Category Archives: Motorcycle Accessories

The best Sold Secure motorcycle ground anchors

If you want to stop your motorcycle from getting stolen, the best way is to chain it to something solid so that it can’t be moved. Chains and disc-locks will slow a thief down, but unless the bike is physically shackled to an immovable object, then it’s easy for them to simply lift your motorcycle into the back of a truck. Once they’ve done that, they can move it to a place where they can cut through any locks with no risk of getting caught.

But what do you lock the bike to? It needs to be something that can’t easily be cut through or moved, otherwise it’s pointless. You need a ground anchor – a hardened steel loop that you can chain your bike to, permanently secured to the ground, or a wall, so that it cannot be moved quickly or quietly.

There are plenty of ground anchors on the market, but how do you know which are strong enough to protect your motorcycle? One of the toughest standards for motorcycle security products is run by the UK’s Sold Secure. This independent testing lab was originally set up by the British authorities to help consumers choose locks and other security equipment that would offer a better level of protection.

So, ground anchors which have received Sold Secure certification are a safe bet.

There are a few different types of anchor. Some are designed to be sunk into wet concrete that then permanently sets to hold them into place, and these are most commonly placed in the ground. Others can be secured into place using masonry bolts that can attach the anchor either to a concrete base or wall.

Kryptonite Stronghold Anchor

A Kryptonite ground anchor
Kryptonite Stronghold Ground Anchor
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This bolt down ground anchor has a Sold Secure Gold rating for motorcycle security, making it about the strongest you can buy. It’s designed to be bolted to the ground or a wall, and comes with two masonry drill bits (a small one for a pilot hole, and another for the correct bolt size) to help you fit it.

Because the bolt heads are sunk into the body of the anchor itself, they are extremely difficult to remove – the heads cannot easily be ground off with an angle grinder. Once this thing is fitted, it’s not going to come out with a lot of noise and mess.

The surface of the anchor is rounded and the shackle folds down flat so that it can safely be ridden/driven over without damaging your tires. It’s just 1.65inches high with a diameter of 7.5inches. The shackle itself is made of 16mm hardened steel-carbon alloy, so it’s not going to be easy to cut through.

Oxford OF440 Anchor Force Ground Anchor

An oxford ground anchor
Oxford Anchor Force Ground Anchor
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This Sold Secure Gold rated bolt-down ground anchor uses two hardened steel plates to provide a dual-layered hard target for thieves. The plates are secured to the ground or a wall with four anti-tamper expansion bolts.

Once firmly screwed into the base, these bolts then have a ball bearing and steel plug attached to their heads, which makes it all but impossible to remove them quickly and quietly. If a thief tries to take the bolts out, the plugs just spin harmlessly leaving the anchor securely fastened. Even drilling them out would be hard – the only way to get through is to cut through the two separate plates, which would be noisy and slow.

The advantage of this ground anchor is that it’s large enough to run at least two chains through. So if you need to secure a couple of bikes, or you just want to put extra chains on the same bike, this is idea.

Oxford OF442 Terra Force Ground Anchor

Oxford ground anchor
Oxford OF442 Terra Force Ground Anchor
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Another Sold Secure Gold rated anchor, the OF442 is designed to be sunk into concrete, making it even harder to attack. It’s pretty easy to install this type of anchor, as you can buy a small bag of ready-mix concrete from most hardware stores. You just need to dig a suitable hole, mix up the concrete and then just set the anchor while it’s still wet – within 24 hours it will be ready. Pro-tip – buy more concrete than you think you need, it’s not expensive and it’s far better to have too much concrete than too little for this kind of job.

The shaft of the anchor has two protruding steel bars running through at right-angles, so once it’s all set into hard concrete there’s no way any motorcycle thief is going to be able to pull it out of the ground. The loop at the top is made of 1 inch thick case-hardened steel,  which should resist most kinds of attacks, and the inner loop is a little over 2 inches in diameter so most chains should fit through easily.

Choose this anchor if you want the additional ultra security of having an anchor sunk into concrete, or you just don’t want to do the drilling required for a bolt down anchor.

