by Rick Korchak
Owner, Publisher and Editor
December 31, 2015 - Best wishes to all of our visitors, contributors and affiliates for a happy, healthy, joyous and prosperous 2016!
2016 means we're starting the 17th year that webBikeWorld has been online. That's an eternity in Internet time!
The webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards are a webBikeWorld New Year's tradition. This is when we recognize our favorite motorcycle products and accessories, chosen from all of the interesting gear we reviewed in the prior year.
The criteria for the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year is simple: products that, for one reason or another, have made an impression on us.
These are the products which, in our opinion, combine the most unique, interesting and useful features along with good value to make them leaders in their class.
Just like the webBikeWorld product reviews, the Product of the Year Awards are completely subjective and totally unscientific. You may or may not agree with our choices and that's perfectly fine.
Note that the award categories vary from year to year, depending upon the products and our whimsy.
As always, webBikeWorld wouldn't be what it is without the support of millions of motorcyclists from around the world like you who support the site. And don't forget the hard-working evaluators, reviewers and contributors who deliver the detailed reviews.
Your opinions and our high-quality, detailed reviews are what make webBikeWorld.com such a valued resource for millions of visitors from over 200 countries around the world.
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 at MotorcycleGear.com, RevZilla, Twisted Throttle and Amazon.com.
I'd also like to request that all of our dedicated readers please whitelist webBikeWorld.com in your ad blocking software. I have noticed a decrease in ad revenue due to ad blocking software this year and that is definitely not a good trend.
Like it or not, that revenue is what runs the site. It would be impossible to do this on a subscription basis or by asking for donations, so please use our affiliate advertisers, all of whom have been vetted by us to provide outstanding service to the motorcycling community.
I have deliberately kept advertising to a minimum, with a focus on the product reviews, and will keep on doing that as long as you continue to use the webBikeWorld affiliate links to buy any and all of your products, which generates the only revenue we have to keep the site running.
Here's my promise: as long as I'm in charge, you will never see an advertisement on the home page, nor will you ever see a popup ad or "interstitial" ad (those nasty ads that hijack your web page) like you do on all those other websites.
So please continue to click through any of the webBikeWorld Affiliate links you'll find on webBikeWorld to purchase any and all of your gear from our outstanding affiliate retailers. And don't forget: by doing so, you'll get the best deals and the best customer service in the business.
From all of us to all of you, best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2016!
Owner, Editor and Publisher
The recent significant update to the Arai Corsair X (review), the latest version of the venerable Corsair series, could have gone horribly wrong.
As you well know, that often happens when a manufacturer tries to "improve" an iconic product.
But in this case, the best got even better.
Yes, it's expensive as all get-out, but the Corsair X is pretty much the pinnacle of motorcycle helmets in 2015.
It meets the DOT standard in the U.S. and it's also Snell M2015 certified and the Corsair's safety record is one of the reasons the helmet is worn by more motorcycle racers than any other brand or type.
The Corsair X does everything well. It's actually very quiet considering the amount of air that flows through it. And all of that that air flow can be tightly regulated with the new upper vent system, brow vents and what we call the big "sugar scoop" chin vent.
The new eye port design provides outstanding visibility, especially when you're imitating Jorge Lorenzo in that full-race sportbike tuck. The visor provides outstanding visibility for the rider and it has a new and easier-to-use locking system and they even changed the removal method and side plates.
And guess what? The "X" even comes with a big chin curtain in addition to the traditional Arai pull-down type.
Combine all of that will a variety of cheek pad and liner thicknesses for a "bespoke" fit and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better helmet for any type of riding.
That's why the Arai Corsair X gets the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet of the Year Award in the Full-Face Helmet category!
Who would have thought that Schuberth would ever make an open-face helmet? But the Schuberth M1 (review) is definitely something special. It's "the Schuberth of open-face helmets", as we wrote in the review.
That means you're getting what has to be the highest-quality open-face helmet available today.
