How to Choose the Best Dirt Bike Tire

How to Choose the Best Dirt Bike Tire

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Dec 02, 2018

best dirt bike tires

Off-road riding is an individualized activity. Some people spend half their riding time – or more – on pavement, while others ferry their machines to motocross tracks and ride exclusively on dirt. There are also inherent differences between the topography of locations to consider.

The differences in how and what we ride limits our choices in gear, especially when it comes to tires. To get the best dirt bike tires, you have to be realistic about what you intend to do on your machine. Let’s look more closely at what differentiates one off-road tire from another and see if we can get the right skins spooned onto your bike for your next adventure.

Quick Review Keyword Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Hard Terrain Sedona – MX907HP (Rear) And (Front) Blue-groove and rock hopping
2. Motocross (Intermediate) Maxxis - Maxxcross IT M7305 (Rear) / M7304 (Front) Various conditions
3. Motocross (Soft) Kenda – K785 Millville II (Rear) And (Front) Changing track conditions

Top Choice: Hard Terrain Sedona – MX907HP (Rear) And (Front)

The MX907HP is the type of sticky tire that blue-groove terrain calls for. High-tech sipes and dimples give it functionality to go with a purpose-built appearance.

1. Hard Terrain Sedona – MX907HP (Rear) And (Front)
Best For

Blue-groove and rock hopping

Our Rating
3. Motocross (Soft) Kenda – K785 Millville II (Rear) And (Front)
Best For

Changing track conditions

Our Rating

A Quick Guide to Dirt Bike Tires

Tread Designs

There are three different types of dirt bike tire, each intended to be ridden on a different type of terrain: hard, intermediate and soft. The hardness refers to the quality of the terrain, not the hardness of the tire itself. So soft dirt bike tires are for soft terrain and so on.

While there is a difference in rubber compounds, the key difference between the three types is the tread pattern and the lug height. Let’s look at each type a little closer.

Hard Terrain

These tires are intended for use on packed tracks and other hard surfaces. The rubber compounds of these tend to be softer than they are on other types of tires. The lugs will be shorter than they are on the other types as well, and they will typically be closer together. This combination helps give the tire the most possible grip on hard, slick surfaces. If you have sections of trail facing you like in this video, you need hard-terrain tires.

It is possible to ride hard-terrain tires on softer materials, but the fun factor will go down dramatically. The lack of space between the lugs will prevent them from getting a firm grip on loose materials and the lugs can actually rip from the tire carcass. As a result you will have to reduce your speed to keep from slipping or damaging the tire. Airing down is another option to improve traction, though not always a safe one on every tire. This Dirt Rider article explains the art of air pressure adjustment.

Soft Terrain

Soft terrain includes mud, gravel, sand and other loose materials. If you’re just starting out in the soft stuff, this Cycle World article will help you learn to stay upright. And a good set of soft-terrain tires will too. These tires will have the tallest lugs with the most space between them. The intention is for the lugs to dig deep into the soft terrain and bite into it. The spread out lugs also enable constant traction by discouraging the mud or dirt from clogging the tread.

Riding soft tires on other terrains is a recipe for a damaged tire. The rubber compounds in these tires tend to run harder than they do on tires meant for the other terrain types. When ridden on harder surfaces, the lugs on soft tires may break off of the tire.

Intermediate Terrain

As the name implies, intermediate tires are intended for use on a variety of terrains. The rubber compound is usually neither soft nor hard. The lugs are also spaced farther apart than they are on hard-terrain tires but closer than those on soft tires. The height of the lugs is between the other two types as well.

Intermediate tires are the choice for riders who enjoy riding on a variety of terrains and surfaces. They obviously won’t shine on either very soft or very hard surfaces, but they allow you to ride practically anywhere without forcing a tire change.

best mx tires

Type of Riding

Dual Sport

Dual sport riding is utilizing a combination of both on- and off-road terrain. Manufacturers of tires for these purposes typically use a percentage to tell the customer how much off each riding the tires are designed to handle. So, a 50/50 tire is meant for half on- and half off-road use. The first number is always the road-use percentage.

Motocross

If you spend all of your riding time on prepared tracks, you should be looking for motocross tires. These skins will have the most aggressive knobs. Don’t expect a DOT rating, either. Even if they were used on pavement, you could expect a lot of chunking (broken lugs) and a short tire life. If your tracks are a little more extreme, a trials tire may better suit your needs.

Trail Riding

Trail riding offers the most diverse terrains. One trail may be highly technical, traversing wooded areas and streams, while another may allow for wide-open throttles for extended periods of time. As such, the tires meant for trail riding show the most diversity in design.

What You Can Learn from the Sidewall

best intermediate dirt bike tire

Tire Size

Manufacturers give the size of the tires with three numbers in a string. The first number (110, 120, etc.) is the section width, or the width from sidewall to sidewall. The second number is the aspect ratio, which is the height of the tire. The aspect ratio is given as a percentage of the section width. The last number is the inside diameter of the tire, which corresponds to the outside diameter of the rim of the wheel.

Some manufacturers give the tire size in SAE units instead of metric. In this case, there will be only two numbers. The first number is the section width, which is given in inches. The second number is the inside diameter of the tire. The aspect ratio is not normally given in this case.

DOT Rating

If you plan to operate a dirt bike on a public road, its tires must be approved by the Department of Transportation. Approved tires will have a DOT stamp located on the sidewall. The tread on DOT-approved tires is not normally very aggressive, and the compounds tend to run soft so the tires will grip pavement well.

DOT-Rated Enduro Dirt Bike Tires

Continental - TKC80 Twinduro

Continental’s Twinduro TKC80 might be the best dirt bike tire for trail riding for on large-bore dirt bikes and ADVs, but a pure dirt bike tire it is not. These tires are designed for the larger machines out there, such as a Kawasaki KLR650 or Honda XR650L. They are suitable for highway use, but the TKC80s are a true 40/60 tire.

The lug profile and spacing on the TKC80s is aggressive for such a capable road tire. These self-cleaning tires throw off dirt and mud, maintaining superior grip in soft terrains. They also boast some of the most confidence-inspiring corner grip of any off-road tire. Constructing a knobby that hooks up in the dirt is one thing, but these Continentals also provide excellent grip on pavement as well. It’s no wonder they’re OEM equipment on many of today’s best-selling ADVs.

Much of the Twinduro’s tacky traction comes from its soft compound. That softness makes these skins well-suited for firm terrains and roads. Unfortunately, it also means the lugs wear away relatively quickly. Four thousand miles is a good lifespan for the TKC80s, but they’ll be 4000 miles spent in hooked up bliss.

  • Excellent off-road tire for heavier bikes
  • Proven performance on large-bore machines
  • 40/60 tire that shines on pavement
  • Superior cornering grip on road or off
  • Not for small to midsize dirt bikes
  • Lacks the mileage of harder compounds

Continental Block Quote

These knobbies will up the aggressiveness of your ADV’s looks and abilities. More than just a mean face, the Continental TKC80 is synonymous with dual-sport riding in tough conditions.

Best for big-bore dual sports and ADVs (4.3 Stars)

Kenda – K270 (Front) And (Rear)

Knobbies are notoriously unstable on pavement, yet enduros make great commuter bikes. So what are riders who spend half their time on dirt and the other half on roads to do? The answer is to invest in a 50-50 tire like Kenda’s K270.

The evenly and tightly spaced lugs on the K270 encourage smooth wear on hard surfaces. They have a rounded profile, similar to that of a sport tire. The result is tire that sticks to pavement, allowing harder cornering on the street than many other dual-sport tires can offer. Extended ranges of 6000 miles are possible, but hard riding will drop that range down to about 4000 miles.

Off road, the K270 is a capable trail tire. Tubes add a bit of peace of mind, and the lugs can take extended hours of semi-hard riding. They will cake in the soft stuff, especially muddy conditions, but these skins shrug off hard terrain. Grip and stability improves with wear, though you can expect some squirreliness for the first hundred miles or so.

  • Extended mileage (up to 6000 miles)
  • Round profile makes road riding super-moto-like
  • A capable trail tire
  • Tends to cost less than many competitors
  • Unpredictable response during break-in
  • Not the best in soft terrain

Kenda Block Quote

When cement links the trails you ride (think back-canyon fire roads), a tire like Kenda’s K270 is a necessity. Able to grip-n-slip at will, it can also handle pretty impressive road speeds as well.

Best for pavement-linked trails (4.2 Stars)

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Motocross (Intermediate) Maxxis - Maxxcross IT M7305 (Rear) / M7304 (Front)

best dirt bike tires best dirt bike tire for trail riding

The Maxxcross IT handles moderately soft or hard terrain with precision. A dual-compound carcass takes street tire tech to the dirt for a true multi-tasking skin.

The beauty of the Maxxcross IT is its ability to multitask. This is the perfect skin for the rider who hits the track one weekend and the trails the next. Dual-compound lugs give these tires the ability to not just transition to different surfaces, but to dominate them all. Wide spaces between lugs enables self-cleaning, but traction on hard surfaces is still impressive thanks to soft center patches.

Oftentimes, the shoulder knobs on a motocross tire will feel markedly different from the center patch lugs. Transitions into lean angles can feel like a jolt, leaving riders uneasy about cornering. Not so on the Maxxcross IT. These tires encourage steep lean angles, with seamless transitions that instill confidence.

Part of that seamlessness stems from the smooth lug geometry, but the dual compounds also play a role. The center lugs on both the front and rear feature a softer compound than the shoulders, though the front tire’s soft compound is a crown over harder lugs. Front brakes are more effective with the extra grip up front. The soft center patch on the rear enables hookup on hole shots, while the stiffer shoulder knobs prevent chunking.

