Minimize Helmet Buffeting and Wind Noise with the Right Windshield
Windshields get the wind off your body, chest and head, funneling it around you and protecting you from rain, insects, grit and small rocks. A good windshield will create an effective pocket of wind protection, minimize helmet buffeting and reduce wind noise.
The height of your windshield determines the area of protection.
As I learned while working with Memphis Shades, the rule of thumb is that the top of the windshield should come to nose level when you’re sitting upright on the seat (or between upper lip and nose). This creates a ‘slipstream’ effect to push air up and over your head; it also allows you to look over the windshield if you need to (which I do when it’s raining hard!).
That said, I personally find that having a windshield on the tall side gives me a little more protection from wind in particular.
Rain can affect visibility (and so can sun glare), so get a high-quality windshield with good optical qualities (ask for DOT-certified clarity) and anti-scratch properties such as windshields made of Lexan polycarbonate. It may cost a little more but like so many things in life, you get what you pay for!
- If you can, visit windshield manufacturer’s booths at rallies or trade events and ‘try on’ different windshields.
- Remember that the ‘height’ of the windshield will start about an inch above the headlight on most motorcycles.
- Many riders like ‘quick detach’ or ‘quick release’ windshields so they can be removed in warmer weather.
- 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.
- Tracey Cramer
How to Waterproof Your Phone
Our phones have become an extension of us. We don’t go anywhere without them, and we use them for everything - from surfing the internet to taking photos to keeping track of our schedule to updating our Facebook profile. We often have our entire contact lists in them. I sometimes joke that my entire life is in my phone!
So it goes without saying that getting your phone wet 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.
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. (Helpful hint: check out our Phone Sizing Guide).
If you don’t want to spend the money on an Otterbox or similar (because they do generally cost more), here are several suggestions for keeping your phone dry. (BTW these apply nicely to iPod as well.)
Zip-lock baggie! Keep a few of these in your saddlebag (or pocket) and simply slip it on over your phone, iPod or satellite radio. Make sure you get a high-quality brand so the ‘zip’ really ‘locks’!
The Caddy Buddy Waterproof Phone Mount is made of a vinyl material with a harder ‘backing’ sewn in for support. It has a slim, unobtrusive profile and the clear cover allows you to operate your touch screen. The back side features a swivel mechanism to you can tilt/angle the phone, with both vertical and horizontal options.
The Caddy Buddy fits phones up to 3-7/8 inch wide and 6-1/8 inch high. Depth capability depends in part on size of phone; best under ½ inch. You can run wires out of it either at the top edge (it has a velcro closure) or by snipping a tiny hole in the exact place you need it.
If you’ve got a large phone - or you have a thick case or cover on your phone that you don’t want to have to remove - the Hydra waterproof phone/GPS mount may be of interest to you.
The Hydra is a case with a zipper closure on three edges. It has a special waterproof ‘plug’ to run wires out if needed and is available in several sizes. Because it has a thicker vinyl front, I don’t recommend trying to use the touch screen. The Hydra is a bit bulkier than other options, but it’s 100 percent waterproof!
- Tracey Cramer
Inventory Reduction - Harley-Davidson Mounts
Take 20% off all eCaddy (Legacy) Mounts for the Harley-Davidson brake/clutch during our fall inventory clearance sale!
This includes mounts for your phone, GPS, camera - even the Roadrunner drink holder. See all eligible mounts.
FINE PRINT: Discount offer applies to eCaddy (aka Legacy) Mounting kits ONLY. Does not apply to URBAN mounts. Minimium order is $50. Sale runs through Veterans Day, November 11, 2016.
- Tracey Cramer
$20 Off on Select Phone Mounts
As you’ve no doubt noticed, smart phones have gotten bigger! Then there’s the fact that many riders would like to position their phones horizontally (for example, to make using a GPS app easier). As a result, we needed to make a change to the SLIDE Device Mount, which has been hugely popular for mounting phones and other devices.
So what is this change?
Well, we made the SLIDE an inch bigger! The SLIDE Device Mount now fits all phones on the market (although you’ll have to double-check the total size if you use a case/cover on yours), which is GREAT news!!
BUT… Making this change has created extra parts in our shop that we would like to sell out.