Besides the outstanding build quality, paint and the overall finish and construction, the M1 also has a comfortable ultrasonically welded three-part liner with no seams to spoil the fun.
Finally, that huge face shield provides unlimited visibility -- a real safety factor -- and an internal sun visor. Both have glass-like optical quality.
But wait -- the M1 also has built-in dual microphones -- yes, dual microphones -- and speakers. Everything is wired and ready to go.
The built-in connector in the rear is ready for the special Schuberth M1 SRC Bluetooth intercom system, made for Schuberth by Cardo.
As we wrote in the review, "Pop the surprisingly reasonably priced M1 SRC in the rear of the helmet and in literally 5 seconds you have a beautifully integrated helmet intercom system."
Not all is fairyland and roses, however. The price is breathtaking. And please, Schuberth, it's way, way past time to be making only 2 shell sizes to span the range, especially at this price. Four shell sizes should be minimum for the C3, C3 Pro, M1 and anything else.
Shoei does it on many of their helmets. Why can't Schuberth?
Bottom line though is that the Schuberth M1 is the ne plus ultra of open-face helmets. That's why it gets the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet of the Year Award in the Open-Face Helmet category.
Of course, this outfit has the outstanding Dainese construction quality. And classic styling that won't look dated in the years to come.
But the trick here is the fold-down vent system, which converts the jacket and pants from winter cozy to summer cool, all in the blink of an eye.
This makes the D-Explorer a true four-season outfit, saving you money in the long run. It includes a removable Gore-Tex "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry" liner and a nice Valtherm White Bear insulating liner to keep out the cold and rain.
Remove the liners and open the modular vent panels in 1/3 increments and you have a jacket that works in Spring, Fall and Summer.
On top of all that, Dainese gives a 5 year warranty on the D-Explorer jacket and pants.
The D-Explorer outfit should provide many years of service in all types of weather. It's deserving of the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Clothing of the Year Award!
What are now called "action cameras" started a few years ago as a trickle of non-HD video cameras that were heavy and difficult to operate.
Recently, however, we've seen a veritable flood of tiny HD action cameras in every shape and size. So many, in fact, that it's impossible to track them all.
But you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a sweet little camera with a surprising amount of technology. The prosaically-named Mobius Action Camera (review) is incredibly light at 56 grams, but it packs a powerful punch.
The Mobius has a huge fan base and even a Mobius Action Cam Forum with owners spanning many sporting fields, from RC modeling to auto racing to horseback riding and even as a remote camera for the Antares rocket launch!
The Mobius also has a free and easy-to-use app that allows all sorts of customization that you simply will not find on even the most expensive action cameras available.
It shoots video at 1080P in H.264 at 30 frames per second with a high bit rate, capturing a lot of detail. It can also take 720p/60fps video and it has options for low-light shooting.
The standard time lapse and still image modes are also there and the Mobius can even be set to start recording with motion detection.
The battery and even the lens are replaceable and the Mobius has built-in heat sinks to dissipate the heat from recording that can stop other action cameras just when you need them the most. And there are tons of available accessories to enhance the experience.
Anyone can like the Mobius -- pros and first-time videographers alike. Pull it out of the box, charge the battery and use it on auto or dive into the Windows or Mac app and tweak the settings as much as you'd like.
There's so much more to tell about this camera but the best thing may be the price: just $82.95 list. All of that means one thing: The Mobius Action Cam gets this year's webBikeWorld Motorcycle Action Camera of the Year Award!
Another great Cardo product gets another award! As long as Cardo keeps making outstanding intercom systems, we'll continue keep the awards flowing.
The Cardo Scala Rider Packtalk (review) is surely "The Next Generation of Motorcycle Communication Systems", as noted in the title of our review.
Besides the standard Bluetooth connectivity, the Packtalk system includes a technology new to many motorcyclists. It's called "Dynamic Meshwork Communication" (DMC).
Switch the Packtalk to DMC mode and it creates a wireless "mesh" network that can connect up to 10 Packtalk intercoms in full-duplex.