  • Dual-compound lugs are a leap forward in tech
  • A true jack-of-all-trades motocross tire
  • Perfectly capable of competition on multiple surfaces
  • A weekend warrior’s first choice
  • Soft center tread leads to worn center patches
  • Will pack up in mud and wet sand

Motocross (Soft) Kenda – K785 Millville II (Rear) And (Front)

enduro dirt bike tires best mx tires

The K785’s handling changes dramatically with a direction switch. It is a tough intermediate tire in one direction and a mud slinger in the other, making it great for tracks that rut up during heats.

Searching for the best intermediate dirt bike tire is all well and good, but in the loosest terrains, only a soft tire will do. But what if it were possible to have the best of both worlds? The answer to that conundrum comes in the form of Kenda’s do-it-all Millville II.

The key to the K785’s versatility is a reversible direction. In one direction, you have a superior intermediate tire. The lug edges bite into semi-packed soils, while raised bars between the knobs prevent things from getting squirrely. Flip the tire in the other direction and you have one of the best skins available for loose, loamy tracks.

Tire longevity for the Millville II is phenomenal, with chunking practically nonexistent even after several weekends of racing. Riders rave about the K785’s ability to handle deep ruts when oriented toward the soft side, though the intermediate side handles everything but loose desert sand. MX racers who don’t want to swap tires between heats need look no further.

  • Directional lugs (soft one way, intermediate the other)
  • Outstanding longevity without chunking
  • Raised bars between lugs provide pronounced stability
  • Excellent cornering traction in the loosest materials
  • Disintegrates on hard surfaces
  • Wears quicker than medium tires on intermediate surfaces

Hard Terrain Sedona – MX907HP (Rear) And (Front)

best dirt bike tire for trail riding best motocross tires

The MX907HP is the type of sticky tire that blue-groove terrain calls for. High-tech sipes and dimples give it functionality to go with a purpose-built appearance.

Hard-packed dirt is one thing, but if you ride on blue-groove terrain, you need a tire built to purpose. Sedona’s MX907HP tire is a proven hard-pack warrior.

On smooth surfaces a wide footprint becomes critical to maintaining traction, especially when diving on the brakes. The MX907’s knobs have indentations and sipes that bite onto surfaces as the soft-compound knobs spread under a load. Those knobs are laid out diagonally along the cross section to maximize cornering grip, getting gradually more sever at more drastic lean angles.

Of course, riding on hard pack isn’t just about grip. The tire must also absorb the serious forces involved with motocross riding – jumps, whoops, triples, etc. Sedona uses a four-ply carcass to absorb those blows, remaining rigid where possible and compliant where necessary. And while chunking is an ever-present on any terrain, the MX907HP holds onto its lugs better than most when used exclusively on the hard stuff.

  • A sticky skin on bare surfaces
  • Quad-ply carcass is tough and resilient
  • Dimples and sipes in lugs increase traction
  • Knob layout maximizes cornering grip
  • Will chunk lugs if ridden on soft terrain
  • Front tire not quite the marvel of engineering that rear tire is

Conclusion

Dual-sport and motocross riders are a hard lot to please, mainly because everyone’s needs are so individualized. Still, the most people will find the most happiness with a tire like the Maxxis Maxxcross IT. The dual compounds meant for intermediate terrain make it the most versatile and longest lasting off-road tire on this list. Bang for the buck with the ability to handle a variety of changing track conditions – What more could anyone want?

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Why Does My Motorcycle Battery Keep Dying

Why Does My Motorcycle Battery Keep Dying

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 25, 2018

why motorcycle battery keeps dying

So why does your battery keep dying?

Your battery has a finite amount of stored power, and if it doesn't get replenished, it quickly becomes nothing more than a glorified paperweight.

Is there anything worse than the party-pooping ‘click’ when a battery fails to excite your starter motor? Put enough miles under your wheels and one day you’ll know exactly how it feels.

Batteries aren’t that prone to committing random acts of hari-kari though. The new generation of batteries are solid pieces of kit with proven stability and are generally sealed and maintenance-free.

So let's look at what's going on behind the scenes to turn your bike into a two-wheeled vampire and sucking the life out of your power pack?

So Why Does Your Battery Keep Dying?

So let’s dive straight into the nitty-gritty of the matter. These days, when you buy a new battery, the chances are it will arrive already sealed, carrying a full charge and ready to rock. Now the battery is imbued with many superpowers, but what it isn't, is a miracle worker.

This diminutive power supply has three main jobs; to store energy, release that energy on demand, and lastly, to act as a bouncer, showing unwanted power spikes the door. I used to think that it was the job of the battery to pretty much run the whole bike with the alternator purely there to top it back-up when needed.

What happens though is that the alternator, which in modern bikes generates AC current and can kick out more than 70 watts, is feeding the bike’s power demands. The battery is a secondary operation to this.

However, if you’re stuck in traffic for instance, listening to your fave tunes while the satnav is recalculating your route, then the alternator at tick-over speed just can’t cope. This point is precisely when the battery kicks back in to keep the good times rolling.

Serve and Protect

The third part of the equation, which I mentioned earlier, is its role as a protector of the electrical system. At full belt, an alternator is designed to kick out far more power than your bike needs, and when on occasion that power outage spikes, it can fry the electrics.

why does my motorcycle battery keep dying

The battery, therefore, throws itself in front of the spike preventing an inevitable meltdown. Now with all this in mind, we can reverse engineer this equation to analyze why the battery keeps on dying.

Let's throw a proverbial spanner in the works. The reason for your limp battery may be something else entirely, and the most common reasons for a persistently dying battery are as follows:

  • Faulty Battery
  • Faulty Charging System
  • Parasitic Draw
  • Damaged Wiring

The chain of command for your electrical supply and storage system looks like this. The alternator (consisting of a rotor and stator producing AC current), the rectifier (which converts the AC to DC, the regulator (which governs the maximum amount of charge passed on to the battery) and finally, the battery.

If your battery feels plenty perky but the day after a ride is as feeble as your great grandpa’s handshake, it can be tricky as to where to point the finger. Thethe best thing to do in this case is to use a process of illumination. The first thing is to throw the spotlight on the battery and give it the third degree.

Don't Take it for Granted

How old is the battery? Is it showing any signs of wear as in cracks or lack of acid? Check the connectors too, a loose one can prevent the charge from taking hold. Also, bear in mind that even a brand new battery can malfunction, so don't count it out of the equation just because it’s new.

So, to start the process your battery needs to be holding a full charge, you can check this with a multimeter, which is a smallish rectangular box with an analog or digital readout. This instrument measures electrical current and voltage amongst other things and even the most basic will give you the info you need.

The multimeter comes with negative and positive leads, and these attach to the corresponding battery leads. Do this test with the ignition off, and the meter switched to DC to see what charge the battery is holding. If your 12v battery reads 12 volts on the meter, that's good, right?

Wrong, that means it’s almost too low to breathe life back into, so put the battery on a slow trickle charge and try again. Ideally, a resting battery that's in good useable condition should read above 12.4 volts, if it comes in between 12.6 to 12.8, then its considered to be ready to rock.

This step is crucial as it establishes a baseline, in other words, if the battery is good you can work your way down the list. Next, we're going to see what kind of charge is reaching the battery, if any.

To test this, fire up your bike and clip-on the multimeter leads at tick over speed. A decent charging system should show around 13.5 volts DC. Now, with the engine warmed-up nail the throttle and keep it around 3000 rpm, you should see a rise in volts to around 14.5.

Don’t worry if the reading is not identical, a plus or minus reading of around 0.2 volts is perfectly acceptable. Next, try blipping the throttle; this should see the readout peak at approximately 14.8 volts.

why motorbike battery keeps dying

How Low Can You Go

Similar readouts to those above mean that everything from the alternator onward is doing its job. If you get no reading or significantly lower, then you will need to check the output of the alternator followed by the rectifier and regulator. (Note, most modern bikes combine both of these components in one unit).

Now to item three on our list, the parasitic draw which has nothing to do with artistic tapeworm, and everything to do with voltage sapping from the battery. Simply put, all of the electrical components on your bike, including the lights, horn, radar detector, starter and all the other assorted paraphernalia you have wired up, draw legitimate energy from the battery.

A parasitic draw is, therefore, a discharge of power that occurs when the ignition is switched off. This very common phenomenon used to happen a lot in the bad old days when it was possible to leave your lights on. Modern electrical circuitry has thankfully pretty much sorted this problem.

Wear is the Problem

It is, however, linked to number four on the list; damaged wiring. In certain areas of our bike, like under or around the seat, at the steering head or close to an exhaust system, wiring can rub or melt. When this happens and the exposed wiring contacts with the frame, power can be leached away from the battery leaving it flatter than a pancake.

Checking your wiring harness for breaks can be a pain in the butt, but if you have to do it, do it methodically and start with the most obvious areas like those mentioned.

Don’t forget, even those components on your bike such as a digital clock and especially an alarm system, will suck the marrow out of your battery. So don’t leave it parked up for any length of time without a battery tender wired to it whenever possible. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that Harley-Davidson alarms and immobilizers are particularly fond of leaving you clicking.

In Conclusion

When your motorcycle battery keeps dying, in the majority of cases the above checks will reveal the problem. But even if they don’t, these basic steps still have to be ticked off the list. Electrical issues on your motorcycle can leave you pulling your hair out, so remember the four golden rules:

  • Remain calm
  • Be methodical
  • Follow the chain of command in your charging system and
  • Remain calm! Good hunting.
motorcycle battery dying

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Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Boots?

Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Boots?

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 25, 2018

why motorcycle boots

Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Boots?

