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EffBee

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EffBee last won the day on July 4 2016

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  1. 2015 ended well for http://MotoReflective.com, as the warm east coast winter kept a lot of people out on the roads. And the short days made having reflective on their bikes even that much more of a priority. But now we're into winter, and that means winter projects. Winter is actually one of our busier times as people look to accessorize their bikes in preparation for the coming riding season. So if you're one of the many who will be adding reflectivity and safety to your ride for 2016, here are some tips for mounting your MotoReflective Kit(s) during these colder months. The most important thing is temperature. Get your saddlebags indoors and let them get to room temp before you prepare them for installation. This is very important as the adhesive on the 3M vinyl material we use sets up best in the 70-90-degree range. It'll stick in all weather, but the initial setting up works best in those temp ranges. Once at room temp, you'll want to wash the surface area of your saddlebag where your reflective is going to be applied. For this, be sure to use hot water. Not only does this help dissolve any dirt on the surface, but also any oils and slippery substances (like the silicones used in some cleaner/waxes). You want your surfaces to be completely clean and dry. So once you've washed those surfaces and thoroughly dried them, clean them again with plain alcohol, dry them well, and it wouldn't hurt to let them air dry a bit as well. Regular drug-store alcohol will finish the job of removing oils and silicones, leaving a very clean surface for mounting your Reflective Kit. The Reflective Kits shown above in this thread are our most popular ones for large Adventure bikes, such as BMW GS's and those bikes using Jesse Odyssey aftermarket luggage (we'll be adding Reflective Kits for Touratch Luggage this spring, so if that's you, stay tuned). Getting the vertical reflective strips on straight can sometimes be just a bit trickier than it seems. And with a perfectly clean surface, once it sticks, it's stuck. So use a strip of masking tape as a guide to make sure you've got things aligned with the vertical lines on your cases. And make sure the masking tape's aligning edge also positions the reflective strip where you want it horizontally. Regular white masking tape, or the blue painter's tape, both work well, but if you have a choice, choose the color that best contrasts with the surface color of your panniers. What's more, masking tape can be removed and reapplied until you're happy with the alignment line. And if you botch it completely, you can peel it off and start over with a new piece. Next, take a good look at your reflective strips. Each strip has three parts. 1. The paper backing that covers and protects the adhesive on the reflective vinyl pieces. 2. The reflective vinyl pieces themselves, and 3. A clear layer of "application tape" on top, which serves to hold the reflective pieces in place and evenly spaced, just like they are when our computerized cutting equipment finishes cutting your reflective kit. Now trim the reflective strips tightly, so that there's very little extra material around the perimeter of each strip. This will help you to align the reflective pieces tightly to the line you've created with the masking tape. This is where the contrast between the masking tape color and your panniers comes into play. It's much easier to line things up when the masking-tape guide you've created has a contrasting and clearly visible edge. Peel the paper backing off the adhesive side of the vinyl, and put the reflective strip right where you want it, tacking down ONLY the edge that's against the masking tape. Keep the rest of the reflective strip pulled away from your saddlebag until you can use a credit card to gently squeegee (or "scrape" might be a better word) the reflective pieces onto the saddlebags. Scrape them a section at a time, going town the full vertical length. Keeping the unstuck reflective pieces at an angle slightly away from the saddlebag, scrape down 1/4th of the width of the strip, then go back and do another 1/4th, then another and finally the last one. This helps reduce your possibility of trapping air bubbles under the vinyl. And don't worry, the Application Tape on top will protect the reflective pieces from getting scratched by the scraping action of your credit card. Finally, once you've got the reflective strip applied, push it down into your bag firmly, using your hand. Thumbs, thumb heels and palms work best. You really want it to adhere strongly. The last step is to remove the top layer of clear application tape. Removing the tape works best if you pull it off the reflective pieces at the sharpest angle possible. In effect, you're going to pull the tape at a 180-degree angle, so that the tape makes an immediate u-turn as it is being pulled off. If you need a visual, imagine pulling the tape off starting at the top of the reflective strip, and pulling STRAIGHT down. Pull the tape slowly so that you can make sure each reflective piece stays stuck to your saddlebags. If a piece starts to pull up, stop and rub it back down very firmly. Then proceed with removing the application tape. Now that you're done, let everything sit in the house for a day or two. The adhesive actually cures a bit during this time, giving you a much better, longer lasting result that'll help provide visibility, conspicuity and added safety for years to come. That's it. Enjoy your "indoor" winter motorcycle project. Follow the tips above, take your time and you'll have a sharp-looking and effective method of keeping drivers off your backside, once the weather warms and you start riding this spring.
