Sunday, November 29, 2015

Moto Bazzi Iron Horse


 

Moto Bazzi Iron Horse

Have you ever seen a Moto Guzzi?  You might even have one.  Unique bikes have a huge appeal for me.  Lizzy asked me what I like about unique and I told her I enjoy something that isn't like everything else and at the same time, it is special.  In RL, the Moto Guzzi is very unique with its transverse V-Twin.  I don't know how practical, efficient or special a Moto Guzzi is but they are certainly eye-catching.

Moto Bazzi bikes aren't Moto Guzzi's or I didn't see an MG at the Moto Bazzi shop. Plus this post isn't about Moto Guzzi.  It's about something far cooler.   Moto Bazzi bikes are most definitely unique and quite special.  While form may follow function, the Moto Bazzi Iron Horse blends both form and function into an incredibly sexy bike that flat out performs like a rockstar!


The Looks of the Iron Horse

Then gentle bends of the bars, suicide shifter and low riding position comes together as a true piece of art. The bars caught my eye first!   I was out on one of my excursions, bouncing around different bike shops off the beaten path when I found this builder.  I've also been enjoying a Youtube channel Choppertown.  The series showcases custom choppers and bobbers.  If the Iron Horse were a real life creation, I fully expect it would be profiled on this channel.  To say I had a "eureka" moment is an understatement. 

By itself, the bike qualifies as a bad ass.  It isn't a powerful monster lumbering down the highway with some fat parolee holding onto the bars.  Instead, the Iron Horse is the kind of bike that sprints through the mountains and twisties and retains the old school bobber style I admire.  It looks amazing parked by your favorite roadside diner and yes, people will notice when you kick the motor to life.


Riding the Iron Horse

When the rubber meets the road, you would expect a great looking bike to perform.  Sadly, that isn't always the case.  I've tested some pigs and have some in my inventory.  The Iron Horse is by far no pig, its a thoroughbred.  On the test track at Moto Bazzi and at Crossing Sands, I was screaming in high gear glued to the track like the bike was on rails. 


The menu system doesn't provide for incremental tweaks which you won't miss as the bike is perfectly tuned and balanced for low and high gears.  Resizing is going to be needed as the bike comes out of the box tiny for my avatar.  For smaller or female avatars, the bike would be a close fit.  Fortunately, the menu allows for sizing and repositioning your avatar with little effort and low frustration. 


Animations are simple which isn't a bad thing at all.  Do you really need to snuggle and cuddle on a bike?  These bikes are made for riding and if you want to tear up the pavement and show up for a ride on a sick bike, the Iron Horse might be for you.  You will get the kick start animation which is pretty cool by itself.

The sound is a nice thump with some harmonics at idle followed by a low roar when you twist the throttle.  Even the kick start has the crank sound that adds to the realism. 


Moto Bazzi Final Thoughts

Overall, the bikes I tested at Moto Bazzi were just awesome.  I found some nice little café racers Lizzy and I enjoyed riding.  There is a mix of bikes from bobbers like the Iron Horse to unique choppers and some old school sport bikes you might find in the Isle of Man TT. 

I highly recommend a trip to Moto Bazzi.  Demo bikes don't have the resizer script loaded and you might find the bikes incredibly small.  If you notice in the pics, I was able to fit the bike to my avatar with some ease.  You won't have any trouble doing the same.  I couldn't find a Marketplace store or I would share it with you.

If you're looking for a unique bike, one that nobody in your MC or among your friends will have, visit Moto Bazzi.  You can find incredibly great looking bikes which aren't expensive (L$1,500) and are absolutely excellent performers in any condition.

Robby

Saturday, November 28, 2015

JJ Cycles - FLSTF Softail Fat Bob




JJ Cycles FLSTF Softail Fat Bob

The other day I came across a Fat Boy in RL.  To be clear, I came across a Harley Fat Bob not a fat boy on a Harley.  I've said that a Fat Bob is the kind of bike you ride when you stick your finger in a cream pie and then say, "yeah, well sell that now."  In a lot of ways, the Fat Bob is about mayhem and being seen and heard when you don't give a damn if you are because you will certainly be heard. 

