RIDE TIME! New Motorcycle Products

Highlights from October’s AIMExpo.

AIMExpo logo

AIMExpo has experienced such exceptional growth, totaling more than 500 exhibitors in its second year, that, despite my best attempts, I was unable to take in the entire show during the dates set aside for trade and media. Likewise, near close of business on the second of those two days, this year's show "champion," roadracing legend Kevin Schwantz, never one to spend more than a few minutes in one place, admitted he'd only seen half the show.

"It's incredible to see how far the event has come," said Larry Little, VP and GM of the Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group. "Following the success of the inaugural event, we have seen an outpouring of support from more exhibitors, dealers, and manufacturers. As a result, we have a physically larger show with even more products to introduce to the North American marketplace."

Here is a brief overview of new products from Arai, DrySpec, REV’IT, Sena, and Yuasa. Booths for two of those companies were located just inside the front doors of this year’s show at the massive Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. As they say in the real-estate biz, location, location, location...

Arai VX PRO4 Nutech motorcycle helmet product image


Impact protection for off-road riders.**

At AIMExpo, the VX-PRO4 was just two weeks old. In fact, the show was the first time most dealers and consumers were able to see Arai’s newest helmet in person. Fans of the brand will recognize similarities between the company’s road-going designs and this latest dirt-specific model, with its 14mm-longer peak, revised Emergency Release Cheek Pad System, and removable neck roll.

Basis for the VX-PRO4 ($599.95 to $729.95) is the R75 shell, whose round, smooth shape reduces protrusions and fixed edges that could catch or dig in upon impact. Arai builds its shells three ways: 1) PB-SNC (Peripherally Belted Structural Net Composite); 2) SCLC (Super Complex Laminate Construction); and 3) CLC (Complex Laminate Construction). The VX-PRO4 uses the last, in which "mechanically expanded fiber mat" sandwiched between two layers of proprietary Super Fiber Laminates bonds and reinforces without adding significant weight.

Led by the large opening in the breakaway chinbar cap, six intake and eight exhaust ports funnel cooling air to the wearer. Outlets near the forehead are now bigger (and easier to clean) to compensate for increased lift resulting from the larger peak. Additional openings in the top of the shell exhaust hot air through the removable top rear duct/center brace. A Dry-Cool interior wicks away moisture; micro-fit crown and cheek pads are standard.

DrySpec D Series product image


Stay dry, my friend.**

Designer Nate Bastien has spent the past four years, two-thirds of his tenure at Twisted Throttle, developing DrySpec, a modular line of waterproof motorcycle-specific soft luggage. The D-Series has three components: 1) D20 Modular Dry Saddle Bag Set ($175.00); 2) D28 Dual End Modular Dry Bag ($74.99); and 3) D38 Rigid Core Modular Dry Bag ($139.99). The numeral associated with each product indicates capacity in liters.

Bastien says he was influenced by military pack design, in which every component can be removed and, if necessary, replaced in the field. Combining the D20s with either the D28 or D38 using the interchangeable center strap is the “ideal solution” for riders who want storage sufficient for a multi-day ride but are prohibited by high-mount mufflers from fitting other types of soft bags.

The D28 is a dual-end roll design, which allows the owner to access the contents of the bag from either end without removing the bag from the motorcycle. Low-profile "slip-locks" built into the mounting straps attach quickly and securely to plastic loops on the bags. All three bags are manufactured in the US using RF (Radio Frequency) welding, a process that applies electromagnetic energy to eliminate leaks.



Tailored technology.**

Style-conscious city dwellers have several new apparel options: 1) the longer “polywool” twill Piazza 2 ($399.99); and 2) the hip-length Elysee ($349.99), both of which are intended to be worn, no joke, over a suit coat. Knox Lite CE protection is fitted at the shoulders and elbows, and built-in pockets hold optional CE Level 2 back pads.

REV’IT also displayed three new pairs of armored jeans sized, ahem, for Americans: Philly ($289.99), Jersey ($289.99), and Memphis H20 ($319.99). Claimed to be waterproof, the last has three layers: 1) a polycotton denim outer shell; 2) a hydratex 3L pro membrane laminated to the shell; 3) and a comfort-enhancing mesh lining. All three trousers have cut, tear, and abrasion-resistant PWR shield at the seat, hips, and knees, and are fitted with height-adjustable knee padding. Removable hip armor is optional.

With so much of its attention focused on urban riders, has REV'IT lost interest in the ever-expanding adventure-touring market or racing (the Dutch designer sponsors American PJ Jacobsen in World Supersport)? Not a chance. I was shown Spring 2015 products in both categories with innovative features that will surely cement the company's position as a manufacturer of premium protective apparel.

Sena 10C product image


Can you hear me now?**

Sena is launching several new products next year. Chief among them is a combination four-way wireless helmet communications system/video camera and FM tuner called the 10C. This compact clamp-on unit incorporates a glove-friendly thumb wheel and records in either 720p (60 frames per second) or 1080p (30 fps), with single/burst and time-lapse photo modes. Bluetooth 4.0 expands intercom range to nearly 1000 yards.

Already available, the 20S ($299 single kit/$549 dual kit) also uses Bluetooth 4.0 for faster operation and lower power consumption. With this model, you can listen to music, access GPS, and communicate hands-free with a passenger or up to eight friends as far as 1.2 miles away. Downloadable firmware upgrades are free for the life of the product, and apps for both iPhone and Android are offered.

Though simpler in appearance, the 10U will still pack a punch. Most importantly, the entire unit fits inside your helmet. Control is via a unique handlebar-mounted remote, with button backups located near the boom microphone. Applications will soon be available for three Shoei helmets (GT-Air, Neotec, and J-Cruise) and the Schuberth C3/C3 Pro, with other brands and models expected in the coming months.

Yuasa GYZ battery line product image


Old technology, modern features.**

Cycle World Technical Editor Kevin Cameron and I visited Mike Raybuck, VP of operations, engineering, and OEM sales for Yuasa. Raybuck explained why lead-acid remains the best choice for motorcycles. Unlike other chemistries, he said, lead-acid is a "mature, stable technology" that resists vibration and functions equally well over a wide range of operating temperatures. What's more, 99 percent of each battery can be recycled.

At AIMExpo, Yuasa launched GYZ, "the industry's most powerful family of batteries." Regarding this new product, the Japanese company (whose powersports products sold in the US have been manufactured exclusively since 1979 in a dedicated plant in Pennsylvania) makes five claims: 1) highest cold-cranking amps; 2) more amp hours to run more accessories; 3) heavy-duty terminals with multiple connection points; 4) built-in brass nuts (no more lost hardware, greater conductivity than stainless steel); and 5) maintenance-free.

Yuasa produces lithium products for other applications, but despite the claims of other companies, Raybuck says the motorcycle industry is not yet ready for that technology. “It’s not that we can’t,” he said, “we choose not to.” If properly maintained, Raybuck added, the average life of any Yuasa motorcycle battery, new GYZ included, should range from five to seven years.

Arai VX PRO4 Nutech.

Arai Chinbar cap and grill.

Arai Goggle snap.

Arai Visor and top vents.

Arai R75 shell shape.

Arai Rear duct.

Arai Emergency Release Cheek Pad System.

Arai Interior-removed.

Arai Complex Laminate Construction.