This week's Bike Shed Gear Guide guide covers vintage style motocross lids, squealing bike locks, Para packs, tread printed key fobs, and strangely - a deck chair. And why not?
DMD RACER HELMET
Good looking retro styled full faced lids are pretty thin on the ground, with only a handful of manufactures responding to the demand, and with varying success. Italian manufacturer DMD make the super cool Racer, which is a modern take on the old school motocross lids. It has a definite 70s feel, with a wide opening and curved chin guard that characterized the first full face motocross helmet that debuted in 1975.
DMD have focused hard on the dimensions of the helmet in order to get the smallest homologated shell possible, whilst being careful to provide a comfortable fit. It features a Carbon / Kevlar shell with a removable and washable liner. A padded chin strap is secured with a with double D-ring closure. It is ECE 22.05 and DOT approved.
It is only available in gloss white and comes with three snaps to fit a peak or a visor, although they’re best worn with a pair of goggles. A variety of colours would be a welcome addition, but it looks terrific in stark white. There are some great examples of this lid custom painted.
This lid is the business for Dirtquake and this weekend’s revelry at ScrambleOn! https://www.facebook.com/events/1442012876068908/
PRODUCT REVIEW - CHAPMAN PARA HAVERSACK
The Para haversack is based on a classic WW2 paratroop design, and can be carried as a conventional laptop briefcase or, through its adjustable parachute webbing strap, worn on the back like a backpack.
The dimensions are L38cmxH34cmx20cm. The shell is 24oz British dyed and proofed canvas, with detachable and adjustable parachute webbing shoulder straps. It’s trimmed in vegetable tanned leather. It has one large main compartment with adjustable strap and buckle flap fastening and easy access clog balls. It contains a padded interior laptop compartment and a large front zippered compartment with a poppered storm flap. It also has poppered side pockets which are large enough to carry the shoulder straps. It has a leather covered handgrip, and the solid brass hardware includes British cast buckles.
I’ve had my Para haversack for five months, and has become my main form of luggage. Up until ten days ago when my bike was thieved, I commuted every day to work with the Para. It has a considerable capacity for a bag of it’s size, comfortably housing my Mac, drives, a stripped down camera kit and gym gear. There’s also enough room to stash waterproofs.
Its boxy design is efficient and it sits comfortably on the back. The straps are thick enough not to bite even the bag is fully loaded, and I have the straps adjusted so that the bottom of the bag sits on the saddle behind, thus distributing the weight. It’s also waterproof, I know that having been caught in a summer storm that drenched everything else except the contents of my bag. Maybe I should have crawled inside it.
Once off the bike, it’s smart enough to be used at work. It’s also a good size for an aircraft carry on bag.
The Para is a simple design that is unfussy and utilitarian. It has a retro military feel, but not to the point of making you look like an extra from ‘A Bridge Too Far”. It’s a welcome alternative to a modern nylon rucksack with the seemingly standard bewildering array of flappy straps.
The Company was founded in the early 1980’s by a local businessman, John Chapman. From a standing start he created a thriving business selling British made bags all over the world. They make all their bags in their Tannery Road factory, part of an old industrial site dating back over 300 years. They use high quality natural materials of British origin wherever possible.
The Para is practical, good looking, and ideal for work on the bike.
PRODUCT REVIEW - XENA XX14 ALARMED DISC LOCK
So just in case there’s anyone out there in the known universe who doesn’t know, I recently got my Husky stolen. I’m on a mission to not to be a victim twice. I’ve been in search of the ultimate portable lock. I just bought a Xena XX14.
An extremely strong lock body and piercing alarm make the high-performance XX14 a remarkably effective way to protect your motorbike. It has a high nickel-content stainless-steel mono-block construction with a broad fit profile and 14mm double-locking, carbide-reinforced hardened-steel locking pin. It has freeze-spray resistant, pick-resistant key and barrel. It’s contoured edges makes it difficult to grind or get a purchase with hammer.
Shock and motion sensors trigger a piercing 120dB anti-theft alarm powered by a single CR2 long-life Lithium battery. Self-arming, with no on-off switch, it re-sets to armed mode within 15 seconds.
It’s a heavy little lock that should do the job from preventing someone rolling away with your motorcycle. It’ll certainly make a nasty noise whilst he tries to crack to it, which is a good deterrent in itself. It appears to be high quality and more robust than other disc locks of its type. It's well thought out, convenient, and hopefully effective.
CHESTER BELTER - FLATTRACKER DUNLOP/GOODYEAR TREAD LEATHER KEY FOB
Chester Belter Leatherworks was founded as a handmade label in 2012. Rich, the owner, and sole employee, makes everything by hand. “Looking back, it was my interest in bicycles and customising old motorbikes that brought me to leather and how adaptable it can be as a material.”
Rich is entirely self taught “The whole handmade process of sourcing the best leather, part artist, part architect, part constructor and ending up with a unique practical leather piece is completely satisfying, and keeps me learning.”
Everything is designed in Rich’s West London workshop. All items are hand stitched using a traditional saddle stitch using the best quality leather, hardware and linen thread which he waxes by hand using beeswax supplied by a friend who keeps his own bees.
Each Flattracker is individually debossed with the unique tread pattern and Chester Belter maker mark on the reverse. The hand stitching channel is deep skived giving extra protection to the final hand stitching. The solid brass nickel plate 1" D ring is hand stitched into the fob, and the securing backstitch is taken all the way across the horizontal below the D ring giving form and function - somewhat over engineered but it results in them being totally unique. They have a satisfying thickness in the hand.
Check out Rich’s site for his other products, from belts to lanyards, leather rolls to ipad covers and belt loops.
Rich invites is to 'Support handmade', and we do!
VOLTs MECHANIX BIKE APPRECIATION DECK CHAIR
We spend so much time making our bikes run sweetly and looking even sweeter, we can be forgiven for gazing lovingly at our steeds for more than a moment or two. Bike Builders Clive "Churchill" and Mr. Wood at Volts are so clearly pleased with their endeavors that they’ve manufactured a chair for precisely that purpose.
I gazed jealously at the pair of chairs that they had parked up beside their show bikes at the Bike Shed III event. As my feet screamed at me mid-way through the second day, I kept catching sight of Churchill reclining, basking in the adulation his bikes enjoyed. In his own words:
“We got tired of sitting on old paint cans so we made some deck chairs, this one is teak framed with saddle leather. Painted by our own dirty hands and so comfortable that my old mum went to sleep in one when it was raining outside. We use them for sitting down and breathing in the pure awesomeness of our bikes, listening to Tangerine Dream (hippies - ed.) and sleeping off hangovers.”
I may have to pilfer one and sit comfortably to watch all my mates lobbing their bikes into a ditch and flinging themselves arse first into the mud at Volts' hosted ScrambleOn! this weekend. http://www.volts-mechanix.com/ringmer.html
Volts make them to order and paint pretty much anything you like on it. These can be propped up in the corner of the garage and packed away in the van. Genius.