Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Motion Pro Bead Buddy II

The original Bead Buddy was developed and first offered by Motion Pro more than 10 years ago. Since then it has become one of their best selling products and one that many competitors have tried to copy. It is one of those classic “Why didn’t I think of that?” tools. With a simple and compact design, the original Bead Buddy significantly reduced the effort and complexity in changing a tire, all within a tool that is small enough to fit in a tool pack or bag and not add a lot of weight.

The designers at Motion Pro are never content to just sit on their laurels. This year they have significantly redesigned several tools, and the 08-0471 Bead Buddy II is one of the neatest new designs. While other companies are busy copying their old designs, Motion Pro is busy innovating, making their products better and inventing new products to help you get things done faster and easier.
The original Bead Buddy was made from two formed plates of steel that were welded together. While this made for a perfectly functional tool, new manufacturing processes have become more affordable, and a complete redesign of the tool was possible. The new Bead Buddy II is a single aluminum extrusion. The new curved design protects the tire rim, smoothes the path the tire follows and reduces the effort of changing a tire even further than the original tool.  And yes, it makes the tool look a lot cooler too!  Take note:  If you run Bib Mousse tubes in your off road motorcycle, the Bead Buddy II is a must have tool!
In addition to the new curved shape, the Bead Buddy II is made from aircraft grade 6061 aluminum, so it is lighter and stronger than the original Bead Buddy. Blue anodizing, and a laser etched Motion Pro logo compliment the new curved design and lets everyone know you own the best motorcycle tools made today. The Bead Buddy II is available now at Solo Moto. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Barkbusters Handguards for the F650GS, F800GS & R1200GS

Protection is a major reason for upgrades to the stock trim on the F650GS, F800GS, and R1200GS. A must have for these bikes are HANDGUARDS!

My handguard of choice for the F800GS is the Barkbusters VPS Handguard. The same part number fits the F650GS, F800GS, and R1200GS models. The 800GS weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 460lbs. Add camping gear, extra fuel, water and supplies, and that's quite a bit of weight when you drop the bike. The ends of the handlebars are always going to hit the ground when the bike goes down. This is inevitable if you are new to big bike riding or if you are like me and have to fall down to know you're having a good time. I've had the bike fully loaded- and tipped and slammed into rocks and dirt more times than I can count. My brake and clutch levers remained straight and untouched and my grips are only worm from my hands instead of having the ends torn to shreds by the ground.  Barkbusters take a lickin', that's for sure! If you need evidence take a look at some of our riding videos on the F800GS.

I took some pictures of my Barkbusters today and posted them below. I have about 12,000 miles on them and more spills than I can count.


Another perk of installing handguards is they shield your hands from cold blasts of air in the winter. Guards, leather gloves, and the heated grips have kept my hands toasty down into the high 30*'s, but that's nothing for some of you hardcore winter riders out there. It just doesn't get that cold here.

Click here for pricing and availability. We normally have these in stock and ready to ship. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MotoGP at Laguna Seca 2012

The first of our tour of gas stations
This was my first year riding up to Monterey, CA from Los Angeles with an 01 FZ1 and I have to say it was quite a memorable one. The plan was to take 450 miles of back roads all the way up.

We started off on the Thursday before the race weekend and took a riding through Latigo Canyon Road in Malibu over to Agoura Hills. A rider in our group has a mechanical issue with his FZ1 and he had to turn back (luckily he was able to rent another motorcycle and met us later that night).

The Route
From Agoura Hills we went up the 23 to Filmore, then we took Telegraph Road to the 150 into Ojai. From Ojai we took the windy 33 up to the 166 into Taft. Then from Taft we continued on the 33 and hopped on the 58 and passed by Paso Robles into Templeton. From Templeton we took Las Tablas to Vineyard Dr - which took us through some very picturesque wineries. We passed Lake Nacimiento through Interlake Road/G14.  Then we took G14 to Mission Road/Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd which took us through Fort Hunter Ligget and onto Hwy 1.

We took a bathroom break :)
If you've never taken Nacimiento Fergusson Road from Fort Hunter Ligget through to Hwy 1 it's a must! The road is very technical but it brings you over to Hwy 1 with some breathtaking views. It's a little bit hairy going through there and it really made me want a GS or something of that nature but the group made it through just fine and took Hwy 1 up through Big Sur and into Monterey.

