Product Reviews

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Oxford Hot Grips (Sport)

I have had my set of Oxford Hot Grips (Sport) on my 1250 Suzuki bandit for the last three winters, and have found them invaluable. Although Adelaide winters are not that cold – occasional mornings down to 4 or 5 degrees Celsius – navigating commuter traffic with warm responsive hands is a must. I find I can wear medium weight gloves on even the coldest days and rarely have to have my grips on anything lower that the second lowest of the four available settings.

The grips come with a controller that can be bar-mounted to existing standard mirror brackets via the supplied mounting plate. It can also be stuck to a flat surface provided you can find a suitable area on the dash that is about 4cm x 4cm.

The weatherproof controller has an On/Off switch and then 2 buttons to toggle up or down through the four heat ranges, which are displayed by four separate (and differently coloured) mini LEDs. The lowest setting is suitable for those days in the 15+C range, and the settings increase progressively to the top heat level which I like to refer to as 'Weld'. Warning, plastic gloves would be inadvisable at this heat level which I am led to believe can generate up to 50C. J

Suffice to say that you would be hard pressed in our conditions to find yourself without a suitable heat range.

The Oxford grips compare very favourable to those on the BMW F800GS I rode around Peru whilst following the 2012 Dakar. The BMW has only 2 settings, and whilst belting through sleet and snow at 3500+metres with ambient temperatures at minus 3C, the hottest of the BMW settings couldn't cut it. I tried the BMW grips in more gentle conditions, too, and I didn't feel they put out anywhere near the maximum heat levels of the Oxford grips.

The Oxford unit has a small electronic box that connects between the battery and the dash or bar-mounted controller and the grips themselves, and this has a failsafe which stops the grips consuming voltage if the battery drops below around 12.8Volts, so if you inadvertently leave the ignition on the grips will not drain your battery. The lights might, but the grips won't.... J

To further ensure battery drain does not occur, I would advise anyone to wire the connections to the battery via a 30Amp relay, and put a fusible connection between the relay and the hot terminal of the battery. The switch circuit (pin 86 on the relay) can be spliced into the tail light circuit, for example, so as soon as the lights go on, the relay is energised.

See my post on this issue on the NSW Bandits Forum.

If you are planning on using other electrical items like GPS, phone chargers, etc, I can also advise on how to set up a common power source from the relay to allow rapid connection of additional devices.

Installation is straightforward. The most work is generally removing your old grips and cleaning off any residual glue on the bars. After that the trick is to dry fit the new grips, and work out how you have to position them to clear the clutch lever and brake lever when they are pulled in. The grips have a bulged output to supply energy to heat them, and you need to pay close attention to how you want the throttle in particular to be positioned for the normal range of openings.

Once you've settled on the correct position, follow the instructions supplied and apply the SuperGlue to hold them in place. Note that SuperGlue will stop them rotating when they shouldn't, but the nature of this glue means that if you decide to remove the grips for some reason, sliding a screwdriver between the grip and the bar should be enough to shear the adhesive and release the grips.

Then it's time to hook up the idiot-proof connectors, check everything works OK, and then judicious use of cable ties to tidy it all up.

In my own experience, the $120 or so for the kit and around $25 for the relay and fused link and wire has been a cheap solution, compared to the amount of comfort it has supplied.

I'm happy to help anyone who buys a set and wants to fit them properly, too. Probably take no more than 2 hours out of my life......

Cheers

DaveB, Sabers Committee

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Rescue tape

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The uses are limited only by your imagination.

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Rescue Tape® boast an impressive 700 PSI strength, so it easily repairs a radiator hose, heater hose, fuel line, wet exhaust hose, air hose, water line, or just about anything that you can wrap it around, and even works over wet, dirty or oily surfaces. This is exactly what boaters wish duct tape could do! Rescue Tape® is ideal for emergencies on and off the water. More than two-thirds of the "Vessel Assist" Rescue Boats in the USA now carry Rescue Tape® as a standard item on their boat.

Rescue Tape® resists up to 8,000 volts per layer! It is fantastic for electrical wiring; use it to wrap wiring harnesses, waterproof electrical connections, and protect battery cables and terminals. Combining electrical resistance with heat resistance and being waterproof provides for a bullet-proof electrical connection, virtually eliminating corrosion! This is especially beneficial for eliminating electrical problems stemming from salt-water corrosion. With our unique CLEAR Rescue Tape®, boaters will love being able to wrap electrical connections and waterproof them, while still being able to visually inspect the connection to assure there is no corrosion or damage, and be able to see the color and even the print on the wiring. This is especially beneficial for coax cables going up the mast, or installation of marine electronics. Rescue Tape® can be easily removed with a knife or scissors and never leaves any sticky residue like electrical tape.