Most riders know that whenever you get on your motorcycle, it's crucially important to protect the most important parts of your body – and they usually wear a helmet, a jacket and motorcycle gloves to do this. But what about your ankles and feet? Shouldn't they be protected too? Read on to find out why you should wear motorcycle boots whenever you ride.

Your Feet and Ankles Are Important – and Vulnerable to Injury

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of badly spraining an ankle knows what a pain in the ass it is to have to hobble around on crutches for a week or two. Someone who has had an injury like this will also know how long a damaged ankle takes to heal. And even something as seemingly insignificant as a broken toe can cause a great loss of mobility and chronic pain for an extended period.

Our feet and ankles perform tasks that are crucial to our mobility – they not only support our weight, they serve as instruments of balance, propulsion and motion, and act as shock absorbers every time we take a step. They are also extraordinarily complex, with twenty-six bones, thirty-three joints, and over a hundred tendons and ligaments. Such complex structures can easily get damaged from heavy, jarring impacts – which is just the kind of impact they're likely to suffer if they're the first point of contact when your body hits the street, even in a relatively slow speed crash.

Because our feet and ankles are so very important to maintaining mobility, it should be obvious that when we ride our motorcycles it's just as important to protect them as it is our heads, torsos and hands – but what kind of boots are up to the task of providing secure protection for our ankles and feet?

The Differences Between Motorcycle Boots and Other Types of Boots

It should be pretty obvious by now that whenever you get on your motorcycle, you need to protect your ankles and feet – and your average pair of sneakers certainly isn't up to that kind of task. And considering that the majority of non-lethal motorcycle accident injuries affect one's lower legs and feet, the need for quality protection in that area is paramount. As with other items of gear you put on every time you ride, the best kind of boots to protect this vulnerable part of your body are boots specifically designed for motorcycle riding, and as with other types of riding gear, it's always wise to budget for the best pair of riding boots you can afford; rather spend a couple of dollars now instead of spending a couple of thousand dollars on medical bills later.

why should i wear motorcycle boots

It's also worth mentioning that you really should go for a pair of boots that are specifically designed for motorcycle riding. Hiking boots or work boots are a lot cheaper, yes, and they do provide a measure of ankle support and protection for one's toes, but it's important to note that they are designed to protect you only from twisting your ankle when taking a poorly-judged step (hiking boots) or dropping something heavy onto your foot (work boots), and are not engineered to provide any kind of resistance to the type of extreme forces that speed and momentum will wreak upon your ankle and foot in a motorcycle accident.

There is a rather expansive array of motorcycle boots on offer to any rider who's in the market for a pair, and the sheer variety of choice can be a little overwhelming. As with other items of motorcycling gear, the type of motorcycle you ride and the kind of riding you do can help to narrow your options down. Let's take a look at the different kinds of riding boots that are out there.

Street Boots

Many riders who use their bikes for commuting or cruising need protection for their feet, but don't necessarily want to go through the hassle of putting on a pair of huge, heavy boots that go almost up to their knees and are nearly impossible to walk in. Thankfully, there are many boots that provide adequate ankle protection, but are cut off just above the ankle and are almost as light and comfortable as any regular pair of shoes.

These shoes come in all manner of styles, for men and women. Alpinestars' SMX 1-R street boots, for example, are a great example of a high quality, versatile street boot that looks more like you're wearing a regular shoe and less like you just stepped off a motocross track. Check out this review for some ideas for the best casual motorcycle shoes.

Racing Boots

If you ride a high-powered sportbike and are a fan of track riding or high-speed canyon carving, you're going to need something that provides more protection than your average street boot. If this is the kind of riding you do, you need to look for a boot that provides protection not only for your ankle and foot, but the whole of your lower leg as well. Alpinestars also make a great boot for spirited riding, which provides excellent armor and protection for one's shins, calves, ankles, feet and toes: the SMX-6 model.

Off-Road Boots

The footwear needs of those riders who ride dirt bikes, whether for single track forest trails, adventure touring on gravel roads, or full-out motocross racing, are different to the needs of riders who stay on the asphalt. For one thing, there are a lot more obstacles involved, like rocks or branches, both of which can cause severe damage to one's lower extremities, and for another, falling off the bike, particularly at low speeds, and landing on uneven terrain (maximising the risk of twisting one's ankle) is far more common.

Thus, motorcycle boots designed for off-road riding tend to be heavier and taller than street-oriented boots, and if you ride off-road you need to look for the sturdiest pair of off-road boots you can afford. O'Neal's Logo Rider boots provide fantastic protection and great versatility at a very reasonable price. If you are looking for the best out there, Alpinestars and Sidi make some of strongest boots on the market.

Conclusion

Next time you're walking up or down a long flight of stairs, ask yourself if it's difficult enough already, or whether you'd like to turn it up a notch and hop up or down the stairs in crutches. If you'd rather not do that (and I'm sure most of us wouldn't), then make sure that every time you climb onto your motorcycle and fire it up, you've remembered to give your feet and ankles the protection they deserve with the best, most suitable pair of motorcycle boots you can afford. So, why should I wear motorcycle boots? Because you'd be stupid not to.

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Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Gloves?

Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Gloves?

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 25, 2018

why motorcycle gloves

Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Gloves?

If you ask any experienced motorcycle rider what their top three essential, bare minimum pieces of riding gear are, they'd likely say a helmet, a jacket and gloves – because these protect the most important and vulnerable parts of your body. And if you cut that down to two, they may well remove the jacket from that equation. But why is it so important to wear motorcycle gloves?

Your Hands Are Important

How do you get a motorcycle to accelerate? You use the throttle. How do you get it to take off from a standing start? You use the clutch lever. How do you turn the bike? You use the handlebars. And what body part do you use to operate all of these controls? Yes … your hands. In addition, outside of motorcycling, having functional hands and fingers is essential to pretty much everything you do, from your job to your hobbies and sports you play, to simple day-to-day basics like eating, drinking and brushing your teeth.

Furthermore, our hands are complex appendages; there are twenty-nine different bones in each hand, twenty-nine joints and at least one hundred and twenty-three ligaments. When your hand hits the street or any hard surface at speed, with the full force and momentum of your flying body behind it, many of these intricate items can be destroyed, causing severe damage to your hand and wrist.

Now that we've established just how important an appendage your hands are, it should seem obvious that any time you get onto your motorcycle, you should ensure that they're protected. But what kind of gloves provide the best protection for your hands?

The Differences Between Motorcycle Gloves and Other Types of Gloves

Like many other items of motorcycling equipment, a good pair of motorcycle gloves can be rather pricey. However, just as with other vital pieces of riding gear, coughing up a few extra dollars upfront for a high quality pair of motorcycle gloves may well save you a few hundred or thousand dollars in medical bills down the line. Hand and wrist injuries often require complex surgical procedures to repair, and we all know how expensive pretty much any kind of surgery usually ends up being.

Alright, so it's pretty obvious that you need to wear a sturdy pair of gloves whenever you ride your bike – but why can't you save a few bucks by just buying, say, a tough pair of workman's gloves instead of a far more expensive pair of motorcycle gloves?

why wear motorcycle gloves

Stitching

The answer to that is both in the construction of the gloves and in the features that motorcycle gloves offer that are absent on other types of gloves. Workman's gloves are made to be durable for handling heavy items, and protect one's hands from, say, barbed wire or jagged steel. They may even provide abrasion resistance if they're made of thick leather.

However, they are not designed to stay together when carrying the full momentum of a human body hitting the road at speed; this requires the type of strong, specialist stitching only seen in gloves designed specifically for motorcycle riding. The thickest leather in the world can't save your hand if the seams of your glove split apart on impact.

Armor

Another feature you'll find on motorcycle gloves that you won't find on any other kind of glove is armor. If you've ever tried to punch a wall or any hard surface, you'll know how easy it is (and how painful is is) to injure your knuckles. On pretty much any high-end pair of motorcycle gloves you'll find hard, durable armor made of either high-impact plastic or carbon fiber (or a combination thereof) that covers the whole knuckle area, which provides excellent impact protection, abrasion protection in the event of a slide, and the solid rigidity of it keeps your hand from being crushed if your hand is trapped between your bike and the road surface.

why motorcycle gloves

Wrist Protection

A good pair of motorcycle gloves won't only protect your hands, but will also offer protection for your wrists too. This comes in a few different forms. The first is what's known as “palm sliders” - pieces of armor fixed to the palms of the gloves. How does armor on one's palms protect one's wrists, though? The answer is due to physics; when your body flies off your motorcycle and you hit the ground at speed, your hand is often the first part to make contact with the street. Often your gloves (or bare skin … ouch) “grabs” the road surface and stops abruptly, which means that all the momentum of your moving body is transferred to your wrist, which then obviously twists and breaks. Depending on the speed at which you are traveling, the force of such an impact can cause multiple fractures up your arm. Palm sliders, however, allow the hand to keep sliding along the road, thus preventing scaphoid fractures.

Long Or Short Motorcycle Gloves?

Motorcycle gloves, regardless of what type of riding they're designed for (racing, touring, cruising, adventure, offroad or general street riding), usually come either in “gauntlet” form or “shorty” form. The gauntlet type gloves feature long cuffs that cover the wrist and some of the forearm, and these are safer because of the superior support, padding and armor they offer for one's wrists. Of course, they can be uncomfortable and hot in warmer weather, which is where short cuff gloves come in; usually they cover only the bottom of the wrist, and thus offer little to no wrist protection. If you are not riding at high speeds or in inclement weather, however, they do provide fairly decent crash protection.

