January 1, 2009 (The Editor) - Happy New Year webBikeWorlders! Best wishes to all of our visitors, contributors and affiliates for a happy, healthy, joyous and prosperous 2009!
Here's my words of wisdom for 2009: Remember that life isn't about the destination -- it's about the ride!
This marks the fourth year of the webBikeWorld.com Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards. Each year at this time we pick our favorite motorcycle products and accessories from all of the interesting gear we reviewed in the prior year.
Motorcycle manufacturers released a huge number of new and exciting products in 2008 that combine technology with function to help make our sport safer and more enjoyable.
The webBikeWorld.com Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards are designed to give recognition to those products which, in our opinion, combine the most unique, interesting and useful features with the best value to make them leaders in their class.
The categories change from year to year, depending upon the products we've reviewed. And the plethora of fantastic new products in 2008 makes it extremely difficult to choose our favorites.
The rules are simple: as motorcycle owners and riders, we pick what we like. It's totally subjective and it comes right from the gut. There's no science involved here folks, just emotion.
You may or may not agree, and that's perfectly fine -- it's the nature of an opinion. Everybody's got one.
A Brief Look Back at 2008
I'd like to give a special thanks also to our many contributors for 2008 for the incredible articles they've submitted.
The variety of opinions and the excellent communication and photographic skills are what make webBikeWorld.com so popular.
This year I'm proud to say we have received tens of millions of visitors from every single country, principality, district and territory in the world, many who have taken the time to send their very interesting feedback and comments on our reviews and articles.
I am sure that webBikeWorld.com has the best, most comprehensive, highest quality, most meaningful and useful feedback of any motorcycle website on the Internet. It is extremely rare when we don't publish a comment, because the vast majority of them are so useful and provide such great insight. So keep 'em coming!
And just as a reminder, you too can write for webBikeWorld.com and earn money doing it, in addition to fame! More details here.
We also moved the site to a new Super-DeLuxe Data Blaster server in November, and thanks goes out to Liquid Web, our fantastic web services provider, headquartered in Michigan, for the seamless conversion.
Managing and maintaining webBikeWorld takes a lot of cash and I also would like to thank all of our visitors for supporting the site through your purchases by clicking through these links to RevZilla, Twisted Throttle and Amazon.com.
Please consider using the special links above or the links on webBikeWorld.com pages to visit our affiliates' websites to purchase your gear. Doing so generates revenue for us to continue running the site.
Note that we can only generate the revenue if you click on the special links provided on webBikeWorld.com pages.
Your support of webBikeWorld.com also means that we can continue to provide funding to our favorite charities. We're very proud of this program and thankful for our ability to help others.
I'm very pleased to announce that as of today, we've donated a total of $26,357.85 to a variety of worldwide charities, and an additional £2,325.00 to charities based in the UK!
And don't forget: as usual, I'll be bringing you a ringside view of the latest and greatest products for 2009 from the annual Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis in February, so stay tuned for the webBikeWorld.com live reports from that show.
From all of us to all of you, best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2009!
P.S. Send your feedback, comments or your picks for 2008 Motorcycle Product
of the Year to
webBikeWorld.com Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards
webBikeWorld.com 2008 Motorcycle Helmet of the Year
OGK FF-5 (Tie)
In general, 2008 was a year of incremental improvements for motorcycle helmets.
But it was also a year in which many inexpensive and high-quality helmets became available. The competition is fierce, and motorcyclists are the recipients, with improved helmet quality and features that until recently couldn't be bought at 5 times the price.
The OGK FF-5 is everything a full-face helmet should be, with eye-popping, ultra-high quality graphics; superior air flow with good noise control; plush comfort; and light weight. And don't forget snob appeal. This one's a no-brainer.
Tough luck if you missed out on the limited editions, like the Akiyoshi FF-5 shown here!
HJC FS-15 (Tie)
Congratulations to HJC also for refusing to give up on carbon fiber and for improving the breed.
The FS-15 Carbon is a real beauty, with outstanding build quality, light weight, excellent comfort and ventilation, all while meeting both DOT and Snell safety standards.
Ten years ago, carbon fiber motorcycle helmets were the stuff of dreams, and now you can buy one from a major manufacturer for less than $500.00.
Runner-Up: Vemar VTXE
It's great to see Vemar back in the North American market, and the VTXE is a delightfully different helmet that really deserves a look. If it weren't for the FF-5, the VTXE would have tied for Helmet of the Year.
webBikeWorld.com Motorcycle Helmet of the Year <$250.00 (Visitor's Choice)
Not too long ago, serious motorcyclists would walk right by a sub-$250.00 helmet with nary a glance.
