• IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoes – Ridgemont Outfitters & Iron Resin

    The IR X RM Outback motorcycle shoes are an interesting collaboration between two South California clothing companies. Ridgemont Outfitters has produced boots and shoes for a while, while Iron and Resin sell a range of clothing for motorcyclists, skaters, and surfers. So now they’ve teamed up to produce something that looks good and works well for bikers.

    IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoes Ridgemont Outfitters and Iron Resin
    The IR X RM Motorcycle Shoes

    The result is the IR X RM Outback, which features genuine Horween full-grain leather sourced from their Chicago tannery. The main upper uses 2.5mm thick pieces in the construction, along with a super soft and durable oiled suede collar.

    In terms of practicality, the toe cap has been extended compared to normal Ridgemont boots to give protection from gear shift levers. And they’ve done the same on both boots to accomodate anyone with their shifter on the right side, for instance, vintage British bikes.

    On the bottom is a Vari-flex Bi Fit lasting board, which apparently has been stiffened from the heel to the middle of the foot in case you still have to deal with a kickstart. But the front is flexible enough for walking.

    There’s more protection with an internal nylon malleolus protector hidden in the suede collar to help look after your ankles, and a thermal plastic heel counter.

    IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoes Ridegmont Outfitters Iron Resin Diagram
    A photo of the IR X RM Outback motorcycle shoes. With some words and lines on it

    So here’s where it gets even more interesting. The existing Ridgemont line are reasonably priced for both the UK and US. But the companies have decided to test the demand for the new IR X RM Outback motorcycle shoes by running a Kickstarter campaign.

    If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s actually not bike-related. It’s what’s known as a ‘crowdfunding’ site, where interested backers can invest in a future product in advance, and usually get something extra for their support. Each project has a limited time to reach a set goal, and if it succeeds, they get your money, make the products and ship them to you. If they don’t reach the goal, then you don’t pay.

    There is a slight caveat to that, as you’re investing in a project rather than pre-ordering a product, and some risks are involved. But basically, you can invest and get a pair of shoes in your choice of Black or Brown Horween leather for $165, which is 45% off the planned normal retail price of $295. And $200 gets you a pair of shoes, a T-shirt and a leather key chain. The estimated delivery is June 2017.

    If you interested, the Iron and Resin by Ridgemont Outback Riding Shoes Campaign aims to hit $60,000, and ends on Saturday, February 18th, 2017. Each of the discount packages is limited to the first 100 or 200 backers. The IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoe will be produced in US mens sizes 5-12 with half size increments, and also a size 13, in a medium width. T-Shirts are in sizes XS-XXL.

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  • What Protects You While You’re Driving?

    Whether you’re working on it, walking on it or driving on it, staying safe on the road is essential. But what are the driving devices and roadway essentials which help to keep everyone safe on UK roads?

    In the Vehicle

    Automobile safety is an integral part of modern car design and a real focus for manufacturers. New innovations and improved systems continue to be developed in line with technological advances, with many safety devices now being incorporated as standard into cars:

    • Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) – this system prevents the wheels from locking during heavy braking, to help drivers to maintain control of vehicle. This helps ensure more effective stopping within average stopping distances and particularly upon skid-likely surfaces, such as wet roads or in icy conditions.
    • Electronic stability control – this system is the next up generation from ABS and includes a system of traction control. This corrects driver error by stablising the vehicle and reducing the risk of the driver losing control of the vehicle, for example in a skid. This system varies between vehicle manufacturers and may also be known as vehicle stability control.
    • Brake assist – this system ensures that maximum pressure is exerted when brakes are applied in an emergency. As manual emergency braking sometimes fails because drivers may depress the brake pedal insufficiently, so the brakes fail to engage on the wheels, brake assist technology assesses how quickly the brake has been applied and identifies if it’s likely to be an emergency. If it judges so, then brakes are fully applied via the hydraulic pressure system.
    • Lane keeping and adaptive steering – this system is a branch of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which provides benefits such as cruise control. However, lane keeping and adaptive steering systems put greater emphasis on safety rather than comfort, specifically through aiming to maintain a vehicle’s correct position on the road by utilising lane markings at the side of the car. Any deviation from the correct position and the system alerts the driver so that correction can be made manually. Future development of this system proposes that it will work similarly to brake assist, with the system making the correction automatically.

    Many versions of these technologies are already fitted to modern vehicles and continue to be developed as part of a deal to provide better protection for road users, including pedestrians.