Review: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 Chain and Lock

Motorcycle lock and chain
New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Lock
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Thieves love motorcycles, they’re popular with both joyriders and professional thieves because they’re relatively easy to steal and resell. The best way to protect yourself is to make it as hard as possible for the bad guys to move your bike.

A good chain and lock will slow them down a lot, and thieves hate being slowed down because it increases the risk of getting caught, so a lot of the time they’ll leave your bike alone and find an easier target. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 Chain and Lock is one of the best motorcycle security products currently on the market, as it provides a highly visible deterrent as well as being extremely tough.

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain

The chain itself is made from manganese-steel, a hardened alloy that is much more resistant to abrasion and impact than ordinary steel. This means that it’s harder to cut through with an angle grinder, and to shatter with a hammer and chisel. The steel used in the chain links is 14mm thick and six-sided rather than round, and this makes it better at standing up to attacks from hacksaws and bolt-cutters.

The chain is wrapped in a protective nylon sleeve so that it won’t scratch your bike’s paintwork when you lock it up. It’s available in different lengths, but the most common is 5ft. This is ideal for shackling your bike to a ground anchor or other solid object, whereas the shorter versions will probably won’t work well with motorcycles.

The New York Fahgettaboudit Disc Lock

Close up of a motorcycle lockThe lock can be used to shackle the ends of the chain together, or as a standalone disc-lock. The lock features an oval, hardened steel crossbar which is 15mm thick, designed to resist leverage attacks – where a thief uses a crowbar to try crack open the shackle.

The body of the lock is also made of hardened steel, and is made to be highly resistant to picking and drilling. It’s been tested and approved by Sold Secure (a security product testing lab set up by the British police), as well as Thatcham (a testing lab set up by the British insurance industry). These two standards are internationally respected, and provide a high degree of confidence in the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Lock’s quality.

Like any chain, this Kryptonite product is not 100 percent thief proof – but the point is that the amount of time and noise it would take somebody to break this lock is more than most professional thieves would risk. Kryptonite rates its own products on a scale between 1 and 10 for security, and the Fahgettaboudit is its highest rated lock and chain.

Close up of New York disc lock and keysThe total weight of the lock and chain is 15.25 lbs, so it’s quite substantial but not so heavy that you couldn’t carry it around on the bike in a backpack. It comes supplied with three stainless steel keys, one of which has a built in LED light, making it easy to unlock the chain at night. You can register your lock with the company’s KeySafe program, so that if you lose all of the keys you can simply order news ones using a unique code.

This is one of the most popular locks on the market for motorcycles and cyclists alike, and with good reason. If you want a solid lock and chain that will make thieves think twice about trying to take your bike, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Lock will do the job.

About Kryptonite

Kryptonite is one of the most trusted brands for cycle and motorcycle security products. Founded in 1971, the company invented the concept of the U-lock and has refined its products over 40 years.

www.kryptonitelock.com

Motorcycle lift table buying guide

A rear view of the Roughneck motorcycle table lift, with a bike on it
Recommended: Roughneck Motorcycle Lift
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Doing routine maintenance or repair work on a motorcycle usually means you have to get down on your knees to get to all the important stuff. This makes things difficult and uncomfortable, before long your back and knees are aching and you just want to quit.

But there’s a solution – you can use a motorcycle lift table to raise the bike up to a more comfortable level, providing you with much easier access to the engine and other components. Lift tables used to be expensive items, which meant they were mostly reserved for professional motorcycle workshops, but now they’re much more affordable.

What is a motorcycle lift table?

A motorcycle lift table is a large flat piece of steel plate which you can wheel the bike onto, with a wheel-chock (also called a wheel-vice) at one end that locks the front wheel into place, securing the bike in the upright position. Most models will also feature metal d-loops which allow the bike to be further secured with tie-downs.

Usually the steel plate that forms the table will have a textured surface which makes it easier for the motorcycle tires to grip, and less reduce the risk of slipping. Also, most lift tables will feature a ramp so that the bike can be wheeled on or off easily, and this can often be removed for convenience once the table is in use.

Once the bike is safely secured to the table, it can be raised up to a suitable level, using compressed air, hydraulics or some other system. Air operated tables will require a suitable compressed air source, so might not be ideal for everybody, whereas hydraulic systems are self-contained. Most hydraulic lift tables are foot operated, with pedals to raise and lower the the table.

