Motorcyclists have been a very common sight on Indian roads for years, and we are adding hundreds of new riders each year who are riding not just for commuting but also as a passion and hobby. While many motorcyclists today understand the importance of safety and riding gear, some misconceptions still persist, especially amongst new riders. Here are 5 such misconceptions that we’d like to help clear up-
1. “This helmet looks big and fits very tight, so its not the right choice for me” - A common concern amongst new riders is the helmet size. A good helmet comes with a thick EPS liner inside, making the outer shell seem big. It is this thick EPS liner that protects the head from internal injuries during impact. Therefore, don’t worry too much about the ‘size’ of the helmet, and buy one that fits well on the head. Speaking of fit, the best fitting helmet is one that is comfortable on the head and snug fit on the face. You’ll break in to the cheek pads after some time, so that should not be a concern while assessing a helmet’s fit.
2. “I'm a new rider, so I want to start with cheaper basic gear” – Many new riders think “I’m a new rider so I don’t really need higher range gear or anything beyond a helmet. Let me start off with just a basic helmet and get used to wearing that first”. It’s great that the rider understands the importance of wearing a helmet, but at the same time he underestimates the importance of other riding gear, and also of good quality gear. In fact it’s in the early days of riding that a rider actually needs proper gear, as one is prone to making more mistakes. And it’s also a good time to get into the habit of gearing up.
Of course you get what you pay for! Cheap riding gear is bound to compromise your safety sooner or later. And good quality gear need not cost the moon! For example, Bell starts of at a very affordable price of Rs. 8,000/- for the Qualifier helmet. One needs to view riding gear as an investment in one’s own safety, rather than an expense.
3. “Cheaper copies of after-market parts are as good as the original”- Cheaper copies of aftermarket products such as exhausts may make your bike sound good, but they do more harm than good. The exhaust pipe is the second most R&D-consuming part of a bike, after the engine. Therefore, be very careful when looking to upgrade your bike’s exhaust. An equally big problem arises is using fake crash guards, foot pegs, levers, etc. You may be jeopardizing your safety by saving some money on cheaper copies of the original after-market parts.
4. “Hard armors are good” - Hard plastic armors are not meant to absorb impact. In fact plastic can crack and cause further harm. Forcefield armors are a great example of soft and flexible armor made of energy absorbing materials that reduce impact significantly, while keeping the rider comfortable.
5. “I am just riding to somewhere close-by, so I can skip the gear” - Riding gear isn't meant just for long rides. Chances of a spill are the same whether on a short or long ride, and in accordance with the time spent on the road. The additional 5-10 minutes spent getting into your riding gear are nothing compared to the discomfort and damage that a mishap can cause in the absence of the gear.
Enhance your riding experience with a set of good fitting, good quality riding gear!
Helmets have come a long way from just being round shaped polycarbonate helmets, to class leading Bell Star series. In India, the majority is unaware of the tech and features used in helmets and fail to understand the importance of investing in a good helmet.
Today we will be talking about Bell's star series, that comprises of 3 variants, each packed with enough features that we had to write a dedicated blog for them!
Bell Star being the entry level helmet, Race star mid level and Pro star for the highest level. Currently, Race star and Pro star are the safest helmets one can purchase in the market.
1: Bell's Flex technology : Both Race Star and Pro Star come with Bell's Flex technology which sets them apart from their competition.
These are the only helmets on the market that account for slow, mid and high speed impacts with their EPO, EPP & EPS construction. Traditional multi-density EPS is inherently hard and transfers more energy than softer EPP and EPO in slower and mid-speed impacts. and again these are the only street helmet on the market with a 5 mm slip zone built in between the EPO and EPP to address rotational energy management.
2: Shell Composition : Bell Pro star is the only helmet currently which comes with Textreme carbon fiber shell, which is the highest grade for and 20% lighter than what competition uses. It's beautiful wide area weave makes it stand out and is used in F1 cars and Speed boats.
Race star uses 3K carbon fiber shell which is still a step ahead of it's competition, while Star uses composite of Carbon Fiber, Aramid and Fiberglass.
