19 of the World’s Weirdest (Or Coolest) Motorcycles

19 of the World’s Weirdest (Or Coolest) Motorcycles

The world is full of creative engineers, forward thinking artists, and out-of-the box designers. At the same time, it seems that so many people are simply not satisfied with the status quo. Add those together and throw in the main ingredient, bikes, and you get some of the most unusual – and in some cases, fake – motorcycles out there, in no particular order. But admit it, you wouldn’t mind test-riding, if not owning, some of these, would you?

Can’t get enough of crazy cool unique bikes? Check out our first edition, 39 of the World’s Weirdest (or Coolest) Motorcycles. Thirsty for more? Here’s Volume 2 & Volume 3. Without further ado, here’s our fourth edition of the World’s Weirdest (or Coolest) Motorcycles:

#19: The My Little Pony

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#18: The Wallclimber

 

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#17: The Bi-Car Bike

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#16: The Sabertooth-Cycle

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#15: The Cycle Shop Cycle

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#14: The Guitar-Cycle

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#13: The “MowerCycle”

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#11: The Steed

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#10: The Egyptian

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#9: The Ford-Wing

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#8: The Ghost Rider

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#7: The Dark Knight

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#6: The SkeleCycle

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#5: The Showboat

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#4: The Smoker-On-Wheels

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#3: The Gatorator

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#2: The Prehistoric

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#1: The Goldwing Custom Trike

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Tell us what you think? Which was your favorite? Do you have any photos of motorcycles that might content with the Weirdest (Or Coolest) in the world? Let us know! We’d love to hear your feedback.

Can’t get enough of the World’s Weirdest (or Coolest) Motorcycles? Check out our first edition HERE!

It’s All About Safety: Why We Crash – How One Study Can Help Us Ride Safe

It’s All About Safety: Why We Crash – How One Study Can Help Us Ride Safe

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As a motorcyclist, it’s no secret that the risk of an accident is ever present. We can be as safe as humanly possible, but because there are so many factors like other vehicles on the road, there is only so much we have control over. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, to have a better idea of what specific areas or circumstances are more risky than others? That way we can be more prepared. A Virginia Tech study done for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) gives us insight into this very thing. It also suggests we might share more of the blame than we realize (or care to admit). More on that below.

What They Did

The study snagged 100 motorcyclists, placed five video cameras + tech to keep track of the data on each bike and recorded them for a grand total of over 366,000 miles or an average of 3,660 per rider. The riders ranged in age from 21-79 years young. The motorcycles included cruising (41), touring (38) and sport (21) models. The study was performed in four states: California, Virginia, Florida and Arizona. They observed the riders’ habits, crashes, and near-crashes to try and better understand why and where motorcyclists crash.

You can read the full report here.

What They Found

For 1000 brownie points, where do you think motorcycle accidents most commonly occur? Go on and think about it…I’ll wait. Okay, got it? Is that your final answer?

I’m sure you will all be shocked to find out that the most common crash sites are located in…drum roll please…Intersections. Okay, okay so you probably already knew that. Didn’t need some fancy study to tell you. But at least now you’ll sound really impressive with your buddies when you start throwing statistics around!

The study found that an intersection is 3 to 41 times more risky than no intersection, depending on the situation. That’s right, 41! Scary!

Additionally they found that, when compared to riding on a level road, going uphill doubles your risk while heading downhill is four times as risky. Your chance of having an incident when turning right (compared to a straight section of road) is doubled.

19 of the 99 multi-vehicle crashes and near-crashes had to do with other vehicles getting in the motorcyclist’s path. In other words, about 20% of incidents were caused by the other drivers. What’s shocking, perhaps, is this: 35 of the 99 incidents involved riders rear-ending (or almost rear-ending) the vehicle in front of them. That’s over a third of the crashes! Yikes! Some might want to understandably chalk that number up to a small sample size (or mediocre riders), but keep in mind that this is the most comprehensive study done on the subject to date.

Lastly, according to their findings, motorcyclists tend to drop their bikes quite a bit. Over half of the legitimate 30 crashes (not including near-crashes) were caused by “ground impact due to low (or no) speed.” So the next time you accidentally drop your Wing, like this guy, just remember, you are not alone. However, this stat gives us insight into riders’ inattention and/or poor execution, which can lead to greater risk of a more serious accident.