Lift tables are rated for different weights, so owners of large touring or custom motorcycles will need to ensure they choose a table that can safely handle such a heavy bike.

Some high end motorcycle lift tables feature a built in jack or center-stand, which allows the user to raise one or both of the wheels so that they can be removed for tire servicing. Most tables also feature a ‘drop-out plate’ which, when removed, makes it easier to take off and replace the rear wheel.

Do not confuse lift tables with other equipment for lifting bikes, such as a motorcycle jack, which is a much smaller device that sits under the frame or engine block to raise it off the ground. Jacks are good for taking wheels off and servicing tyres, but don’t provide the stability that a lift table does. If you’re going to be doing a lot of work on the bike, a table is the best option because it won’t wobble or tip when you’re applying a lot of pressure to troublesome bolts and suchlike.

The best motorcycle lift tables

Budget option: Hydraulic: Roughneck Motorcycle Lift

A front view of the Roughneck motorcycle table lift.CHECK LATEST PRICE NOW

At the time of writing this table is listed at under $500. It uses a hydraulic lift, which requires no external air or power supply – you just use a foot pedal to raise or lower it. It can be raised to its full 30 inch height in under 20 seconds. Despite the low price, the table is fully featured. It has a diamond plate steel base, adjustable wheel vice, drop out plate, and d-loops for tie downs.

The table itself measures 86 and 1/2 inches by 26 and 3/4 inches, and it has a lifting capacity of 1000 pounds. Once raised to the desired height, the table can be mechanically locked into place for extra security.

Air Operated: Redline LD1K Light Duty Lift Table

CHECK LATEST PRICE NOWA side view of the redline motorcycle table lift

At the time of writing, this table is priced at under $600. it uses an ‘air over hydraulic’ system, so you will need a compressed air supply for it. This table has most of the features that you’d expect from a high end product: a sturdy tire-vice at the front to hold the bike upright, a ramp, a drop-out plate, d-loops to attach tie-downs.

Don’t be fooled by the “light duty” name either – this table has a 1000 pound lifting capacity, and an 86.5 inch table length, so it can handle most motorcycles. It can be raised to a maximum height of 30 inches.

Heavy Duty: Rage Powersports BW-PROLIFT-HD

A rear view of the rage powersports motorcycle lift table, in the lowered positionCHECK LATEST PRICE NOW

At the time of writing this table is priced at just under $1,100. If you want to work on really big bikes, you need extra lifting power, and this high end table can lift up to 1,500 pounds. It also has a large table area than the other tables too, 105 inches long and 24 inches wide.

The table features a ramp, adjustable wheel vice, and drop out plate. It also includes an integral center-lift to make it easy to lift the wheels off the able for easier tire servicing.  It’s air operated, so you’ll need a compressed air supply with a minimum of 90psi.

This is the pricier option, but if you have a larger bike it’s worth the investment.

Are gel motorcycle batteries the best choice?

Batteries are the unsung heroes of motorcycle components. They sit quietly tucked away, getting on with their job and never really get noticed until they go wrong, and then suddenly you realize just how important your motorcycle battery is.

For the most part, modern batteries are pretty reliable – they can sometimes degrade over time, or if you leave them drained for too long without keeping them charged up regularly, and occasionally they can be killed by very cold weather. But even though the traditional zero-maintenance lead-acid battery (used by most motorcycles) is fairly bulletproof, there have still been some improvements in the design.

Gel motorcycle batteries are one of the most popular upgrades. A conventional battery contains a liquid electrolyte (sulfuric acid) and even though the battery is sealed, it still needs to be positioned correctly to keep that liquid acid where it needs to be. A gel battery, as the name suggests, does not contain liquid but a gel electrolyte, which does not splosh around.

The key benefit of using gel in a motorcycle battery is that it allows the designers to fit the battery into different positions in the frame because it does not need to be upright like a traditional battery. A gel motorcycle battery can be on its side or upside down with no problems. This means there’s more flexibility in the way the bike can be designed, which is especially popular among sports bikes and custom café racer builders.