    On the road

    Roadways and surfaces themselves also incorporate safety devices for speed control, accident prevention and risk management:

    • Road humps – also known as sleeping policemen to reflecting their more manual speed-prevention origins, road humps aim to deter speeding by preventing vehicles from speeding up along flat roads. Road humps are commonly found in residential areas, but not main bus routes as the hump height causes passenger discomfort. The humps need to be spaced fairly close together to be effective and must be accompanied by relevant signage at each end of the hump run.
    • Rumble strips – this is the name given to a variegated road surface which is generally applied as a layer to the roadway. When reaching this stretch of the road, the driver is immediately alerted to the need to adhere to speed limits, through the in-car feedback from the suspension and driving wheel, which will sound and feel different, specifically with a low rumble. With their specific aim to alert drivers to reduce their speeds, rumble strips can often be found at the edges of vulnerable roadsides, on the approach to junctions and where faster sections of A roads enter residential areas. Rumble strips tend to be used in outlying areas of towns and villages as they literally sound as they are named and the rumble of a steady stream of traffic can cause a noise-nuisance to residents.  This road safety device is also deployed as transverse rumble strips, which run across the whole carriageway rather than just alongside it, whilst an additional version, known as Dragon’s Teeth, is applied along with a visible narrowing of the road, to also support accident prevention.
    • Speed cushions – as an alternative to road humps, speed cushions are a speed control method developed to cause standard vehicles to slow down, but allow emergency vehicle and public transport drivers through safely at normal speeds. Speed cushions offer an optimum size and placement so that smaller vehicles have to slow down to drive over the cushions, but buses and emergency vehicles are able to straddle the cushions and proceed normally. Cushions are generally installed at regular intervals along the roadway where speed reduction is required, such as in the neighbourhood of schools or pedestrian areas.
    • Pedestrian safety – pedestrians are encouraged to cross roads safely using designated zones such as crossings and traffic island refuges, which are highly visible to traffic.

    Roadside safety

    Roadside safety is additionally important as it needs to respond to the needs of road workers, as well as the public and road users. The mainstay of roadside safety is crash barriers, which tend to be deployed with safety and risk reduction, rather than speed reduction in mind.

    • Safety barriers – permanent motorway and roadside barriers aim to minimise risk through containment: keeping an errant vehicle on its own side of the carriageway. This method does include the risk of impact and crash injuries to the driver, but with the effect of preventing the vehicle from advancing to the other side of the barrier where there may be a greater hazard. As such, permanent safety barriers are installed only when it presents less risk for an errant vehicle to strike the barrier than to continue onwards at speed.  Permanent barriers of flexible steel construction have frequently been used to facilitate containment, but many have proven vulnerable over time. As such, there is a current move by the Highways Agency to replace many steel barriers with concrete barriers to increase containment, particularly where installed as a central reservation barrier.
    •  Temporary barriers – one example of a temporary barrier solution is the MASS (Multi-Use Safety System) barrier. MASS barriers are designed to actively absorb the impact of a vehicle and use this to stabilise the barrier, both reducing the vehicle’s speed and deflecting the vehicle along the barrier line. Because MASS barriers offer a stable but non-permanent fixing, they are quick and easy to install and reposition at short notice to keep users on all sides of the barrier safe.

    Finally, as these innovations continue to develop and change, one of the simplest road safety devices which is essential is road safety awareness: being aware of the roadway environment, conditions, restrictions and changes is a key way to make best use of all road safety devices and to help keep all road users safe.

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  • PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD: THE RICHARD PETTY CONNECTION!

    Our man on the track, Stephen Cox, talks with Richard Petty about his connection to the winged Superbird.

    It has been claimed that Plymouth’s legendary winged ‘70 Superbird was the brainchild of NASCAR champion Richard Petty. The rumor has been around for decades but I’ve never found anyone with first-hand knowledge who could absolutely confirm or deny that the car’s origins truly began with The King of Stock Car Racing.

    But opportunity knocked a couple of weeks ago when Petty was in attendance at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, FL, which I co-host for NBCSN. I found him relaxing backstage late in the show and hollered, “Hey, King!” Although I don’t know him well, he looked up with his trademark smile and immediately held out his hand.

    I asked him point blank whether he was responsible for the development of the Plymouth Superbird. Petty paused and laid the back of his hand across his brow. “Well, let me get the dates right.”

    “We knew in 1968 that Dodge was building a wing car. So I went to Plymouth and asked if they were gonna build one and they said, ‘No.’ I told them that I’d like them to work on one and they said, ‘No, you’re winning all the races anyway.’”

