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About Dirt_Biker250

  • Rank
    TT Bronze Member

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  • Gender
  • Location
    South Carolina
  • Interests
    Anything dirt bike related, airplanes, Formula 1, snow/water skiing, rock climbing, working in the garage.
  1. Dirt_Biker250

    Leatt GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves

    ThumperTalk Reviewed Riding gear is an integral part of the equipment necessary to ride a motorcycle safely. The gloves that we wear should protect our hands from impacts while allowing adequate operation of controls. That said, one of the biggest challenges can be finding a glove that provides ample protection while minimizing interference to the rider. Thick materials and hard plastics can restrict movement and reduce lever feel, while thinner and lighter examples allow for quicker, more precise movements. I recently stumbled upon Leatt's new GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves which claims to be the thinnest off-road gloves available yet still managed to earn CE impact protection certification. Naturally, I wanted to give them a try! Product Overview Leatt GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves utilize NanoGrip Aramid fibers to reinforce the palm fabric while remaining ultra-thin. Aramid fibers are strong, heat-resistant synthetic fibers used in a variety of applications such as ballistic-rated body armor. Originally developed by DuPont and used in military and aerospace applications, Aramid has since found its way into everyday items like bicycle tires and now motorcycle gloves. In addition to the abrasion resistant fibers, the glove features self-centering, CE certified Armourgel at the knuckles, along the tops of the fingers and thumb, and over the top of the upper hand. What's cool about this stuff is that when force is applied, Armourgel locks up the molecules and becomes hard upon impact, absorbing the energy. However, in its normal state, it remains soft. Armourgel is not affected by cold or hot conditions. Initials Impressions When I ordered the gloves, I ended up having to contact Leatt USA to give them the dimensions of my hand to ensure that I received the correct size. I was not able to find a sizing chart on their website. As has always been my experience with Leatt, they were extremely helpful. I received medium sized gloves and they fit perfectly. Upon closer inspection, the GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves appear to be well made. The stitching is accurate, had no frayed ends, and the protective guards integrate seamlessly into the glove. The knuckle, finger, and back of the hand protection was larger than I expected, taking a little bit getting used to. However, the conforming fit of the glove fabric was very comfortable. The wrist portion of the GPX 5.5 Lite is narrower than any of my previous gloves. As a result, it takes a little more effort to slide them on. However, there is a tab located on the bottom of the wrist that you can grab onto to aid in the process. Maybe the opening will loosen up a bit with more use. The Velcro wrist enclosure is pretty beefy, sitting comfortably on the inside of the wrist, adding some additional protection. Performance Over the last 6 or so weeks, I have been able to test the GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves in a variety of weather conditions and terrain. First and foremost, the gloves did not reduce my hand & finger dexterity in the least; even when they were brand new. In the past, I've always felt like I had to break-in thicker gloves to get them where I like them. In contrast, the palm fabric of the GPX 5.5 Lite is so thin, it feels like you are operating the controls while not wearing anything. Max lever feel is one of the key benefits that Leatt was going after and I think they nailed it. I was caught in a huge rainstorm during one of my dual sport rides. The gloves certainly are not waterproof, nor are they advertised as such. Leatt makes the GPX 5.5 Windblock Glove if you ride in these conditions frequently. However, they conform to the hand so well that even when drenched, there was no decrease in my mobility or grip. Another cool benefit of these gloves is the ability to operate my iPhone (or other touchscreen devices) with them on. According to Leatt, the strength of the Aramid fibers enabled them to manufacture the gloves thin enough to work on touch screens without having to incorporate metallic fibers. This feature was a nice bonus while looking at Google Maps when we would take a break. I also tested the gloves while riding on some tightly wooded sandy trails. Again, the fit and feel of the gloves was excellent and allowed smooth, unencumbered operation of the hand controls. Fortunately, I did not crash. Unfortunately, I can't comment specifically on how the GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves would have performed had I done so. But, I'm very confident that the Aramid fibers construction along with the CE certified guards will provide significantly more protection than my previous pair of gloves. From a wear and tear standpoint, these gloves have been excellent. There is some slight discoloration on the palms and pads of my clutch and front brake fingers, but there are no tears in the fabric nor damage to the protection. The Velcro continues to stick well and I see no signs of degradation of the glove after about 8 hours of on and off-road use. Time will tell, but I expect durability to be quite good. Pros Extremely comfortable. Does not impede dexterity. Ample knuckle, finger, and hand protection. Very good wear resistance. Ability to operate touch screen devices while wearing. Cons Price is a little high. Gloves must be hand washed. Bottom-line Overall, I am extremely impressed with the Leatt GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves. I was initially worried about the level of protection they would provide due to the thin fabric, but my concerns were completely dispelled after putting a few hours in them. I have not had a hard crash in them yet, but I feel a little safer knowing this is my first pair of CE certified gloves. If you are willing to spend the extra money on these gloves, I would highly recommend them. More @ http://www.leatt.com/shop/gloves/gpx-5-5-lite.html
  2. Dirt_Biker250