How We Can Ride Safe(r)

As Goldwing riders, we pride ourselves on riding safe. We make sure we have all the appropriate gear and load up on the “safety chrome” 😉 In all seriousness, safety is a central piece of who we are as Wingers, but there’s always room for improvement, right? After sifting through and breaking down this report, here are three main takeaways we can implement to improve and safeguard our collective riding experience:

1. Pay More Attention – The vast majority of incidents were due to rider inattention (dropping their bike and rear-ending the vehicle in front of them, etc). Yes, there will always be unavoidable circumstances, like a dear jumping out of the woods or a piece of asphalt coming out of nowhere, but we can seriously minimize our chances of an accident if we remain focused.
2. Don’t Neglect or Take for Granted What We’ve Learned In the Past
3. Look Ahead – The study strongly implies that many riders aren’t looking out far enough for potential hazards. Vehicles, debris, animals…you name it…they’re taking riders by surprise. If you are riding “near-sighted” (not looking out far enough) then you are basically looking into the past. And we all know that’s no way to ride.

While this study certainly is not the “be all, end all” authority on motorcycle accidents, it is definitely a good place to start. Wherever your road takes you, ride safe!

It’s All About Safety Series: Lane Splitting in California

It’s All About Safety Series: Lane Splitting in California

Note: We understand there are some riders out there who strongly believe that lane splitting is unsafe no matter the situation and should receive a blanket ban. This post isn’t about arguing for or against their point of view or telling them they’re right or wrong. This article IS about changes in California law, how it affects us as riders and the insight we can glean from scholarly studies related to the subject. We encourage you to share your thoughts, but if you do, we ask that you please keep them constructive and informative.

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Last year our home state of California signed a bill into law officially allowing for lane splitting. While the practice has long been allowed and normalized in the state, nothing was “set in stone” or recorded in the law books until then.

If you don’t live in California you may initially think this doesn’t apply to you. But it does for a couple reasons. First, sooner or later your touring adventures will inevitably lead you to the Golden State, hopefully. Yosemite. Death Valley. Pacific Coast Highway. There are so many amazing roads and destinations. While you’re visiting, it will be important to know what is expected of you and what is the norm in terms of lane splitting. Second, oftentimes California serves as an indicator to other states of what’s to come. And in this case it is a trial run of sorts. So the codification of this practice may or may not eventually affect your home state as well.

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The California Highway Patrol (CHP) asked UC Berkeley to do a study on lane splitting a few years ago to try and find out its effect on driving safety. The result of over a year’s worth of research suggested that lane splitting doesn’t increase the risk of accidents as long as motorcyclists weren’t traveling too fast (more than 10 mph compared to the flow of traffic was considered too fast). In other words, if we ride at safe speeds and with caution, our risk of accident or serious injury doesn’t increase when splitting lanes. Some proponents contend that it helps ease overall congestion and prevents rear-end collisions in traffic conditions, which account for over a quarter of all motorcycle accidents, according to the Los Angeles Times. It’s also worth noting that one of the authors of the study, Tom Rice, considers training and rider education to be of vital importance.

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As always, it’s about safety first. If you don’t feel comfortable with splitting lanes on your Wing or consider it to be unsafe then you have every right to refrain from the practice. We have the freedom to make that choice. And after all, we ride our Wings for enjoyment, adventure, fun and many other reasons. We ride to make lasting memories and create unforgettable experiences with our fellow Wingers.

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Ride safe!

WingStuff.com

You can check out the study here

8 Essentials You Might Forget To Bring On Your Next Trip

8 Essentials You Might Forget To Bring On Your Next Trip

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The sun is out, the weather is warm and the road is clear. It’s time for your next big trip. If you’re anything like me, you’re so excited that you want to swing that leg over your Wing and ride. Let’s go already! But let’s take a minute and make sure we have everything packed and nothing’s missing. Isn’t it the worst when we realize we’ve forgotten to pack some minor yet essential item? That’s why we’ve compiled a short list (in no particular order) of some items we don’t want you to forget on your next trip.

GPS Navigation (OR at least a good ol’ fashioned map)

For some of us, there’s something about whipping that map out, unfolding it and spreading it across our Wing or some other surface as we chart the next leg of our trip. gps.pngNot to mention the rewarding challenge of folding it back up the way it originally was! On the other hand, a GPS Nav Unit like Garmin is way more convenient and can do a lot more than a map can.

There are so many different amazing roads along the way and a quality GPS unit will help make sure you don’t miss out on any of them.

Roadside Assistance Insurance

The Goldwing is a solid, reliable motorcycle but anything can happen out there on the road and it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? That’s why it’s so important that you are adequately prepared. If you do end up stranded on the side of the road, it’s always nice to have access to a Roadside rescue-plus-logo.pngAssistance program such as Road Riders Rescue (you can get a discounted rate if you’re a GWRRA member) or AAA.

