Chris Gibbany’s Moto Sleeve Tattoo

Words by Chris Gibbany

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“This is my half sleeve dedicated to my 1956 Harley Panhead, the second bike I have designed and am building.   All tattoo work was done by the talented Dessa Blackthorn aka “Sassy”, owner of Tattooz by Sassy in Mountain Home, Arkansas, who specializes in portraits, realism and watercolor tattoos.  It took a total of five sessions to complete the work.  Each session was about 3 hours long.
Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn of Tattooz by Sassy

Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn of Tattooz by Sassy

When I first formed the idea of the tattoo (all my tattoos are gearhead related), I knew I wanted to start with my Panhead’s engine and our motto “Old Iron Never Dies.”  When I went in for the second session, we added the front end profile of my bike, which is really special to me.  A few years ago while designing my bike I fell in love with this particular front end while surfing the internet. I didn’t know anything about the front end at the time, I just knew that I had to have it for my build. I later found out it was a Spartan springer, so I ended up contacting George Counes, owner of Spartan Frameworks who hand crafted this awesome Spartan riveted springer to fit my Chica gooseneck frame.  At the time I was going to just pay with a credit card but found out he only accepted cash and I had to have it to him within 30 days.  To make a long story short, I sold all of my guns that year in order to pay him for this magnificent piece of work that is on the front of my bike.  What better way to commemorate a piece so great than to have it permanently inked on my arm.

After rolling several ideas around, Dessa and I agreed to finish up my tattoo with 4-speed gears from my tranny, my antique license plate on my bike and we added more motorcycle chain.  Dessa had inked a piston and chain tattoo on my shoulder about 8 years ago which has won several tattoo contests, made a couple magazines and even made an appearance in Sara Liberte‘s book “1000 Biker Tattoos.”
My 56 Panhead, which I named “Panacea” (a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases) was built in my living room.  I slept beside it for almost three years, had it there while having coupon parties and even when we had our house up for sale.  I still have people ask from past parties if I still have the bike in the house.  Nope, now my Knucklehead is in the house!”

 

The Lightest Most Versatile Helmet on the Market: The Redesigned Shoei RF1200 Helmet

The all new RF1200 is just what this inked girl needs.

The all new RF1200 is just what this inked girl needs.

As a commuter, having a helmet that is quiet and fits comfortably means the difference between a pleasant ride to work and a miserable hour in traffic thinking about the pain radiating through my forehead. With the Shoei RF1200, any caveats I had about previous helmets are a distant memory.

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The Phantasm is the perfect graphic for us here at motoinked.com. Skulls, matte colors and filigree. Worthy of a tattoo.

The Shoei RF1200 helmet is light and compact helmet that weighs next to nothing. It has wide field of view and is so quiet, I can hear my hear my tunes without being annoyed by wind noise. It’s not just the comfort that makes this helmet one-of-kind, it’s the technologically advanced protection based on Shoei’s racing helmets that make the RF1200 freakin’ awesome.

The folks at Shoei are motorcycle enthusiasts and they value making a helmet that works for not just racers, but the every day rider, no matter what bike they’re riding. They’re about the journey, not the hype.

A Lighter yet safer RF1200

In 2010, Shoei helmets grew in size proportionally to manage more energy making them bigger, heavier and just plain cumbersome to wear. With the new RF1200, the helmet maintains its SNELL rating, but is now smaller and lighter like previous model helmets in the early 2000‘s. This is evident in the concave curve at the bottom of the shell, which offers complete freedom of movement. The RF1200 still provides the energy management of previous models and the protection a rider needs, but in much more manageable package.

The Shoei helmet maintains it's SNELL rating while being lighter and more compact than ever before.

The Shoei helmet maintains it’s SNELL rating while being lighter and more compact than ever before.

Shoei was able to make the RF1200 lighter and more compact as the shell of the RF1200 is made with Shoei’s AIM-PLUS or Advance Integrated Matrix Plus construction which is what Shoei uses in all Snell-rated products. This SHOEI-exclusive Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ Shell is a high performance fiberglass composite. “The other layers are trade secret, but the layers have specific attributes that we wanted in the shell, whether it be sheer strength for a chin strap rivet or anti-penetration in the shell,” says Don Bailey, Shoei’s Technical Advisor.

This Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ Shell construction includes the characteristics needed to make the RF1200 resistant to high impact energy. To obtain the characteristics needed for an impact-resistant shell, resin was applied in the mold during the manufacturing process and this resin was pressure injected to maintain a very light, uniform thickness throughout the shell to give it optimal attenuation or flex in order to distribute load throughout the helmet in as large of an area as possible.

Beneath the shell is the EPS, or Expanded Polystyrene, foam interior. This EPS interior shell has two different densities. The purpose of the dual density EPS is to get stiffer and bleed off more energy as the rider’s head presses against it during the event of a crash thus protecting the rider’s head from injury.

The Emergency Release function is annotated on the exterior of the helmet so the EMT’s know the helmet has this function. I knock on wood as I say this, as I have yet to crash-test-dummy proof this feature, but I feel better knowing that if I were in crash, the EMT’s job would be a little easier.

The Emergency Release function is annotated on the exterior of the helmet so the EMT’s know the helmet has this function. I knock on wood as I say this, as I have yet to crash-test-dummy proof this feature, but I feel better knowing that if I were in crash, the EMT’s job would be a little easier.

The Emergency Release Function

In addition to a high impact resistant shell and dual density EPS interior, the cheek pads of the RF1200 have the emergency release function or two red pull straps, integrated into them to create another line of defense for the rider. This is a feature that has been garnered from SHOEI’s technologically improved VFX-W and X-Twelve racing helmets.

Shoei began including this function in their helmets a fews years ago to help EMT’s remove the helmet safely and quickly from an unconscious rider without causing unnecessary damage to the rider’s neck. The EMT’s are able to pull the red straps at the bottom of the cheek pads and thus create a much bigger hole to pull the rider’s head straight through.

The padding inside is available in different sizes for a completely custom fit.

The padding inside is available in different sizes for a completely custom fit.

The RF1200‘s Inner Liner

The RF1200‘s 3D Max-Dry System II liner is three-dimensionally shaped to match the contours of a rider’s head and thus make the helmet fit comfortably. Pressing foam with spoons and pulling over to massage a pressure point is a thing of the past, as the RF1200 has a completely snug and contoured fit.

The cheek pads, center pads and chin strap covers are fully removable, adjustable and replaceable through Shoei. The cheek pads, center pads and chin strap covers can be removed from the helmet easily as they are snapped in. The cheek pads and center pads are available through Shoei in different thicknesses for a completely custom fit.

The padding of the Shoei RF1200 is made with Shoei’s exclusive Max-Dry System II liner material that is plush and soft to the touch. This material absorbs and dissipates sweat and moisture twice as fast as traditional Nylon interiors for riders who wear their helmets for longer periods of time. This technology is also borrowed from Shoei’s premium racing helmets.

How to Wash the RF1200‘s Helmet Liner

To best preserve the material of the cheek pads, center pads and chin strap covers, it’s best to sink wash them with a mild shampoo. If you’re unable to get all of the shampoo out of the padding, it won’t irritate your skin like laundry detergent as it’s something you wash your head with on a regular basis.

Also, you don’t want to twist the padding while washing them. Squeeze them and then let them air dry. If you do this instead of tossing the padding in a laundry bag and machine washing them, they will last a lot longer. “We definitely recommend people do that because as you sweat and dirt gets in the padding, it clogs all the pores in the foam and that’s when they start packing down and not fitting very well,” says Don.

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The outer shell of the RF1200 is equipped with three large upper air intake vents as well as four large upper exhaust vents at the back of the helmet to improve air flow over the rider’s head. These vents can be easily opened or closed with gloves on.

 

There is a large lower air intake vent on the chin bar of the helmet in front of the rider’s mouth that when left open, can act as a defogger during misty early morning rides.

There is a large lower air intake vent on the chin bar of the helmet in front of the rider’s mouth that when left open, can act as a defogger during misty early morning rides.

The exhaust vents not only keep my head cool but keep me from being a bobble head on the freeway. Thank you Shoei!