3: Safety standards : All three helmets easily pass DOT, ECE and SNELL 2015 standards. Snell standard is known to be 40-110 % safer than DOT and ECE rating and the Flex technology takes it a step ahead.
4: Bell's Panovision eye port and class 1 optics : Bigger eye port allows you to see more of the environment around you eliminating the blind spots other helmets have. It's a must have in India where vision matters a lot! It's 12% bigger viewport than AGV Pista and 8% bigger than Shoei X-14.
The class 1 optics aid to less rider eye fatigue. Your eyes do not have to adjust and fight the distortion of a class 2 shield.
All that without the need for Pinlock visors for antifog properties as all the Bell's visors come with a fog resistant coating.
5: Ventilation : Bell is already known for ventilation which, turns out to be a boon for Indian market. Bell Star series comes with three intakes and 3 exhausts at the back. The aerodynamics furthers aid in enhanced ventilation.
6: Aerodynamics and noise levels : Bell's Star series has the lowest drag currently which makes it more stable at high speeds and quieter ride without sacrificing vents. Reduced rider neck fatigue because the rider isn’t fighting much wind resistance. The noise levels are just 2 decibels higher than the quietest helmet on the market with full blown vents.
7: Inner liner : Bell Race Star and Pro Star come with Virus Cool Jade fabric that stays 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler at ambient temperature but because of the Jade that is infused into the fabric along anti microbial and anti-bacterial properties that are infused at the molecular level so they never wear out or dissipate. Rest typically use a spray or dip treatment on their fabric which tends to wear out over time and their anti-microbial & antibacterial properties stop working.
Bell Star doesn't get the cooling effects of Jade, but still has rest two features.
8: Shell sizes and Fit : Currently Bell Star series helmets are the only ones available with 5 shell sizes, meaning almost every size has it's own shell size and not just the inner liner adjusted for fitment. This aids to a more accurate fitment and keeping helmet profile and weight accurate to it's size.
9: Other notable features : Class leading 5 years warranty to start with, Bell Race Star and Pro Star helmets come with Magnetic cheekpads to make it easier to remove and install. Bell’s exclusive Magnafusion magnetic strap keeper makes flapping strap ends a thing of the past.
Bell is the oldest helmet manufacturer in the world and by incorporating their tech from motocross helmets into street-able package, they have upped their game. Stay tuned for more upcoming models in near future.
There’s a lot going on in the space of accessories for riders these days, where some products are good-to-have’s and some are absolute must-have’s. Here is our take on the 5 must-have rider accessories that will make life easier on the road-
1. Bluetooth communication Headsets: We live in a highly connected world and staying in touch (hands-free!) while being on the go makes life easy. That’s where bluetooth communication devices come super handy. They fit right into the helmet with a mic and speakers on both sides. They allow a rider to make or or receive phone calls (hands-free), listen to music, radio and GPS voice prompts. They also allow 2 or more riders to do a conference call via radio. Making it easier for riders to share their route, alert each other on road obstacles etc. The Sena 30K Bluetooth Communication headset with Mesh intercom is a great example and allows upto 16 people to connect across a range of upto 8 kms.
2. Balaclava: A balaclava is a very important rider accessory as it provides the necessary warmth and ventilation – whether riding in hot summers or chilly winters. It also helps increase the life of your helmet’s inner padding. The Rev'it! Micro Balaclava is great for long trips and all kinds of weather as it provides insulation in winters, while in summers its wicking properties absorb sweat and cool you off. Others like the Rev'it! Amazon GTX Balaclava is made of Goretex, making sure that water doesn't seep into your jacket through the collar.
3. Backpack: Rider-oriented backpacks are great for carrying your daily essentials without putting strain on the shoulders, and are an absolute must-have for daily commutes or city rides. The Icon Squad 3.0 Backpack is a great example, as it is designed to act like a chest + back armor and also has reflectors on all sides to make sure the rider is visible on the road. Carrying essentials like your laptop, first aid kit, water bottle made easy and stylish!
