Cold and Wet? Here's Your Gear

A Brilliant Idea For Winter Riding
If you're reading this in Maine, Michigan or Montana, you've already put your bike in the garage and have little to do but sit by the stove reading Motorcyclist till spring. But more southerly readers could ride right through the winter, if they could keep warm, stay upright on wet pavement and see where they were going through sleet and the dark of night.

The latter problem can be solved by PIAA, a manufacturer with tons of experience in rally racing. PIAA now makes complete kits for several popular sport-touring and touring motorcycles.

Each kit comes with lamps, brackets, a wiring harness, hardware and instructions. PIAA has correctly observed that many BMW riders believe they are impervious to the elements, and it's skewed its first kits toward the Bavarian machines: They are available for BMW 1200LT, K1200RS, R1150RT and 650GS models, as well as the Honda Gold Wing 1800.

Prices range from $299.95 to $349.95, depending on the specific application. (503) 643-7422, www.piaa.com

Fast Fix For Frozen Fingers
You can't ride with your hands in your pockets. Even bulky mittens and gloves can interfere with handlebar controls. The solution is simple: heated grips.

Aerostich Warm Wrap Grips are thin, electrically heated membranes that wrap around the outside of your stock grips and are held in place with a hook and loop-type fastener. They draw only 1.6 amps for 22 watts' worth of quick-detach heat, and come in two sizes: standard for handlebars up to 36 inches wide, and long for handlebars up to 44 inches wide. MSRPis $45. (800) 222-1994, www.aerostich.com

Be Seen
Rules are rules, and military regulations specify a high-visibility vest must be worn by all motorcyclists on military bases. Apparently, the military thinks bikes are too dangerous to ride in, say, full leathers--in a time of war, this irony is not lost on us.

That said, there is no such thing as being too visible, especially on foggy winter nights. To that end, Icon has made this military-spec orange vest, and we can't help thinking it's so uncool it's almost cool again. The fit's adjustable, it includes a clear pocket for your base pass and it costs $50. www.rideicon.com

Vested Interests
To keep hypothermia at bay, you need to keep your torso warm. That's where electrically heated clothing comes into play--or should we say "out to play"?

Gerbing's Heated Clothing Inc. makes full-jacket liners with heated torso, sleeves and collar; it even makes electrically heated trouser liners. (Use in conjunction with your E-Z Leaker at your own risk!) Gerbing's Extra Thin Jacket Liner and matching trouser liners sell for $199 each. Used together, they pump out a toasty 121 watts of heat. (800) 646-5916, www.gerbing.com

Just Say No To Track-Day Cast Offs
There are good reasons not to use race rubber on the street, even in the summer, but it's especially important not to recycle your track-day tires on cold, wet winter pavement. If you plan to ride through the winter, your streetbike should be fitted with ordinary street tires, which develop grip at lower temperatures and reach effective operating temps quickly.

Winter tires need reasonable grooving to clear water and rubber compounds rich in silica, which helps the tire grip cold, wet roads. Bridgestone recommends its Battlax BT014. The manufacturer's suggested retail price ranges from approximately $180-$250 for rears, and around $150 for fronts. We found bargains on the internet, so shop around. www.motorcycle-karttires.com

mc tested:
Getting All Fogged Up? Try This
When we arrived on the Isle of Man to prepare for the TT, we found temperatures hovering just above freezing, constant drizzle and humidity near 100 percent. To say the least, visor fogging was a huge problem. We tried fog-free visors, accessory shields and all manner of sprays and waxes, but none were satisfactory. Antifog shields all added another layer--which eventually trapped moisture itself--and the sprays and waxes were not optically neutral for long, either.

Then we got a Respro Foggy Mask. Problem solved.

The Foggy Mask is a soft neoprene membrane fitted with a nose clip. It mounts inside your helmet with Velcro fasteners. Once installed, it gently seals across the bridge of your nose and cheeks, so your breath is directed down and away from the inside of your visor, eliminating condensation. If you wear glasses, it prevents them from fogging, too.The masks have not been easy to find in North America, but Street & Competition is now importing them from England and selling them on its web site.

PRICE: $15.95
RATING: * * * * *
VERDICT: Nothing works as well to prevent visor fogging
STREET & COMPETITION
(800) 326-5487
www.streetandcomp.com

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