    Leatt glove giveaway

    I just received a pair of the GPX 5.5 Lite Gloves from Leatt and can't wait to put them to the test. ​ I will be putting a few hours on them and writing detailed review for y'all in the next few weeks...keep an eye out for it and let me know if you have any particular questions you'd like me to answer!
  3. Dirt_Biker250

    Cardo Systems Scala Rider G9x Communicators

    The ability to communicate is part of what makes humanity so successful. It is intrinsically woven into every aspect of our lives and comes in many different forms. However, it is also a component that many riders struggle with. When riding in a group, we are forced to employ rudimentary communication tactics such as hand signals, flashing lights, or honking the horn to indicate to our fellow riders that something is wrong or that we need to pull over to talk. A couple months ago I began looking for a product that would act as an effective communication tool for me and two friends that I dual sport with. I came across the Cardo Systems Scala Rider G9x unit which boasts phenomenal range along with a variety of other functions, so I decided to give it a try. How It Works The Scala Rider G9x is a powerful radio communication device. It mounts to the side of the rider’s helmet and has an antenna to increase its effective range. The unit has two channels that can function simultaneously, enabling communication with up to four riders in full duplex. Full duplex is basically two-way communication; like your cell phone. For the three riders in our group to talk together while riding, the middle person acts as the repeater. The front rider is connected to the middle rider on channel A and the rear rider would be connected with the middle rider on channel B. The middle rider would then conference both channels, allowing all three of us to talk with each other. We used this set-up because it provides for the most range. Honestly, the Scala Rider G9x units have such a long range, it really doesn’t matter whom you select to be the repeater. In addition to acting as a radio communication device, the G9x also has fully functional Bluetooth capabilities for up to two devices. I had my personal phone and my work phone connected with different ringtones, so I knew if work was trying to contact me while riding during my on-call week. Previously, I simply did not ride one out of every eight weeks as I would not be able to pull over and answer my phone in time, assuming I that even felt it vibrate in my pocket; this is a liberating feature! You can also stream music, GPS directions, or whatever else your Bluetooth device is capable of streaming. The G9x has easy to use buttons as well as decent voice activation to start and stop various functions. I will go into this in more detail later in the review. One of the buttons allows the rider to quickly disconnect the unit from the helmet. This feature was convenient when parking and leaving the motorcycles because you could take the unit with you. Product Overview The packaging for these Scala Rider G9x units is very high-end and gives a great first impression. It reminds me of the feeling that I get when opening the packaging for a new cell phone or computer in that it temporarily makes me forget how much the product costs, which is then immediately followed by the question “How much did it cost to use this packaging!?”. The unit arrived in a miniature suitcase that also housed the instructions, the installation equipment, and the charging/connection equipment. The G9x receiver unit measures approximately 4”L x 0.75”W x 1.25”H and clips onto a mounting device that is attached to your helmet. It has six buttons that are pushed individually or in combination to activate various features. It also has a USB port for charging and for connecting to a computer. In addition to the wireless connectivity options, the mounting device has a single 3.5mm auxiliary input that allows the rider to connect a non-Bluetooth enabled product. Cardo Systems offers a web-based profile for each customer providing a variety of customizing options. Once your profile has been set up and the device is connected, you can update the firmware for the G9x, adjust voice activation sensitivity and noise cancellation settings, set up your “buddy list”, and select your FM radio preset stations. The buddy list is essentially like the favorites list for contacts on your cell phone. Once set up, you can quickly make an intercom call with your buddy just by saying his/her name while riding. Another great feature called “IC-to-Phone” enables the G9x to divert an intercom call to your cell phone should your buddy move out of range. Cardo also offers a free app to install on your cell phone that interfaces with the G9x via Bluetooth. The app enables the rider to easily make phone calls, tune a radio station, listen to music stored on the phone, or set up an intercom/conference call. Installation A wide variety of helmets are available and Cardo Systems would be missing out on a large portion of the market if they designed their product to only work with open face or closed face helmets. The packaging includes all of the necessary equipment to rig up whatever style helmet that you have with the G9x mounting plate, microphone, and headset. I can only comment on the installation for a closed face helmet as all three riders in my group have Bilt Explorer Adventure helmets. Cardo Systems provided a clear and concise set of instructions, but I would rate the installation at a medium difficulty level. A set of booster pads are included in the packaging to help bring the headset closer to the rider’s ears. I imagine these are provided because most helmets have large ear cavities and the speakers need to be moved closer to the ears to provide the best sound. However, our Bilt helmets were the exact opposite. All three of us actually had to cut out the padded liner in the ear cavity to provide enough room for the speakers and our ears. We mounted the speakers directly to the structural foam of the helmet. To be honest, I wish that I had another 2-3mm of additional clearance, but it’s not a big issue because the helmet still fits comfortably. Performance The primary function of the Scala Rider G9x is as a communication device. The conference feature that I described earlier is easy to set-up and perfect for our application. Voice/sound quality rivals