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!

 

 

 

Review: Tascam DR-05 V2 & AK-DR11G

I’ve just bought the Tascam DR-05 V2 sound recorder to improve engine sound quality while riding my bike, so the sound will be a lot better in the upcoming videos.

Reason why I’ve bought the Tascam DR-05 V2 and not the Zoom H1 is maily because of the price.
The Tascam costs me 129€ including the accessory kit while the Zoom H1 costs 10€ extra and has some problems regarding the battery cover.
The Tascam also has a better finish than the Zoom.
Also, using the onboard Sony microphone, there isn’t a lot of engine sound, except when I’m riding under 30km/h.

Packaging:
Seems decent, A lot of information on the box itself. Not a blister, so it’s actually a semi-professional recorder.
The Tascam DR-05 is packaged with a styrofoam wrapping.

Initial thoughts:
The Tascam DR-05 looks and feels like a decent, well built, quality piece of equipment.
It’s fairly easy to navigate through all the different menus, and there are even some functions I don’t even use.

 

Accessories:
In the box you get:
– 2x AA batteries
– Mico SDHC 4GB Class 10 card (already in the recorder)
– USB cable
– Multilingual instruction manual
– Guarantee card

I also have bought the AK-DR11G accessory kit, which includes the AC adapter, windscreen, grip and carrying case.

The accessory kit is also compatible with the DR-40 and DR-07MKII

Implementation:
The recorder is “mounted” between 2 pieces of foam, cut from an old foam pillow. Then, I’ve put the recorder in between, making sure the microphones are sticking out on top.
Just make sure that you’ve taped up the battery cover, it can come loose when removing the DR-05 from the foam.
As an extra, I’ve installed the windscreen/mircophone muffler on top to lessen the wind noise.

I sync my audio to the video using the good old program “Windows Movie Maker”.
It’s easier and much faster than using Adobe Premiere CC or Sony Vegas Pro.

The audio is still not perfect, but I’m working on some settings.

Verdict:
It’s relativly cheap compared to the Zoom H1, considering the build quality and the form factor. Upon looking at a comparison between the DR-05 and the H1, there wasn’t much of a difference between both of the devices based on sound quality.

Sample video:

Review: Hans Bo CREE U5 LED spots

When my old daytime running lights (that costed me about €1,50,-) broke when the cables came loose from the housing, I was thinking about buying some cheap aux lights.

I came up on the video from CagerOnTwoWheels (Cheap Aux Lights!) and they seemed interesting, although I wanted to buy some that didn’t have the 3 modes on it.

I went to search online for the CREE U5 led’s, which are ofcourse made in China.
Being a fan of buying things on AliExpress, I quickly became overwhelmed with these U5 style LED’s.

After searching for a while, I’ve seen that the Hans Bo type is a bestseller on AliExpress,
so I ordered a set of two.
Here’s a link for anyone who wants to buy these: Hans Bo CREE U5 125W (They have 3 modes!)

They were delivered at my doorstep in about 5-6 days, which is incredibly fast for Chinese products.

Package contents:
– 2 Aux Lights
– 2 switches
– Mounting hardware
– 2 allen/hex keys.

Installing was easy using this schematic.
DLR ACC schakel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After installing, I’ve seen that the lights aren’t in the same mode, which justifies the need of 2 switches. One was also not working, so I’ve sent a message to the seller.

It took 2 days till I got the message that they are going to send a new one!
That’s what I call customer service.

I’ve recently received my replacement LED light within 10 days, and this is the result:

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The lights have a “Cold White” color, which in fact look a bit cheap, but should be more noticable on the road.
I couldn’t find the secondary switch to regulate both lights, but they are now in phase with eachother.

I’m quite happy with the results considering the low price of just under 24€ or for the US readers out there 26USD.

Don’t bother removing the 3 modes using the U2 chip removal, this just makes the light unusable. Just buy a “High-Beam Only” light.

Anyways, thanks for reading this post.
If you have questions, just ask!

 

Review: Sena 3S

Long trips going to school and back home were a bit boring, so I wanted some music on the road, so I’ve bought a Sena 3S Bluetooth headset for my helmet.

Prior to the Sena 3S, I had a waterproof mp3-player and some helmet speakers (which were too expensive for what they were). Did the job well, but not good enough.

I was looking for the cheapest, well known brand for motorcycle intercom systems, and I came to conclusion that Sena had some interesting communicators.

Since I almost don’t ride with friends (because my friends aren’t bikers), it had to be an intercom with the least functions, so no radio with RDS.
I also didn’t like the view of a communication device on the side of my helmet, so there was only 1 left.

The Sena 3S.

The Sena 3S has 3 different versions:
– Open face helmets
– Full face helmets
– Modular helmets

I have the version for open face helmets, because the modular one didn’t exist at the time that I bought the 3S.

Mounting the Sena 3S is easy. There were some cutouts in my helmet to install speakers.
The speakers are both 11mm thick, but it’ll fit just right. Reason why is that the electronics are mounted inside the speakers.