  2. LAST DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: We ship our reflective kits via USPS, and the Postal Service says that Saturday, 12/19 is the last day to send mail for a pre-Christmas arrival in the continental U.S. We'd like to thank all our customers whose orders keep us busy every day, but we also want to make sure that if you're looking for a Reflective Kit for your bike, or as a Christmas Gift for a friend or loved one, that you don't miss out. So today Friday, and tomorrow, Saturday, are the last two days for us to get your Christmas order on its way. We'll be taking the last of the orders to the post office at noon PST on Saturday. We hope yours is among them. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and a great big Thank You for letting us be a part of XLADV.
  3. Orders continue to roll in here at http://MotoReflective.com and we're glad to offer this initial 20% OFF Discount to XLADV Members (see the first post in this thread for details). It's obvious that the members here understand the value of using reflective material on their bikes. Our Reflective Kits change what a cager sees at night, taking your bike from something that only appears as wide as its taillight, to a vehicle that's 3-4 feet wide and has substantial "lane presence." We believe (and have noticed) that when your vehicle looks larger/wider, you get more respect and people back off. Whether it's in your own lane, changing lanes, at a stop, or just tooling around town. You want to make sure to "Make 'Em Aware That You're There." Place your orders whenever you're ready (however, the discount only goes through Christmas Day). We'll cut it just for you and get it out within 24 hours. And thanks again to XLADV and its members.
  4. Wow. You've used multiple kits to create 360 degrees of reflective conspicuity. It looks great. Can't wait to see it with the saddlebags installed. Here's a look at the basic reflective kits for the Jesse Odyssey Luggage. Kits #RK-520, 524 and 526 all fit both the 8" and 10" Jesse Bags. Kit RK-520R Red Stripes Reflective Saddlebag Kit. $12.95. Matching trunk kit also available. RK-520S Silver Stripes Reflective Saddlebag Kit. RK-524R Red Chevrons. $12.95 RK-524S Silver Chevrons. RK-526R Red Checkers. $12.95 Here's the full "X Kit" for the rear of the Jesse saddlebags. It comes in four different versions (8" and 10", and for left exhaust cutout and right exhaust cutout) plus in two colors, silver and red reflective. That'd be 16 photos. Instead, I'll only show a few examples. All of them are visible at http://MotoReflective.com. At present, there is no matching trunk kit. RK-528R-LX8 Red X Kit. $29.95 RK-529S-RX10 Silver Kit. $29.95 Remember, we'll should be working on Reflective Kits for Touratech Luggage in January and also hope to use a connection we made at KTM to borrow a set of 1290 Adventure bags. In the meantime, we're looking for anyone with a Tenere in SoCal who has the OEM luggage, with no stickers or decals on it, and wouldn't mind loaning the bags and/or top case to us for a few days. We'll provide free reflective kits for you and a couple of your friends in return. And when the Africa Twin is released, we need to borrow the OEM bags for that one, too. Thanks again.
  5. Glad to be of help, Eric. I've had to good fortune to accumulate a lot of knowledge and information over the years. I sometimes make a recommendation as to products. But most of the time I prefer to just present the information I have, note where I'm adding personal opinion, and let the reader come to his/her own conclusion. I have to laugh a little, though, at Raineer Runner's comment above. That is very typical of first-time users. Usually the comment we got was, "WHY THE HELL did I wait so long?" Ride Warm, Raineer Runner. Ride Warm.
