When it comes to a tank bag, my needs are simple: to safely house the items I wish to access easily; the ability to take it with me in a flash when I leave the bike; and to be comfortable in the knowledge that the contents won’t get destroyed in a heavy downpour. Preferably too—the thing isn’t so ridiculously large and rigid that it impinges me when up on the pegs in the dirt, where the connection to the motorcycle is weakened by an unforgiving solid mass. The latter being the reason why I’m opting to downsize to the smaller capacity and softer Diablo Pro. Not too much to ask for, no?
Yet I still want to keep my multi-tool, phone and charging lead, map (the GPS is a godsend but paper maps remain king), kickstand plate (a crushed can does the job well), earplugs, pad and pen, snacks, sun cream, flashlight and my camera. Remarkably at just 4-litres, I can still manage to accommodate all those gubbins. How considerate.
The Giant Loop Diablo Tank Bag Pro meets, if not mindfully exceeds the aforementioned wants and desires. There are myriad rider-friendly features to boot, which include:
- A convenient little porthole designed for feeding power cables through from your electronics inside either the tank bag, or the clear map pocket on top.
- The bag is fully lined with “hook-and-loop accepting” fabric, which coupled with an adjustable divider and an elastic tyre pressure gauge holder, a handy exterior mesh pocket and D-ring mounts for two 2-litre pannier pockets (not included), to my mind, make for a thoughtfully designed tank bag with clever storage.
- The product comes with a tank bag harness, and if your fuel cap is situated beneath, unzipping either side from the harness is child’s play. It also has a concave front, which enables vent hoses to breathe.
- There’s also reflective accents on the outside, keeping me high-vis wherever possible.
The Diablo Pro is made from military spec materials including vinyl-coated polyester Bomb Shell reinforced with foam, Slip-Not and clear vinyl on top, Nylike webbing and water resistant YKK zippers throughout. With a limited lifetime warranty, it’s humble in size but beefy in its offering—I wouldn’t be without mine.
Having put up with pairs of cheap Chinese mirrors and others that looked like stout white van driver’s mirrors highly prone to vibration, for thousands of miles over the last 2.5 years, one of which is dinted and thus distorts traffic on the right hand side, they’ve become a pain in the rear. The time has come to smarten up the act with a set of Double Take Mirrors.
Gloriously after 500 miles, they haven’t snapped for every time I’ve dumped the bike in the dirt. “Flimsy,” “delicate” or “dainty” they’re not. They’re attached to a ball joint, which means they’ll move flexibly if they make contact with the ground, yet because of the adjustable tension, don’t vibrate at top highway speeds either. The ball joints also enable me to position the mirrors exactly where I want them, including folding them away to endure the rigours of aggressive trail riding.
They’re mounted on sturdy RAM components too, so I decide exactly where to fix them. They also use a stand-alone rubber-mounted base, so if it does hit the ground with impact, the likelihood of breaking the perch on your clutch is slim to nil, certainly compared to stock mirror mounting. A quick readjust and they’re all set again. The crash-proof body is made from 43 per cent glass filled Zytel, synonymous with very strong stuff. Having gone down no less than ten times on the gravel trails in Alberta, they’ve cut the mustard so far.
Overall, I love that these bad boys offer me top rearview vision on and off road, yet can be neatly tucked away—way out of the way—for when I wish to play on rough terrain, offering easy-to-manage position changes as and when wanted. And they come complete with a lifetime guarantee, a no brainer if you ask me.
The pack includes: centre reach bars, centre reach mounting clamps, classic enduro looking shields, powergrip alloy bar ends and all the hardware. As well, a replaceable plastic slider at the end of the bar. Without question, this saves the bar on hard terrain. Cycra has designed the CNC machined 6061 billet aluminum bar length to allow for the clamps to move closer to the center of the handlebars. This means they attach squarely to the bar, not where the bar starts to bend or taper. It’s a complete setup, which due to easy installation, mounts easily on a Suzuki DR650.
