About charlie

I started riding when I bought my first ATV, a new ’95 Yamaha Timberwolf, at age 14. Now enjoy it as a family and friends affair.

My ride: 2014 Honda Rancher 4×4 DCT, RAM Mounts Aqua Box Pro, No Limit Wheels, Maxxis Bighorn 2.0.

charlie(at)weekendatv.com

REVIEW: LS2 MX456e Helmet

If you were an 1980s kid then ‘The Pump’ means only one thing: The Pump shoe from Reebok. The manual air pump system allowed air to inflate cushions to form the shoe better to the person wearing it. Targeted at the basketball industry, the shoe was a huge hit in the early 90s and air cushioning found its way into more than just shoes. Now 20 years later the simple idea of an air inflated custom fit can be found in the offroad world with the LS2 MX456e Helmets.

LS2 MX456e

They began as a helmet manufacturer in 1991 in China. In 2006 they decided to brand their own helmets and LS2 was created. After years of growth, both geographically and in quality, they became available in the US in 2010 through Allwin Powersports Corporation. Today you can buy dozens of different types of helmets for on-road, off-road and snow powersports. The flagship of the offroad helmets is the LS2 MX456e.

LS2 sent us a beautifully patriotic USA version of MX456e to try out. Out of the box the fit was already pretty snug but after a few rides we were able to try out the inflation system. As promised, the cheek pads inflate with each press of the button, bringing back those pre-game basketball memories. If you have trouble finding the right fit in a helmet or want a custom fit this is truly the way to go.

LS2 MX456e

The LS2 MX456e uses a tricomposite fiberglass shell. There are vents at the mouth, the jawline, the back and two closable vents above the face opening. There are also vents at the top of face opening. The visor is mounted at three points with screws that can be tightened with a screwdriver or a coin to get them more than just hand tight. I know I’ve has visor screws fall out on trails before. The visor also has a removable extension. The odor and bacteria resistant liner is fully removable for cleaning. Ready to ride it weighs in at just under 3.2 pounds.

LS2 MX456e

Not sure if a Chinese helmet is tough enough for you? How about the fact that is is the helmet of 5 time Dakar Rally motorcycle winner Cyril Despres.

LS2 MX456

The LS2 MX456e is available in sizes XS to 2XL and in 10 different colors. It is DOT certified and ECE approved. MSRP on the LS2 MX456e is $189.95. For more details on the LS2 MX456e check out http://ls2helmets.us.

REVIEW: Goal Zero Venture 30

We live in a very technological age. And even when we are ready to hit the trails and get away from it all we still depend on having our phones, cameras, GPS and other devices. Portable batteries have become common place, but most weren’t made to handle the trails or Mother Nature. For the last year we’ve been testing the Goal Zero Venture 30 and Nomad 7 products and they have you taken care of.

Goal Zero Venture 30

I utilize the same devices on the trails and camping as I do when I’m in the field training with the US Army, so before a field exercise I picked up the Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger and the Nomad 7 Solar Panel. Both products are designed for the adventurer and whatever elements they might find themselves in.

Goal Zero Venture 30

The Goal Zero Venture 30 is a portable battery pack with an IPX6 weather rating. This International Protection Marking code means that the Venture 30 has been certified with testing against 10 minutes of dripping water, 5 minutes of spraying water, 5 minutes of splashing water and 3 minutes of powerful water jets at 100 liters per minute! And it’s operating temperature range is from 32-114 degrees Fahrenheit (0-45C). Weighing in at only 8.8 ounces it won’t add much to your pack. The Li-ion battery is 29Wh and 7800mAh. When looking at batteries, the bigger these 2 numbers are, the better. Wh refers to watt-hours meaning, in this case, the Venture 30 could power a 29 watt light bulb for 1 hour, or a 5 watt phone for 6 hours, etc.

Goal Zero Venture 30

The Goal Zero Venture 30 compared to a 4000mAh PocketJuice.

The Goal Zero Venture 30 has 2 USB ports and a built in mini-USB cable so many phones and cameras won’t even need to bring along extra cords. Apple devices on the other hand…I digress. Charging the Venture 30 from dead off USB power takes about 5 hours. We tested it through wall power, off a computer and off a 12 volt car plug all with the same result. Output is impressive too. We ran an Apple iPhone 6 through our normal work day only using the Venture 30 to charge it. We got two and half days off the Venture 30. Off a fully charged Venture 30 you should be able to charge a smartphone 2.5 times, a GoPro camera 5 times and a tablet once. To save on time you can plug devices in while the Venture 30 is being charged back up as well.

