Review: Sena SR10

For almost a year I have a two way radio mounted on my bike to communicate with my dad when he’s riding behind me when we’re touring.

I tried to talk to him over the wired set, but it only transmitted muffled voice and wind noise. Even when I had my chin flap mounted.

He was sick of it and wanted me to buy a Sena SR10.
So I did when they were on stock again.

Our situation
– Bad voice quality
– Bike to car communication
– 1x Sena 3S
– Wired helmet communications

The solution was clear, the Sena SR10 will solve all these problems with wind noise, bike to car communication (this one still doesn’t exist as a standalone version) and it’s wireless!

Package contents
– Sena SR10
– PTT button
– PTT button extension cord (spiral)
– Aux cord (for when you use it with your phone/gps/mp3)
– USB and 12v car adapter
– Belt clip
– Handlebar mount kit

You still need a proprietary cable to connect your Sena SR10 to either iCom, Motorola single pin, Motorola dual pin, Yaesu, Midland and Kenwood two way radios.
These cost about 24€

I have an iCom and Motorola Single pin device. In the pic below you can see the iCom radio, because I still don’t have acquired a Motorola Single pin cable.

IMG_20170727_170051

So how does it do it?
It’s simple: Sena Magic!
For what I know, the PTT button will transmit when the SR10 is powered on, but no voice will come through if no headset is paired.
The SR10 should work with all bluetooth headsets, but with my Sena 3S I had to press the “+” button for 5 seconds to pair in “phone” mode instead of the intercom mode.

The cool thing is that the louder you set the volume on the radio, the louder it gets on the speaker.
Combined with Sena products, the sound quality is amazing, without wind noise! (as per my dad.)

Mounting on the bike/yourself
I have made a gadget rack that connects the whole “intercom array” to the bike using a rip off gopro mount. It works especially well.

IMG_20170727_183204
It’s much more easier to mount and remove the whole array than removing the SR10, intercom, cables and all that one by one.

You can also choose to use the belt clip or handlebar mount to attach it to your belt or handlebars.

Pros&cons
+ Universal pairing
+ Incredible sound transmission
+ Long stand by time
+ “Weatherproof”

– Rather expensive at 180€-200€
– Proprietary cables that cost 24€ extra
– Bit bulky

Final verdict
It’s Sena quality, so it should be all good and waterproof.
With the right radio, bike to car communications will be easier than calling.

I’ve never travelled longer than 7 hours straight, so I can’t know how long the Sena could do in stand-by and talk times, but that shouldn’t be a problem because you can charge it via a powerbank using a micro USB cable.

If you are a person that rides a motorbike and occasionally have a follow car and a two way radio set to spare, the Sena SR10 should be the solution to your problem!

Review: HELD Handlebar Muffs

It’s beginning to get colder, and that calls for drastic measures in the war against wind, rain and cold.

I’ve seen some people riding with handlebar muffs from Wunderlich, Givi, Tuscano etc… but they are too expensive for my taste. They should work well though, but I’m not planning on using it all the time, only in the winter.

Well it was time to get some, but the shop only had 2 Givi options, priced at around 50€. That was too expensive for me. They also had a set of muffs for scooters that was priced at about 20€. It was a bargian for that price!

They also had heated grips, but they cost around 50+€ per set, and you have to get a relay for it to switch it off when the bike is off too.

Ok, so I’ve bought the Held handlebar muffs, but the problem is they won’t fit over my Givi HP1111 handguards. So off with the handguards, and on with the handlebar muffs.

Modifying part 1:
The handlebar muffs slipped too much, and the velcro piece looked so weird when pulled over the mirrors. That’s when I began to poke holes in it to screw it to the bar ends and mirror. It won’t get stolen that way, and they are also much more stiff.

Testing part 1:
I went out and didn’t have cold hands, but the problem is that the muffs still collapse on the brake and clutch lever, pressing them in. At higher speeds (140+km/h), the clutch gets pulled so hard it begins to slip.
This is a dangerous situation and shouldn’t happen, but these muffs were made for scooters that travel sub 50km/h. Under this speed nothing much happens.

