Scootering classics: Ten thousand mile tests

Stan doesn’t believe in regurgitating press releases or novelty video reviews. He believes in getting the miles in — 10,000+ this year alone to be exact. When working for a magazine it’s easy to get sucked into testing the most expensive kit on the market, but real life isn’t like that. This year he took mostly mid-range products from a variety of sources and pitched them against everything from searing heat in Italy to torrential rain in Germany. Here’s how he got on…

TOMTOM VIO SAT-NAV

What they say
“Designed for scooters, controlled by your smartphone. Upgrade your scooter to make it smart, better looking and connected. This scooter sat-nav is a waterproof smartphone second screen for your ride with at-a-glance navigation, traffic avoidance and caller display. That means faster commutes, easier exploration and your phone can stay tucked away safely.”

What Stan says
I’m not a big fan of sat-nays. I prefer maps and the joy of unexpected discoveries but there are times when firm directions are needed and the Vio fills that gap nicely. For clarity this isn’t simply a screen for any existing map apps installed on a smartphone. A specific TomTom app needs to be downloaded and it’s to this software that TomTom maps are stored. Full European coverage is included with the device, the main advantage being that navigation no longer saps mobile data.

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The downside is that some maps require a lot of storage and while testing it across Europe I found myself navigating to border towns where I’d change maps and move on, In fairness the Vio isn’t designed for such long trips and it took me through Luxembourg City (my personal travel nemesis) without a wrong move for the first time ever. The maps are clear, it’s easy to mount and as Dan didn’t send me the instruction book I can confirm that setup is intuitive.

The head unit drains itself of power after four hours of constant use but my iPhone’s bluetooth connection failed in half that time. USB fitted scooters won’t have any such problems but Luddites like me can get a full day’s ride out of the Vio by fitting a power bank to the phone and only switching the Vio head unit on when directions are needed.

In a sentence
I’m converted. For city navigation, checking waypoints and finding the hotel at the end of a hard day’s ride it’s invaluable, just remember to take the head off when getting parked!

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The knowledge
RRP £149.99
www.tomtom.com

DRAGGIN JEANS ‘REVZ’

What they say
“Draggin is the world leader in motorcycle fashion since 1997. Draggin founder Grant Mackintosh, literally put his arse on the line to prove the quality of his product in the famous drag test. The latest Revz design uses the very latest Draggin lining with more than 70m of slide. Constructed with coated denim that is high-stretch for comfort, when you want to look smart on every part of the ride.”

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What Stan says
I’ve used Draggin jeans for years and in their latest incarnation they are thinner and much more comfortable to wear on arrival. I’ve stopped short of throwing myself off the scooter to test Draggin’s claims of a 70m slide but with all vulnerable parts protected by Kevlar I’ve every confidence they do exactly what’s claimed.

In a sentence
The ideal summer and round town riding jeans.

The knowledge
RRP: £219.99
www.draggin.co.uk

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TCX STREET ACE WATERPROOF BOOTS

What they say
“The Street Ace shoe’s full grain leather upper has suede inserts. Underneath this stylish yet sturdy exterior sit reinforced toe and heel counters and full malleolus protection. The waterproof and breathable lining make these the ideal riding trainers.”

What Stan says
This is my second pair of these, my first having given five years of service. They’re strong enough to protect, yet casual enough to wear. This latest incarnation has an improved sole and other minor design changes but remains comfortable in all weather conditions.

In a sentence
Leader of the pack, safe, waterproof, comfortable in all weathers, there’s nothing more to add.

The knowledge
RRP £124.99
www.nevis.uk.com/products/tcx/urban_line/

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