The Goal Zero Venture 30 has 5 LED lights across the front with a button on either side. Pressing one of the buttons will light up the LEDs in blue to indicate how much of a charge the Venture 30 has on a scale of 1-5. The opposite button will cause the LEDS to glow white as a backup flashlight. You can cycle through 3 brightness modes and 2 strobe modes.

Goal Zero Venture 30To give us the most versatility we also picked up the Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel. The Nomad 7 is a lightweight, weather-resistant, 7-watt solar panel that can be used to charge the Goal Zero Venture 30 or directly charge your smartphone, GPS or GoPro (no tablets). It has clipping points all around it to it can be easily strapped to a backpack or rack for charging on the go. The Nomad 7 will charge a Venture 30 from scratch in 8-16 hours depending on the amount of sun you are getting. You can chain multiple solar panels together to charge quicker. The Nomad 7 has a pocket built into itself to hold cables and the Venture 30 while it’s charging.

Goal Zero Venture 30

Goal Zero is a US company founded in 2009 and is focused on making power available whether you are off-grid or facing a natural disaster. They have a large line of solar panels, battery and recharge systems and accessories like lights and speakers all made to accompany your adventures. The Goal Zero Venture 30 has an MSRP of $99.99 and the Nomad 7 has an MSRP of $79.99. You can also buy them as a kit to save $10. I’ve bought and broken or lost enough of the cheap batteries packs to have paid for my Venture 30 already and those couldn’t withstand the outdoors. Goal Zero has done a great job with these two solutions. We haven’t found a better offering yet. To find your own check out http://www.goalzero.com. #solarlife

Goal Zero

REVIEW: Peak Design Capture Camera Clip

Peak Design Capture Camera Clip

Perhaps the most important element of our reviews is the visual element. The photos and videos that we strive to provide give additional detail and demonstration to our reviews and help each of you to better see what we see. So it’s no small investment that we put into getting those photos. One tool we have come to love is the Capture Camera Clips from Peak Design. Our line-up includes the Peak Design Capture, Capture Pro and the POV kit.

Peak Design Capture

GoPro has revolutionized photography and videography in our industry but doesn’t work as well for point-and-click shots, especially where zooming is desired. SLR cameras are great, but the trails can be hard on expensive photo and video equipment. The slings that come with most cameras can’t keep the camera safe from the bouncing that occurs on the trails. Cases and bags can keep cameras secure but are inconvenient to get to. Peak Design addressed this when they created the Capture line.

Peak Design Capture

The Peak Design Capture Camera Clip allows a camera to be securely connected to a belt or strap with a holster design so that it can be quickly removed for the shot but is kept safe from abuse. In my personal use I have found that wearing it on the belt works great for hiking or tourist type photography. If I have a backpack or hydration pack then the shoulder straps work best. The latter is also my preferred for ATV riding as it keeps the camera up high.

Incredibly easy to use, the Peak Design Capture mounts to a belt or strap very securely with thumb screws for a fit that will adjust to any normal size. The adapter screws into the tripod mount of your DSLR or any other camera with a tripod hole. The adapter securely clips into the baseplate. Now its locked in and able to withstand 200 pounds of force! To remove you simply push the red release button and slide the camera out of the holster. For additional security the release button has a twist lock to prevent inadvertent release or theft.

Available in two models, the Capture and Capture Pro have a few differences. The standard Capture is made of aluminum and glass-reinforced nylon while the Capture Pro is all aluminum. The Capture Pro is also compatible with both Manfrotto RC2 tripods and Arca-type tripods where the standard capture only works with Arca. The Capture Pro also has its own tripod mounting hole allowing it to be used as a quick disconnect from a tripod or monopod.

POV Mount

Peak Design also offers a P.O.V. Action Mount for GoPro and other action cameras. The POV kit is used in conjunction with the Capture or Capture Pro for use on a bag strap. It’s a great way to get a POV photo or video without the bulk of helmet mounts or extra harnesses. The POV mount is $29.95.

Peak Designs Capture POV

Get Yours

Peak Design Capture Camera Clips and Capture Pro Camera Clip carry an MSRP of $59.95 and $79.95 respectively. They are also available in various bundles with other excellent Peak Design accessories like the Cuff or Clutch camera straps. To make the deal even sweeter, use promo code weekendatv for 10% off your order! To see more details on the Peak Design Capture Camera Clips and other professional camera gear check out http://www.peakdesign.com.

Trail Review: Clear Creek OHV Trails – Milton, FL

Things are looking up for ATV riders in the Sunshine state. The State of Florida has been working on adding new riding facilities at all ends of the state to compliment the current state trails found in central Florida. This past January, after a 10 year effort, Clear Creek OHV Trails opened as an extension of the Blackwater River State Forest thanks in part to grants from Yamaha and Polaris. The 346 acre tract has 27 miles of trails for area riders.

