Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Sony HDR AS-300V

Well since I wanted to get some voice and better sound in my videos, I sold my Tascam DR-05 and bought a new Sony HDR AS-300V action camera to get better battery life and a mic input.

The main reason I didn’t bought a same priced GoPro Hero 5 session is because it requires a 50+ euro converter to add a 3.5mm microphone jack.

Packaging:
This time it doesn’t come in a package with a display case as the AZ-1. It comes in an all cardboard box with a plastic front, but who needs the packaging anyway? It’s what comes in the package that counts! 🙂

IMG_20170718_122441
Left: AZ-1VR, Right: AS300V

Package contents:
The package contains the following items:
– Sony HDR AS-300
– Underwater housing (MPK-UWH1)
– NP BX-1 Battery pack
– Sony RM-LVR3 LiveView Remote
– Wrist strap for RM-LVR3
– Charger + charger cable for RM-LVR3
– Cradle with tripod mount for RM-LVR3
– 1 set of 1 curved sticky back mount + tripod screw hole mount

IMG_20170718_124510

Size comparison:
The Sony AS300 has a size (lxbxh, including waterproof case) of 9cm x 4,7cm x 7cm.
Without the case it is 8,5cm x 3cm x 5cm.
The AZ1 is much smaller with a size (including case) comparable to the AS300V without a Case.

Price:
I got this action camera for about 300€, which is almost the same as my AZ1VR that I bought a year ago.
A lot of bang for the buck if you ask me.
You can buy it here: Sony HDR AS300V on Amazon

Specifications:
– Zeiss Tessar lens
– 1/2.5 (7.20mm) back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor
– Waterproof up to 60m with underwater housing (without it’s just splashproof)
– Micro HDMI, Stereo mic jack, Micro USB terminal
– Compatible with M2 and Micro SD cards (SDHC/SDXC)
Full specs here: Sony AS300V

Pros & Cons:
Well to start, it is a fairly cheap action cam for the price. Comparable GoPro’s are no way near the quality of the HDR AS300. The only problem is that these cameras are most likely side mounted because of the form factor. Though not a problem, some motovloggers do like to use a “chin mounted” view.

What I really like is the extended battery life. It shows how much time you have left till your SD card is full or the battery is empty.
It shows I can still record for 2 hours and 47 minutes, but in reality (specs from Sony) it shows that it can only record for about 135 minutes on 30fps.
I film every piece in 60FPS.

A con is that the OIS (SteadyShot) is a bit too much. It makes your riding and actions look much more slower than they are. I prefer to keep the SteadyShot off.

The camera also sports a tripod hole, which is extremely convenient because there isn’t a special mount needed unlike by the AZ1VR, not to forget the AS300 also has a 3.5mm mic jack, which makes it possible to get an all in one vlogging setup without any converters.

To be fair, I’m really happy with this purchase, and I recommend this camera to everyone who needs a fairly compact action camera that sports a lot of features.

Here’s an example clip with audio from the Philips LFH91740 plugged into the HDR AS300V

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Review: DR. Wack S100 White Chain Lube

Because I have a new to me bike, I’d like to invest a bit more in the products I use to keep my bike maintained.

In the past I’ve used Holts Chain grease (green, sticky stuff), Holts Spray grease, Nigrin Kettensprühfett -für Motorräder- and now S100 White Chain Lube.

I’ve had my doubts about the S100 spray grease, but I was pleasantly suprised.

It sprays well, it sticks very good, there is almost no grease on the wheel or on the chain guard.

Looking at the specsheet it contains the following elements:
– 20<25% Butane CAS 106-97-8
– 25-50% Naphta (petroleum), hydrotreated light CAS 64742-49-0
– 20<25% Propane CAS 74-98-6
– 1-<2,5% 2-Ethylhexyl-zinkdithiophosphate CAS 4259-15-8

It comes to my mind that the last element is an additive that hardens under pressure, and thus increases the life of the chain. Not a lot of chain sprays I’ve seen and used have that additive. Maybe it is why the S100 Chain spray won the motorrad online test.

So what is my experience with this chain spray?
I have bought a small bottle (75ml) of S100 to keep in my bike to lube the chain when necessary.

It smells a lot, so lube the chain in a well ventilated area, perhaps outside.
You also have to fully depress the spray nozzle to get the maximum amount of lubrication on the inside of the chain.

NEVER spray on the outside of the chain, because that doesn’t do anything but wasting your precious spray.

Also make sure you don’t have any overspray on your tire. That results in crashing the bike. Better is to use some cardboard to protect the ground and tire from overspray.

The best time to lube the chain is after a ride. That way, the chain is warm/hot and absorbs the lube much more between the X/O/Z rings.

I highly recommend S100 Chain spray to everyone who loves to ride their bike, and doesn’t want to clean the slung off chain spray everytime they ride their bike 🙂

I R8 8/8 GR8 M8

Review: Ixil Hyperlow XL

As almost everyone knows, stock exhaust systems never sound good on bikes, especially for commuters.