that of my cell phone and the noise cancellation technology is unbelievable. I ride a KTM 450XC-W dual sport without a windscreen and no one in our group had any issues hearing me, even when traveling 65-70mph. The exhaust on my bike is a louder than my friends’ Honda XR650L and CRF250L. I was only able to hear their exhaust through the intercom during acceleration when I was stopped with my bike off. They were able to hear my bike during acceleration, even while they were riding, but the sound was in the background and it did not mask my voice. The headset increases in volume as the ambient noise increases (E.g. wind noise due to increasing speed). This setting can be easily adjusted on a computer along with the voice activation sensitivity. We did struggle with the voice activation at times, but I did not have high expectations for this feature. Once you learn its commands, it works relatively well at lower speeds. However, you almost have to yell at it at higher speeds due to all the wind noise. As I mentioned, the sensitivity is adjustable and it did help, but it was not perfect. We typically set-up the conference call at the beginning of the ride and didn’t have to use the voice activation until the end of the ride. The Bluetooth connectivity was great. I was able to stream navigation instructions from Google Maps, listen to music, make/receive phone calls, as well as add in a call from a phone to our conference call. As a music player, the speakers on the headset are about as good as your cell phone (no bass). However, they work great as a means to provide background music while riding. The app is extremely easy to use and offers an excellent alternative to the voice activation. I have only recently started using the app, but it will definitely become my primary means for setting up our intercom/conference calls. Battery life has been excellent so far. However, the seat on my KTM really restricts the length of rides we can take. The longest ride that we did required about 5 hours of continuous intercom use and it resulted in about a 30% decrease in battery level. Signal range was a huge selling point for me when comparing the G9x’s to other products on the market. Cardo’s website boasts up to a mile of range depending on terrain conditions. We tested the range in a variety of settings and I am 100% impressed with this product! On a straight, relatively level country road, I was able to clearly communicate via intercom to a distance of 5,625ft (~1.07 miles). Obviously, typical range is much less due to buildings, cars, trees, and other obstructions. When riding in our neighborhood, we could ride down parallel streets with two houses between us and still communicate relatively clearly. However, as soon as more than two houses separated us, communication was completely cut off. Range was never an issue during normal riding conditions as we are never separated by more than maybe one thousand feet. If you do get disconnected because you are out of range, the intercom does not automatically reconnect once you are back in range. However, if you have the IC to Phone feature enabled via the on-line profile, the unit will then automatically divert your intercom call to a phone call once you get disconnect. This is a pretty cool feature, although it does wait until the signal is completely lost before initiating the phone call. An interesting discovery about max range regarding antenna position was made during our testing. If two rider’s antennas had direct line of site to each other, maximum range could be achieved. However, if one of the riders turns his/her head such that the antenna line of site is interrupted by the helmet, maximum range was reduced to about ~0.75 miles. Again, the position of the antennas during normal operation was never an issue. The G9x is advertised as being waterproof and dust proof. During our testing, we were caught in a rainstorm, providing the perfect opportunity to test its water proofing capabilities. There were no issues with rain infiltrating the units and no damage resulted. The connection between the receiver unit and the mounting device is snug and the electrical connections are on the trailing end of the unit. Short of being fully submerged, it would be very challenging to damage the G9x from riding during a rainstorm. The USB connection port is also sealed off with a rubber cover. My biggest concern about the G9x was the location of the mounting point as it sits on the exterior of the helmet. I have had the unit installed on my helmet for approximately two months now and I've had zero issues. Regardless, I am constantly worrying about where I set my helmet to make sure that it doesn’t fall and land on the device. It has a rugged housing and would probably withstand any normal fall, but I would definitely be frustrated with myself if I broke the unit because I dropped my helmet. Pros Ability to socialize with friends (improved riding experience)! Excellent communication capabilities and range. Bluetooth connectivity. The Cardo SmartSet App. Customizable performance settings. FM Radio. Battery Life. Cons Voice activation is very convenient, but can be frustrating at times. Risk of damage due to dropping helmet. Cost is a little high but you get what you pay for. Bottom-line The Cardo Systems Scala Rider G9x offers a wide variety of features. During the first few rides, we struggled to remember all the different voice commands and button controls. Fortunately, the user manual is extremely helpful and well written. Once we completed the learning curve, the units are pretty user friendly. A safety benefit is also realized by using the G9x’s when riding with others in that each rider can act as an additional set of eyes. Riding on the roads here in Charleston S. Carolina can be very dangerous and we typically try to avoid congested areas as a result. Over the course of the last two months, we've had ample opportunities give each other a heads-up about dangerous situations. Additionally, lane changes and route changes are much easier to coordinate. Range, voice clarity, and the ability to conference up to four riders at a time in full duplex make this product worth every penny in my opinion. Installation is somewhat involved, but all the equipment mounts properly with no visible wires. I absolutely would recommend this product to a friend. More @ http://cardosystems.com/us/
  4. Dirt_Biker250

