MSR, EVS Race Collar, UGP Skate Shoes - New Motorcycle Gear And Accessories - Dirt Rider Magazine Online

Works ConnectionYZ250F & YZ450F Radiator CagesIn Dirt Rider's recent shootouts, we've had prices for common parts. If you looked closely at the price of radiators, you'd see that squishing them isn't a good idea. Yamaha radiators are a bit higher priced than some, and with the new chassis and layout of the 2006 and '07 Yamaha four-strokes, the radiators (especially the throttle side) are hanging out in harm's way. Even simple low-sides on a track with soft dirt can twist the throttle-side cooler. There are a variety of radiator guards and braces available, but the new Works Connection radiator cages are my favorite units so far. The design uses a beefy aluminum plate for each side of the radiator core. Each plate is fitted so closely that holes are punched in to allow radiator seams and such to poke out. The two plates are joined into a cage with four strong aluminum rods. The ends of the rods are threaded, so the unit bolts firmly together. The cage fits so snugly that when it is on the bike you can hardly see it.The design is super resilient to impacts from any direction, and rubber buttons maintain the shock-resistant rubber-mounted function. The directions are comprehensive, but there are a lot of parts and pieces, so installation takes some time and thought. The '07s have a small brace fitted from the factory, and that brace must be removed before installation.One of the drawbacks of many radiator braces is the necessity of leaving off the stock air-guide louvers, which can negatively affect cooling. The WC cages use the stock louvers, but they do require some trimming. The directions say to cut the plastic with snips, but I used a sanding drum on a Dremel tool in an effort to make a nicer fit. These are the strongest radiator guards I have tried, and I love the design. But there always has to be a negative, right? The guards fit so tightly that WC hasn't gotten them dialed for many models yet. But at $99.95, if they do have them for your bike, I'd get a set immediately. Both guards are one-third the cost of a single radiator.-Karel Kramer

||| |---|---| | Hard Parts | 91.0| | Installation| 14/20| | Function| 49/50| | Durability| 9/10| | Design| 10/10| | Price| 9/10| || | 530.642.9488| MSRNXT GearAt Dirt Rider, we believe in being incredibly thorough with our product testing so we beat the crap out of stuff. Constantly. The abused products bend, buckle and eventually break, or they stand up to our cruel mistreatment with such nobility that we simply grow bored and start testing something else. The MSR NXT gear is a prime example of the latter.Stylish and clean, a set of the NXT gear found its way into my gear bag about a week before shootout season, the best time of the year to thrash test products. I immediately started breaking it in and found the sizing to be true to my medium-shirt/32-pant frame. There were a number of solid features about both the jersey and pant. To begin with, MSR's top-o'-the-line jersey has excellent underarm cooling panels, as well as a bit of extra material in this area to aid with airflow. The V-neck collar is comfortable and roomy, as are the stretch cuffs and nonslip tail. The pant features several smartly placed stretch panels, as well as a deviously designed set of waist cinch straps. Noticeable on the track is the lightweight feeling of the NXT setup, which feels unobtrusive without a sense of underprotection. A family of rubber accent panels on both jersey and pant blurt MSR's name without screaming it, and the gear looks great on a wide variety of bikes.Back to the durability: I continuously pummeled the NXT gear, and I can truly say that it has held up with exceptional resilience, up to the point where it was clear that I wasn't going to be blowing out the gear anytime this season. After a variety of rides (which included a handful of small crashes), the only betrayal to the NXT's longevity is a few sloppy stitches in the elbow of the jersey, a tear in the inner mesh liner of the pant and some trace dirt stains on the stretch panels. But for the retail price of $49.95 for the jersey and $145.95 for the pant, I am stoked with these results! The prolonged saddle time did unveil a few minor complaints about the NXT gear: I think the loose collar is a little prone to letting dirt in, the pant liner ought to be full-length for convenience, and the thinly padded integrated elbows don't do much. However, the incredible durability and good performance make the small quirks easy to see past. -Chris DenisonShiftLarge Gear BagYou shouldn't put all your eggs into one basket, but you should put all your riding gear into one bag. With eight compartments, the Shift