MORE FUN WITH FOAM... & Other Stuff

Tank/tail bag padding | Boot Treads

Add Tank Bag and Tail Bag Padding

Although tank and tail bags usually come with padded surfaces to minimize scratches on the tank and tail cowl plastic, they still can do some damage. Either the cushioning material is not soft enough, or parts of the bag material overhang the protective cushion and rub against the body paint. A piece of 1/8" thick neoprene foam cut to size should do the trick for these situations. The pictures below illustrate how this can work.

Here is the bottom of my tank bag. You can see the vinyl protective fabric that provides some protection to the tank. However, it still is a bit rougher than I'd like, especially for a bike that's new or repainted.
Place the tank bag on a piece of 1/8" thick neoprene and trace its outline using a white crayon, tailor's chalk, or just blackboard chalk. Cut out the shape, and then trim it so that it's nice and neat, not protruding out past the tank bag. 1/8" neoprene is appropriate for extra tank bag padding in that it's thin enough to allow the magnets to have plenty of grip.

Spray the neoprene with some good, quality adhesive (e.g., 3M Rubber & Vinyl 80 spray adhesive), let it get tacky, and then place it on the tankbag. Put the tank bag on your bike and go for a scratch-free ride!

Tail bags can also leave scratches on the rear cowl, especially if the nylon material of the tailbag overhangs the neoprene cushion that comes with the tail bag. To resolve this problem, simply cut out the shapes that you need for protection and adhere them to the stock cushion. 1/8" neoprene is nice in that there isn't a big ridge between the stock cushion and added pieces. The pictures below show an example of how this can work.


Make Your Boots Last Longer

Nice boots cost at least $150-$200, so making them last can save you some good money. Motorcycle boots (unlike work boots, for example) need to have a thinner profile around the toe to easily slide under the shifter and also to give the rider a better feel for the shifter and brake. This usually means that the sole is relatively thin; and, of course, thin soles wear out more quickly than thicker soles. After a bunch of shifting and walking around in a pair of boots, the front part of my boot soles, especially the inside area that makes contact with the shifter and brake levers, starts to get very worn.

Here's one way to save the soles of your boots from getting worn out to the point that you either have to: a) take them to a shoe repair shop for new soles, or b) get a brand new pair. Essentially, what you need is a very durable, thin, self-adhesive, non-mineral, slip-resistant layer of material that you can shape and add to the areas of your soles where they have the most wear and tear. A great product for this is 3M Safety-Walk Medium Resilient Tread, a material that is primarily used as a slip-resistant floor tread for locker rooms and recreational/athletic equipment, boats and docks, interior stairwells, entryways and lobbies. In addition to putting Safety-Walk tread on the floor, it can also be used as shoe tread that is put directly on the shoe.

Unfortunately, you can't just buy a strip of this material at the store. If you want some of this product, you have to buy a large roll of it — more than you'd use in a couple of decades of riding. An alternative is offered by some companies (called "converters" since they "convert" the 3M product into another product) as small shoe treads for about $4 for a pair (e.g., see the pic to the right). The part of my boot soles that I want to protect, however, is bigger than the small shoe treads I can find at the store, and I want to be have enough material to cut it to the moste effective shape. That's why I took the plunge and bought a long roll of Safety-Walk medium resilient tread (4" wide); and offer it on this website (on the Purchase page) in 4" x 12" strips that you can cut to any shape that you like. The cost is only $3 for a 4" x 12" piece — good enough for several applications.

Here's how to use Safety-Walk treads to save the souls of your boots (hallelujah).

Thoroughly clean the bottom of your boot. You can even use a sander to make sure you get off all of the gunk.
Determine how much of the sole you want to cover.
Put the boot upright with the tread underneath the boot covering the amount of sole you want covered.
Trace around the boot to show how you want the tread shaped.
Cut out the tread, trimming the material as needed.
Cut out the tread.
Remove the protective liner to expose the adhesive backing, and place the tread firmly on your boot.
Press down any parts of the tread that aren't firmly against the sole.
Put on your boots and ride. The world is waiting. When the tread starts wearing out, put another one on by following the same steps.