Gear: triple-clamp saving keychain

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This is actually a serious review of a keychain. No, it’s not that slow of a day for content, I just really like this thing. I got it as a Christmas gift last year and I’ve been living jingle free for months now. The concept is about as simple as it gets: let your house keys hang down below your triple clamp by the wiring harness. No more scratched-to-hell top clamp, no more jingling of keys all the way to work. Well, unless your top clamp is already scratched to hell like mine was.

Before I was a keyboard jockey, I had a real job making big-bore kits and building motors at Thumper Racing. The shop is in Santa Clarita and I live in Inglewood. That’s roughly 40 miles each way, 5 days a week. Way back when I was riding a Ninja 250, I couldn’t be bothered to care about silly things like the appearance of my motorcycle or rattly, jingly things. The bike had been crashed pretty hard before I bought it and all the bodywork, except for the hideous bright yellow gas tank, was gone. The whole bike rattled and jingled as parts loosened themselves and fell off. I once lost my kickstand bolt on the way to work. The spring held the stand in place until I set my boot on it in an attempt to put it down. Imagine my surprise when rather than swinging down like it did every other day, it just fell off and laughed at me from the ground.

When that lovely motorcycle finally gave up the ghost, I wasted no time in buying a real bike. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ninja 250s, just that mine was a particularly terrible motorcycle. Lacking a few thousand bucks in cash, I went out and financed a brand new GSX-R 600. Not only did it function properly, but it came with fancy things like a warranty, shiny paint and adjustable suspension. It still blows my mind that a 20 year old loser mechanic with no credit can walk into a dealership, sign on the dotted line and ride off into the sunset on a 100+hp sportsbike.

I’d never owned a vehicle that wasn’t a barely running pile of junk and it never even occurred to me that I should do stuff to prevent it becoming a barely running pile of junk. Enter the keychain. My loving girlfriend (and occasional photographer) noticed that the top clamp on my then 18-month-old GSX-R was taking a beating and out of the kindness of her heart, she forked over some serious cash to buy me a fancy triple clamp saving keychain. Having previously never heard of or seen such a device, I was amazed both by the fact that motorcycle stuff existed that I didn’t know about and by the simple fact that it worked so well. The top clamp already ugly, but the reduction in maddening key-jingle noise was amazing. There have been many thousands of no-scratching, jingle-free miles since then.

Aerostich sells these things for $5, but there’s no reason you can’t make your own out of some paracord and heat-shrink tubing. If you don’t have supplies lying around, it’d be cheaper just to buy it and pay for shipping. The only real downsides to these is that it can be kind of tricky to wrestle a motorcycle key on and off with a key-ring attached and I suppose purchasing one could act as a gateway drug to wearing head-to-toe Cordura while perched on top of an R1200GS.

Aerostich

  • Alex

    Alternative that I use:
    http://www.mykeyport.com/

    …yeah quite a bit more in the cost department, but it’s functional and sexy as hell, haha.

    • NitroPye

      Wow, that is a lot of thought put into a key organizer.

    • Sean Smith

      Icon (not the gear people) uses those as their keys. Awesome stuff.

      • Alex

        I love mine to death. Holds the key to my 675, house, room, and shed, as well as a bottle opener and usb flash drive. Sexy as hell and functional to the point that you forget how stupid expensive it was for a keychain, haha.

  • NitroPye

    I’ve always just used a carabiner as a key ring and I take my bikes key off it every time I use it. This could save me from having the bulk of a carabiner in my pockets.

    Sometimes its the little things.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub sean (the roommate)

      that’s why people loop it through a belt loop.

  • ursus

    Nice. For the same reasons, my ignition key by itself and not on a ring. The remaining keys are on a ring and in my pocket.

    • Mr.Paynter

      Yep!

    • Brook

      +2

    • Robbo B

      Ignition key on one keyring with a Honda tag, everything else on a separate keyring. Cheap as!

  • Tucker

    I dig this, but what I REALLY need is a solution for my wallet/cellphone while riding around in full leathers. Half the time I have to take my whole suit off to find my wallet lodged in the knee

    • Alex

      http://ducati-motorcycle-parts.com/Ducati-Small-Magnetic-Pocket-Tank-Bag-967400AAA.aspx

      And because it’s Ducati you get to pay twice as much!

      That’s just what a quick Google turned up, but I’m sure there must be really small tank bags out there.

      • Tucker

        My mind wasn’t even on the track of a small magnetic tank bag. Thank you good samaritan for setting me on an enlightened path. I thought about jamming them under the pillion, but on the Daytona that takes a wrench to remove. Time to start perusing bag manufacturers…

        • Ceolwulf

          Maybe something like this? http://www.motopakluggage.com/gtpocket.html

          I own a few Motopak pieces and really like them.

          edit: although the Ducati, whilst a fair bit smaller, is both slicker and cheaper. Will wonders never cease.

          • Ceolwulf

            Or! get yourself a small digicam bag, a couple rare earth magnets from the crafts store, a little duct tape to fasten the magnets inside, and ride off into the sunset.

            • Tucker

              Genius.

        • Alex

          Ah, I’ve got a 675 too, the pillion is a pain to get off. I’ve been thinking about getting a Ballistic battery to replace the stock one since, aside from being a better battery, it’d give me at least a wallet and phone’s worth of storage space under the seat.

