I hope you’re all enjoying a great Easter break, and those who are so inclined are out riding.
It’s been wet the last couple of days, and I’ve had a few commitments with family and other work…which is making excuses for not having done any riding.
Darren and his scorching XL650 motard dropped in to say hello yesterday. That bike of his sure is horn. I wish I’d photographed it.
He dropped in just after I’d carefully and responsibly riding work’s Triumph around the streets to see how the new BarkBusters felt, and to make sure I hadn’t made my usual cock-ups and left cables and hydraulic hoses tangled or catching. For a change, I think I got right.
BarkBusters supplied the aluminium guards and what I think are Storm fittings, but a pair of Blizzards were also included. I’ve been using muffs for a few years now, much to everyone’s amusement – although the adventure guys seem far more open-minded about them – so I was keen to have a look at the Blizzards.
They’re a really nice bit of gear.
The only pair I’d had a close look at were a bit floppy and looked okay, but I wasn’t rapt in them compared to the Oxford Bone-Drys I’ve been using for ages. Now I’m starting to wonder if the first pair I saw weren’t fitted with much care, because the ones I’ve slipped on to the Triumph are really smooth. The handguards are model-specific for the Triumph, so I had high expectations for the fit. and those expectations were entirely met. But the Blizzards are a one-size-fits-all deal, so I didn’t have such high hopes for them.
I was more than pleasantly surprised, though. They not only fit nicely, but the thought that’s gone into their design is impressive. The designers obviously rode, or listened to riders, because the Triumph is a bike that won’t need the Oxfords.
The mounting is hugely important to these kinds of hand protection. The Oxfords are a quilted kind arrangement that relies a fair bit on the rigidity of a plastic spine to hold they’re shape. They have a real tendency to cover switchblocks and, at speed, the wind sometimes squashes them down to contact hands and levers. Here’s a pic of the Oxfords on my bike so you know what I’m talking about…
In all fairness, I’m run them on half-a-dozen different bikes every winter, and I’m always extremely grateful to have them. But the Blizzards have a short aluminium spur where the Blizzard mounts to the handlebar end, and the edges are reinforced with something fairly tough and springy.
I don’t think they offer quite as much coverage as the Oxfords, but I’m only talking about maybe a centimetre or two in the length of the cuff, and that arm of a jacket takes care of the lower arm. So will winter gloves, so I don’t think there’s any loss of coverage there. The other design advantages more than make up for it, and I intentionally rode without gloves so I could get good idea how much wind was running onto my hands. It’s not much.
As a crowning glory, there’s a velcro-mounted baffle or shield inside the Blizzard that can be shimmied around where the inner edge – nearest the triple-clamp – meets the ‘bar, and with a little experimentation, it can be sorted so virtually no air at all sneaks in there.
I’m really rapt in the whole BarkBusters set-up. They’re really nicely made, the instructions are excellent, and they really look good. If you’re thinking about staying warm this winter, it might be worth having a look at these.
The Triumph has a heavy work schedule over the next few weeks, and I’m looking forward to that!
Meanwhile, Marty’s been sending e-mails about he’s powering through the next disc. He’s making me feel guilty because he’s doing so much work…almost.
He has it right on track, so be ready for a sneak preview as soon as we can swing it. Maybe we can organise a preview ride. I’ll have a chat to him and see what he reckons.
Dan Vaughan rode the Dominator and was on the phone to tell me he had no idea the situation was so bad. He said that, after he’d ridden down his street, he thought any cars behind him would’ve had to pull over because they wouldn’t have been able to see through oily smoke the bike left in the still air.
So that’s not looking too encouraging.
Granite Crumble in a couple of weeks! I hope we get a few pics and a report!