e-Tint’s New MX-8 Visor Insert, is the answer I have been waiting for? Ok, I have wanted something similar to e-Tint for a quite a while, but it has just not been available… until now. After some hesitation, I jumped off and bought one. My immediate impression after installing the e-Tint MX-8 (manual switch) Visor Insert follows.
- Installs on the inside of your existing face shield.
- Easy to install with great alignment template.
- Easy operation
- But, will it get dark enough for me? The visor was ever so slightly tinted in "Off" mode and when tested out-of-the-box I had my doubts. Decided to “wait and see.”
- I like being able to recharge from any USB port or phone charger if it has USB port or the charger of my G4 Scala.
Nice – no need to lug around an extra charger.
So, two days after my late evening visor installations, I “test" the e-Tint /Shoei combination. First, I put the helmet on in brightest part of the day. With my helmet on, slowly I lower the face shield and realize by peering through the uncovered edges around the e-Tint insert just how "clear" the shield actually is compared to what I thought was a slight tint on the e-Tint MX-8 insert in its off position. Now I am feeling better about my purchase but still not certain.
The helmet’s shield was lowered and the insert turned it on. Ok, not as much difference as I thought between “On & Off” but... OK. Just does not seem as dark as my "dark" sunglasses. So, let's test that theory.
With my dark sunglasses on, I survey the area. Then I take them off and lower the shield with the e-Tint already turned-on. What?? It looks about the same as my dark glasses. Let's try this again. Ok... to my surprise it is about the same.
While the difference between the ON & OFF positions e-Tint insert may not be as dramatic as I was expecting or as I thought necessary, it is enough difference when you consider the insert is somewhat tinted even in the OFF mode. My best description is “Off” tint is a very light smoke that worked well even at sundown. Think “transitional glasses,” they never quite get total to a “clear” state and neither does the AX-9 or the MX-8 e-Tint inserts.
On e-Tint’s MX-8 visor insert, the power cord from the insert to the outboard control switch is a 32 gauge wire. It’s an extremely small wire. The Shoei’s shield shuts on the wire without any noticeable problem, but my helmet’s seal is soft which helps. I tried e-Tints control wire under my HJC Sy-MAX shield and it worked well there also. Also, did not notice any increase in wind noise. Of course, the AX-9 does not have a wire. It is all self-contained.
While I did not test the e-Tint AX-9, e-Tint’s automatic version, but understand the AX-9 has operates both in auto and manual modes. Additionally, the light activation sensitivity can be adjusted if you don’t like the default setting.
Ok, at the end of the day – I like it.
While not perfect, it is perfect enough for me and will not be giving it back. If you insist I find at least one negative, that would be it is highly unlikely it can be moved from one helmet to another. But, then again if I were to buy another helmet, it will have a built in visor.
Recently I attended a demonstration of the Camoplast Track Systems for ATV and UTV applications. I was totally blown away. They are easy to install, easy to adjust and transform your ATV or UTV into a completely different vehicle with minimal effort requiring very basic tools.
The Camoplast Track Kit includes a set of four track units that bolt directly in place of your ATV / UTV stock wheels. The installation involves no drilling for any of the extra hardware and everything was easy to reach and understand. It was surprisingly easy!
The next step was to install a piece of hardware that clamped onto the lower A-frame of each wheel utilizing a couple of bolts. This is the connection point for the stabilizer or pretension arm that attaches to each track. The adjust-ment of this stabilizer/pretension arm was easy and straight forward. This procedure was repeated for each ATV / UTV wheel.
While a few items remained to be checked before driving, the installation was essentially complete. For such a major change to a vehicle’s appearance and utility, the installation is a breeze! Camoplast has an installation video that is very simple to follow and available to view on their website. For me, after watching this 5 minute video, the instructions were mainly used as backup. Being old-school, instructions are only good after you get into trouble anyway!
So, what can you expect from a track system? The track units give you significantly more ride height. On the UTV, it added about 5 inches (about the same on an ATV ). Take off across the field and it drives great. The steering is understandably heavier and the vehicle a little slower. Why slower? Think of the track unit as a new gear box from Camoplast, because basically - that’s what it is. Apparently, Camoplast decided to lower the gear ratio just a bit to compensate for the extra weight of the units as well as the extra power needed in harsh terrain.