Conclusion

It's easy to forget just how crucial a pair of healthy, functioning hands is not just for riding a motorcycle, but for doing pretty much anything. Whether you are looking for women's motorcycle gloves, heated or fingerless, the only question on your mind about motorcycle gloves should thus not be, “Why Should I Wear Motorcycle Gloves?” but rather, “Am I wearing the best and safest pair of motorcycle gloves I can afford?”. Make sure that you ride safe and wear your motorcycle gloves every time you climb onto your bike.

why should i wear motorcycle glove

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When to Replace Motorcycle Tires

When to Replace Motorcycle Tires

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 25, 2018

when to replace motorcycle tires

When Do My Motorcycle Tires Need To Be Changed?

Every rider knows how dangerous it is to ride on tires that are worn out. How exactly can you tell, though, when tires are in need of replacement? Generally, the three most common indicators that it's time to switch out your old tires for new ones are when they start “squaring off”, losing a large amount of tread groove depth, and when they get older.

What's A “Squared Off” Tire?

Motorcycle tires are round, and in not just one but two ways. Like car tires, they're round (circular) when seen from a side-on view, but unlike car tires, which are mostly flat when seen from the front or the rear of the vehicle, motorcycle tires are also round, in a convex fashion, when seen from the front or rear of the bike. This is to facilitate leaning the bike over when cornering and still maintaining a decent contact patch with the road, which wouldn't be possible with a car tire.

Riders who do a lot of commuting on mostly straight roads are the most likely people to see their tires get squared off. Because they spend most of their saddle time with the bike upright as opposed to leaned over, the edges of their tires don't make contact with the road as frequently as the center of the tire (the top of the convex curve), so the center gets worn out much faster than the rest of the tire – which, over time, starts wearing away the convex curve of the tire, creating a flat centre strip that grows broader and broader – and flatter, of course – eventually making the motorcycle tire look more and more like car tire.

By the time a motorcycle tire has started to square off, you can bet that most of the tread grooves have disappeared, and this can create a rather dangerous situation, especially in wet weather, as those grooves are what allows the tire to maintain traction when the road surface is wet. This, of course, brings us to the next point: how much loss of tread groove depth is too much?

How Much Tread Groove Depth is Okay to Ride With?

Every country has slightly different rules regarding safe minimum tread groove depth, but you don't really need to bury your nose in legal tomes to figure when your motorcycle tires no longer have sufficient tread groove depth for safe riding.

Before we get to that, let me just explain what these little grooves in your tires do. On pretty much every street tire you can buy, the whole point of the groove pattern is to shed and expel water effectively when you're riding on a wet surface, which allows the non-grooved part of the tire to maintain traction. This naturally differs between street and dirt bike tires. The shallower the grooves become, the less water they're able to shed, until eventually the tire becomes unable to shed any water at all – in which case, if you lean your bike over on a wet street, even at a slight angle, you'll probably go down pretty fast.

when to change motorcycle tires

If you want to be really precise about your tread groove depth, and replace your tires exactly in line with your tire manufacturer's recommendations (which is a pretty good idea), you can buy a tire wear indicator tool to check this. If you don't want to shell out for such an item, you can use a toothpick, a coin, anything that you can stick into the groove and mark with a marker at the depth level. Then take your marked toothpick/coin/whatever out, and measure the marked section on a ruler. Anything shallower than, generally speaking, 1/32 inch (1mm) is dangerous, and the tire needs to be replaced immediately.

How Many Years Do Tires Last?

Even if your tires have plenty of tread groove depth and look like they're in great shape, this doesn't necessarily mean that they're safe. This is because tires have a shelf life, believe it or not. The chemicals in the rubber used to make motorcycle tires (and, specifically, give the rubber sufficient stickiness for good traction on the street) degrade over time, regardless of how much use the tires get.

It even happens to tires sitting on the shelves of your local motorcycle store that have never been mounted. In this process of chemical degradation, known as “outgassing”, the rubber gradually becomes harder and more slick, losing its stickiness and thus its ability to grip the pavement.

So how long do you have before your tire passes its “use by” date, as such? Generally, with modern motorcycle tires, whether we're talking sport, touring or cruising tires, you can expect them to last around five years from the date of manufacture. Before you start worrying about the fact that you have no idea when the tires on your bike were made, relax.

The tires, whatever the style or brand, actually have the date of manufacture stamped on them. Look on the sidewall of the tire for a rectangular box with four numbers in it – something like “0514”, for example. The first two digits are the week, the last two are the year – so 0514 would mean that the tire was made in the fifth week of 2014, so, in February 2014. Using this number, you'll be able to calculate just how old your tires are, and when you thus need to replace them.

Your tires are like your motorcycle's pair of shoes. So there you have it; three of the most common ways to tell when to replace motorcycle tires. Remember, your life may depend on the condition your tires are in, so take these tips to heart and don't ever put off replacing a tire when it needs to be done.

when to get motorbike tires

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Are Motocross Tires Road Legal?

Are Motocross Tires Road Legal?

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 25, 2018

Are Motocross Tires Road Legal?

Are Motocross Tires Road Legal?

Motocross tires are sometimes – but definitely not always – legal for use on public roads. Those that are certified for road use must have a DOT (Department of Transportation) stamp on at least one sidewall. If that stamp is missing, the tires may still be used off road, but they may not be ridden on public roads. As with most things related to motorcycle regulations, the reasons amount to the safety of the rider and surrounding motorists.

Dirt Bike Tires in General

Dirt bikes generally use tires with knobby treads, which are intended to provide extra traction in off-road conditions. When ridden off road, these tires rarely experience the heat and friction that tires must contend with at highway speeds on pavement. In the interest of public safety, the federal government has adopted a set of minimum criteria that all road-going motorcycles in the U.S. must meet. These rules govern such things as headlights, turn signals, brake lights, horns, etc.

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires that tires on motorcycles intended for on-road use have a stamp indicating they have passed a series of stringent tests – known as Standard 119. Without having passed these tests, manufacturers face severe penalties for applying a DOT stamp to their tires. The Standard 119 rules apply only to motorcycles intended to be used on public roads. Motocross bikes are exempt from the DOT requirements.

Motocross Or Dual Sport?

By definition, motocross is dirt bike racing that occurs on a closed course. The terrain may be natural or simulated, but the key point is that there is no pavement involved. Dirt bikes are intended for off-road use, and they may or may not be used for motocross. The industry term for dirt bikes that are intended for use on or off road is “dual sport.” Some dual sport motorcycles are suitable for motocross, while others are not. Technically speaking, big-bore adventure bikes are also dual sports, but they certainly are not suited for motocross.

Motocross tires have aggressive knobs intended to provide traction in racing. As track conditions can vary from one track to another and from one day to the next, certain tread patterns and rubber compounds may be better suited for one type of terrain than another. Manufacturers may stipulate a tire is intended for soft terrain, hard terrain or intermediate terrain. The same distinctions apply to dual sport tires.

are dirt bike tires road legal

DOT Specification

In order to receive DOT approval, a tire must be tested by a third party. The tire is conditioned to 95 degrees Fahrenheit before the endurance portion of the test, and the ambient temperature in the facility must be the same. The tire is then rolled under maximum load on a steel test wheel for three hours. At the end of that time, it must not exhibit any chunking, separation or pressure loss. After the endurance test, the tire must pass puncture and high-speed tests to ensure they won't need to be replaced after a week. Only after passing all three tests may a tire receive a DOT stamp on its sidewall.

Off-Road Only Tires

Tires mounted on motorcycles that are not intended for highway use do not need to be DOT-approved. Ultimately this means that tires without the DOT stamp have not been tested to the criteria listed in the NHTSA’s Standard No. 119. While such tires may be perfectly safe for off-road use, they are not legal for use on public roads in the U.S. Using such tires on pavement is dangerous, as such tires may chunk (lose tread knobs) or separate at highway speeds.

can i ride with dirt bike tires on the road

A Caveat

The modern dirt bike tire marketplace is diverse. Intent on catering to the whims and desires of ever-more specialized groups of riders, manufacturers have introduced tread designs that are much more aggressive and purpose-made than ever before. The road-going, trail-hopping sector of the dirt bike market has grown to such proportions that tire manufacturers are battling for respect from that segment of riders. So finding a DOT-approved tire that can handle the motocross track and the highway equally well is no longer impossible.

Conclusion

When wondering "Are Motocross Tires Road Legal?" remember, the risks involved with mounting non-DOT-approved tires on a road-going dirt bike extend far beyond the possibility of getting ticketed or held responsible in the event of an accident.

Without the DOT stamp, a rider has absolutely no way of knowing whether or not a tire can handle the stresses of road use. Highway speeds introduce levels of heat and friction that never occur off road. Attempting these speeds on unapproved tires makes the rider a guinea pig. Each ride then becomes a safety test. Sooner or later, your luck will run out.

can i use motocross tires onroad

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Women’s Biker Shirts

Women's Biker Shirts

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 11, 2018

woman biker shirts

Yes, you can throw on a ragged old t-shirt that you got at Old Navy four summers ago. Or you can dive into the wonderful world of biker shirts for ladies and discover a new staple item for your wardrobe that’s hardcore cool and stylish.

And for those who like a splash of color or a dusting of sparkles, don’t despair – there are biker shirts in every shape, style and size. Is a biker shirt essential to the experience of riding? Well, no. But it is a great way to embrace the motorcycle culture and look awesome while doing it. Check out some of our favorite women’s biker shirts below.

Women's Biker Shirts Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Harley-Davidson Women's Glory Bar Sleeveless Shirt Sexy Look
2. Helmet Hair Don't Care Motorcycle Riding T-Shirt Style
3. Funny Vintage Motorcycle T-Shirt Evolution Humorous Design
4. Harley-Davidson Women's T-Shirt, Bar & Shield Classic Design
5. Tulucky Womens Fashion Angel Wing Loose T Shirt Casual & Comfortable

Top Choice: Harley-Davidson Women's Glory Bar Sleeveless Shirt

A sleek and sexy Harley tank that's perfect for any occassion.

