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Tuk Tested What Does Tuk Tested Mean?

These gloves have been tested more thoroughly than any other piece of gear in WBW history to date (that I’m aware of).

I just returned from a 5600-mile adventure ride while using the Atomic gloves mostly on the way home because the weather turned very hot in that time. Beginning from my home in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada the journey ranged all the way to the northernmost location reachable by road in Canada: Tuktoyaktuk or Tuk for short.

Over the course of that trip, I encountered temperatures ranging from a chilling 30 degrees all the way up to a sweltering 90 degrees Fahrenheit and all the UV radiation accompanying it.

Plenty of rain almost every day for the first week straight, wicked dust on remote gravel roads and literally thousands of insects and flying rocks assaulted me for two and a half weeks almost nonstop.

I only used the Atomic gloves for part of the ride from Dawson City to Tuk due to cold and wet weather, but I wore them almost exclusively on the trip home in very hot temps.

Tuk Tested is an unprecedented higher standard to gauge riding gear worth.

First Impressions

Great looking gloves with adequately nice knuckle and finger armor built in. The mesh vents in the knuckle armor shine and look like they should allow for good cooling of a rider’s hands.

I like the predominantly leather makeup mixed with nylon textile used to build these gloves.

Fitment and Finish

Pulling on the gloves for the first time I immediately like the snug fit of the Medium size on my hands and fingers. There’s no extra material hanging off the ends of my fingers as is often the case with gloves I try on.

My hands measure 8.5 inches around the widest part of the palm which puts me between Medium and Large, but I opted for the Medium as I would rather they fit tight than loose. I have average length fingers.

Available Colors

Of course, you want your gloves to match your bike as much as possible. Joe Rocket Canada has made the Atomic gloves available in the white and red ones I have, all black, hi-viz yellow and grey.

Wrist Closure Strap

The strap used to cinch up the two halves of the glove on the wrist area is totally inadequate for my liking. It’s very short and thin, making it not only somewhat hard to grasp with gloved hands, but it doesn’t reach all the way across my wrist. I can’t really get the glove opening to close tightly or completely no matter how I try and this is quite disappointing considering I like everything else about the gloves.


Molded Plastic covers the entire knuckle area nicely and part of the fingers above the first finger joint. The plastic is solid and about a quarter inch thick, but still malleable to the point I never felt like they were intruding on my hands at any point while wearing them.

Many people have said before that the best gear is often the one you don’t notice while wearing it and these Atomic gloves are totally unnoticeable so long as the weather is warm and dry.

There’s no armor on the scaphoid area or wrist. The mostly leather construction would hold up in a slide well, but really there’s nothing going on to protect a rider’s palm area otherwise in a crash.

Bugs and Rocks

The plastic armor did its job many times over as large beetles, wasps and the occasional stone bounced off them while I was testing the gloves.

Venting and Breathability

As soon as I got out on the road with these gloves I felt cool air coming in the vents in the knuckle armor. That is a lovely feature in these gloves without a doubt. My hands were never sweaty wearing the Atomic gloves even when temps hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other end of the spectrum I found the gloves were reasonably warm even down into the high 50s at highways speed, but anything below that I found myself turning on my heated grips and reaching quickly for my Rukka Virium insulated gloves instead.

Comfort On Long Rides

Using these gloves for over 2000 miles told me a lot about them. A huge must have in a motorcycle glove for me is well-tailored seams in the palm of the glove, especially around my thumb area. The reason being that thick seams tend to cut off the circulation to my thumb and cause it to go totally numb. This is most noticeable on my throttle hand which has to grip more than my left of course.

The Atomic gloves are a bit funny this way. There were days when I didn’t notice any circulation issues at all, but then there were others when it really caused me pain, too. I was never too sure which glove experience it would be on any given day, but most often The Atomic gloves didn’t produce the much-hated numbness in my right hand, thumb thankfully.


These gloves aren’t waterproof in any sense of the word being mostly made of leather. I wondered whether the cowhide palm would stain my hands black once I got them wet, but they didn’t bleed ink or discolor my hands in any way even when I got caught in the rain wearing them once.

Thin and Light

The Atomic gloves are thin and very lightweight, making them easy to keep handy for quick glove swaps to suit the ever-changing weather I experienced during my 3-week ride to Tuk. I found a great place to store them in the rear pocket of my Joe Rocket Canada Ballistic 14 jacket. That pocket would keep them dry if it rained while also easy to pull out once the sun came out in full force.

Don’t Lose Them!

There’s a snap on the middle of the wrist area of the gloves that work well for keeping the gloves together. You can also just use the velcro strips, but I found the snap more reliable.

Final Verdict?

There really isn’t much else to say about the Atomic gloves. They’re simple, straightforward motorcycle gloves that do a good job of protecting and cooling the rider’s hands in warm weather.

I find the $80 price tag just a little hard to swallow in some ways. I would be a lot happier paying around $50 for what they are, to be honest, but $80 Canadian dollars really isn’t terrible relative to some other gloves on the market.

It’s a shame they aren’t available in the US, but there is a very similar glove for all my southern neighbors to enjoy called the Joe Rocket Cyntek glove.

  • Molded Plastic knuckle and finger armor
  • Excellent breathability and ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Fit snug around fingertips to allow good dexterity and feel
  • Can be connected together using snap-on wrist area or velcro
  • Priced at $79.99 Canadian dollars
  • Velcro strap doesn’t clamp tightly enough
  • Not waterproof
  • Leather seam around thumb is thick and can restrict circulation

  • Manufacturer: Joe Rocket Canada
  • Where to Buy: Joe Rocket Canada
  • Price (When Tested): $79.99 Canadian dollars
  • Made In: China
  • Alternative models & colors: Black, Grey, and Hi-Viz Yellow
  • Sizes: S to 3XL
  • Review Date: June 25, 2018

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Tuk Tested What Does Tuk Tested Mean?

These pants have been tested more thoroughly than any other piece of gear in WBW history to date (that I’m aware of).

I just returned from a 5600-mile adventure ride while using the Alter Ego 13 pants the whole way. Beginning from my home in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada the journey ranged all the way to the northernmost location reachable by road in Canada: Tuktoyaktuk or Tuk for short.

Over the course of that trip, I encountered temperatures ranging from a chilling 30 degrees all the way up to a sweltering 90 degrees Fahrenheit and all the UV radiation accompanying it. Plenty of rain almost every day for the first week straight, wicked dust on remote gravel roads and literally thousands of insects and flying rocks assaulted me for two and a half weeks nonstop.

Tuk Tested is an unprecedented higher standard to gauge riding gear worth.

First Impressions

Simple, lightweight and seemingly straightforward riding pants made of tough Rock Tex 600 nylon with only 2 pockets on the front of each hip. The pockets each have rubber coated zippers and angle downward in a convenient manner to allow hands to rest inside.

I’m generally not a fan of removable waterproof liners as they always seem to ride up when I pull pants or jackets off and I find they never breathe well enough in hot weather to leave them in. I’m going to keep an open mind with these Alter Ego pants because they have been created specifically with hot weather riding in mind.

Fit and Finish Fitment

I specifically ordered the short length Alter Ego pants because of my impossible to fit 27” inseam. Coupled with my 34” waist and 42” hips fitting pants has always been a nightmare.

Unfortunately, right away I’m unhappy with the fitment of these size small Alter Ego pants, but not enough to send them back. According to the sizing chart, I should have gone with a Medium to accommodate my 34” waist, but after consulting with Joe Rocket Canada beforehand they sent me the Small and I’m glad they did. I’d be positively swimming in the Medium ones!

The length obviously was going to be 3” too long because even the short sized pants have a 30” inseam, and I accept that. The legs fit me just fine width wise and even the knee armor seems to line up pretty well with my tall Sidi Adventure 2 boots inside. The weirdness comes around the hips and waist area where even with the “Sure-Fit” velcro adjustment system at the smallest setting I have about a 1” of a gap around my waist.

I found a tucked in the thermal liner helped take up that gap nicely though, but when I’m not wearing it the pants tend to droop down on my thighs like I’m a gang banger or someone trying to look cool.

Even stranger is the bulging going on around the sides of my hips. When my wife caught sight of it she immediately started laughing at what she called my new “horse riding pants”, baggy breeches or Jodhpurs. I can’t deny that it made me snicker too, BUT… at least the bagginess prevents these pants from violating my most private parts, unlike many other pants I’ve worn. I’d wager the extra length is to blame for the excessive hip bulging, alas.

I’d rather have extra room any day rather than too little room. I inquired with the JRC rep about the “interesting style” of bagginess and whether I’ve been mistakenly sent women’s pants as there seems to be sufficient room for some hips that don’t lie if you know what I mean.

Nope, these are men’s, short length, Small sized Alter Ego 13 pants indeed. Ok, on with the testing then!


The nylon shell is soft and supple on the Alter Ego making it easy to like wearing that way. The inside liner is a smooth mesh that doesn’t bunch up or snag on toes when stepping into the pants or anything irritating like that.

If I’m not mistaken, Joe Rocket Canada laser cuts their material to get really clean cuts and finishes. That’s evident on these pants as they are well tailored and the quality is there as a result.

Reflective And Hi-Viz Material

I really like the “Rocket” branding locations on the right, outer shin, and center of the waistline in the rear. These and the “Dry-Tech” lettering double as the reflective material on the pants, but I would have liked to see perhaps some reflective piping running the outside length of each leg just to help out a totally black colored piece of gear stand out on the road in bad weather.

The Alter Ego is available in a “Bone” colored version additionally which would definitely stand out much more, but also look dirty pretty quick.

Waterproof Liner

I was certain this would be the Alter Ego’s Achilles heel when it comes to breathability, but it wasn’t a problem whatsoever to my delight.

This Dry Tech liner breathes really well in hot weather and I never felt the need to remove it even when riding in 90-degree heat. I actually forgot that it isn’t the outer layer on these pants that were waterproof, to be honest.

I torture tested the pants initially in my backyard using a garden hose for five minutes to see if they would leak anywhere, especially around the pockets and zippers. Nothing got through anywhere on the pants.

I needn’t have done that though because on my ride to Tuktoyaktuk it rained hard on me for 7 days straight which is all the testing ever needed to know just how good the Dry Tech system is. It worked PERFECTLY! Not only that, I was warm and dry with just a pair of thermal underwear and some nylon sports pants underneath the Alter Ego. What more can I say? Awesome!

Breathability and Venting

Here is the best feature these pants offer without question. They seem unremarkable until you notice the wide strip of material attached with two zippers running from the top of the left thigh above the knee up and around the backside ending up just above the right knee. This is the “Meta Sports System” panel which covers a sprawling area of mesh-covered venting.

