Photochromic Visors on the Way

If you’re like me, you sometimes get irritated by bright sunlight when riding, so you want a darker visor.  But, as soon as you stick a dark visor on your helmet, you have to ride at night, or in heavy overcast, and you need to switch out for a clear visor.  Why can’t you have one visor that does everything?

Well, maybe you can.  ShieldTech LLC is partnering with Transitions–the people who make those eyeglasses that get darker as the light gets brighter–to release a new line of helmet visors (PDF) with the Transitions technology.  So, in dark conditions, the visor is clear, but as the sun climbs in the sky, the visor will automatically darken.

So, by summer, you should be able to get a photochromic visor for your helmet, as long as it’s a Shoei (RF1000, TZ-R, X-Eleven, Multitec), Arai  (Quantum, Profile, Corsair, Vector), or Akuma (Phantom) helmet.

Maybe it’s time to think about a new helmet, too.

2010 Indian Chief Vintage

2010 Indian Chief Vintage
2010 Indian Chief Vintage

Motorcycle.com got their hands on a 2010 Indian Chief Vintage for a ride review.  The pictures are nice, and, apparently, the bike is even better-looking in person.

Its acre’s worth of chrome was so flawless, we wondered whether Indian had found alchemists who’d replaced mere chromium with magically-applied liquid mercury instead. “This might be the best quality chrome on a production bike I’ve seen to date,” quipped Pete on the Chief’s high-luster shiny stuff.

Likewise, the leatherwork looked and felt like it had been produced by a high-end boutique. The seat is actually supplied by Milsco, the same Milwaukee-based saddle-maker that had outfitted early-1940s and later Indians for some time before the original company ceased production in 1953.

Alas, despite the beauty, there are also some blemishes.

Unfortunately, we can not compliment some of the other buzzes this bike’s engine induced. It visibly shook the tank, and audible resonation came possibly from the windshield – or maybe it was just the tank? In top gear at cruising speed with earplugs in, it was still audible. Specifically, the buzz began at around 2,600 rpm, and discouraged us from wanting to rev it anywhere near its 5,250 rpm redline.

After riding the Vintage on the highway, Pete said he felt like his feet might vibrate off the floorboards.

The 105ci V-Twin powerplant is rigidly mounted, and has no counter-balancers, which might account for the vibration problem.  Of course, it is a “vintage” model, so vintage design isn’t completely out of place.  and, besides, vibration is really in the butt of the beholder, right?

Well, maybe.  But when you’re riding a bike that costs as much as an Acura, you might want a little refinement in comfort to go along with all that liquid-mercury chrome.

California gets some company

Via Motorcycle Daily, it looks like California will no longer stand alone in the US in allowing lane-splitting.

So kudos to the Arizona legislature for honoring the Goldwater legacy of personal liberty tempered by individual responsibility with Arizona House Bill 2475. Introduced by Harley-Davidson-riding Representative Jerry Weiers (say “wires,” R-District 12), the bill will legalize, for a one-year probationary period beginning January 1, 2011, lane-splitting in stopped traffic. It will only apply in counties with populations greater than 2 million (according to 2006 population estimates, this is just Maricopa county, with the Phoenix-Glendale-Scottsdale megalopolis). The bill sailed through the Transportation committee (which Weiers chairs) and the House Rules committee, and has been read to the State Senate as well. It's looking like there is little opposition to the bill so far, which makes sense: those who lean to the left should like the message of encouraging the lower environmental impact of motorcycle transportation, and those on the right should appreciate the individual-rights angle.

I don’t like lane-splitting in moving traffic, mainly because here in Southern California, no-signal-no-looking-lane-changing idiots are likely to run you over.  On the other hand, I almost invariably lane-split at stoplights.  As long as you exercise reasonable prudence, it’s not a big deal.