Jimmie Jax is the founder and designer of JJ Cycles.  You can blame him for this loud and aggressive bike that gets disapproving looks from the old lady down the street.  You really are thinking by now that I'm talking smack about the FLSTF.  Nope because people who ride these bikes do want to be heard and love the image and style only Harley Davidsons can bring.  Jimmie captured the Fat Boy, brought it inworld and having taken the bike for a ride, I can say he put in some growl just to fit the image for the real Harley rider.


Riding the FLSTF

Out of the box, you'll probably need to resize your bike.  If you've been riding for any length of time, the menu system will be very familiar.  Scripting is also common and set up well.  Expect a few tweaks to the handling so the bike fits your riding style.

The bike feels beefy and mean and I like that feature in a bike of this size which means it can also get away from you if you aren't paying attention.  You would expect a RL Fat Bob to feel beefy too.  Perhaps the sound helps with the illusion.  Push it to speed and the sound changes from a rumble to a roar.  I love the roar.  Its the same sound, I'm sure, the enemy heard before the bombs dropped. 

Properly tuned for timed tracks, I suspect someone could turn in some decent times.  The bike holds the road as I expect it should on hills and jumps.  This is a well built and scripted bike.  Jimmie is inworld frequently and I suspect he is interested in how happy his customers are with his bikes.  He also does some custom work and I have one of his custom bikes.


Features and Frills
 
Some bike builders sell features in the form of animations that in my opinion, don't contribute to the realism.  I haven't found that with JJ Cycles.  Jimmie's bikes are about riding a bike to fit your style and personality and looks aside, this bike rides well.  If you want to be a bad ass (or are one...sir) then you can find that bike for you.  If you want a classic bagger, you can find that one too.  With the FLSTF,  you have an aggressive, tough looking and mean sounding bike for your next ride.  Do you really want cuddle animations?  
 





About JJ Cycles

At the JJ Cycles Main Store you can try out different bikes on the test track and you might even meet Jimmie. Do ask him for his autograph.  You can also buy on Marketplace.  With so many great bike builders, JJ Cycles is one you need to look into.  Pricing ranges from L$1,999 to L$2,999. 

Robby

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bikes on a Budget



Bikes on a Budget

In a recent post, I suggested my pain point when considering a purchase.  My sweet spot as far as pricing goes for a bike is between L$1000 to L$3000.  To pay more upsets my stomach and unless the bike is incredibly special, I'll probably take a pass.  That gap is pretty wide though when it comes to your choices in a two wheeled fun.  My budget doesn't allow me to purchase every single bike I would like or would just like to test and I suspect your budget is just as limited. 

So if you have a limited budget does that mean you are stuck with two wheeled pigs?  The answer to that is no. I do agree with the "you get what you pay for" philosophy and apply it to liquor and footwear.  Still, you can find some great deals in SL and still get a pretty nice bike which you can love. 

A key point I will continue to make, TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.  Not all bikes are created equally and if you buy inexpensive bikes on MP or inworld without a demo ride, you might be very disappointed.

Let's take a look at some bikes priced under L$1000.


Urban Speed Motors

When I was scouring MarketPlace for unfamiliar bike builders, I came across Urban Speed Motors.  Please pay attention to what I'm going to say before you exchange Lindens.  Buy on MarketPlace!  You can test the bikes in-world but the vendor at USM has different pricing than in Marketplace.  The price in-world ranges from 1500 to 3500 Lindens and the MP pricing is significantly less with most bikes under L$1000.

USM seems to sell sport or naked sport bikes and if that is your thing, you can get a pretty nice bike for a little bit of your hard earned money.  Expect to tweak the bike's handling such as turn rate, banking, and resistance.  All in all, these aren't bad bikes at all.  On the USM test track, I felt like I was in control of the bike and had a lot of fun zipping around the corners.  It would be nice to test it on sky tracks and with hills but alas that couldn't happen unless I dropped my lindens on a purchase, which I didn't do.  Would it be a good bike for you?  Give it a try and you tell me what you think.