    REC-MX Oil Filter Cover

    There are many products on the market that enable riders to add a personalized touch to their bikes. For me, the key is not only finding a product that looks good, but one that can provide a functional benefit as well. I came across the REC-MX website and found that their billet aluminum oil filter cover appeared to check off both categories, so I decided to give it a try. How It Works As expected, the REC-MX Billet Oil Filter Cover functions in the same manner as the stock oil filter cover. Oil flows through the internal channels in the cover that connect the filtered oil to the channels in the left side engine case. The manufacturer markets the oil filter cover as a simple, bolt-on upgrade that touts a variety of benefits when compared to stock and other aftermarket alternatives. The biggest benefit that caught my eye was improved heat transfer. The “S” shaped outer fins designed into the component increase the surface area exposed to atmospheric air, and the material properties of billet aluminum offer greater heat transfer than cast aluminum. I have included a picture below that the manufacturer provided me, illustrating how the cover transfers heat. Figure 1. Illustration showing heat transfer process through the REC-MX Cover. Additional improvements advertised by the manufacturer include reduced weight and oil feed holes designed for optimal oil flow compared to similar aftermarket products. It also has a stronger design than the OEM cover. Product Overview When I first opened the packaging, I was immediately impressed with the REC-MX Billet Oil Filter Cover. It was clean, shiny, and seemed meticulously manufactured. It even came with a new o-ring; it’s the little things in life! I had actually ordered a new stock o-ring, as I did not expect the manufacturer to look out for us customers. It’s kind of like the feeling that you get when you open new electronics that come with batteries. I also didn’t notice much difference in the design (aside from the fins) as compared to what I remembered of my stock oil filter cover. The packaging includes an installation guide and some cool stickers that are worth at least 1hp when properly stuck. It wasn’t until I had my stock filter cover side-by-side with the REC-MX unit that I began to notice some differences. The stock cover is cast aluminum and has slightly different forming on the filter side of the cover as evidenced in the below and attached pictures. In contrast, the REC-MX cover is CNC machined from 6061 T6 aircraft grade billet aluminum; which in writing this review, immediately made me think of a variety of ½ ton pickup truck commercials currently on TV. You have GMC with its submarine grade rolled steel, Ford with its military grade aluminum alloy, and now my CRF250R with its aircraft grade billet aluminum! Figure 2. Side by side comparison of the stock and REC-MX Covers. Additional pictures are attached. Regarding strength, billet aluminum has a more uniform grain structure than cast aluminum. This material property results in reduced risk of cracking since atoms can be organized more orderly and densely. Unfortunately, increased density comes at a cost – increased weight. The REC-MX oil filter cover weighed in at 54g while the stock oil filter cover weighed only 37g using a scale with an accuracy of +/- 1g. The manufacturer only claims reduced weight compared to competitors offering similar aftermarket products (CRF250R Pro Filter cover is 90 grams and the Zipty cover is 79 grams). I didn’t really notice any differences during my examination of the oil feed holes as compared to stock. However, the manufacturer informed me that alternative aftermarket billet aluminum options use "channels" rather than precisely drilled holes to cut down on manufacturing costs. I didn’t notice any visible cost cutting measures in this product and will attest that everything in regards to the manufacturing appears to be very precise and well planned. There are even cavities machined out of the dead/unused space on the filter side of the cover to save weight as shown in Figure 2. The oil filter cover comes in three different anodized colors for Honda CRFs: red, blue, or black. I chose black because the bike is already predominately red and I am installing blue coolant hoses. Installation The oil filter cover is extremely easy to install, especially if you have ever changed your own oil. If not, the installation guide is detailed and will lead you all the way through the process using basic hand tools & skills. Performance At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that I was looking for a product that not only improved the aesthetics of my bike, but also provided a functional benefit. The REC-MX Billet Oil Filter Cover passes the “coolness factor” test with flying colors. It adds a sleek, factory accent to the bike. The functional benefit is a little more challenging to test. I needed a way to tests its ability to transfer heat while minimizing as many variables as possible. The ideal test would have involved drilling the engine case and installing oil temperature and pressure sensors. Not only do we not have the tools necessarily to do something like that, I simply have no desire to do that to my bike. Maybe UL Labs will take up where we left off? The REC-MX Billet Oil Filter Cover essentially creates a heat exchanger in which heat from the oil flowing through the channels transfers through the billet aluminum to the fins exposed to atmospheric air. The manufacturer provided me with the results of an FEA analysis in which the internal channel surface temperatures of the REC-MX cover were 5°F cooler than a competitor’s oil filter cover that did not have cooling fins. A graphical representation provided by the manufacturer can be seen below in Figure 3. Figure 3. FEA analysis comparing surface temperature of the REC-MX cover to a competitor’s billet aluminum cover. I used a thermal imaging camera to visualize the heat transfer of the cover. For my testing setup, I placed my bike on a stand with a garage fan placed ~10ft in front of the bike on “high”. I let the bike idle with the “fast idle” knob engaged for 15 minutes and then took temperature readings of the surface of the cover exposed to atmospheric air. I tested the stock and REC-MX cover in the same afternoon to maintain consistent atmospheric air conditions. I have included a picture below showing a side-by-side comparison of the results between the stock oil filter cover and REC-MX’s and they are surprisingly dramatic! The stock oil filter cover acts almost as an insulator, conducting hardly any heat to the external surface of the cover. Its surface temperature was roughly 90°F. Meanwhile, the REC-MX cover appears to be an extremely good heat conductor with a surface temperature of roughly 190°F. The improved heat transfer properties of the billet aluminum coupled with the increased surface area of the cooling fins allow more heat to be pulled from the oil and transferred to the atmosphere. I will admit that this is an extremely rudimentary experimental setup, but it confirms at least some of the manufacturer’s claims. Figure 4. Results of the experiment using a Thermal Imaging Camera to identify the surface temperatures of the stock and REC-MX oil filter covers. One of the concerns that I had with this product was the possibility of the fins getting clogged with mud. However, I experienced zero build-up of dirt on the fins when I rode the bike after a week of rain. Most dirt is deflected by the skid plate that I have installed. If you don’t have a skid plate, dirt will still be deflected by the stock oil filter housing cover. Pros Looks really cool. Precisely and cleanly CNC machined. Increased heat transfer over stock. Increased strength over stock. Cons None Bottom-line I am very impressed with the Rec-MX Billet Oil Filter Cover. It is very rare that I cannot come up with some kind of negative or piece of criticism. Technical support is only available via email, which I guess could be considered a negative (not to me though). However, all of my emails were promptly responded to with more than ample information in a very clear and orderly manner. Even the price is reasonable; you can get your own REC-MX cover for $54.95 and add some bling to your ride. I will confess that I do not necessarily believe that the heat transfer benefits are very significant in the grand scheme of things. However, every ounce of weight, faction of a horsepower, and degree of reduced engine temperature add up to that slightest advantage over your competitors in the world of racing. The REC-MX oil filter cover is definitely a product worth looking into.
  5. Dirt_Biker250

