Continuing our live report from the 2005 Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana – February 19-21, 2005.
Feb. 19, 2005 – 19:12: Here’s another page with more goodies. I’ll probably call it quits for today after this and get some dinner and rest.
My impressions so far? Lots to see for sure, but no real ground-breaking news so far. The KBC FFR (see below) flip-up helmet will be released right after the show. I’ve been bugging them to send a sample for a couple of months now, and we’re supposed to get one, so we’ll wait and see.
I’m still surprised that there are no new flip-up helmets. We’ve been waiting for years for a breakthrough flip-up, i.e., light weight, Snell approval, metal hinges, etc., but no one seems to be interested. Surprising…
The other thing that’s surprising is several helmet manufacturers (not the big guys, but the high-quality niche players) have told me they will no longer pursue Snell certification and will go with ECE 22.05 instead. They say that to meet the Snell penetration test, the helmet shell has to be made heavier than required for ECE 22.05, and they don’t want to spend the extra money for dual tooling and they don’t like the extra weight in their helmets.
I’ve heard that passing the Snell penetration test means a thicker shell, so this may be a reaction. At least one of the manufacturers (Shark) already has Snell approval on the RSR (see the wBW review), but the revised RSR II will be DOT and ECE 22.05 only.
By the way, the RSR II has some improved features (see below); we’ll be getting one soon for a follow-up review on our “helmet of the year” for 2004.
By the way, several motorcycle racers were here signing autographs, and believe it or not, there weren’t the usual crowds surrounding them. This is also what leads me to believe there are less people here this year for some reason. I saw Aaron Yates in the huge Teknic pavilion and Jason Pridmore in another booth signing autographs and posing for photos.
Vanson has a nice display of famous motorcycle racer’s leathers (the real thing), and several other leather manufacturers also have obviously used leathers from famous racers.
Besides the blue helmets mentioned earlier, pink also seems to be in, with helmets for women and children available in various shades of pastel.
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KBC has a sample of their new FFR flip-open helmet sitting on a rack amongst other models. I didn’t try this one on, but played with the flip-up mechanism and the vents. The mechanism seemed very crisp, snapping open with more authority than other flip-ups I’ve tried. The liner appears to be removable. The chin vent and top vent would, I think, work fine with gloved hands. KBC is supposed to be sending us an example “any day now” for a review. Sorry about the poor quality of the photo on the right; not sure what happened. (Update: See the wBW review of the KBC FFR).
Update: Just found out that the FFR will be available in Burgundy, Matte Black, White, Gloss Black and Silver. Graphics are called “Freeze” and are available in Gunmetal with Blue, Silver and Red hightlights. There’s also a special edition Freeze model that’s sort of all silver and frost. The only FFR they have on display is the model shown above, the Blue and Gunmetal version. The FFR will be DOT and ECE 22.05 approved. By the way, the flip-up visor also seems to open very high. KBC calls it their “Mag-Cam Hi-Pivot”.
Speaking of helmets, here’s the new Shark RSR II, an update of the Shark RSR, the wBW “Helmet of the Year” in 2004. I tried this one on and my first impression is that the RSR II has an even more comfortable liner than the RSR, which is hard to believe, because the RSR has probably the most comfortable liner going. When the representative told me they changed the shell shape I was disappointed, but miracles do happen – they’ve made it even more round-head friendly! They also changed the fussy visor removal mechanism; now all you have to do is flip the safety lever (just like the RSR) and push in the button (photo right). We’ll be getting one soon for a review…
Check this out – an adjustable HID light in a cage for the BMW R1150GS and BMW R1200GS byZTechnik. The photo on the left shows the right side of the bike with the light pointing forward (front of the light is on the right). The knob on the back allows the rider to adjust the beam up and down as the bike is loaded. The HID light is supposed to last 10,000 hours. The housing is magnesium and is specially coated to resist corrosion. Each lamp has a starting ballast. The lights are turned on and off by pressing the turn signal switch twice, holding and releasing. No info on how much they cost.
The photo on the left shows the ZTechnik adjustable windscreen for the R-series. This is a nice-looking windscreen that fits the lines of the R1200GS. Several versions are available in different heights.