La Rosa Design is known for their cool leather solo seats and bags for most Harley-Davidson models. And now, La Rosa uses the same leather to manufacture heat shields. Leather has been used to  protect you like any other metal heat shield would only with style .  All La Rosa heat shields are offered in different lengths from 6” to 12”. And of course, design and leather color to match the style of your seat and bags.

Raci-Babi - Helmet Hair and Riding Comfort Solutions for Men and Women Motorcycle Riders

Ghetto Girlz uses and endorses La Rosa Design's products.  We have their custom leather seats, heat shields, saddle bags, tool bags, fender covers and more on our bikes.  They make a quality, durable product that fits well and looks great.  La Rosa will customize the threading, design and color of the piece you want so you can truly customize your ride.  Look at the pictures of our bikes in Ghetto G's Garage to see how their products have transformed them to our own tastes. They are local to the Bay Area so support one of our own.

10 motorcycle safety tips for new riders

Expert advice for first-time and returning riders

Motorcycles are fun and fuel efficient. That’s not news to anyone who’s ridden one. But neither is the fact that they’re also way more dangerous than a car. The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes.

The numbers are even scarier for older riders, who are increasingly taking up or returning to motorcycling after many years. Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger ones.

Still, many enthusiasts enjoy a lifetime of riding without injury. The key to optimizing your odds is to be prepared and avoid risks. Keep in mind that 48 percent of fatalities in 2010 involved speeding, according to the IIHS, and alcohol was a factor in 42 percent. Eliminate those factors and you’ve dramatically reduced your risk.

Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. If you’ve been off of motorcycles for awhile, you may be surprised by the performance of today’s bikes. Even models with small-displacement engines are notably faster and more powerful than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

When shopping for a bike, start with one that fits you. When seated, you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on tiptoes. Handlebars and controls should be within easy reach. Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is. A smaller model with a 250- to 300-cc engine can make a great starter or commuter bike. If you plan on doing a lot of highway riding, you might want one with an engine in the 500- to 750-cc range so you can easily keep up with traffic.

Invest in antilock brakes. Now available on a wide array of models, antilock brakes are a proven lifesaver. IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. “No matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you,” says Bruce Biondo of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Safety Program.

The reason is simple: Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control. That can easily lead to a skid and crash, which can result in serious injury. ABS helps you retain steering control during an emergency stop, and it can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.

This critical feature is now standard on many high-end models and adds only a few hundred dollars to the price of more basic bikes. You may be able to offset some of the cost with an insurance discount. Either way, we think it’s a worthwhile investment in your safety.

Hone your skills. As Honda’s Jon Seidel puts it, “There is nothing we could say or advise more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course in your area. That’s critical, absolutely critical.” An MSF course or similar class can teach you the basics, as well as advanced techniques, such as how to perform evasive emergency maneuvers. The cost ranges from free to about $350. An approved safety course may make you eligible for an insurance discount and, in some states, to skip the road-test and/or the written test part of the licensing process. Some motorcycle manufacturers offer a credit toward the cost of a new motorcycle or training if a rider signs up for an MSF course. The MSF website lists about 2,700 locations for such courses around the United States.

“It is absolute insanity to repeal helmet laws," says Orly Avitzur, M.D., a Consumer Reports medical adviser.

Use your head. Yes, helmets are an emotional topic for some riders. But the facts show the risk. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to government studies.

When Texas and Arkansas repealed their helmet laws, they saw a 31- and 21-percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, respectively. “It is absolute insanity to repeal helmet laws,” says Orly Avitzur, M.D., a neurologist and a Consumer Reports medical adviser. “Because helmets do save lives, it is insanity to expose the skull and the brain to potential trauma that could be prevented or at least mitigated.”

A full-face helmet that’s approved by the Department of Transportation is the best choice. (Look for a DOT certification sticker on the helmet.) Modern helmets are strong, light weight, and comfortable, and they cut down on wind noise and fatigue. Keep in mind that helmets deteriorate over time, and may not be safe even if they look fine. The Snell Memorial Foundation, an independent helmet testing and standards-setting organization, recommends replacing a helmet every five years, or sooner if it's been damaged or has been in a crash. Beyond potential deterioration due to aging and exposure to hair oils and chemicals, Snell points out that there is often a notable improvement over that time in helmet design and materials.

