Thursday, October 8, 2009

New tires, helmet, front fender

Took a sick day off work yesterday to go pickup my new helmet, tires, and a front fender.

The helmet is a shiny silver Shoei Hornet DS and it fits like a glove. I recently went shopping at several local bike shops and tried on dozens of helmets... everything from cheap junk helmets (à la Zox) that sell for a hundred bucks to top-of-the-line premium lids that fetch $1,200 or more. Some of the cheaper helmets actually seemed to fit my funny shaped head better than the expensive ones. A low end HJC helmet was a nice fit, but the quality of the thing itself left a lot to be desired. But the high-end Arai lids were nice, yet they just didn't fit quite right for some reason. Then I slipped on a Shoei Hornet DS (dual sport). I liked the look of it, too, so that's a bonus. It just fits much better than everything else I tried on. They sell for $700 here in Canada, plus taxes. But I found mine for $349 on eBay.

The only let down with the new helmet is the wind noise: above 100 Km/hr, it's noticeably louder compared to my 2 year-old Shoei TZ-R (known to be just about the quietest helmet you can buy for under $500). Oh well, I always wear ear plugs when I ride the slab anyway. Maybe I'll use the Hornet DS for my every day riding around town, and use the TZ-R for highway trips.

Shoei Hornet DS

Also had some new tires installed: a pair of Avon Distanzias (90/90-21in the front, and 130/80-17 in the rear). They're a dual sport tire with a deep, heavy lug tread. Not the best performer in the off-road department, but much better in the dirt than any street tire you'd find. However, on asphalt they're a vast improvement over any dirt knobby. Rolling along at 120 Km/h, they are very quiet compared to the factory Brigestone Trail Wings. Those things were noisy, and they sucked on both dirt and asphalt. The local dealer quoted me $600 to have the pair installed and balanced with new tubes. However, the Ken Hill installed the pair (with tubes) for just $360 (US), making it well worth the extra hour's drive once again.

Avon Distanzia AM44

Avon Distanzia AM43

On another note, I chopped about 8 inches off my factory front fender several weeks ago because it flopped around a lot in the wind at speed. It also seemed to act like a big air scoop also, lifting weight off the front tire the faster you go. Not good for stability. While my fender chop job looked alright, it didn't look perfect. So for $40 I ordered a new supermotard-style fender from Acerbis. Now I've got a fender that holds tight at speed, and it looks much better.

I also re-located the Vision-X Solstice LED auxiliary lights to the stock turn signal brackets, and I've ditched the stock blinkers for a cheap pair of Motrax amber-tip LED lights which I've mounted on the brackets of the side reflectors (attached to the lower triple clamp).
Acerbis Supermotard fender,
LED auxiliary lights, LED turn signals