SO, we are offering $20 off on select SLIDE mounts. This savings is available on the following:
- eCaddy SLIDE for Goldwing Brake/Clutch (both chrome and black)
- eCaddy SLIDE for Harley-Davidson Brake/Clutch (both chrome and black)
- eCaddy SLIDE for Handlebars (chrome)
- eCaddy SLIDE for Mirror (chrome)
- eCaddy SLIDE for Can-Am Spyder
There is no code required; the $20 discount is built right into the 'buy' button (just be sure you're choosing the "Medium" size!). BUT - it is good ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.
The SLIDE components are all stainless steel & aluminum - they won't rust or wear. And since you can adjust the SLIDE, you likely won't need a new mount when you change phones!
See all SLIDE Device Mounts.
- Tracey Cramer
Motorcyclist Beware: Nine Common Road Hazards
Road hazards are a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Things that have little effect on a car can cause a motorcycle to crash.
Motorcyclists should understand what constitutes a hazard, be alert for such dangers, and take precautions to avoid them. Here are some of the things bikers should be on the lookout for.
We have a lot of these around our home base (which consists of county roads, a popular choice for bikers). Rough and bumpy roads happen due to disrepair, construction work, or resurfacing efforts.
Gravel is possibly the trickiest hazard, at least for me (it has factored in two incidents in my riding history!). Unfortunately, gravel on pavement tends to be more common on winding roads, which are, of course, popular with bikers (and which require lots of cornering). Gravel can be particularly troublesome if encountered during cornering -- and especially dangerous for riders going too fast, or riders who haven’t done a lot of cornering yet.
An edge break is when two traffic lanes are different heights. (These are common here in Minnesota, where we have two seasons: ‘winter’ and ‘road construction’!) Edge breaks are a piece of cake in a car, but can be problematic for unsuspecting bikers, especially at higher speeds - and especially if you’re forced to ‘side step’ over them (try to get as straight-on as you can).
Expansion & Bridge Joints
Expansion joints connect two sections of a road together, or a section of a road to a bridge. Bridge joints hold sections of a bridge together. Both allow the road or bridge to expand or contract without cracking.
We have a bridge over the St. Croix River on a route along the MN/WI border that I love to ride. This bridge always makes me tense because it has everything a biker dislikes: expansion joints and open bridge joints that are really wide (ever get that ‘grid’ feeling when riding across a bridge?!). This particular bridge can be slick even on a sunny day, especially if it’s humid.
Ah, yes, another one we have to be aware of here in the land of deer, raccoon and even possum! Hitting a small animal can throw a motorcycle off path and/or off balance. Unfortunately, animals that run into the road are difficult to anticipate and swerving to avoid them can cause an accident as well. I once hit a pheasant that ‘flushed up’ behind the bike I was following.
It goes without saying that hitting a large animal (like a deer) could really mess up a rider (or worse). On a trip to Colorado, I was following my dad when he hit a deer. He managed to stay upright but his entire fairing and all his lights were crumpled. (The deer faired even worse.)
Slippery surfaces that you might not even notice in a car can be problematic for a motorcyclist. The unstable nature of a two-wheeled bike and the smaller, lighter size mean that sliding on the road can easily result in a crash. Slick surfaces are even more dangerous when the biker is turning. The list of potentially slippery objects/surfaces is long but includes:
- Crosswalk Lines
- Any painted surfaces
- Anti-freeze or oil
Bikers must also be cautious of rain after a dry spell. Dust, dirt and oil on the road combine with water to form a slippery layer.
The first half hour of a rainstorm is the most dangerous time to ride on the road. Standing water can cause hydroplaning. And though some of you reading this don’t have to deal with snow and ice, here in Minnesota we do! Personally, I try not to ride in it, but if you must, see our blog post for winter riding tips.
Railway tracks and crossings
Motorcycle tires can get caught in a railway track, causing a crash. Some railway crossing areas have metal or wood between the tracks, which become extremely slick when wet.
Debris or objects in the road
Debris or objects in the road, such as parts of tire treads, things fallen from trucks (furniture, tools, boxes), branches, or rocks, are more hazardous to motorcycles than cars. Not only can they cause a crash, but the object itself can hit and seriously harm the rider.
If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, take a deep breath. With a little caution you can retain your joy of riding while staying safe!
- Tracey Cramer