There are other benefits to gel batteries too. The electrolyte cannot evaporate or get spilled, and are better at coping with vibration and high impacts, making them safer. Gel motorcycle batteries have a shorter recharge time than ‘wet’ batteries, but they are more likely to fail if they are accidentally overcharged, so for this reason you should always ensure that you only use a battery charger that is designed to work with gel batteries.

Another plus point for gel batteries is that they cope well with deep-discharge, so they can recover from being completely drained better that wet batteries, although this will still degrade their life if you do it too much. Gel batteries can also hold their charge better, so do not lose power as quickly if they are left charged up but unused.

Typically, gel batteries are more expensive than conventional motorcycle batteries, although as they become more widely used prices are falling thanks to economies of scale. It’s also worth noting that they have a shorter life-span, so might not last as long as other batteries. Another drawback of gel batteries is that they do not perform as well as other batteries in cold conditions, and can lose power under freezing point more readily that different types.

Are there alternatives to gel batteries?

While gel batteries offer several useful benefits over conventional wet lead-acid batteries, they might not always be the best option. Another type to consider is an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery, which uses spongy glass matting to store the electrolyte, rather than suspending it in gel.

The end result is a type of battery which has many of the same benefits of gel, but without many of the drawbacks listed above. AGM batteries cope with extreme temperature ranges a lot better, so if you live somewhere cold they’re a better option.

AGM batteries perform better than gel in situations where a quick burst of energy is required, for example, cranking a starter motor.

So, with all the same benefits as a gel battery, but with fewer disadvantages, our advice is that AGM batteries are a better alternative. And that’s reflected by most motorcycle manufacturers, which typically favor AGM over gel batteries as OEM equipment in their bikes.

 

Motorcycle Brake Pads 2017 Buying Guide

A single motorcycle brake pad.
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Brake pads are one of the most important parts of your motorcycle, right up there with your tires. Like tires, good quality brake pads will improve the overall handling of your bike, but it’s when you need to do an emergency stop that they really matter.

If you have to scrub off a lot of speed quickly and safely, you need to know that your brake pads are up to the job so you can brake with confidence. Pads are consumable items, because they wear out over time, so they need to be checked and replaced regularly otherwise there’s a risk they will fail to work effectively in an emergency.

A brake pad consists of a flat metal base with a pad of material that is used to grip the brake disk tightly and slow the wheel’s rotation. That material wears down slowly, and you need to replace the pads before the material is entirely gone or else the bare metal base will be forced against the disc during braking, which will fail to slow the bike down and damage the disc.

On most motorcycles it’s easy to take the dust cover off the brake calipers to inspect the pads visually. If the pad material is worn down to 2mm, or the wear indicator is no longer visible, then it’s time to replace the pads. A brake caliper uses two pads, and you should replace both at the same time, and if your bike has two calipers on the front wheel it makes good sense to do both calipers at the same time too.

Again, as with tires, pads come with different types of material that will affect how the braking works. You can buy softer pads with more stopping power, and these will wear out more quickly, or you can buy lower-friction pads made from a harder wearing compound. Your motorcycle manufacturer will recommend what grade of pad to use, and for most riders it’s best to stick with that.

If you want to use a more powerful brake pad than is recommended for your bike, make sure you also have very good tires that can cope with more aggressive braking. Also, spend time practicing and getting use to the feel of the pads, because it takes skill to control a motorcycle under heavy braking.

Brake Pad Grades

The different levels of friction of brake pads is shown using a grading system of E to H, with E having the least stopping power and H having the most. Motorcycle brake pads are often graded with two letters which show the pad’s friction level when it is cold and when it is warm. In the past brake pads often did not work as well until they warmed up, but that’s not really true any more so even though we still have the same grading system it’s rare to see pads graded with two different letters.

In most cases, motorcycle brake pads will be graded HH, but check your manufacturer’s recommendation to be sure.

Brake Pad Types

The main difference between the different types of brake pads is in what kind of material the pad is made from.

Sintered – sintered pads have a very high level of metal particles in the braking compound. This provides great stopping power, and these pads are usually recommended for everyday road riding and for high performance bikes.