  6. Hello, all. I own http://MotoReflective.com. Many of you already know us or have seen our products on the road. We've been making pre-cut reflective kits for saddlebags and top cases for more than 16 years. We're up to more than 80 Reflective Kits, and we have dozens more on our ToDo list. We're proud of our products, and the fact that we use only the highest quality 7-year/7-mil 3M retroreflective vinyl, and that our products are 100% Made in America, materials and labor. A lot of our kits are for BMW's because so many BMW's come with saddlebags. But we're starting to create kits for other brands as well. In fact, after the first of the year, we will be developing reflective kits for Touratech Luggage, and for the KTM1290 Adventure. Mostly new kits hinge on us getting our hands on a set of saddlebags for a few days, so we can do all of the prototype work needed to create a good-fitting kit. So if you're in SoCal and you've got a Tenere, or are expecting a new Africa Twin, we'd love to hear from you. For now, we'd like to share with you some of our BMW Reflective Kits, and show you our brand-new Reflective Kits for the Jesse Odyssey Luggage. Oh, and as a THANK YOU for having us on this discussion board, we'd like to offer everyone a 10% discount on any purchase at http://MotoReflective.com, through Christmas. Just type in the code XLADV in the coupon box at checkout, and you'll get 10% knocked right off the purchase price. WAIT! I have a better idea. Let's make it a full 20% OFF. And thanks again for having us here at XLADV. This may take more than one post, so please bear with us. There are going to be a LOT of photos. And if you don't see your Beemer covered here, (like if you have an F800GS or an Airhead GS, or maybe a previous year GS Adventure), check out the website. We've got many more kits there than we'll be able to show here. Let's start with the latest R1200GS-L/C. RK-36 fits the saddlebags of the R12GS-L/C Vario Cases. $29.95 RK-36X fits the saddlebag lids of the R12GS-L/C and not only looks good, but delivers outstanding lateral conspicuity. $29.95 Our basic kit for the R12GS ADV - L/C is the RK-38. Available in black or white reflective (both reflect back bright white). $29.95. Matching Top Case Kits are $19.95. If you just want reflective on the corners, to establish your bike's true width in traffic and take your rightful "lane presence," the following are our vertical corner kits. These fit all of the Adventure aluminum bags for all years, including the F800GS. They're available in Black Reflective (reflects white) and Red Reflective (reflects red). Again, matching top case kits are available as well. RK-40B Black Stripe Kit. $12.95 RK-40R Red Stripe Kit. RK-44B Black Chevron Kit. $12.95 RK-44R Red Chevron Kit. RK-46B Black Checkers Kit. $12.95 RK-46R Red Checkers Kit. The choices are varied, but the results are the same. You want to keep drivers off your backside. In street traffic. On the highway. When changing lanes. With these reflective kits and the others we offer, you can "Make Them Aware That You're There." Thank you for taking the time to look. Next, we'll show our new Reflective Kits for the Jesse Odyssey Bags.
  7. Eric, as you know I've just ended a career in the motorcycle industry. My last position was as Director of Sales and Marketing for Gerbing's, which is the largest selling brand by a substantial margin. And while you would expect that might bias my perspective, read on and see for yourself. To be blunt, there is no "bad" heated gear. Gerbing's, Warm 'N Safe, First Gear, Venture Heat, Powerelet, et al. Essentially, it's just gear with different construction and features, from which you'll have to choose those which suit your needs best. Basically, all heated gear is "wired." That means either Stainless, Copper or Carbon Fiber wires are routed through the product in "heat panels or heat areas," When electricity is shorted through these circuits, the wires heat. The heat panels are not intended primarily just to heat you directly. If they did, you would only get warm where the heat panels are. Instead, it is intended as an undergarment, fitting a little bit on the snug side, but not tightly. Having a little air between you and the garment is important. The heat panels can't help but heat you directly, but more importantly they heat the air that surrounds you, which then heats you more evenly. This is why it is important to use heated gear as an underlayer, beneath a sealed motorcycle jacket, using the thickness of the heated liner to replace the thickness of the jacket's quilted liner, which should be removed. This way, everything fits "normally." The liner creates the heat and the jacket traps the heat. Motorcycle gear that uses Gore-Tex (Aerostich, Klim, etc) is a little bit less effective at holding in the heat because Gore-Tex breathes slightly, and that allows a little bit of cold outside air into the mixture. Usually you just turn up the controller a bit and it compensates for the slight introduction of colder air. Heating elements are generally where much of the controversy and hoopla exist surrounding heated gear. Stainless, Copper or Carbon Fiber. Which is best? Which provides the best heat? Etc. Etc. My opinion is that it doesn't matter. Heat is heat. Warm is warm. Now, having said that, there are different delivery protocols. Again, IMO, multi-strand stainless wire delivers the quickest heat. A simple .025 gauge wire can have up to 200 strands of stainless in it, each about 1/4th the thickness of a human hair. Since heat emanates from the circumferential surface of the wire, multi-strand