I thought this area would leak in heavy rain, but it never did.

I thought I would sweat to death with the waterproof liner installed in hot weather, but I didn’t.

Once temps got into the mid to high 80s only then did I feel the need to remove the panel from the mesh sections covered by the Meta Sport system I just described. As it turns out, the Dry Tech waterproof system really breathes well.

I’m confident if I ever find myself riding in the scalding temps of the Baja 1000 race I could then remove the waterproof liner and the Meta Sport panel to ride in perfect comfort.

The only negative I would speak to about the Meta Sports System is that you have to unzip from one side all the way over to the other to get increased airflow since the zipper opens only from one side instead of from either side to the other. This means you can’t have the vent partly open to let in just a little more air. It’s basically fully open or fully closed only.

This Joe Rocket Canada riding gear has exceeded my expectations.


The CE Level 1 armor included is nothing special, but not the worst armor I’ve encountered in riding gear. It’s made from solid rubber and I’m confident it would make some difference in a crash.

The JRC website claims that the armor is height adjustable, but I couldn’t work out how to do anything other than slide the armor into the provided pockets for them in the knee area of the pants.

Final Verdict?

I don’t like the way these pants look on me, but there’s no questioning how effectively they worked over the course of my 6000-mile ride. They took everything nature threw at them and came out shining and looking for even more punishment.

All that extra room around the waist and hips left me lots of options for adding more layers of warm clothing underneath them which is a positive.

The pockets were easy to open and close quickly to fetch my wallet when filling up the bike with gas even when wearing gloves.

The Alter Ego breathes so well in hot weather and keeps warmth in when it’s cold too. Joe Rocket Canada has done an excellent job designing this gear and kept the price reasonable too.

The Alter Ego 13 is only available in Canada, but there is an Alter Ego 2.0 available in the US from Joe Rocket Direct as it turns out that looks very similar. I would encourage US readers to go check them out if this review sounds like the kind of riding pants you’re looking for.

  • 100% Waterproof with good wind protection too
  • Excellent breathability and ventilation even with waterproof liner installed
  • Two large waterproof pockets that zip closed
  • Lightweight
  • CE Level 1 knee armor included
  • Suede, melt-proof patches on the inside of legs
  • Priced low at $299.99 Canadian dollars
  • Only two pockets total
  • Don’t fit short, skinny people well
  • Insufficient amounts of reflective material
  • If the waterproof liner is removed and it starts raining pants have to be removed to reinstall
  • Fully on or off only Meta Sports ventilation system

  • Manufacturer: Joe Rocket Canada
  • Where to Buy: Joe Rocket Canada
  • Price (When Tested): $299.99 Canadian dollars
  • Made In: China
  • Alternative models & colors: Bone White
  • Sizes: Small to 4XL in regular, short and tall sizing
  • Review Date: June 23, 2018

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A Great Experience with Packtalk Bold and Packtalk Slim

Earlier this year I was offered the opportunity to test the Cardo Packtalk radio system. To be honest, I had never used a radio or communication system when riding and never really felt like I needed to get one. I have always liked the solitude that is found inside my helmet and communication with fellow riders was easy enough with a few basic hand signals. But when the opportunity arose, I thought that this would be a really good chance to review the Packtalk system from the point of view of a total newbie to helmet radios.

I’m not super tech savvy, I’m comfortable with technology but by no means do I own all the newest gadgets and I am not coming into this test process with any preconceived ideas or expectations. My hope is that my finding will speak to all of the riders who are looking at a first radio system as well as those who might be looking to upgrade.

Right from the start, I was very impressed by the Cardo line. I received a Cardo Packtalk Bold Duo and a Cardo Packtalk Slim Duo. Both sets arrived in perfect condition. The box is very well designed as it presents the individual components of the system very clearly.

In most cases, the quality of the packaging is often a good indication of the quality of the product and that is certainly true of the Cardo Packtalk radios. In addition, the box is a great way to store the unit or to keep spare parts as there are options accessories that you can purchase for the system.

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The Packtalk Bold is available on the Cardo website as a single unit for $329.95 US or as a duo for $579.95 US. The Packtalk Slim has a list price of 329.95 euros for a single unit. Shipping and sales tax are additional and those fees can be determined once you have placed the item in your shopping cart. The Cardo site accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and PayPal.

Revzilla also sells both the Packtalk Bold Duo and the Packtalk Slim Duo. Revzilla offers free shipping on orders over $39.95 within the contiguous U.S. as well as a rewards program for most purchases.

Cardo Packtalk Features

Before getting into the specifics of each unit, I wanted to cover some of the general features and benefits of all of the Cardo Packtalk radios. It is also important to note that the technology and the features of the Packtalk Bold and the Packtalk Slim are identical.

One of the best features of these radios is that they offer Dynamic Mesh Communications (DMC). This is a fairly technical advance over other wireless communication systems, but in simple terms, it means that groups can self-form and self-heal.

DMC Application

The application of this is when riders coming into range with other members of their group they automatically join the group. And when riders leave the range of other members they automatically leave the group.

An additional feature is that multiple small subgroups can be functioning independently and then blend into one large group as the smaller subgroups come into range. In the case of the Cardo Packtalk radios, up to 15 riders can connect in the same group. In addition to offering DMC technology, the Packtalk also offers Bluetooth so you can connect to any headset.

Voice Activation

Another major step forward for the Packtalk system is the hands-free operation function. This is the same convenience that is offered by Siri, Alexa and numerous other electronics that consumers have embraced for their homes as well as navigation and other features integrated into a smartphone.

A simple “Hey Cardo” and you have the ability to control all of the critical features as well as the entertainment features of the Packtalk without every removing a hand from your bike. This not only offers additional safety but it can eliminate a lot of frustration as you begin to familiarize yourself with the control surfaces on the Packtalks.

Bells and Whistles

The range of the Packtalks is about one mile under perfect conditions but in average conditions, the range is still close to two-thirds of a mile which is almost double most radio systems on the market.

In addition to the two-way radio feature, the Packtalks also offer the ability to access FM radio, listen to music from a smartphone, share the audio you are listening to with the group, make phone calls, merge a call to the intercom and create a private chat.

The Palktalks also offer a great battery as they are estimated to provide up to 13 hours of talk time and can also be charged while they are in use via a 12-volt charger or a battery pack. And all of these features can be enjoyed rain or shine as all Cardo units are waterproof and offer a 2-year warranty.

The Cardo Packtalk Bold

I selected the Packtalk Bold set to install in my helmet and my husband’s helmet as we wear Shoei. A complete hard copy of installation guide, the user’s manual and a pocket guide are all included in the box which is very nice. Too many manufacturers are assuming that everyone has access to the Internet to view instructions and installation guides but not Cardo.

All three of these documents are available on the website, Cardo Systems, for future reference.

What’s In The Box

Cardo does a great job of making sure that you have everything that you will need to get your Packtalk radio installed and working perfectly. The box really does include everything that you will need down to the alcohol wipes to ensure that the helmet surface is clean and ready for the installation.

In the box you will find:

  • Noise canceling microphone
  • Hybrid microphone
  • Two speakers
  • Release tab
  • Corded microphone
  • Replacement microphone sponges
  • Pre-moistened alcohol pads
  • Speaker booster pads
  • Velcro pads
  • Hybrid mic clip
  • Glue plate

You have two options when you are installing the Packtalk Bold. The first choice is to use the metal clip which is inserted between the helmet’s outer shell and inner padding. The second choice is to use the glue plate to mount the unit on the side of the helmet.

The metal clip method worked very well on both Shoei helmets and due to the heat in the Phoenix area, we decided that was a better choice for long-term mounting rather than glue.

The Shoei helmets have fully removable padding and cutouts are already in place to mount the speakers. It was a very simple process to remove the pads and then follow the installation instructions provided by Cardo. You can invest as much time as you feel is appropriate when it comes to carefully routing and concealing the wiring. We only spent a few extra minutes on the wiring but it was worth it to have really no visible wires once the installation was completed.

I don’t want to bore anyone with a detailed step by step on the radio installation because the Cardo instructions clearly take you through the process and this article is about evaluating the features and functions once the radios are installed. But I will note that overall the installation was much easier than I had anticipated. The written instructions and diagrams are very clear, making it a pretty painless process which is not at all what I was expecting. T

he one benefit that I had was that I was familiar with removing the pads from my helmet to wash them. So if you are not sure about the pad removal process for your specific helmet, you might want to watch a video of the process online so that you do not inadvertently damage your helmet.

Pairing and Functions

The Cardo mobile app is offered on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. I downloaded the app from Apple while my husband used Google. Neither of us has brand new phones but we had absolutely no issues downloading or operating the Cardo app. And pairing the units is as simple as using any Bluetooth speaker.

The Packtalk Bold operates on a three button system and also a control wheel toward the back of the unit. I did notice that it took me some time to consistently be able to push the control wheel without it turning, but as it turned out I didn’t use that function very often. And knowing about the voice control feature of the Packtalk made me even less concerned about certain button features.

But I did want to be thorough in my evaluation so I pulled out several different types of gloves to test them out. With a pair of gauntlet gloves, which have a fairly thick leather fingertip, I was able to feel the buttons very easily and had no issues with function.

Next, I moved to a thicker textile glove with some Thinsulate on the fingers and that functioned equally as well. The final pair of gloves was a true winter-weight leather glove with a thick lining. This glove made the function a bit more challenging, but I was still able to feel the defined ridge of each button.

I am fairly certain that with more frequent use and familiarity with the buttons, any rider would be comfortable using the Packtalk Bold even in winter weight gloves.

Voice Commands

My concern with the button function became less of an issue as I grew more familiar with the voice command function of the Packtalk Bold. The key phrase for the unit is “Hey Cardo” just as with Google or Siri.

Any time that the unit is on you can use the voice commands to access the radio, play music, adjust the volume or mute the audio. In addition, you can speed dial, redial, answer or ignore phone calls.

And one of the most functional features is the ability to check your battery status. “Hey Cardo, battery status” and you know that you are good to go on the power of that you need to take a break and uses the charge on the go feature to top off your battery.

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Free shipping on orders over $40
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Competitive pricing

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First Test Ride

I wasn’t really sure what to expect for my first ride with a radio in my helmet, but I quickly learned that I really like the ability to speak to the person I am riding with. But I also learned that we both have a tendency to comment on the driving skills of some of the motorist around us. So I needed to remember that what I used to mumble sometimes not so quietly to myself was now being tossed into my husband’s helmet and vice versa.