Comments from track owners:
“I just took her out and WOW, it went everywhere I pointed it. I started at the base of my hill and it went right up. Went across an extremely swampy area and up a bank that previously buried us before. This set up is so cool – it goes anywhere!“
“It's slowed me down, but I was prepared for that. It seems unstoppable which is what I wanted. I felt like I was driving a mini tank. I threw things at it that would have previously buried my old 600lb Artic Cat 600. The flotation properties are simply amazing!”
“This thing has crazy pulling power. I pulled my equipment trailer out of the snow in low and didn't feel any bogging. Then I pulled my ice house. No issues whatsoever.“
“Basically, there is no amount of fresh powder that will stop it. The flotation is great. With two men and a little gear in my UTV, our tracks were only sinking about a foot in the snow.“
Track removal is a breeze. Remove one bolt for each stabilizer/ pretension arm, remove your lug nuts and install your stock wheel on your ATV or UTV. Also, reinstalling the Camoplast tracks will be much faster than the initial track installation because most of the adjustments have already been made and you are much more familiar with the process.
Maintenance was my next concern. Camoplast’s basic recommendation is to just check for proper track tension about every 20 hours. However, people told me if you drove it like a sane person (translation – no fun), hours between maintenance could be greatly extended. However, the largest contributing factor to premature track wear seems to be loose tracks, so you will definitely want to adhere to a schedule that suits your driving style.
Bottom line, the Camoplast Track System delivers everything they promise and everything you expect. It turns your UTV or ATV into a mean-looking, go-anywhere, do-anything machine. Now, if I can just scrape up the money.
Recently, I had the privilege of comparing several manufacturers of ATV/UTV snow plow equipment side by side: Warn, Cycle Country and Quadboss. Each company gives you the option of choosing your equipment, but Cross Country also had a nice kit for the “just send
what I need and let’s get-r-done” crowd.
“What components do I need? How do I know what to buy?”
Well, these were my same questions until I had the benefit of having reps from each company demonstrate the installation and use of their products. Most catalogs say choose your blade, your arm, your mount – making it more difficult than it needs to be. While they all “appear” different, they all mount the same way. Choosing the mount is my preferred starting point, so here goes.
First, you need a mounting plate.
Your plow system attaches to this plate so you want the strongest location. Generally speaking, the strongest mounting locations are under the ATV or UTV on the frame. These are called forward mounts and mid-mounts and are simply attached to the underside of the ATV or UTV frame. The mounts are somewhat universal in nature between models and attach using U-bolts. The best part is you can install these yourself with basic tools in about 10-15 minutes! Front mounts are also available and mount on the front of the ATV. However, many of them must mount onto a pre-mounted winch mount or receiver as extra reinforcement is usually necessary for many front mounts.
Second, you want a push tube.
The push tube easily attaches to the mount by way of pins or latches, extending under the ATV/UTV and extending out the front for blade attachment. The push tube detaches just as easy for snow plow system removal. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of push tubes –straight and articulating. A straight push tube keeps lifting until the push tube is stopped by the bottom of the ATV/UTV’s frame.
If you need more lift height, consider an articulating push tube. When this type of tube is stopped by the frame, the blade will continue to rise because this push tube has a hinge just past the front of the frame that comes into play –
giving you more height for going over obstacles.
Third, choose your blade!
Blades come in a variety of widths. For an ATV mounted snow plow system, you need 500cc to push a 60” plow blade. 72” blades are for UTV’s. Your straight blades are more universal and out-sell the rest. Blades are available in poly, steel, straight, tapered and the rail road track clearing type “V” blade. In comparing the poly blade against the steel, the rigidity was not lacking in the poly blade and it was surprising stout! Don’t doubt the poly’s ruggedness! Most people will choose the straight blade for its versatility whereas tapered blades are directional. Also, the standard blade mount allows for manual left-right adjustments for angling the blade various degrees.
Finally, how do I lift the plow blade?
If you already have a winch, just hook the cable to the push bar. If you don’t have a winch and don’t want one, you can get a manual arm that works much like ones on lawn tractors. Though not as fancy, they work well and mount either on the front luggage rack or go under the frame.