Wear the right gear T-shirts and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike. Instead, you want gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out. For maximum protection, go for a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer. Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather. You’ll also want effective eye protection; don’t rely on eyeglasses or a bike’s windscreen. Use a helmet visor or goggles. And keep in mind that car drivers who have hit a motorcycle rider often say they just didn't see them, so choose gear in bright colors.

Be defensive. A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. So, you need to be extra alert, especially in this age of epidemic phone use and texting behind the wheel. Keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from side streets. And don’t tailgate; keeping a safe following distance is critical, both to ensure you have enough stopping distance and so you have time to react to obstacles in the road. An object that a car might easily straddle could be a serious hazard when on a bike.

Avoid bad weatherSlippery conditions reduce your margin for error. Rain not only cuts your visibility but reduces your tires’ grip on the road, which can make cornering tricky. If you need to ride in the rain, remember that the most dangerous time is right after precipitation begins, as the water can cause oil residue to rise to the top. And avoid making sudden maneuvers. Be especially gentle with the brakes, throttle, and steering to avoid sliding. When riding in strong side winds, be proactive in anticipating the potential push from the side by moving to the side of the lane the wind is coming from. This will give you some leeway in the lane, should a gust nudge you.

Watch for road hazards. A motorcycle has less contact with the pavement than a car. Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause a bike to slide unexpectedly, easily resulting in a spill. Bumps and potholes that you might barely notice in a car can pose serious danger when on a bike. If you can’t avoid them, slow down as much as possible before encountering them, with minimal steering input. Railroad tracks and other hazards should be approached as close to a right angle as possible, to reduce the chances of a skid.

Be ready to roll. Before each ride, do a quick walk-around to make sure your lights, horn, and directional signals are working properly. Check the chain, belt, or shaft and the brakes. And inspect the tires for wear and make sure they’re set at the proper pressure. Motorcycle mechanics we’ve spoken with say they routinely see worn-out brakes and improperly inflated tires that greatly increase safety risks. When tires are under-inflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean,” says Mike Franklin, owner of Mike’s Garage in Los Angles.

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These are 10 Quick Rules of Biker Etiquette.

Rules of Biker Etiquette you would assume are common sense, but you would be surprised on how many people over look them.• Learn the proper way to introduce your self. Remember if your wearing a patch on your back, your representing your entire club. Make sure you do it right.Club name – Road name – City of Origin

If your a prospective member it’s:
Club name – Prospect – Road name – City of Origin
• If it’s not YOUR bike in the parking lot, don’t sit on it or touch it.
• Keep your hands off another persons patch. That includes when your greeting a fellow biker. If you absolutely have to touch their back. Touch their shoulder area where you clear the patches. Remember these people likely went through all kinds of hell earning those patches, so show some respect. The only person allowed to touch them is the person wearing them and the brothers and sisters they share patches with.
• Don’t interrupt a conversation among bikers. Unless your invited into the conversation your not welcome. Mind your own business and go about your way.
• Respect better half. How would you feel if some one flirted with or spoke rudely to your better half. This only leads to a bad path you do not want to be at the end of.
• If you bump into a fellow biker do the respectful thing and admit its your bad. If you ignore it and continue walking they have no choice but to consider it a sign of disrespect.
• Don’t go starting fights in a bar. Why do you think the bars are banning colors? I’m not saying let anyone disrespect you, but be smart about it and don’t be the one picking fights. Your ruining it for everyone.
• Don’t cut into the middle of a pack of riders for ANY REASON! If merging from or onto the freeway, slow down, and fall in behind. Hauling ass and passing another patched member is a sign of disrespect.
• Don’t pass anyone in their own lane, because now your really asking for it. Not only is it illegal, they may “accidentally” stick out a boot and send you off the road.
 If you don’t know the fellow biker riding in front of you, don’t pull up beside them with out an invitation. They will automatically assume you’re up to no good,and react. 

Some of you know that on June 2nd 2013  I hit the side of a drunk golfers car. He crossed 3 lanes to turn into a driving range without even looking at what might be coming down the two right lanes. I have spent many months recovering from this. I was very lucky, since all I could do was just go with it. I could not even use my brakes, it was that quick. Even at  35 mph it still hurts a lot. So be on the lookout for everything that might cause an accident. .  Oh and yes it totalled my 2003 Heritage Springer Softail. 