    REC-MX Oil Filter Cover

    2 reviews

    Features: - "S" shaped cooling fins direct air flow over larger surface area for more efficient cooling - Oil feed holes designed for optimal oil flow - 3D CAD designed and FEA tested - CNC machined from 6061 T6 Aluminum (made in the USA) - Stronger design than OEM cover - Lighter than other billet oil filter covers - Billet has better heat transfer than cast aluminum - Anodized red, blue, or black and laser marked logo to look sharp and for longevity - Uses OEM bolts, oil filter and o-ring (new o-ring included) - Currently used and race tested by professional riders: Michael Leib, Kyle Peters, Austin Burns, & Taylor Potter. - Fits 2010-2015 Honda CRF250R
  6. I am trying to hunt down the cause of my weird smelling exhaust on my 2013 KTM 450XC-W. I recently purchased this bike used from one previous owner who raced it off road. The best description I can give of the smell is that of glue...and its a strong smell. I am using this bike primarily for dual sporting and anytime a buddy is behind me they comment on the smell. My first thought was burning oil, but I kept track of the oil level as best as I could (darn bike doesn't have a dip stick, just a sight glass) and did not notice any decrease in the oil level...plus, I have smelled bikes burning oil and that's not really what this smelled like. My second thought was burning coolant, so maybe a bad head gasket. I wouldn't necessarily describe the smell as sweet though, so I was kind of hesitant on this. However, after filling the coolant to the top of the radiator and watching it for ~100 miles, there wasn't really any change in the coolant level either. What else could cause an exhaust to smell? I inspected the valve clearances right after I purchased the bike, and they were in spec - if that helps anyone. Thanks in advanced for the help!
  7. Dirt_Biker250