B.C.C.

B.C.C. makes incredible bikes that are trustworthy on any track.  Brummie Guyot's earlier designs might not be mesh but they are still very good bikes, plus, they aren't expensive.  Even his newer models aren't expensive. 

I've tested and reported on B.C.C. bikes before and will stand by every word written.  The older designs are good and if you are on a budget and still want to ride with your friends, you can lay out less than L$1000 for a nice bike.  The bike shown is L$750!  It rides about as well as Brummie's newest bikes.  You can choose from choppers, bobbers to baggers.

Visit the B.C.C. shop, join the group and send Brummie an IM saying I told you to buy.  You can also buy from the B.C.C. MarketPlace store.



HDCC

At L$1000, HDCC gives you some nice options including bobbers, choppers and cruisers.  These are nice bikes and you can demo them at their mainland store.  One thing I find somewhat comical is how bikes are sized before they are released to customers.  HDCC bikes are HUGE!!  I felt like an 8 year old sitting in the driver seat of my uncle's Gran Torino.  Yes you are able to resize the bike and reposition to fit your avatar and with the settings menu you can tweak the bike to fit your riding style. 

Riding the HDCC bike shown on mainland roads, well, it wasn't bad at all and mainland sucks.  Okay so I'm tempted to do a more elaborate review of this bike.  An even grand can buy you a nice bike.  Maybe it isn't as fancy or unique as other bikes I've reviewed but I don't think you'll be disappointed in this bike. 

Check out the bike Inworld or on Marketplace.

There are other builders selling bikes both in-world and on Marketplace for at or under L$1000.  Some of the more prolific builders didn't have demo rezzers which I found very disappointing.  I've written about builders only selling on Marketplace.  Some I figure have gone out of business inworld or are economizing their operation and they have such beautiful bikes I would love to try. 

So there you have it, three bike builders offering bargains in SL.  For each builder, you can test ride the bikes and following my instructions (if I had any), you can get a great bike for a little bit of money. 

Let me know what you find.

Robby

Friday, November 20, 2015

Road Rage Customs Cherokee

Road Rage Customs (RRC) Cherokee
 
Someone asked me recently, "what's your favorite bike?"  There isn't a good answer.  I suppose my favorite bike might be the next one.  Even in RL, I love the visual art of motorcycles, especially the old bikes.  In a previous post, I related a story about a visit to a car swap at a NASCAR race track.  One of the rows at the swap was dedicated to motorcycles.  A vendor had these old Indians and Harleys with the suicide shifters that were absolutely gorgeous.  I would never give a suicide shift a consideration in RL but for a moment I imagined being tough enough to try.  In SL, there is no risk is there?
 
 
RRC's Cherokee is one of those works of art.  While visiting RRC's shop, I started playing with different bikes.  While testing one model, I came across a RRC bike I didn't recognize.  Clearly it was customized for someone with ape hangers and a silver paint job. After a visual inspection, zip I went back to the shop to give the Cherokee a test. 
 
 
 
The Cherokee resembles a Harley Panhead.  Even the sound has that unique "putt putt" tone rather than the rumble and growl of the more modern bikes.  Retro is appealing and the bike looks incredible.  Red bikes aren't my thing though this one looks beautiful.  Maybe the red paint calls too much attention.  The Cherokee needs to be seen!  The big question is "how well does it ride?"
 
With RRC bikes, some allow for customizing paint and tone.  With the Cherokee, you can change the tires (whitewall/blackwall) and set the shine to the rims. You can also hide the pillion and bags.  Setting tweaks can be performed with the menu by left clicking the bike. 
 
 
Riding the Cherokee
 
I like RRC and I haven't been shy in saying so.  The bikes are unique, they are well scripted and I can try before buying.  All great aspects to have in a bike.  Out of the box, my avatar fit the bike perfectly which might have less to do with the bike as it might be my avatar is sized similarly to the builder. 
 