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Synthetic Oil for your Harley

Synthetic oil for Harley-Davidson motorcycle’s is probably one of the most debated subjects you will find on any message board or in any Harley magazine. I’m not about to fuel the fire about the motor companies about-faceon the use of synthetics, conflicting research reports, or all the mechanics who swear that “only Harley oil is formulated for Harley engines”. Rather than writing about the merits of synthetic oil being a superior product over petrolium based products, I thought I’d simply share my own experiences and let you decide. Performance is what counts so I set out to try several brands for myself to see if there really was a difference. I’m not a chemist nor do I own a sophisticated test facility so my comparisons are based on personal observations and simple temperature readings. To read about wear test comparisons performed between Screamin’ Eagle® Synthetic (SYN3) and AMSOIL Synthetic Oil check out Amsoil vs. Harley SYN3. Also worth reading is the Great Oil Debate article written for American Iron magazine regarding synthetic oils.

Let the Tests Begin

For my comparison I used a stock 2004 Heritage Twin Cam 88b with free breathing SE exhaust and K&N air cleaner. Following the initial break-in period, the recommended 1000 mile service was performed and lubricants were replaced with Harley brand petrolium based lubricants. The bike was driven an additional 1500 miles and monitored daily for oil temperature after the first week. All tests were performed during the summer months on a daily commute of 40 miles under a combination of traffic conditions. I live in Southern California so the clutch and tranny get a good workout with plenty of time to heat up. What I found was my oil temperature averaged approximately 240 degrees (Fahrenheit) at the conculsion of each commute and appeared to fluctuate approximately 7-10 degrees. Following this test (4+ weeks later) I changed oil to H-D’s Screamin’ Eagle® Syn3 20W-50 in the crankcase, primary, and transmission as recommended. Outdoor temps during this test period varied but were typically in the mid to upper 90′s. Once again I followed the same daily temperature testing and found the oil temperature dropped off an average of 2 degrees below that of the regular petrolium-based oil. Temperature readings fluctuated about the same as the conventional oil. Also the all too familiar shifting “clunk” seemed like it had quieted down slightly. On the down side, the occurance of false neutrals (or false 1st gear) increased substancially! Coincidence? This led me to want to try another product line just to see if it was related to the Syn3 oil or an unrelated occurance.

Third Time’s a Charm!

My third test was using Amsoil Synthetic 20W-50 oil in the crankcase, Amsoil synthetic 10W-40 oil in the primary chaincase, and Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-90 Synthetic Gear Lube in the transmission. I should note here that the synthetic oils were those specified for use in V-Twin motorycles and lacked the friction modifiers as rcommended for Harley engines. I also used only genuine H-D oil filters for each test. While you can use the same 20W-50 for all 3 crankcase, primary, and transmission as with H-D Syn3 (the name Syn3 refers to use in all 3), I chose to use viscosity ranges that more closely matched those of the recommended petrolium based oils. This is probably just my own opinion but I believe 20W-50 is too heavy for the primary which requires more cooling than it does lubrication. Same goes for the transmission, where the originally equipped gear oil is closer to 75W-90 and 20W-50 seems like it would be too thin. Harley doesn’t openly publish the viscosity of their petrolium based gear oil (they just give a part number) but most agree it is in the range of 75W-90. Using 3 different lubricant viscosities also happens to be a recommendation of the manufacturer, who calls this a “Three-fluid system”. This test using the Amsoil three-fluid system showed an average temperature reduction of 12 degrees from stock and 9 degrees less than Harley-Davidson’s Syn3. Temperature fluctuation seems to have flattened out as well with the oil temp staying between 225 and 230. Outdoor temps during the day have been a consistent 90+ degrees with quite a few days breaking the 100 mark during the testing.

Things That Go Clunk in the Night

Aside from cooler operating temperatures the shifting dramatically improved using the heavier 75W-90 Synthetic gear oil. That familiar “clunk” sounded slightly quieter than with the Syn3 oil… but this might have been my own perception since the shifting felt smoother. Overall I’d have to say that the Amsoil (in my opinion) is outperforming the Syn3 oil. I had thought of switching back to Syn3 to do another test, However, since the dealer charges $2 more per quart for Syn3 than what Amsoil costs, it just didn’t make sense to switch back. Slightly cooler operating temperatures, reduced noise, and cheaper price have sold me on this oil. Though I am far from being a scientific test facility, based on my own comparision I would highly recommend Amsoil to anyone thinking of making the switch to synthetic oil. To read about wear test comparisons performed between Screamin’ Eagle® Synthetic (SYN3) and AMSOIL Synthetic Oil check out Amsoil vs. Harley SYN3.

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