          The one reason I’d be weary of making my own: Make sure there’s some thick stuff in-between the magnets and the compartment since magnets can render your credit cards useless.

    • Sean Smith

      I just ride with my backpack. In addition to having a back protector, I usually carry a flat repair kit, stuff to clean my visor (and a clear one for the ride home) JB weld, tools to adjust my suspension, tire pressure gauge, and some magicy type tape that will fix a holed radiator hose and just generally hold shit together.

      It sounds like a lot of stuff, but it REALLY sucks to not have that stuff and need it. The flat repair kit has saved mine and my riding buddies asses more times than I can count. What would have been a gigantic fiasco of leaving someone stranded on the side of the road while a flat repair kit was sourced or a tow truck arrived has been changed into a two minute minor inconvenience while everyone else got gas.

      I know a few older, more curmudgeonly type guys that insist on riding with a fanny pack that’s got a similar kit in it and Wes uses a US10 strapped to the pack of the bike. If the tank bag works for you, it’s probably the easiest option. I have a hard time riding with one because I hang my outside arm across the tank and a bag gets in the way.

      • Dean

        I try to travel as light as possible, but I do have a small toolkit I keep under my seat.

        I’d love to see a feature, something similar to this comment, in a little more depth. Maybe cover your strategy/essential items and one or two other people’s approaches.

      • Tucker

        I also hang my outside arm across the tank and was just thinking that might get in the way… I’ve worn a backpack with my suit before but it was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. Those are some excellent points you make as far as having a small emergency kit to deal with what may come… Do you have a brand of backpack that is comfortable to wear over your leathers? I’d be interested in checking out such a brand

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler
          • Ax

            +1. My R30 is totally bad-ass. Thought it was a bit pricey at first but, having used it for several months, it’s been worth every penny.

          • Nicholas

            It’s amazing until the strap fails on your £100 Kreiga tail pack throwing £400 work of locks/tools/clothing etc all over the M40 somewhere outside of Oxford.

            Saying that their backpacks are great.

        • Sean Smith

          Don’t listen to Wes; he’s just some guy on the internet.

          http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2011/03/gear-alpinestars-protection-backpack/

          Don’t discount the fanny pack either; there’s a reason those old guys wear them.

          If you’ve got an aero-hump on your suit, the protection pack is not gonna work. Wes says the R35 is fine for that though.

          • noone1569

            This. I bought this bad solely because of the review here, and absolutely love it. Even loaded down (buell full size tool kit, U.S. Army combat lifesaver kit[which, unfortunately, I have needed on the road], flat repair kit, tire pressure gauge, bottle of water, visor cleaner, etc) you hardly even notice it is there. Plus, it has crash protection and looks totally bad ass.
            +1

      • http://www.karinajean.com karinajean

        I have a dorky hat box (a small sized givi top case) on my bike. it has totally spoiled me for daily commuting – I can keep a full change of biz-clothes, including heels, as well as my work laptop, lunch, a thermos of tea, and rain gear and other motorcycley essentials. when I get to work I take out my clothes and plop in my helmet and strut into work. 5 minutes later and you’d never know I motorcycled in.

        BUT this is clearly another gateway drug to head-to-toe cordura. the box does come off for those scrappier trips which don’t require a costume change.

  • MotoRandom

    As long as we’re sharing:
    Amazon

    I’ve heard you should avoid dangling a whole ton of keys off of an ignition on any vehicle you are planning on keeping for a long time. Day-to-day wear and tear starts to add up and sooner or later you are going to have to fix it. I keep my bike key separate on one of these. The wind starts to cause the threads to fray after a while but at this price I think I can afford to to replace it every couple of years.

    • Sean Smith

      I just really hate losing my keys. That, and you’ll likely have to replace your pistons and rings before you’ll wear out the ignition cylinder from the weight of a few keys. At least on a sportsbike.

  • Zach

    Whatever you do, don’t sign up for the paper Aerostitch catalog. You would have never thought of most of the items in there, but once you see them, you can’t imagine how you’ve been riding without them.

    • Sean Smith

      Dude, keep that shit quiet. You’re gonna let our secret out.

      Once you realize you can order a Roadcrafter in all black with knee pucks and no reflective, and in a slim fit with forward rotated torso and articulated arms, it’s starts to look prety damn appealing. All you need is a way to carry a pair of shoes and a place to store your helmet, suit and boots when you get where you’re going, and you can ride with full protection, as fast as you want, in any weather.

      • http://rohorn.blogspot.com rohorn

        Does the print version have the “Special Products” page, you know, the one with Burnout In A Can, Head Tent, Calory Vac (That actually got “The Horse Backstreet Choppers” print magazine editor’s panties in a wad) etc…?

        Their “Combat Touring” T-shirt is classic – even HFLish if I may say so.

        Oh yes – keys – always kept them solo. Even the one for the BSA, which also happened to look exactly like a stubby screwdriver…

        • Ax

          Yeah, though they’re listed with the normal products instead of being put on a separate page.

          • Barry

            But, disappointingly, they now print the price/part number in red, so it’s obvious which are the jokes. Apparently, not everyone “got” the joke.

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider
    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub sean (the roommate)

      before? yes. better? no.

  • Anthony

    Also, Key Choob:
    http://www.keychoob.co.uk/