The RF1200 has the exhaust vents in the spoiler to create a down force as air passes over the spoiler. This induces “negative pressure suction” to keep the rider’s head more stable and thus reduce wind buffeting.

Beneath the outer shell, the EPS liner is also equipped with tunnels to help cool the rider’s head during hot summer rides without compromising the integrity of the shell. I can attest to the awesomeness of a cool breeze while riding in toasty California weather and I give Shoei a hi-five to offering me some relief on the highway.

Beneath the outer shell, the EPS liner is also equipped with tunnels to help cool the rider’s head during hot summer rides without compromising the integrity of the shell. I can attest to the awesomeness of a cool breeze while riding in toasty California weather and I give Shoei a hi-five to offering me some relief on the highway.

The QR-E base plates are spring loaded so when the is shield installed, it is pulled back against the dual-lip window beading to keep the wind and rain out when the shield is closed.

The QR-E base plates are spring loaded so when the is shield installed, it is pulled back against the dual-lip window beading to keep the wind and rain out when the shield is closed.

Shield System

The new RF1200 is furnished with a CWR-1 Shield that protects against 99 percent of the sun’s damaging UV rays and is available clear and tinted. The visor is manufactured with a rib that molded into the inside of the visor around on the top and bottom edge. Per Shoei, this rib improves rigidity and eliminates bending that may occur due to wind pressure or during the opening and closing process.

Along with the CWR-1 shield, the RF-1200 has a new QR-E base plate system that makes shield changes quick and easy. The sun is usually down during my evening commutes and this new system makes having to change out my shield quick and convenient.

The base plates are also equipped with a five-stage rotating dial that provide nearly half a millimeter of adjustment. This doesn’t sound like much but can make a huge difference as the helmet wears over time.

The base plates are also equipped with a five-stage rotating dial that provide nearly half a millimeter of adjustment. This doesn’t sound like much but can make a huge difference as the helmet wears over time.

To remove the shield, simply pull the spring-loaded stirrup down and lift the shield away from the helmet.

To remove the shield, simply pull the spring-loaded stirrup down and lift the shield away from the helmet.

 

To put the shield on, hold the cam in the open position and line up the tabs and push it in.

To put the shield on, hold the cam in the open position and line up the tabs and push it in.

IMG_2260Fog Shield

The RF1200 visors have two posts on the inside to clip in the fog shield which uses Shoei’s PINLOCK® system. The fog shield is mist retardant and when used in conjunction with the visor, creates a clear field of view for the rider during foggy or misty rides.

The fog shield is not scratch resistant, however, and should only be cleaned with soapy water and a nonabrasive cloth then left to air dry before reassembling. The fog shield should only be used during the day and not at night. I found this out when I left it on during a night ride home. The fog shield created a bad reflection that obstructed my field of view and was very distracting.

To clip in the fog shield, flatten the visor and clip in on one side, then clip in the other side. Once the visor retains it’s curve, the fog shield will seal against it.

To clip in the fog shield, flatten the visor and clip in on one side, then clip in the other side. Once the visor retains it’s curve, the fog shield will seal against it.

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The chin skirt helped to reduce air flow on a cold morning ride.

The chin skirt helped to reduce air flow on a cold morning ride.

Options and Accessories

The Shoei RF1200 helmet is available in 22 different colors and graphics from sizes XS-XXL for an m.s.r.p. of $485.99 for solid colors and $589.99 for graphics. All RF1200 helmets come with the pertinent manuals, a nose guard, chin skirt, fog shield, helmet bag and a small bottle of Shoei visor lubricant for ease of shield installation.

Don’t forget all SHOEI helmets are backed by a five-year limited warranty which covers any manufacturer defects. I doubt you’ll find any! With more than 50 years experience, Shoei is an industry leader in R&D for helmet testing with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility based in Japan. Their helmets are made in-house making them well worth the money.

The RF1200 has the most wide range of use of all the helmets in Shoei’s product line. Whether you ride scooters, commute or do track days, the RF1200 will provide the comfortable fit and protection a rider needs. “It’s like the swiss army knife of the Shoei line where a lot of the other models are more focused on a particular type of riding,” says Don. Kudos to Shoei for creating this amazing helmet!