The group rented a huge house just outside the track in Monterey and it was good times for the entire weekend. We rode into the track daily and had a blast! We even took a ride up north to visit Alice's Restaurant - which is a famous Nor Cal biker bar of sorts outside of Palo Alto. The food was amazing but I did run out of a gas on the way up there and we had to siphon from a buddy's bike. It's an "adventure" though, right?

Premium Paddock Pass
I started the day with a standard paddock pass but ended up scoring a premium paddock pass which gives you serious access. I was able to check out Rossi's helmet and Rossi himself. 

Through some other cosmic grace I found myself as a guest of HRC and ended up on a tour of the Stoner/Pedrosa's HRC Repsol Honda garage which, if you aren't familiar, is some serious VIP status! They even fed us! 

I'm looking forward to next year's adventure and, hopefully, by then I can be on a new Ducati 1200 Multistrada!

Alice's Restaurant
Parking at the track
Siphoning gas
Valentino Rossi's Rear
Rossi's Carbon AGV Helmet
Rossi's Carbon AGV Helmet
Rossi's Carbon AGV Helmet
Dani Pedrosa
Ben Spies: Injury after practice
Ducati Girls
Yamalube Girls
PSR Girl - Michelle Yee
Brammo Girls
Repsol Honda Garage Access
Repsol Honda Garage Access
Repsol Honda Garage Access
San Carlo Girls
Valentino Rossi

Monday, August 6, 2012

Frazier Mountain with the Ventura Boys

On the way to the Klim Adventure Summit in Idaho last month (more on that soon), Jayson Plummer and I ran into a group that he rides with out of Ventura County. Cameron Marshall (a.k.a. Nuclear Jesus) of BMWVC organizes a 'Gear Up & Ride' weekend about once a month. The first time I met Cam, Plums and I just happened to cross paths with him on day-1 of our 2-week trip. This time, I was voluntarily subjecting myself to the likes of this motley crew.

Saturday morning I packed up a few things and rode out to meet Cam and Steve, both of whom ride R1200GS Adventure's. We picked up Pat on the side of the road on his KTM 990SMT and found Rick at a gas station on his R1200GS. Beagle met us at the market at the bottom of the mountain somewhere around Frazier Park in his CJ7. Poor Beagle had a bum knee so he got to pilot the giant ice chest on wheels.

Pat and I swapped bikes so I got to try out the Big Orange Supermoto. That 990 engine is nice and smooth. It revved up so fast I was hitting the rev limiter without even meaning to. I thought I would hit the throttle and the front wheel would fly up in the air, but it wasn't all smoking wheels shooting flames as I had expected. Overall, the bike felt like it would handle best while being ridden aggressively, which is a good thing riding with sportbikes, but not today. In corners it wanted to drop much further than the modest lean angles I could afford within the group. Brakes were good. The throttle felt a little twitchy but this is compared to my little ADV-Touring machine so no official complaints about the 990SMT. Just a different bike all together. I could see having a lot of fun on it in a different setting.

All-in-all, the riding/camping trip was a good overnighter. Everyone got to relax, shoot Beagle's .22, and just hang out. It was dead silent up there that night. No insect noises or vehicles or anything. I think I'm addicted to the ride and camp experience. I've been on plenty of riding trips, but ever since my Grand Canyon trip earlier in the year it seems like I'm sleeping in the dirt almost every weekend now. So be it.

Another good weekend guys. See ya next time.


FREE Fuel Pak or Scramble Pak from Klim!

Klim Technical Riding Gear and Solo Moto have a deal for you!

Receive a free Klim Fuel Pak or Klim Scramble Pak when you buy one pair of pants and one jersey specified in the promotion below. All you need to do is purchase the qualifying items (one of the pants and one of the jerseys mentioned below) and we'll include the form to send to Klim for your choice of a free Fuel Pak or Scramble Pak! Supplies are limited so act now!