Clear Creek OHV

Pulling into the park, there is a large staging area with ample parking on a gravel parking lot. There is a bathhouse with an outdoor shower. The small store where you sign in and pay your riding fees also has a selection of snacks and drinks and a few items you might need or have forgotten. Though the park is owned by the state it is operated by a private company. There is no camping at this time but future plans include it. More on that later. There is a small kids track for the youngest of riders to ride on. One note is the lack of shade around the staging area. You won’t find much of an escape from the Florida heat until you press the throttle and create a breeze. Clear Creek OHVLike many of the parks in northwest Florida, Clear Creek OHV is popular for dirt bikes. During our visit no other ATVs were seen but several bikes were around. While all 27 miles of trails are open to them, about 8 miles is single track trails for dirt bikes only. Currently the width limit is 50″ for the ATV trails keeping most side by sides out. With some of the tight weaving between trees we found this limit to be an accurate measurement. Another advantage for dirt bikes is the complete lack of anything mud related. Despite being named Clear Creek OHV, there is no creek, clear or otherwise on the property. Our visit was at the end of a week of heavy rains but the trails were dry though not overly dusty. Clear Creek OHVMost of the trails run through an area that was obviously clear cut for timber a few years ago. These trails are especially sunny and dryer. The outer trails run through more tree coverage and are also the tighter trails. With no mud there aren’t many ruts. The trails are also not particularly technical. While it may not be challenging this does make the park incredibly family friendly and a great choice for young or inexperienced riders. The trails are all clearly marked and color coded. All trails are one way, with road signs limiting speed and warning of trail crossings. Clear Creek OHVThe state also acquired another 350 acres across the street. Grants are in progress to expand there including trails for side-by-sides and camping areas. Riding fees are very reasonable at $15 for adults, $10 for youth (14 and under), seniors and military. Annual passes are in the works as well. The park is only open Friday through Sunday from 8am-5pm, weather permitting. Helmets are required for all riders. Youth riders also need eye protection and boots that cover the ankles. Riders under age 16 are also required to take an approved ATV safety course. An approved online version of the course can be taken at http://www.atvsafety.org/. Noise is strictly rated to 96dB and every vehicle is checked before it hits the trails. For more details the Clear Creek OHV website is http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Recreation/New-OHV-Trails-at-Blackwater-River-State-Forest. They are also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ClearCreekOHV.

Preview: 2016 Kawasaki Teryx

Just this morning Kawasaki released its 2016 model year offerings to the public. While no changes to the ATV lineup have been announced they did bring changes to the Mule and Teryx lineup. Here is a look at the new 2016 Kawasaki Teryx.

Features new for 2016:

  • NEW styling of the hood, headlights and front bumper
  • OPTIMIZED Fox Podium 2.0 shocks
  • NEW tilt steering column with a thicker steering wheel
  • NEW Tool-less driver’s seat adjustment
  • NEW Dash layout with extra accessory switches and storage compartment
  • NEW 14″ aluminum wheels on the Teryx LE model
  • NEW Four LED headlights on Teryx LE and Camo models

The Teryx and Teryx4 does retain the same 783cc V-Twin power plant with engine braking, tilt bed, standard Electronic Power Steering (EPS) on all models, standard hard top on LE and Camo models and Kawasaki’s three year limited factory warranty.

2016 Kawasaki Teryx LE – MSRP $14,999

2016 Kawasaki Teryx LE

2016 Kawasaki Teryx LE

2016 Kawasaki Teryx LE

2016 Kawasaki Teryx LE

2016 Kawasaki Teryx EPS $12,999

2016 Kawasaki Teryx EPS

2016 Kawasaki Teryx4 LE – MSRP $16,999

2016 Kawasaki Teryx4 LE

2016 Kawasaki Teryx4 LE

2016 Kawasaki Teryx4 Camo – MSRP $16,299

2016 Kawasaki Teryx4 Camo

For more details check out http://www.kawasaki.com/.

REVIEW: All Rite Thumbuddy Throttle Extender

If you done any lengthy amount of riding you’ve probably experienced thumb soreness or fatigue from having to apply constant pressure to the throttle. Whether you are a new rider or its just the first few rides of the season, anyone can experience the pain. I picked up a Polaris Sportsman 90 for my youngest daughter recently and within a couple of miles on her first ride she was learning of that pain too.