Click here to find a Shoei dealer nearest you.

Inspired by Chicks on Bikes: A must read!

This book reminded me of who I really am.

This book reminded me of who I really am.

Reading the book – Chicks on Bikes – by photographer Christina Shook, reminded me of a trip I took to the Women on Wheels rally in Michigan in 2007. What I saw there made me look forward to getting older and it made me realize some of the best moments of my life could happen after the age of 60 as long as I have a motorcycle.

Women rode solo and in groups to the rally from several states away, across thousands of miles of open highway through rain, traffic and uncomfortable temperatures just so they could commune and laugh with other women like themselves. They rode GoldWings, fully dressed Harley Davidsons, Can Am Spyders, sport bikes and pretty much anything with two to three wheels. It didn’t matter how big the bike was or how small the lady was, most of these women rode with the same finesse it takes to pilot an airplane. Some of them were frail, some of them were young, some of them didn’t learn to ride until after the age of 50. Some of them had been riding their entire lives. I was only 26 at the time riding demo bikes for Kawasaki. The funny thing was these women impressed me just as much as I impressed them. This mutual respect between my generation and theirs made the Women on Wheels rally a benchmark in my motorcycling career.

Samantha Morgan was a runaway who rode a motorcycle on a wall when she was just 15. Just like Sonora Webster who dove horses in a swimming pole, this women proved that life is limitless despite injury.

Samantha Morgan was a runaway who rode a motorcycle on a wall when she was just 15. Just like Sonora Webster who dove horses off a tower and into a swimming pole, this women proved that life is limitless despite injury.

Chicks on Bikes reminded me of the amazed and inspired feeling I had when I attended the rally. When I saw these women, they each seemed so powerful to me in their own way. They didn’t care what anyone thought of them. They just rode because they wanted to, some because they had to. Life couldn’t stop them. Time couldn’t hold them. They could go anywhere they wanted and be anyone they wanted as long as they had two wheels.

A motorcycle does for women what steroids do for men, but without all the nasty side effects. A  motorcycle enhances a woman. It makes her sexier, stronger, happier and more resilient than she ever could have been without it. A motorcycle can make a woman independent, indelible, persevering, determined, motivated, adventurous, unafraid of loneliness and sublimely happy. It doesn’t matter if she was cheated on, has cancer, was abused in the past, if she was laid off or fired from her job. It doesn’t matter if she was a burn victim, a soldier with a missing limb, a mother who lost a child. Nothing matters. It’s amazing how a combination of wind, wheels, motor and open highway can have more healing power than any medicine on the market. A motorcycle is as close as we can get to the other side while still breathing. Motorcycling is the ultimate way of life and it’s the Chicks on Bikes who get to live it.

A peek inside: Melinda Moore lived and died on two wheels but if her soul could speak now, she'd probably say the journey was worth it and not to mourn because she died doing what she loved.

A peek inside: Melinda Moore lived and died on two wheels but if her soul could speak now, she’d probably say the journey was worth it and not to mourn because she died doing what she loved.

The women in the book made me remember all the women I’ve met and learned something from while riding motorcycles. It’s these women who taught me to never settle for a dead end. They have proven there is always a trail, a road, a path to get to where I need to go. For women, motorcycles can carry us to places that would otherwise be unreachable.

Christina Shook not only took photographs of so many unique and amazing women, but she also learned a little about them, lessons of which she wrote on the pages alongside the unforgettable smiles of the women in her photographs. Christina captured them and brought out their spirits in ways most male photographers would overlook.

 

Christina Shook is the author of Chicks on Bikes and a rider herself.

Christina Shook is the author of Chicks on Bikes and a rider herself.

The book Chicks on Bikes gives the reader a glimpse of women riders in their true forms at a time when they were or are happiest and strongest – a time when they’re riding a motorcycle. Christina Shook’s book will keep the memories of these women alive long after they’re gone. Their legacy will thrive on the pages of Chicks on Bikes and they will continue to inspire us as motorcyclists for years to come.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the photos, purchase a copy here.

Photos for review by Salvador Maltbie

Words by Rachael Maltbie