New & Shipping! Dawgs for Harley “Milwaukee Eight” Softail Models!
The wait is over.
Riders who’ve made the move to the new 2018+ Harley-Davidson Softail Models can now get the protection and comfort of the Desert Dawgs Rain Guards/Wind Deflectors!
Keep the rain off your feet and reduce those annoying updrafts and helmet buffeting. And there’s more:
- repel road spray from front wheel and flared front fender
- keep bug juice off motorcycle chrome (and legs!)
- allow engine cooling - NO temperature restriction!
- does not affect bike handling
- accommodates all standard foot peg settings (does not apply to Mustache fitment)
- Ultra-Pockets on both sides for extra carrying capacity (garage door opener, sunglasses, camera case, etc.)
Unlike competitive products, the Desert Dawgs are easy-on, easy-off. They require NO special tools or maintenance, and can be rolled/folded and stored in a saddlebag when not in use. Choose from Original or Bling It Out with chrome studs!
They will fit the following models: Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Deluxe, Breakout, Softail Slim, Street Bob & Sport Glide.
- Tracey Cramer
Riding in the Rain: Waterproofing your Phone, GPS, etc.
Now that I’ve talked about waterproofing YOU, the rider (see It’s All About the Gear and Get Visible) - as well as things you can do to ride more safely in the rain (Traction & Tactics) - what about your motorcycle? Specifically, what about electronic devices you need to use, like a phone or GPS?
Our phones, in particular, have become an extension of us. We don’t go anywhere without them, and we use them for everything - from using a navigation/GPS app, to checking email, to taking photos - we even use them to keep track of our schedule and for updating our social media profiles with pictures from our rides!
So it goes without saying that waterlogging your phone is a bad thing. Besides the inconvenience, these mini-computers are no longer cheap to replace!
So how do you protect your phone while using it on a motorcycle? Here are some ideas for waterproofing your phone.
Approach #1: Aftermarket Cases
Nowadays there are many waterproof phone cases to choose from; Otterbox and Lifeproof are two better-known waterproof phone case brands.
If you have a cover like that on your phone, it adds bulk (size) and weight. So when you consider mounting it on your motorcycle, it helps to know the total dimensions (width, height AND depth) of your phone in its case. Then you can choose a mount that accommodates that.
If you don’t want a bulky waterproof cover on your phone, here are two more suggestions for keeping your phone dry. (BTW these apply nicely to GPS, iPods and other devices as well.)
Approach #2: Zip-Lock Baggie
Keep a few zip lock bags in your saddlebag (or pocket) and simply slip one on over your phone. Make sure you get a high-quality brand so the ‘zip’ really ‘locks.’ This method has worked for me in light to moderate rain (although truth be told, I prefer one of our mounts!).
Approach #3: Hydra Waterproof Case
The Hydra waterproof phone/GPS mount is a case with a zipper closure on three edges. It has a special waterproof ‘plug’ to run wires out if needed. Because it has a thicker vinyl front, it can be harder to use the touch screen functions (some phone screens are more touchy than others). The Hydra also has a ball-style mechanism connecting it on the back so you can tilt/angle the phone, with both vertical and horizontal options.
Both the Hydra can be mounted in a variety of locations: handlebar, brake/clutch, mirror stem, windshield and more. So you can always get your phone in a position that is easy for you to see and read.
Does it really work? Check out the video below, where our kids get to soak us (but not our phone)!
- 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
Choosing a Phone Mount That’s Right for You
In a past article I listed seven things you might want to consider about how you use your phone while riding. My intention is to help you utilize your phone in the safest way possible.
In that article, I said you want to:
- mount your phone securely (you don't want to be worrying about it falling off!)
- in a location (handlebar, brake/clutch, mirror, windshield, etc) that
- doesn't interfere with driving - and where you can easily glance at it
In this article I’m going to focus on (1), or what we often refer to as the “gripper” portion of a motorcycle phone mount.
Just like you may use a holster or case to protect and carry your phone on your body, you need something that "holds" (or "grips") the phone that can be attached to the motorcycle.
This is important, since it can be a "weak point" and cause your phone to fall from your bike. (We've road tested many a product, and most are not made with motorcycle vibration and the condition of today's road surfaces in mind.)
Although many motorcycle phone mounts are labelled "universal," the sheer volume of phones and phone sizes (not to mention cases and covers for them) means that what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Personal style or preference also plays a part. That's why we make mounts with different "grippers," each of which excels at different things:
- Some are better for today’s larger phones, and/or if you want to mount the phone horizontally (example: SLIDE mounts)
- Some are better if you need to plug your phone into power while you ride (example: X-Grip Adaptor mounts)
- Some are specific to the iPhones
- And some are waterproof (examples: Hydra & Caddy Buddy)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 10,000!
