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
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
Free Cradle with Purchase of Diamond Mount for GPS
Our favorite mount for Garmin Nuvi GPS (as well as many of the TomTom GPS models) - the Diamond Mount - is now more affordable than ever!
Why do we like this mount so much? Because the Diamond Mount includes a form-fitted cradle that is specific to the Nuvi (or TomTom) GPS model. The cradle is four-sided and includes cut-outs for power buttons, plug-ins, etc.
And that makes the mount extremely safe and secure! (how secure? see the video here!)
There's even better news...
We've recently dropped the price of the Diamond Mount by $10 on most models (some more). And now you can ALSO get the cradle for FREE! That's a $25 value!
Simply be sure to add the cradle to your cart, then use this code at checkout: FREECRADLE
(Applies to both Garmin and TomTom Diamond Mounts. Good for up to $15 value. $49 minimum order. Offer expires soon!)
- Tracey Cramer
Test Riding the Can-Am Spyder
Our customers are always telling me how much they like the Can-Am Spyder. So when I stopped into a large multi-line dealer recently, I decided to take a test ride on one (wish I’d gotten a selfie!).
The salesperson emphasized that riding the Spyder is NOT like riding a motorcycle (which, thanks to our customers, I already knew).
But I still thought: how different can it be? After all, just like any other motorcycle, there are quite a few ways you can be injured or killed than if you’re in a car LOL!
But… It isn’t like riding a motorcycle. At all.
With over 30 years riding on two wheels, I immediately felt what I can only describe as a “lack of oneness” with the Spyder.
A motorcycle moves with you, and you with it; you lean into turns, your hands and feet are both in play when you brake, and you feel the engine beneath you. In short: The bike is a part of you.
Not so with the Spyder. At least not for me, in that short test ride. The sensation I had in turns was that of being pulled (and holding on for dear life). The ‘jiggly’ feeling was reminiscent of my last snowmobile trip in Yellowstone! Another test rider referred to driving the Can-Am Spyder as “operating” it rather than “riding” it. Maybe he’s onto something.
Whether it’s the wisdom of age or my motorcycle crash a couple years ago, I really like the idea of three wheels (and with a brain overcome with other things, maybe the mental part of riding won’t seem so tiring). Perhaps if I could rent a Spyder for a day I’d come to feel more like I’m working with the machine rather than against it.
What do you think? Drop me a note at email@example.com with your thoughts!
- Tracey Cramer
It's Easy to Plug your Phone in with the SLIDE Mount
Need to keep your phone plugged in while riding? The SLIDE “Plus” Phone Mount make that easy to do – and might just be the most secure motorcycle phone mount around!
The SLIDE’s flexible design accommodates a variety of devices (with and without case/cover) and makes it safer and more convenient to use a phone or other device on a motorcycle.
Medium/Vertical size fits Min width 2-3/8" / Max width 3-5/8"
Long/Horizontal size fits Min width 4-3/4" / Max width 7-3/8"
The Slide Mount is adjustable in THREE ways:
- Side arms are available in three depths
- Side arms "Slide" along the base bar then lock in place
- Ultra-Swivel provides left/right or up/down options
The “Plus” feature can be found on all URBAN Vertical Slide Mounts.
More info about Leader phone mounts can be found here.
- Tracey Cramer