All Rite Thumbuddy

This past weekend we wanted to road trip to a new park, Clear Creek OHV. Knowing that it would be mostly trail riding we knew that thumb fatigue could quickly turn her ride from being enjoyable, so we picked up an All Rite Thumbuddy. As a throttle extender it increases the surface area of the throttle and distributes the pressure from the throttle farther down the thumb and into the palm of your hand with a rubber coated, ergonomic design.

All Rite Thumbuddy

Installation of the All Rite Thumbuddy is easy. It straps to your existing thumb throttle using 3 wire-ties which fit into channeled grooves in the Thumbuddy. The design is universal so it will fit any ATV model. Once mounted it can be bent to a preferred form thanks to its steel core. It takes just a couple of minutes to get it set and ready to ride.

All Rite Thumbuddy

We put in over 10 miles that day and with zero complaints of thumb pain. She (and all of us) had a great ride thanks in part to the Thumbuddy. We picked up our All Rite Thumbuddy at Hall’s Motorsports for $19.99. It is available at many local motorsports stores and online. It makes a great add-on for young or new riders or anyone to increase the comfort of longer rides. See more accessories from All Rite Products at http://www.allriteproducts.com/ including the All Rite Thumbuddy Pro which uses a stainless steel clamp instead of wire-ties.

All Rite Thumbuddy

Gorilla Whips LED Whip Giveaway!

Gorilla Whip giveaway

It’s the season of giving and we’re going all in. We’ve teamed up with Gorilla Whips to give away, not 1, but 2 of their wireless LED whips! This comes on the heels of our recent review of the Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whips found here. The new wireless LED whips do away with the inline controls for changeing colors, pattern, etc. and trade up to a multifunction remote that puts each option at your finger tips much easier. Check out Gorilla Whips for more infomation about their awesome whips at http://www.gorillawhips.com. To enter our giveaway to win a Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme wireless Whip, visit our contest page and enter your email address. Bonus entries for liking WeekendATV.com and Gorilla Whips on Facebook. Happy Holidays!

ENTER HERE

REVIEW: Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip

One of the major trends in the accessory market is LED safety whips. Many parks, especially sand dunes, require safety flags elevated high on whips to make riders more visible coming over a dune or hill. Changes in technology have allowed LED whips to become more visible than flags as the lighted whips are akin to light sabers hanging off the rear rack. Riding areas open after dark look like a sci-fi movie as neon colors dash through the dunes and trails. So we contacted Gorilla Whips to try out the Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip.

Gorilla Whips

While there are several companies producing LED safety whips, Gorilla Whips are unique. Instead of purchasing a dedicated color, the Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip has 20 different colors built-in. An inline remote control allows you to cycle through the 20 colors to choose your favorite. Your final selection is remembered, even after you power off the whip, for the next time you turn it on. The inline remote also allows you to rotate through 19 different patterns. Instead of the whip just glowing a solid color it can flash, fade between colors and create a random light show. A final button acts as the on/off button and can change the speed of the selected pattern.

Gorilla Whips

If you purchase a Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip you will receive the whip, your selected flag, a wiring harness with a quick-release, quick connect wire splices, the billet aluminum whip mount and its mounting hardware. Installation is simple enough that instructions are not included but they do have an installation video on their YouTube Channel at http://youtu.be/cSTf2WX3X8M. The billet aluminum whip mount is bolted to the mounting hole that your ATV likely already has on the rear rack or grab bar. This whip is inserted snuggly into the mount and secured with a quick release pin. The wiring harness is then assembled and connected to the battery or other power source. That’s it. The wiring harness on the battery side is the same as most trickle chargers meaning quicker installation if you have a trickle charger already.

Gorilla Whips

The Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip is available in 3′, 4′ and 6′ lengths. Our 6′ model contains over 215 super bright LEDs. While we’re not able to compare the Xtreme Whip’s brightness to its competitors, Gorilla Whips backs their claim in their stronger, brighter, better guarantee. And if you manage to break it you can receive a discounted or even free replacement with their crazy crash guarantee. We did experience an issue where a small segment of the LEDs in our whip would flicker or not work at all. Gorilla Whips replaced it at no cost.

Gorilla Whips

The Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip carries a price tag of $119, $129 and $139 for the 3′, 4′ and 6′ lengths respectively. That puts them in the higher price range compared to others, but again, you aren’t locked into a single color or pattern making them an incredible value. Their newest model even has a wireless remote control. Gorilla Whips also offers standard ATV whips and replacement parts. To order your own check out http://www.gorillawhips.com.

