Forma Adventure Low Boots and Wunderlich 3D Ergo screen deflector revisited

I recently bought and did a preliminary review of the Forma Adventure Low Boots and Wunderlich 3D Ergo screen deflector. Some 1700 miles later and with a North Coast 500 trip under my belt I can give you an update on how both are performing.

Forma Adventure Low Boots

I had high expectations of these boots given the favourable comments I had seen before I bought them and I have not been disappointed. While they were comfortable from the first time I put them on they have become one of the best items of footwear I have had the enjoyment of wearing.

My preliminary requirements were for grip, we all know that feeling of putting your foot down on loose gravel, and for wet weather capability. The boots excelled in both departments.

They had initially felt a little cumbersome but soon bedded in. It was not long until I was shifting on the protective pad to the top of the boot rather than the occasional missed shift where I had connected with the lever using my toe. The rugged tread pattern on the sole gave me the confidence I was looking for when wrestling a fully laden GS on any surface that came my way.

I was also pleasantly surprised on how comfortable these were to hike around in. They felt neither cumbersome nor clumsy on the off bike excursions, notably a stroll around Urquhart Castle or a slog down and back up the steps at Smoo Cave on my NC500 trip.

Despite their solid construction my feet never felt uncomfortably hot in hot weather or cold on the miserable rainy days that confirmed their waterproof properties.

Putting the boots on was also a pleasure and the velcro closure held the side flaps in place and the two quick release buckles snapped shut with ease. Taking them off was similarly effortless, a godsend after a long days riding.

I would recommend a tall pair of riding socks as, despite the padded neck of the boot, they could possibly rub your shin being a low boot but I didn’t experience any discomfort. That being the only unfavourable comment, and hardly worth a mention, I would wholeheartedly give them a 5/5 rating.

Wunderlich 3D Ergo screen deflector

I had bought the deflector without actually having any real issues with the stock screen. Sure I was aware of the air passing over the helmet but nothing that concerned me greatly but with a few motorway miles ahead of me I thought that I’d give it a try.

It wasn’t until I had got a few miles under my belt that I truly started to appreciate the difference. It was notably more peaceful behind the screen and this also had the unexpected benefit of making me sit more upright, thus improving my posture. I have on short day trips occasionally found my lower back to be stiff but on the last 1700 miles since I put it on I have had no such repeat of the experience.

Testament to its performance and looks is the fact that it has remained in place since it was fitted. I did leave a torx in my bar bag with the intention of taking it off after the motorway miles, prior to a good hack on the curvier routes.

While it never got in the way of my field of view while clean, It did obscure my sight slightly in the grubby weather but then so would a dirty visor. A quick wipe corrected this, and while on the topic of visors I found that it gave me notable protection from flies hitting my helmet. I only once had to wipe a particularly juicy specimen from my visor.

Another product that I would have to give a 5/5 rating.

 

 

Schuberth E1 Review

There are many great helmet manufacturers out there but I’d got myself into thinking there was Arai and then there was everyone else. And so it was when I decided that I wanted a more adventure styled helmet to match the bike and my other touring gear I instinctively turned to Arai. At the time I was at the NEC Motorcycle Live show and was browsing the new range of helmets while my current helmet, a Quantum ST Pro, got a free service (another good reason to buy Arai). At the time I had my eye on the Tour-X 4.

The show was in November and the Arai wasn’t in the shops until the following March so I had time to look around. Not that I needed to as I’ll remind you of my opening statement suggesting I need not look any further than Aria, however in the months following I kept seeing a lot of recommendations in the touring community to the Schuberth helmets.

The Schuberth E1

I took a look out of curiosity and was quite impressed with the specs. It was a flip up helmet, had an internal visor, came with a pinlock fittedand could have an optional integrated comms system. Sure it also came with a price tag closing in on £700 but all of these extra features gave me a reason to change rather just on styling.

