gear box

Exercising Your Urge to Accessorize

Wheely Nice

We--and probably others--have said it before and we'll say it again: Reducing unsprung weight from your motorcycle will make more of a difference to the machine's dynamics than any other single modification. Available through exclusive North American distributor EMA (European Motorcycle Accessories), these forged, CNC-processed bits of trickery are manufactured by the European firm PVM, and in street-homologated aluminum guise promise to shave approximately 30 percent from the weight of OE wheels--and the high-zoot forged magnesium "race" (not that we take the whole "for track use only" thing lightly...) rims chop weight even more. In fact, for you statisticians, the 17.0- x 3.5-inch magnesium front wheel weighs less than five pounds! They're available in black, gold, red, silver or white, in sizes to fit everything--except maybe your budget, 'cuz like all the finer things in life, these babies, at $1795-$2095, ain't cheap! (925) 606-5761, www.ema-usa.com

Garage Majals

Sad as it may seem, there do exist people for whom the garage is simply the place they park their car(s), bikes, bicycles, lawn mower, snow blower, etc. For the rest of us, the garage is a far more sacred venue--the home to our babies, and a place where men and women alike can spend hours upon hours doing everything or nothing. Some take this reverence even further and possess garages that truly are bedrooms for their toys. Twenty-four of the most lavish and well-appointed, yet functional, garages in America--including Jay Leno's--are examined in Ultimate Garages ($34.95), by Phil Berg. This book takes you inside garages so sweet you may find yourself suddenly ashamed of that new cork pegboard that just yesterday you were so proud of. Whether you're scouring for ideas to soup-up your own garage, or just wanna see how the other side lives, the 224-page Ultimate Garages is a must-have for any gearhead's library. (800) 826-6600, www.motorbooks.com

Don't Forget to Wipe!

We're talking about wiping face shields here--something made markedly easier thanks to the ingenious new Green Light Swipe visor squeegee. This slick little squeegee mounts to a gloved finger via an adjustable hook-and-loop strap, and is strong enough to remove nasty road grime and bugs without scratching your face shield. Almost as cool as those cute little wipers on the headlights of older Mercedes, the Green Light Swipe also features easily replaceable blades, and at $12.95 for a package of two, is a nice cheap way to maintain clear lines of sight. (866) 463-1314, www.greenlightstuff.com

Brake Yourself!

Money can be spent far more foolishly than in the pursuit of shorter, safer, stops. So, how 'bout foregoing that extra dip of chrome for your swingarm--or newest, trickest bit of billet, injection molded, nitro-breathing hardware--and consider upgrading your stoppers with a set of brake pads from Carbone Lorraine? A major presence in professional and amateur racing, Carbone Lorraine specializes in high-performance replacement brake pads for late-model sportbikes--and also offers a complete line of replacement pads for cruisers, tourers, dirt bikes and ATVs. We're particularly fond of the company's C43-compound "track-use only" pads, as well as the SBK3 "aggressive street rider" compound. So stop messing around and upgrade your stopping power.... (877) 668-6723, www.carbonelorraine-moto.com

Non-Leather Jackets from Bates Leathers

This new riding jacket from Bates Leathers is, well, canvas--apparently no one told Bates that canvas is in fact not a leather product, but that's OK 'cuz their new "Canvas Street Jacket" is quite nice. Constructed of 14-ounce cotton canvas, the jacket features an adjustable double-belted waist, YKK zippers, plenty of pockets, vents and zip-off sleeves. Soft armor makes itself at home in the shoulders, back, elbows and forearms, while the sturdy canvas should fare better in the event of a get-off than many of the non-leather materials that have recently found their way to the streets. Best of all, this jacket--available in your choice of black or blue--with its retro-funky good looks can likely be worn to post-riding social events without embarrassment. The Canvas Street Jacket from Bates Leathers will set you back $169.95 and can be ordered directly from Bates. (562) 426-8668, www.batesleathers.com

Open the Damn Do'!