RRC bikes tend to have a faster first gear than most other bikes I've tested and owned.  While this isn't a problem, if you hop on the bike and take off in 3rd gear, you'll be surprised.  The bike will scoot.  Like any bike, you'll become accustomed to the slight differences.  I did find a little "out of the box" under steer but really I would expect under steer in a bike of this size in RL.  It is a cruiser not a racer.  The purpose of riding the Cherokee is to have a unique bike under your ass that performs amazingly well.
 
 
Navigating the ground and sky tracks at Sturgis was easy on the Cherokee.  Streets, tight turns and the helix were easy and I felt confident on the bike.  Even in a higher gear, the bike performed, like any RRC bike I've tested, damned great!  There was no floating or skipping as the tires stayed on the road. I noted under steer before though it wasn't an issue if you like a little realism (I do) and I didn't tweak the script settings at all.  At 4th gear, I could easily navigate a timed track and remember the RRC 4th gear a little faster than other bikes I own.  It was plenty fast.  I challenge you to take a switchback turn at full speed in RL.  All I did was lift off the throttle, initiate the turn and then back on the throttle, just as I would in RL.  No problem!   If it is an issue for you, adjust the settings.
 
 
Final Thoughts:  RRC Cherokee
 
What you love in a bike, I might detest.  So much about purchasing a bike is emotional, even in RL.  The visual appeal has to be coupled with the capability of the bike.  What I've noticed is a lot of bike builders no longer have in-world stores where you can test their bikes.  That's a shame.  Perhaps they have left SL or cut back on their time in-world.  Another observation is how many bike shops don't allow customers to test their bikes.  Something isn't right about that.  If you won't let me test the bike, is there something wrong with it? 
 
RRC has a shop in-world and I've noticed some newer models.  I've also noticed a recent price reduction.  We all like bargains and I was thinking about my price limit when buying a bike.  If the bike is special, really special, I'll break the 3K barrier.  At L$2,800, the Cherokee is well priced especially for what you get in quality and craftsmanship.  This bike works, it is beautiful and I guarantee, few on the sky tracks or in your MC will have one.  That last point needs to change, more people need to buy RRC bikes! 
 
 
I don't have any favorite bikes but I do have favorite bike builders.  RRC (Kris Harvey) is one of my favorites.  I haven't had the opportunity to talk with him, which is cool.  However, what I have observed about him, He is among a college of great builders who, and I hope this is true, build bikes with the purpose bringing some joy and happiness to their customers.  You can tell when a builder is out to make some money.  The quality in the set up, scripting or design isn't there.  RRC bikes seem to have been thoroughly tested before they are released and the quality is the gold standard.  Should you buy one?  ....YES!!
 
Where to Test and to Buy:

Visit Road Rage Customs at:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Soul%20Paradise/182/222/390

and on MarketPlace:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/69428

If you'd like to keep this project alive, please comment, share and visit each of the builders I review.  Let them know how you found them.  Together we can help great builders continue their art in SL. 

Robby
 


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Q's Customs - Harley FatBoy Custom and East Africa Chopper


I've gone on record how I feel about choppers.  For the most part, choppers in SL look pretty stupid. C'mon shark fins on a bike?  In RL, they look ungainly and even the OCC bikes look pretty ridiculous.  Yes, my friends, I have had to eat crow a few times with my opinions and I did again today. 

When opportunity presents itself, jump on it!  Today I tested two of Q's Customs' bikes: the Harley FatBoy Custom and the East Africa Chopper.  The East Africa Chopper is a recent release for Q's Customs and it is a mix of delicate and flowing lines with a beast hidden within.  The Harley FatBoy Custom, well here's the deal.  I've always thought people who ride FatBoys are the kind of people who steal Halloween Candy.  Q's FatBoy carries that feeling, it is rough and tough!


East Africa Chopper

As I mentioned, the East Africa Chopper has these delicate and flowing lines that make it less of ungainly chopper and almost a work of art.  The bike is beautiful and well crafted. I could see myself riding it regularly and it is a chopper.  What the hell??  I like a chopper??  My opinions and belief systems have been blown apart. 


