When making your list and checking it twice, remember your friends in the garage.
By Bill Heald
JOBY GORILLATORCH FLARE
Joby.com • $35
Thanks to the march of technology, the days when you had a crap flashlight (typically with dead batteries) in your glove box are fading away. Now, we have a plethora of slick, energy efficient LED emergency lights available, and none is cooler or more useful than the Gorillatorch Flare. Sure, it looks like a martian
war machine from War of the Worlds, but it’s a wicked-bright flashlight, multimode red strobe (for telling motorists you’re changing a tire on the shoulder), and an incredibly flexible work light with magnetic feet you can set up anywhere. Brilliant.
PowerTravellerUSA.com • $200
Nothing can ruin your day like jumping into your ride to pick up that special date, turning the key, and hearing dead silence. Don’t panic. Instead, grab the Startmonkey, attach it to your battery via its crocodile clips, and after eight seconds turn the key. Startmonkey is the world’s smallest jumpstart system, and has an ultracompact, ultrapowerful polymer battery that stays strong for years between charges and can save your bacon when your car battery fails. An included female DC power port lets you charge portable gadgets as well.
GRIOT’S GARAGE STARTER CAR CARE KIT
GriotsGarage.com • $60
Whether you drive a Ferrari or a Festiva, it’s prudent to keep your ride in impeccable shape in terms of the aura and luster of the paint you display to the world. Griot’s Garage has the gold standard of washes, polishes, and everything in between to not only groom your hoopty’s hue, but also get the best out of whatever finish you’ve got. The Starter Car Care Kit has everything you need to gently but decisively remove life’s ick from your machine and reveal the gem beneath (even if it is a Festiva).
GPSAngel.com • $99
Here’s a very important tip for anyone who ventures outside and drives somewhere on public roads: Big Brother is watching. The proliferation of speeding- and red-light cameras that shoot a picture of you if software thinks you’re a scofflaw means you need an angel on your dash to warn you where they are. The GPS Angel comes loaded out of the box with more than 5,000 location and orientation data points of these devices in the U.S. and Canada (plus web updates), and warns you with both light and sound when you’re nearing one, and if you’re speeding.
CarMD.com • $99
Is your check-engine light on? That glowing goober tells you almost nothing, whether your gas cap needs tightening or all hell has broken loose under the hood. CarMD helps diagnose what’s wrong; you simply plug the unit into the diagnostic port (usually found below the steering column) and it downloads your car’s trouble codes. Then you plug it into your PC and go online, where the CarMD site will analyze the codes and tell you why your light was tripped. The site also displays recalls, service bulletins, and a wealth of other information.
AraiAmericas.com • $540 and up
When Arai says the RX-Q was created to be the ultimate street helmet, it’s a very big deal. Arai is famous for hand-making incredibly advanced, well-ventilated, and quiet lids that are not only designed for state-of-the-art protection but all-day comfort—even under demanding conditions. The RX-Q features a lightweight, aerodynamic shell that is engineered for a lower center of gravity, and sports an extra-wide eye port for superior peripheral vision. The vents move air well even at slower speeds so you can keep your cool, and sizes range from extra small to extra extra large.
GARMIN ZUMO 665
Garmin.com • $1,000
If you think only car drivers get to enjoy GPS navigation, you’re wrong. While there are factory GPS systems available on some big tour bikes, the Garmin Zumo 665 is a rugged unit that you can attach to any motorcycle, thanks to a well-engineered mounting system. The weatherproofed device has a 4.3-inch touch display that works fine when wearing gloves, full Bluetooth capability, and an XM satellite-radio antenna. With a Sirius XM subscription, you’ll have satellite radio as well as weather-radar graphics at your fingertip. A car mount is included, for when the snow hits.
ChatterBoxUSA.com • $230
There you are, out for a stimulating Sunday ride with your buds, and you want to tell the riders behind you about a nasty pothole you just encountered in the apex of a turn. You could shout, but it’s likely nobody will hear you. Enter ChatterBox, and the XBi2 wireless bike-to-bike intercom system. This simple-to-install unit lets up to three ChatterBox-equipped riders talk up to 1,640 feet apart, and Bluetooth technology lets you stream audio from your Bluetooth equipped devices, including phones, MP3 players, and even GPS units. ChatterBox also has Bluetooth adapters for many devices.