Rain Gear

We’ve heard plenty of stories of riders who failed to bring along proper rain gear when packing for their next trip. It usually happens in the summertime when we kind of assume it will be hot and dry the whole time. Our owner, Rick, has been caught in a frogg-toggs.png
rainstorm once or twice without his Frogg Toggs and had to resort to a convenience store trash bag! You can watch the videos where he talks about it here and here.

Sunblock

Depending on how much gear you wear while riding, this may or may not seem like a crucial item to bring along.

Either way, sun-screen.pngtypically the rider’s neck is exposed to the sun for long stretches and needs to be protected. Plus, it’s not like we’re covered head to
toe in riding gear the entire time. When taking a break along the way – or even when we reach our destination – it feels good to shed some layers and what better time to have a bottle of sunblock handy!

Ear Plugs

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten ear plugs when packing for a trip and hearos.png
seriously regretted it. Some riders may not mind the continuous noise inside the helmet
on long trips, but subjecting your ears to it for hours on end can really wear on you over time and increase your rate of fatigue compared to when you have ear plugs.
Secondly, if you’re lodging with others you will definitely want a handful of these bad 
boys. Let’s be real, we all snore. And some louder than others. Much louder. So pop in a couple plugs at the end of a long day of riding and get the sleep you deserve!

Headlamp

Whether you’re camping or find yourself on the side of the road at night, it’s always extremely convenient to have a hands free light handy. Just make sure you pack some extra batteries as well.

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Extra Bags

At the very least, you will probably want a trash bag for your soiled clothes to separate them from the fresh ones. Another great idea is to throw a dryer sheet into your luggage to help freshen it up.

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Hopefully this stays put in your saddlebags or trunk, but if you or one of your riding buddies get hurt along the way you will be prepared and the hero of the trip.

What other essentials have you forgotten on a trip? Let everyone know in the comments below!

Rick’s Reviews Episode 10: FOBO TPMS

Rick’s Reviews Episode 10: FOBO TPMS

A good TPMS that works for you can be hard to find. If your Wing has one built in, it may or may not be all you want or need. The dash indicator lights up when your tire pressure is too low, you pull over to the side of the road to check it out and address the issue. It’s a great safety feature, but some riders might be looking for something that does more…

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Rick was out riding one weekend and happened to bump into a longtime customer. While they were talking, the customer asked Rick if he had ever heard of a TPMS called FOBO, which he hadn’t. The guy had a lot of great things to say about the product so, when Rick got back from his ride, he did some research and ordered one so he could evaluate it for himself.

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That was months ago and now Rick is excited to share his thoughts and insights on the FOBO Bluetooth TPMS and how it has helped enhance his overall riding experience. But we don’t want to give too much away so tune in to our latest installment of Rick’s Reviews where he will talk about the added convenience and control when using this system.

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Ride safe!
WingStuff

Cut the Cord: Get the most out of the newest Bluetooth Tech

Cut the Cord: Get the most out of the newest Bluetooth Tech

Bluetooth headsets arrived on the scene more recently than their corded counterparts and many riders prefer them because of their easy-to-use integration with cell phone and GPS units and helmet-to-helmet communications while riding most any motorcycle, without needing a built-in audio system. Of course, the biggest advantage: No annoying cords to get in the way.

original-1.jpgoriginal-2.jpgBluetooth technology continues to improve and, as a result, newer headset models are becoming better and better. Take J&M’s new BT Series for example. The sound quality is arguably as good as their corded versions so you won’t have to sacrifice audio performance to go cordless. You can pair up to four helmets at a distance of up to 1/2 mile. Best of all, you’ll find that the build and features of their Bluetooth headsets are just as solid as the corded ones. And if in the rare event you ever have an issue with a J&M product, they’re great to deal with and will find a way to leave you smiling.

original.jpgThe Cardo Scala Rider Bluetooth Systems are another option to consider. Their new FREECOM Series are offered in 3 different versions to satisfy all types of riders. The FREECOM 1 is perfect for the lone rider who wants to blast some good music, make phone calls and get GPS commands without the need to communicate with other riders. The FREECOM 2 is ideal when Winging with a co-rider. You can share music with your smart phone or MP3 Player, share radio stations, and still receive directions from your GPS. The FREECOM 4 is designed for those who enjoy talking with their fellow riders on a group ride of up to four with an approximate 3/4 mile range. Just keep in mind the range is contingent on your surroundings. If you’re doing some mountain riding and there are a lot of obstructions, such as trees and rocks, then the range will be impacted. All of them claim to be both dust-proof and waterproof, which is a nice added bonus!

