commonly stays within our reaches, especially for people like me who tends to keep the budget tight.

Under $50: This price range is suitable for beginner motorcyclists since they might not want to invest too much money at the beginning. You can check out Power Gear Motorsports – a manufacturer that sells well-designed and affordable motorbike protection gear in general. They have a lot of options that go to the under fifty dollar budget.

$100 – $200:  You will have more selections to choose from for this extra budget. Bell and HJC are two brands I would recommend to you. Check out their websites and you will be amazed at their high quality products.

Quality

First of all, you need to make sure the helmet you will buy meet the safety standards. There are basically 2 types of standards you can seek for:

  • DOT standards are set by the Federal Government’s Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • SNELL standards are set by a NGO

Both standards are accepted and most manufacturers clarify if their products meet these benchmarks or not.

These are the basic things you need to look for when seeking for a good helmet that protects your head from any possible risks. If you want to read more details on how the best motorcycle is picked,  check out this website where all useful information is provided to motorcyclists. Stay tuned for upcoming posts!

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR 1ST MOTORCYCLE TRIP

Before any motorcycle trip, I always carefully check things up to ensure a safe and pleasant trip ahead. Through a few trip I had accomplished, I compiled a checklist to keep myself always well-prepared for upcoming journeys. If you do some research, you will see a ton of articles providing tips and guides on how to prepare a motorcycle road trip. But in this article, I will just share what I think the most important. The rest can be done upon your own research.

how to prepare for a motorcycle trip
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidclow/2344232506/in/photostream/

1. Always inspect your motorbike before the trip

The motorbike is your best friend on the road trip, so you’d better take good care of this friend. Inspection will make sure your bike is in a good shape to get ready for the trip. There are a few things you need to carefully look at:

  • Tires: Both tires should be properly inflated. If they are in condition that might require replacement, change them if you don’t want to get in trouble on the way.
  • Brakes and Clutches: They are well related to your riding safety. Check if cables and controls intact work appropriately.
  • Lights, Honks and Signals: It is mostly likely that you will also ride in the evening during your road trip, so lights, honks and signals are essential to keep you seen and alerted by others.
  • Oils and Fluids: They are important factors to keep your bike rolling. If there requires maintenance, do it before the trip.

There are obviously more to inspect but these are basic things you need to keep your eyes on first.

2. Wear appropriate gears

Appropriate gears will help to protect your body from external hazzards and secure a safe trip for yourself. Motorcycle helmets, riding clothes (pants, jackets and boots) and gloves are basic items you should at least accommodate. in most states in USA, it is compulsory to wear a helmet when riding anyway.

You also might want to pack a few layers of thin clothes rather than one thick underneath shirt. Why? Because weather probably changes through places you ride.

3. Plan your route

It is always smart to plan ahead. I rarely hop on the bike and ride without knowing where to lead to. For a long distance trip, it is highly recommended to plan your route. If you are a beginner, doing a bit of research on motorcycle forums or websites will help. There is a huge community out there to help out. With their experiences, you can learn which routes is safe and enjoyable to ride. If you happen to live in California state as I do, check out my recommendations for motorcycling routes!

4. Bring maintenance supplies or tool kits

You never know what might happen on the road, so it’s better to over-prepare than to regret. In case your bike gets into trouble in the middle of nowhere, you can at least help yourself.

5. Stock some food, snacks and water

I don’t know about you, but I eat a lot and eat constantly 🙂 So it’s always a good idea for me to carry along something to eat and drink. Fueling up yourself will also secure a clear mind and good feeling to make the road trip more enjoyable.

If you have any thing that you think important to add to this list, comment below! Enjoy your ride

DIY MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE (GIRLS CAN DO IT TOO!)

Motorcycle maintenance is highly recommended to be done and supervised by a mechanic or an knowledgeable person. However, there are some basic tasks you can do it yourself to cut down on the cost. In this post I will share with you what I (as a girl) normally do to maintain my motorbike right at my backyard. Notice that there might be differences in how each motorbike type and model work. However, basically the main ideas still pretty much remain the same.

1. Wash and clean

If you want to keep your bikes always look like new and shiny, this should be done regularly especially after you go on a long ride. Just with water, soap and clothes it can be done with a breeze. More importantly, while cleaning, you can spot out some problems that might occur to your bike such as loose parts or items that might need replacing.