Riding the East Africa Chopper
My position in purchasing bikes in SL is based on three primary points:
  1. Try before you ride: if I can't demo the bike, I probably shouldn't take the risk in buying it.  With Q's Customs, you can demo all of their bikes.  I go there to kill time and play with the demos.
  2. The bike has to look good.  Yes I have my preferences on what looks good.  I know what I like and what I don't.  Your tastes will vary and what I don't like in a bike is probably what you love. 
  3. The bike has to work out of the box.  I'm okay with tweaking settings here and there to make the bike more "rideable".  I like being able to tweak settings for the purpose of performance.  If the bike is a pig, you'll see it in the scripting. You can't easily tweak settings to make a pig into a pony.
This bike fits those principles:  I tried it, it looks great and it works well out of the box. 

Riding the East Africa Chopper was a lot of fun.  I made a couple of adjustments to the settings to fit my riding preference.  Powering up and setting off, I noticed some realistic animations as my avatar leaned into the turns to bank this long bike.  Having watched a video of a chopper working through RL twisties, it wasn't fast and it was ungainly and watching the rider work to lean the bike, made the virtual experience more realistic.

A great test for me is if the bike holds the road up and down hills.  As a consumer, I don't know how hard or easy it is for builders to keep a bike from skipping or floating on hills but I know it can be irritating.  I've learned to live with it as I do with most anomalies in SL.  Q seems to excel in how his bikes perform as cruisers or racers.  I don't say this because I think he's a nice guy.  Simply put, his bikes work very well in all conditions.  He has a recipe for success.

I love realism and the East Africa Chopper provides that.  It is a very long bike and negotiating tight turns reflects the long wheel base.  Choppers will under steer compared to a sport bike or at least they should because of the long wheel base.  This bike has a touch of under steer that I could have tweaked out with the settings but I decided for the purpose of realism to leave the steering alone. 


Cool Little Features
When you buy the East Africa Chopper, you'll get a few versions: a white bike (shown), black bike and one that is extra small.  Also included are helmets because even in SL, we should think of our heads when the sim lags.  You can also "show/hide" a sleeping bag and other stuff strapped to the back of the bike. 

Now here is what I really like about bikes that are modifiable,  I like to change the colors.  Lizzy decided she wanted to ride the chopper and I couldn't have her riding some plain white or black chopper.  Instead, I colored the metal parts pink and periwinkle, her favorite colors.  She was happy with the look and happy with how the bike performed.  If only every bike allowed us to give a little personal flair to the pain, we would all be happy campers.


Harley FatBoy Custom

I love bobbers.  I love bobbers that are mean looking.  Q's Harley FatBoy Custom isn't just a Harley FatBoy, it has the bobber look with a chopped rear fender, no front fender and it is rude looking.   The matte black paint gives the bike a look that is anything but gentle.
If the bike was a human, it would flip off a bus full of nuns.


Riding the Harley FatBoy Custom

A bike that looks great and rides like hell isn't worth buying.  The Harley FatBoy Custom looks awesome for all of the reasons I shared.  Out of the box without any tweaks to the settings, this bike is probably one of the best I've ridden.  I can take it on the old sky tracks without fear of riding off the roads into oblivion.  I can even hold a lane on the twisties without a great deal of concentration.  Imagine, an SL bike that is intuitive, smooth and positively predictable.  I thought it was a fantasy until now.

Q's Customs makes great bikes.  They are clearly tested before they are sold and the attention to "rideability" shows.  Again the best looking bike that is a pig to ride will be a huge disappointment and a waste of money.  I've looked at the FatBoy a number of times and it looks well, fat.  I don't do fat and it isn't particularly pretty.  Until I rode the bike, I did not give it any consideration.  In  my first 10 minutes of riding it, I fell head over heals. This is an amazing bike even if it is a bit plump!  I'm sure it is just big boned and all muscle.

The bike is about riding.  What do you want, a cup holder for your pinot grigio?  Instead, you get a raw, rough, and aggressive machine that rides better than most any bike in SL.  Animations are both realistic and well placed on the bike for rider and passenger.