A snug fit on my 28mm fat bar, the configuration offers good protection to my fingers from the wind, and it comes with replaceable integrated plastic abrasion guards, should damage occur.
Intentionally or not, on dirt I’m not averse to hitting brake-grabbing brush and branches, bouncing off trees and mountainsides or dropping the bike on rock and gravel, having the peace of mind knowing I’m getting maximum protection to my hands, throttle, handlebar and levers is highly comforting.
The inboard clamp is beefed up, secured strongly and rigidly by four sturdy Allen bolts–they have yet to move on me–with a thick arm rising up to mount the Probend bar. A large flanged bolt ensures a solid mount to the CRM. Out at the handlebar ends, the Probend bar mounts with a large size Allen bolt, so you can achieve well beyond finger tight there too.
What’s more, due to Cycra Probend’s distinctive shape that dips at the outside end, affords either hand to come out without issue in a fall. And at the other side, the bar features a rise bent into it in order to offer fantastic clearance to the control cables and hoses.
The two points of contention on previous versions were the mounting weakness and the constant rubbing on cables. With both items rectified now, the new Probend CRM units give riders no further cause to complain. They’re easy to install, Herculean secure and offer the highest protection, these are going to see plenty of action for years to come.
A complete convert from the outset, every motorcyclist would benefit from a handful of these straps. Aptly named after the Pronghorn (an antelope), which is fast, tough and able to withstand harsh environments. The uses of these straps are practically limitless, not to mention stunning in their simplicity. Whether I’m tying down my big roll bag to the back of my bike; attaching a bag of groceries or gallon of fresh water; securing a fuel bottle; a camera tripod; or a pair of 4 foot long caribou antlers Jason found on the Dempster Highway in Canada, the straps are up to the job. I sometimes use them to cinch the bottom of my motorcycle pant, preventing icy draughts from racing up my leg in cold weather. They work a charm!
I haven’t done so yet but you could also use them in myriad different ways (a million according to Giant Loop): to splint an injury, secure a head torch to a clear bottle of water for a stronger light at night, or use as a quick fix should something break like the sole of your boot, an overstuffed pannier, fender pack or tool tube. Simply—they’re quick and easy to use, durable and strong, as much as they’re reusable, lightweight and multipurpose.
- Tough stretch polyurethane
- Indestructible fastener
- Quick release buckle
- Scratch resistant
- Adjustable from 4” to 26” colour coded lengths
Kriega Neoprene Fork Seal Covers
It’s the simple things in life that make me happy. And sadly, my fork seals have been an endless source of irritation over a 50,000 mile and 2.5 year motorcycle trip. Until now, that is. An innovative design makes for an easy install on any motorcycle, with no fork disassembly required. In the paces and punishment through which I put my bike, I’ve never had one of these seal protectors budge from the installed position. The wrap around Velcro arrangement and a zip tie is all these need to stay in place.
The only minor improvement to the longevity of the fork seals would be to offer them in a longer length. This would prevent further deterioration / damage from ricocheting stones and so forth. Ultimately, the covers do what they’re supposed to: prolong fork seal life, keeping my fork seals free of dirt, dust and debris. And they’re easy to clean, thank heavens.
Practically perfect in every way, this is your Mary Poppins equivalent in a tool. It’s ultra lightweight at less than 100 grams (3.5 ounces) and just shy of 24 centimetres (10 inches) in length, yet has Herculean strength due to being forged from T-6 aluminium. Complete with a contoured tyre spoon on one end, a 12/13mm spanner on the other, and a hard anodized finish throughout. Although the finale feature for me has to be the Hex end, which is rated at a maximum torque of 90 foot-pounds. As pannier necessities go, that’s beyond double duty, which is more than good enough for me.
