Monday, 6 November 2017

Tech: Cosmo Moto

As a motorcyclist, one of the best things you can do to improve your safety - apart from not riding like a knob, of course - is to make yourself more visible. That means high visibility colours and light-reflective inserts on jackets and crash helmets. Of course, it won't always work, but at the very least if you do get punted down the road by another vehicle, the other driver's standard-issue "sorry mate, I didn't see you" excuse will sound even more pathetic than usual. That said, some motorcyclists roll their eyes at the merest mention of hi-vis this and reflective that; sarcastically suggesting that we should all ride around with a flashing light stuck on our crash helmets.

Well in fact French startup Cosmo Connected do think that having a light on your lid may be a good thing. This company, founded by none other than Romain Afflelou (son of of the owner of the internationally-implanted Afflelou chain of High Street opticians), has developed a device called the Cosmo Moto, which is a sort of supplementary brake light that you fix to the back of your crash helmet.

But calling it a brake light is somewhat inexact and simplistic. Instead of lighting up when you squeeze the brake lever or push on the rear brake pedal, the Cosmo Moto's accelerometers detect when you slow down (either by braking or by rolling off the throttle) and light up the incorporated 24-LED light. The device is also connected to a complementary smartphone app that allows you to customise the unit's functions: as well as the basic configuration, you can choose to have the light on all the time with increased intensity when you slow down, or set it to flash continuously - this configuration can come in handy when filtering, in bad visibility conditions, or as a safety beacon if you're stopped by the roadside or on a motorway hard shoulder.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Gear Report: LS2 Spitfire OF599 helmet

When I got confirmation that I would be riding an Indian Scout Sixty at the 2017 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride in Barcelona (full road test here and DGR report here), I soon realised that wearing either a track-oriented full-face helmet or a a modular "flip-up" lid just wasn't going to cut the mustard. No, what was needed was an open-face crash hat. I looked at my scuffed, scratched and battered road-weary Airborn, but soon realised that it was now probably well past the end of its useful life (I've had it since 2007). I was left with only one option: to go on the blag for an open-face skull bucket.

So which manufacturer should I go to, cap in hand, to be lent a helmet? I thought of approaching one of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride global sponsors, Hedon, but realised that it was probably too short notice. I also thought about reaching out to Davida, but there again, time was at a premium. Finally, as I was taking a break from a particularly tedious translation, I checked my browser history to see which manufacturer's website I had last visited. And so I ended up surfing LS2's website. Almost immediately, I saw the answer to my problems: the brand-new Spitfire helmet. I saw the name as a good omen - guess what my favourite warbird is - and in due course I sent an email to David Foschi, their design guru; a few days later a courier knocked on Thruxton Towers' portcullis and I unboxed the Spitfire.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Ride review: Indian Scout Sixty

As I laboriously made my way out of central Barcelona, which was already seething with demonstrations and protest marches in view of the independence referendum that was to take place three days later, I reflected upon how fate has a strange way of doing things. At the same time, one of the Indian's mirrors was reflecting - well, nothing much, at least nothing of what I wanted it to reflect. But that would have to wait until I got back to Thruxtonian HQ.

This was the weekend of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride. I had originally planned to ride Black Douglas' new Euro-4 compliant 125cc Sterling, but minor technical issues sunk that option with all hands on deck. At first I thought about cancelling my participation in the DGR, but I thought that now that I was registered to ride, I might as well go through with it. Only one problem remained: what bike should I ride? One of my bikes (the one that gave this blog its current name) is currently off the road* and the other doesn't really fit in with the whole "Distinguished Gentleman" philosophy. It was obvious that I was going to have to beg, borrow or - umm no, we'll leave it at those two options - a ride from somebody. By the next day, Polaris EspaƱa had kindly accepted to lend me a Scout Sixty for the weekend.