Inflating the Statistics
In an answer to a letter in the August
2015 issue asking if MCN had even
done any testing on airbag jackets or
vests you answered that you had not.
You also stated that anything that uses
a CO2 cartridge for inflation is worthless as it inflates much too slowly.
After a friend was in a motorcycle
accident and suffered serious injuries
to his core, breaking multiple ribs and
puncturing his lungs, I started researching airbag vests. There is not much
test data available. Helite (French) and
Hit-air (Japanese) are the two main
companies and they claim inflation
speeds of between . 12 and .50 sec.
Since you claim they inflate too slow
to be worthwhile, I am wondering if
you have seen any information that supports this or if its just your opinion. If
there is data out there supporting this
position I would like to review it as it
is pretty hot wearing the vest over my
R- 3 in the summer, so if it is of no
value I might as well stop wearing it.
Thanks for the great magazine.
Many years ago we were invited to see
a CO2 powered airbag vest although the
company declined to let us have it for
testing. Since printing that response, I
have been contacted by a company that
currently makes similar vests and that
also disagreed with my assessment.
I asked for independent testing data
from them, and all they had was a
generic study from a university in Italy
but nothing from any US testing lab.
I would be very skeptical of the inflation claims, as an inflation time close to
one full second is very likely with a C02
cartridge and that is after the tether has
been pulled. My guess is that you would
already be on the ground at that point
in many crash scenarios. The reason the
Alpinstars and Dainese airbag suits are
so expensive is that they have to work
very quickly and need much more than
a tether and inflation cartridge to do
so. Note that automobile airbags don’t
use C02 cartridges for inflation, either.
We would like to believe that excellent
protection could be much cheaper, but ask
those companies you mention to provide
independent test data before you spend
your money. We still haven’t seen any.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
I really liked the article compar-
ing the KLR650 and the DR650 and
reminding readers that these are both
excellent bikes for fun adventures near
and far. I read many online forums for
both before choosing a DR as the best
choice for me, and I am very happy to
have been riding it for several years now.
I was rather surprised (shocked,
actually) that neither DRRiders.com
or advriders.com DR650 thread (with
5,685 pages!) were listed as online
resources for the DR, and advriders.
com KLR650 thread for the KLR.
Advriders.com is what got me riding
again after several years with no bikes
(that may not be so good since I cur-
rently have 14 motorcycles...). It is the
number one website for many of us.
MCN is the best motorcycle magazine
available, and I like that you do tests on all
types of bikes (even three wheelers and
scooters!) even though I have no interest
in some of them. I realize that others do
like to read about the ones I don’t. Keep
up the excellent writing and diversity!
Sorry for not mentioning two excellent forums, you’re absolutely right.
Amps and Wattage
I love MCN, and the recent comparo of
the two dual-sport battle axes—the KLR
and the DR650—was superb. The How-to-Farkle sidebars were another treat.
According to the shootout, both bikes
have alternators that deliver around 200
watts. I do have to wonder what Ken feeds
his Farkled Filly (KLR) that allows him
to heat grips and the seat, plug-in heated
clothing and run a tank-bag mounted
inverter rated for 100 watts all the while
powering the bike and lighting the lights.
Perhaps while he had the oil drained for
the Doohickey mod, he also installed a
higher output rotor or stator? I’m sure he
did a load analysis of all his gear, but I
realize that chronicling a Farkle Frenzy
can be a fantastically frenetic exercise,
fraught with details and oversights. Or,
perhaps I’m the Luddite whose gear
is so old that he needs big alternators.
Mr. Treff has a good point, and I would
like to explain how I deal with the power
limitations of the stock charging system,
which I have. When the high beam is
on, both headlight bulbs are lit, and the
charging system can handle that fine. The
heated grips and front seat together only
consume about the same amount of wattage (60W) as the high beam headlight.
Therefore, I only run both heated items
when I am not using high beam. I have
only rarely used heated gear on this bike,
gloves and a vest. I never use both the
heated grips and gloves at the same time,
nor the vest and seat. I have a large AGM
battery and have never had a problem.
If not being able to use the high
beam and the heated grips and seat
at the same time is unacceptable, then
you could install LED headlight bulbs
and other lamps to reduce the power
consumption of the bike. Although the
small inverter is rated for up to 100
watts, I never use it at that power level,
but rather use it for a convenient place
to recharge a cell phone, camera bat-
tery or other small items. Therefore, it
is not a significant draw when in use.
I have been a subscriber since about
1997 and, unlike John Cable, I and
probably many other readers like fast
performance motorcycles; Ducatis, Bru-tales, R1s and the likes. We like the 1/4
mile, horsepower and top end specs. If
you want to pander to the touring bike
only crowd, I will cancel my subscription as well. Mr. Cable needs to understand that just because he doesn’t like
fast performance motorcycles a lot of
us do, I like all motorcycles including
the touring bikes and don’t mind reading about all of the different bikes out
there. Mr. Cable doesn’t need to concern
himself with insurance cost of performance motorcycles, either, he doesn’t
own one and probably never will. I own
and insure three very fast performance
motorcycles, one is an expensive Italian
brand, and all three cost a little over $700
dollars yearly to insure, which doesn’t
seem very excessive to me. Maybe Mr.
Cable should cancel his subscription as
he seems a little too narrow-minded to
read a motorcycle magazine that does its
best to please all motorcyclists and all
riding styles not just the touring aspect.
We all have our favorite kind of
motorcycle, but a true motorcyclist likes
all brands and styles of motorcycles.
We won’t stop testing high performance bikes, and Tony Foale’s performance calculations are very accurate, so
you won’t have to go without that data.
In fact, given the inevitable variables
present in winds, temperature, road conditions, etc., they are even more reliable.
We run occasional cranky letters just so
we have some good responses as a rebuttal, it’s not that we agree with the writer.