My Thoughts

Choppers will never be my first love.  I confess to looking the other way when I see them at shops.  Yes, it is about my tastes and preferences and there is nothing wrong with wanting a chopper.  Q Anwyl and I had the chance to chat a bit. We talked about his designs and my preferences for bikes.  I'm glad he encouraged me to try his East Africa Chopper.  This means I'm warming to the whole chopper style, as long as they don't look stupid.

My inventory is full of Q's Customs' bikes.  There is a reason I like them and its mostly because they ride and work so well.  They look great and in my observation, Q puts a little attitude into his designs.  They don't look cute, they have this edge to them. In a way, Q's Customs makes bikes that if they were a boy, you'd warn your daughter about him and keep your shotgun by the door.

I've had the opportunity to talk with some great bike builders in SL and I feel somewhat self conscious mentioning other bike builders when talking to one. I'm sure there is competition but I've also witnessed mutual respect and collaboration too.

In buying anything in RL or SL, I prefer to do business with good people.  From the point of view of a consumer, I am in awe of the builders' technical and creative skills.  For about 8 bucks (US), we can have a fun experience. For that same 8 bucks, builders from all over the world come inworld to share their creations with us. My hat is off to these builders.

I'll look forward to testing other Q bikes in the future. 

About Q's Customs

Q's Customs offers some very well scripted and designed bikes.  The textures are generally very well done.  Most of his bikes cost L$2200.  Try them out at his inworld store.

Wishing you and our world peace!

Robby

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dear Santa


Dear Santa,

I know you're very busy checking your list and if you look under the "B"s you'll see my name.  For the most part, I've been pretty good.  Remember how I apologized for shooting at your sleigh last year?  I'm still very sorry. Though once I sobered up, I found Rudolph to be quite delicious!   Shall we let bygones be bygones?

Santa, as you know I've been writing about vehicles in SL.  You know SL Santa, we ran across you at the Key Hole Club.  Wait, I wasn't supposed to mention that.  Again, my apologies.  Anyway, I've been doing this writing thing and I was thinking, maybe if I wrote you a letter asking for what I want, we'll form a more healthy relationship and I'll get some loot.

Robby's List

Motorcycles


Road Rage Customs "Conviction"

Yep Santa, I want one of these.  You might one as well.  I mean look at this bike Santa.  If you had one of these, you wouldn't need the eight tiny reindeer and sleigh (sorry again about Rudolph....tasty).  RRC makes incredible bikes and they are so bad ass, they make me look downright innocent.  Of course, I'm innocent Santa.  I ain't done nuthin!.

Visit Road Rage Customs at:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Soul%20Paradise/182/222/390

On MarketPlace:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/RRC-Conviction-v106-SS-RRC/6438651


B.C.C.'s Raw and Loud

Brummie's a great guy Santa and he builds really great bikes.  He built this new bike called the Raw and Loud.  Look at the picture, it's old school cool!  I have other B.C.C. bikes and I've enjoyed them all.  You see Santa, I really need this one to encourage me to be a better person.  This bike is saintly, like me! 

Buy them here:

B.C.C. MarketPlace

B.C.C. In-world

Boats


Trudeau 12M

Now living up in the North Pole you probably don't get much opportunity to sail. I recommend sailing Santa.  It is very relaxing and will take your mind off of Rudolph's untimely passing...and grilling.  There is this lady named Jacqueline Trudeau who builds beautiful sail boats.  Her latest is the 12M and it is simply elegant.  You want me peaceful don't you Santa? 

You can buy it here:

Inworld
MarketPlace

Airplanes


TBM Percival Vega Gull

Santa I could help you on your rounds with this plane.  Yep I sure could!  It is TBM's Percival Gull and it is exquisite.  Plus, unlike other SL airplanes, the Gull will stall,  you know like  you did when I shot Rudolph out of the sky....oops...sorry.  Anyway, the animations have my avatar climbing aboard.  It flies so well and I'm sure can help you carry more toys and extra ammunition.

Visit their store inworld you should visit just for fun and take a look at what they have in MarketPlace


So there you have it Santa.  That's my list of things I would really really appreciate you bringing me on your annual journey. 

