Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gear Review and updates: First Gear Heated gloves and Slime Moto spare pump.

Ambient temperature 32F/ 0C

Like a craze burger-eating fool after a long night of throwing back a few IPAs, eating some fries trying to squeeze a Heinz bottle running low on ketchup I am trying to squeeze the last few rides out of Moto season 2011. And so I woke up this morning to a sunny, bright but frigid day! The thing is, it was so nice out I could almost hear Bono in the background singing “It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away”, and like most dedicated motor heads I had to go out if only for a short stroll…and to test out some gear.

But before we get to the gear let’s go back in time. It’s late one evening back in winter ’09 around 12:30 am; I’m finishing my bus route pulling into the bus depot. I have a three-mile bicycle ride home ahead of me; temps are in the 30’s F/ 1C, no problem right? Except my gloves are useless, I arrived home and what used to be my hands are now ice blocks and they hurt and burn so bad, I considered making my way to the ER fearing if I did nothing I’d surely loose some fingers. Half hour later and warm water and I regained some feeling on my hands and swore that I ‘d never go through that unnecessary agonizing pain again.

Fast-forward to September ’11; before I went on my tour I picked up a pair of First gear heated gloves and today was a perfect day to test them to their full potential. My first impression: heated gloves are a necessary, inconvenient luxury. These things are thick, cumbersome and make you feel insecured about your moto skills at first, like a High School junior trying score a prom date. I geared up, warmed up Scully and we were on our way. My first thought is: wow, my hands are warm! I can feel the temperature differences in a couple of points in my body where the wind was leaking in but not my hands. At least not the top of my hands, my palms did feel a bit cool but nothing uncomfortable. After a while my hands were so comfortably warm that I had to turn the heat off, they worked well around 30F/0C and up to speeds of 40mph/64kph. They're supposed to be water proof but I have not had a chance to fully test that claim. I did find out that if your hands are wet it's almost impossible to get these gloves back on as the liner sticks to the skin.

The part about being inconvenient plays in when you have to figure out how to route the wires and temperature regulator (troller) and connect it all to the bike and yourself. The wires are as inconvenient as an ex-fling who can provide you with some “comfort” but you have to endure the aftermath. So far I run the wires through my sleeves, I rigged the troller with some electrical tape to my left torso (see pic) and coincidentally am able to see the settings through my left mirror when I need to make adjustments. I think they are a bit of a luxury because these are pricey or maybe I’m just a cheap bastard, either way I hope these things last. I don’t plan to ride in any colder weather, so at least for now the gloves are working well. The fit is ok, the workmanship is questionable and durability is to be determined. I will write a long-term report later.

The second item on my list is the Slime pump. I got this pump after getting sick of hunting down a gas station that had an air pump to top off my tires and being extorted for a buck each time, it’s freaking air and I’m buying petrol! Oh wait, what was that? You want another dollar out of me, no thanks. I figured after a few times of pumping my own tires this thing will pay for itself. So far it has worked well and efficiently. It does however vibrate so intensely that if you leave it on the ground you’d think it might brake into pieces.

Lastly, my tank bag has proven to be practical and durable, once again I stuffed this thing with groceries to the max and it held in place for the short ride home. I’d probably not stuff it this way on a long trip since it does become a bit obtrusive, but overall I’m still happy with this purchase and would recommend it if you are in the market for a tank bag. That’s enough rambling for today, if you are in a warm climate what are you waiting for? Get out and Enjoy the Ride.

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