Used And Abused
What looks like a fairly simple helmet is actually jam-packed full of features for a shorty. First off is the Speed Dial adjustable fit system, which lets you fine-tune the fit of the helmet at the turn of a knob at the base of your skull. It also reduces the tendency for this helmet to lift off the head at speed, like most other half-helmets do. Another bit of flare is its retractable sun shield. We have used this type of system on many full-face helmets, but never on an open face. It looks lame when it is down, but it worked well when it was and we found ourselves using the shield more and more the longer we wore the helmet. Other notable features include a removable neck curtain for those chilly days, as well as inner pockets for audio and Bluetooth offerings, if you feel the need to be connected.
The two biggest complaints we have of most DOT half-helmets are that they sit up on the head like a friggin’ mushroom and are usually really heavy. Well, Bell killed these two pet peeves with one stone with its ultra-light TriMatrix shell construction. With this wonder-stuff Bell was able to make a thinner shell and keep weight to a minimum while still passing our country’s strict helmet laws. Kudos to Bell for this feat of magic.
After some time under this helmet, we are convinced that if you are a law-abiding helmet-on-the-half-shell kind of person, this one should be at the top of your shorty list.
EarthQuake 1/2-inch Impact Wrench
There are just some things on our bikes that need a heavy hand. When breaker bars and bent tools have called it a day, that is where air-powered impact wrenches, such as this big gun, come in.
When we grabbed ahold of this big red machine, its 6-pound weight and ergonomic layout fit our hands just right. After installing the air fitting and hooking it to our compressor, we soon found out that with its twin hammers and claimed 700-pounds of torque, this thing was not messing around. The Earthquake also has a few speeds and the strongest Reverse in its class. The thing works great, but we need to warn you that you are going to need a pretty stout air compressor to run this mighty machine. We’re sure if you are yanking drive pulleys and sprockets and getting rusted parts off of your bike, then you probably already have a big CFM compressor. This big gun is really a great deal and we think it’s right up there with the top of its class in quality at a really great price.
As we all know, threadlocking compounds go hand-in-hand with V-twin motorcycles. Many times we have learned the hard way that if this ingenious formulation is not used, many non-vital, as well as vital, bike parts may rain down on the highway when we least expect it. Threadlockers are a thixotropic fluid, which means it comes out of the tube as a liquid, but over a short amount of time, it has a decrease in viscosity and firms up into a more solid state. This allows it to flow onto the threads of a bolt, but when it sets up, it resists vibration or shock between the bolt and what it is threaded into.
For years, threadlockers have come in tubes and small containers as liquids. Sure they got on the bolts all well and good, but more of the soupy stuff seemed to get wasted by watery run-off than was ever used. Well, when we met up with the fine folks at Permatex a few weeks back, we got turned on to a whole new situation when it comes to locking down loose nuts and bolts. In these 0.35- ounce tubes is a threadlocking gel that has a similar viscosity to toothpaste. It has all the same strong and dependable medium-strength blue and high-strength red threadlocking goodness that Permatex is well known for, but in a much handier formula that has virtually no waste thanks to its container’s angled applicator and adjustable “gel twist” bottom which is closely comparable to an overgrown tube of lip balm.
Professional Retaining Ring Pliers
Everyone that has ever laid wrench to motorbike knows that you are going to have to deal with retaining rings, C-clips, circlips, Jesus clips, eyeball getters, or whatever your daddy used to call them, sooner or later. Having a shitty set of pliers to get these rings off is going to leave you in a poor state and your bike in an even worse one. With that said, our best advice is to spend the cash and get a set of professional-grade pliers, such as these from Craftsman. Included with this set of pliers are five color-coded interchangeable tips that take care of internal 3/8-inch to 2-inch (10mm – 48mm) rings and 1/4-inch to 2-inch external (7mm – 48mm) sized rings. The pliers can easily be converted between internal and external applications on the fly by simply switching the lever on the face of the pliers and squeezing. With all the heartache in the world today, having the right tool for the job can and will give you some internal peace. And by having these pliers in your toolbox, you also will be adding a cornerstone to your personal garage nirvana.