Top ten best bits of bike kit for 2018

John Milbank, BikeSocial Consumer Editor
By John Milbank
BikingMilbank BikeSocial Consumer Editor, John owns a KTM 1050 Adventure. He's as happy tinkering in the workshop as he is on twisty, bumpy backroads, and loves every bike ever built (except one). He's bought three CBR600s, two Ducati Monsters, several winter hacks, three off-roaders, a supermoto pit bike, a Honda Vision 50 and built his own custom XSR700. 

 

Motorcycle Live at the Birmingham NEC has all the bikes and kit you could possibly wish for, but, incredible as it may seem, the EICMA show in Milan is even bigger – it includes machines and products that may be only available outside of the UK, or are still in development.

As consumer editor, I wanted to find the most exciting kit, so trawled the 8.1 miles of stands (19,544 steps, in case you’re interested). While there was a huge amount of clothing in new styles and colourways, I was looking for the surprises. Some of these items are due in the UK shortly, while others will need us to shout about if we want to see a distributor pick them up for the UK market…

 

 

Kevlar motorcycle shorts

Faaz, which makes motorcycle kit for various brands, revealed a pair of Kevlar-lined jeans with detachable legs. While you’d be mad to ride with the legs off, the idea makes sense – ride to the beach, then unzip the legs and get some sun. They’ll probably be more popular at La Concha Beach than Skegness.

 

 

A smarter, quieter helmet

If this works, it could be a game-changer. Sena’s Momentum Inc Pro Bluetooth 4.1 helmet has a built-in eight-way intercom, voice control and a 1080p 60fps camera. It’s also got an FM radio, which doesn’t seem very modern in the days of digital broadcasting, but what’s most exciting is the ‘Intelligent Noise Control’ – like noise-cancelling headphones, this technology promises to reduce the wind noise inside the helmet. We can’t wait to try one! www.sena.com

 

 

A lock that’s always with you

Still looking for a UK distributor is Push & Block. There are two versions available – the existing one mounts to your scooter’s centre stand and can be pushed closed with your foot, which stops the stand being flipped back up. It’s suitable for selected Piaggio, Vespa, Kymco, Yamaha and Honda scooters, with prices between 132 and 168 Euros.

Also announced at EICMA is a new system that fits in place of the left chain adjuster block on the swing-arm of the Honda Africa Twin, X-ADV, Integra 750 and NC750X, Yamaha Tracer 900 and Ducati Scrambler. By pushing in the locking pin, the rear sprocket is secured, making it impossible to ride or push the bike away. www.pusheblock.it

 

 

Charge and test all your vehicles

The Telwin T-Charge 12 Evo can charge 6V and 12V batteries with a current of up to 4A, making it suitable for both bike and car systems. Besides working on wet, gel, MF, AGM, Pb-Ca and EFB packs, it will also safely charge lithium batteries. Cleverly, it can also keep a lithium battery ‘warm’ – in cold conditions, these can need to be ‘excited’ – for instance by turning your lights on for a minute or so – before they have the power to crank your engine. With the T-Charge 12 Evo connected, your bike’s said to be always ready to go.

Besides having the ability to recover and maintain a battery, the Evo can test your vehicle’s alternator and the cranking capacity. £72.73 from http://www.basicwelding.co.uk/battery.html

 

 

See more from your lid

The Caberg Levante is designed for touring, and gives a much deeper field of view (82°) compared to a standard visor, thanks to the deep drop at the front. The flip-front lid has a drop-down sun visor, is ready to take an intercom, and is available in two shell sizes across the range. www.caberg.it/en

 

 

More versatile panniers

Filed under ‘why didn’t anyone think of this before’, these panniers from Niche Summit Co Ltd aren’t currently available in the UK, but we wish they were. Like most other throw-overs, they attach to your bike with straps, but when you take them off, they clip together, and a handle can be extended from the left pack. A wheel on each means they can then be rolled along behind you. Brilliant. www.nichesummit.com

 

 

Street leathers

Rev’It!’s Blake jacket has a 500 Denier puffa-jacket-style body with sanded top-grain leather down the arms. It’s designed for sports-bikers who want to ride in the city, and has Rev’It!’s own flexible SeeFlex CE-Level 2 armour installed. It’s already on sale in the UK for £330. www.revitsport.com

 

 

Smart gloves

Based around gloves made by leading French brand Racer, a Bluetooth module with three LEDs is fitted to the back of the hand. Connected to the Liberty Rider app, which incorporates the community-based navigation software Waze, the lights change colour as you approach hazards and speed traps. There’s a small vibration motor built in, so you don’t even have to look at the gloves, and the battery’s promised to last at least a week between charges using a standard micro-USB connection.

The software can also warn you of locations that are only hazardous under certain weather conditions – a road you’re approaching that’s slippery in the wet will only cause your glove to vibrate when it’s raining.

There’s a button built into the thumb too – press it for two seconds when there’s something you need to warn other riders of, and it’ll add it to the database. Your mates following will get the warning of that speed trap you just passed…

It’s expected to add no more than 20 Euros to the price of a standard pair of gloves, though the subscription is likely to cost 60 Euros per year. www.liberty-rider.com

 

 

Orange is the new black…

…and yellow, and silver, and blue if the demand’s there. Kriega is famous for its iconic design style, which has always been black with white and reflective details. Now the Deeside-based company has launched the new Hydro-2 pack, with Quadloc-lite harness and 420D Cordura shell carrying a two-litre reservoir.

Also available is the new OS-Base; a flexible mounting system that allows 12-54 litres of luggage to be easily carried on a range of bikes. Anyone who’s used Kriega kit will understand why new releases from the company that arguably makes the world’s best motorcycle rucksacks is exciting news… www.kriega.com

 

 

A DIY tracking system

Costing just 159.99 Euro with free shipping when buying direct, and available now, MoniMoto is designed for scooters, motorcycles, quad bikes, snowmobiles, cars, caravans and even lawn mowers. The device is powered by two easily replaceable CR123A batteries, which are claimed to last about a year.

The device wakes up if movement or vibration is detected, then if the supplied key fob is not in range, it’ll call you within one minute and send its GPS location. These coordinates are updated every five minutes at first, then every 30 minutes for about five to seven days.

Made in Europe, MoniMoto is IP65 rated, so won’t fail if it gets wet, and works with iOS and Android devices. There’s no subscription fee, but that does mean that there’s not a monitoring team to work with the police in the event of a theft. The supplied SIM card costs just three Euros per month, and works across Europe, but you can swap it for your own if you want.

Rolandas Dranseika, CEO and co-founder told me that the advantage of using a phone call to notify the owner is that it can’t be missed like a typical smartphone notification. We’re looking forward to testing this system shortly… www.monimoto.com

 

 

Take your dog on the bike

My Labrador would take one look at this, bite my ankle and run off, but there must be a market for it. Maybe Milanese mutts rate it. Designed to carry small pets on scooters, motorcycles, bicycles and in cars, POW – Pet on Wheels – is rated for creatures up to 10kg, and can be mounted for the animal to face forwards or backwards. www.petonwheels.it

 

You’ll find much of this kit at Motorcycle Live 18-26 November, and we’d love to hear which of these products you think are a biking essential – let us know in the comments below…

 

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