Related products:

Klim Mojave Pant / Klim Dakar Pant / Klim Chinook Pant  

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Logo

We have officially updated our logo! Don't worry, nothing has changed internally with our company. We're still the same company with the same great service, products and pricing you've come to expect over the years. We felt it was time for an update and our old logo served us well for 7 years. We hope you like the new logo as much as we do!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: TKC80 Dual Sport Tires for Big Bikes

My F800GS sees a lot of miles on and off the pavement. When it comes to tires, I'm always looking for that perfect combination of smooth, reliable handling on the highway and over the top traction and reliability in the dirt, gravel and sand. There will never be a perfect, all-in-one tire to deliver the highway miles I need with all of the off-road handling I could ask for but, my experience with the TKC80 has left me thinking that this is just about as good as it gets.

Continental TKC 80 Twinduro Dual Sport Tires
SoloMotoParts.com TKC80 Dual Sport Tires

Pros: This is, hands down, my top tire pick for big bike performance on and off-road. Why? I've never ridden another tire that handled better off-road on the GS. That's a big deal- for me at least.  The knobs are nice and fat so you get a great contact patch with the pavement, but there is plenty of room in between to get great traction in sand and loose gravel. The same wide tread pattern allows the tire to self-clean as you ride off-road rather than caking up like a lot of other dual sport tires.

What's amazing about the TKC80 is that it handles incredibly well on the road for a knobby tire. I can be very aggressive on the street and lean the bike all the way over like I would with a more street-biased tire like the Michelin Anakee's. The TKC80's inspire confidence with the traction they retain, even in wet conditions. Yes, that's right. A smart rider can ride these in the rain and be just fine.

I actually worked the TKC80's so hard on a recent trip that the rubber compound was melting under the hot conditions at speed. This just illustrates the kind of traction you'll get with the TKC80's, as sport racing tires will routinely experience some 'melting' at the track as well. Traction was not compromised by any 'greasing' effect that makes some tires slippery under these extreme conditions. I will add that I was riding a fully loaded adventure bike through tight, twisty roads at a pretty good clip on a hot day. This is the only time I noticed the tires actually heating up this much. It's not an every day occurrence, but just something interesting I thought I'd share.

Cons: Oh, so there's a catch?! Well, this is where real life creeps into the equation. The TKC80 will wear out a lot faster than other tires on the market, but don't forget, this is a straight-up knobby tire. I mean, look at it! The top 20% or so appears to wear very quickly but, this could be the power of suggestion since everyone likes to say that about this tire for some reason. My personal experience has shown that they wear quickly in two settings: a lot of highway miles and spinning the tire in rock and hard surfaces off-road. I tend to be aggressive with the throttle which accelerates the wear of any tire with a soft compound like the TKC80.

Another point you're likely to consider is the cost. They're not exactly cheap, so you could say that this is the cost of performance. I can run a front TKC80 for thousands upon thousands of miles but, that rear is being replaced with as little as 3,000 miles on it! Please keep in mind this is after extremely aggressive riding resulting in melting the tire on the road and burning them up on rocks in the dirt. Most people will easily get over 5,000 miles on a rear TKC80 with perhaps 8-10,000 miles on the front. I'm at about 5,000 miles on my current TKC80 front and it looks like I have about that much further to go.

Conclusion: It's been worth it for me to splurge and have a set on the bike for desert rides and off-road excursions, but I wouldn't recommend using them exclusively if you're commuting on a big bike. I hope some of this has been helpful for riders that have seen people using these tires and wondered what the deal was. The truth is, most riders will not use their tires to their full potential to begin with so, it's not going to be critical to get the best performing tire out there. You can expect everyone at Solo Moto to be honest with our opinions on parts and gear and more importantly, be forthcoming with what we do and do not have experience with. There is no agenda here to sell you one brand over another because there are a million different brands out there and we want to try all of them!

I've ridden four or five different models of tires on the F800GS so far and I plan to try a couple more in the coming months. I'm hoping to have a write-up on my #2 pick for big-bike dual sport tires soon in addition to adding a certain popular German tire manufacturer (hint, hint) to our selection.

Pricing and Availability:

Continental TKC 80 Twinduro Dual Sport Front Tire

Continental TKC 80 Twinduro Dual Sport Rear Tire


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