On surface streets, the sound was far better than I expected. We were never far enough apart to lose the connection even at a range of about half a mile.

Moving onto the highway we were still able to carry on a conversation or to make short comments without any difficulty hearing or understanding each other. At a higher rate of speed, the wind noise was a bit more noticeable. I found that opening and closing the top vent on my helmet had no real impact on the sound quality but opening the vent on the front of my helmet did decrease the quality of my transmissions.

Another factor to consider is that we tested the Packtalks in Phoenix in the summertime so we did not have the chin curtain installed in either helmet. That would eliminate some of the air-flow sounds and increase the sound quality a bit I am guessing. That being said, the quality of the helmet is going to have an impact on the sound quality of the Packtalk system. A helmet that is engineered to be quieter will obviously have better sound quality for those whom you are speaking to and will allow you to hear the speakers more clearly as well. So take that into consideration when creating your expectations for the Packtalk and when evaluating the performance of your system.

Overall, I was very happy with the quality of the sound and the function of the Packtalk Bold Duo in our first ride. Being new to the concept, we were only barely scratching the surface of what these radios offer by using the two-way radios but we were very happy with that first step.

A Second Test

On the second test ride, we were meeting 2 other riders who had installed the Packtalk Slim Duo. The units had all been installed and established in the pack prior to the ride so that we could just randomly meet up. One feature that is great about the Packtalk is that two different groups from the same pack can be communicating and then merge into a single group as they enter range with one another. So in our case, each couple could be talking and then we were able to all hear each other as we came into range.

We were on a highway and had decent vision so we could see the other two riders as we approached. At somewhere around half a mile or a little more, our two groups merged into a single group and we could all talk. After the ride, as the other couple split off, we returned to the two separate groups once we were around a mile apart.

During the test ride, one person made a phone call and then rejoined the group with no issues. We also had one member use the speed dial voice command to call another member of the group. With both people on the call in helmets and at high speed the sound quality was a little low but still very functional and understandable.

Additional Insights

In addition to riding in groups, I have used the Packtalk Bold on a lot of rides when I was by myself to test the other features such as the radio and music playback from my phone. The only issue that I have come across has been related to the location of my phone during the ride. Having my phone in my back pocket caused a lot of connectivity issues in the music and in “dropped” calls.

After discovering this issue, I began carrying my phone in either the inside front pocket of my jacket or in a top zipper compartment of my backpack. In both cases, the phone is about one or two feet from my helmet and the function has been perfect.

Apparently, the density of my butt was the issues for the Bluetooth, not the distance so a jacket pocket, front coat pocket or having the phone mounted on the handlebar of your bike would all maintain the 2ish foot distance that works perfectly.

Having made some longer rides in groups of four or more without any type of radio, I am very certain that I would much rather have the Cardo Packtalk system for my next long ride. It just makes it very simple to communicate things like a slight change in route or a need for fuel. In addition, having the ability to communicate at a distance greater than a line of sight or half a mile is a great safety feature in the event of an accident or other equipment issues.

The functions offered by the Packtalk Bold and the Packtalk Slim are huge and range from very functional for communication purposes to very much luxuries such as listening to the radio or stored music. And the best part by far is that both of these benefits are integrated into a single, easy to use system. Having spent just weeks exploring the bells and whistles of the new Packtalk radios, I am more convinced than ever that it would take many more months to fully put these radios through their paces and become intimate with the function and features that they offer.

Originally I would have been against having radios because I like to put on my helmet and not hear a phone, radio or other voices. But the Cardo Packtalk has made it very easy to mute or control the volume of other riders in a group which is a big part of what has changed my opinion of helmet radios. The Cardo Packtalk offers a user friendly-system that is also reliable and simple to install so there is really no reason to ever be a part of a riding group without radios.

Bold vs. Slim

The Packtalk Bold is the same body as the previous generation Packtalk but with all of the new upgrades and features of the Packtalk Slim. The unit is about the size of an old style flip phone and must be mounted on the left side of the helmet either with the glue plate or the metal clip.

The Packtalk Slim is the newest design and offers a 6.5 mm thick super sport form unit to attach to the left side of the helmet while the battery pack is located on the back of the helmet at the neckline. The features and functions of the Bold and the Slim are identical, the only difference is in the installation and the final location of the hardware on your helmet.

My preference was certainly the Packtalk Bold model over the Packtalk Slim due to the location of the battery for the Slim. When I tested that model I found that I really didn’t care for the piece attached at the back of my neck.

This might not be an issue for some riders but I have found that on many occasions I ride with the foam neck pad of my helmet resting on the top of my backpack or on the top of the back protector plate of my jacket.

The reason for this position is that I am tucked pretty tightly on my Ducati either to get behind the screen to open my helmet visor for an air exchange or simple to relax in a different position. So for me, the larger single unit mounted on the side of my helmet was far superior to the split units of the Slim configuration.

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webBikeWorld has worked closely with RevZilla over the years to provide our testers with products to review. In addition to being a great site to shop from, they’re also a great partner.


Free shipping on orders over $40
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Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

Buy This Helmet on RevZilla


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webBikeWorld.com by Cameron Martel - 1w ago

A couple of months ago I tested the new Shoei Neotec II, and hot on the heels of that review is the latest modular from SCHUBERTH, the C4. Camparison article coming soon.

SCHUBERTH is a household name for most motorcycle enthusiasts. The C4 is the next evolution of SCHUBERTH’s top of the line modular series (you can read what we thought of the last-generation C3 Pro here). On the whole, the C4 is an excellent helmet and is certainly in-keeping with SCHUBERTH’s motif of building high-quality, high-technology helmets. The exterior shell, switches, and interior liner are all top-notch and representative of the premium that SCHUBERTH asks for the C4.

However, a common criticism of SCHUBERTH is their choice to use two shell sizes for the C3/C3 Pro, and unfortunately, that trend continues with the C4. Sizes XXXS-S share a common shell, as do sizes M-XXXL. This means that if you wear a size medium, the shell will be the same as the one used on the XXXL. While this isn’t a problem for me (I wear a large), riders wearing a size medium may find the C4 to be quite large in comparison to other helmets of the same size.

Like the C3 Pro, the C4 has some of its electronics pre-installed. Where the C3 Pro had the Bluetooth antenna built-in, the C4 takes it a step further and integrates the mic, speakers, and antenna. As a result, the C4 is already 2/3 of the way there when looking at in-helmet audio/communications… all it needs is the SENA SC1 (sold separately) to be installed. I don’t have the SC1 handy, but I do expect to get one integrated before the end of the summer and will update this review at that time.

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Exterior Appearance & Finishing

The C4 is a suitable helmet no matter what you’re piloting, be it a sportbike or a spaceship. The sleek aesthetic makes the C4 look and feel premium- even if you didn’t know the C4 came with a $750 MSRP, you’d get the impression that it is an expensive piece of kit. Why? Because everything on this helmet is perfectly aligned, meticulously finished, and made with quality.

The exterior is kept clean and sophisticated in part because it does not have a rear vent. There are two vents: one on the chinbar, and the other on the crown. I’ll touch on this in more depth a bit later on. The lack of a rear exhaust vent allows the C4 to maintain a steamlined shape. I think it looks great.

On this colorway, the slider for the integrated sun visor is colormatched to the rest of the helmet (though this is not the case for all colorways), and the button to open the chinbar is “safety red”. Otherwise, it’s monochrome all around.

Of all the helmets I’ve encountered lately – and there’s been quite a few (I currently have five in my garage) – the C4 is the one I think looks the best. It feels space-age and high tech, and not only because it looks the part.


The helmet I have here is a matt black version, though you can get your C4 in your pick of 16 different colorways. As good as the matt black looks upon first arrival, be warned that the matt finish is particularly fragile. This reality isn’t exclusive to the C4, by the way, but rather any helmet with a matt finish. It’s a shame, too, because matt colorways are definitely my favorite (and not just because they’re easy to snap a great photo of).

Finishing Quality

The photo above demonstrates what I mean about the fragility of the matt paint: prior to this shoot, the C4 had been worn exactly 3 times for about 100 miles of total riding. In that time, and despite not being dropped, it managed to accrue numerous blemishes. It’s a shame, too, since this exact helmet with a protective clear-coat finish would look fabulous and offer much improved longevity and durability in the paint.

Of the 16 options available for the C4, I’d personally opt for the resonate grey or spark blue colorways if I had my pick, but I don’t think any of them are unattractive. I’d avoid the matt finishes, though, since I’m particular about keeping my things looking good and the fragility of the matt finish drives me bonkers.

The rest of the helmet is tops, Opening/closing both the visor and chinbar is a smooth and refined experience. The same is also true of the integrated sun visor, which operates without sticking. Tolerances are tight all around, and to the untrained eye, the C4 might as well be a full face helmet.

All told, I’m very impressed with the build quality on the C4.

Fit & Comfort

I find the C4 quite comfortable and wear it the most of any helmet I currently have in my possession. The interior liner is very comfortable, with a snug fit that keeps the helmet securely in place while also drowning out a fair amount of ambient noise.

The C4’s shape is intermediate oval, and it comes in at 4.1 lbs. Not the lightest helmet I’ve tested, and not the heaviest either. At 4.1 lbs, it’s just a hair lighter than the Neotec II (which tips the scales at 4.2 lbs).

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Airflow & Venting

As mentioned earlier, there is no rear exhaust vent on the C4. Air is drawn into the helmet via the chin and crown vents and then channeled throughout. Despite the lack of exhaust, the C4 isn’t hot or even uncomfortably warm. Air circulates via specially-designed channels- a design that I find works well for keeping me cool.

At speed, air from the chin vent is directed up but not directly in front of my eyes. I’m able to ride for a good while without eye discomfort.

Micro-Ratchet Strap

Many riders adore micro-rather straps, and I honestly couldn’t tell you why. I’ve never found them to be as comfortable as a good old double-d, and for the few seconds I save using one, I’d almost always prefer the classic rings.

That said, the micro-ratchet setup used on the C4 is the most comfortable I’ve worn to date. It doesn’t press into my neck/adams apple, secures and releases easily, and is fine overall. Once clasped it more or less fades into the background (which is the best praise you can adorn a strap with in my opinion). No complaints here.


I quite like the interior liner, which is plush and moldable. It conforms to my head and face quickly, and even without the strap clasped, the C4 hangs on tightly. There isn’t much play, and as a result the helmet remains in place when rocking my head side to side and front to back.