But 2008 taught us that inexpensive doesn't have to mean cheap. There are some phenomenal helmets out there for less than $250.00 -- heck, for less than $150.00 for that matter!
The Xpeed X-705 was a real surprise and "the definition of a bargain" as we stated in our review. A good deal at its list price of $169.99, it's a steal for 80 bucks.
We were also surprised at how many emails we received suggesting the XF-705 as Helmet of the Year, so here you go. Better act soon, this much for this little is too good to be true!
Honorable Mention: Scorpion EXO-700 Neon
Scorpion took an oldie-but-goodie and shocked the helmet establishment by painting it in high-viz lime yellow.
We've been pushing high visibility motorcycling for years, and Scorpion threw down the gauntlet. Make sure this concept catches on -- buy one today!
webBikeWorld.com Flip-up Helmet of the Year
No contest here folks. And you thought we didn't like flip-ups?
The C3 is super comfortable, beautifully made and ultra-quiet. Quieter, in fact, than any other helmet -- full face or otherwise -- that we've reviewed.
It's expensive at £450 ($650.00 before shipping), but it flat-out beats every other flip-up helmet available -- and most full-face lids too. Thanks Schuberth; we knew you could do it!
Runner-Up: Vemar Jiano
Surprised? So are we... But in a world of flimsy flip-ups that feel fallaciously fragile, the Jiano is solid as a rock.
The more time we spend with it, the more we like it. Vemar has soul and it shows in their products.
webBikeWorld.com 2008 Motorcycle Apparel of the Year
REV'IT! Sirocco Jacket (Tie)
REV'IT! is on a roll (as usual), and 2008 was a banner year. The Sirocco has to be one of the most versatile motorcycle jackets available, with true 3-season comfort.
Most 3/4-length jackets fail miserably in summer heat, but not the Sirocco, which provides excellent protection with class-leading ventilation.
No other 3/4-length jacket even comes close to the versatility of the Sirocco.
Three years in the making, but the wait was worth it for what has to be the single most exciting piece of motorcycle gear we've seen in a long time.
The other guys will be playing catch-up for some time, because you're not going to duplicate the technology in this suit overnight.
You want a waterproof, windproof, comfortable one-piece suit with world-class armor and features, loaded with the latest and greatest technology money can buy?
There's only one choice, and you're looking at it.
Runner-Up: REV'IT! Cayenne Pro Jacket
Yep, they did it one more time. I told you it was a banner year for Rev'it!
The Cayenne was and is the 3/4-length, 4-season jacket to beat. When you're planning for your next 'round-the-world adventure tour, or you want the best winter protection you can buy, the decision has just been made. (Nominated by HBC)
webBikeWorld.com 2008 Motorcycle Gloves of the Year
Roadgear does it yet again with their leather CarbonMaxx gloves.
Sure, there's a few things we'd change if we could, but these are the gloves to have when the temperature soars. Will 2009 bring us the perfect summer motorcycle gloves? Stay tuned...
webBikeWorld.com 2008 Motorcycle Tool of the Year
The tool set to have in your tank bag!
It may be difficult to locate one of these gems, but it's worth the effort.
This one has saved our bacon more than once this year, and if the kit wasn't so small, it wouldn't have been on board when it was needed.
Works great in the garage, too! (Nominated by "Mad Dog" Earle)
webBikeWorld.com 2008 Motorcycle Accessory of the Year
Acebikes wowed us with the original Steadystand, probably the most useful and most used accessory in the garage.
But they didn't stop there: they went and developed the Steadystand Multi, with super-easy adjustments for just about any size tire, from classic to cruiser -- front or rear!
Anything that makes life easier is a good thing, and the Steadystand has plenty of goodness.
wBW Special Mention: Most Improved Product of 2008
Shark Evoline North American Version (ECE Version Review)
The North American version of the unique Shark Evoline arrived a couple of weeks ago and we haven't quite finished our evaluation yet, but what a difference a continent makes!
We weren't too thrilled with the European version of the Evoline we reviewed in August of 2008. Maybe it was one of the first off the assembly line, or perhaps we ended up with a ringer. But the DOT FMVSS 218 version is everything the ECE version wasn't. Or isn't.
This one fits beautifully, it has one of the most impressive surface finishes we've ever seen on a motorcycle helmet, and it works like a charm.
It's quiet, too! Review coming soon, but in the meantime, since we've been riding with this one for the last few weeks, we're giving it this special 2008 mention for the Most Improved Product of 2008.
Master Listing of All wBW Motorcycle Product Reviews