Buying your perfect motorcycle is the first step to a whole new world. We all know how great bikes are – the most exciting and enjoyable form of transport out there – but what about the kit that’ll keep you comfortable, your bike safe, and make riding even better?
BikeSocial prides itself on offering the most honest, independent reviews. Over the year there’s been some great motorcycle gear released, but these are the five that have stood out as innovations, or simply being bloody good at what they do…
As BikeSocial’s consumer editor, I’ve worn some great kit in 2018. At the top-end it’s got to have been the Rukka Navigatorr jacket; at £1209.99, it’s eye-wateringly expensive, but it’s utterly waterproof, incredibly hard-wearing, and the cuffs are a stroke of genius, making it easy to tuck your gloves under and stay warm and dry.
The Rukka has made my daily commute so much more comfortable, but as the standout item of 2018, it’s got to be the £152.99 Hood K7 Infinity jeans. These para-aramid-lined motorcycle jeans are comfortable, look great, and offer a high level of safety. Hood was one of the first companies to embrace the new CE laws, and the K7s are fully certified to the new AA standard. I wear them for everything from weekend blasts to launches, riding various bikes on unknown, fast roads. I trust them; so should you.
Read the full review of the Hood jeans here.
The toughest chain and lock I’ve tested this year is undoubtedly the Pragmasis 22mm chain and RoundLock. From just £249.99, it’s great value for such high security, and the RoundLock doubles as a portable disc lock. But this 20kg chain is not something you can carry on a bike. To choose the right security for your motorcycle and circumstances, click here.
While there have been some great trackers released in 2018, the award for the best security product has to go to the BikeTrac Hard Security Grab Bag and Chain. Weighing a total of just 4.43kg, the package isn’t the toughest I’ve tested, but it is extremely portable. The chain falls down when hit with a sledge hammer, but keep it off the ground and this noisy and unlikely attack becomes irrelevant. The included Abus Granit Power XS67 disc lock is a mini U-lock, so can work on its own or with the chain, and as the whole lot comes in a convenient bag that can be strapped to your bike’s pillion seat, it’s really easy to carry with you everywhere.
The best lock is the one you keep with you, so BikeTrac has done an outstanding job here.
Read the full review of the BikeTrac Grab Bag here.
Not everyone likes sat-navs, but as a daily rider who often needs to get to UK-wide meetings on the bike at a specific time, I wouldn’t be without one.
I also love exploring on a motorcycle, so regardless of whether I want to just find my way back home at the end of the day, want to plan a great route taking in roads I know are outstanding, or want to let the device choose a winding route for me, I find a good GPS to be well worth investing in.
With its live traffic and excellent speed camera alerts, the TomTom 550 – which now costs around £300 – is brilliant on the bike and in the car.
Read the full review of the TomTom 500 here.
Regardless of what kit I’m wearing, there’s one thing I’ve almost always got on; my Kriega R30 rucksack. Unless it’s a launch or a quick hack out (I wear a Kriega R15 for these), then this big, waterproof pack is with me.
Granted, the two outside pockets will let heavy rain in, but the roll-top main compartment is completely sealed. The Quadloc harness spreads the load to the extent that even when riding to Luxembourg and back with 10kg on my back, I was comfortable.
Kriega kit is not cheap, but speak to anyone who owns it and you’ll find out why they swear by it. It’s built to last, and has a ten-year warranty to prove it. The best biking rucksack I’ve ever used.
Read the full review of the Kriega R30 here.
I’m extremely fastidious when it comes to cleaning bikes – doing it properly takes me about three hours, but once I’ve done it, I only need to keep the machine rinsed off for at least the next six months.
There are many great cleaning products out there, but all of them work at their best when they’re agitated. So, rather than pull out one of the cleaners from the likes of SDoc100, Muc-Off or others, I want to recommend a simple cleaning brush.
There are lots of brushes available, but the best I’ve ever used is a simple, long-handled paint brush. For three years I’ve used the same one, and never had a problem with the metal wrap that keeps the bristles in place, but I’ve long looked for something made entirely of plastic, so it doesn’t matter if I’m more clumsy when reaching into the deepest nooks and crannies. Now, thanks to a Bennetts YouTube channel subscriber, I’ve found one.
A pair of Vikan 556452 all-plastic, long-handled brushes cost £7.85, and are the most useful things I’ve got when it comes to cleaning bikes… I recommend you grab some too.
Read how to properly clean a bike, and protect it from rust, by clicking here.
Of course, I do also get to road test a lot of motorcycles, so what’s my favourite? Just because of its awesome power delivery, sound and rideability, it’s got to be the Yamaha MT-10.
It might have poor economy and limited tank range, it’s true that it’s far less practical than the KTM 1050 Adventure I owned for three years, and its looks aren’t to everyone’s taste. But that crossplane crank motor, delivering 158bhp and 82lb-ft, is nothing short of stunning. It’s a superbike that I can actually use on the road; when I took one out to get some photographs while the boss had one in on test I was blown away, and was very reluctant to hand it back.
So much so that I sold my KTM and bought one. Besides the Honda Grom I also own, what else could I have given the accolade of best bike of 2018 to?
Here’s to a great 2019’s riding… I’ll give you a wave if I see you on the road!