As an old saying (and also controversial saying): Loud pipes save lives.
This is partially true. I never get noticed by cagers unless I have a loud as f*ck exhaust on my bike.
Never had problems with an exhaust that is too loud, they always hear me coming from a mile away.

Now, the original exhaust (muffler) on the NC700X is so silent, that a cooling fan from a car makes more noise. I thus bought a second hand Ixil Hyperlow XL.

Ixil Hyperlow XL

The seller (and also my motorcycle dealer) wanted to have 250€ for it, which was way to high since it was also second hand.
I paid 170€ for the Ixil and cleaned it up some more, and it’s shiny again.

Sound:
The sewing machine sound is gone, and when I start the bike, it gives a nice low growl. When increasing the RPM (going at speed) the bike sounds a lot better.
Keep in mind that I ride without the dB-killers, because it is silent enough to ride without, but still loud enough to keep getting noticed by cagers.

Look:
I really like the look of the Ixil pipe, it reminds me of the Hurric Pro 2, but it looks more sporty.
It definitly makes the bike look good, but I’m a bit worried that water droplets get into the pipe when it rains and the engine is off.

Fit:
You need spacers to get the Hyperlow on the right place. Fitting the muffler onto the header pipe was a bit difficult. But it fits nicely. There’s also a center stand buffer on the pipe present.

Performance:
There is no noticable performance increase, because the catalytic converter still obstructs the flow. A decat header pipe and air filter should work.

Problems:
– Water can get into the exhaust when parked in the rain
– Centerstand buffer is too weak and bends on impact

Here’s a video of the sound recorded with the Tascam DR-05 V2

Review: Givi HP1111 Handguards for Honda NC700X

I like the look of riding without handguards, but the weather just doesn’t get better, and it even started hailing in April!
I thus impulse bought some Givi HP1111 handguards that will fit my Honda NC700X.

Having a windscreen also from Givi (D1111ST), I looked up if they fit, and they did.

Fitment:
The fitment is so precise that it has around 1cm (and less) space between handguard and windscreen.
The handguards mount to the bar ends and mirrors. You can still use the original bar ends.
The other side mounts to the mirrors using a metal bracket and some washers.

Installation
I struggled with the install because there were no instructions, only numbered parts and an exploded view, but it is possible to do it only with the exploded view.
There are also a lot of different parts, which is totally unneccesary and can be made much simpeler when combining 3 different parts into 1.
There is also a third bracket for the DCT version marked with an “A”.

Protection
The Givi HP1111 handguards are mostly to use for wind protection and not for branches or trees. They do have an aerodynamic design, but they don’t wrap around the controls.
I hope I don’t have to make some handguard extensions just like with my old handguards :’)

Cost vs performance
I hope a lot of R&D went into making these handguards, because 100€ for 2 pieces of plastic and some miscellaneous hardware is to my taste a bit overpriced, but I’m happy these fit in combination with my Givi windscreen.

Pros:
– Keeps some wind from your hands, but not all of it
– Protects the levers a bit
– Fits perfectly in combination with other Givi accessories

Cons:
– Expensive (but they are cheaper than barkbusters and Touratech stuff)
– Unclear instructions
– Too much hardware
– Isn’t sturdy enough

A few pictures

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Review: Gianni Falco Mixto ATV

After almost riding a year with the Gianni Falco Mixto ATV’s as a replacement for the Held Gear (that leaked), I’m now ready to write a review on them.

Material
The Mixto is made from leather. Brown nu-buck/suede leather to be more exact on the model I have.
The leather is impregnated with a water repellent, but wears of after a few days of riding in rainy weather. Still, the High-Tex membrane keeps my feet dry and not sweaty.
The boots also have an injection molded rubber boot protector to protect the boot from scratches from the shift lever.
It is recommended to spray the boots with a water repellent spray once a month.
I also recommend to throw away the factory inner soles and replace them with shock absorbing soles, just to get more comfort out of the boots.

Safety
The Mixto ATV has a shin plate made of polyurethane, but is rather short.
Aswell the clasps are made of the same material, and are adjustable using an internal ratchet mechanism.
Ankles are protected by D3O material.
Soles are made of rubber with a generous amount of profile.

Flex
The flex is rather a “meh”. It’s too flexible to really go offroad, but it’s good for onroad touring. Shifts feel really good in these boots.

Look and feel
When walking around wearing nothing but black textile gear and suddenly seeing brown boots, everyone that didn’t ride a motorbike said “What are thooose!!!”.
I did like the brown color, but after a few months riding with them, the brown turned a bit ugly. Oil stains are also a PITA to get out of the boots.
The boots squeak when walking, and it gets on my nerves from time to time, but they still keep my feet dry. Function over form I say.

Fitment
My feet are a bit wide, so these boots were perfect for my feet. The only downside is that my cheap textile pants don’t have a wide opening to fit over the boot, so I’m struggling with that. Sometimes they fit, but sometimes they don’t.

Price
I bought these boots for the price of €199,95. Not cheap, but also not that expensive.
The price-quality ratio is rather nice, but the price should be around €165 if I’m being honest.

