Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chasing the Bullet the film - Official Trailer

Chris came to India with whatever funding he could rustle up and shot the film Chasing the Bullet. After he was done he got on a plane and went back to the US to edit it. Well here is the official trailer from the film. Must say he crammed in a lot of motorcycle misfits in the 1:20sec trailer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gear Review: Triumph Navigator Jacket

The Tech sheet on the Triumph Navigator jacket reads something like this. A highly functional adventure-tour garment, this jacket uses the latest in water and dirt repellence fabric technology. Large removable ventilation panels front and back allow in maximum air flow whilst the Sympatex performance z-liner and Outlast(R) technology allow for wet, warm or cold weather riding.

•500D nylon Cordora fabric featuring DuPont™ Teflon® fabric protector for water and dirt repellence
•Removable CE certified Knox® protectors- back protector,elbow and shoulder
•Sympatex® - Waterproof, windproof and breathable performance z-liner
•Removable quilted liner incorporating Outlast technology
•Superfabric™ ceramic laminated panel in impact zones
•Stretch flex zones for increased comfort and flexibility
•AirFlow Tech large removable ventilation panels front and back
•3M® silver reflective piping, inserts and printing
•Side adjustment zippers

But honestly Tech sheets may look good but the proof is always in the pudding. I got the Navigator in the beginning of July 2015 and since then have ridden with it for about 40 days through the higher reaches of the Himalayas and all the way down in the southern part of the country through the Western Ghats and the Nilgiries. All this riding was done on a mixture of motorcycles: my new Triumph Bonneville, a Karzima ZMR and Helmet Stories new fleet of Bullet 500's. 

First impression of the jacket is its a bit heavy but that is because of its thick removable quilted liner and the heavy duty Knox back, elbow and shoulder armour. Once you put on the jacket it is quite snug and feels really comfortable. For extra protection there are Superfabric ceramic laminated panels in impact zones not that I have tested that out yet and never honestly plan to. The jacket is a bit longer akin to touring so if you ride different kinds of bikes the jacket does not ride up or become uncomfortable. 

During my rides we dealt with lots of rain, hail,cold mornings and evening and the odd humid and sunny day. On those rare hot days we encountered the jacket did pretty well as its got huge vents in the front while in the rear most of the back can be zipped open to reveal a huge vent making for very cool riding. 

What surprised me was when it would start raining in the pitter patter the water would not seep in with all the vents open and once you zipped up even with heavy rain the water never found its way in. As a matter of fact while with the quilted liner in and fully zipped up I rode over Tanglang La and onto the More Plains in the rain and hail for about 25kms and the water never seeped in and I never felt the chill. That I think was the true test of the Jacket weather proofness. 

The Jacket has two front waterproof pockets which are as they are marked. The phone, bikes documents and the money never at any point got damp let alone wet. There are two other pockets one on the lapel and one inside so plenty of space to carry all your stuff. There is even a rear pocket at the lower back useful to carry a rain suit or an extra pair of Rain/Cold weather Gloves. 

I am totally blown away by the brilliance of this jacket and have ordered my self matching pants to complete the kit as I already got the Navigator Gloves (totally warm and waterproof and to top it off they match the jacket) I think it is the perfect kit for the mountains and will work quite well in the hot plains as long as you are moving and not stuck in traffic. The best part is you can go into any Triumph Store in the country try it on for size and order one for your self. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Helmet Stories Pangi Valley T-Shirt by Ryan Quickfall

We are less than a week away from the Helmet Stories ride to Pangi Valley so we thought we would get some T-Shirts printed for the occasion. We got in touch with master illustrator and artist Ryan Quickfall and he came up with a few options and this is what we finally choose. We thought of doing just a small print run for the riders on the Helmet Stories and Sideburn ride to Pangi but then thought it we would be nice to do an option for the rest of you guys.

So what we are doing is taking pre-orders of the T-Shirt (Each T-Shirt is Rs 750 its first come first serve). So that once we are back from the Pangi ride on the 18th of September we can start processing the orders and shipping them out to you guys asap.

Helmet Stories Pangi Valley
Helmet Stories Pangi Valley
Ryan came up with so many cool designs and ideas before we settled on this one that we may end up doing a whole line of Helmet Stories T-Shirts in the future. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

4 wearable gadgets for motorcyclists

Yesterday I met up with the guys from Nexgear at Garage52. They wanted to come and chat and show us some prototypes and plans for some new wearable gadgets they were developing for fellow adventure nerds. When asked about who Nexgear is in their own words "We are a bunch of travel, adventure & photography enthusiasts who happen to be engineers & designers.  We are a young company based in Mumbai focused on developing seamless wearable devices, with a vision to change the way people capture their adventures. Our first gadget is for travellers and adventurers and is scheduled for release in 2015. Our products are targeted to compete in global markets and to challenge the giants in the exciting space of wearables." They have some great ideas and I cant wait for their working prototypes to be out so we can take one into the mountains and have some fun with it.

So while checking out their website today we came across this post on their blog on wearable gadgets for motorcyclists which we thought everyone should read. So with their permission we are republishing it on the blog.

“When I started riding, I started like everyone else, in shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops that threatened to fall off my foot every time I put the brakes. But over time, I researched and got myself the right gear — armored jackets, riding boots and protective gloves and not to mention some insanely expensive riding pants. So when a friend pointed me in the direction of wearables, I was a little dismissive. “When you ride, you need some serious protective gear and not some sensors which give you heart rate and burnt calories.” I told him.

