Motorcycles

Selective hearing protection? Alpine MotoSafe ear plugs, part 1.

One more new item, that came in yesterday, arrived all the way from the Netherlands. (Couldn’t find a stateside dealer that had the model I wanted, so I ordered direct from the manufacturer. Could actually only find two dealers in the USA anyway! )
As part of my healthy hearing concept, along with adding the face shield onto my motorcycle helmet, I started looking for better, more active hearing protection.
The problem with foam ear plugs is the constant outward pressure they use to seal, it’s uncomfortable and makes my ears sore after a days commute both always.
But I didn’t want to jump in and invest in the full custom molded ear plugs.
And both styles tend to be full sound suppression, so you end up sealed off from your surroundings, with all sound deadened. There are rubber plugs that only filter out harmful sound, leaving conversation or traffic hearable, but I’ve never found rubber plugs that seal worth a damn, or that aren’t like the foam, and too tight. (For instance ear buds tend to drive me nuts and make my ears sore).
Anything that has custom molding and also let’s through lower conversation type sound frequencies are really spendy.
Then I found a half way product;

https://www.alpinehearingprotection.com/product-category/motorcycle/

They are a sound filter, supposedly they cut the frequency of wind noise, but allow traffic and conversation sounds through. Also, the rubber tips are semi-custom forming, in a thermo form rubber; Every time you insert them, your body heat softens them and they custom fit to your ear canal, sealing without outward pressure.

I figured why not, if they work then great, if not, then I’m only out around $20… A risk that I thought was worth it.
They have several variations for different activities, and two specifically for motorcycle riding. A “Tour” version, and a “Race” version that is a little stronger/higher decibel rated. I opted for the race version. At only a few decibels difference, I figured if they work as advertised to cut only wind noise, and leave other sounds, I still wanted as much protection as possible.
So far, in limited fit tests I find them a LOT more comfortable than foam plugs, and more than a lot of rubber plugs and ear buds I’ve had too. I won’t say they “disappear” to where I don’t know I’m wearing them, but I’ve only had them I for 5 to 10 minutes so far.
Have not gad a chance to ride with them yet.
Bug I can say that they let in conversation level sounds really well, and actually without loud sounds, seem like they do very little. But they did cut out the sound of my truck exhaust more than they cut out talking.. Not a lot more, but more.
I’m reserving and conclusions for after I test them with the noise they’re made for; wind.
They come with a little zipper pouch for carrying, and I sprung the few dollars for a hard key chain style carry case, and a safety cord that keeps them tethered together.

My only complaint so far is that the insertion tool they come with, a little plastic thing that’s supposed to grip the plug, and you use it as a handle to insert them, then turn them slightly in your ear to help them seal; It doesn’t snap onto the plugs, it’s far too big, and thus can’t be used… So I can’t really grip them to rotate them upon insertion.
Not sure how much, or if this effects how they seal/work. Will find out either way how they work though, as soon as I can.
Will let y’all know how it goes. 🙂
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Categories: Adventures, ATV, ATVing, Field gear, Motorcycles, New Gear, Preparedness, Riding, Vehicles

A hearing assist; Helmet shield re-fit.

I have no idea when CKX stopped making this helmet. This one is marked as being made in 1998. I bought it around 2000 or 2001.

It is a snowmobile helmet, lightly insulated, and with a double pane face shield, to mitigate fogging/frosting.

It never worked worth a damn. It was always a frosted mess I couldn’t see out of. Add to that my hatred at the time of the great lack of visibility out of a full face helmet, it was soon shelved.

Somewhere along the way, I took the face shield off of it. I’m not exactly sure why now.

It’s served perfectly well that way for several years now, both as my motorcycle helmet, off and on, and the one I kept as a helmet for a passenger on the bike.

But the last couple years, I’ve had an increasing problem with wind noise while ridding.

For years I never wore a helmet, nor hearing protection, and I guess it’s caught up to me. I much prefer no helmet, for hearing, visibility, and just general feel and awareness of the world when ridding, not only a bike but atvs, and snowmobiles too.

I also prefer no windshield, for the same reasons.

A couple years ago when I got back into ridding a lot, I had to start wearing a helmet for hearing protection, or else I ended up with my ears ringing, and that cloudy wind tunnel effect for hours after I got off the bike.

This helmet has served well for that for a couple years, sans face shield.

But, it has its problems. Mainly, since it is designed to be a full face helmet, it doesnt have the row of denser foam in front of your ears that blocks wind on a regular 3/4 or open face style helmet.

And my sensitivity to the wind noise has worsened to where any ride even with the helmet screws up my hearing.

Last year I took to wearing hearing protection, in the form of simple foam ear plugs.

That works perfect for the wind noise. But after more than an hour on the bike, your ear canels can get sore from the constant pressure they use to seal. Softer rubber plugs have nevet sealed well enough for me to work well enough for shooting, so foam has been the only option.