Verdict
I like the boots, but they are squeaky, and need a lot of attention because of the brown nu-buck/suede finish leather. They are still watertight, even after putting my foot down in a deep puddle of water. I feel safe in these boots.

The only thing is: I won’t buy them again, because I now already wrote a review about them 🙂
My next boots will be the Gianni Falco Avantour (€249) (High-Tex), or Alpinestars Toucan (€359) (Gore-Tex), just to see how these compare to the cheaper Mixto ATV.

Review: Continental TrailAttack II

When I bought my bike, it had some Metzeler Tourances on them. Not the NXT version, but the older one.
It showed some cracks, but shouldn’t be a problem because it’s a tubed tire (because of spoked wheels).

But after slipping and sliding around in the rain, I knew it was time to replace them to improve some handling and get a little more comfort out of them.

Motives:
From what I know, the Continental TrailAttacks were the best for me, because they use a technology called “TractionSkin”.

What it means is that the tire has a very short run-in time, which was handy because I don’t like the feel of riding with slippery tires.

This diagram shows the difference between the Conti TKC80, TKC70 and TA2.

spider-diagramm-enduro-segment

I wanted something that has a lot of handling in wet and dry weather, and is also durable.
The Continental TrailAttack II is the most street oriented tire in this diagram, but it also has relativly good grip on gravel.

They were a noticably better tire than the old Metzelers I had.
I’ve also looked at the TKC70 and the TKC80, but the TKC80 was too much of an offroad oriented tire to run everyday on the pavement.
My next tires’ll be the TKC70’s. They have a bit more of an agressive thread and should do better offroad.

Experience:
My experience with the tires is really good. I’ve done some kind of offroading on them (riding around on roadworks), and they handled very well.
When I first took them for a ride, it felt strange to have rounded tires (well yeah, the other ones were squared off).

It took some time to get used to the new grippy tires, but now I can take some twisties without the rear end breaking loose.

Price:
I paid about €160,20 for the set without mounting, which is not that expensive for some quality tires. Mounting costed about 20€ when going to the local tire shop. They were more than happy to mount them for me 🙂

Mileage:
I’ve mounted the tires when I had 37121km on my odometer, and now I’ve got 43330km’s on it. So I’ve only ridden it for 6209km’s.
The tires are still rounded, but I still have some chickenstrips on them.
The thread is still deep so they can hold out for a very long time, wear is about 10-15% at the moment.

Riding style:
I’m mostly riding in a straight line, because it’s a commute, but in the weekends I try to get some more experience in riding twisties, which helped a little bit.
In the city it’s mostly hard on the throttle and hard on the brakes.
Normally the tires are hot when I’m back home and they stick like glue, so I’m happy with them.

Other tires I’d take a look at:
I have some tires that I still want to try out to look at their performance.
These are the following:
– Continental TKC70, because they are better offroad than the TA2.
– Heidenau K60 Scout, because they look so cool and they also have great reviews.
– Pirelli Scorpion Trail (I and II), just to try them out if they are as good as the TA2.

Verdict:
I like the TA2’s, they are very grippy in hot and cold weather, but it’s sketchy to ride on white lines when accellerating. They loose grip easily when you are on a wet slippery surface. It is also a bit frightening when you loose grip on dry, but dusty asphalt.
But all in all, it’s a great tire that doesn’t require a long break-in period.

 

Review: Carpoint E11 foglights

My search for new foglights has finally ended, after days of looking for a suitable replacement for the Hans Bo CREE U5 LED spots.
The weird part is that they were always close to me, in my local diy store!

Since my old “new” Hans Bo LED spots began to flicker and became totally uncontrollable by the switch, I’ve been searching for a replacement.
Not wanting to spend more than 50€, I searched on AliExpress for foglights that only had 1 mode, but almost all of them have the “high”, “low” and “strobe” mode.

I remembered that in my local diy store, they also have a car parts department, so I browsed a bit and found some foglights from “Carpoint” (cheap car accessories) for about 35€.

So I picked them up, and they looked promising, but they didn’t have a pipe clamp.
I looked around for some steel pipe clamps (with rubber inside) but they only had plastic ones for conduit pipe.
I picked 6 pieces up (if one happens to break) which costed me about 9€.

I began disassembling the old fog light setup, which was very easy because I already ripped out the cables of the terminal block, as told in the blogpost “Radiosilence… Small update“.
Having a spare relay that I bought from AliExpress a few months ago, I installed them using the following schematic:

DLR ACC schakel

The specifications of the fog lights are:
– Voltage: 12V
– Watts: 55w each (110w total)
– Bulb: H3 halogen
The Suzuki XF650 Freewind has an alternator capable of handling 200W.

After installing them on my pipe clamps and crashbars, it looked like this:

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After riding around, one of the pipe clamps broke because of the vibration and being clamped down too hard, so the extra clamps were a great investment.

The light output is much higher and more scattered, but they also run hotter and consume more power. It’s also easier on the eye than the blue hue of the LED ones.
They are completely waterproof by using a siliconed gasket.

I’m currently totally loving it, and will be using this at night.

Thanks for reading and ride safe!