Semi-sintered (aka semi-metallic)– these have a lower level of metal particles in the braking compound and provide consistent braking regardless of temperature. Recommended for touring.

Organic (aka NAO, non asbestos organic) – often contain a material such as kevlar as an alternative to hazardous asbestos which used to be common in brake pads. Organic pads provide a smoother braking  feel to sintered, and some riders prefer this. Can suffer from brake-fade where the pads lose efficiency under frequent heavy braking, so not recommended for sports riding.

Ceramic – the pad material contains ceramic particles, which provide different characteristics to metal sintered pads. They provide great cold performance and are less noisy than sintered pads. Ceramic pads are seen to offer the stopping power of sintered pads, with the same smooth feel as organic.

Brake pads are critical, so it’s important to buy from a trusted supplier. While there are a lot of brands in this market, we highly recommend staying away from the cheaper, unknown makes and sticking with those that have proven track records.

It’s always advisable to buy OEM pads from your bike manufacturer, but the third party brake pad brands we also recommend are:

 

 

The best motorcycle security chains for 2017

Motorcycles are attractive targets for thieves because they’re easy to steal and sell. There are lots of ways you can protected your bike, but a strong motorcycle security chain is always going to be one of the most effective deterrents.  Not only does it provide a big visual sign that the bike is protected, which will deter casual thieves, a good quality chain will also make life difficult for more determined criminals.

Ultimately, if a professional thief really wants your bike, they will find a way to take it. But if you can put as many obstacles in their way to slow them down as much as possible, so that it’s really hard for them to take your bike quickly and quietly, the chances are they will give up and find a weaker target. A hardened steel security chain with a strong padlock will do exactly that.

Wherever possible, chain your motorcycle to a physical object such as a ground anchor or lamp-post that cannot easily be cut through. Simply putting the chain through the motorcycle’s wheel is not enough, because it will still be possible for thieves to lift the bike into a truck and cut through the chain somewhere private.

If you park somewhere it isn’t possible to shackle the chain to anything, you should at least wrap it through the back wheel and up over the seat, or through the frame, so that no part of the chain is resting on the ground. If the chain is on the ground, that makes it easier for somebody to smash it.

A good chain should be made from hardened steel and as thick as possible. Also, the chain links should not be made from round ‘tube’ shaped steel, but should have flat edges, either square or hexagonal – this makes it harder for bolt cutters to get through.

There are a lot of security chains available – here are our recommendations for 2017.

Oxford OF9 Boss Alarm

CHECK PRICESAn Oxford OF9 motorcycle security chain and lock

Made from hardened 12mm steel, with square links, this 6’6″ chain should be strong enough to stop most thieves in their tracks. It comes with Oxford’s highly secure Boss lock that can either be used to shackle the chain, or as a stand-alone disc-lock. It features a tough 14mm shackle and a built in 100decibel alarm which will be activated if anybody tampers with the lock and can be heard up to a third of a mile away.

The lock and chain has been tested and approved by the UK’s Thatcham Research vehicle security institute, who found it impossible to breach within a five minute attack, which is longer than most thieves will risk spending on a bike.

ABUS 1060 Granit CityChain X-Plus

CHECK PRICESABUS 1060 Granit CityChain X-Plus motorcycle security chain

Abus is one of the most respected name in the security business, and its products consistently score highly in reviews. This is a lighter chain with an integral lock, and is best suited for when you are travelling and need to carry a chain with you to secure the bike in a public place.

It’s made of 10mm hexagonal link hardened steel, while the lock cover and core components are also hardened. The lock uses ABUS Power Link Technology, which simply means that the chain is secured more solidly into the lock body than with traditional chain/lock combinations. This provides one less avenue of attack for thieves, adding to overall security.

Kryptonite  New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock

CHECK PRICESKryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock

With 14mm thick hexagonal hardened steel links, this is one of the most robust security chains on the market. It will certainly present a problem for opportunists, and even professional thieves will struggle to cut through it quickly.

The accompanying lock has a 14mm cross bar and serves either as a shackle for the chain, or a standalone disc lock. This is a very popular chain and lock combination, scoring an average customer rating of 4.5/5 from almost 400 Amazon reviews.