    True, Petty had been dominant, winning 27 of 49 Grand National races en route to the championship in 1968. Rather than cough up the additional funds to stay current in NASCAR’s burgeoning aero wars, Plymouth was content to let Petty struggle against increasing odds.

    Undeterred, Petty tried another angle. He asked if he could stay within the Chrysler family and simply move over to Dodge and drive the new Charger Daytona winged car for the 1969 season. Plymouth flatly refused.

    “So I said, ‘Either build me a wing car or I’m walking across the street,’” Petty continued. “They said, ‘Sure, go ahead.’ So I did.”

    That same afternoon Richard Petty personally walked into Ford Motor Company’s front office. Ford executives took no risks, signing Petty to a one-year contract on the spot. Petty finished second in the points chase while winning ten races for Ford in 1969. It was enough. He didn’t have to return to Detroit to beg Plymouth for a winged car. This time, they came to him.

    “The head man from Plymouth came walking into my shop,” Petty continued. “He said, ‘What do we need to do to get you back? I said, ‘Give me what I’ve been asking for.’”

    Plymouth pledged to have a new winged car completed for Petty in time for the 1970 NASCAR season. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, they chose to use a modified version of the wildly successful Dodge Charger Daytona platform. Under NASCAR’s homologation rules, a limited number of Superbird street cars were built and sold through Plymouth’s dealership network.

    Behind the wheel of the car built specifically for him, Richard Petty and his Plymouth Superbird won 18 of the 40 races in which they competed in 1970, led nearly half of all laps and won nine pole positions. Despite being produced for only one model year, the road-going version of the Superbird became a legend in the annals of musclecar history.

    Today, a concours-ready Plymouth Superbird will routinely draw bids from $100,000 to $300,000 at auction. They remain among the most collectible musclecars ever built.

    “So there you go,” Petty told me with a smile. “That’s how it happened.”

     

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  • New Weise Outlast Houston Motorcycle Jacket

    If you’re looking for an armoured, waterproof, textile motorcycle jacket, it’s worth checking out the new Weise Outlast Houston, which is new for 2017.

    Outlast material was originally developed for NASA to assist astronauts. It does this by absorbing, storing and releasing heat when needed. Essentially it’s a load of capsules inside your clothing which change from solid to liquid and back again depending on the temperature. So while you won’t expect to encounter the sub-zero conditions of space, or the sudden sensation of being in direct sunlight in a vacuum, it should help in changeable conditions on your commute to work.

    The Weise Outlast Houston textile motorcycle jacket
    The Weise Outlast Houston textile motorcycle jacket

    In addition to the Outlast lining, you also get vents on the arms, chest and back for those times when the weather gets warmer.

    The Weise Outlast Houston also has a tough, tear-resistant rip-stop outer with a waterproof and breathable lining. And to stop the rain getting in is a YKK central zip, plus a popper and Velcro storm flap.

    Weise Outlast Houston Back Weise Outlast Houston Front

    You get CE-approved armour at the shoulders, elbows and back. Plus there are a number of pockets both inside and outside the jacket, including a large map pocket at the back.

    Weise Outlast Houston Modelled

    The Weise Outlast Houston motorcycle jacket is available in sizes Small-5XL in Black and Medium-3XL in Black/Stone, with a 2 year ‘no-quibble’ guarantee for £159.99.

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  • New Dendrobium hypercar concept teased

    Dendrobium hypercar

    Meet the all-electric Dendrobium concept – Singapore’s first hypercar.

    The zero-emissions two-seater comes from electric mobility experts Vanda Electrics and will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 7.

    Singapore-based Vanda Electrics’ technical partner is Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and engineering services division of the Williams Group, which also includes Williams Martini Racing.

    Dendrobium hypercarDendrobium’s high-tech componentry will be clothed in an eye-catching body featuring an automatic roof and doors which open in a synchronised manner resembling a fully-opened dendrobium flower – a type of orchid native to Singapore.

    The interior of the Dendrobium will feature the finest Scottish leather from the Bridge of Weir Leather Company, which sources the best hides from the best heritage breeds and has adopted the very latest technology. The result is the lowest carbon tannery and leather product in the world.

    “Dendrobium is the first Singaporean hypercar and the culmination of Vanda Electrics’ expertise in design and technology,” said Vanda Electrics CEO Larissa Tan.

    “We are delighted to be working with Williams Advanced Engineering, world-leaders in aerodynamics, composites and electric powertrains and Bridge of Weir Leather Company, makers of the finest, lowest-carbon leather in the world.

     

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