    KTM 450 XC-W 2013

    I am using this bike primarily as a Dual Sport.
  8. Dirt_Biker250

    KTM 450 XC-W (2013)


    I am using this bike primarily as a Dual Sport.
  9. Dirt_Biker250

    Leatt Coolit Evaporative Cooling Vest

    This past September, I suffered from minor heat exhaustion after riding in 90°F+ weather with 80%+ humidity. I decided it was time to see what options were available to help keep my body cool while riding in the summer heat. The Leatt Coolit Evaporative Cooling Vest caught my attention due to its simplicity and claimed duration of cooling ability. I have been impressed with the quality of my other Leatt products as well as the excellent customer service they offer, so I decided to give their cooling vest a shot. I opted for the vest version rather than the shirt as I was uneasy about cutting off airflow to my armpits, where a large portion of body heat is vented. How It Works The Leatt Coolit Vest employs the simple heat transfer principles of conduction and convection to accomplish cooling the rider. Hyperkewl fabric in the vest stores the water and uses a proprietary chemical formulation to control evaporation, resulting in 10-15°F vest temperatures cooler than ambient air according to Techniche International (the inventor). Leatt advertises a 15-20°F cooler feeling with the Hyperkewl fabric incorporated into the vest. The vest is worn directly against the skin allowing body heat to be transferred into the vest via conduction. The water in the vest evaporates over time via convection, providing a cooling sensation for the rider. Leatt claims the vest is capable of cooling for one to six hours depending on weather conditions. Product Overview My first reaction when the package arrived was, “uh that’s it??” I had it in my mind that this vest was bigger and bulkier than it actually was. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it was sleek, lightweight, and would easily fit under my riding gear. After a thorough inspection, I determined the vest was well manufactured. There were no frayed ends and the clean stitching enhanced the sense of quality. I then proceeded to try on the vest, but was somewhat disappointed in the sizing. As a 5’11”, 155lb – slender/average build guy, medium is almost always my go to size for shirts. The vest fit snug against my body but was definitely shorter than I expected. It fit to ~1” below my belly button and was slightly longer in the back. Despite the lack of length, I would caution against ordering a size larger as the vest must fit snug against the skin to achieve the best conduction of body heat. I did have the opportunity to speak with a customer service representative at Leatt on the phone who reassured me that the vest was designed to have a snug fit and shorter length. She said as long as it reaches the belly button it will perform as designed. Installation The vest is extremely easy to prepare for use. Soak it in cool water, squeeze out the excess water, and go. I did experience longer cooling times when not excessively squeezing water out of the vest. It fits snug against the skin, and I did not experience any issues with irritation or chafing. My jersey, chest protector, Camelback, and neck brace fit right over the top without needing any sizing adjustments. Performance I was able to complete two test rides in the mid-seventies to mid-eighties before temperatures started to drop off for the fall. I also wore the vest for some other activities like P90X2 and indoor cycling, just to test its versatility. The effective cooling capacity seemed to consistently reduce after wearing the vest for about one and a half hours. It continued to cool about 1.5 - 2 hours beyond that point but not as noticeably. I wore the vest for an afternoon in the mid-seventies with 70% humidity and concluded the vest was no longer effective at all after approximately three hours. Fortunately, recharging the vest is a breeze. Simply re-submerge in cool water, squeeze, and go some more. Please keep in mind that the actual cooling ability and duration will be dependent on ambient air temperature and humidity. Also, the vest was not as effective when working out in an indoor environment without much airflow. This makes sense though because airflow aids in convective heat transfer. I will have to wait until next summer to test out the vest in the extremely hot/humid air we experience in South Carolina. The vest has held up well thus far with no visible tearing or worn fabric. One of my concerns with the vest was stench since it would basically be absorbing any sweat on my skin. The vest is not machine washable, so you have to take the time to hand wash it. However, I have had no issues with smell so far. Pros Sleek and lightweight with a snug fit No skin irritation or chafing Well-made and durable I feel cooler (temperature) wearing the vest than without it Cons Not machine washable Sizing (I would have preferred a longer fit) Bottom-line I am pleased with the performance of the Leatt Coolit Evaporative Cooling Vest. Even when riding with all my gear on, the vest successfully provides a cooling sensation for a reasonable length of time. I would be hesitant to wear the vest for longer than three hours, but the average person is not riding for three hours straight. It takes ~2 minutes to recharge and can be easily done during a gas stop in an enduro. At $75.00, the vest is reasonably priced and will definitely become an integral part of my warm weather riding gear.
  10. Dirt_Biker250

