Bruce M Sabin
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The Bike  •  The Trips  •  The Gear

The Gear

Here's some of the gear I use in my motorcycling life.
Remember, I commute on my Sportster, so my gear gets plenty of use.

A Garmin Quest 2.

I've been pretty happy with the Garmin, which was a Christmas gift purchased for a great priced because it was refurbished. The battery life is supposed to be up to 20 hours, although I haven't tested it that far. One downside to the Garmin and the RAM mount is that there is no way to charge it while riding. I don't have an outlet, anyway.
Using the Garmin is pretty simple, but I find the computer program that came with it to be a pain.
On a road trip to Tallulah Gorge State Park (GA), the GPS saved me a couple of times. I had it turned off most of the time to preserve the battery. But, if I felt I was lost, I could just turn it on and it would guide me back.

FirstGear Escape Pants

I bought these pants on 50% off clearance for $125 in Dec 2009. They were to replace the Tour Master Jean Pants I had before. I mostly wanted waterproof overpants, and the armor was just a bonus. So far, I've been quite happy with the Escapes. My Tour Master pants were waterproof for a while, but soon that wore off and I got wet patches. Also, the legs of the pants didn't have zippers or elastic, so rain spray would go up my legs and make my shins wet. The Escape pants haven't shown any of those problems yet. They were waterproof and the zippered legs close tight enough to get water out. The pants are also a lot more comfortable than the Tour Masters. And the pants have 4 waterproof zippered pockets.

I have Dowco Iron Rider luggage for my trips.

I have the Main Bag and the Roll Bag.
The smaller Roll Bag is a great addition because I can pack my expensive items (e.g., camera) in it and then I can simply detach that bag and carry it into restarurants, etc. So, while making a short stop on a road trip, I don't need to leave the most expensive things out on the bike. At worst, someone steals my clothes in the Main Bag.

Arai Quantum 2 full-face helmet

I bought the Arai at Sky PowerSports in Lake Wales, FL in April 2005. I've worn it for well over 40,000 miles and it's beginning to show its age. Some of the trim materials at the bottom are starting to break, but the basic structure is still good. This was the first expensive helmet I ever bought; previously I thought of $150 as an expensive helmet. One thing I immediately noticed, literally as soon as I put it on the dealer parking lot, was the vents work really well. On past helmets, I always wondered whether the vents did anything at all. On the Arai, I could feel a breeze going through the vents while I was standing in the parking lot.


Harley-Davidson Ultra Jet 3/4 helmet

I bought the Ultra Jet from Seminole Harley-Davidson in Sanford, FL back in August 2009. The helmet was 75% off from the original $175. The helmet comes with the sun visor shown in the pic, as well as a full face shield that replaces the visor. This was my first non-full-face helmet, and I was a little unsure about getting one. I like the protection of full-face.

I have found that the 3/4 helmet, especially with the visor on instead of the shield, is much nicer to wear just riding around town. It's comfortable and exposes me more to the world around me. Of course, that exposure is what makes the helmet a little less safe.

On a recent 1310-mile 3-day road trip, I wore the Ultra Jet instead of my Arai. I thought I was taking a chance, but it turned out I liked the 3/4 helmet much more than a full-face on the long trip. First, the Ultra Jet is a lot lighter than the Quantum 2, and that matters a whole lot after 10 hours of riding. Second, the Quantum 2 fits so closely that it puts pressure on my ears. In normal riding, that isn't a problem. But, after a few hours, that pressure can make my ears a little sore. Then, if I take the helmet off at a food stop, it's actually quite painful to pull the full-face back over my ears. Any experienced hiker knows you don't take your boots off until the end of the day, because putting them back on hurts. The same with the Quantum 2. But, that was never a problem with the Ultra Jet. The helmet doesn't have as much padding around my ears, so there's no pressure on the ears.

Harley-Davidson Quick-Detatch Compact Windshield

I bought the windshield from Lakeland Harley-Davidson when, one weekend, they had a sale 20% off windshields. The shield has a quick-detach feature that allows it to go on or off in about 1 minute. In all the months I've had it, I only took it off once to show my dad how easily it comes on and off. But, for someone who would like to take the windshield off for around-town and put it on for highway trips, the quick-detach feature would be great.

I've been happy with the shield, over all. I've like it to be a little wider, but this still does the job well. Memphis Shades makes the Memphis Fats that is a little wider. But, I didn't want to take any chances on fit, so I went with the HD model, especially since the sale made them comparable in price.

I actually tried to save money at first by buying a Memphis Shades handlebar mounted windshield off eBay. The shield was touted as fitting all motorcycles. But, I couldn't get it to fit. So, I called Memphis Shades and they told me it wouldn't fit the Sportster Custom because the handlebars and low and there's not enough room for the mounting hardware. That experience made me a little timid about buying non-Harley gear that I couldn't see and test out first. Luckily, I was able to return the Memphis Shades shield that didn't fit. And plenty of people have used the Memphis Fats with good success.

Oh, and while the Harley website says this shield may require relocation of the turn signals, it didn't.


Agape, Sophia, Servitutis: de Deo, cum Deo, pro Deo