No matter which Bluetooth unit you decide on, to set yourself up for success and a positive experience, we highly recommend that you take some time to become familiar with it before hitting the road. It will save you frustration when riding and will make you happier that you cut the cord!

Spring Is Upon Us: 10 Steps to Get Your Wing Ride-Ready

Spring Is Upon Us: 10 Steps to Get Your Wing Ride-Ready

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Out here in southern California we’ve experienced an El Nino winter. Good for us because we really needed some rain and wetness to quench the thirst of our drought-parched state. You can see a short video we made with Rick riding to work in the rain. Each of us had a different winter experience, but all of us are definitely excited for the advent of Spring and riding season. Many of you, if you’re like us, simply want to jump on your Wing and go. Of course, being the responsible rider that we know you all are, you want to make sure your bike is ride-ready, which is why we’re providing you with 10 Steps to get your Goldwing ready for riding season!

Step One: Dust Off Your Manual

It never hurts to get reacquainted with your Service Manual. There may be a thing or two that you forget to address when getting your Wing spruced up for Spring. Nobody’s perfect. Heck, we might have even left something out of this step-by-step process. More importantly, we can provide you with a brief list of pointers, but your manual will have all the specifics you need to help keep your beloved Goldwing in tip-top shape! original.png

So before moving on to the next step, take a minute, dust it off and flip through it. Did your manual grow legs and walk off? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! And for the more visually inclined we also have some great informational DVDs available. Check them out below!

Quick Tip: If you’ve been riding around in a car all winter you may need to switch over to a motorcycle mindset. Take it easy on your inaugural trip and try to be more aware of your surroundings as there is always a chance your motorcycle riding skills need some defrosting!

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Step Two: Recharge the Battery

The single most common roadblock to getting your Wing on the road for riding season is probably going to be a drained or damaged battery. The biting cold can be a killer for your Wing’s battery. First, check its condition. Are the terminals clean? Are the connections secure? If everything looks good then check to see how much power it still has.

Whenever a battery looses all it’s juice the overall capacity becomes degraded. If that happens repeatedly it can quickly become a real headache. If you kept your battery on a trickle charge while stored for the winter then you should be good to go. If you didn’t, you can still get your hands on one and charge your battery to max capacity for your first ride.
original.pngWe highly recommend the Battery Tender Jr. Smart Charger because it automatically turns off when your bike’s battery reaches full capacity. That way you can plug it in at the end of riding season and forget about it until next season. You will avoid “overcharging” which can damage the battery and, similar to draining it completely, can cause degradation.

If you have a lithium battery then make sure you get your hands on a lithium-specific charger such as Bikemaster’s Lithium Ion Battery Charger.

Lastly, if you attempt to charge your battery and nothing happens then most likely it’s time for a new one. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to you, but if it does you can easily purchase a new one from us. Just keep in mind that, because of shipping restrictions, we can only send batteries via ground transportation to the lower U.S. 48 states.

Quick Tip: Consider getting your hands on a new battery if the one you own is more than 4 years old.

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Step Three: Refresh Your Fuel

It isn’t unusual for riders, in their excitement and eagerness to hit the road come springtime, to overlook stale gas. This is why we strongly suggest taking a look at your fuel and fuel system as one of the first steps. If you live somewhere that keeps your Wing stored indoors for the winter there’s a good chance the quality of the gasoline has deteriorated and can lead to problems. For example, your ride might not be as smooth as normal. Or the stagnant fuel has the potential to clog important components such as your fuel lines.original.jpg

If you previously read our “Winter Is Coming” blog post then you may have added a fuel
stabilizer as you prepped your Wing for the cold months. Good for you! You should be good to go in this area. If not, we recommend that you drain your tank of remaining gas, check for rust or corrosion inside the tank, and fill it up with fresh gas. Nobody wants old brown fuel running through their bike’s system. Gross.

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Step Four: Change Your Fluids & Filters
Again, if you checked out our Winter blog then you might have already done this at the end of riding season. If not, you’ll want to make sure you do so before you take your bike on the road. The oil that is left in your bike will likely have contaminants, pollutants and condensation that can lead to engine corrosion. In the same way, the oil and air filters will be in need of replacing. If this is your first time changing the oil and filter, be sure to whip out your Service Manual for the exact procedure.

original.pngAdditionally, double check your break fluid and coolant. Look for leaks on the floor where your Goldwing has been stored or on the bike itself, check for any cracks in the hoses and top the fluids off or change them if they have gone bad during the winter (or if you can’t remember the last time they were replaced).

Quick Tip: To prevent little critters from nesting in your air intakes and causing havoc during the cold winter months, you can get a pair of intake screens. They will also help keep debris from sneaking into the air intake and lowering peak performance.

