January 1, 2010 (The Editor) - Happy New Year and new decade! Best wishes to all of our visitors, contributors and affiliates for a happy, healthy, joyous and prosperous 2010!
It's become a New Year's Day tradition to announce our Product of the Year awards for the year just ended. This is the 5th version of the awards and with the start of a new decade, well, all I can say is that time certainly does fly!
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.
The criteria hasn't changed and it's just as simple: We pick what we like.
This is a subjective exercise with no science involved -- just emotion. You may or may not agree, and that's perfectly fine -- it's the nature of an opinion. Everybody's got one.
Except, this year, you can vote on your own choice!
2009 wasn't a banner year for new motorcycle products. The worldwide economic conditions are probably the major cause and in general, we have to say that there just weren't very many breakthrough products in 2009 compared to the other award years.
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, along 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.
As always, webBikeWorld wouldn't be what it is without the evaluators and writers who have contributed much of the knowledge and content on the website.
The variety of opinions and the excellent communication and photographic skills are what make webBikeWorld.com so popular.
Also, the experience of webBikeWorld visitors and your excellent and detailed feedback very much helps to enhance each article.
I have to say that webBikeWorld has the best user feedback anywhere, with thoughtful and useful insight that really does help other riders.
The old-fashioned email-based system we use for our Reader Comments and Owner Feedback section in each review may seem clumsy compared to an instant feedback form.
But the system works -- it keeps out the snipers who add no value to the discussion. The readers who will take the time necessary to compose and send an email have the motivation and knowledge to provide the excellent feedback that can help others.
This year we received over 5 million unique visitors from 233 countries and territories around the world who read 15.5 million webBikeWorld pages and we served 8.336 terabytes of information -- think about that for a minute!
And this was -- knock wood -- without a single minute of downtime, thanks to Liquid Web, our fantastic web services provider located in Michigan.
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 continue to use our affiliate links to purchase your gear through them because this is what maintains the site.
They are highly respected retailers who have liberal return policies, outstanding customer service and international shipments.
Your support 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 we donated a total of $4,089.50 in 2009, plus £300.00 to UK-based charities.
Since 2003, we are proud to announce that we have donated a total of $30,547.35 to worldwide charities plus £2,725.00 to the Royal Blind Organisation in the UK and another $2,600.00 to Kiva.org!
And don't forget: as usual, I'll be bringing you a ringside view of the latest and greatest products for 2010 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 2010!
webBikeWorld 2009 Motorcycle Helmet of the Year
webBikeWorld readers have been clamoring for years for a good hot-weather helmet and the Nolan N43 "Air" (review) delivers.
It offers modern styling and a breakthrough design with a very unique top venting system that actually "sucks" air up through the helmet to keep the rider's head cool.
The N43 fits our definition of a true modular helmet. It has a removable chin bar that makes it a virtual "6-in-1" helmet. It's surprisingly quiet; it has an excellent surface finish with a "hard" clear coat; an internal sun visor; rubber grip surfaces on the moving parts and lots more.
Note that the N43 Air is ECE-approved only and sold only in Europe. The U.S. version, the N43 Trilogy (review), has a completely different top venting system and is not our 2009 Motorcycle Helmet of the Year.
Overall, the N43 Air is definitely a breakthrough design that really works. And, it's affordable! (Nominated By: Burn).
webBikeWorld 2009 Motorcycle Clothing of the Year
We reviewed many gloves in 2009 but the Falco "Podium" Gloves (review) were the standout. The leather is unlike anything we've ever seen -- or felt -- in a pair of motorcycle gloves.
We have no idea how they make the leather so soft, but they sure are comfortable...and the price is right!
The Podium gloves offer the perfect compromise of safety, fit, comfort and protection for street and sport riding and they are our pick for Motorcycle Apparel of the Year. (Nominated By: Rick).
webBikeWorld 2009 Women's Motorcycle Clothing of the Year
Scorpion didn’t sacrifice safety for style with these low-rise textile and mesh riding pants.
CE-approved hip and knee armor, thigh adjustability, warm and cool weather versatility, and a competitive price make the Scorpion Savannah Pants (review) a must-have item!
Scorpion hit the bulls-eye with the Scorpion Elektra Jacket (reivew).
It is a beautiful armored leather jacket specifically sized for women, with adjustability through the bust, waist, and hip to fit a wide range of shapes and sizes up to 3W.
A full-sleeved, insulated liner takes it from warm days to cool nights. Get one before they’re gone! (Nominated by: S.G.).
webBikeWorld 2009 Motorcycle Tool of the Year
Super bright, super build quality, a spare battery and a dual recharger make this one a winner.
The Clearwater "Andie" LED Flashlight (review) is a real beast -- you'll be amazed at how bright this baby is!
It's perfect for the garage, on the road, in the house...trust us, you need one! (Nominated By: Burn).
webBikeWorld 2009 Motorcycle Accessory of the Year
We knew that the BikeVis Bullet LED lights (review) would be a contender as soon as we first turned them on.
These inexpensive and (relatively) easy to install LEDs put out an amazing amount of light for their size and they can make any motorcycle more visible to oncoming traffic -- always a good thing! (Nominated By: "Mad Dog" Earle).
webBikeWorld 2009 Motorcycle Intercom of the Year
Our intrepid reviewer from the Great White North, H.B.C., did a yeoman's job this year, writing an incredible 9 detailed articles and reviews about motorcycle intercoms. This is a huge effort, especially considering that each intercom system was evaluated on a long-distance journey!
He's currently evaluating even more intercom systems, but in the meantime, HBC picks the BikerCom System (review) as a Bluetooth winner.
This is a hybrid system, and not perfect, but a product that shows what technology and innovation can produce and where it is all going in a very positive sense.
What it lacks in total portability it makes up in versatility and flexibility, especially when multiple peripherals are needed or desired for riding use. Customer support has been outstanding.
webBikeWorld 2009 Reader's Choice Helmet of the Year
Lots of attempted scamming going on here by some pranksters who apparently thought I wasn't going to notice several hundred votes from the same IP address! We started out with 810 votes and ended up with 385 after I deleted the repeat votes that came from the same IP address.
Here's the breakdown:
|BikeVis LED Lights||165|
|Falco Podium Gloves||121|
|Nolan N43 Air||58|
|BikerCom Intercom System||17|
|Clearwater LED Flashlight||13|
|Scorpion Elektra Jacket||3|
|Scorpion Savannah Pants||3|
So the BikeVis LED Lights won the webBikeWorld Reader's Choice Award for Overall Motorcycle Product of the Year for 2009! Congratulations and thanks everyone (who wasn't a scammer!) for your support!
Master Listing of All wBW Motorcycle Product Reviews