Okay Santa I have to be honest, toys are great but what I really want to ask is if could you fulfill all of the wishes, hopes and dreams of my friends inworld and in RL, keep my family well and for that person who did that horrible thing on the highway, could you ram a shovel load of coal up his ass?  If you could bring us all of that Santa, I'll take care of the toys.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!!

Robby

Monday, November 9, 2015

TBM Kronos V6 - Pitts Replica

TBM Kronos V6

We're not all about motorcycles and sailboats, we fly too!  On my list are a few aircraft I've been wanting to test.  Normally, I prefer general aviation aircraft and helicopters in SL.  They are a little less expensive and far more easy to fly, in SL.  Let's be clear, aircraft in RL are very expensive and helicopters aren't particularly easy to fly.  Okay I've flown fixed wing aircraft and never rotary wing and I don't know what its like to fly a helicopter and I don't want to try after seeing a lesson being conducted.  Ugh!

So here we are in SL.  Everything is easy right?  The early days of SL aviation left SL pilots with limited opportunities.  Apolon was the place to buy vehicles.  For the most part, I remember his stuff working reasonably well even if it looked pretty basic and came with recorded air traffic control communications everyone could hear a couple of sims away.  Other builders came into the space over time with improved designs using sculpties, better scripts and finally mesh entered the scene. Bancos Milestone used to make incredible aircraft when he was inworld.

I don't recall how I came across TBM. Obviously I did right?  The Kronos was on my MP favorites to try and then I discovered other models and designs at TBM.  My "try before you buy" principle is still in force and at the TBM, several of their latest models can be tested on their runway.  Comparative to other aircraft builders, TBM produces a very stable, smooth and realistic aircraft.  As I mentioned, I prefer general aviation aircraft (occasionally war birds), I don't have an interest in aerobatic aircraft.  The Kronos was too attractive to ignore!


Flying Experience

Many SL aerobatic aircraft seem to go from still to marginally controllable a little to quickly for me.  TBM's Kronos mixes a controllable general aviation cruiser with a controllable aerobatic platform.  With great looks, great scripts and incredible animations you'll see why I had a hard time taking a pass on this plane.  It works very well!!

Powering up to 35% throttle and the plane gently lifts off the ground, pull back on the stick and it climbs near vertical.  Unbelievable right?  I saw a Sukhoi take off in RL.  After what seemed to be a 200 foot ground roll, the plane launched into a high attitude climb without hesitation.  What the Kronos can accomplish in a simulation can be accomplished in RL without puking. 

At 45% throttle, you have a nice little cruise flight with gentle controls and feedback.  At 50%, the aileron roll rate is smooth and fast.  Tap "i" in chat to turn on the smoke and put on your own airshow.  Every maneuver from Cuban 8s, loops, outside loops, barrel rolls and snap rolls were easily accomplished.  I never felt out of control. I haven't tried out some of the modes yet.  They promise to be more aggressive.  Flying in SL was fun for once!

About the Kronos

I can tell you the difference between a Archer or a Warrior and other models.  I don't know the differences with aerobatic aircraft.  They are cool looking.  The best I can describe the Kronos is, it seems to look like, the Pitts Special.


Can't you see how absolutely sexy this plane is??  Lizzy laughs at my looking at airplane porn. Honey Badgers are sexier than airplanes, I know and believe that.  Sadly, my youtube subscriptions include airplanes and motorcycles.  The Pitts is an amazing aircraft and TBM has created a beautiful replica, if that is what they were attempting, they certainly did it!. 

Take Off

Turning from a vertical climb, please note the mainland sky trash
Engine shut down

 
About TBM
TBM makes a number of different aircraft including the Kronos.  I highly recommend the Percival Vega Gull, TBM's newest model.  The Percival has this cool little feature not found in SL aircraft, the wing will stall.  Stall the wing, the nose will dip and you crash.  I loved that little plane.  To board the aircraft, an animation will control your avie bringing you to climb up the wing, open the hatch or canopy and climb in to the pilot seat.  It is a very nice touch to add to the experience.  I like the planes and enjoyed playing with the demos. 