Modifying part 2:
Coming home, I remembered I still had some of that flower pot tray plastic laying around somewhere, and cut it in the form of a handguard so the handlebar muffs don’t collapse anymore. This was a major fail, because the flower pot tray plastic was too weak and bendy.

Since I didn’t give the handlebars away with the new owner of the XF, I still had them laying around and found good use for them. I cut them in half and fitted them inside the handlebar muffs. The plastic is thicker and sturdier than what I’ve originally planned with the tray. I could also feel a lot more room inside the handlebar muffs.

Testing part 2:
Hooray! It works! I can travel much faster without making the handlebar muffs collapse, and they work like a charm!

I also have more room inside, no fiddling around searching where all the buttons are etc.
Mission success!

General ideas and conclusion:
For about 20€, it’s the best purchase I’ve made for the bike to keep warm in the winter.
I don’t need grip heaters, heated gloves or anything of that overpriced BS.
It’s mostly function over form. My gloves don’t get wet in the rain, and my hands aren’t getting cold in the wind 🙂

Granted I had to modify some handguards that I already had to make it work perfectly, but they sure do look better than the Givi ones 🙂

The only problem I encountered was that they get wet when the bike is parked outside when it rains. Being impermeable it collects water inside too.

Here are some pictures of the installed handlebar muffs:

 

RIP Freewind, Hello NC700XA

Bad news for the Freewind, time of death: March 30 2017. Died at age 19.
Cause of death: Broken gearbox.

I was on my way home, everything was good, till disaster struck. I departed from a traffic light (that was green) and my gearbox rattled in 5th gear.
A few moments later, I lost 5th gear and it sounded like grinding gears. 1-4 still worked.
I stopped to check my chain tension and it was fairly loose, luckely I have some tools with me, and adjusted the chain.

It then continued going home and a few kilometres from home, the first gear began to rattle too and it won’t shift into 2nd gear without putting it in neutral first.

10 metres in my street, the neutral began to rattle like hell. I lost the 1st and 5th gear, and it grinds gears.

Not having time and not wanting to repair the gearbox, I started disassembling the bike for parts. I sold the exhaust to a forum member Solis 560 as a part of a donation to my new bike.
Removal of all the expensive parts I bought for the bike was fairly easy. I recovered the crash bars, pannier rack, lights, handguards, centerstand, and some other pieces that I can use on my new bike or sell.

I then put the Freewind up for sale, but only got fake bidders. Then a man called from a motorcycle salvage yard who wanted to see the bike, I said yes, but didn’t want to let it go under 400€. He kept his word and I kept mine, so I still got 400€ from a bike that is worth 1000€ when it still worked. I think it is a fair price since parts for these bikes are difficult to get, and also expensive.

IMG_20170401_181213_01

Saying farewell to the Freewind that is gone with the wind 😥

The new bike!

Looking for a new bike took 1 day. I searched for motorcycle dealerships and came out at Motorcycle center Caset in Lichtervelde.
They had an enormous assortment of new and second hand bikes. I’m still bound to the A2 35kW regulation, so I went on and looked at the second hand bikes that were 35kW. The only one were the CB500 from 2013 and the NC700 from 2013.

With sub 10k kilometres, the bike was in pristine condition, only 1 scratch on the topcase. I was directly sold, and for that price I couldn’t let it sit. (it was sub 6k). I got a touring windscreen, gel seat, ABS, topcase and carrier, new tires and a new chain. Just like new!

The salesman (and CEO) Johan Caset is also a very friendly, but hard seller. I didn’t mind, because I wanted the bike. After test driving, I was totally sold. It has low mileage, looks new, high MPG and lots of options. The ABS spoke to me the most since I rode 3 years without it.

Now its just waiting till Monday, calling my insurance to fix the papers, and getting the bike on the road to eat up some kilometres!

 

 

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.