Thanks to the ingenious BIGDO (Built-In Garage Door Opener) from MotoFX, your days of having to stop the bike, remove your carbon/titanium-knuckled gloves and dig around your pockets for the garage-door opener are over. The BIGDO lets you open your garage do' with a simple flash of the headlights (or turn signals, your choice). For less than $75, this bad boy offers riders a convenient, safe, built-in remote control for opening garage doors and gates, and mounts out of sight. The control unit installs easily in a few minutes--no drilling, screws, brackets or batteries--by connecting to existing wiring for turn signals, headlights or other two-position switches. Once installed, a simple toggle with the thumb on the headlight or turn-signal switches sends a radio signal to open the gate or door. (877) 668-6411, www.motofx.com

Blue in the (Gauge) Face

Considering the amount of money we all pour into enhancing the looks of parts and equipment we, the rider, never even see, a bit of custom work to the one part all riders notice at one point or another--the gauges--doesn't seem like the craziest idea. And now, with Gauge Cluster Backlight Conversions from BlueGauges.com, changing the color of your factory LCD/LED gauges is simple and inexpensive--simply send your gauge cluster along with the requisite $40-$115, wait a day or two and you're done! Gauges can be outfitted in a variety of colors and combinations in addition to the namesake, blue. www.bluegauges.com

Go-Go Juice

Don't want (or can't afford) a turbo, but still wanna be the fastest kid on the block? Look no further than the two newest additions to Nitrous Oxide Systems' Sportbike Fogger line--part #03007NOS for engines displacing less than 650cc, and part #03008NOS for the big enchiladas. Both fogger systems are engineered to work on carbureted and/or fuel-injected four-stroke four-cylinder sportbikes, and each kit contains all the necessary hardware, accessories and instructions. So if you're man (or woman) enough for a nice, relatively low-cost kick in the ass, check out Nitrous Oxide Systems. (270) 782-2900, www.nosnitrous.com

The Eliminators

Not a new reality television show, Terminator spin-off or another unnecessary comic-book-based feature film, but rather Competition Werkes' 2003 line of rear-fender eliminator kits available for most late-model sportbikes. These high-quality, high-style kits are way effective at cleaning up and simplifying the tail end of your motorcycle. Most kits include smaller, sleeker, clear-lensed turn signals, and all retain lighting to the plate and dramatically improve the bike's aesthetics by ridding it of the gigantic eyesores factories call rear fenders...you can also expect to trim a few pounds with this mod. Prices range from $60-$200. (800) 736-2114, www.competitionwerkes.com

Slow Your Roll

Galfer's Teflon and steel-braided Superbike brake-line kits pack loads of race-proven features--in fact, they're technically legal for "racetrack use only..." like so many of the other parts no doubt adorning your/our motorcycles--and promise to offer improved stopping and stoppie-ing power to all modern sportbikes. Thanks to the steel and Teflon line construction, as well as Galfer's unique threads-directly-to-the caliper mounting system, you can expect noticeable decreases in required lever effort along with better lever feel and feedback. Prices run right around $105 for a set of lines. (800) 685-6633, www.galferusa.com

mc tested:
Roadgear Hi-Tec Digital Tire Gauge Modern-day tires provide amazing traction, but getting the best performance from them requires the proper tire pressure. Unfortunately, many riders do not regularly check their tire pressures, and thus are often running with too little pressure. Not only does this cause premature wear, but it can also create a serious safety condition. Fortunately, the folks at Roadgear have come up with a trick, motorcycle-specific tire gauge that fits every bike we've tried it on. Measuring from 5.0-99.5 psi in half-pound increments, its plus/minus 1 percent accuracy is suitable for race use, and its ergonomic design allows one-handed operation. The large digital display is clear and easy to read. Of particular note, the seal on this gauge is so good that you can remeasure a tire multiple times without any air leaking out. Given its reasonable price, the Hi-Tec Digital Tire Gauge should be a no-brainer for every toolbox.

PRICE: $23.90
RATING: 5 stars!
VERDICT: A great tool you can take with you.
ROADGEAR
(800) 854-4327
(719) 547-4574 Fax
www.roadgear.com