How to Get What you Want
Step 1: Know what you want
This seems straightforward, doesn’t it? And it’s easy for some people. But when it comes to owning a motorcycle, you’d be amazed what you can find to dress it up, or things to make your ride more comfortable or safer. So do a little googling. Check out a forum specific to your motorcycle and see what people are raving about. If you’ve got your heart set on something a little more complex (like, say, a motorcycle radio or a mount for your phone), do a little research.
Step 2: Know your Gift Giver
Bikers, let’s face it. Sometimes the person who’s got your name for Christmas is not a biker themselves. (Even if they are, they might not have the same interests as you.) And it’s not always easy for that person to get you that cool motorcycle accessory you’re lusting after. But if you’d rather get something for your bike (instead of a new shirt or tie), you gotta give them a little help.
Step 3: Be Specific
- Let them know the make and model of your motorcycle (ex: Harley Roadking). Really. They all look the same to some people! It’s no fun to open a gift and discover it won’t fit your particular motorcycle (although our new URBAN mounts are about as universal-fit as it’s possible to be).
- Instead of saying “I’d like a way to mount my GPS,” say “I’d like a chrome mount that attaches to my Yamaha V-Star’s handlebar that holds my Garmin Nuvi 2597” (the words in bold are key words when it comes to Leader GPS mounts!)
- Instead of saying “I want to get rid of updrafts” try: “I really want a set of soft lowers (Desert Dawgs) for my Kawasaki Nomad 1700.”
Step 4: Share your Interests and Passions
Do you like to video your rides? Let them know a mount for your camera would be awesome. Want to plan an off-road trip, or take that guided tour to Alaska? Let them know – Travel-related DVDs, books, guides, etc make great gifts.
Step 5: Be Obvious
Depending how well you know the gift giver, the best way to ensure you get what you want is to print off a description of the item with a B-I-G circle around it, and leave it in a very conspicuous spot (or text/email a link to the product you want)!
- Tracey Cramer
Giving a Gift They'll Love: 4 Questions to Ask When You're NOT the Biker
Getting a gift for a biker isn't easy. Bikers can be choosy. They're after a certain "look." And they may already have accessories on their bike.
And if you're not close to them (or perhaps not as familiar with motorcycles in general), it can be hard to know what to buy them.
We have a few tricks to help with that!
Every biker likes to talk about their ride (some ad nauseum, but that's another story). So engage them in conversation, but sprinkle in questions like:
- “What model Yamaha [Harley, etc] do you have? Why did you get that one?”
- “What kinds of accessories do you have on your motorcycle?”
- “Do you take long trips? How do you keeping from getting lost?”
- “What is your favorite ‘comfort item’ when you ride?" or "What do you WISH you had to make your ride more comfortable?”
Be prepared; this conversation can take awhile and go off in unexpected tangents (“I remember the time I got lost in the Serengeti...”).
The up side? You'll get a lot of information you can use to your advantage. For example, you might find out they have a GPS but no good way to mount it (we do that!). Or that they get cold or hate it when they run into rain on their trips (Desert Dawgs anyone?)
And just so you know, our return policy is extremely liberal. If you buy a gift from us and you (or they) want to return or exchange it, we don't give you hassle. That's the advantage of dealing with a small family-owned business!
To get you started (and heck, just for pure entertainment), here's a YouTube playlist of gift idea videos featuring Leader employees (and our kids!).
- Tracey Cramer
Six Ways the Swivel-CAM is Better Than a HelmetCAMWe’re aware that Helmet CAMs are all the rage. We even own a GoPro ourselves, and there are times when it’s the appropriate choice. That said, we’re not fans of the helmet-mounted camera for most motorcycle uses, and here’s why.
- You can't change the angle of the shot. Wherever you’re looking, that's what you're getting. If you look down at your gauges, so does your video. If you look behind you to check traffic, guess where the HelmetCam goes?
- You can’t easily adjust the camera. I once lost an entire sequence because I thought it was powered on when it wasn’t (I couldn’t see it up on my head!)
- Depending on the camera you may not have a good zoom function; you might find your target turned into a speck on the horizon.
Apparently we’re not the only ones who feel this way:
“Mounting a video camera on a motorcycle helmet is difficult. Modern helmets have all sorts of wacky curves, put there for either styling or aerodynamic purposes. The larger the camera the more difficult it is to mount on a helmet.” ~ WebBikeWorld Review
Our Solution? The Swivel-CAM Motorcycle Camera MountThe Swivel-CAM motorcycle camera mount solves some key problems that Helmet Cameras don't:
- Flexible mounting options. The Swivel-CAM is not limited to one location (helmet); it can be mounted on a handlebar, brake/clutch assembly, mirror stem, windshield and more (you can get extra base brackets if you want to shoot from several different angles/places).
- Get almost any angle you want/need. The Swivel-CAM features multiple joints (which we call Ultra-Swivels) as well as 360-degree rotational ability at the tip. This is our ‘third generation’ design, arrived at after our own trial and error with other mounts; there are very few angles you can’t get with the Swivel-CAM!
- Different height options. The Swivel-CAM is available in three different heights, so no matter what you’re riding or where you mount the camera, you can shoot over or around windshields or other parts of the motorcycle.
- Classy look. Let’s face it; a lot of motorcycle camera mounts are ugly. The Swivel-CAM’s slim rod and base look like they belong on the motorcycle.
- Anti-Vibration & Heavy-Duty Construction. We’ve done everything we can to minimize vibration, such as the anti-vibration ‘cushion’ found on each and every Swivel-CAM. Stainless steel and aluminum components also help minimize vibration and won’t rust or wear out (rubber or plastic is much more susceptible to vibration and wear).