Traditionally, “Tensile Strength” has been used to measure the strength of a chain. But according to DID, Tensile Strength is only a laboratory measurement of a chain’s “breaking point”. In developing the VX Series, DID honed instead on improving chain “Rigidity”. Why? Because DID believes with conviction that rigidity increases a chain’s ability to withstand forces that occur in a rider’s real world experience. It also enhances power transfer from the engine to the ground and greater resistance to stretching under load. This translates into smooth handling and quicker response time.
And I’d have to agree further with DID that their X-Ring construction gives rise to half the power loss, compared with a normal O-Ring: “D.I.D’s PATENTED X-Ring construction reduces friction by twisting between the side plates instead of being squashed. Normal O-Rings and other makers’ modified O-Rings have squashed points that increase friction. The twisting action of the X-Ring disperses the pressure and minimizes power loss.” On top of that, you can expect 1.5 to 2 times longer wear resistance due to heightened sealing performance from the X-Ring’s four contact points. Consequently, this prevents inviting the dirt with infinitely better lubrication.
Honestly, as chains go, this one is the most hard wearing one I’ve had the stellar good fortune of using and abusing for thousands of miles. Not only on pavement but through dust and dirt, sand and calcium chloride, water crossings and a whole load of gravel, in just about all weathers.
After ditching a homemade aluminium plate that formerly accommodated a whopping big Peli case come top box, housing my drone, the immediate need arose for a smaller and lighter rear rack replacement. Cue the AS rear luggage plate. The rack is made specifically for the F800GS or F650GS sub-frame for optimal fitment. Upon fitment, no cutting was necessary. Just an easy insertion of the rack.
Installing it without fuss, the mounting system was significantly easier than getting the last solution to fit. Just four bolts and I was good to go. Once in place, the rear rack is rock solid stable. Admittedly, I’ve never been a top box fan, so supplanting that for a more flexible roll bag luggage system, ticked all my boxes from the outset.
What’s more, the construction is second to none: one that looks and is built for the long haul. Thoughtful details run throughout this piece: the holes and slots have been cut away to make symmetrical sloping edges, coupled with all the edges, which have been smoothed to prevent chafing or slashing of the soft luggage. I also appreciate the anodized spacers, enabling the ability to pass the straps through beneath the plate seamlessly. There is a myriad of places in which to secure one’s straps—18 no less!—where the side slots that run parallel, comfortably facilitate the wider straps, giving rise to a more secure fastening.
A no-brainer piece of additional kit that tucks neatly away on the bottom of the bike. When I need access to a tool–be that one of various tyre levers or spanners–I’m too impatient to abide having to unfasten my luggage and start rummaging for that needle in a haystack item. Cue the handiest solution I’ve come across to date. After over three straight years on the road, with two bikes–my own and my partner’s–to maintain and sometimes repair, this tool tube is worth its weight in gold. Cost effective, well-made and not over-engineered. Because it’s black and bolted discreetly onto the side of the engine bars, it doesn’t draw attention either.
I’ve recently swopped out my vibe old BMW F650GS single for a far more sprightly thumper of a Suzuki DR650. Some would say I’ve jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Well, I may’ve done when it comes to vibration incurred. Although tuning forks my hands no longer feel now I have slipped a pair of these grips onto the DR. They make a world of difference in preventing any tingling sensations from the constant vibration running through the handlebars.
Tingling on the F650GS eventually turned into numbness, which is far from ideal in the saddle. It’s darn right dangerous. The grips are heaven sent. And for sure, the onset of fatigue is kept in check where blisters are a thing of the past to boot.
Three in one: glorious!
This puncture repair kit does what it says on the tin, thanks to: the six patches ranging small, medium and large; a wee tube of rubber solution; marker crayon; and chalk cube. There’s also an abrasive sheet thrown in, leaving nothing else in the must have items to make puncture repairs while on the road. Trust me, there’s been a few—and why is it they always happen in the most remote corners of a region. After 50,000 miles riding from the bottom of the planet to the top through the Americas, I can vouch with conviction that this is one of my staples on the bike.