Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Holiday Picks for Last Minute Shoppers

If you're like me, holiday shopping doesn't start until December 15. Every year I try to be more creative than the last, but frankly my creativity can run a little dry when I'm running around the last few weeks of December.

To help my fellow procrastinators, I've put together some ideas for your last-minute gifts.

Harley Davidson Stainless Steel Watch - For the Harley owner in your life, the face on this stainless steel watch looks like an odometer and features the Harley-Davidson logo in the center. Simple, masculine, and classy.

Honda Racing Fleece Pullover - This fleece pullover is officially licensed by Honda and features zip pockets and cool art on the upper right sleeve.

Ducks Unlimited Fender Pack - ATV owners can strap this camouflage fender pack to their vehicle. There are two great things about this gift - first, it has two large compartments and an extra slot to fit a water bottle. Second, proceeds go to Ducks Unlimited's wetlands conversation efforts. Double the goodness in one gift.

Baby Body Teamrider - Do you have a future racer in your family? This onesie track suit is pretty sweet and can fit 9-month and 18-month babies. Parents will be able to spot their baby in the bright orange jumpsuit as they scoot around the house.

To see more gift ideas, visit CycleTrader's Motorcycle Parts and Accessories section. Happy Holidays!

How to Buy the Best Motorcycle Gear by Kevin Domino


Good riding gear will offer comfortable protection from the elements without compromising the benefits you get from riding— the sights, the feelings, the smells, and the sounds.

Cars protect the occupants of the vehicle from the elements and other vehicles that motorcycles don’t have; windows, bumpers, air bags, and steel side-impact structures. Motorcyclists protect themselves with what they wear.

Beyond weather protection, you need gear because cars prey on motorcycles and they are out to get us. Car drivers are insulated and distracted from the activity of actually driving their cars by so cell phones, texting and so on. The bottom line: assume every single vehicle on the road is out to get you, and you’ll be right.

Gear Versus Clothes
Motorcyclists need protection from weather, abrasion, impact, invisibility, and bad music. Properly designed riding gear can protect you from the first four. Sun, wind, rain and extreme temperatures are the elements requiring consideration. We’ll need to weigh abrasion protection in your decision, because sliding body parts rapidly along an asphalt or cement surface is an excellent way to remove skin and flesh (which presumably you want to avoid). We all understand the need limit the damage from bouncing against, and getting hit by, stuff.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing riding gear like we choose street clothes. But motorcycle gear is more like the gear worn by fighter pilots or fire fighters; protection should be the first criterion.

Plan to Upgrade
All professionals equip themselves with the latest and best gear available. Professional motorcyclists, too, use the best protective gear available. But your typical riding environment is much different than professional racers—it’s worse! If you consider yourself a serious rider, keep in touch with advances in riding and plan to upgrade your gear, when something measurably better comes along.

Here are the 6+1 motorcycle riding gear essentials.

1) Helmet
A good-fitting, well-designed, DOT or Snell-approved helmet is a great riding companion. Besides the obvious help a helmet provides if you attempt to dribble your melon on the tarmac, it keeps your head dry when it rains, warm when it’s cold, quiet in a 70-mph wind, and even keeps you cooler on hot days by controlling the rate of evaporation. The helmet also protects you from bugs and sand that go “splat” and “ping” on a helmet at 70 mph but could leave a scar on a bare forehead.

2) Jacket(s)
Regardless of the jacket you wear, make sure it has protective armor on the shoulders, elbows, and back. The jacket also needs to be comfortable, but fit tight enough so armor stays put in case of a get off. The armor in your jacket should be designed similarly to a helmet, with a hard outside shell and a shock-absorbing inside, and closed-cell foam that’s soft and pliable when moved slowly but that stiffens right up and provides protection when whacked hard. An alternative to built-in armor is armored underwear that is worn under less-protective jackets (and pants and jeans), if you need to look a certain way while riding.