1. Harley-Davidson Women's Glory Bar Sleeveless Shirt
Best For

Sexy Look

Our Rating
3. Funny Vintage Motorcycle T-Shirt Evolution
Best For

Humorous Design

Our Rating
4. Harley-Davidson Women's T-Shirt, Bar & Shield
Best For

Classic Design

Our Rating
5. Tulucky Womens Fashion Angel Wing Loose T Shirt
Best For

Casual & Comfortable

Our Rating

A Quick Detour

Your biker shirt will have to be covered while you ride. Sadly, there’s just no trade-off for wearing sturdy safety gear while riding so your glorious t-shirt will have to shine once you’ve gotten off your sweet ride. ALWAYS wear a jacket when riding, even on the hottest summer day when it feels like you’ll sweat away under your protective gear. Luckily, there are some awesome jackets that you can get to complete any biker outfit. There are summer jackets, leathers, women’s denim motorcycle jackets… there’s an abundance of choices for every budget.

motorcycle shirts for women

Biker Shirts For Ladies Review

Funny Vintage Motorcycle T-Shirt Evolution

womens motorcycle shirts sexy biker shirts  women motorcycle shirt

Bet you didn't know motorcycle t-shirts could be witty and funny without being totally lame. Here's proof!

This t-shirt has been doing the rounds across all genres and fields from computer science to engineering and just about anything else. Finally, it’s been made into a women’s motorcycle shirt with an appropriate ladies fit.

The design is classic and the t-shirt is available in a bunch of different colors so go ahead and get one to fit with every outfit. Get one for your man to have cute matching t-shirts when you head out on your next road trip. It’s a fun conversation starter and the perfect casual biker t-shirt for long runs.

  • Trendy design
  • Lightweight
  • Ladies fit
  • Great price
  • Limited ladies sizing

Helmet Hair Don't Care Motorcycle Riding T-Shirt

helmets with bling biker shirts for ladies

Don't fear the helmet hair! This shirt has your back.

Helmet hair is one of the biggest tragedies facing biker ladies today. Flat hair, scraggly bits of fringe sticking off the top of your head, that terribly unattractive wind-swept look that only movie stars can pull off… we don’t need to explain this to you.

We have an article to help you manage hairstyles that look good under a helmet but just in case you have a bad hair day nonetheless, you’ll need this shirt. There’s nothing as powerful as not caring about helmet hair. It takes bravery and courage. Embrace it and put it on your shirt to spread the message in a chic way!

  • Multi-purpose (this shirt works for motorcycling, biking, horse riding and even skateboarding!)
  • Chic script
  • Quality stitching
  • None! The price is great and the shirt is quality.

Harley-Davidson Women's T-Shirt, Bar & Shield

womens biker shirts womens biker t shirts

What do you get when you mix Harley Davidson with pink? An amazing twist on a classic biker shirt!

The classic, must-have Harley shirt but in pink! This is a staple wardrobe item and the ultimate biker girl shirt. If you own a Harley, this IS a non-negotiable ladies motorcycle t-shirt to have. The logo is loud and proud, perfect for slipping under a motorcycle jacket before hitting the road. The t-shirt is made with soft material and the fit is flexible enough to suit all body types.

It’s not the cheapest women’s biker shirt you’ll find on the market but it’s probably the coolest – and if we’re being honest, still really affordable as far as classic quality t-shirts go. Designer shirts go for at least 10 times this price without featuring a classic design like the Harley logo. In fact, the classic Harley design is even regarded as one of the 10 most iconic t-shirts of all time. (source)

  • Classic Harley design
  • Pretty in pink
  • Soft cotton
  • You’ll have to get a classic Harley shirt in black, too

Harley-Davidson Women's Glory Bar Sleeveless Shirt

women's biker shirts women's motorcycle t shirts

A sleek and sexy Harley tank that's perfect for any occassion.

What’s better than a biker t-shirt for women? A sexy, sleeveless biker shirt adorned with a vintage-style Harley design. A classic fit, flattering curved neckline and Harley logo on the back make this a fantastic biker shirt to slip on – whether you’re riding or not. Match it with a hot pair of tight leather pants and some motorcycle boots for the ultimate biker chick look, or dress it down with casual denim and some cowboy riding boots. Need more information about women’s motorcycle boots? Check out our article here.

  • Sleeveless and soft
  • Sexy scoop neck
  • Classic Harley logo on front and back
  • Limited sizing available (S/M only)

Tulucky Womens Fashion Angel Wing Loose T Shirt

biker shirts for women women biker shirts

An awesome silhouette design makes this loose-fitting t-shirt the perfect complement to every motorcycle outfit.

This one doesn’t scream motorcycle but it fits the biker look perfectly. The angel wing silhouette design on the back is casual but paired with a flowing loose fabric and cut-out shoulders, this shirt is hot! The thin fabric flows beautifully, making this the perfect summertime biker shirt for ladies. Check out this same design in a bling version here (source) if you’re looking for something fancier. This distinct design will have heads turning when you get off your sweet ride and whip off your stylish motorcycle jacket, flinging it across your shoulder as you stroll off feeling like the biker chick that you are. Power on, sister!

  • Soft and flowing fabric
  • Different colors available
  • Casual and comfortable
  • Awesome wing silhouette
  • The image gets sticky when tumble dried – best let this dry naturally!

Conclusion

Funny or classic, sexy, casual… have your pick! There’s an abundance of ladies biker shirts available and these are our favorite picks. The designs are quite different but equally stylish and a great finish for any women’s motorcycle outfit. Our top women’s biker shirt is the sexy sleeveless black tank from Harley Davidson, graced with a vintage-looking American flag design.

It’s breezy and easy to dress up or dress down. The casual fit makes it comfortable to wear on long days and the light cotton makes it a low maintenance clothing item that works for every occasion. Whichever motorcycle t-shirt for women you end up buying, remember to snap a picture and send it over so we can feature you on our blog!

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Discover the Best Motorcycle Battery to Keep Your Wheels Spinning

Discover the Best Motorcycle Battery to Keep Your Wheels Spinning

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Dec 08, 2018

best motorcycle battery

Back in the good old days, motorcycles came with carbide lamps and magneto ignition. Perfect, as long as you only wanted to illuminate your front mudguard and your magneto didn’t disintegrate from vibration.

By 1919, Gaston Plante’s rechargeable lead-acid battery had made it into a production car. Thanks to Delco Electronics, the coil, battery ignition and electric starters soon followed.

Today’s batteries may look like masters of understatement, but they are as technologically advanced as everything else on your motorcycle, in this post what discover which is the best motorcycle battery.

Motorcycle Battery Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Mighty Max YTZ12S 11AH 210CCA Gel No Maintenance
2. Pirate YTX14-BS 12AH, 200CCA Budget Replacement
3. Throttle X HDX14L Big Twin Replacements
4. Yuasa YUAM320BS Reliability
5. Antigravity AG-801 8 Cell Lithium Ion Custom Applications

Top Choice: Mighty Max YTZ12S 11AH 210CCA Gel

No-spill gel reliability and a must if your bike shakes, rattles and rolls. You can even mount it upside down.

1. Mighty Max YTZ12S 11AH 210CCA Gel
Best For

No Maintenance

Our Rating
2. Pirate YTX14-BS 12AH, 200CCA
Best For

Budget Replacement

Our Rating
3. Throttle X HDX14L
Best For

Big Twin Replacements

Our Rating
4. Yuasa YUAM320BS
Best For

Reliability

Our Rating
5. Antigravity AG-801 8 Cell Lithium Ion
Best For

Custom Applications

Our Rating

Choosing Your Motorcycle Battery – Jargon Buster

Before we launch into the comparison though, here are just a few battery basics to help you make your choice.

12v

Most motorcycles, cars and light trucks run a 12v (volt) system. A lead acid battery achieves this number by linking a number of cells together. Each battery cell generates approximately 2 volts, so a series of 6 cells will give you the magical 12v.

AH

Amp Hour, a number usually follows these letters and that number will tell you how long the battery can pump out current for a certain length of time. For example, 12AH means the battery can crank out 1.2 amps for 10 hours.

CCA

This is important to look out for, especially if you’re a fan of seasonal weather. Cold Cranking Amps tell you how much initial kick the battery provides under cold conditions. This fact is particularly important if you run an older bike with carbs or a tuned engine. However, today's more finely metered EFI makes this figure less critical.

motorcycle battery review

Dimensions

Sounds like a no-brainer, but the length, width, and height of a battery are critical, especially if you're buying a non-OEM replacement. Generally, if you state the make, model and year of your bike, the replacement will be the correct size, but check first. A battery that rattles about is easily damaged, and one too high can arc out on the seat base or frame tubes.

Neg and Pos

As the name suggests, these are the negative and positive terminals that transfer the power via the wiring harness to the bikes electronic equipment. Positive is always marked with a cross and negative with a single horizontal line.

Fastener Type and Placement

Once again, this is important and often overlooked as the negative and positive cables have to be a secure fit and not come into contact with any other components. Look where the terminals are located on your OEM battery and make sure the neg and pos are in the same place.

At this point, I'd like to highlight something you may be overlooking. If you're having problems getting your wheels rolling and your engine roaring, don't be to quick to jump to the conclusion that your battery is the cause. If you haven't already diagnosed all possible issue's, it might be worth your while to inspect other areas that may be causing your machine to not start. If you're sure it's the battery -let's take a closer look at the five best motorcycle battery contenders.