Visit their store inworld you should visit just for fun and take a look at what they have in MarketPlace.  If you'd like to learn more about SL aviation, ping me inworld.  There are a lot people who can help and as many places to fly. 

Robby



Friday, November 6, 2015

Bandit IF - New on the Market


Bandit IF
Bandit has done it again! You have to love them for their progress.  Analyse Dean is an incredible boat builder and if you sail the Blake Sea or Fruit Island sims, you will undoubtedly see a plethora of Bandit sailboats.  Her latest is the Bandit IF.

I was killing some time bouncing around shipyards and yes, bike shops (I do have some models and builders to share with you at a later date so stay tuned) and I came across the new Bandit IF.  While I could never be accused of being an early adopter, I noticed the Bandit IF was different from the sailing cruisers and yachts I have previously owned and reviewed. 

Analyse provides an interesting background to her latest offering:
"The Bandit IF is based on the real world Folkboat, a one design racing class that thanks to its unsurpassed sea going capabilities for its size acquired fame as a low budget passage maker for blue water cruising. The design may be over 70 years old, Folkboats are still being built and raced today, where the traditional wood has now been replaced by the more modern glass reinforced plastic or "GRP". The Second Life version is made in the same tradition, The focus is clearly placed on the sailing and racing aspects, but it can equally be your "home away from home" when exploring all corners of the grid."



A Sailor's Boat

Lizzy and I took a trip to Dutch Harbor for an inspection and demo ride.  At first glance, this little sailboat is well textured and built which is what we come to expect from Bandit.  When we got aboard the demo, we noticed how much smaller this boat was than the Bandit 50, 55 or 60.  Compared to the 55 with @ 114 prims, the IF comes into the ring at a very light 32 prims.  This is great for sim crossings especially in the lag plagued Blake Sea. 

Operation of the boat works best with the provided HUD.  The HUD is very intuitive and allows the skipper and crew to raise the sails independently, reposition your avie to balance the boat when it is heeling and to operate the motor (a very small outboard). 


Tiller boats take some acclimation, at least for me.  To turn the boat to the left, you press the right arrow key which pushes the tiller to the starboard side of the boat causing the rudder to deflect to port, turning the boat left.  Your brain hurts doesn't it?  All of this is to say, turning is reversed from how you might turn the boat with a ship's wheel. 

Skippers will also need to pay attention as they sail.  This isn't a boat you can hop aboard, raise the sails and go refill your coffee or whiskey.  To sail a straight course with trimmed sails, you'll need to make corrections.  I like this feature because the boat feels alive.


The chat commands are little different than other BWind or Bandit boats.  Instead of typing NW, SE, N, S, E, W, etc. to specify the wind direction, the command is "winddir" and then add the numerical compass setting for the wind. Expect to do a little math.  Windspeed also requires typing in local "windspeed" followed by the wind speed. 

Animations

This is one of the features of the boat I think is incredibly cool.  On the HUD, there are icons for the sails (main, jib and spinnaker).  Press the icon for a sail and your avie moves to the mast and starts raising or lower the sail.  Your passenger can also do this for you if you want to refill your coffee or your whiskey glass is mysteriously empty. 

So my legs disappeared into the deck...eh!
The puny 4 hp outboard.  Starting up procedure does not include cussing.
Final Thoughts

The IF is not a yacht and you're not going to have room for all of your friends.  At best, this is a two person boat.  It's very small compared to other offerings.  What I like about it is how personal the sailing experience is.  Along with the animations, I felt more connected to the boat while I was sailing and I had to think about what I was doing.  Sailing was fun and from an imaginative point of view, it felt real with the sea spray, sounds and feeling of a little boat cutting through the waves.


The Mesh Shop

Visit the Mesh Shop and you can try out all of the boats.  There are several choices and types between power boats, sailing yachts to very cool and complex racing yachts. You can visit MarketPlace as well but what fun would that.

Come try out the toys and its fine if you don't have any cash, have fun and play.  Your demo will continue to operate for about 15 or 20 minutes.  After that, you'll go swimming and we did!

Robby