Many of the ATVs I saw simply used tie-down straps running from the front luggage rack to the push bar. Riders would lift the bar, yank on the strap and go. Want it down? Push the button and let it fall. So, you have three lift options: winch, manual lift bar or tie-down straps. Each method works well. The only difference is convenience and how it affects your pocketbook.
for Full Face & Modular Flip-up Helmets
Ok, you have a modular flip-up or a full face helmet and you want a Scala G4 or Q2 Multiset bike to bike intercom. However, the prospect of tolerating a mic boom that hinders the putting- on and removal of your helmet is less than appealing. Standard boom mics must be placed directly in front and almost touching your mouth in order to work. With full face or modular helmets, the boom must be worked under the helmet between your mouth and the inside of the helmet - demanding constant adjustment. Now, there is a solution. Scala’s Wired Mic Kits.
Fixed full face helmets are easy installs. Using the Velcro pad, you simply Velcro the mic to the front inside of your helmet directly in front of your mouth hiding the wires under your lining. But with modular flip-ups, how do you manage the flip-up? How do you run the wire so the hinged part of your helmet still works without the wire getting pinched or hanging out?
On a long shot, I tested the wired mic with my G4 Powerset and hoped for a more omnidirectional mic pattern over the standard boom mics. To my welcomed surprise, the wired mic was much more flexible in its placement when inside a full face helmet. Looking at the pics, notice the left cheek pad on my Shoei Multitec and you will see how I handled the mic on a modular flip-up. The “long shot” was it working in this location.
Ok, it looks good but how does it work? Well, with the front of the helmet down, it worked great! Shield up or down, it worked great! The front of the helmet dispersed my voice enough to compensate for the location not being directly in front of mouth. However, with the front part of the helmet flipped up, sound pick-up was marginal at best to non-existent for others to hear me. Usable in the flipped-up position? Not really in my opinion, but who rides with your modular helmet in the up position?
One minor comfort modification was made. Scala’s mic, winscreen and Velcro pad behind it are round. Not the ideal shape for a cheek pad install. It was a tad too wide for my comfort. After pressing the mic to the front of my cheek pad, using scissors and undercutting more Velcro than foam, I trimmed a little off the left and right sides of the mic’s Velcro giving it the shape you see in the pics. This was done to allow the Velcro pad to rub less on the helmet as I lowered or raised it and more importantly - less on my cheek as I grinned going down the road!
Bottom line, it is a good looking install that works great! Problem solved!
Disclaimer: I love modular helmets. I truly appreciate a company making any product multi-purpose because it means more options for me when I ride with less packing. That being said, here are a few quick thoughts about Scorpion’s EXO-900 “Transformer” helmet.
First, let’s quickly run through some of the more unique features of the Scorpion EXO-900 helmet that give it its Transformer name. The EXO 900 can change from a flip-up, full-face motorcycle helmet to a three-quarters helmet with a few quick button presses and a visor addition. The EXO 900 helmet also has a flip-down internal sun visor and inflatable cheek pads.
The EXO-900 fits like the regular full-face Scorpion helmets. The inflatable cheek pads on this transformer work in the same way that the old Reebok Pumps basketball shoes from the early 90’s used to using an air pump/release system located discreetly on the neck roll pad. This certainly helps for riders such as me who have to order different size cheek pads with every helmet purchase. The overall construction and design of the helmet, like most Scorpion helmets, is outstanding.
The main attraction though is the ability to convert from a flip-up full-face to a three-quarters helmet in a matter of minutes. Flipping up the chin bar and shield reveals two d-ring style sliders on both sides of the helmet. Pulling these down releases the chin bar and allows you to attach the visor to complete the three-quarters look. The system Scorpion designed works seamlessly with my only complaint being that you have to carry whatever extra piece you’re not using at the time – but, admittedly, that’s a relatively minor gripe. My only other nit-pick is that, while the internal sun visor works well, it could be a bit darker and extend a bit lower. Again, it’s a minor complaint when looking at the helmet as a whole.
So what’s the bottom line? The Scorpion EXO-900 “Transformer” is a well priced helmet that lives up to its “transformer” name. Its build quality and feel is excellent and allows you to easily overlook the minor issues I discussed above.