- Works with almost any camera. The Swivel-CAM works with any camera that is tripod compatible (that is, has the industry-standard ¼-20 stud hole on it, or has a “tripod adaptor” in your kit). If you have more than one camera, or you change cameras, you won’t need another mounting system.
Can't picture it? Let us SHOW you the difference!
- Tracey Cramer
Overstock Sale: 30% off Mirror Mounts
Mount your Phone, GPS, Camera or other device to any brand/model motorcycle with a mirror stem (3/8” to ½”).
Easy to see yet out of the way! Mount toward front/back or to the left/right – it’s totally up to you!
All mirror mounts 30% off!
Use code: MIRRORUP
(minimum order $59)
Option: URBAN (Black)
We call these “Stealth Mounts” because they’re so unobtrusive; the bracket measures less than 2 inches square! Check out this video to see how easy it is! Click here to see URBAN Mirror Mounts
Option: eCaddy (Chrome)
The eCaddy’s u-shaped slot-and-lug design has been proven over and over again – for 16 years! Click here to see eCaddy Mirror Mounts.
All Leader Mounts are manufactured in the USA from aluminum and stainless steel – no rust, no wear!
- Tracey Cramer
Becoming a Spyder Rider After 30 Years on Two Wheels
I became a Spyder owner Sept 16, and it has been an adventure I did not foresee. Here's why...
Discovery #1: Lack of Backrest = Problem
On my 10yo daughter's first ride with me, she felt like she was going to fall off the back. I felt that way too, after having a passenger backrest for 10+ years (not to mention the safety harness we had when the kiddos were younger).
So, first order a business was to secure a passenger backrest. That set me back $500, although I’m very happy with the seat (special thanks to Jim @ www.smoothspyder.com, another family-owned business manufacturing in the USA).
Discovery #2: Excessive heat by legs
Almost immediately I started noticing how hot it got by my legs. And lo and behold, without me even mentioning it to our Spyder customers, Bernard S offered up some SpyderPops parts he’d bought for his wife’s Spyder and never used (she traded up before he got it installed) – all for the price of postage. It was a deal I couldn’t pass up (thanks Bernard!). I confess I haven't installed them yet (in Minnesota, you WANT extra heat when you ride in October!) but I think the heat will be borderline intolerable in the heat of the summer, so they will get used!
Discovery #3: Ancient battery
A couple weeks later, we lost out on a couple rides because the battery wouldn’t hold a charge. I’d hoped to limp it through the fall, but when I found out the battery was nine years old (in 30 years I’ve never had one last more than 7!) I knew it was time to let that one go. $150 later, I had a new battery.
By mid-October, I was enjoying the heck out of the Spyder. My right hand had finally stopped reaching for the front brake automatically, and I’d gotten used to that “jiggly feeling” I wrote about back in September.
But I can’t say I was truly “one with the machine” yet. My biggest challenge was cornering, especially to the left. I’ve been leaning on two-wheel motorcycles for thirty years, and I have to admit… I miss leaning! My cornering was still herky-jerky.
I figured I had another few weeks to work the kinks out of my cornering methods before the Red Beast would have to go under wraps… and then disaster struck!
Discovery #4: Gear Shift Issues
We were having an unseasonably warm Indian Summer the week of Oct 16, and my daughter was off school. She and I tooled around town on the Spyder that Monday (that's us!) and even splashed around in the Rum River. I dropped her at home (with her brother) and headed to her parent/teacher conferences.
I never made it. The Spyder got stuck in first gear. (Did you know it takes 45 minutes to go 12 miles in first gear?!)
The repair shop picked it up the next day, but they were confounded. They consulted with BRP technicians. Meanwhile, the BEST week of the season raced by (Friday’s high that week was 80).
To make a long story short, it was a swing arm that had not been installed properly, either by a previous technician or maybe even never. It had hung on but over time finally vibrated off. By the time I was able to pick the Spyder up, a week had gone by and it was now 50 degrees with 35mph winds.
As a further indignity, we got SNOW two days later!!
Sad to say, I haven’t had the Spyder out since I brought it home, since temps haven’t gotten out of the 30s (in fact it's snowing lightly again now).
One thing I need for spring is a bigger windshield. After a couple decades on cruisers with a windshield, having the full blast of the wind in my face in Minnesota fall season has not been very enjoyable.
I hope you are still out riding your Spyder, and I hope we get at least one more day of 50+ degrees so I can get one more ride in!
- Tracey Cramer
Shooting Video While Riding a Motorcycle
Many riders have discovered the possibility of re-living their grand "adventure vacations" through video. The problem is, after a minute or two, an unchanging view from the saddle becomes… well… boring. If you want to make your video as exciting as your motorcycle ride, here are some things to consider. Your answers to these questions can also help you decide what equipment to get.
What and Where
What – specifically - do you want to video? Will it be mostly scenery alongside the road? I’ve pointed my camera to the roadside to catch onlookers during the Patriot Ride and action along Main Street in Sturgis.
Maybe you want to video your buddies either ahead of you (I’ve got some cool footage of a long snake of bikes through a big curve) or behind you.
The answers to these questions lead us to the next set of questions: what angle do you intend to shoot from?
- Mainly straight ahead?
- Off to the side or beside you?
- Behind you?
Windshield: Through it or Around It?
There are pros and cons to both. Shooting through a windshield cuts down on wind noise immensely (a video is barely tolerable with that kind of wind noise). If you’re going to edit your video you can drop out wind noise. A disadvantage of shooting through the windshield is that you may get reflection from the sun on the curve of the shield.
If you want to shoot around bikes with fairings or large windshields, you’ll need to look for a longer-reaching mount or one that attaches away from the center of the motorcycle (such as the Swivel-CAM).
Watch for a future post on the different styles of motorcycle camera mounts!
- Tracey Cramer