4. Hi-Viz Vest: We are all familiar with the perils of riding on badly lit roads in India. The motorcycle taillight is usually not sufficient for making a rider visible to other vehicles/drivers at night or in poor lighting conditions. A high visibility vest really marks your presence on the road and makes you visible from a distance, and therefore is a must-have rider accessory.
5. Hydration pack/water bottle: Staying hydrated while riding is quite important so as to stay sharp and focused on the road. That’s why we recommend that you always carry a hydration pack or water bottle in your backpack.
We would love to hear your suggestions on other essential rider accessories, so write in to us in the comments section. Safe Riding!
Everyone will agree that city riding in India can be quite challenging! The ever-increasing traffic, road rules not being followed, heat and dust can all be quite frustrating. Here are a few tips from Team HNP to make this harrowing task easier-
1. Choose light riding gear: Just because you are riding for only a few kms, that shouldn’t reduce the importance of riding gear for any rider. Although there’s no hard and fast rule around this, we recommend light gear for city riding. Since most of the time it's stop-and-go traffic that puts a lot of stress on the body and mind, the last thing you want is to be stuck in bulky gear. Some great examples of light and breathable riding gear are the Rev'it!Vigor Jacket, Rev’it Sand 3 Gloves and TCX Rush Boots – these offer good protection minus the bulk. When it comes to helmets, one can choose a lightweight fiberglass construction full-face helmet like Bell Qualifier DLX (with it's photochromatic visor), or a half-face helmet like Bell Custom 500 (pollution masks are compatible with half-face helmets, so make sure you buy a good N99 rated pollution mask). A light gear setup like this will keep you alert and way more relaxed during city rush hour riding.
2. Accessorize right: Having the right accessories makes any kind of riding more comfortable. Specifically for city riding, Tank bags like Oxford M15R come super handy to carry smaller items of daily use, without loading up a shoulder bag. But if you still need a backpack to carry things like a laptop etc., then we highly recommend the Icon Squad 3 backpack that is tailor made for bikers, distributing the load evenly on the chest and shoulders, instead of loading up on just the latter (which most backpacks do).
3. Ride Safe, Be Alert – Off late what characterizes city roads in India is utter chaos! Traffic snarls, drivers constantly changing lanes, pedestrians crossing roads anywhere, people driving on the wrong side of the road, potholes and lose gravel, and horns honking everywhere! The riding experience can therefore be very stressful and like playing a video game in real life, just without a reset button!
Your safety is in your hands for the most part. Riding at a reasonable speed, preferably at the moving traffic's speed, is the best way to avoid most mishaps on city roads. Although we are accustomed to maneuvering our way around the chaotic conditions on city roads, sticking to lanes and checking the rear view mirror before splitting lanes helps reduce risk. Be alert and know your surroundings, because a single second’s distraction + some bad luck can result in a bad day. Another thing to be mindful of is while at a traffic signal when the light turns green. Be cautious, look around and proceed slowly. You may be following the rules, but someone else might not. And don’t respond to calls for a race by squids!
4. Riding in traffic: Not only does riding in traffic cause physical and mental fatigue for the rider, but also early wear and tear of bike parts along with overheating. Stay well hydrated to avoid exhaustion and stay alert. Avoid sudden acceleration and braking as this increases the chances of getting rear-ended and also decreases wear and tear of bike parts like brakes. One advantage of a bigger engine displacement is that you don't always need to use the throttle to move the bike. Simply releasing the clutch properly saves your bike from excessive wear of clutch and overheating.
In stop-and-go traffic it's a war for space, with most drivers/riders trying to cram their vehicle into the tiniest available space, for fear of others occupying it! Become a more aware rider by trying to predict the movement of vehicles around you. Try to stick to one lane unless forced to switch, and make sure you do so after using indicators and rear view mirrors. Be calm and don't let the city traffic or unsafe riding ruin the joy of riding for you!
