Batteries in the Desert

There are a lot of things to like about living in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. The landscape while rugged can be quite beautiful especially as the cacti are blooming or as the sun is setting over the red rock formations.

For nine months of the year the weather is perfect. Daytime temperatures hover around the mid-60’s to mid-80’s making it warm yet comfortable. For people with outdoor activities such as soccer, baseball, and motorcycle riding it is the perfect place to be.

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Harley-Davidson Master Cylinder Clamp Thermometer

Motorcycle riding in Arizona comes with its own set of challenges. There is of course traffic which is at times comparable to that in California. Then there is the fact that most Arizona drivers fail to notice motorcyclists on the road leading to the inevitable close calls where cars pull in front of your bike or cut you off in traffic.

Besides the physical dangers brought about by inattentive drivers there are also environmental issues that cause problems for motorcyclists in Arizona. Although we get only ten inches of rain per year it seems as though that rain all comes in the course of just one day.

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Harley-Davidson Alternator Leather Jacket

Ten days ago I was writing about riding in triple-digit temperatures and the need for a Hydration Jacket. Now less than two weeks removed I find myself waking up to temperatures in the low to mid-50’s and highs reaching the mid to upper-70’s. That in a nutshell is autumn riding in the southwest desert.

With temperatures now cooling off, I’ll be putting the hydration jacket in the closet and finding something that will keep me a little warmer. In times like this I turn to my Harley-Davidson Alternator jacket.

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I’m Exhausted

There is perhaps no subject that polarizes the motorcycle community quite like exhaust systems. It is not just the type of exhaust that is divisive, sound and noise are also factors when it comes to discussing exhaust systems.

Lately there has been a lot more negative press surrounding the use of after-market exhaust systems. Residents and other drivers are complaining of the noise pollution that accompanies many of the systems.

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Speedometer/Tachometer Upgrade

The speedometer and instrument panel for the Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train consists of a single gauge located on the top of the gas tank. It has an analog speedometer as well as an odometer. The odometer portion has not only the total bike mileage but also has a resettable trip odometer.

From a readability perspective the gauge is first rate but somewhat limited. I prefer having a gauge that shows not only the current speed but also has a tachometer for monitoring RPMs. For a Softail owner you basically have two choices.

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Harley-Davidson Hydration Jacket

Motorcycle riding in Arizona is an interesting proposition. During the winter months, temperatures can reach the teens in the remote desert. In the summer temperatures can get up to 120 degrees. Those kinds of differences make finding the right kind of riding jacket nearly impossible.

While there are several jackets made for riding in the cold, riding in this kind of heat is not something that many people have to endure so manufacturers have been somewhat reluctant to develop riding gear for severe heat.

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Bags of Fun

Shortly after I got my Harley-Davidson Night Train I realized that I was going to need a way to carry things while riding. Initially I just figured I would get a backpack and put what I needed in that but quickly decided that wearing a backpack was a pain, literally.

As a software developer I seem to have to carry things around a lot. Whether it is my laptop computer, or a series of documents that I have to review I seem to always have something in my briefcase.

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Cardo Scala Rider Q2

Now that I have my Shoei X-Eleven helmet and Trina has her Sparx S07 helmet I thought we were all set to start riding.

We took a couple of short rides and while they were a lot of fun, we found it difficult for us to communicate while on the bike. There were times when I wanted to ask Trina whether she wanted to stop at a particular place or continue on the trip. Likewise Trina wanted to let me know when she needed something without having to resort to one handed sign language while clinging to the back of my jacket.

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Shoei X-Eleven Helmet

When I first bought my Harley-Davidson Night Train it came with a full face helmet. The helmet was one of the best they had at that time at the dealership. I wanted a full-face helmet but wasn’t sure how comfortable they were. The salesman suggested that I consider a module helmet.

For those of you who are not sure what a modular helmet is let me explain. By the way, until that night I had no idea what he meant when he said modular helmet. When I heard that term all I could think of was a helmet made out of Lego blocks; that’s not what it is.

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