Large gear bag easily fits two sets of gear, one set of boots, two helmets, a goggle, a chest protector and even a place to store your excuses for losing a race. The multitude of pockets of varying sizes lets you keep everything organized and clean (two things that pose a challenge for me).The two compartments for the boots (each holds one boot) are extremely well vented. To keep the loaded bag lighter and less bulky, I'd intended to use these breezy pockets as the perfect place to throw dirty gear for the drive home. But recently I went on a road trip, and it was great to be able to pack everything, including my boots, into one bag.The bag has a wheeled version, but I ordered the nonwheeled, much to the amusement of my coworkers. I throw the thing between two bikes and don't want a lot of bottom plastic scratching shrouds or catching seat covers. If I were planning to use the bag for airline travel, I would have gone with the wheels. As is, the bag only sees dirt and truck beds. That's the way I...roll?I gotta have complaints, right? I'd like to see a top pocket where I can store items I don't want to get smashed (like my goggle). I'd also like to see a hard-cased inner sleeve where I can stash tear offs without the chance of their getting creased or crumpled.The $99.95 bag appears well made. It has been on numerous trips to the track and still fooled someone in the office into thinking it was a brand-new bag. The bag, available only in black, has a well-padded strap for your shoulder, a hook for your keys, a padded changing mat for your feet and a nice, clean look for your image. -Pete PetersonLoggerhead ToolsBionic WrenchesAh yes, American ingenuity. This fine concept has been the driving force behind several successful products such as Ford automobiles, Pet Rocks and, more recently, Bionic Wrenches. But unlike oddities such as Beanie Babies-which bring young children hours of joy-the U.S.-made Bionic Wrenches have the ability to induce hours of frustration and anger. To start with, the wrenches fit around six to eight American and eight to 10 metric sizes each. With a six-sided gripping action, each wrench-selling for $28.95, $32.95 and $36.95 for the 6-, 8- and 10-inch versions, respectively-claims to be completely universal. In theory, this would be wonderful, but the average motorcycle bolt is fairly tucked away and this lack of clearance renders the bulky Loggerhead Tools unusable. In fact, there are only a half-dozen bolts on a bike that the wrenches will work on. To make matters worse, the nuts they do happen to fit (axles, steering head and the like) require a lot of leverage, something the Bionic Wrenches just can't provide. Thanks to the spring-loaded release grip, you can't stomp on the handle to break loose a nut, either. Trust me, I tried. A lot.I took these puppies on a two-day trail ride, and I didn't successfully use the awkward tools once. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure that this trio of wrenches does work well for some applications, such as automobiles or plumbing-but they definitely weren't designed for dirt bikes. I appreciate innovation as much as the next guy, and I certainly don't want to discount Loggerhead for developing a new idea. But if you are even slightly considering purchasing the Bionic Wrenches for motorcycle maintenance, please, save your money. -Chris DenisonEVSRC3 Race CollarI'm a big fan of protective equipment, and you can see by the photos in this magazine that I run a chest protector most of the time. The latest piece of safety equipment to rise to popularity has been the neck collar/protector. Often called a "doughnut," race collars have even been seen on some of the younger top pros, giving them a little higher coolness factor as well. I've tried a few, but the EVS RC3 is the first that hasn't been hugely detrimental to my riding.Since it easily straps to my chest protector with rubber connectors, it stays in place, and it is simple to get in and out of, which has been the biggest problem with any of the others I've tried. Since I mostly run a suspended shoulder pad, which is compounded by the fact that I also scrunch my neck and raise my shoulders (called "lowboy" style), these doughnuts often try to lift my helmet off my head and my goggle off my face. The EVS is a little thinner, and since it stays put, I can almost get used to it hitting my helmet. But I still notice it, and sometimes it distracts me from my riding, which I feel is more dangerous than protective for me personally. I haven't really noticed it doing anything special in crashes yet, either, but I haven't had a neck or collarbone injury while wearing it. I'll continue my search for better neck collars but will keep trying to get used to this one as well. I