Brace yourselves. Winters are coming! Most bikers would agree that winter months are the best time to enjoy riding. However this time of the year brings its own challenges like fog and road visibility. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make riding in the winters enjoyable and safe-
1. Gearing up for the winter: Many bikers often underestimate the importance of riding gear designed specially for the winters, thinking that they can get away with layering inside the summer riding gear. This could work sometimes – depending on one’s tolerance for chill, temperature and time of day, speed, etc. But a makeshift arrangement like this never works as effectively as purpose-made winter riding gear. Your best bet is to wear riding gear with a removable thermal liner. REV’IT! Jupiter 2 jacket and OXFORD Toledo jacket are great examples. Of course the quality of thermal liner matters, as it ought to do the job of keeping you warm, but without adding too much bulk. Staying dry is also really important, as being wet with sweat in winters is not desirable. We swear by Gore-Tex gear for this purpose. A balaclava is also quite useful in the winters as it helps prevent wind chill from seeping in through the collar.
2. Riding in Fog: Using fog lamps and turning on hazard lights is always a good idea when riding in thick fog. The Oxford Commuter X4 lights are wearable lights designed to make you more visible on the road and very useful while riding through foggy conditions. Use an anti-fog visor for your helmet. Sometimes when fog causes mist to settle on the visor’s outer surface, simply stop and clean it. The inbuilt wiper in winter gloves like the REV’IT! Crater WSP gloves come really handy in such a situation. Always maintain slow and steady speed and maintain reasonable distance from the vehicle ahead in such weather conditions.
3. Warm up the engine and tyres: In cold months it's always a good idea to let the engine idle for a few minutes before heading out, as it brings the engine parts to optimal working temperature and lubricates bike internals properly before loading on them. Idle time needn’t be more than 30-40 seconds in summers and 60-70 seconds in the winters. Colder weather also means colder tyres that take time to warm up, resulting in reduced traction. Avoid aggressive throttle input and high speeds for the first 5-6 minutes of the ride.
4. Heated grips and seats: Hands are the hardest to keep warm during winter months and heated grips are the best way to do so without losing the feedback. Check out the Oxford Heated Grips that are a great option. Heated seats also help and come as a default feature in some of the high-end bike models.
5. Stop often, eat well: A long ride in chilly weather can numb the hands and feet, resulting in loss of feedback and control, putting you and others on the road at risk. Stop when needed, have something warm to drink and eat well as the digestion process produces heat and thus keeps the body warm. Let your body recuperate from the weather extremities before heading out again.
Riding in the winters can be a lot of fun, if you keep the above points in mind. So stay warm and ride safe! After all, the winters don’t last long in our part of the world!
Boots are an essential gear. While they look great, they also provide traction and offer protection to the small bones in your feet during a crash.
You need sturdy footwear that gives protection over the ankle, like work boots. It cannot be a complete leather since that will make your feet sweaty and uncomfortable.
Motorcycle Riding Pants
These amplify the experience of owning a motorbike. While these pants make you look tough, they actually protect you a lot better than jeans. During a fall, the jeans would rip very easily hurting thighs, knees, and legs.
The solution is to purchase specially designed jeans with Kevlar panels added to key places or with an armour weaved right into the material. These pants are also made of cotton, so you do not feel odd while wearing them.
An essential part of bike riding is to secure your head with an extra durable helmet. It is best to invest in a high-quality helmet designed with the latest technologies available, such as the Shark Helmets.
A great quality helmet is made up of an inner shell constituting of several layers of varying densities that decelerates the impact during a head-on collision, which can happen suddenly on freeways and city roads. The outer shell is made out of a strong material with a higher tensile strength that is tested rigorously to prevent heavy impacts.
Gloves are an important gear that you must own for each changing season. In the case of a crash, your hands would act out of reflex to protect your body from a hard fall. Gloves with Kevlar stitched at the right spots will protect your fragile finger bones, cartilage and muscular tissues.