Motorbike Battery Review

Yuasa YUAM320BS

motorcycle battery review motorcycle battery

It may be the only battery that comes with a separate acid pack, but the Yuasa is foolproof and rock solid reliable.

Now here's a name that needs no introduction. Yuasa churns out over 50 million batteries a year for power sports vehicles alone, and over 90% of the world’s motorcycle manufacturers supply them as original equipment.

It's not difficult to see why either, these batteries are tough as old boots and owners regularly report getting ten years, and more, out of their factory-fitted Yuasa. This particular model has a 270 CCA rating which is ideal for land whales, such as the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 or Harley Heritage Classic.

This battery also uses absorbed glass mat separators. Once filled, its advanced lead-calcium technology keeps the specific gravity over three times longer than standard batteries.

How to Fill Your Yuasa Battery

Hang on there just a minute….''once filled''? Yup, that's right, the Yuasa ships with its acid supplied separately. Before you go freaking out though, I've been through this process myself, and it’s foolproof. The exact amount comes in a row of sealed tubes. Flip off the lids, empty into the cells, pop the sealing cover on, et voila.

The Yuasa is maintenance free, and once you've snapped the ceiling cap on, that's it, apart from the occasional charge. The 320BS comes with a year warranty and weighs in at a hefty 14.8lbs

  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Weight
  • Separate acid pack

Mighty Max YTZ12S 11AH 210CCA Gel

what's the best motorcycle battery what motorcycle battery do i need

No-spill gel reliability and a must if your bike shakes, rattles and rolls. You can even mount it upside down.

The Mighty Max comes with a left side pos, which is a perfect example of always checking that the terminals are on the correct side for your application. That’s not the only difference either; the Mighty Max is a gel-cell, which means that the sulfuric acid has been mixed with silica to form a jellified gloop.

You will discover lots of advantages in using this method, but two of them are of specific benefit to custom builders. Firstly, the gel doesn't move around or leak, making it possible to mount the Max at any angle.

Secondly, a gel cell is generally slimmer, which is great for custom applications where space is a premium. You'll see from the spec that the Max gives a decent kick from cold. Also, the internal layout of the battery means it is maintenance free, has excellent vibration and extreme temperature resistance.

How to Charge This Battery

You will need a trickle charger that is specifically for this type of battery. The reason for this is, overcharging reduces their working life.

On the subject of shelf life, when compared to fluid-filled, they may be more robust physically, but they can't take the number of recharges. There is some good news though, the Max is environmentally friendly.

One final comment, and that is, gel cell is traditionally more expensive than the equivalent liquid-filled, but the Mighty Max blows this myth out of the water.

  • Competitive price
  • Gel
  • Any position
  • Fewer recharges

Antigravity AG-801 8 Cell Lithium Ion

best motorcycle battery motorcycle battery review

At a fraction of the weight of conventional batteries, if you’re building a ‘special’ where space or location is a premium, this is for you.

It’s now time to go slightly outside the box and look at a motorcycle battery that has been a firm favorite with custom builders for some time, and that is the Lithium battery.

Antigravity opened its doors in 2009 and was a godsend for those builders needing a power source for their minimalistic showstopper custom bikes. The Californian company’s lightweight compact lithium-ion batteries were soon available as direct replacements for stock bikes.

The AG-801 is an 8-cell sealed unit which as the name suggests, can quite literally mean you can insert it at any angle. The flush mounted terminals are unbreakable, claim Antigravity, and the whole thing is waterproof.

The manufacturers state a 240 amp cold cranking rate and 9AH for this model, which they say is ideal for everyday use in street bikes up to 600cc and 1200cc race bikes. Whether for daily use or a custom project, apart from a much smaller footprint, the most significant single advantage of this battery is the unbelievable weight saving. The AG-801 is just 1.8lbs!

What if My Motorcycle is Classic Or Vintage?

For anything older than a mid-80's bike, Antigravity advises updating the charging system with a modern voltage regulator to prevent overcharging.

  • Weight
  • Positioning flexibility
  • Sensitive to overcharging

Pirate YTX14-BS 12AH, 200CCA

motorcycle battery what's the best motorcycle battery

A value for money, sealed battery that arrives ready for the road. Add to this, great safety features plus maintenance-free and great bang for buck.

C'mon, who wouldn't want a battery with a skull and a treasure map emblazoned on the side? I even like their ‘'extra voltage for that long voyage'' slogan. Cheesy marketing aside, Pirate Battery is gaining a well-deserved reputation for robust batteries that deliver the goods at an extremely reasonable price.

This lead-acid model, in particular, appears to be a popular replacement for large displacement metric cruisers and power sports bikes, but like every battery, check the dimensions to be sure.

Pirates come filled, sealed and ready to rock so that you can plug and play. These batteries are maintenance and leak-free and feature absorbed glass mat separators, which withstand vibration and extend battery life.

Inside the battery, Pirate uses a thru-partition rather than an over partition construction, which allows shorter distance with less resistance for current flow. A built-in safety valve, complete with flame arrester, takes care of any unwanted pressure build-ups.

What Are the Charging Benefits?

The company reckons it’s possible to charge the battery over a 1000 times before it’s ready to walk the plank and purchases come with an impressive 60-day money back guarantee and an 18-month warranty.

  • Competitive price
  • Length of warranty and money back guarantee
  • Who doesn't like pirates?
  • Pos and neg connectors look a bit flimsy

Throttle X HDX14L

what motorcycle battery do i need best motorcycle battery

Big solid battery that will spin your big Twin for a fraction of the OEM price. Exact dimensions, factory sealed, maintenance-free. Job done.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, at least in terms of battery weight, the HDX14L by Throttle X weighs in at muscle pumping 13lb. Like everything though, its horses for courses and this meaty, sealed unit is aimed squarely at Harley-Davidsons.

The battery is a direct replacement for the OEM part, so dimensions match exactly, which you would expect as they come from the same factory. Performance is identical too with 220 cold cranking amps and 12 AH.

The HDX uses absorbed glass mat technology, and the highly porous microfiber totally embraces the suck, meaning the acid is trapped making the battery leak and spill proof.

Does the Battery Arrive Good-To-Go?

The battery helpfully arrives fully charged and ready to rock, is maintenance free and heat-sealed. Terminal fasteners are solid lead with top and side female threads and come with stainless steel bolts.

Approximately half the price of the OEM version and with a 30-day money back guarantee and 18-month free replacement warranty, it's a no-brainer.

  • Competitive price
  • Power rating
  • Direct replacement
  • Weight

What's the Best Motorcycle Battery?

There are no losers in our best 5 motorcycle batteries as each one has their strengths and slightly different applications. However, on value for money and features, the Mighty Max gets my vote for the best motorcycle battery. The gel cell gives you more protection from spillage and vibration. At only a couple more bucks than the least expensive (the Pirate), it represents excellent bang for your buck.

motorcycle battery

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How to Choose the Best Womens Leather Motorcycle Jacket – for Looks, and Safety

How to Choose the Best Womens Leather Motorcycle Jacket - for Looks, and Safety

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Dec 03, 2018

womens leather motorcycle jacket

Safety is the number priority for every motorist. A great leather jacket will keep your body warm as you ride. A part from their ability to clean easily, leather motorcycle jackets are ideal for keeping you safe and are long lasting. But finding the best womens leather motorcycle jacket can be a daunting task owing to the fact that there are so many types and versions available nowadays. Additionally, you need to consider numerous aspects to choose the appropriate jacket for you.

Here is a comprehensive review and a buying guide that focuses on the best women’s leather motorcycle jacket, tips on how to choose the right motorcycle jacket, and the benefits of wearing a motorcycle jacket.

Women's Leather Motorcycle Jackets Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Milwaukee Leather LC2700 Motorcycle Leather Jacket Plain Sides Overall
2. True Element Womens Premium Braided Motorcycle Leather Jacket Versatility
3. MBJ Womens Faux Leather Zip Up Moto Biker Jacket With Stitching Detail Simplicity
4. LL Womens Hooded Faux Leather Jacket Value for money
5. Tanming Women's Faux Leather Moto Biker Short Coat Jacket All seasons

Top Choice: Milwaukee Leather LC2700 Motorcycle Leather Jacket Plain Sides

An elegant jacket for women who are not willing to sacrifice their style and fashion when buying a protective jacket.


How to Choose the Best Women's Leather Motorcycle Jacket With Fringe

It is not a question, anymore, regarding the growing trend of the motorcycle culture, over the past few years. While it was thought out to be a men’s thing, women are joining the bandwagon at a high rate. Before jumping onto that bike, it is important you ensure that you have the right motorcycle jacket.

Here are some of the important aspects to consider when choosing the best women’s motorcycle leather jacket.

Styles

You will come across different styles of motorcycle leather jackets. Thus, it is advisable to look for the appropriate style. You can choose between adventure, sport/street, racing, and cruiser styles. The term of use informs the style that you will choose. For instance, the cruiser jacket is ideal for long-term use, as it is made from a high-quality leather material, and it is comfortable. The beauty of motorcycle apparel is that there are always a wide variety outfit options that would look good in your wardrobe, I mean, just look at these safe yet sexy motorcycle pants for women. In case you were wondering about the safety of riding in jeans, if you get the right pair of motorcycle jeans, you'll be fine.

As if you need an excuse to add another pair of boot's to your already extensive collection of footwear, I thought it might be a good idea to relate the concept of safety and style to the importance of looking good and riding better. Women's motorcycle boots are often an overlooked piece of gear but I can assure you - when it comes to safety, nothing should be overlooked.