To help you decide which works best for your phone and case, check out this video, which shows you the pros and cons of different "grippers" and what type/model phone each is most ideal for. All in under three minutes!
- Tracey Cramer
Navigation: Three Reasons a GPS May be Better than Your Phone
- If you ride back roads, out-of-the way places or in mountainous areas (and isn’t that the point of a motorcycle?), your phone may not always have coverage. If you’re not 100 percent sure your smart phone will have coverage everywhere you ride, you may want to consider a GPS unit.
- It takes a lot of extra power for your phone to run a GPS app. Do you have a way to keep your phone charged while riding? If not, your phone’s battery could go kaput in a most inconvenient place.
- Maybe I’m superstitious but I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket. If something goes wrong with my phone (or worse, it gets lost or broken), I still want to be able to find my way home.
- Tracey Cramer
Motorcycle Travel Comfort & Convenience (the Cool Stuff & the Little Things)
Do you dream of life on the road, just you and two wheels (or three)? We all have places we’ve been daydreaming about. Pick one from your ‘bucket list’ and make it happen! Here are some tips to help!
Picking a Route
The beauty of traveling on a motorcycle is that no one just “takes the freeway.” For some the point/goal is to pick roads they’ve never ridden on. Others look for scenic drives, roads with lots of curves (hooah!) or quaint towns they can explore along the way.
Google the words “scenic routes” and all kinds of things come up. Or, get out your “old-fashioned” map and peruse your route to see what towns and sights are near it.
If you’ve always wanted to see a landmark (say, Mount Rushmore or Niagara Falls) or tourist attraction (Disneyland?!), plan your route to take you through it (or by it).
Experience Cool Stuff
The roads are not the only reason for the trip. Make sure to plan fun and interesting destinations along your route.
Look for out-of-the-way “local” places to eat (they often have the best food and atmosphere).
Think about where you want to stay. Do you prefer a big hotel chain or something smaller? I love a good B&B (see http://www.bnbfinder.com/ or https://www.bedandbreakfast.com/); they’re often quaint or quirky, and the food is usually fantastic. Plus they have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening locally and are a great source for things to do in the area.
Every state (and many municipalities) has dedicated tourism websites that can be helpful in identifying destinations and lodging.
Try to plan your day’s travel so you end up at a location where lodging is available. (In peak times of the year you may want to make reservations in advance.)
TIP: Don’t get lost
You’ll enjoy your trip more if you’re not stressed about finding a place to sleep, or wondering how far you can go on a tank of gas. Get a GPS or a navigation app on your smart phone (See our blog post about GPS vs. Phone) and plug in your route. That way you can simply follow along and not have to worry about getting lost. Of course, you want to make sure your phone or GPS is securely mounted (hint: use a Leader mount!).
The Little Things: Comfort & Convenience
Packing: Packing is super important on a bike because you have such limited space. You don't want to look like this guy! Think about the weather where you’re traveling and realize the temperature may swing from high to low in the span of a day. Layer clothing whenever possible, and make sure you have the essentials. Another must: rain gear and good-quality leather chaps.
Helmet Laws: Know the helmet laws in the states in which you’re traveling. Don’t get caught without one in a helmet-law state! (No fun to get a ticket on your dream trip.) Check out this site for a map of the states where helmets are required.
Don’t Try to do Too Much
If you’re not used to riding long distances, don’t force yourself to stay in the saddle for hundreds of miles. Plan stops along the way: for hydration, a bathroom break, or just to walk around and get the blood flowing (and give your rear a break). Plan the total number of hours or miles to be comfortable for you and you’ll have a much more enjoyable trip.
Invest in a set of Desert Dawgs for rain and wind protection; a butt cushion (or custom seat if your budget allows); or some music… anything for comfort and convenience.
One last thing to think about
Have you taken your bike for a “wellness” check? You and your motorcycle are going to spend a lot of time together on this trip, so make sure your bike is “healthy”! Make sure someone knows where you’re going and all your contact information and insurance information is up-to-date and stored in a safe place.
You are prepared, packed, organized, and it’s time to hit the road. You can do it knowing you are going to make memories that will last a lifetime! Enjoy!
TIP: Saving Memories
Now that you’re finally taking your dream trip, there’s nothing cooler than recording it in both picture and video. The scenery and shots can be amazing!
Today’s action cams are light and powerful. Naturally, we have what you need to mount the camera: the Swivel-CAM is perfect for shooting video.
Think of all the fun you’ll have going back to watch this video in the dead of winter!
- Tracey Cramer