Paradigm Helmet »
Right out of the box you can tell that Fly Racing has put some thought into the Paradigm helmet. It has a good look and all of the air vents are in the right places. The Matte black finish also gives it a really basic look, for the guy that doesn’t want something bright and flashy on their head. The Paradigm has full D.O.T. as well as the ECE 22/05 rating, which one of the world’s highest safety standards.
I road around Southern California for a few weeks with the Paradigm and it performed good from the start. The true test though was when I road down into Baja Mexico doing a total of 1,600 miles in four days with the Fly helmet on my head every mile. The helmet weighed in at a fairly light 3 1/2 pounds, so I didn’t experience any fatigue in my neck or shoulders while riding. The padding and inner liner are very comfortable and are removable for washing, which was a good thing because the liner stank like a Tijuana hooker after putting that many miles on it.
During the daytime when it was warmer outside the airflow kept me nice and cool, but when it got colder outside at nightfall the airflow through the helmet made it colder than I would have liked. Also, at highway speeds you get a good amount of wind noise through the vents and face shield. While riding, if I would take my hand and push on the shield much of the noise was alleviated.
All and all I was very pleased to have the Fly Racing Paradigm on my head while blasting down the highway, and at $189.95 retail it is a great and affordable lid for any rider looking for a full-face helmet, just wear some earplugs. – Jeff Leighton
18v Inflator »
When packing up our “chopper chaser” ’73 Ford van for a weekend of fun we had been looking for a small, yet powerful tire inflator for quite some time. When we ran across this Porter Cable 18-volt Inflator at Lowes we snapped one up to see how it would work for us.
The unit runs off the same 18V Porter-Cable battery our power tools already had, but the inflator can also be run from any vehicle’s 12V power adapter as well. It features a high-pressure inflation for vehicle tires that we found to work well on both bikes and cars. The inflator also had a high volume inflation hose to fill up our air mattresses as well.
Other features that the Porter Cable blower box had was a large display digital gauge. It can be used as a gauge to check tire pressure and it possessed a programmable automatic kill feature, which shuts the inflator off when a set pressure is reached. I found this feature very handy. I really liked the way the 18-volt batter let the inflator be so portable. Try as we might we used it for a three-day stretch of two flat tires, a slow leak on the van, and numerous mattress fill ups with no loss of power. With a $49.99 price tag it’s a great deal for a dependable and versatile air inflator. –Jeff G. Holt
J293 Twill Jacket »
Our pals at Carhartt have been really rockin’ the twill lately. First with pants and work shirts similar to Dickies offerings, they now have a version of the classic Eisenhower work jacket. The Carhartt jacket has all the design cues of the old Ike, but it has been updated with a longer length and wider back that seem to fit our larger body types better compared to a jacket designed 60 years ago. The Carhartt jacket also features a quilted liner, big bad zipper, two outside pockets, and a single large internal breast pocket with a Velcro closure so valuables can be stowed with care.