The C4 has an intermediate oval shape, though it’s on the rounder side of intermediate. I find the C4 very comfortable to wear and have spent several hours at a time with the helmet without complaint. I don’t feel any pressure points; the helmet’s weight is dispersed evenly and the C4 feels great as a result.

The liner snaps out quickly for washing or replacement. It’s antimicrobial, helping stave off the inevitable odors that come with pounding the pavement together, and washable.


Since I haven’t tested the C3 or C3 Pro to compare it against, I can’t speak to how the C4 is different compared to its older siblings. What I can do is compare it against the Neotec II, and in that context, it’s the Neotec that’s quieter… but not by much.

While there isn’t much buffeting that’s caused by the helmet, I do find that there’s a decent amount of road noise that finds its way in. Moreso than what I notice when riding with the Neotec II. However, in the interests of transparency, I only began to notice the differences in noise levels after a friend asked me which was quieter. Both helmets offer perfectly acceptable interior noise levels, but the edge goes to the Neotec II… if only just.


With the C4 on you’re treated to a sweeping view that stretches well into your peripheral vision. The viewport is massive and the resulting view is excellent.

Face Sheild & Pinlock Visor

The face shield is quite good, and SCHUBERTH has fit it with a pinlock as well. The resulting combo provides great optics, with minimal distortion. I did notice some polarization occurring when wearing my sunglasses with the helmet. Other than that, there’s nothing notable to report here.

Internal Sun Shield

The internal sun visor, operated via a slider on the left-hand base of the helmet, is also quite good. It extends and retracts smoothly and, once fully extended, covers the top 90% of your viewport. The default color is dark smoke, but you can swap it out with a lighter or darker color if you prefer. I find the smoke to be dark enough for my tastes.

Integrated Electronics

As mentioned, SCHUBERTH has fit the C4 with speakers, a bluetooth antenna, and a microphone. It’s all completely hidden from view until you go looking for it.

The speakers can be adjusted somewhat up or down. For maximum audio quality, mark the side of the helmet with where your ears sit when worn and adjust the speakers so they are inline with your markings.

Regarding quality, I can’t assess that yet as I haven’t gotten my hands on a SENA SC1, but once I do I’ll update this review.

The SCHUBERTH C4 is a Premium Flip-Up Helmet, & It’s Worth Every Penny

If you believe that a helmet is a helmet is a helmet, chances are that you’ll balk at the $750 MSRP of the new C4. I can’t say I don’t see your perspective, either: that’s a lot of money for a singular piece of hardware, especially when you can find pretty good modulars for under $200 (like the Vemar Sharki I recently reviewed). But, in all fairness, comparing a sub-$200 modular to the C4 isn’t apples to apples… not even close.

In the C4 you’re buying the result of top-end engineering, testing, and obsessive QA. It feels as premium as it does not because of how much it costs, but because of how much value it delivers. The integrated electrics are a nice touch, but even in their functional absence, the C4 still stands out because of its comfort, good looks, and slick operation.

If you’re shopping for a new modular, and you want the best of what modulars have to offer, the C4 is a strong contender. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: SCHUBERTH provided the C4 at no charge for the purposes of this review.

  • Sleek design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Integrated speakers, mic, and bluetooth antenna
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Integrated sun visor is excellent
  • Matt paint loves to show off its blemishes
  • Premium price

  • Manufacturer: SCHUBERTH
  • Price (When Tested): $749
  • Made In: Germany
  • Alternative models & colors: 16 colorways
  • Sizes: XXXS – XXXL
  • Size Chart: Here
  • Safety designations: DOT approved, ECE R 22.05
  • Review Date: July 2018

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SCHUBERTH C4 Image Gallery
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Tuk Tested

What does Tuk Tested mean?

This helmet has been tested more thoroughly than any other piece of gear in WBW history to date (that I’m aware of).

I just returned from a 5600-mile adventure ride while using the RKT-25 helmet. Beginning from my home in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada it ranged all the way to the northernmost location reachable by road in Canada: Tuktoyaktuk or Tuk for short.

Over the course of that trip, I encountered temperatures ranging from a chilling 30 degrees all the way up to a sweltering 90 degrees Fahrenheit and all the UV radiation accompanying it.

Plenty of rain almost every day for the first week straight, wicked dust on remote gravel roads and literally thousands of insects and flying rocks assaulted this helmet for two and a half weeks nonstop.

Tuk Tested is an unprecedented higher standard to gauge riding gear worth.

First Impressions

The colors really cry out to me along with the aerodynamic grooves on each side of the chin bar that run back and slightly upwards coming to a point at the rear. It gives the illusion of movement even when the helmet is just sitting there.

The motocross style chin bar is less pronounced than on a solely off-road example and right away I realize this is a convertible helmet that will fit into my adventure and sport riding motorcycling needs. At least I think there’s a lot of potential for it to at first glance.

On the road, the streamlined shape isn’t prone to excessive lift or pull if the optional sun peak isn’t installed.

Fit and Finish

The RKT-25 is certainly no threat to premium helmet brands like Shoei and Arai when it comes to finishing quality, but it holds its own. One thing I find peculiar is the strange creaking noise it makes when you flex opposite sides of the chin bar inwards. I’ve never encountered another helmet that does that.

The A.T.P.A.™ Advanced Thermo-Poly Alloy outer shell is double layered with a triple layer of EPS foam on the inside and that may have something to do with the unusual noise.


Pulling on the helmet I noticed the padding is all constructed of smooth mesh nylon that slides well and feels slightly cool on my face. It’s nice, but I also notice how firm it is pressing on my cheeks and how immediately I look like a teenage girl posing for a selfie thanks to the “duck lips” produced by the pressure.

After a couple of thousand miles, I found the padding relaxed to a more comfortable degree that eliminated the Donald Duck impression, thankfully.

Removable and Washable Lining

All the padding is easily removed and installed for washing or if there is an emergency and responders need to help you.

Even after wearing it in very dusty and dirty conditions I haven’t noticed any funky smell or nasty buildup urging me to wash any of it. I’m not a slob, it’s just not necessary at this point which impresses me greatly.

Visor and Integrated Sun Lens Visor

The visor is a good one when it comes to scratch resistance and clarity. The eyeport opening is wide and I found no issues even when using it in heavy rain and with a thick buildup of insect corpses on it. The only exception is the half inch sealing edge on it is annoying to look through if you like to ride with the visor cracked open slightly as I do.

It cleans nicely and comes off the helmet really well when you flip it all the way up and depress both buttons on the pivoting points.

Getting it back installed is a different matter though. It took some patience and holding my tongue just right to get the notches lined up on both sides equally and then clicking everything back in place. Once was enough before I decided cleaning it while still installed on the helmet would work well enough to avoid further visor surgery.

Sun Lens

This is my favorite integral sun lens because it’s SUPER dark compared to any other one I’ve experienced to this point. I’ve always found them too light on the tint to be useful in bright sunlight, but not the RKT25. It’s perfect for my liking.

Even better is how when the sun is high in the sky I only partially deploy the sun lens far enough to block the sun while not obstructing my view of the road. This ends up working almost the same way as the visor in my car does.

The switch for extending or retracting the internal lens is located on the left lower edge of the helmet making it easy to find consistently while riding and the action on it is stiff but smooth.

Bluetooth Issues

This sun lens control switch location combined with the way the bottom edge of the helmet outer shell flares outward and slightly upward makes it frustratingly impossible to mount my SENA 30K in the usual desired location. I tried to no avail and ended up mounting it on the opposite side instead. This means my SENA unit is on the helmet pointing backward and it confused some of my friends to see it that way.

I can still use every feature on the SENA with the exception of raising the antenna for the dual mesh function while wearing the helmet. It just took a little getting used to, but in order to raise the antenna, I have to use two hands. It’s not perfect, but it works.

The speakers only have one place to install inside the helmet and that’s in the depressions right above where the chinstrap comes through the EPS layer. Luckily, that’s exactly where my ears are and I can hear the music or phone call clearly without having the speakers irritate my ears in any way.

Optional Sun Peak/Roost Deflector

The peak works okay for deflecting roost while riding off-road or down really nasty gravel roads as I did in the Northwest Territories, but really did nothing as a sunshade of any kind while I wore it on the helmet.

I much prefer taking it off and leaving it off while I ride, especially at highway speeds where the wind catches it and pushes the front of the helmet painfully into my upper forehead.

I tried flipping it around and mounting it pointing straight backward in the hope it would stop hurting me, but it didn’t make any noticeable difference.

In the end, I just removed it and put it away when I wear the helmet on road.

Noise While Riding

The RKT25 is a fairly quiet helmet as the standard full face class goes. It doesn’t have noise canceling technology in it or anything, but there’s an acceptable amount of wind roar without any whistling or other unusual business going on.

The exception to this is if you remove the sun peak/roost protector and fail to re-install the mounting hardware in the screw holes like I did at first. The screw holes end up acting like small flutes and produce a horrifying squeal at highway speed akin to fingernails running down a chalkboard.

Don’t lose your mounting hardware for this helmet’s peak or you’ll be really sorry.

GoPro Mount

When I heard the helmet comes with a camera mount I was thrilled to try it out. Unfortunately, it turns out to be just the top screw hole for the sun peak you use to mount the GoPro.

I was hoping for the quick release style of base you get with the camera to mount, but instead, I had to fiddle about with finding an adaptor to the 8mm screw in order to mount my camera on the helmet.

Once I sorted that out, the GoPro indeed did mount securely on the helmet and I was able to film good video from there easily.


There’s a D ring chin strap that has unusually large loops. I’m more in favor of micro latch systems to be honest for faster and easier helmet install and removal, but have nothing negative to say about the D rings. They work as they should and the strap doesn’t chafe or rub anywhere on my face.

Off Road Mode

If you remove the visor completely and install the sun peak/roost deflector you can wear goggles with this helmet easily.

Joe Rocket Canada provides two black plastic covers that snap into place where the visor pivot points are in order to keep dirt and debris out of the mechanism when you go play in the mud.

Very well done indeed! These covers install or uninstall quickly and easily too.

The Final Verdict?

After logging about 6000 miles with the helmet I’m a fan and will continue using it for sure. I love the versatility and comfort of it along with the integrated sun lens.

It keeps my head cool or warm depending on what the ambient temperature is and it’s acceptably quiet too.

For the low price, it’s a terrific buy, and I prefer it over the Vemar Kona I recently reviewed by far.

