June – Ride report

We have got good weather, as it can be good at winter time. Started in a light drizzle, then some “proper” rain, some wind, sunshine and finally a drizzle again. The road conditions were just as “colorful” as the weather. We rode through on roads which were just enough wet to keep the dust on the ground, roads with pools of water, muddy roads and even some dry and dusty roads.

Finally, when we arrived to the coffee shop at the end of the ride, all motorcycles were covered with a healthy layer of mud, dirt and dust, and all five of us had an ear to ear smile.

We need to say thank you to John to recommending this route and being the road captain at this time.

If you missed out on this ride, you can join us on the next KLR Ramblers ride (15 July).

Here are a few pictures I snapped on the ride.

Click on the thumbnail images for the full size pictures.

May ride report

Despite the unstable weather eight of us gathered at the Puhoi Domain car park Saturday morning.

We had everything during the ride. Wet road, dusty road, drizzling, medium rain, heavy rain, sunshine and wind in all sorts of strength. We even run into a convoy of the New Zealand Military Vehicle Club on Kaipara Hills Rd.

I can say all of us had both fun and challenges on this ride, it was a really an adventure.

Thank you for all of you to coming along on this ride.

100110021003

Ps.: Mr Bond did not turn up finally. I guess he could not find a helmet in Q’s gadget storage….

April ride report

Since I could not make it to the ride, Anton was the road captain this time. Here is the account of the ride from him.

Thank you for organizing this ride! Combination of the route, the time of the year and the weather, made the scenery very beautiful.
From my arrival at 9:30 till start of the ride at 10:30, turned up quite a few attendees, me, my self and I, just to name a few. Through the whole ride, there was only three or four splashes to give a dust free experience. It’s become even more amazing when after each splash the sky was clear and sunny with some high clouds. On top of that, fresh autumn air supported by trees and their dropped golden leaves turned almost every corner into an artist’s painting.
Once I got back to Puhoi a short shower went through, giving time to have a snack and wash all dirt from my bike. What a great service!
I’ve never seen such a beautiful autumn in New Zealand.

Here are a few pictures from the ride if you are interested.

Click on the thumbnail images for the full size pictures.

Art of noise

Don’t worry, I am still writing about motorcycle riding and not taking a side trip to discuss the 80s’ synthpop group “Art of Noise”. :-)

I have always seen motorcycle riders wearing earplugs. For a long time I attributed it to loud exhaust systems, but the real reason to wear ear plugs on the motorcycle is to block out the wind noise.

A good road helmet can be really quiet while adventure and off-road helmets are way much noisier thanks to the design which did not keep the low noise levels and aerodynamics as a priority.

Some research revealed a set of ear plugs being promising, which was narrowed further down due to the very limited selection available on a reasonable price on New Zealand. I am not questioning the superiority of some custom moulded earplugs but the $200+ price for a pair seems excessive even with built in earphones.

After a visit to the local motorcycle shops and the DIY stores nearby, I ended up with three sets of ear plugs.

  • Moldex pocket pack
  • 3M Tekk 25 dB corded
  • DeWalt 33 dB corded
plugs
Moldex, 3M, DeWalt

 

The Moldex is the cheapest in the line-up. $2 for the two pairs in the carry case. These foam plugs does not have any rating on the package. I found the noise reduction performance below my expectations and the foam a tad too hard for me.

Experts recommends not to be exposed to noise louder than 85-90 dB for an extended period of time. Considering the average motorcycle muffler sound being around 90-100dB plus the wind noise, depending on the helmet, I was looking for at least 20-30 dB noise reduction rate (NRR) to stay on the safe side.

The 3M earplugs showing a 25 dB NRR on the packaging, but it was also bearing a sticker saying it meets only 18 dB by New Zealand standards. Since I do not know what is the NZ standard in details and how it is applied on earplugs, I took the 25dB with a pinch of salt and bought this pair. While I  did not like the material and the performance of the Moldex ear plugs, it is absolutely subjective and can be questioned, but the 3M is a total failure for me, not suitable for motorcycle riding. It is way too hard and the core is sticking out too much from the ear, which made it impossible for me to wear under the helmet. It was impossible to insert or take it out from my ear without causing pain. Since the 3M plugs failed at the very first steps of the test, I cannot report on how it is reducing noise. $6.90 was wasted (for one pair), and with this pricing the 3M is the most expensive participant in the test.

The DeWalt earplugs are cost the same as the 3M but you will get two pairs and a carry case. These plugs are made from a very soft memory foam which gives a high level of comfort. I  cannot complain about any discomfort after wearing these for an extended period of time. The advertised 33 dB NRR did sound correct by my subjective judgement. It made the “high speed” ride in the off-road helmet pleasant. It took a bit of time to get used to the less engine/road noise but I could adjust quickly. On the other side, the gravel ride was way less enjoyable with the ear plugs. On longer gravel rides, I will take out these ear plugs since there is not much wind/engine noise around 50-60 km/h and the feedback on the ride, in the form of the noise from the motorcycle, the tyres and the road, is important for me. Another plus for me is the plastic cord connecting the ear plugs. It gives confidence to me to push in the plugs far as I can into the ear canal for maximal performance without the fear of not being able to get it out again without medical help. The cord also protecting these ear plugs from being easily lost or the need to stuff it into pockets with questionable cleanness when you stop for a short break or a pit stop for petrol.

As the result of this limited and very subjective test, I can recommends the “RADIANS DeWalt DPG65 BELL SHAPE CORDED DISPOSABLE FOAM EARPLUGS” for motorcycle riding.

winner
The winner

February ride report

This summer doesn’t pamper us with the abundance of good weather. The rainy weather of the last week shrank our group to a three bikes ride for the weekend. I need to admit, this ride was a bit of a gambling, weather wise. Fortunately we got only a two minutes light drizzle near at the end of the ride only, but all three of us arrived dry to the end of the ride. The only “drama” was a broken mirror, thanks to the soggy grass at our mid ride stop. But looking on the bright side, the road was wet just as much to keep the dust on the ground and the sun did not boil us in our riding gear. It was a great Saturday ride again.

Here are some pictures from the ride. If you click on the thumbnail images, you will get the full size pictures.

Thank you guys for riding with me this Saturday, it was a great day.

Putting numbers behind the “Whoaaa!”

Just a quick follow up to the previous post. I did measure the difference between the stock light bulb and the Narva +50 Longer Life, much as the limitations of a mobile phone allows it.

ilum.png
Picture is from advrider.com and not related to my testing.

 

The stock bulb measured at four meters distance on the brightest spot as 2350 lux, while the Narva +50 Longer Life measured as 3010 lux. Finally the numbers are showing +30% (with a bit of a round-up) brightness for the Narva bulb.

Always take numbers and measurements from manufacturers with a pinch of salt.