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#283 One night in Knowlton

Finally, from Australia, comes a cure for the heartbreak of helmet hair.

A few years ago, while road tripping through Quebec’s Eastern Townships, I spent the night in Knowlton where I pulled up a barstool at the local. It was a fine group there that evening, the talk was mainly motorcycles. One guy, whose name escapes me, said he did tech support work for Knowlton’s resident genius-inventor. This didn’t sound like a particularly lucrative line of work, but my barroom buddy seemed happy enough doing it, and he had a few ideas of his own. “Why can’t helmets be cooled?” he asked of me, thinking I might have some secret insider knowledge to share, some special wisdom I had not yet disclosed. Needless to say, I didn’t, and still don’t. Aside from what are generally useless vents, helmets are pretty much what they are: hot, stuffy head traps with not much wiggle room … one would hope. To quote noted NHL wordsmith Todd Bertuzzi, “It is what it is.”
But Our Man in Knowlton wasn’t satisfied with that report. He went on to envision non-obstructive lines running through a prototype helmet, bearing some form of cooling chemistry that would react like a sensor to any detected thermo-changes in the wearer and be instantly catalyzed in response. I didn’t see that flying but, then again, I’m no chemist.
I do have a helmet though, and like most of you I suffer the pain and embarrassment of helmet hair.
Cooling lines and special test helmets notwithstanding, there is a solution.
Well, maybe there is, though I can’t speak with dead certainty because I have yet to sample an Australian-made offering called The Airhead.
What you will find as you visit is a product with dozens of silicone nubbies embedded on a one-size-fits-all insert that softly bends to form a spacer between your head and helmet. The extra room inducts cooling air that ventilates as it serves to dry the damp scalp and leave your hair looking like a million bucks, if that’s what your hair looked like in the first place. And check this out. The makers say that the “road-tested” Airhead looks “great as helmet art” and that it “comes in many different colours and styles to suit your lifestyle.” The asking price is $25.

HERE’S SOME OTHER NEAT STUFF. Brembo, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, arrived at this winter’s Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, with its new “LED-Body.” Essentially, this product integrates turn signals into the master cylinder for a choice look with some added safety benefits—being positioned higher up than standard turn signals makes the Brembo items more visible to the eyes of motorists. The LED-Body is said to be adaptable to most naked and muscle bikes.

IN THE CATEGORY OF STUFF THAT’S still neat, but kind of puzzling, Harley-Davidson is now selling an analogue clock as an accessory. You read that correctly. Years of developing bike-specific GPS, multi-faceted, Bluetooth-enabled BOOM! stereo systems and programmable digital readouts have culminated in … a simple clock that mounts to the clutch lever bracket and is powered by a self-contained, replaceable battery. Huh.

NOW THAT YOU HAVE A SPARE $23,295, hurry down to the nearest Aprilia dealer (as if there is one actually near you) and tell him you absolutely must have the 2012 RSV4 Factory APRC. The 180-hp motorcycle currently leading the 2012 World Superbike Championship is now available in Canada. With the Aprilia Performance Ride Control system (the APRC in APRC), you’ll enjoy traction control; wheelie control; launch control; and quick shift enroute to Starbucks where local hotdogs such as yourself will fawn and drool.
Check the website if you can’t afford the real thing.


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