gear box

Exercising your urge to accessorize

Savage Designs

Helmets are important enough to warrant a bit of star treatment in the form of a custom paint job. After all, considering the amount of money most of us pour into wholly nonvital components and upgrades, why not distribute the wealth to your brain bucket?

Mike Savage--owner of Savage Designs and Motorcyclist magazine's paint-gun slinger par excellence--offers top-notch service and paintwork at prices more reasonable than you'd think. He's good, and he's fast; the entire process takes less than two weeks. Design it yourself, let the award-winning artist come up with something just for you, or choose from and/or alter any number of existing designs. Savage Designs also sells helmets, so if you play your cards right, you could net a new custom-painted lid in one call (not counting one-on-one design follow-up conversations with the artist). (321) 253-0766,

Factory Cool

We motorcyclists like to tinker with, tweak and modify our toys. Good as something might seem in stock format, we're genetically predisposed to believe we can make it better, cooler, faster, etc. Other than the unfortunately common instances of "modifications that make the bike worse," perhaps the most aggravating aspect of modifying late-model bikes is down the road having to face narrow-minded dealers and service departments that may try to assert that your radiator problem cannot be warranted because of the aftermarket rearsets or tinted screen you've installed. Thankfully, Yamaha has devised a way around this conundrum via its GYT-R line of factory-authorized modifications. GYT-R products are available for all Yamaha sportbikes and include such trickery as titanium and/or carbon slip-on exhaust systems, adjustable billet rearsets, camshafts, number plates, and carbon-fiber everything. And as far as your dealer and warranty are concerned, it's all good. (800) 889-2624,

The Devil's Road/Track Tire

The Diablo Corsa is Pirelli's new generation of high-performance tire, designed and developed specifically for riders who spend the majority of their time on the track but won't compromise street performance. This is the first motorcycle tire to benefit from MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) technology, created and developed by Pirelli R&D.; This process allows for the construction of one-piece seamless carcasses that provide absolute structural uniformity and an absence of vibration or imbalance. The uniformity guaranteed by MIRS permitted Pirelli engineers to develop the unique mix of compounds that renders the tire suitable for use on the track, while offering greater stability at high speed, exceptional grip and a shorter warm-up time. The Diablo Corsa is offered as a 120/70ZR17, 180/55ZR17 and 190/50ZR17. (706) 368-5826,

Yes, That Arlen Ness...

...and, no, it's not a billet Harley-Davidson hop-up piece. Arlen Ness Wear and Berik Designs have joined forces to bring ultrapremium clothing and riding apparel to the United States. The item seen here is Arlen Ness Wear's new Gore-Tex Leather Jacket. A high-end piece of coverage, this jacket features full CE impact armor including a spine protector, a detachable Gore-Tex membrane that when removed allows the jacket to perform as perforated leather and a zipper to attach to pants. This $550 piece is available in myriad sizes, and if it's not what you crave, fear not because these guys make everything--including Ben Bostrom's race suits! (678) 624-1752,

A True Betty

The Betty jacket, seen here on Motorcyclist magazine's patented Gina, is among the many pieces of stylish, high-quality riding gear Alpinestars is manufacturing specifically for the ladies. This particular item is made of 1.1mm drum-dyed Italian leather, has CE-certified soft armor in the shoulders and elbows, and retails for $400. Available to fit women of most shapes and sizes, the Betty can be had in black, bordeaux (that's maroon to ye uncivilized folk) or light blue. If, for whatever reason, the Betty isn't your cup of tea that's not a problem--Alpinestars makes plenty of other equally nice women's riding gear, and will surely have something to fit your taste. (310) 891-0222,

An Actual Writer Among Us

That's right kids, this entire book, Honda Motorcycles--all 192 hardcover-bound pages of it--was written by our own Aaron P. Frank! Even more exciting than this is the book itself. Chronicling the Honda Motor Company from its humble beginnings in 1948 all the way through its history of groundbreaking innovations, technology and quality, Motorbooks International's Honda Motorcycles proves to be not only a beautiful and well-written book, but also what is perhaps the foremost account of the motorcycling history of Honda. One hundred twenty-five color pictures and 75 black-and-white images document every important manufacturing and racing milestone in the company's 50-plus years of operation. $34.95, (800) 826-6600,