  • Excellent value and design for the price ($259.99 Canadian dollars)
  • Dry-Tech waterproof and moisture-wicking, washable liner system
  • Warm in cold weather, cool in hot weather, decent venting
  • Lightweight at 3 lbs 6 oz even with optional sun visor installed
  • 2 shells + 3 dual-density EPS foam liner
  • DOT and ECE 22.05 compliant
  • Surprisingly quiet and for the price
  • Quick push button remove visor system
  • Rubber coated, matte finish on the exterior is easy to grip
  • Quickly and easily converts to off-road, sport or adventure..
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Tuk Tested

What exactly does “Tuk Tested” entail, you might ask?

This jacket has been tested more thoroughly than any other piece of gear in WBW history to date (that I’m aware of).

I just returned from a 5600-mile adventure ride while using the Ballistic 14 jacket. Beginning from my home in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada it ranged all the way to the northernmost location reachable by road in Canada: Tuktoyaktuk or Tuk for short.

Over the course of that trip, I encountered temperatures ranging from a chilling 30 degrees all the way up to a sweltering 90 degrees Fahrenheit and all the UV radiation that comes with it.

Plenty of rain almost every day for the first week straight, wicked dust on remote gravel roads and literally thousands of insects assaulted this gear for two and a half weeks nonstop. There was even a close encounter with a large bear as seen in the photo below.

First Impressions

A handsome textile jacket that is lightweight. Sturdy yet pliable with double-stitching in the soft exterior nylon shell which doesn’t appear to be waterproof, but the “Dry-Tech” branding on the back suggests otherwise.

Fitment and Finish

The medium sized jacket fits my 40-inch chest perfectly and there’s lots of possible adjustment on each arm through stretching elastic bands and rubber coated snaps. The waist on each side has velcro adjusters as well to achieve a comfortable fit.


The sleeves are sewn in such a way as to be slightly bent even when the jacket is just sitting on a hanger. This is further supported by accordion-like pleats on the elbow area to stop the nylon from stretching out from arms remaining in the bent position over many miles of riding. Smart design.

The velcro closures on the wrists offer a huge range of adjustment and lock down really tight to seal out wind and water over any size of glove.

After a few weeks of riding, I noticed the microfleece lining located just above the cuffs on the inside of each sleeve started sagging out of the sleeve and getting in the way while I was tucking in my gloves. Not a huge deal really, but irritating when you go to close up the wrist velcro and have to push in the liner first.


The main zipper is YKK quality and was always solid along with the other ones on the jacket vents and pockets. The zips never caused me any grief whether wet or dry at any time with the exception of the one on the inner thermal layer. More on that later.


The collar has three locking positions on it to hold the connector securely in place for sizing around your neck. I never had the collar open up once unless I hadn’t installed it correctly in the groove. The collar lining has soft microfleece inside it and a layer of neoprene at the top that caused no chafing and kept wind and rain out perfectly no matter how wild things got on my trip.

There’s also a hook on the opposite side of the locking slots available to latch the collar open if you prefer during hot weather riding.

After a few thousand miles of riding, I noticed that the red colored neoprene strip had been stained black by the bottom of my helmet rubbing against it, but wasn’t frayed at all.

Sharp Looking detailing

I love the tasteful branding on the shoulders, arms and back along with the overall color scheme. I would have preferred one without the white patches on the upper chest areas because the dirt and dust discolored it slightly over time, but it’s good for visibility purposes. I’ll have to try machine washing it to see whether the brownish tint comes out.

Venting and Breathability

I’m beyond impressed that such an affordable jacket worked in low and high temperatures equally well.

Dubbed the “Variable-Flow” ventilation system, the outer shell definitely allows perspiration to exit the inner jacket to the atmosphere.

This is especially noticeable in the lower arm areas despite the fact there aren’t any zippers there or anywhere on the arms to open up. I could feel the cool wind on my forearms at speed on the bike when the weather was hot, but not when I had the inner thermal liner installed and the weather was cold.

Well done Joe Rocket Canada!

Straps for the Vents

The vertical vents running down the sides of the zipper on the front of the jacket each have a small strap with a snap on the end which can be used to prop open the two vents instead of relying on the wind to blow them open to cool the rider.

Similarly, the vents on the middle of the back also have these straps to prop them open too. I haven’t seen this on even the Rukka jacket I just reviewed and adored.

Thermal Liner (Secondary Jacket)

I love it when a jacket comes with a bonus feature like this second jacket which doubles as an insulating layer under the main jacket shell. The puffy insulation isn’t feather-down filled as far as I can tell, but man does it ever work in keeping you warm. I enjoy wearing it around town as a casual jacket when I’m not riding.

The only beef I have with it is the zipper. I had it jam up several times when trying to put it on, and a few times the lock at the bottom came undone after zipping it up. The zipper split from the bottom up a few inches. Happily, each time I just backed the zip down to the bottom things went back into place without issue and all was well.

I like the side pockets on the inner liner and how they zip closed to keep contents from falling out. The liner is uber lightweight and so if not for the zippers I’m sure everything would regularly fall out.

The liner can be attached to the outer shell using loops of material that snap closed, but honestly, I never used them. I found the liner fit me fairly snug and didn’t climb up my arms when I put on the outer shell over it thanks to the elastic cuffs on it.

Waterproof Testing

As with all gear claiming to be waterproof, I torture tested the Ballistic 14 for 5 minutes straight by having my wife spray me with the cold water from the backyard garden hose. We aimed it specifically at all the zippers, pockets and seams to see if anything would leak.

This was when I found out the two pockets located in the white area of the upper chest are NOT watertight! I had left the remote garage door opener in one of the pockets and it was wiped out by water leaking inside.

Real Rain Testing

In addition to this water testing, I was absolutely pounded every day on my ride to Tuk for about 80% of the time I spent riding along the coast of British Columbia by heavy and light rain. Through it all, the Ballistic 14 “Dry-Tech” integral waterproof membrane shrugged it off beautifully.

The best part about this outer shell is that it doesn’t absorb the water like some other jackets do and stay wet and cold. The water beads up on the outer shell beautifully and then just blows off. Obviously, this helps keep you warm on the bike.


I began to think it was immune to all rain, until the 6th day of rain when I encountered the heaviest rain I’ve ever ridden in mixed with some small hail. Something happened that produced a whimper of shock and discomfort from me when I felt the chill of very cold water soaking through my thermal layer right down to my navel area. Luckily the rain stopped about that time and I was spared from being completely soaked.

I had missed closing one of the snaps on the double flap for sealing the zipper and that’s how the monsoon-like wave of water managed to penetrate what I thought was a perfect water defense. There are overlapping flaps sealed with snaps and velcro along with a folded over water dam of fabric in the zipper area that should stop anything from coming through unless you mess up and forget to close it completely.

Happily, the jacket never leaked again on the trip, so I’m going to accept the blame for the leakage.


The armor included with the jacket is marginal at best in the arms and shoulders being only CE level 1. The pad on the spine area is what I would equate with packing foam found in parcels at the post office.

Yes, it’s all super lightweight which is appreciated but offers little in the way of protection. I opted to replace the packing foam spine protection with a quality Rukka D30 Air Level 2 piece of armor. It fits in the pocket perfectly and gave me peace of mind while I rode on some very treacherous roads up in Canada’s Arctic region where help is far away or unavailable.

Joe Rocket Canada should definitely put better quality protective armor in the spine area of this jacket. It deserves better.

The nylon exterior shell isn’t double thick over the impact areas where the armor is installed underneath, unfortunately. Neither is there any low friction, Superfabric covering those areas, so even though I’m confident the rider would be protected in a slide, I’m not sure the jacket would be serviceable afterward depending on the severity of the slide.

Plenty O’Pockets

There is 11 pockets total with four located on the inside in the mesh liner.

The large front pockets were the ones I used most of all for my phone and wallet since these are waterproof ones and conveniently located. There aren’t zippers on them, but the velcro worked perfectly for keeping things safe.

There are open pockets behind these two for putting your hands in to keep them warm when you’re not riding too.

One vest pocket has a clip ring on it for keeping a key safely tucked away. I know that’s what it’s for because there is a small symbol of a key beside the zipper opening.

The pocket below it is for housing a spare helmet visor inside while another mesh one on the lower right has a strap equipped with a snap on it for securing something else which I couldn’t sort out.

There are no small pictographs were present to provide any hints either, so use your imagination I suppose.

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Hot on the heels of my Trilobite 1860 Ton-Up jeans review is a look at the Karl Devil jeans from Pando Moto. The mission and approach of the Karl Devil Jeans couldn’t be more different from the Ton-Up Jeans.

Where the Ton-Up jeans are all about offering good protection in “stealth mode”, the Karl Devil jeans give the wearer the appearance of having just stepped out of the paddock. They make no attempt at hiding their mission and purpose. For some riders, the uncompromising appearance is exactly the look for which they have been searching. To others, they might just look dorky.

No matter which side of the fence one lands on, there is little disputing the fact that the Karl Devil’s priority is to provide protection with a “form follows function” design. Before we get into the details, let’s take a quick look at Pando Moto itself.

Pando Moto

Lithuania based Pando Moto is a relatively young player in the motorcycle apparel game having started up in 2011 and launching the Pando Moto line in 2012. Over the past 6 years, they have managed to extend the availability of their riding gear from Europe to East Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

Their lineup currently includes five different riding jeans for men and three styles for women. The different styles also implement different materials with options that include a Dyneema® hybrid denim like we just saw in the Trilobite Ton-Up jeans as well as a Cordura® denim and a Kevlar® lined option that is used here in the Karl Devil jeans.

Now let’s dig in and see what the Karl Devil riding jeans are made of.


One can have the Karl Devil in jeans in any color desired, as long as that desired color is black. In this case, the black color is closer to a dark gray (charcoal?) with areas that are “hand aged” to provide a sort of patina to the denim.

I think it looks better than just a simple deep black color and I like it overall. A faded blue option here might be nice to have for sunny and hot weather. Pando Moto does have other jean styles in lighter blue shades if black is a deal breaker.

The denim used for the main chassis of the Karl Devil jeans is almost all cotton except for spandex which makes up a small two percent of the fabric. It’s enough spandex, though, to allow for a significant stretch to the 13oz denim.

All major seams are double stitched and Pando Moto claims the jeans “features Kevlar® reinforced stitches”. I”m not sure if that means all the stitching thread is made from this popular aramid or if it is just in certain areas. Regardless, the stitching is tight and even and the panels are cut true making for a tidy and solid looking appearance.


The Karl Devil’s drop the ubiquitous five pocket jeans design sticking with just four pockets. No coin or other additional storage areas are present but I feel this is fine considering the slim-fit cut.