A year went by and another NEC show came around. This was the perfect opportunity to try one on for size, thus opening up the ability to buy online with confidence. One I’d confirmed that my head was still large and that the Schuberth large conformed to my large head I came home to do some browsing. It was a further four months on when I stopped searching but in that time I’d found an E1 in an older livery for £399 from Helmet City. I liked the colour and I was making a £270 saving!

Out of the box the helmet felt great. While some people made reference to some head shapes not liking it, I must fall into the bracket of skull compatibility that suits the Schuberth. It was immediately comfortable and the convenience of the ratchet closure rather that the double D ring was a welcome addition. As with most helmets I took a few minutes to work out where all the vent positions are while wearing the helmet and also the switch for the internal visor that, while immensely practical, also gave you a Top Gun jet fighter look.

Out on the road I found that in its delivered position the peak was a little intrusive in my line of sight so I lifted this one notch up. The adjustment was simple with the release of a locking lever. I’ve yet to ride on a wet day but I have noticed a bit of internal condensation that immediately clears when the visor is cracked open in its ‘urban riding’ position. Perhaps I need to open up a vent? Either way the pillock did its job and there is nothing in the main field of vision. It is possible that with everything closed it has less ability that the Arai (in a good way) to vent out any moisture from my breast as the next skirt is quite snug. This also has the ability to reduce noise considerably and I’m finding that it is a very quiet helmet. I certainly look forward to touring in it.

Can you hear me now?

When I ordered it I had agonised long and hard as to whether I should be buying the integrated SC10U comms based on the Sena system. Long story short, yes the integrated system would be neater than retaining the UClear but everyone I need to communicate with has the UClear. If this changes at a later date I can get the integrated system to fit. It is good that the helmet is prepared for comms as it gave me an ample recess to mount the UClear speakers.

Top Gun?

Forma Adventure Low Boot Review

Over the years I’ve collected a number of boots and while my Alpinestars Supertech R race boots were great on a race bike I needed something a little bit more rugged for use on the GS. I had been touring with a set of Alpinestars SMX-3 boot, and while this was comfortable and easy to live with being a low boot, it was a bit too sporty and have very little in the way of grip on the sole. I had seen a very favourable review of a Forma adventure boot but I didn’t want a full height boot. Having looked for alternatives I was informed that the boot I had seen reviewed was available in a low version, what’s more the online link I was sent was a local outlet meaning I could go and give them a try before committing.

The Forma Adventure Low boots certainly look the part. Available in black or brown, I opted for the brown Full-grain oil treated leather. The low boot has two adjustable quick release buckles and a velcro closure. When open the boot flap has an internal gusset to give them the waterproof capability that my old boots struggled with in extreme rain. For when the ground gets rough the sole has ample tread that looks like it can handle the hardiest of terrain.

I was reliably informed that they would bed in very quickly but from the off they were extremely comfy with a good padded interior. As you would expect from a boot of this nature they are very sturdy and it took a minute to mentally adjust to where my foot needed to be on gear shift. The boots are solid and while I might want more protection if I was doing some extreme off road riding, I’m not and these are a significant upgrade in terms of what I was wearing for touring.

Spec wise this is what you get for your 170 British pounds…

Outer

  • Full-grain oil treated leather upper
  • Specific adventure/enduro/ atv-quad double density compound rubber sole
  • Injection moulded plastic protection
  • Plastic gear pad protection
  • Adjustable velcro closure
  • Replaceable/adjustable GH plastic buckles

Inner

  • Personalized Forma Drytex tubular lining (waterproof and
breathable)
  • Ankle TPU moulded plastic protections
  • Soft polymer
padding with memory foam
  • PP Mid Dual Flex with anti-shock EVA
midsole
  • Anti-bacterial replaceable footbed with A.P.S. (Air Pump System)

 

Available from many stockist but I can certainly recommend my local store Adventure Bike Warehouse

North Coast 500 countdown – 66 days to go

After an initial flurry of activity to get something down on paper, I’ve since not touched the itinerary, although the trip has always been in the back of my mind. I’m hooked into various sources of information and Facebook groups and I see the occasional reference. I pay it fleeting consideration as to how it may influence my planning before getting on with whatever task I have currently occupying my thoughts. Now with 66 days left to go I’m considering getting back to the plan since the initial draft was inherited from a document sent to me on a GS forum. I modified it but to the extent that it now feels disjointed. Having said that I do want to keep it as guidance rather than a rigid set of instructions and directions to be executed to the letter. That in itself seems a contradiction to the GPS route planning that I’m going to refer to later in this post. Its like adventure with someone holding your hand.