Choose bright colors with high conspicuity to ensure you’re seen by other traffic. Reflective strips incorporated into the design of the jacket will help. Especially if you ride in high-traffic areas, such as when commuting on your motorcycle, you can take a tip from road workers and wear a hi-viz green vest with reflective strips over the top of any jacket. These vests are relatively inexpensive and easy to stow.

For protection from rain, you’ve got two choices. You can choose to wear a dedicated rain suit over your riding gear. Or you can chose waterproof riding gear that incorporates a breathable inner fabric like Gore-Tex. The disadvantage of integrated gear is that it is typically more expensive than a rain suit. The advantage of waterproof riding gear is that you don’t need to stow, and then stop and change into, a rain suit when it begins to rain.


3) Pants
Pants have the same considerations as jackets—protection from the elements, abrasion resistance, and impact protection—with the additional issue of being comfortable enough in the “seat area” so as not be a pain in the “seat area.”



4) Boots
Leather boots with a minimum 8 inches of height are required by professional racing organizations, and that seems to be a good standard to use for all types of motorcycle riding. Look for impact padding or armor on the inside and outside of the ankle as well. If you will be riding in the rain, get boots that are waterproof and keep them treated to maintain their water-repelling properties.

5) Gloves
It’s easy to take the functioning of our hands for granted, because they are used in just about everything we do. As important as your hands are, the parts and materials of which they are made are easily damaged. You’ll need a variety of gloves to protect your hands for different riding conditions.
6) EyewearTo safeguard your eyes while riding, you need protection from flying debris like dust and bugs, and you’ll need some shading from bright light. Regardless of the specific method you choose, your glasses, goggles, or face shield need to be shatterproof.

7) Windshield
Although a windshield isn’t riding gear, it is an accessory that provides some of the same functions as riding gear such as shielding you from the wind (and wind noise), rain, bugs, and the occasional unlucky or slow bird. And just like riding gear, it’s rare to find one that is right for every size and shape of rider.

There are a wide range of manufacturers and models from which to choose, from small handlebar-mounted screens to large shields integrated into frame-mounted fairings.

ATTGAT
A phrase used by some veteran motorcyclists is ATGATT, which is an acronym that stands for “All The Gear, All The Time.” Even the best gear won’t protect you if it’s at home in the closet. Even if you are going on a short ride, even just to the store, you should put on your protective riding gear.

Because of factors beyond anyone’s control, if you ride long enough, you will need the extra protection of specialized riding gear. No one plans to have an accident, of course, but they happen to even the best riders. Like all aspects of motorcycling, keeping your balance is important. We’re all bound by the same laws of physics and probability. Keep your arrogance and vanity in check, and suit up. Riding is risky enough without tempting fate by riding “naked.”

** The preceding is excerpted from the book, The Perfect Motorcycle: How to Choose, Find and Buy the Perfect New or Used Bike. The information provided here will give you a framework to guide your motorcycle inspections and purchases. Space limitations preclude an in-depth discussion of the subject. You can find out about the book at www.theperfectmotorcycle.com. There are also 18 checklists and worksheets available for download at www.theperfectmotorcycle.com/download-worksheets-and-che.html that you can use to supplement the information in the book.

Getting Ready to Sell Your Motorcycle

For some, it can be heart-wrenching to even think about selling your motorcycle. For others, the extra cash can help finance their next motorcycle or another large purchase. CycleTrader helps thousands of people sell their motorcycle every year, so we’ve seen our share of successful sales. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Research what other motorcycles are selling for in your area – Do a search on CycleTrader.com for similar makes, models or types so you can see the market rate. Other resources like NADA or KBB can also help you price your motorcycle according to its condition, year and mileage.

Take good photos and videos (and don’t have a model, your child or your dog posing on or near the motorcycle) – You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a great shot. Use a good point-and-shoot or a digital SLR if you’re more advanced to take an unobstructed picture of your motorcycle. One of my favorites set of pictures is a ’05 BMW F 650GS from Carrollton, TX.