Trying to get a lot in the pockets would likely be uncomfortable once in the riding position anyway. Personally, I can’t stand to have items in my pants pockets when riding and keep small items in a tank bag or jacket pocket.

Stretch Panels

In addition to the stretch of the fabric, there are accordion style stretch panels above the knees as well as at the rear below the waist. If this sounds like a description of leather racing pants, I would agree. These aren’t just for looks as the stretch panels over the knees do work well allowing a comfortable bent knee on sport and sport touring riding positions.

The stretch panel at the rear might not be as practical as there isn’t an included rear jacket attachment. Of course if one has a jacket that connects via a belt, this could be a useful feature after all.

Protective Features

While the denim chassis of the jeans feels nice and durable, the cotton and spandex fabric likely won’t put up much of a fight against the sliding pavement. Fortunately, Dupont™ Kevlar® is used to provide abrasion resistance in the potential impact zones. This includes the knees and shins as well as the seat and back of the thighs.


Impact protection is handled by the included SAS-TEC CE level 2 armor for the knees. These are inserted into pockets that are accessed from the outside of the pants rather than a pocket within. This makes it convenient to remove the armor without having to take off the pants.

I would like to see some adjustability in the knee armor height as there is only one position. For my 30” inseam they are landing just about right but for those longer inseams they could end up too high on the leg.

Pockets for hip armor are provided on the inside of the pants but armor is not included. I happen to have some Knox hip armor that fit into the provided spaces and it turns out the placement is excellent. The armor sits perfectly over my hip bones, better in fact, than any other riding pants I’ve had before. It would have been nice to have the armor included as I feel hip armor is just as important as knee armor.

Reflective Material & Other Safety Features

At first glance, there is no reflective material on the Karl Devil pants but there actually is. Unfortunately, it’s on the inside of the leg cuffs so it is only visible if one rolls up the jean cuffs. This may be where fashion rears its ugly head a bit. Maybe it’s expected that one will roll up the cuffs on a regular basis? I don’t see that as a great idea.

For starters, at highway speeds, the wind could catch the cuff and unroll it. Also, what about taller riders who need the 34-inch inseam? Finally, since these are race styled pants, rolling the cuff would them difficult to use as in-the-boot riding pants like I do with my Dainese Fulcrum boots.

While I appreciate the inclusion of reflective material on these jeans, the implementation doesn’t seem that practical.

Fit and Comfort

The Karl Devil jeans are available in a relatively narrow range of sizes with 36-inch being the largest waist size they offer. Fortunately, that is the size I wear in jeans and we had asked for 36X32’s to be shipped. Pando Moto made some changes around that time and the inseam on those jeans had changed to 34 inches. I didn’t feel this would be a problem as there are no zippers or other features that would prevent them from being hemmed.

NOTE: The lack of size variation on the Pando Moto website could be due to simple lack of stock. If one needs a size outside the current offering it might be a good idea to contact Pando Moto and see if more sizes will be available in the future.

Turns out that the Karl Devil’s are definitely as stretchy as claimed. I could see someone with a 38-inch waist fitting into these comfortably thanks to all the available stretch in the denim. The inseam was as described being just a hair over the 34-inch inseam I was told I’d receive. I had them hemmed to a 31-inch inseam which works perfectly with my 30-inch inseam when in the riding position.

On the legs, the overall fit is “close” enough to keep the knee armor in place but is not so tight that it restricts movement. They could be even a little snugger in my opinion since they do have a lot of stretch. Still, they seem more “svelte” than most riding jeans I’ve seen including the Ton-Up jeans I just reviewed. Of course, how close a fit is “best” depends on the rider as some prefer more loose fitting riding pants than others.

With the stretch of the fabric combined with the accordion stretch panels I can’t see any way that the jeans would restrict movement. Whether one pushes the bike under them like a dirt tracker or hangs off like Ben Spies, these jeans aren’t going to get in your way, well almost.

One area that did confront me a bit is the crotch area. Maybe these are just designed to be very low waisted and that isn’t necessarily bad in itself. However, when it is very low and jeans that are heavy like these, a belt is necessary to keep them in place. This typically requires the belt to sit over the widest part of the hips in order to keep the pants from sliding down.

As such, getting the jeans in a position where they stay secured with a belt can leave the remaining area a bit, errr, cramped. Once in the seat, I didn’t really notice this anymore but it could be a bit uncomfortable when standing or walking depending on the wearer’s body shape. It’s not bad enough to keep me from wearing these jeans, but just be aware that there could be tight space down below.


Airflow is about what I expected which is not that great. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the heavy duty denim and the large areas of Kevlar® lining. Fortunately, the fabric doesn’t seem to trap moisture vapor so while one might feel warm, there isn’t that sticky, wearing a plastic bag feeling that other kinds of textile riding apparel can produce in the heat.

To put it in perspective, I rode in these jeans yesterday and it started off at about 87 F (30.5C) and by the time I got back, it was 95 F (35C). It was pretty humid as well at around 40%.

Was I hot? Yes. Was I feeling like I was roasting? Not really, but I was keenly aware that I wasn’t wearing mesh pants like I would normally be in these temperatures. All this to say that these jeans are better suited for cool to warm days than really hot ones.


I will admit I was pretty skeptical when I was asked to review these jeans. I figured these would be some “fashion” jeans targeted at the long-bearded, skinny jeans wearing dude on the bobbed CB 350. I believe I judged too harshly.

At €239.00 (around $275 USD) the Karl Devil jeans aren’t inexpensive but they are well made and offer up good protection for riding jeans. They also feel heavy and substantial which is something I like in protective gear. The lack of included hip armor is a little disappointing but can be remedied easily enough.

The looks might be the most divisive aspect to the Karl Devil’s with their decidedly non-jeans look. An argument could be made that says “Who wants jeans that look like leather racing pants?”. Well me, for one. I like the idea and in fact, I’d flip it to say “Who wants reasonably protective track inspired pants that are as comfortable as jeans?”.

In the end, I give the Karl Devil jeans from Pando Moto four stars but they could have made it to five save for a couple of things.

One, include the hip armor as standard as most any low-side type of crash can impact the hip. And two, the “inside cuff” reflector at the bottom of the legs. I can’t get behind the idea that rolling up the pants leg is required for that reflectivity to be available.

  • Sharp appearance if one likes “track hero” look
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Stretch denim for comfort
  • Slim fit keeps knee armor in place
  • Kevlar® lining for abrasion resistance
  • Pants are heavy
  • Not well suited for hot days
  • Crotch area is a bit “cramped”
  • Silly appearance if one dislikes “track hero” look

  • Manufacturer: Pando Moto
  • Where to Buy: Pando Moto
  • Price (When Tested): €239.00 / $277.36 (USD)
  • Made In: Lithuania
  • Alternative models & colors: Black
  • Sizes: 32 through 36 Waist (all 34 inseam)
  • Review Date: June 2018

Pando Moto Karl Devil Jeans Image Gallery
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Jeans With A Twist

What the…??

When I first saw the photos of the Trilobite Probut X-Factor motorcycling jeans in the MotoNation catalog I was beyond intrigued.

I’ve noticed the rising popularity of motorcycle jeans and wondered whether they’re all some people make them out to be. I jumped at the chance to test these Trilobite Probut X-Factor ones mainly because of the waterproof and 4 season claims.

That’s the kind of bragging that needs to be challenged and then either confirmed or exposed as fraudulent.

First Impressions

Fitment… How YOU Doin’?

Picking them up right away I noted how heavy they feel just to hold, and when worn fresh out of the box they’re very stiff and… how do I put this without sounding crude? Overly friendly with your most private areas. Yes, I said it. They ride up your butt too much, but only at first, thankfully!

I’m a size 34 waist for non-motorcycle jeans and these 34 waist Trilobite jeans fit the same way in that regard. They’re a little longer as you can see in the pictures, but I’m just a little over Hobbit height and so this is a normal problem I’ve come to accept.

I apologize for not growing enough to be a better clothing model. I’m hoping that the “Probut” moniker at least made my backside look professional in these jeans. All of you will look way better in them than I do. Have a look at these stunning models from the Trilobite website.

The jeans come in several men’s and women’s, regular and long sizes.

Heavy Duty

After wearing them for a few hours of riding and around the house they broke in nicely and the only thing telling me I was wearing motorcycle jeans was the weight. They feel like gravity is working twice as hard on pulling them down your legs than typical jeans.

This problem you only notice if you wear them around the house all day as I did. Once on the bike, it’s not noticeable at all and they’re more comfortable than most other riding pants I’ve tried because they’re soft and cushioned thanks to the Kevlar and thicker denim.

No Swishing

One of the great benefits of riding jeans is the lack of “swishing” sounds while you walk around and the thigh material comes rubbing together with each stride.

With regular Nylon textile riding pants that noise really gets on my nerves after a while. I start to flashback to horrible days of my youth where I had to wear snow pants to school in winter and how uncomfortable they were.

Venting Ability

My main concern with riding jeans coming into this was whether they can keep the wearer cool in summer weather. I typically wear jeans while riding and know they don’t breathe well and don’t adequately protect in a slide either.

The vaguely star-shaped, vented material found in the crotch area or “crotch starfish” as I call it, immediately jumped out at me when I first laid eyes on these pants. This thin, breathable and stretchy fabric is a fantastic solution to a very sweaty and uncomfortable problem all people who like to wear jeans in the summer know well.

Don’t kid yourself, they don’t breathe as well as Trilobite seems to imply with the waterproof liner in them. Remove the liner and get moving at highway speed and VOILA! There are awesome levels of airflow over your most private of areas. I was actually a little on the cool side once temps dropped down into the 65-degree range and thought about putting the liner back in.

Trilobite has incorporated what they call “Coolmax Fibre System” which wicks moisture and heat out of the inner layer. It works, but only to a point as I definitely had to remove the waterproof liner while wearing them around the house after a couple of hours to avoid uncomfortable levels of sweating. Moving at any level of speed down the road cures this problem, and I doubt Trilobite expected people to lounge around the house in their riding jeans, to be fair…

The jeans come with a small bag to store the liner in for keeping it safe and compact, which is a nice touch.

Pleated Areas

You’ll notice in the photos the obvious pleats located on the lower back and on the knees. These are pretty effective at allowing stretch when bent over in the riding position without getting a permanent stretch in the material leading to bulging and wear. The area on the back does still bulge weirdly when you bend forward and you’ll want to have a coat cover it or risk having your pants fill up with water when it rains thanks to the easy access caused by the bulging.

I’d be curious to see a pair of these jeans after a few years and whether they would have faded patches on them after a few hundred washes.