    Leatt Chest Protector PRO

    The Chest Protector Pro is one of several external protection devices offered by Leatt to provide chest and back protection for riders. The device is designed to fit riders from 120-240lbs. As a 5’11”, 155lbs rider, I am on the thinner end of the range, giving me a good opportunity to see just how adjustable the protector is. It arrived in a well packaged box with some Leatt decals that I have added to my workbench collection. Right out of the box, the chest protector fit well and it actually took four or five rides before I decided I wanted to decrease the size a little. There are nine potential configurations using the three holes in the front and back to adjust for a riders thickness, though I imagine most people would adjust both sets at the same time yielding three configurations. The protector arrived with the middle holes selected, and I ended up placing it in its thinnest setup. My only complaint is I wish the chest plate was an inch or two longer. It covers my chest, but I feel like my floating ribs could use a little more protection. Leatt Chest Protector Pro with front and rear removable plates installed. There are removable plates on the chest and back allowing a Leatt neck brace to fit snug into place. Additionally, elastic bands on the shoulders assist in securing the neck brace to the chest protector. In my experience, the combination of devices felt secure and did not limit my mobility. The elastic bands seemed to slip off the neck brace while riding, but this did not negatively impact the joining of the devices. Elastic band loops over lip on underside of neck brace. This usually came loose while riding. My first ride with the chest protector was on a trail with a decent amount of overhanging branches that didn’t really cause me much distraction. It wasn’t until I rode the trail for a second time in my standard roost guard that I realized just how many branches there were and how much the Leatt chest protector had helped. Needless to say, I won’t be using my roost guard anymore, and I would highly recommend this protector to my friends. Neck brace fits into slots where front and rear removable plates are located. During my first ride, I did encounter one issue with the protector where the pin securing the chest plate to the shoulder guard dislodged while riding. After one quick call to Leatt with no sitting on hold or questions asked, the replacement pin arrived ~3 days later in the mail. The lady I spoke with was very kind and helpful (A+ on customer service). I have since added Loctite to all the pins as an added level of security. Once you get the chest protector setup correctly, I think it looks pretty cool. The black/grey chest protector and neck brace go well with my black/white jersey and helmet and almost look like they should be part of a Batman or Ironman suit. Although looks and comfort are important aspects of motorcycle gear, the primary function of safety equipment is to protect the rider. When in the market for any kind of safety equipment (ie. helmets, safety glasses, knee braces, etc.), many riders take a manufacturers name or marketing campaign as evidence that the devices are able to offer an expected level of protection. However, there is currently no mandate stating that, for example, a chest protector has to adhere to a given safety standard for impact rating before it can be placed on the market. As a result, many products on the market offer a false sense of security when worn. The Leatt Chest Protector Pro complies with CE EN 1621-2 Level 2 and CE prEN 1621-3 Level 2 standards (detailed at the end of the review), making it one of the most proven devices on the market. Leatt takes pride in their products as evidenced by their adherence to safety standards, excellent build quality, and friendly customer service. The protector feels very safe and secure, despite the one issue I had. Leatt advertises it for $169, making it about twice as expensive as a standard roost guard. I held out for a couple years before I decided to get a Leatt chest protector, and now I haven’t worn my roost guard since the first ride while comparing the two devices. I would strongly recommend the Leatt Chest Protector Pro to any rider looking for some added protection with a device that has some actual engineering behind it. Impact Protection Standards: CE EN1621 is the safety standard for motorcycle clothing impact protection. A brief overview of the four parts of this standard can be found below: 1621-1 : Limb/Joint Impact Protectors (1997) 1621-2 : Back Protectors (2003) Object hits back plate with 50kN of force. Impact repeated 5 times. Level 1 : Average transmitted force may not exceed 18kN with no single impact exceeding 24kN of transmitted force Level 2 : Average transmitted force may not exceed 9kN with no single impact exceeding 12kN of transmitted force (this is better because less force impacts the rider) 1621-3 : Chest Protectors (under development) Object hits chest plate with 50kN of force. Impact repeated 4 times on two devices. Average transmitted force may not exceed 20kN with no single impact exceeding 35kN. The levels below indicate the amount of force absorbed by the deflection of the chest plate as measured in a percent reduction in force transmission between direct impact with no deflection and direct impact with deflection. Level 1 : Percent reduction in force transmission of no less than 15% Level 2 : Percent reduction in force transmission of no less than 30% (this is better because it means more force is absorbed, less force impacts the rider) 1621-4 : Inflatable Protectors (under development) *Leatt is a participating contributor in the development of CE prEN1621-3*
  11. Dirt_Biker250

