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HJC RPHA 11 Pro Helmet – Gear Review

I’ll admit that when it comes to certain safety gear – like helmets – I’d kind of prefer to never have to find out whether it actually works. Because finding out if it works generally means crashing. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, sometimes I do get a chance to find out – as was the case last year when I binned a Harley-Davidson Street Rod (“binned,” get it?).

I’ve already told you how well the Pando Moto Boss 105 INDIGO jeans I was wearing held up in that crash, but I thought it might be a good idea to share my experiences with some of the other items was wearing. For instance, the HJC RPHA 11 Pro helmet that protected my skull from the Florida asphalt. (Note: In some markets the helmet is known simply as the RPHA 11, but it appears to be the exact same helmet.)


HJC, of course, is based in South Korea (what my wife refers to as “Good Korea,” as opposed to “Naughty Korea”), and its helmets are made there. Which, to my mind, is a positive. A quick glance…
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2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 – Ride Review

Photos by Megan Harris

"I've had a look at this motorcycle of yours whilst you were having your supper," my wife's grandmother says upon my return from the pub.
Grandma, as she allows me to call her, is upper-middle class and English to the core. She is naturally wary of Americans and has been known to suddenly burst out laughing at the idea of my being able to make a living writing about motorcycles. Add to this the fact she is somewhat deaf, a condition not helped by my natural Texas mumble, and it's easy to see why she and I don't chat a lot. When my wife is around, Grandma prefers to deal with me in third-person terms: "Now then, Jenny, does Chris want tea?"


My wife isn't around this time, though. I've ridden the 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 down to Devon on my own, staying the night, so I can get meet photographer Megan at the beach the next morning before tourists arrive. Without my wife as interpreter, Grandma and Grandad (who is also…

Ask Chris: Am I Ready for a Long-Distance Ride?

A while back, the following email hit the RideApart inbox: "I live in India and am planning a ride on my Royal Enfield Classic 350 from Delhi to Kerala. The distance between the two is about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles). I'm planning to complete the journey in two days. However, I'm a beginner in long-distance riding; so far, my maximum journey length has been 200 km (125 miles). What's your opinion about this? – Alvin"
Crikey, Alvin! No one can accuse you of lacking ambition; 1,500 miles over two days is a lot of riding. I mean, a lot. Truth is, most experienced riders wouldn’t choose to tackle such a distance unless it was absolutely necessary.
Sure, there is a certain breed of rider who enjoys testing him- or herself with long-distance Iron Butt-like sprints, but the vast majority of two-wheeled travellers would advise adding at least one more day to your journey time. Exhaustion increases exponentially when one is on a motorcycle. This can be worsened ev…

Gear Review: Pando Moto Boss 105 INDIGO Jeans

These high-quality jeans saved my skin in a crash last year “What are those? Aerostich?”
That’s the question a number of my fellow moto-journalists asked when examining the jeans I had been riding when I crashed last March. Aerostich does make riding jeans, but I'd argue they're not as fashionable as these. However, the Minnesota-based company is synonymous with high-quality riding gear and these pants I was wearing had just survived a 60mph crash astonishingly well, so folks made a logical guess.
“No, they’re Pando Moto,” I informed them.
At least three of my peers took the time to write the name down. Pando Moto is a Lithuania-based company that’s been around since 2011. Though, perhaps because many folks have to run to Google Maps to figure out where Lithuania is (north of Poland, south of Latvia, east of Sweden, west of Belarus), company founder Marius Black often prefers to promote Pando Moto as more broadly European.
And certainly Pando Moto jeans’ styling is at home in …

Gear Review: 55 Collection Hard Jacket

Product: 55 Collection Hard Jacket Made in: Barcelona Cost: €480 (US $510) Website:www.55collection.com
It’s likely you’ve never heard of 55 Collection; the Barcelona-based leather goods company is relatively small and has only been on the scene for a few years. So, allow me to introduce you to a company that’s making some of the best-looking and unique motorcycle jackets out there at the moment.

Adopting the “non serviam” nonconformist attitude that seems to run through a lot of Spain’s motorcycling culture (check out the crazy/beautiful custom works of El Solitario MC, for example), 55 Collection’s jackets may split opinion because of the company’s willingness to make jackets that are fashionable – that is to say, jackets that have a strong fashion element. The old dudes will decry hipsterism or some such thing. And indeed, I’ll admit that when company founder Aitor Gonzalez offered me a chance to try out one of his jackets I naturally defaulted to the most conservative of his offeri…

What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

Ride Review: 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited and Indian Chieftain Elite

OK, let’s address the elephant in the room: the new Indian Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite are not really new motorcycles. They are motorcycles based on an existing model that has been blingdazzled with fancy paint, stereo components, cut fenders, and a big front wheel.
As such, how you feel about these models will rely somewhat on how you feel about the brand. Most people know I’m a fan of Indian Motorcycle, so it won’t surprise you to learn I think the Limited and Elite models make sense – within context, which I’ll get to in a bit. Equally, though, I won’t be surprised when some of you go into full hate mode. Haters gonna hate, and arguably Indian’s timing has left it open to some easy jabs; this wasn’t the best way to respond to the Harley-Davidson Street Rod.
But before you fire up the TrollTron3000 let’s take a look at these two models, which I first got a chance to ride way back in February.

What’s New? Indian says the new Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite represent “…

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Ride review: Triumph Bonneville

"OK," I said. "I want one." "Well, you know, maybe you should ask your wife first." "She loves Triumphs," I said. "Still, Chris. You should give it a think. Go home, discuss it with your wife, give yourself a chance to think clearly. After all, this is one of Triumph's most popular models; there's plenty of stock available."
The voice of reason in that conversation was Drew, the salesman at Bevan Motorcycles. He was doing his best to talk some sense into me after my test ride of the 2014 Triumph Bonneville. I was wild-eyed and yammering like a teenage boy who has touched boobies for the first time. This, my friends, is what the Bonneville does to you. It is an instantly rideable, instantly enjoyable, instantly lovable motorcycle that surprises you in just how good a simple motorcycle can be.

The Bonneville, of course, is a storied machine that's been around in one form or another for 55 years. It is a classic. Partially b…