Some specs:
– Bluetooth 3.0
– 200 metres intercom (didn’t test that)
– Dual bluetooth (using 2 bluetooth devices at the same time, also didn’t test that)
– stand by about 7 days, 8 hours talk time, charge with micro-usb.
– Max. 1 connection with other Sena devices (didn’t test that either)

Tests I’ve done:
– Calling: Voice is clear, both for sender and receiver, also has a “Hello” function.
– Music: Not a lot of bass, more difficult to listen to at higher speeds.
– Pressing buttons with winter gloves: Passed, just a bit fiddly.

Package contents:
– Sena 3S
– Micro USB cable
– 2 microphone foams
– Manual

Drawbacks:
– It doesn’t fit every helmet, when buying one for a modular helmet, just buy the modular helmet version.
– It sometimes loses connection, but can also be the phones fault
– Long charging times
– Not waterproof

In a nutshell, I’m very content with this intercom. The quality is good, and it isn’t bulky.

Review: MSR Classic Inox Muffler

About a year ago, I swapped my muffler for a new one.

For those who want to know why I swapped it, here are some reasons:

  1. The stock one is too silent
  2. The stock one is ugly
  3. The stock one is heavy and dead weight

I also didn’t like the sound it produced and it did limit performance, so the swap was neccesary to get a bit more power out of the bike.

I searched for about 1 week for fitting mufflers (because the Freewind is a special bike), and I found these mufflers will fit, sorted by certified ones:
Non certified (no “E – label”):

  • Dominator (uknown model)

Certified:

  • GPR Trevale
  • MSR (see site for different models, they should all fit)

Since I wanted legal sound, I only could choose between GPR and MSR, both Italian made mufflers, so the quality would (and should) be the same.

Price
Price was also an argument to buying an MSR.
The cheapest one cost about 185€ without shipping, and that’s the one I chose because a second hand GPR Trevale costs about 210€.

Delivery
Delivery was about a week, using wire transfer. Since it had to be delivered from Italy to Belgium, it was very fast.

Package contents
When it arrived, the package contained:

  • Muffler and linkpipe
  • Bracket (with rubber protector)
  • 2 Springs and spring covers
  • Clamp (which didn’t fit)
  • Spark arrestor
  • dB-killer
  • 2 spacers and a bolt

Installation
Installing was fairly foolproof, but you have to use the old clamp and the original bolt.
When istallation was complete, it looked okay, but upon closer inspection, the muffler hits the right indicator and the rear fender. I looked at the pictures on their site, and that looked even weirder than mine, but it isn’t such a big problem.

Sound
The bike sounds a bit more agressive with the new muffler mounted, and finally people will see and hear me coming in the traffic jams.
The sound is a low rumble, but when pinning the throttle, it screams with a lot 🙂
Using the dB killer is also easy, sound is a bit more civilized, but it feels like the power is blocked.

Conclusion
It’s a fairly good muffler for the price I paid. Great finish, but the fitment isn’t always right. It doesn’t rust (because it’s made from stainless steel), and with the dB-killer mounted, it still is a sporty exhaust.
If you want to buy an MSR exhaust, you can always visit maccasport.com or msr-exhaust.it.

 

 

Review: HJC IS-MAX II

When I broke my old helmet (an LS2 370 Easy) because the visor gasket was disintegrated,
I  was thinking about a budget friendly, higher quality, better looking helmet.

Offcourse I was thinking about buying a Schuberth C3, but 350+€ was a bit too much for a student like me, knowing I’d scratch the visor up in no time.

I looked at soms Shark Openline helmets, but they were too claustofobic for me.
The Caberg Tourmax was also a viable option, but I was taking in mind that the peak can catch wind easily, but I’ve never test-driven one, I’ll keep that one in mind for my next helmet.

So I went on and searched, and found the HJC IS-Max II.
Build quality was good, wasn’t too heavy for me, and has the option to build in some speakers. (more on that in the upcoming review of the Sena 3S).

The HJC IS-Max II is a modular helmet, great for people wearing glasses, I don’t want any other helmet than a modular one, only because it’s so comfortable to put on and walk around with it.

This one came with a chin curtain, a pinlock visor, and a handy carrying bag I never use.

The only downside to modular helmets is that there’s an awful lot of wind that can get in your helmet via the small creases.

I’ve chosen for the color white, because it’s a nice contrast with my black motorcycle and suit. It’s also funny because the sony action cam is also white, which makes the cam fit in with the picture.

Ventilation is a small bit of a problem, I don’t feel any good airflow inside my helmet, even with all the ports open. Sometimes I have to open the visor a little bit to let some air in.

I sometimes wear this helmet for about 7 hours straight when I’m working, so it’s quite comfortable.

So, talking prices: The HJC IS-MAX II costs about -,€250, which is not that much for a helmet, taking into consideration that it’s a modular one.
Full face helmets cost also a lot less, just because there aren’t any moving parts that need some serious engineering.