feel that safety now, especially at a very inexpensive $45, is a lot better than being sorry later. -Jimmy LewisClarke ManufacturingYZ450F 2.6-Gallon TankThe 2007 Yamaha YZ450F has extremely plush suspension and a smooth and usable powerband. Couple those traits with a five-speed, and you have the basis of a fine off-roader. It is totally fun and effective in the desert, except for one thing: The stock tank is small and black, making it difficult to gauge how much fuel is remaining.I like the 450 for off-road and track use, so I wanted a tank that would work for both disciplines. Clarke's 2.6-gallon tank (about 0.5 gallon more than stock) is available in a variety of colors, including the somewhat-translucent natural white. I ordered one, and it came with instructions and most everything needed to mount it. Since the tank fits a couple of models, Clarke doesn't drill the holes for the fuel petcock. The tank is dimpled, however, and it turned out that the dimples were perfectly located. Drilling out the holes took only minutes. The hot setup would have been to order the WR petcock, since the spigot exits in the opposite direction and the fuel line routing is nicer, but the longish fuel line that was included with the new tank worked fine for the YZ petcock.The tank mounted up easily and lined up exactly as it should. The riding position is not affected at all. In every respect the tank is completely unobtrusive. The small capacity increase is welcome on longer rides, but most important, I can see how much fuel remains with a glance. At $195, the tank is reasonably priced for the convenience and comfort it offers. I leave it on for the track, too. For riders who dabble in multiple forms of dirt biking, and especially those who ride track and GP-type events, the 2.6-gallon size is ideal. -Karel KramerSunlineThrottle LockSome things are simple and trick. The Sunline throttle lock is just that. It keeps anyone from twisting your throttle accidentally, as the aluminum piece cups the grip and holds the front brake. Some of your buddies may do this to mess with you and your trick four-stroke; most perpetrators, especially those pesky kids, have no idea and just twist, pull and push on anything they can, usually the throttle. This lock stops most of that. It will also stop the bike from rolling with front brake application, which could be of use if your pit space is uneven and you are using a triangle stand. At $14.95 in black, red or blue, it earns its keep about the third time it prevents some goofball from flooding your ride. -Jimmy LewisRacePsychArm-Pump SolvedAs an experienced mental game coach, Dr. Patrick J. Cohn came to the conclusion that arm-pump is an entirely mental cycle that can only be handled in the mind, not in the gym. His $69 audio CD, "Arm-Pump Solved," is a six-step guide consisting of mental strategies for eliminating arm-pump. While listening to the first track, I realized something: Dr. Cohn is a sock puppet. I can't tell you why, but his voice reminds me of a talking sock, and when he speaks, I can think of nothing else. Anyway, as the CD spins on, Dr. Sock Puppet throws out a number of interesting ways to relieve the tensions and anxieties that cause arm-pump. And guess what? He may actually be on to something. Although the disc is a bit cheesy and dull, there are some cool points geared straight toward racers, and their application could certainly be helpful in solving chronic arm tension. Is this audio CD a cure-all for pumped forearm muscles? Probably not, but a good head is a great start. Also, if you are ever in the mood to be soothed by a calm, monotone talking sock, you now know where to look.-Chris DenisonUGPSkate ShoeEver since Underground Products sent me a pair of its new skate shoes, I seem to be having extremely good fortune every time it graces my feet. While driving home from the track the first day I wore the UGP shoe, Big Air Tod saw fit to drive through El Pollo Loco and buy me dinner. Score! Not long after, I wore the shoes to the office and immediately found my missing memory stick. Double score! The best serving of chance occurred at the first supercross race of the year while we were having one of our regular DR tailgate par-tays. Two Gatorades and a couple of waters later, I was in dire need of a restroom. With the Porta Pottis a quarter mile away and cops watching over our truck tires, I tottered over to a nearby motor home full of partiers and asked, while jumping up and down like an agitated monkey, if I could use their facilities. The sentry then looked down, saw my feet and exclaimed, "Dude, you have the new UGP shoes? I've haven't even seen those in person since the Interbike Show! Of course you can use the bathroom!" I love these shoes. -Chris Denison