Friday, July 24, 2015

SHORTFIM: Wheels & Waves - Part 1

The Wheels and Waves festival 2015 was extraordinary for its bikes, its racing, its art, its music, its style, but most of all its people. This eight minute film takes you through the first two days of the happening.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GEAR: Ruste Protective Tailoring

Protective Tailoring

$150.00 - $260.00 USD

Looks good. Works good. Costs good. You can only choose 2. 
This has seemingly been the motorcycle gear motto since I started riding. As someone who is admittedly very particular when it comes to aesthetics, I have chosen something I visually agree with over something safer or less expensive on many occasions. For me, something as small as a zipper detail, a stitch pattern or even a logo could prevent me from buying it. So when I got an e-mail from the guys at Ruste about their protective tailoring services I was completely on board.
The short of it is, you send them a pair of pants or a jacket you're fond of and they reconstruct it with an expansive kevlar lining and pockets for D30 armor. I had been on the hunt for a pair of riding jeans this season and was having a hell of a time finding something I liked the design of that also fit like my Levis. So, I sent Ruste a new pair of Levis in the size and cut I've been buying for the past 5 years and they sent me back a pair of kevlar lined and D30 armored Levis riding jeans. Including the price of the Levis, door to door DHL service (organized by Ruste), D30 knee and hip armor and tailoring runs about $300.00 USD total. All in all you get a pair of custom tailored riding jeans (or jacket) that fit and look exactly the way you wanted them to for roughly the same price as other riding jeans on the market. 

Ruste deconstructed the already existing stitchwork in these Levis so that none of the alterations are visible from the outside. They even unstitched and reattaching the leather hip tag with the exact same color thread. It's nearly impossible to figure out what was and wasn't touched in the original garment. No visible stitch lines in the hips or knees from the added armor pockets. From the outside they just...look like Levis. 

Kevlar goes all the way to the ankle and the armor pockets are a simple 2 flap design so you don't have to mess with velcro or zippers when you want to pull the padding. 

A note to Levis wearers who like a slimmer cut, I'd recommend getting a pair with 2% elastane (stretch) for more comfort. The material percentages are on the inner tag (above). The kevlar lining also has some stretch to match so you won't have any pulling of the materials. And if you're curious about their abrasion resistance properties ...this should answer that question.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DIRT TALES: Daniel Peter's Custom Honda XR650 Hits The Trails

Trail riding along Lake Michigan on a custom Honda XR650
Written by Daniel Peter

It’s been exactly 4 years since my first moto trip around Lake Michigan. In 2011, I set off on a fully prepped DR650, accompanied by a group of friends, and spent 5 days riding forest roads and trails trough Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. It was the best Midwestern riding I had experienced at the time, and I've been itching to get back out there ever since. A few weeks back, seeing I had a few days off, I charged up my GPS, and went for it again. 
It was much easier to prep for the trip this time, since I already knew what was waiting for me. I still have a 650 in my stable, though the current bike is a very stripped down XR650, with lowered suspension and a small 2.2-gallon tank. The fuel range was the only thing I was a little nervous about, so I mounted a 1-gallon Rotopax fuel cell to my rack. This would give me about 130 miles between fill-ups. 

(Tool wrap by Black Sage Supply)

My gear list was pretty minimal - a tool kit, 2 spare tubes, tire spoons, an air pump, a super light camping setup, some spare clothes, toiletries, and a few granola bars. The only luxury I allowed myself was a tiny stove and a percolator, for my morning coffee ritual. I also wired up a USB charger to my battery, to supply juice for my GPS and phone. 
You can absolutely make this trip using a regular printed map, but after having toured a big chunk of the US off-road, I definitely recommend having a GPS. The main reason is the fact that there are many interesting routes others have already taken and recorded. This will save you a lot of time making wrong turns and coming to dead ends. Not to mention some of the trails are not even on the map. I plan most of my trips ahead of time, so I can just hit a button on the departure day, and braap all day, every day. Almost all of the US states now have some kind of an adventure trail, that allows you to cross most, if not all, of the state off-road, avoiding main roads and highways. For Michigan and Wisconsin, I can definitely recommend checking out some of he tracks that Cannonshot has laid down. You can find more info on the ADV Rider forum here. Be prepared for lots of fun rural roads, forest logging roads, some ATV trails, and sand. Lots of sand. 

I had to convince my riding partner Jason to order proper MX boots prior to our departure, and after a few times dropping his bike in the sand, he agreed it was a wise decision. On 90% of my trips, I wear Sidi MX boots, padded pants and a jacket with zip-in rain layers, and a full face DS helmet. Better be safe than sorry.
After riding 2 days at a fairly leisurely pace (this was Jason's first big off-road adventure), we decided we wouldn't make the full Lake Michigan round trip, and just ride trails south of the Mackinac Bridge. He had work to do in Chicago, and I planned on surprising my girlfriend for her birthday in Milwaukee. We cruised around the Leelanau Peninsula, hiked the Sleeping Bear Dunes (beautiful place - highly recommended!), and made our way down to Muskegon. The next morning, Jason took off for Chicago, and I boarded the high-speed ferry to Milwaukee. The ferry is not cheap, at $150 for a one-way ticket for a rider and a bike. Although, it's definitely a great experience worth trying at least once. You roll in, strap your bike down, and then you can enjoy the brisk 2.5hr. sail, either from the top deck, or the comfortable cabin, with an Oberon in hand. 

If you decide to make a similar trip yourself, you should know that there are plenty of camp sites along the way. Some are busier, with showers and other amenities, and some are very remote, with only a drop box for your night's stay payment and possibly a beautiful lake. Finding gas stations is also pretty easy. I ended up not even using my Rotopax tank a single time. 
Go out there and have fun!

- You can see more of Daniel's custom Honda XR650 here. -