All in all, I find this helmet a good choice for myself, but if I break it withing 2 years, I’m going to buy me a Caberg Tourmax, just for testing it out.

Here’s a picture of the helmet 🙂

IMG_20160214_141214

 

Review: The Sony HDR-AZ1VR

A few months ago, I had a car pulled out on me, which led to a small collision resulting in the cars wiper fluid reservoir and bumper being destroyed.

There was less damage to my bike, only a bent gear lever. Since I was going home from a long day of school, and wanted to go home, we (the car driver and me) opted to not fill in any forms, I didn’t bother because my bike was scratched up already on that side, and his car was a wreck.

After that, I searched for some helmet cams with a good enough FOV and resolution.
I was thinking about the New GoPro Hero, but that one didn’t have a replacable battery, and is also too “blocky” for my taste.

So I went on and searched, till I found the Sony AS100V, but the price, that was a bit too high, till I saw the Sony HDR-AZ1VR.

The Sony HDR-AZ1VR was the perfect companion for me, not too bulky, and even rain-proof without a case, which meant great audio!

In addition to the AZ1VR, which costed me around -,€250 including the Live-View remote, I bought the helmet side mount (VCT-HSM1) and a 32GB Sandisk Class 10 card, which in total sums up to -,€300.

The camera is not so easy to set up. I was fiddling for a quarter of an hour, just to get the live-view remote to work. But when I was ready, everything was set up via the remote.

I thought the image stabilisation will help me getting a smoother image, but it zooms in too much. All my videos are recorded in 1080P 60FPS without image stabilization.
When the camera is in the case, the wind noise is just horrible, even a muffler doesn’t work.

I then took the camera out of it’s case and jerry-rigged a piece of fur on the microphone holes, and it seemed to work, but I still have a problem with buffeting on my motorcycle.
That’s why the audio is so unclear.

Operation time
– About 60 minutes till battery empty on “Wifi Setting on”, I haven’t tried wifi off yet.

I’ve also bought some “DSTE” replacement batteries for the AZ1, they fit right, and hold the carge very well. I could record for about the same time as the original NP-BY1.

If I didn’t have a helmet cam, and hit him in the flank (where he’ll drive off) I never have proof of what happened.

 

Review: Moto-Adventure-Tech Crashbars and Rack for the Suzuki XF650 Freewind

Right now a month ago, I’ve received my new crashbars that i’ve ordered of moto-adventure-tech.com.pl/.
Here is a short review of the crashbars and rack, including pricing.

First of all, let’s see what I’ve ordered.

1) Stelaż Givi Kappa (Rear rack for Givi & Kappa panniers)
2) Gmol Model ADVENTURE (Basic crashbars)
3) Dodatek Górny do Gmola Adventure XF (Tank protectors)
4) Dodatek Dolny do Gmola Adventure XF (Steps & pedal protectors)

It was delivered in about 1-2 weeks, using priority shipping.
Costs a little bit more, but wasn’t a problem, since it was just -,€4 extra.

img-20160114-wa0002_zpsxsad4fux
It came in a cardboard box, wrapped in a plastic bag. The delivery guys should be more carefull with my parcels. Luckely it was very well packaged, only 1 missing bolt.

img_20160114_133050_zpswh189cw4
This is just the standard issue crashbar, looks a lot better than an Hepco & Becker one.
The crashbar mounts with new internal hex bolts to the engine mount and footpegs.
Sturdy enough for me.

img_20160114_135902_zpsefebj2yz
This is with thebar with extra tank protector and step-and pedal protector.
It’s about a -,€45 option.

img_20160114_135927_zps2zhqeojn
It also doesn’t stick out as much as an Hepco & Becker bar, which is very convenient for filtering motorcyclists like me.
It also gives it a better look, but it weights down the bike a lot more.

img_20160114_151907_zps3tynrg8q
I haven’t got a proper installation guide for the rear rack, but I can tell you that the rear rack mounts to the rear footpegs and the original topcase carrier bolt-on points.

In total, the whole set isn’t wider than my handlebars and filtering through traffic isn’t a problem.
The only thing I had to do was raising the bike a little bit more to compensate for the extra weight.

Let’s summarize everything in a category.

Build quality and looks
– Tig welded, fully powdercoated, made from thick steel tubes
– Kicking it will definitly hurt your feet
– The rack doesn’t fit very well, some power is needed to pull it in place.

Funcionality
– Symmetrical built rear rack, no wider pannier on the left hand side
– Crashbar protects the sides fully, including the pegs and pedals

Pricing
– I paid about -,€280 for the whole set, including shipping and transaction costs
– An Hepco & Becker Crashbar and rack costs about -,€312 without shipping

Advantages
– Very sturdy, that kind of quality is just nice
– Price
– Looks nice
Disadvantages
– Doesn’t fit always that right
– Sometimes the footpeg protectors are in the way of the shift pedal
– Weights a lot

You can find this set for the Suzuki Freewind XF650 at:
Moto-Adventure-Tech.com.pl (opens in new tab)