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Step Five: Don’t Forget About Those Often-Neglected Areas 

Like they say, the devil is in the details. Inevitably, there tends to be those little areas that we unintentionally forget about. We don’t mean to neglect them, honest. We get caught up on the big-ticket, “Usual Suspects” like brakes, lights and tires (More on that in Steps Six and Seven Below).

In this step we’re talking about all the little things you normally wouldn’t check during riding season. Take a look at the grommets on your side covers that tend to dry out, causing the side cover to fall out. Check the valve stems and the clip that holds them in place at high speed. Are they in good shape? Are the clips missing? It happens from time to time.

While you’re at it, give your frame a once over. Look for any cracks or dents which can be problematic. Are your forks and shocks adjusted correctly? Things like that.

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Step Six: Inspect the Usual Suspects

Being able to stop your bike safely and effectively is as equally important as any other aspect of your riding experience. Before you leave your driveway, give your brake components a good once-over to see how much life is left in them. Now would be a great time to reference your Service Manual for any specifics that you may need to know. If they’re looking pretty worn down, don’t hesitate to get fresh ones.

Now go through all your lights and make sure they work. Turn your Wing on (now that the battery is juiced up) and look over each of them for burnt out bulbs that need replacing, blown fuses and possible faulty wiring.

Your spark plugs should be in the same condition as you left it at the end of the last original.pngriding season. If you forgot to check it, you definitely want to do so now. When in doubt, it’s not a bad idea to change them out as they’re not a very expensive item to replace. And you’d much rather do it now than mid-adventure. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Quick Tip: If you’re not the handy type or don’t feel comfortable adjusting or replacing parts of your bike (especially brakes) it’s okay, don’t hesitate to ask a professional to do it.

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Step Seven: Show Your Tires Some TLC

Your tires are the only thing that separate you from the road. And when you’re riding at speed, you bet you want those bad boys in prime condition. So we always want to pay special attention to them, right? While it’s a good idea to check your tires before each ride, if you didn’t survey them at the end of last riding season, it’s crucial that you do so before your next ride.

Excessive wear can lead to punctures incurring more easily and a lesser chance to keep proper traction. So inspect each tire completely for cracking, punctures or wear.

After three or four long winter months, you will want to be aware of possible flat-spotting from the bike sitting for long periods of time. Even if they’re in great condition you’ll want to adjust tire pressure to the correct specs since air will have surely snuck out after months of non-use. Ideally, this is the best time for replacement because then you will have quality tires for the duration of riding season.

Quick Tip: Use the old Abe Lincoln trick to determine if it’s time for your tire to “hit the road”: Grab a penny and put it in the tire tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you are able to see the top of Honest Abe’s noggin then it’s time for a new tire.

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Step Eight: Look Over Your Gear

Your riding gear has most likely been hiding away in some dark closet or in your garage during the winter. It’s a good idea to make sure there isn’t anything wrong that you might not have noticed before. Check all your gear – especially your helmet – for any original.jpgdamage. It’s all about safety which is why it’s so important to keep all our gear in prime condition. If you treat it with care then it should last you a long time. But as the years pass by, gloves, boots and other items tend to wear down and eventually need to be replaced. So why not take inventory before riding season begins?

 

Have you owned your helmet around 5 years? Glues, resins and other materials used to make a helmet typically start to break down then. If you notice it becoming loose or parts of the lining coming out or if you’ve experienced little black flakes in your hair after wearing it, then it’s probably time to send it out to pasture and get a new one whether it’s been five years or not.

Quick Tip: To help prolong the life of your helmet, make sure you keep it in a cool, dry area and leave it inside the helmet bag. You can also make it last longer by wearing a helmet liner, balaclava or scarf to keep the sweat off.

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Step Nine: Make Your Wing Shine!

This probably goes without saying, but once you get everything else dialed in and before
you and your Wing hit the pavement, make sure you give it a nice wash and wax so that it looks as good as it runs. Plus it will help protect your bike from potential sun and road damage.

And don’t forget to make your chrome shine like your lucky silver dollar!

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Step Ten: Ride Safe & Enjoy!

Okay, you’ve done everything to get your ride ready for the open road. There’s fresh fuel in the tank, your battery is charged, your Wing is clean and you’re ready to go!

Quick Tip: Update your “Wingsurance”: Double check to make sure nothing needs to be amended or updated on your policy. Some motorcycle insurance providers offer discounts for the winter months when your Wing is not in use. Give them a call and find out!

Now all that’s left is to get out there, make some memories and have the time of your life. See you on the road!