Useless Back Pockets

These pleats, unfortunately, forced the manufacturer to lower the pockets on the back so low that they ride right on the curve of your butt cheeks, rendering them useless for carrying anything thicker than a small piece of cardboard.

I usually carry my “George Costanza-esque” wallet in my right rear pocket, but that’s impossible with these jeans and I had to move it to my jacket pocket instead. Annoying, but not a deal breaker.

Level Of Protection

These are not your average pair of Levis.

They’re constructed of Cordura Denim which I’m told is four times more abrasion resistant than run of the mill denim of the same thickness. This combined with the Kevlar reinforced knees, hips and backside area results in a pair of pants that bring a lot of peace of mind if ever you find yourself sliding down the road at 60 mph without your motorcycle under you.

I opted not to test the abrasion resistance. I’ll take the manufacturer’s word for it on this one.

Armor Pockets

There are pockets in each knee and hip area that you can buy armor of your choosing for or use the CE Level B pads that come with the jeans.

I didn’t receive the Trilobite Armor with my test jeans initially.

I happened to have some Rukka D30 CE Level 2 pads on hand and decided to see whether I could fit them in. They’re very thick and long armor, designed for dirt biking pants, but surprisingly I managed to get them in the jeans successfully as you can see in the photos.

UPDATE On Trilobite Armor

I contacted MotoNation to inquire about the missing armor. They confirmed the armor should have been included and put sent some to me right away.

I received them about a week later. They’re unusual looking but also stand out as decent protection of CE Level B quality. The pads are constructed of a triple layer of foam with venting holes to allow for breathability.

The knee pads come encased in a thin cotton fabric sheath with a strip of Velcro down the back to hold the knee pads in position when installed in the jeans’ pockets.

I like the added touch of the Trilobite logo branded on the Armor. It doesn’t affect the performance of course, but it’s a nice touch all the same on the hip armor pictured below.

They fit in the jeans much better than the Rukka ones for obvious reasons.

Cell Phone Pocket?

Speaking of pockets, there’s a great one on the right thigh that fits an iPhone X perfectly. The velcro strap holds it in there firmly too.

My only gripe about this pocket is that it isn’t waterproof. In fact, none of the pockets on these jeans are waterproof in any way.

Wet Weather Riding

In my quest for truth, I will go to great lengths to give you the straight goods.

In the spirit of what we do here at WebBikeWorld, I decided to test how waterproof these jeans are by getting doused with the garden hose for 5 minutes. My wife was just a little too eager to help with this part, to be honest.

The jeans didn’t miss a beat and came through the test with flying colors. Not only was I completely dry underneath the waterproof liner, but I was still warm despite the very cold water hitting me.

Wet Denim

The denim definitely held water for a long time after. Having said that, if you’re flying along at highway speed that water would leave the denim pretty efficiently based on the testing I did. That is a feature of these jeans the manufacturer pointedly brags about. I have to give them full credit on the waterproofing. It’s as good as they say it is. I fully expected to get wet, but didn’t. It doesn’t dry off as fast as GoreTex does, but it’s good!

Trilobite Crash Program

Trilobite wants to hear from you if you crash wearing their jeans so they can analyze the fallout and better improve their product. They may even send you a replacement pair for your cooperation.

See this link for contact details

After The Washing Machine

I washed the jeans as directed in cold water and then hung them to dry. They cleaned up nicely and actually fit me a little better after the fact too.

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Wrenching Made Easy

First Impressions

I’ve been using Clymer motorcycle repair manuals on my own bikes for several years and know how good they are. Clear and concise with decent, black and white photos that have helped me keep my ride in tip-top shape.

I used to buy the much more expensive factory repair manuals but got wiser over time switching to Clymer. There’s no appreciable advantage in using the OEM books over Clymer. I find them maybe a little clearer when it comes to photos sometimes, but that’s it.

This review is of the brand new book and online service manual (M256) for late model Harley Davidson XL Sportsters from 2014 to 2017 model years. Harley brought in a CANbus electrical system in 2014 on these bikes so having a good manual is pretty crucial in DIY work as a result.

It covers a huge array of Sportsters and since they don’t change much are quite reverse compatible with older models other than the electrical system.

  • XL883L SuperLow (2014-2017)
  • XL883N Iron 883 (2014-2017)
  • XL883R Roadster (2014-2015)
  • XL1200C 1200 Custom (2014-2017)
  • XL1200CA Custom Limited A (2014-2016)
  • XL1200CB 1200 Custom Limited B (2014-2017)
  • XL1200CP 1200 Custom (factory custom) (2014-2016)
  • XL1200CX Roadster (2016-2017)
  • XL1200T SuperLow (2014-2017)
  • XL1200V Seventy-Two (2014-2016)
  • XL1200X Forty-Eight (2014-2017)

Clymer has also simultaneously released the same quality of book (M255) for 2012 to 2017 FXD/FLD Dynas because of the same “CANbus reason”.

Content Chapters In The Book

The paperback is a massive 1.25” thick chunk of paper with 14 chapters of detailed and valuable information that’s set up as follows:

  1. General Information about tooling, safety practices and procedures used in repair
  2. Troubleshooting common problems a good general and specific section all at once
  3. Lubrication and Routine Maintenance guidelines, specifications and step by step
  4. Engine Top End overhaul
  5. Engine Bottom End overhaul
  6. Primary Drive, Clutch, and External Shift Mechanism
  7. Electrical System repairs and explanation of how it all works together
  8. Wheels, Tires and Drive Belt specifications and repair procedures
  9. Front Suspension and Steering
  10. Rear Suspension
  11. Brakes including ABS information (an especially handy and oft-used section for most people)
  12. Body
  13. Index of topics
  14. Color Wiring Diagrams. I enjoy using the online version of this section much more because I can zoom in on my smartphone or tablet to get a real close look.
End of Chapter Reference Page

At the end of each chapter is a quick reference page listing information like torque specs, capacities, clearances, etc that I’m always looking for quickly. I really appreciate that feature for times when I just want to know how tight to do up a rear axle nut for example.

*No correlation is made between the Online Manual and the book for whatever reason. For example, Chapter 10 in the book isn’t about rear suspension online.

Let’s Dive Right In

Here are a few examples of what you’ll find in the book that I like. As I said there really isn’t anything not covered in this book but I’ve just chosen a few highlights from it to showcase.

Chapter Two: Starting Circuit Troubleshooting

Determining whether you need a new starter, relay or battery is something many people struggle with when the bike won’t start. This section has terrific diagrams on how to perform electrical testing to figure it out. They let you know what type of meter to use and where to place your leads.

Chapter 6: Clutch Assembly and Disassembly

In this exploded view of the clutch assembly, you can see bevels and edges showing how everything goes together in case you take it apart and forget. The step by step photos is clear and easy to use even if they are in black and white.

There are good tips in the instructions too that many people forget. For example, they remind you to soak the clutch friction discs in transmission oil for a minimum 5 minutes before installing. Most people think they need to be soaked overnight, but that’s going overboard.

Chapter 9: Rebuilding Leaky Front Forks

Don’t bother paying someone to reseal and rebuild your front forks any more thanks to the exploded view of the fork assembly, tools and parts needed along with technique on how to get it done.

Chapter 3: Maintenance

You’ll wear this one out if you’re anything like I am. I can never seem to remember how much oil something holds or what kind. That’s probably why in my Harleys I just ran Amsoil 20W50 in all three compartments. Keep it simple.

This section is what an owner’s manual should be in my opinion. I love the way torque specs are usually written in the assembly instructions too so I don’t have to go hunting around for them. Torque wrenches aren’t overrated and any time you can tighten a fastener correctly you should do it. Make sure to get your torque wrench calibrated once in a while.

Online Manual

For $26.95 you can access the Online manual and download, print and save whatever you want out of the book. Drop the pages in oil or dirt? No problem, just print another. You have to renew each year but it only costs $14.99 for a renewal.

The Online manual is the stuff mechanics’ dreams are made of. Click and find exactly what you want and fast. I like it a lot, but feel like maybe Clymer hasn’t gone far enough yet.

This could be set up better if it included a 3D diagram of the bike that you rotate and click on the area you want to work on to bring up procedures, specs and parts diagrams featuring factory part numbers.

Clymer, are you hearing this? Link it up with the local dealership parts department (or even eBay) so the user can check inventory, price and how far away your desired part is. It could easily be set up to order the parts at that point as well and provide tracking. It’s 2018 after all!

I would enjoy some video links built into the website as well because photos are good, but the video is king of all for visual people like myself. I always end up looking on YouTube to see how to do something even after reading the Clymer manual, so let’s just make the Online Manual one-stop shopping. It makes sense.

Menus and Content

There is a big menu that subdivides into topics beautifully right after you login to the website. Easier than an Index and you can save diagrams and photos from the page in your phone for quick reference later.

You can see how the diagrams and photos are the same quality as in the book, but there is more color used on the site. Mainly it’s used to highlight warnings that are crucial to follow in order not to damage your bike, but some photos are in color too.

Spark Plugs

Plugs are an area many people always ask about how to tackle and it’s all set out really well in the Online Manual as you can see in the following photos.

Wiring Diagrams

The photos can be enlarged or zoomed on to see better what’s going on with the site pages. When it comes to the wiring diagrams this is the main reason to go digital since those little wires are tough to see along with the small print used on the ones in the back of the book.

Embrace the future! Go to the website, but keep the book around just in case the robots take over and shut down the internet or something.

The Final Word

Not only will this manual pay for itself the first time you use it and don’t pay labor to a repair shop, it will increase your self-confidence, help you keep your bike running better, longer and make you a smarter, more well-rounded individual if you let it.

There are times Clymer will show you how to avoid needlessly buying special factory tooling and present a way to build your own or get by without it. In the brake bleeding section, they mention the MityVac bleeding tool which allows a single person to bleed the brake lines but also mention how to do it with a friend without the tool.

Clymer has been putting out books like these since 1945. Fred Clymer’s manuals have been helping motorcyclists ever since then all over the world. Even if you have a bike from back in the 40s or 50s there’s a good chance you can get a Clymer manual for it and get your hands dirty while looking after it.

