138 months ago

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Top Motorcycle Gadgets for the New Year

The years keep rolling on, and so do you. What are the top must-have motorcycle gadgets to start off your 2013?

9. Kickstand Plate: Will Ye Not Save my Ship?

Don't want your bike to mimic the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Better than any soda can or rock, a kickstand plate prevents your treasured beauty from tipping over on hot asphalt, fresh tar, uneven gravel or soft sand. Most are plastic, cost a handful of change and can be stowed away for easy access - a must for the cross-country tourer. Many, such as the MG kickstand plate, come with pre- drilled holes or hooks suitable for a small chain or reminder string.

8. Cruise Control: Stop the Soreness

In the ye olde days, cruise control had a simple alias: the sore thumb. Thankfully, the thumb can be retired thanks to mechanical cruise control gizmos. Rather than burning the cash on electrical systems, why not purchase an affordable Crampbuster or Go Cruise Throttle Control? Installation is a breeze; they simply slip onto the throttle and eliminate wrist fatigue, sore thumbs and the subsequent expletives.

7. Battery Charger: Get Charged Up!

Get your geek on, and keep your battery alive and well with a trickle battery charger. Designed to optimally power 12-volt lead-acid batteries, battery chargers work around the clock when you're not, preventing overcharging and voltage drops. The Battery Tender Jr., for instance, costs a dinner at Applebee's, fits in your palm and features spark-proof connectors for safe charging.

6. Driving Headlights: The Winding Road

Don't let the winding road wind you up; invest in a high-quality set of aftermarket driving lights. It's like donning a pair of prescription glasses. Most driving lights are LED, halogen or xenon (HID), all of which feature superior and longer-lasting lighting for your night rides. Most require little more than a wrench to install and are available in multiple finishes to suit your bike.

5. GPS: So You Don't Have to Ask for Directions

Indulge your inner Inspector Gadget. Modern GPS systems feature updateable maps, local services, weather information, waterproof touch-screen displays and turn-by-turn audio assistance. The Garmin Zumo220, for instance, features all of the above along with a lane-assist system; the Zumo660LM, meanwhile, features an MP3 player, hands-free Bluetooth calling and a portable genie.

4. Communication System: One Finger for Everything

One finger means single file, two means double file and one middle finger means get lost. Forego the old system with a state-of-the-art intercom communication system. Using hands-free wireless headsets, riders can communicate with each other at any time in any weather. Some systems, such as the Chatterbox XBi2, can also sync with navigation systems, allowing riders to transmit directions and even music to one another.

3. Heated Grips: Stay Warm, Stay Cool

When the ride gets long, stay warm with a heated grip. Choose from many different types, including some that slide over OEM grips, some that replace stock rubber, and some, such as the Moose Racing Heated Grips, that even feature adjustable heating.

2. Portable Mounted Camera: Making Memories Stick

Suitable not just for bikers but for adventurers everywhere, the GoPro Hero series of portable, waterproof cameras makes every scene look like a Peter Jackson film. Attachable via a suction cup, adhesive mounts, helmet straps or (take your pick), the GoPro camera records crystal clear scenery and can take pictures intermittently, meaning you never have to fish around in your pockets ever again.

1. A Beard: the Ultimate Symbol of Men

You know you're cool. Now let everyone else know it, too. For centuries, the beard has been a symbol of male machismo and flat-out bad-assitude.

Recommended beard selections include, but are not limited to:

  • The hip van dyke
  • The horrific neard
  • The metrosexual soul patch
  • The fearsome full beard
  • The old-school mutton chops

Honorable Mentions that Weren't Quite Cool Enough:

All-season motorcycle cover: Buy her the dress she deserves, and one that keeps her covered.

Insurance: Get the lowest insurance rate for her at Kanetix.

Ear plugs: There are hundreds to choose from, all the way from cheap throwaway foamies to molded plugs doubling as audio headsets.

Security alarm: Choose from rudimentary disc locks to state-of-the-art systems that can actually provide ambient audio.

Multi-tool: Purchase one with an integrated LED light.

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138 months ago

If I had to purchase just one of these (and I have most of them), I'd say earplugs are the most essential. They stop you getting so fatigued, I find and prevent you yelling "what?" when the bartender asks you what kind of beer you want at the end of the day. All good stuff, though