A perfect pair of motorcycle gloves must have the following features-
Bikers often underestimate the importance of a good pair of riding boots, the one item amongst all riding gear that goes through the maximum wear and tear. The most common question that gets asked is - Why do I need riding boots and not just regular shoes while riding? Well, regular shoes are made of soft fabrics or light leather that tears up the moment it hits the asphalt. Riding boots on the other hand are designed and engineered for durability, comfort, protection, and of course style. They have the ability to face various elements and protect your feet, ankles and shins while giving you maximum comfort and movement when riding.
You will find riding boots from various brands, but you’ll get what you pay for! When you buy a reputed brand, you don’t just pay for the name, but for the years of R&D, superior materials and quality, and rider specific features.
Riding shoes can be categorized broadly under 4 types, each tailored to meet the needs of different kinds of riders and rides.
1. Urban/Street Riding Shoes: These are short length shoes, but have hardened toe, heel and ankle protection features. Perfect for short rides and city riding, they are lightweight and often the most comfortable as they don't restrict foot movement. Most versions come with laces and a retaining strap, with a few variants where zips replace laces for ease of getting in and out of the shoes.
They also come in waterproof versions, however their lack of length makes it difficult for waterproof pants to overlap them and completely lock water from seeping in.
2. Touring Boots: Touring boots are designed for long rides, therefore engineered for maximum comfort without compromising on safety. Most versions are waterproof, mid-height and come with either zippers or Velcro for ease of getting in and out of the boots. TCX Airtech Evo WP boots are a perfect example of Gore-Tex variant touring boots. These are waterproof while being breathable from the inside out. They also have more surface area on the sole than street shoes do, and are suitable for any type of road journeys.
3. Sports riding shoes: One of the most aggressively styled riding boots with focus on protection all the way, the Sports variant is the go-to-choice for any sports / superbike enthusiast. Although there’s no rule about the type of bike they can be used on. Their Torsion Control System allows ankle movement but to a certain level and then it stops the movement, minimizing strain on the ankle joints. For spirited riders who love cornering, the sliders help to avoid damage to the shoe during foot peg scraping.
4. Adventure riding boots: Their role starts where the road ends! Their purpose-built sole makes sure that the boots are firmly planted on gravel, rocky surfaces and loose earth. They have the maximum height amongst all types of boots, providing unparalleled protection to the legs, and also the highest level of waterproofing and durability. They usually come with retention buckles for a snug fit and make sure the boots don't come off during rough and tough terrains. Their thick leather construction makes sure your feet are ready to take head on impact from stones, flying debris and lots more.
The most common concern in a rider’s mind is how comfortable are these high ankle shoes once the rider is off the bike? Well, it's all about getting used to them. A high-ankle boot is surely stiffer than short height boots, but in case of an unfortunate episode of your foot getting trapped under the weight of the bike, you will be thankful for the boots’ height and construction!
A good pair of riding boots is an essential part of overall gearing up. Make sure you to invest in a good reliable brand that’ll offer quality and durability for years.
You must have a motorcycle helmet if you are going to take a ride on the streets around India. There are many reasons why motorcycle helmets are so important. These are all sensible reasons regarding what makes it easier for you to get on a good ride without being at risk of serious harm when you are doing so. Take a look at how such a helmet works and you will see that it is truly a necessity to have with you for your next ride.
Protects from Injury
Motorcycle helmets are most important in India as they can protect you from any serious injury while riding. With a motorcycle helmet, you will receive added shielded from any force that comes across your head in the event of a wreck. Many advanced motorcycle helmets are even designed with bodies that keep energy from moving into the helmet, thus significantly reducing the risk of injuries coming about while wearing a helmet.
Keeps wind under control
It is often tough for people to ride without helmets because the wind that is felt while riding can be bothersome. The wind could be intense and prevent proper view and focus on the road. With a helmet, you can prevent the wind that gets into your head from getting in the way. You will have a surface that deflects wind so you will see where you are going while riding.
Protects from UV rays
The ultraviolet rays are also relatively difficult to manage. With a proper shield on a helmet, you can get protection from the sun as it becomes easier for you to see what is on the road. This works best if your helmet has a tinted shade on it.