He urged me to explore some stuff nonetheless and I must admit there were some really useful and intelligent gadgets waiting to be discovered by riders! I know there are hardcore riders who don’t like technology to interfere in their motorcycling experience but if you are the one who enjoys using gadgets during a ride than you are at the right place. I found a wide array of products dedicated towards making motorcycling better, safer, and easier. When I came across the Beartek Gloves, in particular, I was reminded of one of my overnight rides from Mumbai to Goa. The freezing cold November night tends to have a soporific effect. Your eyes feel heavy and the wind hits you, making you a little numb. I tend to avoid listening to hard rock when I ride as it cuts you off from the surrounding traffic. But at that time, it was either listen to aggressive sound of drums and metal or fall asleep on the bike. The problem was that I was already wearing layers of clothes, and my big screen phone wouldn’t fit into the designated jacket pocket. It was not the discomfort of constantly wiggling around to get the wires straight that bothered me, but it was the fact that I was seriously distracted throughout, trying to control the music and my bike at the same time. So when I read about the Beartek Gloves, I knew I had to have them.

Among all the cool stuff that I found, here’s my list of the top 4. This stuff would have just slipped under my radar, unless I wouldn’t have dug deep into wearables. None of the typical motorcycling forums or marketplaces seem to cover these gadgets on a regular basis. But honestly, they’re totally worth checking out. Some of them are quite affordable, and are even available on Amazon!”

Skully: Hands down, my next ‘Biking thing I absolutely got to have’ product. Skully is this really cool helmet that features a bunch of stuff that allows you almost unreal perception of everything around you. I mean everything. 360 degrees! You can pretty much know what’s happening behind your back, without even lifting your eyes from the road. Imagine receiving video input on the inside of your visor. It will show you a 180 degree view of what’s behind you. What’s more, you can integrate your phone’s GPS with the helmet, and the helmet will inform you (with visuals) of the route. All this without moving a muscle! The only downside to the Skully, is that you’ll probably have to save up to buy it, but heck, it’s worth it right? (Pre-Order)

Beartek GlovesBeartek’s tagline is ‘Every other glove is obsolete’ and looking at them, I must agree. Beartek gloves have the capability to use Bluetooth to sync to your phone, or Wifi to sync to your GoPro Action Sports Camera. Once synced, you don’t need to take your hand off the handlebars to control your gadgets. Just a touch will do! For example, touching your thumb to your index finger will turn on your camera… and so on. The best part — at 250$, these gloves are pretty affordably priced when you consider the insane technology they contain. (Amazon)

Dash Ear PhonesThis one is for all of us who listen to music on our rides, and let’s face it, most of us do. What I love about the Dash earphones aren’t just the facts that they’re bluetooth enabled (so no wires) and that they can store songs as well, but that they come in this tiny case that’s also a charger! How super-cool is that? You can charge them upto 5 times, if you’ve pre-charged the case. Now that’s truly thoughtful. (Pre-Order)

Narrative ClipThis one’s perfect for those of you who are riding to Ladakh this season. The Narrative Clip camera (there’s a Narrative Clip 2 releasing in September 2015) is the perfect wearable camera. Just slip it onto your collar, or somewhere across your chest, and get a record of everything that you’re seeing. With a battery life of 2 days, all you have to is wear it. It takes two pictures automatically every minute — giving you the perfect bank of images of the day — without any effort. Just imagine the number of memories you can capture on a long ride! In addition, you can simply double tap it to take additional pictures, making it perfect for those on-bike pictures. (PreOrder)

These are my picks for the coolest wearable riding gadgets ever. And I’d like to sign-off by describing my dream wearable.

I’ve always been asked by people, “Why do you ride?” And there has been no way for me to explain what it feels like to ride through breathtaking landscapes, or to corner a sharp turn with perfect grace. I’ve always wanted to record the moment…in first person. What would be really cool is if someone could come up with a non-intrusive gadget that could record my point of view video footage during my rides. I know the GoPro has dibs on this one, but frankly, I don’t like the helmet mount, and I find them annoying to control. When I was doing this research, I came across the epiphany eyeglass — which promised to do everything I need for this — but they aren’t available any more.

Does anyone know of a wearable like this? Would you let me know?
By Meera Rajendran for Nexager

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The ZMR Wanderers 8th Ride

For the 8th ride we decided it was time to hit the brilliant state of Himachal.  We rode out of Chandigarh and past Shimla to see what awesome spots we could find in the two days we had on the road. Read about the whole ride in the next issue of Autocar India on stands soon.

Hero Karizma ZMR Wanderers is an ongoing monthly online contest hosted on Autocar India and Hero MotoCorp’s Facebook page. All participants are asked to answer some very simple questions, and at the end of the contest every month, three winners are chosen.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The ZMR Wanderers 7th Ride

For the Wanderers 7th ride we headed out of Siliguri to Sikkim to explore, eat and ride whatever we could in the three days we had. Read about it in the next issue of Autocar India.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Not so Easy - A Motorcycle Safety Film

Its easy today to go and pick up a powerful motorcycle and head out and start riding these days but one thing that we noticed is that most of you don't give a rats ass about safety. The funny part is today it is as easy to get decent gear to fit your pocket - a good helmet, jacket, gloves and boots are a must. 

Check out this awesome film on safety by Peter Fonda (shot in the 70s) funny how all the advice stands true today as well. 


So before you head out on your motorcycle go get your self some good gear.

Ride Safe! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Exactly one year ago we rode with the 11th Himalayan Odessey

Exactly a year ago I was on assignment on Royal Enfield's 11th Himalayan Odyssey. A 15 day ride that starts in New Delhi making its way up to Leh and surrounding areas before circling back down to the plains and ending in Delhi. Here are some pictures from the ride up.

This year we will cross the Odyssey as the Helmet Stories crew makes its way down from Leh after a 12 day ride to Spiti and Leh.