• Promote Your Listing on Facebook and Twitter – Once you’ve uploaded your motorcycle onto CycleTrader.com, tell your social networks all about it by posting a link to your listing. Use a service like TinyURL, Bit.ly or Owl.ly to help you shrink your links if they take up more than 140 characters on Twitter.
Organize Your Paperwork – Have the title available and prepare a bill of sale before meeting with the seller. If you don’t have a bill of sale template, visit your state’s DMV for more information. The California DMV has a detailed template available on their site, with form fields to input your information and the seller’s information.

When you're ready to sell, CycleTrader has more tips and tricks to help you list your motorcycle effectively. Visit our Sellers' Resource Center for more information.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Choosing the Right Helmet to Fit Your Noggin

Last month the National Transportation Board urged states to require federally approved helmets. Only 21 jurisdictions mandate that all riders - adults and children - wear helmets, while 27 states only require passengers and children to wear protective head gear.

Wherever you ride, make sure you read up on your state's helmet laws. When you're ready to select a helmet for you or your riding companion, check out a few tips to help it fit just right:

1. Make sure the helmet isn't too big: When you shake your head or pull up on the helmet, does your head go with it or does it come loose? This is a sign of an ill-fitting helmet, which could cause an uncomfortable or even dangerous riding experience.
2. Make sure the helmet isn't too small: This fit-test should be somewhat obvious since you probably can't even squeeze your head into the helmet.
3. Select a federally approved helmet: Check for the DOT-compliant sticker marked on the back of the helmet with the label DOT FMVSS 218.

Make sure you find the one that fits right versus finding a flashy helmet that won't protect your cranium. Safe riding!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

2010 Seattle Motorcycle Show

In less than 24 hours (not that we're counting), we'll be at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Seattle. We hope to see you at booth 684 where we'll be joined by our friends at Renton Motorcycles. While we count down to the start of the show, here are a few things I'm excited to see:

1. Jason Britton and Eric Hoenshell - Jason and Eric will be putting on several heart-pounding shows. Check out one of his shows at Fox Studios here (Copyright: Burbank Pictures):

2. Meet MotoAdventureGal - Alisa Clickenger, aka MotoAdventureGal, returns from her trip to South America and will be speaking to other female riders. The Women Riders booth will be open all weekend to answer your questions, help you try on gear, and sit on bikes.
3. Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Contest - I'm ready to ogle what these custom bike builders are bringing to Seattle. There's no celebrity panel to judge these bikes - winners will be selected by the audience, so make sure you vote for your favorite.
4. The Marketplace - I'm wearing comfortable shoes because I will be stopping by every booth to see new motorcycles, parts and accessories. Who needs exercise when you can walk around the Qwest Center a few times?

Bundle up, bring your camera and get ready for this weekend's show. We'll see you there.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Improved Toolbar to Search Motorcycles

Earlier this fall CycleTrader.com introduced a new refine toolbar that made it easier for you to filter through our 150,000+ listings. (Check out an example of the toolbar with a search for Harley-Davidson motorcycles).

We opened up the lines of communication and many of you have told us what you'd like to see more of and what you'd like to change. Our team put their nose to the grindstone and started working on your suggestions. Here are just a few things we baked into our most recent updates:

* Filter by Dealers vs. Private Sellers - We introduced this feature in the fall, but it was buried at the bottom of the navigation. We've moved it up so it's hard to miss.
* Price and Year Filters - Everyone's got their own way of searching for a particular price or year range, so we gave you two choices. Select between fixed price and year ranges like "Under $5,000" with a set of links, or customize your search with our drop-down menus.

* Homepage Quick Search - Our homepage quick search allows you to easily select a year range, but the drop-down menu was sorted by oldest to newest years. Definitely a no-brainer for us to change, and it's a great feature for you.

So if you're in the market to buy or just want to dream, test drive our changes. We always like hearing from you, and you can drop us a line anytime at novafeedback@dominionenterprises.com.