wires have more circumferential area than solid wires or wires with fewer/larger strands. Thus, multi-strand heating wires heat you more quickly. Note that carbon fiber wires are also small multi-strand wires, and they also heat quickly. Multi-strand wires also respond more rapidly to input from the controller. So when you drop into an ice-cold valley and turn up the heat, it's more immediate. Stainless multi-strand, and to a slightly lesser extent (based on my personal experience) carbon-fiber multi-strand, deliver heat more quickly. Now, we're talking about 10 seconds vs. 30 seconds for copper wire. So you have to decide for yourself if this is important. The wires themselves vary in thickness. Stainless wires are thinnest. However, some manufacturers run Carbon Fiber wiring without its insulation coating, preferring to wrap it in a folded insulating sheet that sticks to itself, kind of like sticking the wires in a thin plastic taco and sealing the edge. Since the purpose of the insulation is to prevent shorting, as long as the wiring patterns are designed to not let the wire cross over itself, it should be fine. Carbon Fiber is actually less expensive by quite a bit than Stainless wrapped in a Teflon-based insulation coating, so expect to pay less for a Carbon Fiber heated liner (and gloves) all else being equal. By that I mean check the other features. A manufacturer may, or may not, have decided to put the savings into other features in the garment. Again, you have to decide what you want in a garment and which of its features are important to you. Wiring circuits within the jackets are also becoming more standardized. Most heated jacket liners are wired with two circuits. One circuit is for the jacket itself (chest, back and sleeves). While the second circuit bypasses the jacket and goes straight to the glove plugs at the end of the sleeves. This way, when using a dual controller, you have one circuit that controls the heat for your torso, and another circuit that controls the heat to your hands. Since your hands are usually out in the air flow, while your torso at least has a little protection from a short windshield (or on a sport-touring bike or a cruiser, often a larger windshield), being able to set the temperature of your torso and your hands independently means much greater comfort. Be aware that the "glove" circuit is usually where the connection point is for heated pants and socks. Therefore, your torso will be on one circuit and all your appendages will be on the other. Makes sense. Like your hands, your legs and feet are also more likely to be "in the wind" and wanting of a heat setting different than that needed for your upper body. Controllers are interesting. A lot of people think of them as rheostats. They're not. Virtually every controller out there is actually a pulse-width modulator. Typically with a PWM controller, the duty cycle is usually about one second. During that second, the controller is set to send power to the wires for a percentage of that second, and then shut itself off for the remainder of that second. So at 50% power, the controller would send power through for half a second and be off for half a second. At 20% power, it would be on for .2 seconds and off for .8 seconds. I think you get the picture. And this happens for every tick of the clock. The duty cycle repeats. I've always been a strong proponent of dual controllers for the reasons in the paragraph above. Having that dual-zone control is just so much easier to be comfortable. More recently, wireless controllers have come onto the market. But wireless isn't completely wireless. The signal from the controller to a receiver in the jacket is wireless, but the power from the motorcycle's electrical system must still be connected to you and the jacket by means of a wire. The advantages of a wireless controller is that there's just one power wire to connect/disconnect as opposed to two circuit wires (from a dual controller to a dual-circuit jacket), and that the wireless feature lets you place the controller pretty much anywhere on your motorcycle. With a wired controller, you need to have the controller attached to your outer jacket, or to something that's close to you when you're in the riding position, such as a tankbag. With a wireless controller, you can position it near the left handgrip for easy access, on your touring bike's dashboard, or anywhere you find it convenient. Amp draw. This is the amount of load that the heated garments pull out of your electrical system. They are rated at full power, such that if I tell you that a Jacket Liner has an amp draw of 70 watts, that's on High. At 50% power, it's on a 50% duty cycle, so the load draw averages 70W x .5 = 35W. At 20% power it would be 70W x .2 = 14W. At 80% power, 70W x .8 = 56W. You need to know the amp draw of your jacket liner, gloves and any other heated garment you're going to be wearing. And also that of any passenger. Then you need to make sure that your motorcycle's alternator can handle the load. A good rule of thumb is to reduce your bike's maximum alternator output by 20% when calculating, just to provide yourself a cushion. Alternators don't make full power all the time. They make more power at more engine rpm, usually up to about 2000 - 2500rpm, by which time they're making full power. So, if you're riding around town at lower rpm, or you have a torquey cruiser that spends some time below max alternator output, reducing the max output by 20% when making calculations gives you a safe cushion. With most BMW's, alternator output is not a problem. Most of the boxers have at least 700W. But what about bikes with lower outputs? Let's take a look at a hypothetical bike with a 400W alternator. First, you have to figure out what it takes to run the motorcycle. For a carbureted bike, figuring ignition system, headlight, taillight, brake light and the occasional turn signal, about 190-200W is about right. For a fuel-injected bike, about 260-275W is about right. Now come the accessories. Got driving lights? About 55W each, or 110W. Very often less if they're HID or LED. Heated grips? 