There have been many suggestions over where we should go, what we should see, what to avoid and what road would be unmissable. At this stage the trip is now defined by a few simple factors, most notably accommodation. There will be four of us taking the trip and at each stop we will be needing four single beds in reasonable accommodation (typically two twin rooms). I’ve never camped and while I wouldn’t have a problem pitching a tent there are members of the party who would be horrified at the thought. So accommodation type, and more importantly availability, dictates the start and end of each day. From our meeting spot on the M6 services at Forton we will travel to Inverness, and then from here we will skirt the northern coast of Scotland hopping between B&B and hotel with the official NC500 route being our guide if not our mistress.

I needn’t go too much into the detail of the route. Before anyone reads this I’ll probably be posting the ride report which hopefully will be much more use to anyone hoping to embark upon a similar tour of the North of Scotland. What I wanted to cover in this post isn’t much of a product review, but a couple of products that I intend to use.

Wunderlich 3D Ergo screen deflector

Since moving to the GS I have enjoyed the benefits of comfort over longer touring distances. While the screen does its job in reducing wind and buffeting, I do feel that despite being able to adjust it to its highest setting there is a little more improvement to be had. On occasion I had dipped my head down a couple of inches and found that the wind noise dropped considerably. This was nothing that would bother me while hacking around on A and B roads but a benefit, I felt, would be desirable on longer motorway stretches. Since the dipped position wouldn’t be one I would want to ride in, not without neck strain at very least, I thought I’d try a screen deflector.

After looking at my options I settled on a Wunderlich model from Nippy Normans. The reviews were good and I didn’t want to change the whole screen since I don’t like the look of these tall aftermarket options. It also looked like something that I could easily take off and throw in the luggage if I didn’t need it.

The build and fit look fine. It clamps to the top of the existing screen without looking out of place and while I have yet to fully test it and find an optimal position, visually it looks like its going to do the job. The benefits will be felt on the run up to Glasgow and beyond.

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MyRoute-app Online Route Planning Tool

Garmin BaseCamp is the default option for planning for the Motorrad Navigator and it has its lovers and haters. I can take it or leave it. It can be a bit unwieldy but it does a job. I mainly use it for publishing Garmin Adventures on my ride reports. I did use it extensively on planning my trip across the Alps. That’s not to say that I didn’t make a lot of mistakes with it and had to reprogram a lot of my routes on the hoof mainly from letting Basecamp remove a lot of my route shaping points which allowed the GPS to re-calculate on the fly rather than going where I had planned to go. The source of many of the routes in the Alps had been provided by a forum member who had sent them to me in TomTom format. They had suggested that I use the TyreToTravel application to convert them into a format I could use on BaseCamp and on the Garmin based Navigator V. It did a very good job but being a Windows based application it wasn’t a long term option on the Mac.

A couple of weeks back I saw a recommendation of an online route planning app that was compatible with TomTom and Garmin and the suggestion was that it was a good alternative to BaseCamp. The website for MyRoute-app seemed to be pushing all the right buttons and I noticed it was from the same people that did the TyreToTravel application.

While I am keen to give this a go I have been waiting to get a little closer to my NC500 departure to draw up the final GPS routes and I want to take advantage of the free trial but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will end up with a Gold subscription if it does indeed meet all expectations. I might even consider the one off lifetime membership. I think that it would be money well spent since I usually have one large annual trip and numerous planned weekend outings to make it an investment.

 

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