Rescue Tape® is great for rigging, too! Sailors can use it for whipping the ends of rope, wrapping turnbuckles, spreader boot covers, mast boots, or anyplace else where rigging tape is used. Rescue Tape® is so versatile that it can also be formed into an emergency o-ring or even a fan belt, is fantastic for wrapping oar and tool handles, or neatening up lines and wire bundles in stowage. It will never come unravelled like most tapes do, and when removed it never leaves any sticky residue behind like traditional adhesive tapes! Boaters will be excited to keep this one in the toolbox for those unpredictable emergencies. Rescue Tape® is quite possibly the strongest, most useful, and most versatile repair product on the market. This is the "no-brainer" repair solution that will make you say, "Now why didn't I think of that!"

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Price $24.30 a roll including GST

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Venture Battery Heated Gloves

Venture (Epic Series) Battery Heated Gloves

Why Heated Gloves?
After my trusty heated hand grips finally gave up the ghost after 7 years a few mates said heated gloves were well worth the investment. So I decided to try them. When I first saw these gloves advertised I thought they’d be cumbersome, chunky and stiff. But they are surprisingly very soft and flexible.

Design
They’re ergonomically designed with gel pads in the palm and knuckle area, and cover well up your arm. They are not a liner, they replace your normal gloves. Made with good quality vinyl materials with genuine lamb skin leather on the palm and fingertips. A velcro adjustable strap across the back of the wrist and an adjustable self-locking elastic thingamajig you pull to ensure a good seal well past your wrist.

Gloves

How do they work?
Thin micro fibre heating elements inside the glove trace around the perimeter of the hand and top of the fingers so warmth is circulated throughout your hand.

heating-element
A small button (the controls) on the back of each hand lights up 3 heat settings for low medium and high.   Two small light weight rechargeable slimline Lithium-Ion batteries sit in the cuff of each glove, where the tiny coax plugs also hide.
To recharge you just unzip the side of the cuff and hook the connectors up to your portable adapter charger which comes with it or they can be removed very easily to recharge as well.   

Glove battery 

 How long do they stay hot and dry?
The official website states you can get continuous heat for up to 8 hours per charge on low, 4-5 hours on medium, and 2 on high. I tend to stop more frequently for rests and always turn them off then, and I can get 4-5 hours on medium to high. Unfortunately if the battery runs out before your end destination it’s a heavy disappointment. While the gloves are still fairly good even without the battery heat, I’ve learned to take liners and even a second pair of gloves with me on longer trips just in case. The gloves are rain proof to an extent but certainly not torrential rainproof. I never go anywhere without my rain proof over gloves packed, so I don’t really care.

 

Where can you buy them?
You can only get the Venture on line.  They are not available in the shops. I got mine from Venture Australia within 24 hours of leaving for a big trip. The staff were extremely helpful. There’s also a guide on their website to measuring your hand so you can order the correct size and videos of almost all their products in action – which by the way also includes heated jackets and vests, portable heated wraps for the neck, shoulder, back and elbows, heated pants liners, shoe insoles and glove liners! These guys are GOOD!

Written by Allicat

 Addendum 28 April 2014: Since Alli wrote this review the Venture Gloves people have made contact and provided an Australian sales link and advised that flat rate shipping of $10 applies to a sale and can get to you in 1-2 days compared with $35 and 5-10 days from US site, so here are the current links:
www.ventureheat.com.au or www.zarkie.com.au

 

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Oxford Hot Grips

 

Oxford Hot Grips

When I took up riding again living in Canberra, I couldn’t believe how freakishly cold it would get on the bike. Getting ready for my first trip to Phillip Island, I was whinging about how bloody cold it was even with all the best gear on, and then one of my mates said ‘here give me your hand I’ll put it somewhere warm ....’ and he put my hand on his (cough) grip. Well that was it. I went straight to the bike shop and got myself a pair of Oxford Hot Grips. That trip to PI was the best ride ever, my hands were always toasty warm, even through my thick gloves and my Andy Strapz waterproof Over Gloves.

 hotgrip-prem-advent-pack

Once you get heated hand grips on your bike, you’ll wonder why you waited for so long. They heat up almost instantly and are well and truly on by the first km. They are powerful enough to heat your hands through the thickest of gloves. In fact they get bloody HOT if you leave them on full. They are a godsend for those early morning rides to work in the freezing cold, and an absolute delight on those long trips when you have all the right toasty gear on but your hands still freeze. Some online reviews state they also help to reduce hand numbness and fatigue associated with cold weather riding, so you get to ride longer and have much better control over the motorcycle. I certainly can vouch for that.