2. Check the tyre pressure

If you use your motorbike quite often, it is advised to check tyre pressure at least every week and also before any long-distance trip.

There are 2 cases that tyre is not under appropriate pressure:

  • Under-inflation: This makes the tyre wall softer than usual, unable to stay firm to deal with external forces. Hence, braking and handling can be dangerous.
  • Over-inflation: This doesn’t allow full contact with the road and makes it difficult to handle the bike

Normally I use a pressure gauge for more accurate check on the pressure. For each type of motorcycle, the correct pressure might be different so you should check the manual for a standard reference.

3. Change oils and filters.

You should change oil to your motorbike at every 3 thousand miles or average every 3 months. You also should look at the instructions to see what type of oil is recommended to be used for your specific bikes.

This task is actually quite easy to accomplish. You just need some right tools (sockets, wrenches, drain pans, funnels), oils and filters. First of all, I replace the cap of the oil filler and then the sum plug. Wait until the oil is drained, I will take the filter out. Then I replace the sum plug and keep it tightened to the correct torque setting. Next step is to place a new filter. Notice to spread some clean oil on the rubber filter gasket before pulling it tightly. Now just fill up with the clean oil, start the engine to check if there is any leakage. Now turn down the engine again and wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the oil to flow into the sump. Now you can recheck the level to make sure everything works properly.

4. Lubricate

Lubricate cables and controls are essential for smooth and appropriate control and movement. Besides lubrication, you also should check if there are frayed cables, for example on clutches and throttles, then replacement must be done right away to ensure safety for your motorbike control and ride.

Also don’t forget to lubricate your motorbike chains.

Notice that maintenance needs to be done periodically and especially before a long riding trip in order to ensure the proper working condition of your bike.

Motorcycle maintenance is involved with more complicated tasks than these. What I try to include in here is some basic things you can learn to do by yourself. Ideally you should bring your bike to a professional mechanic once a while for a careful and thorough check up. You can also consult from the following cool infographic that I came across while surfing Pinterest.

diy motorcycle maintenance

AWESOME ROUTES TO RIDE IN CALIFORNIA

I honestly feel so lucky living in California where there are many amazingly beautiful routes for motorcycling. The brilliant weather in California makes riding and touring even more cheerful and pleasurable. If you are still searching for next destinations to explore with your bike, this link states top 100 routes in California. By clicking on each destination, you can see the route map, description, photos and even rider’s ratings and reviews on each route.

Ok, so now let’s back to best routes I have been riding and loving so far! If you have already tackled these routes, please also share your thoughts in the comment below. I’d love to hear!

1. Pacific Coast Cruise

Pacific Coast Cruise route
Source: Huffigtonpost.com

This becomes the number one in my list just because I am the ocean guy (Yes, in case you don’t know swimming and diving are also my great hobbies besides motorcycling).  On one side, there are blue ocean and glorious beaches. On the other side, there are cliffs, redwood forests, grassland, flowery meadows and so much more. The extraordinary landscape of this route really blows away my mind. It is said that you can also witness pelicans, otters, sharks and other kinds of animals. Personally while riding on this route I have seen sharks but not other kinds.

Turns and climbs are also quite moderate on this route. Sometimes when riding into the town, you gotta confront more heavy traffic but that part doesn’t take much advantages away from this amazing route.

2. Sonora Pass

Sonora Pass
Source: wikipedia.com

Sonora Pass is suitable for riders with riding expriences since there quite often unexpected drop-offs on the way. Plus, the roads are quite steep and narrow. Thus, I don’t really recommend this route for beginners.

However, its amazing landscape is a big plus to this road. You will be surrounded by lots of magnificent mountains, grass land, waterfalls, green treas and especially mountain peaks filled with snow.

3. Montezuma Valley Road

5montezuma-valleyroad
Source: Vacationsmadeeasy.com

The reason I enjoy touring on this route is the chance to witness some fast passengers with loud noises on the way. This road is actually one of favorite routes by sport bikers in South California.

There are some steep drop-offs on this route, but turns are moderate and can be seen all the way through. The landscape is also very amazing with big mountains and desert roads. You can look down to the desert floor from the height of more than 3 thousand  feet.

So here are my 3 favorite routes for touring in California. There are actually many more options since California is a huge state and gifted with spectacular natural landscape and high-quality roads. What are your favorites other than these? Let me know in the comment below!