Also, with the plugs, you don’t hear traffic, nor the bike. Not good. Rather dangerous in fact. It can also be disorienting, to be in motion, with little to no sound.

Add to that the audible shock of how loud the world is when you take the plugs out after having them in an hour, and I needed an alternative.

So, with a two day fuzzy feeling in my ears, and sore ears to boot from the plugs after my first good ride this season, I went looking for an alternate lid to wear; The open face helmet thst was my Dads.

Took forever to find it. With it was the shield from this helmet.

Then I found again why I hadn’t been using it; its a good size and a half too big for me!

Enter the idea to just buy a new open face helmet.

But, I have that shield…

See, I’m broke, and trying to not have to buy anything, thus digging out old helmets to try to begin with.

I’d honestly wanted to re mount the shield to it at other times in the past, but couldn’t.

Verry simply, the fancy half turn twist lock screws that hold it and the helmet side aplates on, got lost not long after they were taken out. Then at some point the shield and side plates were lost.

At times I’ve come across the shield, and even tried getting new plates and screws, but never with any success.

I’m not sure why but I’d never really thought before about creating new mounting for that shield, but this time I was considering it.

I was even looking at it to see if I could mount it fixed; at least it’d be on there even if it didn’t hinge.

And there in lies where the light bulb went on. I suddenly saw exactly how I could fix it, and have it hinge, knowing exactly what piece of hardware I could do it with!

And knowing I just happened to have two of that item left over from a mid winter project, off to the shop I went!

First up was to measure the hole in the helmet, which was 0.25″. Perfect! The hardware I we thinking of using is 1/4″!

That hardware being T-nuts.

Next, measure the outside of the nut shank, and pick a bit, I ent 0.005″ smaller, for a press for. Then still the holes out.

Then, grind down the tang spikes in the nut, flush with the rim, and test the shank fit, and press in for depth test. Then also reduce the run diameter, to fit the recess.

And, finally, applied a few touches of super glue to reinforce the nuts seat and press them in.

All that was left then was to shorten the bolts I had, so they bottom out just as the head seats, and compresses the lock washer I used. Fender washers to cover the large hole and grip the visor, then a split lock washer, and seat the bolt. Gave perfect tension on the first try! The visor “click” ratcheting opening tension works great, smooth, but with drag, but also stars put in any notch you stop on(tested with it half open at 40mph too, no movement!)

The only issue I see when done was the gap along the top, reminding me that there had been a foam piece framing the opening on the helmet before. I thought it might allow some charter of the shield.

Turns out the gap is no problem! No charter, no vibration, and no air leaks!

It cuts the wind noise I had by half or more! Perfect! I’ve only had it out for two short 10 mile rides so far, but after both, I had no hearing or ear issues! As a bonus, one of those rides I was caught in pouring rain, and the warm dry face was a Very welcome change!

Categories: Alaska-Life, Clothes, Customized, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Motorcycles, Outdoors

Motorcyclist/Bikers; Tire Pressure!

Hey guys/gals, just a heads up type thought; go check your tire pressure!

Last week I got ready to go for a ride, and did what I always do, always have; get on bike, and rolling forward hit the front brake hard; front shock compresses,  and weight hits front tire hard. Watch front tire, and if it deflects/bulges, I check air pressure.  

I started that years ago with dirt bikes, and then my Rebel 250 street bike…

As i recall, several pounds low and they’d show it.  Apparently the tires on my V-Star are a lot stiffer of a side wall!

As I said, I did that test this last week and had the tire flatten a little.  So I checked them. 

Rear was 10 psi! 

Front wouldn’t read at all!!

 

Zilch. Nada. 

So, I’ve been ridding on basically FLAT TIRES. Thankfully God is gracious, and it hasn’t killed me!

Aired them up, and the bike rolls better by hand than it has in a LONG time. Now when I clutch to shift while moving, it will roll faster, where before it would slow/drag.  (Be interesting to see how much this improves my gas milage!)

Talk about stiff side wall tires! Run flat is an understatement!  Apparently they’re just so stiff my little test has never really worked on this bike.

Lesson learned. I’ll now gauge check pressure every month, and seasonally when the bike comes out of storage(yeah, should have been doing that anyway).

Can you imagine a tire run too low suddenly shifting or rolling sideways on the rim at highway speed? 

 

Eek.

Or for instance, a couple weeks before this, a moose ran out in front of me. I locked front and rear brakes and slid 20ish feet in a basically straight line at 60mph (didn’t know I could do that!). 

If the tire had flattened then, or rolled sideways? 

Option on hitting moose; bad enough…

Tire coming off rim binding up the wheel and cartwheeling me and the bike through the moose; uhuh…

So…

GO CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE!!

Categories: Alaska-Life, Automotive Work, GetOutdoors, Life-Philosophy, Motorcycles, Summertime, Theory/Thoughts, Vehicles

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