Armor/Padding

You need a motorcycle jacket that can protect you against all forms of accidents. Jackets with extra padding around the elbow and shoulder areas are much more comfortable and safer in case of an accident. Such jackets are ideal for long-distance rides. If safety is your number one priority - I've put together an extensive review of the safest motorcycle jackets.

Ventilation

Choose a jacket with the appropriate venting, as it prevents excessive sweating especially during hot rides. Moreover, proper ventilation reduces heat exhaustion when riding thereby, keeping you safe and comfortable even for long distance riding. If you live and ride in hot weather you'll want to check out our guide on the the best women's summer motorcycle jackets.

Reflectivity

Getting a motorcycle jacket that has reflective ability especially at night adds on to your safety. Reflective motorcycle jackets enhance visibility at night and this may be something you should consider.

Liners

Different types of motorcycle jackets have diverse types of liners. Removable liners are quite versatile. Jackets with liners are a bit warm; hence, you can wear them during any season of the year.

Perfect Fit

Motorcycle leather jackets come in different sizes. It is advisable to look for the size that fits you well, as it enhances comfort, and does not feel distractive while riding.

womens leather motorcycle jackets with fringe

Benefits of Wearing a Leather Motorcycle Jacket

If you look at it from the first glance, it would appear that a motorcycle jacket is worn just as fashion, or just as a part of motorcycle culture, but there is more to wearing such a jacket than the appearance.

Here are a few of the reasons why it is advisable for every woman motorist to wear a motorcycle jacket:

Comfort

A motorcycle jacket is designed to offer every wearer much comfort and freedom while riding. It does not have any restrictions that may cause any form of disturbances, at all. Thus it is ideal for short and long distance rides.

Protection

Regardless of how experienced you are in riding, you can get an accident any time. Wearing a leather motorcycle jacket comes in handy in such times. It offers you protection against scratches, burns, cuts, and abrasions in case of an accident. Most motorcycle jackets have an extra padding around the shoulder and elbow areas to offer you the necessary cushions in case of falls.

Protection Against Elements

It can be quite disturbing to ride in the rain, or scorching sun. In addition, while riding, you are exposed to numerous hazards such as dirt, bugs, and gravel. With a motorcycle jacket, you get protection against such elements and harsh weather. I've already shared some links up above to help you identify jackets for hot weather, but if you plan on doing some cold weather riding you might want to read about protecting yourself against windchill.

Women's Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review

Milwaukee Leather LC2700 Motorcycle Leather Jacket Plain Sides

womens leather motorcycle jackets womens leather motorcycle jackets with fringe

An elegant jacket for women who are not willing to sacrifice their style and fashion when buying a protective jacket.

The Milwaukee Leather LC2700 Motorcycle Leather Jacket tops the list of the best women’s leather motorcycle jackets for its comfortable and highly protective features. It is designed to fit and flatten any female shape appropriately.

The jacket is made from high quality milled cowhide, which gives it it's simplicity in cleaning and ability to retain warmth. It is water-repellent, making it ideal for riding in the rain. It comes with exterior pockets that you can use to store your items while riding.

  • The jacket is water resistant.
  • Has a crossover front closure for keeping warm during cold weather
  • The 1.2 MM milled cowhide leather adds extra warmth to the wearer, and is easy to clean and care.
  • Comes with 2 exterior zipper pockets.
  • Smaller sizes can have tight sleeves that might hurt your arms
  • It is quite heavy on the shoulders
  • Expensive

True Element Womens Premium Braided Motorcycle Leather Jacket

womens leather motorcycle jacket womens leather motorcycle jackets

A versatile motorcycle jacket that you can wear during any weather – it is good for both long and short-distance rides.

If for any reason, perhaps cost, you do not find the Milwaukee LC2700 Jacket above appealing, the True Element Premium Braided Leather is the perfect motorcycle jacket for you. It strikes a perfect balance in terms of looks, affordability, comfort, and durability.

Made from top grade pebble grain cow leather, the jacket is long lasting. It comes with a thermal liner that you can remove depending on the temperatures.

  • It comes with a thermal insulation liner
  • Made from thick pebble grain cow leather for durability
  • Can be used even when not riding
  • Its design makes it extremely comfortable for long distance rides.
  • It can feel heavy
  • Its design necessitates you keeping the arms at the sides
  • A few customers feel that it does not leave any room for movement

MBJ Womens Faux Leather Zip Up Moto Biker Jacket With Stitching Detail

womens leather motorcycle jackets with fringe womens leather motorcycle jacket

An affordable womens leather motorcycle jacket that will give you a simple yet classy appearance at an affordable price tag.

The Women’s Faux Leather Zip Up Moto Biker Jacket is a simple yet elegant piece that comes with a full-length zipper for ease of wearing. Its shell is made of 100% polyurethane, while the lining is 100% polyester.

The detail stitching, available at the back and front sides gives a stylish appearance. It also comes with front pockets for convenience and comfort. The material of the Women’s Faux Leather Jacket allows for hand wash.

  • It is available in many colors
  • It is affordable
  • Comes with a zipper opening
  • Many users have complaints about its size – only perfect for users with small body build
  • Not ideal for dry cleaning
  • The faux leather may peel off with time

LL Womens Hooded Faux Leather Jacket

womens leather motorcycle jackets womens leather motorcycle jackets with fringe

A warm and comfortable motorcycle jacket that can be worn during the cold weather – its medium weight is ideal for short and long distance rides in the cold, as it does not feel heavy to the wearer.

The LL Womens Hooded Faux leather Jacket is the best motorcycle jacket for cold weather, as it comes with a hood. It has a lining made of 100% polyester for comfort. It is medium in weight and does not feel cumbersome while wearing - so that you can use it for long distance rides. The zipper closure is designed to offer you the best protection when riding and is a comfortable fit. The zipper details are exposed for easy of reach while riding.

  • Highly comfortable
  • Great quality
  • Available in various colors
  • Great material
  • Fits well
  • Affordable
  • The size of this jacket may run small
  • Dry cleaning is not advisable
  • Not ideal for people with small-sized feet

Tanming Women's Faux Leather Moto Biker Short Coat Jacket

womens leather motorcycle jacket womens leather motorcycle jackets

A multipurpose motorcycle leather jacket that can be worn for any occasion – it gives the flexibility for use during different seasons

Motorcycle jackets are great for riding but not every jacket will give you the freedom to wear it for any occasion. However, the Tanming Women's Leather Jacket offers you that flexibility. It is made of 100% polyester (for the lining) and polyurethane (for the shell). It comes with a slant zipper design, and features a slim fit short pattern with multiple pockets.

  • The fully lined design enhances the jacket’s comfortability
  • Ideal for different seasons – autumn and spring
  • Easy to match with skirts, shorts, and pants
  • Can be worn for any occasion
  • Breathable
  • Fits well
  • The faux leather may peel off with time

Our Favorite Jacket

From the review, the Milwaukee Leather Jacket scores high when compared to the other four best womens leather motorcycle jackets reviewed for its comfortable, durability, and highly protective features. Its design balances style, fashion and the ability to protect the wearer.

womens leather motorcycle jacket

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The Doctor is In: Is Valentino Rossi Moto GP’s GOAT?

The Doctor is In: Is Valentino Rossi Moto GP's GOAT?

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Nov 01, 2018

valentino rossi

It had to come sometime. Recently, MotoGP great Valentino Rossi announced that he intends to race for another two seasons before calling it a career. Despite his impending retirement at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Rossi continues to make podiums at the age of 40. The man can ride, and his immortality is beyond reproach.

They call him the Doctor, and Rossi’s nickname is apropos. A doctor, after all, must be the model of consistency. It isn’t good enough to be right most of the time. When doctors make mistakes, catastrophe can happen. The same is true for a rider pushing the envelope the way Rossi does. He must operate with extreme precision, maintaining a laser-like focus from laps one to done. Rossi has made his career on such consistent performance.


Let’s consider the following:

Second most World titles (7 to Agostini’s 8)

Most total MotoGP starts

Most total MotoGP wins

Third most wins in a single season (11, three times)

Second, third and fourth most wins in the same Grand Prix

Second most wins on the same track

Third most consecutive MotoGP seasons with a victory

Eighth youngest MotoGP winner and seventh oldest (so far)

Most podium finishes (196 and counting)

Most podium finishes in a single season (11, three times)

the doctor

Most consecutive podium finishes (23, 2002 to 2004)

Most consecutive podium finishes from first race of a single season (16 in 2003)

Total MotoGP career points

Hold four spots in top ten for most points in single season

Second most total pole positions

Most poles positions at the same Grand Prix

Most total race fastest laps

Largest margin of victory in points for World Championship (147 in 2005)

One of five riders to win World Championships on different makes

Most second-place finishes in season points

Most career second-place race finishes

Most career third-place finishes

Rossi's Career

valentino rossi

Whether or not he was born to race, Valentino Rossi was born into racing. He was born in 1979 in the Marche region of central Italy. At the time of his birth, Rossi’s father, Graziano, was racing Grand Prix bikes against the likes Kenny Roberts, Sr. and Marco Lucchinelli. The elder Rossi won a few races in the 250cc class and placed sixth in 1980’s premier class. But injuries soon took their toll, and Graziano turned to raising the son who would become the Doctor.

Valentino showed promise in kart racing, even winning a regional championship at the age of 11, but a move to motorcycle racing was inevitable. He began riding pocket rockets with minimoto, but by 1993 the little bikes could not contain the young virtuoso, so Rossi moved up to the two-stroke 125cc class. After a year aboard a Guido Mancini-built, Rotax-driven private machine, Rossi signed with factory Aprilia. It was on that bike Rossi would win the 1994 Italian 125cc Championship.