Gorilla Whips LED Xtreme Whip

REVIEW: No Limit Wheels

Custom wheels are, without a doubt, the number one upgrade in the ATV/UTV industry. No change has more of an impact on the look of a vehicle (on or off-road) than new wheels. And with dozens of manufacturers and styles its easy to create a unique look. But if you REALLY want to set yourself apart, there is only one choice: No Limit Wheels.

No Limit Wheels

Image courtesy of SideBySideStuff.com

No Limit Wheels are completely customizable and made to order to create more combinations than your local sub sandwich shop. With their online wheel builder you can create your own unique wheel. No Limit Wheels offers 3 wheel models in 12″ and 14″ sizes. Each is available in 6″ or 8″ widths and with multiple spacing offsets to accomdate straight rear axles or IRS configurations. Next choose from 18 different colors. Then choose from 3 styles available for each model. Finally select one of three rim edges. Want Polaris Orange Madness wheels on your Steel Blue Yamaha Grizzly 550? No problem. Honda Red wheels on your yellow Outlander? Okay. Hot pink wheels on your Kawasaki Brute Force? We won’t judge. Still no colors that work for you? Call No Limit Wheels and they can help you with custom color options. That’s almost 2,000 unique wheels without even getting into custom colors! No other wheel manufacturer offers anywhere near that level of customization and personality in your ride.

No Limit Wheels

 

The wheels are etched out of aluminum and feature a double reinforced rim edge for strength. They have a 1000 lb load rating each; 30% more than most available wheels. Each wheel weighs in at about 12-14 lbs.

No Limit Wheels For our 2014 Honda Rancher, we placed an order for a set of 14″ No Limit Octane wheels in Positive style and with Bullet rim edge. We had it finished in matte black, a perfect match for our orange Honda. We wrapped them with Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 rubber to create a trail combination that looks as good as it performs. We were pretty stoked with the outcome.

No Limit Wheels
Despite the totally custom options, No Limit offers a 30-day, 100% money back guarantee if you are not satified with your purchase for any reason. Further backing your good decision, No Limit Wheels are accompanied by a lifetime limited warranty. No Limit Wheels is based in the United States and every wheels is made right here. The base wheel starts at $88 with each option adding a couple of dollars. To preview No Limit Wheels on your ATV and get your order rolling surf over to http://www.nolimitoffroad.com/.

REVIEW: Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers

ATVs are made to take a beating and we give that to them regularly on the trails and other venues. But we also try to keep them looking new, not only so they look good but because cleaning them helps them last longer and increases the resale value when it’s time to upgrade. If you’re lucky, you’re storing your toys in the garage, an enclosed trailer, or some other form of protection from the elements. But not everyone has that option and sitting outside in the rain and sun can age an ATV very quickly. This is the exact concern that Dowco was addressing when they introduced the Guardian ATV Covers years ago. Now they’ve improved the system and released Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers.

Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers

So ultimately, making an ATV cover doesn’t seem like a hard task. Take a quality material that is waterproof and blocks UV rays from fading your prized, off-road possession. Line it with something that doesn’t scratch and form it into the general shape of an ATV outline in a few different sizes. But if you want said cover to stay in place while you haul it down the interstate at 70 miles per hour, well that takes a little more creativity.

Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers

The Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers are made from heavy-duty polyester and are lined to protect your ride from scratching. It protects from all of the aforementioned elements and is easy to install. Once placed over the ATV, you tighten up a pull-rope around the bottom of the tires. Then, secure the strap around the middle of the ATV. To secure to a truck bed or trailer there are several velcro flaps that tiedowns can be run through. There is even a pocket designed for use with Dowco’s alarm system. A would-be thief risks setting off the alarm when removing the cover.

Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers

Dowco sent us the XL size cover to evaluate. It’s a bit roomy on the 2014 Honda Rancher DCT but it works well. Check the measurements on Dowco’s site to ensure the best fit. I would keep in mind any upgrades you plan to make. We hit interstate highway speeds of 80 MPH (all in the name of research!) and the cover stayed securely in place throughout the course. We ran tiedowns to each of the 4 corners. There is also a fifth tiedown slot on the lower front of the cover, near the brush guard/winch mounting area. With so many options we knew our Honda wasn’t going anywhere and nothing Mother Nature could reasonably send was getting inside.

Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers

The new Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers are available in 3 sizes to ensure a good fit on whatever model you have. They are also available for Side-by-Sides and UTVs in model specific fits. Dowco has been making powersports covers for over 30 years and has several different types to meet your needs. The covers have a 2 year warranty so you know you’re getting quality here. The Dowco Guardian Trailerable ATV Covers start at $189.99 and can be ordered directly from Dowco at http://www.dowcopowersports.com.