Simpson, Kershaw, Ion, and Craftsman - Used And Abused

Simpson

Snell Outlaw Bandit Helmet
The Simpson Bandit helmet is synonymous with going fast and looking mean and everyone from the myriads of motorcycle club members to the era of Hemi-powered drag racers have proven this to be fact. The Bandit series of helmets are easily noticed by their sinister appearance and silhouette that follows the contours of the human eye and face in a Darth Vader sort of way. There are more than eight different models of the Bandit helmets with most of them being fiberglass or carbon fiber specialty helmets for driving or racing.

After I decided to retire my 20-something-year-old Simpson Bandit a couple years back, I didn't really think I would be wearing one again. It was hot, had low peripheral visibility, and was pretty heavy. When I got the chance to test this new model Bandit out, I was hoping that they improved on a four-decade-old design, but wasn't holding my breath. Regardless, the Outlaw Bandit was designed to be one of best helmets for motorcycling with a series of anti-buffeting ripples on the forehead area of the helmet as well as a chin air-ram duct for improved air circulation and reduced lift. The helmet is both Snell M 2010 and DOT approved, which means it's well-constructed and built to last. When I initially started wearing the new Outlaw Bandit, it felt a little too small, but in a matter of days the foam formed to my dome and it felt like I had been wearing it for years. I liked the lightness of the new helmet and found the new outer shell design to glide through the wind even at triple-digit speeds. The helmet was nothing like my old Bandit except for the looks and I couldn't be more happy that this new helmet is my daily brain bucket.

$399 // simpsonraceproducts.com

Kershaw

Randon Leek Knife
I am convinced that you aren't a true biker unless you carry a pocket knife. They offer aid, protection, and generally something to show off if you aren't into skull rings and dangling earrings. There are a few things I personally need in a knife and the Random Leek from Kershaw has them all. The first is a partially serrated blade with a tanto tip. I like tanto tips for opening boxes, cleaning fingernails, and generally having a badass look to them. After having a serrated blade to cut rope, seat belts, webbing, or anything else of that type, I will never carry a non-serrated knife again. The second need I have in a knife is some sort of spring mechanism such as the SpeedSafe assisted opening system. Also, being left-handed I need an ambidextrous-type thumb stud in which to open such a system and of course the Random Leek has that as well. The third need I have in a knife is a pocket clip that is reversible so I can convert it to left-handed tip-up carrying. Another thing I really like about this knife is the slender thickness that doesn't crowd my pocket and the overall length of 7 inches is nice as well. The Random Leek's handle and blade are pure stainless steel, but to add to its tactical looks they both are PVD coated in grey. The Random Leek is not the newest or most expensive knife in the Kershaw lineup, but it is my current favorite, most likely until I journey into the knife store again for some real man's jewelry.

$139.99 // kershaw.kaiusaltd.com

Ion

Air Pro Camera
Personal video devices are all the rage these days. Whether capturing the cops beating down a guy on the streets or catching the jerk on camera that jammed over three lanes on the freeway without looking and took you out (true story), millions of these little HD recorders are being sold and used every day.

One of the lightest Wi-Fi-enabled HD action cameras is the Ion Air Pro. Weighing just 130 grams, it records up to 1080p video resolution with a field view up to 170 degrees. Also, 5 megapixel still photos can be sequenced one at a time, three in one second or one photo every 10, 20, or 30 seconds to create step photo video. The Ion has a seven-hour battery life and is waterproof to 30 feet with a waterproof microphone that permits some good audio while having protection from the rain.

Some of the things I really like about the Ion over some of the other video capturing offerings is that it only uses one finger (even with gloves on) to start and record, so it's really easy to manage while riding. It also comes Wi-Fi-enabled so you can capture footage and share it online without having to download the footage to your computer first. There is also a smartphone app that lets you start, stop, and pause the recording as well as transfer files from the Ion's SD card to your phone and share images for instant uploading.

The ION comes complete with everything you need including the Wi-Fi connection along with a USB cable, audio/video cable, USB adapter, pouch, mini tripod, securing string, cam locker, bike mount, helmet mount, and mount straps, so you can get that knees-in-the-breeze footage you have always wanted.

$349 // ioncamera.com

Craftsman

8-inch LED Lighted Long Nose and Diagonal Pliers Set
I'm not going to lie to you. I originally thought that having lighted handtools was about as useful as a 300 rear tire on a motorcycle. We all know that the folks at Craftsman make some fine handtools, but attaching mini flashlights to the tools? How well can they really work and why? I was thinking that as well until I snapped a throttle cable on the freeway at 2 a.m. Well, on that lonely stretch of road I got to see the light, so to speak.

I had this set of needle-nose players and diagonal cutters in my sissybar bag as well as an extra cable. While using the needle-noses to locate the old cable and re-rout the new one in the dead of night, it dawned on me just how handy these LED-lighted tools really were. Also, when I had to cut down the cable housing to fit the shorter replacement emergency cable, the hardened steel cutters did the job quickly and the bright white spotlight helped to make the job easier for sure.

After much use and a closer look at these pliers, it is plain as day that the designers didn't just stick a little light on there and called it quits. Much thought went into the design of the center hub that houses the LED and lets it rotate with the jaws, so the light is always focused on the work at hand. Well, I am going to give these lighted little buddies two thumbs up for being great tools that get the job done with a few welcomed accouterments.

$34.99 // craftsman.com