The Cardo magic means that their DMC network is "self-healing", so that when any rider moves out of range, the system will automatically re-connect when the intercom comes back into range.
This is an amazing piece of technology for groups of motorcycle riders and it's a powerful motivator to get all of your friends and riding companions on the Packtalk bandwagon.
As a new system, there are still a few bugs but they're being addressed with firmware updates. And with all the features and the technology, plan on rolling up your sleeves and going back to school when you study the owner's manual. At least you get a printed copy in the box!
There's also that price. At $329.95 for a single unit, it's dear. But the Packtalk intercom build quality and the technology is leaps ahead of any other motorcycle communications system available today, so you won't have to plan on throwing it all away after a year or two.
Lots more to tell about the Packtalk and we'll be covering it all in future webBikeWorld updates. That's why the Cardo Scala Rider Packtalk deserves the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Intercom the Year Award in the Motorcycle Communications System category!
Two products deserve honorable mentions for 2015:
The Ohmics Intelligent Deceleration/Brake Light (review) is the most representative and the most functional of all the new class of dynamic deceleration brake lights.
This fully programmable brake light senses the motorcycle's deceleration rate and flashes its LEDs accordingly.
There's lots of work to be done yet to mainstream this technology and the Ohmics MotoBrake is already in its 3rd revision that connects one or two auxiliary lighting units for tail light or brake light with deceleration output for saddlebag, pannier or top case lighting.
We'll keep a close eye on this technology, which is sure to develop even further in the coming year.
Also, our just-reviewed INNOVV K1 (review) front and rear, on-board recording video camera "dash cam" system has been a revelation. It's not perfect, but it is evolving.
It's an easy-to-use "turn-key" system for motorcycles that provides video for fun and for "just in case" documentation. This technology is becoming more and more important -- especially for motorcyclists -- due to all of the distracted drivers on the road today.
Marinating a record of your traffic experiences may prove to be critical evidence in the event of an incident, accident or theft. There really isn't anything else to compare to the INNOVV K1 system as of yet and we plan on working with it a lot more in 2016, so stay tuned.
Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2016!
Master Listing of All wBW Motorcycle Product Reviews
From "H.S." (January 2016): "Just wanted to say that yes Scala do provide a good helmet-to-helmet communications system, however their aftermarket availability regarding battery replacement for example is extremely poor.
I have a perfectly good Scala Rider headset (G4) but cannot get replacement batteries. My headset is only four years old.
I emailed Scala direct and was basically told bad luck -- buy a complete new communications unit because we canít help you.
At over $650.00 to have to replace a perfectly good working unit with the exception of ďdyingĒ batteries, I find this to be unacceptable and actually outrageous. I feel very much ripped off.
Yes, give them a pat on the back for good technology and product innovation, but also give them the backlash they deserve by not offering good customer service regarding product support.
Not everyone can afford to spend the money to buy upgraded units just because they have a captured market, and I should not have to be put in the position to have to buy a complete new upgraded system just because of failing batteries, and the fact they donít support their customers."
Editor's Reply: Intercom battery replacement is an issue and problem with most of the intercom brands, not just Cardo.
Part of this issue is that the intercoms of any brand are almost all made in China, so the distributors and retailers donít have the facilities or expertise to replace the batteries.
Itís a design problem and some of the recent intercoms have separate and/or removable batteries that will solve the problem.
Also, with the evolution of intercom technology, the manufacturers surely assume that 4 years is a couple of generations of intercoms ago and probably past the expected lifespan of any intercom system. Same with smartphones unfortunately; I've been through plenty of phones and not a single one has lasted 4 years, much less the battery.
Unfortunately, this is partly due to our modern "throw away" society.
From "R.G." (January 2016): "Did I just miss it or was there no "best of 2015" for modular helmets? Since that is what I wear, was disappointed to not find a review of that type of helmet. Do love your site however."
Editor's Note: The categories change each year, depending on what we review. No flip-up or modular helmets made it to the Awards this year. Just for reference, here is the list of all of our helmet reviews for all types of helmets.