  • Written in plain English for regular people instead of professional mechanics
  • Plenty of exploded parts diagrams, photos, and step by step instructions
  • Easy reference page at the end of each chapter with important information on it
  • Covers Harley Sportster models 2014 to 2017 when CANbus systems appeared
  • Includes full-color wiring schematics in the back of the manual
  • Explains basic maintenance all the way up to the most complex electrical troubleshooting
  • Provides safety tips, list of tooling needed for tasks and an Index of topics
  • Sportsters haven’t changed much over the years so this manual will even work on older bikes to an extent
  • Paper copy currently on sale for $41.95 with free US shipping
  • Online manual can be updated/corrected by Clymer when necessary
  • Online manual is slick, set up for quick reference and ease of use
  • Heavy and thick book (1.25 inches) to lug around
  • Photos are fairly small and mostly black and white in the book
  • Photos online are often color, clearer than the book at times, but many are still black and white and grainy/low resolution
  • Online manual is super easy to use and faster than the book to find what you’re after
  • Photos and diagrams can be saved to your portable device for reference later

  • Manufacturer: Clymer Haynes North America
  • Where to Buy: Clymer
  • Price (When Tested): $41.95 paperback or $26.95 online
  • Made In: USA
  • Alternative models & colors: Many models
  • Sizes: N/A
  • Review Date: May 28, 2018

The post Clymer Repair Manual: 2014 to 2017 Harley Davidson XL Sportster appeared first on Web Bike World.

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webBikeWorld.com by Brandon Jackson - 3w ago

Over the past several years I’ve reviewed a lot of jeans designed for the motorcycle rider. Most of these follow a similar formula which includes a cotton denim outer shell with an interior lining that uses a type of abrasion resistant material. Most often the abrasion resistant material is Kevlar but I’ve also seen Dyneema® and proprietary materials like Covec used in some of the jeans I’ve reviewed.

Trilobite, based in the Czech Republic, offers a “single layer” solution in which the denim fabric contains yarns of cotton and a UHMwPE. If you’re not familiar with Trilobite, don’t feel bad, I wasn’t either until this review.

Despite the well sorted and stylish look of their website, there isn’t much information on the history of the company. Best that I can tell is that they have been around at least since 2012 and they have quite a lineup of riding jackets and pants with several styles and colors. They also offer gloves as well as their branded line of CE level 2 armor.

I do appreciate the depth of their offerings including several styles for women and they certainly have the bases covered when it comes to variety. Still, I would like to have been able to learn a little more about the company and its founders to understand their origins, but putting that aside, let’s have a look at their Ton-Up jeans.

Trilobite Ton-Up Jeans

The pair of riding jeans I received for review from Trilobite are the Ton-Up jeans from Trilobite’s Heritage collection. The Heritage series combines modern protective features and a vintage look that should satisfy most “retro” and “vintage” tastes and here the Ton-Up jeans do not disappoint.

Most riding jeans I’ve seen are not that stealthy and casual look will reveal that the jeans have some extra “something” going on. There are often extra stitches crossing the fronts of the legs denoting internal attachment points for liners and armor pockets.

As far as the overall style, they are very much the traditional five pocket jeans on the outside. A zipper (YKK) and large button are used for the main closure. On the left pocket there is a singular rivet at the pocket corner seam embossed with the Trilobite graphics and in the upper portion of the right pocket, a small metal “Trilobite” logo is present.

The only other branding is in the form of a leather (or leather-like) patch at the waistband. This patch sits along the path of a belt and would normally be covered by said belt. Of course one could run the belt behind it, but who does that?

The branding is done tastefully enough but I could do without the single rivet up front. It is small but very thick compared to rivets normally found on regular denim jeans. Even though it is off to the edge of the pocket it still is on the “front” of the pants and could come in contact with the painted portion of the fuel tank.

When I received the Trilobite Ton-Up jeans for review I was impressed with how well these hide their inner workings. Despite having pockets for knee and hip armor as well as a lining behind the front of the legs from thigh to above the ankle, it is not visible from the outside.

There is one small curiosity that eagle-eyed viewers might notice and that is the small zipper on the left thigh along the main seam. This zipper is the entrance to a small pocket that would be perfect for a small wallet or similar sized item.

I know that I’ve always been a little nervous about my wallet sitting in a rear pocket when riding. That’s why my wallet goes in my tank bag when on the street. A small pocket like this will definitely be useful to the cafe racer/hipster crowd these jeans are targeting since those bikes rarely have any provision for storage. It may sound like I’m mocking, and maybe I am a little, but at the same time, I’m serious.

Trilobite has gone to great lengths to meld classic style with modern protection. The packaging has a “vintage” feel involving a simple brown cardboard box with shredded brown straw (or straw-like paper) used as filler.

Within the box is a newsprint style page with information about the various aspects of the jeans in the style of a newspaper advertising page from decades long past. It’s cute and there is some interesting information there. Additionally, there are several thick brown tags attached to the jeans via a string that provides more details surrounding features of the jeans.


I mentioned earlier, these jeans incorporate abrasion resistant yarn in the denim, in this case, Dyneema®. The fabric is composed of 52% Dyneema® and 37% cotton with the remainder consisting of nylon and elastane (spandex). Just by looking one would be hard-pressed to tell the fabric isn’t ordinary denim.

The panels of the fabric are sewn together using triple stitches on the main outside seams with double stitches in the pocket areas. Speaking of double, four of the five belt loops on the waist are doubled for additional durability. It’s a nice feature but it would be nice to see the most rearward loop doubled as well in case one has a jacket that attaches to a belt.

The inside front of each leg is lined from the waist to the mid-shin area. I expected there would be some sort of pocket for the included knee armor but for the liner to cover such a large portion of the leg interior is surprising. Especially since the whole “single layer” idea is something they are obviously proud of and this defeats it a bit.

As far as the quality of construction goes, the Ton-Up jeans are the real deal.

The quality of the stitching and cut of the panels is top-notch. Stitches are even, secure, and there’s not a pulled thread to be found. I handed the jeans over to my girlfriend and fellow webBikeWorld reviewer Carmen Bellos for her opinion since she has education in textile manufacturing.

She agreed that whoever stitched these jeans together took great care and had serious skills. Carmen could tell the stitching was done by hand and couldn’t find any fault or concerns with the construction. Of course, solid work in this area should make for a durable piece of apparel which is paramount here.

I say five stars for the quality of construction here and I’m very rarely moved to rate anything at a five.

Protective Features

The garment as a whole is a protective feature with the entire outer shell being a blend of cotton and Dyneema®. This material on its own is very strong and tear resistant but since it is blended just over 50% with cotton and other materials I wasn’t quite sure how to quantify the protection.

Just before I was ready to publish this review I received information from Trilobite confirming that the amount of Dyneema® in the fabric is 400gsm with the cotton and other materials adding another 65gsm to the total fabric weight.

Since this weight of Dyneema ® is rated at 4 seconds of abrasion resistance this puts it at the CE level 1 rating for abrasion resistance. Since this material makes up the entire garment it should be very protective everywhere rather than just in certain zones. A pretty impressive showing.

Armor is included and I think it is great to see both knee and hip protectors included here. As a bonus, all the pieces are CE level 2 offering excellent impact protection.

All four pieces are constructed from three layers of foam with the two higher density outer layers sandwiched over a softer inner one. The layers are attached at just a few points which allows the surfaces to slide against each other a bit. This creates very good flexibility and allows the armor to conform to the rider.

The hip armor is inserted into nylon pockets which hold the multi-layered foam in just the right spot for me over the hip bones. The pocket is fastened with hook and loop and it’s pretty easy to install and remove the armor.

The knee armor pockets take an approach that I’d like to see more manufacturers use. Instead of just simply inserting the foam armor into a pocket, there is a removable cover into which the armor is inserted. The cover containing the armor goes into the pocket and is then secured into position using generous amounts of hook and loop fastener.

This allows for a wide range of positioning so most anyone can get the knee armor in just the right spot for their build. I like this setup a lot even if it does add another layer of complexity, it’s not one that will be messed with often. Kudos to Trilobite on a versatile and secure way to place the armor.

One thing to pick on which has been true of all the jeans I’ve tested (so far) is that the loose fit of the legs on riding jeans and most textile riding pants in general. The issue being that knee armor might not be in the right place over the knee in a crash since due to the loose nature of the fit.

I’d like to see adjusters implemented above and below the knees to snug armor in place. This is done often with jacket sleeves where snaps or straps are used to keep sleeve sung, so why not apply it to riding pants?

When comparing protection to riding pants in general I’d give the rating 3 out of 5 stars.

Compared to other riding jeans I’d go up one to 4 stars.

Fit and Comfort

The size I received is 36” waist and 32” inseam and not only do they fit as expected but direct measuring shows these numbers to be spot on. I typically wear a 30-inch inseam in regular pants but the extra 2 inches is well suited for motorcycle apparel so that is can still cover the boots when in the riding position.

The denim also incorporates a small percentage of elastane which provides a small amount of stretch. It’s just enough to help improve comfort in the riding position but not so much that the pants feel loose. A good balance here.

The cut of these jeans is in line with a “straight cut” so they sit in the middle ground between relaxed fit and slim jeans. This allows for a comfortable fit and flexible movement but, as I mentioned in the armor section, it does have the effect of leaving the knee armor a bit too free to move about in the event of a crash.

To sidestep this problem I have taken to wearing MX style knee /shin protectors under my riding pants in lieu of the inserted armor bits in that space. This armor stays in place and usually provides more coverage than inserts but it does so at the cost of more bulk and one more piece of gear to put on.

To me, the trade-off is worth it and I found I was able to wear my Shift Racing knee guards inside the Ton-Up jeans just fine. I tried my newer Fox Racing knee guards but they proved a little too bulky to fit comfortably.

The texture of the denim is very similar to what one would expect in traditional cotton based denim fabric but place your hand on the fabric and it has a cool feeling. I mean this literally as the Dynnema® and cotton blend feel cold to the touch. This is more pronounced when touching the un-dyed interior versus the outside, but either way, it tells you these are not your average blue jeans.

Because of this, I thought the Ton-Up jeans would be well suited towards hotter climates but the effect fades after a few minutes, presumably after the material has equalized with body temperature.

This is too bad as the jeans don’t breathe all that much. I wouldn’t expect a lot of air flow out of any sort of non-mesh textile but I believe the extra nylon liner on the front of the legs inhibits what little airflow there might be.

A recent ride in 88F (31C) temperatures proved the jeans to get a little warm. It wasn’t bad but if the temperature started getting into the 90’s I would be ready to switch to something mesh. On the other hand, the low airflow bodes well for cooler days.

The jeans come out of the package feeling a bit stiff but like any apparel, it should break in over time. Still, I wasn’t thrilled with how the nylon liner on the inside front of the legs felt. It makes the interior feel a bit busy in the same way (some) gloves with interior stitches can be less comfortable.

Overall rating, 4 out of 5 stars for excellent fit and for a “good” level of comfort.


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