Motorcycle helmets are valuable for many riding needs so make sure you check thoroughly to ensure you choose the best. It is critical that you have a helmet with you when riding around India so you will stay safe.
Motorcycling is 33 times more dangerous than driving a car and every year, hundreds of people in India face motorcycle accidents that results in fatalities and permanent body injuries. According to the latest statistics, many of these injuries could have been avoided if the person had worn motorcycle jackets or other gears when they were riding.
A riding jacket helps you to save your backbone during an accident. It is one of the most important gear to wear while riding, but while buying motorcycle jackets online, you need to consider few things in mind and they are as follows-
1. Know Your Riding Style
The first decision that you need to make is whether you really need a separate motorcycle jacket, or if it might be better to buy a one-piece motorcycle suit.
A one piece suit is full body protection which fits close to your skin and won't flap in the wind while you're riding. If, you like to race your bike or sail through traffic on the freeway on your sport bike, you might prefer purchasing a one-piece motorcycle suit.
The combination of a motorcycle jacket and pants is ideal for people who want flexibility. If you're just taking a casual ride, you won't have to take along both pieces of your outfit. You can simply pull off your jacket and replace it with an everyday coat when you get to your destination.
2. Focus on Quality Material
Bikers argue over the basic question of whether a motorcycle jacket made of textile or one made of leather is a better choice. These materials differ greatly from one another, but they do have one thing in common: the performance of the jacket will depend greatly on the quality of the material and how it's manufactured. It takes a lot of experience to recognize this type of quality. That's why it's helpful for less experienced or entry-level riders to seek advice from more experienced riders.
3. Look at the Jacket's Color
Most motorcycle riders have the same favorite color: Black. In low light environments, a black motorcycle jacket can be very difficult to notice in traffic. That's why you should choose a jacket with an easy to recognize color. You can buy jackets in signal yellow or orange, or even ones that use large panels of reflective material. These will be visible when other drivers or riders shine their lights your way. This ensures good visibility and safety.
4. Safety is Paramount
While choosing a motorcycle jacket, you should always keep safety in the forefront of your mind. Because of the texture, leather is denser than textile weaves. As soon as the leather is placed under mechanical strain, it undergoes a process of load distribution by stretching slightly. This protects the material from ripping easily. Textile materials perform worse than motorcycle jackets made of leather in this respect. It's easier to tear the weave, causing unprotected areas of your skin to slide across the pavement. That's why you should be sure that motorcycle jackets made of a textile weave are reinforced with materials like leather or kevlar.
Buying motorcycle helmets online can be more tedious than you imagine! If finding the right size isn’t a big long drag then getting the right brand and value is another task that demands lots of hard work. Most people want to fully utilize their money, they do not want to waste hundreds of dollars in premiums and luxurious tags.
They want value for money. They want to be able to find the right helmet, so the consumer must be able to find which is the price bracket in which he should look for the helmet. Next thing to find out is which brand will be most suitable in that price tag and then he must be able to measure the generic size chart with his exact head size through the brand website so that he is able pick only the most useful product for himself.
The very first thing to do thus, is to visit a retail shop of motorbiking helmets and see the size that fits well of various brands on the cyclist’s head. This is to be done, obviously by new motorcyclists as only they do not know various sizes and their respective chart picks. After knowing the sizes, it would be easy to pick the helmet of choice on various good websites that offer discounts on retail prices of helmets such as highnoteperformance.com . After selecting the correct choice the motorcyclist would have gained maximum value for money.
The next thing to remember when purchasing motorcycle helmets is that there are several helmets who go out of fashion as they are usually associated with professional motorcycling race drivers. So if say, the color is changed from orange to blue of a certain brand of helmets in a new season. Buying the orange helmet will save a lot of money and provide very little discomfort or disadvantage to the customer.
Lastly, always look for standardization organization’s certifications such as DOT or SNELL to ensure that the helmet being purchased is built of high quality and passes certain benchmarks to deliver safety.
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