Like many burgeoning racers, Rossi struggled to adapt in his first season as he moved up to Grand Prix competition. However, rookie mistakes turned into sophomore success for the quick-learning Rossi in 1997, as he won his first World Championship in the 125cc class. The learning curve during his freshman campaign the next year in the 250cc class wasn’t quite as steep as it had been in 125cc. He finished in second place in 1998 before winning it all in blowout fashion in 1999.

Rossi was only 20 years old, yet he had achieved everything there was to achieve at the lower levels of Grand Prix racing. There was no other place to go but up, and that meant a move to the mind-numbing power of 500cc two-strokes. The young phenom set his sights on the premier class for the new millennium.

As he prepared to make the switch, Rossi was courted by the biggest name in World Championship racing: Honda. Nastro Azzuro Honda was losing its star with the retirement of Mick Doohan, leaving a world class pit crew without a rider. Rossi stepped in and – under Doohan’s tutelage – set out to test his improving skill set against the best riders in the world.

Early Grand Prix Years Aka the Honda Years

Making the jump to the premier class proves too much for most riders. At first, Rossi was no different. The 500cc two-strokes required a deft touch that the young Italian had to master, and it took some time. After failing to finish the season’s first two races, Rossi made his first podium in Jerez, Spain. He followed that result with another third-place finish two weeks later at Le Mans, then again a month later in Catalonia. Rossi was primed for a breakthrough performance.

Donington Park

the doctor

It was a typically cold and rainy day at Donington Park in central England for the ninth round of the 2000 Grand Prix motorcycle season. Rossi qualified in the fourth position, placing him on the outside of the front row to start the 2.5-mile circuit. Rossi blew the start, spinning out on the drenched surface and falling behind to 13th place at the hole shot. By lap three he was in seventh place.

Rossi stalked. The riders ahead of him impatiently jostled for position, but he simply bided his time, executing his turns with precision. In the middle laps of the 30-lap race, Rossi began picking apart the opposition one by one. His late-braking prowess let him steal second position with a flick in the esses. He now had only American Kenny Roberts, Jr. ahead of him. Brit Jeremy Williams got into the mix, his lightweight V-twin Aprilia even pulling ahead to lead for a time. But Roberts’ Suzuki and Rossi’s NSR500 kept pace.

The trio’s wet-tire treads cooked on the drying track, causing wobbly moments in each corner. Finally, Rossi used a thin dry strip of track to push Williams wide onto the wet outer area leading into a tight right turn, and he took the lead. It was a flash of the brilliance to come. Rossi held on to win his first premier-class race, following it up with another victory in October at Rio de Janeiro and a second-place overall finish in the 2000 World Championship. He would win 11 of 16 races in 2001 to easily claim the 500cc World Championship.

Motogp is Born

Grand Prix racing changed drastically in 2002 with the adoption of the MotoGP name and the allowance of 990cc four-stroke engines in the premier class. These bikes went to the factory riders, while satellite teams were relegated to the suddenly outclassed 500cc two-strokes. Rossi threw a leg over the new Honda RC211V, and the season to follow would be one for the ages.

Rossi won the inaugural MotoGP race in Japan, took second place in round two in South Africa, then rattled off seven straight premier-class victories. He would match his 11-win total from the year before, bettering countryman Max Biaggi, 355 points to 215.

2003: A One-Man Show

Rossi’s 2003 MotoGP season will likely stand as one of the finest efforts in the sport for as long as people race on two wheels. He finished every race on the podium, without a crash or a DNF to mar his year. His performance was so dominant, that by the time the Phillip Island track of the Australian Grand Prix – the penultimate race that year – came up on the calendar, the championship was a foregone conclusion.

Ever the showman, Rossi couldn’t leave the fans without drama. During the Phillip Island race, Rossi received a 10-second penalty for passing under a yellow caution flag. He had obviously toyed with competitors to keep the fans interested throughout that season, but now Rossi took the kid gloves off. He absolutely dogged Phillip Island that day, winning the race by 15 seconds to easily overcome the penalty.

The young Rossi was riding high with Honda, but a crack had developed in the sponsor-rider relationship. Whispers of his wins having resulted from the dominance of Honda’s RC211V – akin to the talk surrounding Giacomo Agostini’s career with MV Augusta – agitated Rossi. In the eternal debate of rider versus machine, machine seemed to be winning. Rossi set out to prove otherwise.

valentino rossi

2004: Move to Yamaha

In 2004 Rossi moved to Yamaha to ride a retuned YZR-M1. Team Yamaha had inked him to a $12 million contract, leaving the Italian wearing a target on his back. The Yamahas had struggled to compete in previous years, but Rossi took the first race of the season in South Africa and would win nine races and stand on eleven podiums that year. The rider-machine debate seemed – for that season at least – to be settled. He matched his high total for wins in a season in 2005, taking 11 races and winning his fifth straight World Championship.

Rossi came back to Earth in 2006, though his season of struggles would be a career year for most riders. He bookended five wins with three retirements, trailing in the World Championship by as much as 51 points that year, but he clung to an eight-point lead for first over American Nicky Hayden at the start of the last race at Valencia. Rossi botched the start, though, holding fifth place to Hayden’s sixth place at the first turn.

By the fourth lap, Rossi had fallen to seventh place and was pushing his machine to its limits with a wall of Hondas in front of him protecting Hayden, who was in second place. Rossi wrung what he could from his M1, but he slipped out on a hard left-hand turn, allowing Hayden to cruise to the World Championship.

2007: Engine Restrictions

The 2007 season’s new 800cc engine-size limit saw Rossi exhibit his usual response to change. That season was for learning – with a fourth-place finish in the points totals – followed by another World Championship in 2008.

The 2008 season also featured Rossi’s famous corkscrew dive against Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca in California. The race was only a couple laps old when Rossi, obviously put off by the challenge of the Australian legend on the Ducati, decided he would rather be in front. As the pair zipped down the five-story drop in the corkscrew section, Rossi straightened the exit on the final curve. He crossed the dirt and back onto the track, barely managing to stay upright. The pair swapped paint on the exit, but Rossi led, finishing first to Stoner’s second.

The 2009 MotoGP season would be the last in which Rossi displayed the dominance for which he had been known. The Fiat Yamaha team’s YZR-M1 proved unbeatable, with teammates Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo taking the top two spots in the World Championship points race. Rossi held the title for the seventh time, only one short of Agostini’s record of eight championships.

A motocross accident and resulting ligament damage in his shoulder would derail Rossi’s 2010 season. Fiat Yamaha continued its success, though, as Jorge Lorenzo took the season title. The following season would usher in a brief era of excitement in Italian motorcycle racing.

the doctor

Home Team (Ducati) Years

For the 2011 season, Rossi left Yamaha and inked a deal with Ducati. Rossi’s playing for the home team generated a lot of buzz in the Italian media, but it yielded little fruit. Mechanical issues plagued both Rossi and his new/old teammate Hayden, and the two finished seventh and eighth respectively in the points totals. The 2012 season was another debacle for Rossi and Ducati, and the relationship ended abruptly. Meanwhile, attention was turning to a new phenom who had absolutely owned Moto2 that year – Marc Márquez.

Back to Yamaha for the Curtain

Rossi was back on his old Yamaha for 2013, teammates once again with 2012’s champion, Lorenzo. Rossi managed one win – at the Dutch TT – but otherwise conceded the podium more often than not to Lorenzo and Honda’s Márquez and Dani Pedrosa. At the final tally, Márquez would clip Lorenzo by four points for the championship, with Rossi a distant fourth.

The Doctor returned to form in 2014. Rossi and Márquez went toe-to-toe at seemingly every venue, but the youngster seemingly always came out ahead. If Rossi was brash, Márquez was more so. If Rossi took calculated chances, Márquez dove in with reckless abandon. Márquez took the title again that season, but Rossi had his number in 2015. However, Lorenzo wound up with the 2015 season crown, while Rossi finished five points behind in second place.

The same trio of superstars duked it out all season long in 2016, but Márquez won the championship comfortably with a 298-point total. Mechanical issues crept up again for Team Yamaha in 2017, though Rossi did clip fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci by .063 of a second in June at the Dutch TT to become the oldest-ever MotoGP race winner.

As of this writing, that remains Rossi’s best result to date, though he recently suggested he will continue racing until the conclusion of the 2020 season. At the midway point, he holds the second position in the season points totals, trailing Márquez by a considerable but not insurmountable amount.

Should Rossi leak away over his final seasons, people may say, “That figures.” None of us, no matter how fast, can pull away from time. But if there is one thing the aging rockstar racer has taught the world, it is that he should not be doubted. There just may be a little bit of magic left in those titanium-mended bones.

Epitaph: Rossi and the Doctor Moniker

Rossi may not be a gambler off the track, but on the track he is a shrewd one. He plays his hand brilliantly, and keeps his cards face-down. He enjoys toying with other riders, and his relationship to his fans is equally playful. Which leads to the confusion surrounding his nickname, sewn onto his racing leathers: The Doctor.

No one knows when or where the nickname arose. Suggestions of a definitive answer are iffy at best. Rossi does hold a degree, which certainly allows him to take the title of doctor. His preferred explanation is that his surname is a common one for doctors throughout Italy. Regardless of its true origins, it is a nickname that could fit no other racer – current or past – more than it does the venerable Rossi. His races are like operations. They are precise, with no margin for error.

Of course, there is another nickname that Rossi gets referred to as from time to time. His races are so smooth that they can seem choregraphed, as though there was music playing that only he can hear. It is as if he is conducting a private symphony, and so he is sometimes called the maestro. That nickname is not sewn onto his racing leathers like The Doctor is. There is another patch that Rossi wears on his leathers, though. But we’ll let you look that one up.

valentino rossi

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