 Oxford grips are easy to fit and do exactly what they’re meant to. A simple gadget for a reasonable price with a mammoth return. They’re sold in all good bike shops and everything you need including the instructions is in the remarkably small box. Once installed, they’re a small weatherproof control on your handlebars. There are plenty of installation videos and tips on Google and You-tube which I recommend you check out if you’re thinking of installing them yourself. Or you can get them put on professionally. Just make sure that whoever installs them, wires them up so that they turn off when you turn off your bike. This will avoid the definite flat battery you will experience the first time you forget to turn them off at the switch.  

There are a number of different types of grip designs whether you’re a tourer, commuter, or adventurer. (I read that the sports grips can be a bit tough on your gloves tho).   They do make your grips slightly fatter tho but I got used to it very quickly and now any bike without hot grips the bars seem just too skinny.

 oxford grips

Oxford Hot Grips certainly have advanced since I got mine in 2005 - and mine have seen me through almost 80,000 kms. Unfortunately they’ve finally given up so I’m getting a new pair. Not bad getting 12 years out of just over $100 investment. These days there’s an “Essential” range and a “Premium” range. I had a quick look on their website, and the Premium range is definitely what I’ve been used to.   For all the technos out there, there’s plenty of specs available on Oxford’s website, www.oxprod.com and if you google there’s zillions of reviews, forums, videos all about Oxford grips. Other brands do sell ‘Hot Grips’ but I’ve heard so many people scream ‘don’t bother unless they’re Oxford, they’re the best!”. Also, don’t be confused with ‘Oxford Hot Hands’ which wrap around your existing hand grips and can be transferred a lot easier to another bike. But this review’s all about the Hot Grips because that’s what I had and that’s what I’ll get again. I wouldn’t bother with any other brand. They’re a low cost effort for big return. Oh, and while I prefer to support Australian made, Oxford are a UK company, but unfortunately I haven’t found an Australian product to match yet.

Written by Allicat

 

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Renapur Balsam

Renapur Balsam –

 renapur-balsam

 

What is it?

The BEST and EASIEST leather conditioner you’ll ever come by. It takes seconds to treat your gear. It definitely prolongs the life of my leather boots, gloves, jacket (and heaps of other non-bike related things). It’s especially great for reviving old cracked stiff jackets, pants, boots, gloves, or gear that’s gotten soaked and become brittle as it’s dried out. The stuff penetrates the leather – it doesn’t just sit on top and make it look shiny. It’s made entirely from natural ingredients - mainly bees wax, jo joba oil. It smells like .... bees and honey.

 How did you come by it?

A well-worn motorcycle rider mate used to rave on about a leather conditioning product called Renapur (weird name I thought). He insisted I get some if I expected any of my leather bike clothing to stay waterproof and last a life time, like they’re supposed to do.

A couple of weeks later I was at Phillip Island in the Expo Tent and there was a huge line of very excited people and others all ‘oohing and ahhing and saying WT? and Wow’ and more holy moly type words which I’ve simmered down for this review. Some of them had one shiny boot and the other boot incredibly crappy disgustingly dusty dirty – which was pretty strange.
It was the Renapur stand. They were doing demonstrations on anyone’s shoes. I was impressed with the noises coming from the crowd, so I thought I’ll try the small size first – 200 gm (250 ml) screw top plastic pot – complete with sponge to apply the stuff. The size of the pot fits in the palm of my hand.

 How do you use it and what do you use it on?
I still have the same container I bought back then and it’s not even half empty. I’m still using the same sponge too. (Admittedly I don’t clean my boots as often as recommended but still, they look like I do!!) A smidgen goes a hell of a long way, and you don’t have to polish it off.
Use the sponge dry, wipe the sponge across the balsam in the pot (DON’T dig into the stuff), then wipe the stuff over your shoes, gloves, etc. It takes seconds. The instructions say to wipe off any excess with another cloth and no need to polish. But I have the application down pat now, and I know just how much to put on so I don’t have any excess to wipe off. I definitely don’t polish.
I use it on my leather gloves, my Rossi boots, my work shoes, my leather bags (being a girl I have MANY of many different colours), my vinyl bike seat, leather lounge at home, my car dashboard, side trims, rubber weather trips, and if I had a horse I’d use it on the saddle and tack as well! Oh and good for waterproofing wax jackets too. I’ve ridden in the most horrific downpours for hours and my boots have always remained dry.
As always with the internet these days, there’s heaps of reviews and videos on this product and how to apply it. I can’t stress enough not to over apply it, you’ll just be wasting your money and your time having to wipe off the excess.

I’m so impressed with Renapur as a product I bought their Leather Cleaner product too, after my cat shat on my leather lounge... You’d never know now!!

Where can I get it?
Not from any store, it’s available online from the manufacturer Renapur or through other online means. It’s often at motorcycle expos. For what it does it’s not expensive. It’s not an Australian product but then neither is my bike. But at least my boots and jacket are!!

Score? 10 out of 10.

Written by Allicat 

 

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