20W (on High). Heated seat? 40W (on High). These are general estimates. So, on a cold day, your fuel-injected bike, with a 400-W alternator (factored down to 320 just to be safe), has about 45-60W to play with. Heated jacket at 50% draws about 35W. Gloves at 50% draw about 15W. You're probably safe. But don't turn on your accessory driving lights, or your draw will exceed the alternator's output and you'll slowly drain your battery. On bikes with questionable alternator limits, it's always a good idea to hook a volt meter up to the battery (Datel makes awesome DVM's). If the battery voltage starts to decline, you can tell and may have to turn some things down, or off, until the voltage builds again. I have this on my V-strom 650. Driving lights plus heated liner, gloves and socks, and I am past my limit. The voltage drains from 14.4V to about 12.5 in 45 minutes. So I have to shut off the extra lights (actually, I added an Eastern Beaver headlight switch and am able to turn off one of the two headlights, saving 55W and barely "balancing" the input/output). Each rider and bike will be different, so you just have to do some basic math and then keep an eye on things the first couple of times you're out in the cold. If it works, you should be OK for the winter. But be careful. Nothing worse than stopping to go to the bathroom and coming out to a bike without enough battery power left to turn over the engine. The bike will still run, IF you can get it started. And in the cold, that's no fun. Anyway, that's a basic summary of things to look for and consider when buying heated gear. As for me, when I'm on my Beemer, I've got all the heat I need. When on the Wee-strom, I'm usually good, but if it's really cold I have to turn off one headlight in order to turn up the heat. As for what I wear, naturally it's Gerbing since when I retired I had a full set of gear and two extra jacket liners and gloves. So I'm set. But I've tested and can recommend just about every major brand. They all keep you warm. It's just a matter of personal preference. However, when it comes to a controller, I do run my gear through a Warm 'n Safe wireless controller for its small size and convenience. But I carry a wired dual controller as a backup just in case. Haven't needed it in 3 years. Hope this helps.
  8. EffBee

    Greetings from an old dirt bike rider

    Thanks, Eric. I don't know that I've accomplished much (my resume used to say otherwise), but that I've just kind of found myself at retirement and looked back and said, "how the 'ell did I get HERE?" I'm enjoying "life" more. I have more control over my time (although I've noticed that the wife's claims on my time have dramatically increased). And it's finally given us the time to take our little side business, MotoReflective.com, and let it have its full legs to see how much it can grow. That's exciting. Overall, I'm satisfied and happy. No, I never got to own a house on Hawaii's North Shore and go surfing every day of my life. But I've had a good career. I've got kids and grandkids I love dearly, and motorcycles I enjoy as often as I can (sold my last Beemer with 134K on the clock). I've just had a lot of fun getting here.
  9. So, does that mean I'm old and ride dirt bikes, or that I ride old dirt bikes? Both actually. And street, too. I'm a long-time motorcycle industry veteran, now retired, who owns a BMW RT, a 650 "Wee" Strom, and just sold his C&J-framed XR500 Baja fun bike. That baby has spent more nights under the metal canopy at Mike's Sky Ranch than I can recall. It's been in a relative's care for a while, and this past summer he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. So at least I'll be able to visit it once in a while. Now I've got my eye on a new Africa Twin. So much to like. Bike history? Everything from a dirt-ified Honda S90, which was my first non-minibike at age 9, to Hodakas of all kinds, all the way to various dual-sport bikes, including an old DR650, a KLR 650, a BMW GSPD (miss that one a lot...shouldn't have sold it), and a whole bunch of European and Japanese Enduro bikes. To answer my first question, I come from a time when a cheap wrist watch taped to the handlebars, a home-made roll chart, and 6th-grade math skills made you semi-competitive. A Yamaha DT-1 with knobbies installed and the lights removed was my first enduro bike. I've also been fortunate enough to race Baja once, ride a couple of ISDT qualifiers, compete in National-level trials events and basically have worn out a lot of knobs in (mostly fruitless) pursuit of trophies not worth the gas it took to earn them. But DAGNABBIT, I've had sooooooo much FUN!!! Industry history? An editor at Cycle World, 15 years at Honda's ad agency, Kawasaki's ad agency and my own ad agency, then a stint at MSF, managed at a couple of dealerships (BMW most recently), and had the good fortune to be asked to run sales and marketing for some good MC Industry aftermarket companies. I can't thank the team here enough for welcoming me and letting me poke around.
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