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
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
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
Biker Gift Giving: The STEALTH Approach
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! First, see our article "Getting a Gift They'll Love: Four Questions to Ask When You're NOT the Biker."
Then: Sneak into their closet (or garage, or cabinet…) and snoop through their stuff. (Just make sure to put it all back the way you found it!)
What you're looking for:
- Boxes from electronic devices (GPS, phone, camera, radio, iPod, etc) either with or without the item in it. Take notes that include the make and model (example: GPS - Garmin - Nuvi 2595). You can use this information to get them a really awesome mount!
- Clothing: do they have four pair of riding chaps? (If so, they probably don't like being cold when they ride, and the Desert Dawgs may be a great gift.)
- Check out any patches sewn onto their riding clothes; this will tell you what they believe in, what they're passionate about (besides motorcycling) so you can get them things related to them
Leader products make great gifts! And, our return policy is extremely liberal. If you buy a gift from Leader 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
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