    Garage Floors

    I put down the Rust-Oleum floor epoxy about 8 months ago...works great so far. I park my truck in the garage and havent experienced any peeling to date. Brake cleaner and hydrolic fluid will fade the shine but that's to be expected. I believe most of the epoxies available on the consumer level are water based. If you want the real stuff, go for the commercial/industrial grade solventless epoxy. Here's a good overview of the three main types of flooring epoxy: http://www.epoxyschool.com/blog/?p=107
  12. Dirt_Biker250

    FMF Racing Snap

    The FMF Snap is designed to reduce turbulence in the air boot, resulting in increased low to mid-range torque as well as improved throttle response. I tested the Snap on my stock 2012 Honda CRF250R, which permits a good comparison of power without the influence of other aftermarket up-grades. The theory is that by dividing the intake boot into quadrants, air can be channeled around the rear shock and into the throttle body at a higher velocity. The air flow is then disrupted by the slide or butterfly valve depending on throttle position and again, as it skirts past the intake valves into the combustion chamber. By reducing the resistance in part of the intake path, more air can be drawn into the cylinder. However, fuel injected dirt bikes (like mine) are not equipped with mass air flow sensors, meaning the ECU will not compensate for the additional air capacity. The engine will run leaner, producing slightly more power and additional heat. Installation: The Snap was neatly packaged when delivered and included several different FMF stickers. It felt sturdy and well put together, with no burs or sharp edges from the manufacturing processes. The instructions were clear and precise, but the installation was far more involved than I originally anticipated. This may have been due to the design of the bike. I had to remove the sub-frame and insert the Snap through the throttle body side of the intake boot. Testing Procedures: It was difficult to test this product, especially since I do not have access to a dyno and FMF does not claim a large increase in performance. A dirt road near my house was used as the location for preliminary tests in an effort to get an immediate comparison of the bike’s performance with and without the Snap installed. This location provided space to make zero to mid-fourth gear passes to get a “seat of the pants” feel for any gains or losses throughout the RPM range. Additionally, throttle response was tested by making several passes that started at a rolling speed just off idle in third gear, hammering the throttle, and pulling through the gear to just below the rev limiter. Testing then moved to the local trails to achieve a more realistic riding environment. Around here, the trails are mostly sand and loose dirt, ranging from wide-open to tighter and more technical. Results: Preliminary tests on the dirt road did not yield any substantial “seat of the pants” differences between runs with and without the Snap installed. No real gains in low end torque or losses in top end performance were felt. Over the course of two weekends on the trails, the bike seemed to have a slightly stronger pull through tight turns, where the motor previously had a tendency to hesitate or stall. In this capacity, the Snap provided a slight improvement in throttle response. In wider, sweeping berms, there was no discernible difference in performance or throttle response. Conclusion: The FMF Snap was designed to increase torque and throttle response at low RPMs and it seemed to do so in a limited capacity under specific situations. I think the absence of more noticeable improvements in performance can be attributed to electronic fuel injection. Fuel injected bikes already have excellent throttle response right out of the box, making it challenging to detect improvements. I think this product would have a more substantial impact on a carbureted motor because the additional air capacity would create a larger vacuum, drawing more fuel out of the carburetor. Fuel injected bikes cannot compensate for the additional air unless the EFI is remapped. As a result, a carbureted engine would receive slightly more air and fuel, creating a bigger bang, while the fuel injected engine only gets slightly more air. For the price, I expected more noticeable and consistent increases in power, but I intend to leave the product installed for its potential gains in tight woods.
  13. Dirt_Biker250

    2012 versus 2009 for "Woods"

    I have a 2012 CRF250R that I use exclusively for woods riding. I came off a Yamaha WR250R, so there was some getting used to the closed ratio gear box and seemingly weightless flywheel... but I wouldn't go back. My bike has the stock suspension, and it works great for me (I am a C level rider). I have never had an aftermarket suspension, so I cant really give you a good comparison. However, once I found the settings that work best for me at a given riding area, I don't believe the suspension is holding me back at all. The power delivery is great, but you may have to adjust the gearing depending on how tight of woods you are riding. The braking is also very controlled. You do have to watch yourself if you ride tighter trails during the middle of the summer because the coolant will boil over a little, and there is no reservoir like you get on the X.
  14. Dirt_Biker250

    Honda CRF250R 2012

    This bike quick, nimble, and confidence inspiring. Its easy to operate and the handling is excellent. I am a big fan!
  15. Dirt_Biker250

    Honda CRF250R (2012)


    This bike quick, nimble, and confidence inspiring. Its easy to operate and the handling is excellent. I am a big fan!