By January 1, 2010

The Best and Worst Gibberish Gadgets of 2009

I spend some time at the end of every year and think about the best and worst things I’ve reviewed. I wrote 63 reviews this year, from sock garters to headphone amplifiers. What were the best and worst things I bought all year?

The Best Gibberish Gadget of 2009: 2009 Yamaha FJR1300A

Large and powerful enough to carry a rider and passenger for long-distance trips; small enough to knife-fight my way through tight commuter traffic. The FJR1300A by Yamaha is dependable, fast, and stable. This is the motorcycle I should have purchased two years ago. I logged almost 8000 miles in six months and the FJR extended my nine-month ride to work streak. If it isn’t icy outside, I’ll ride this bike on my fifty mile round trip commute every day. This is an excellent sport touring motorcycle, and I can’t wait for more trips in 2010.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/8339-2/CRW_0282.jpg

Honorable mention: Power Grid Board Game
There are some games that just get better every time you play them. The more we play Power Grid the more I appreciate its balance and universal appeal. The theme might seem boring at first, but there is really something for everyone here: auctioning, management efficiency, expansion decisions, a different game every time, and a little bit of luck. There are several expansions for this game, but we love the base set so much we’ve yet to fully explore the rest of the Power Grid world.

The Worst Gibberish Gadget of 2009: Colgate Wisp

Only a porn queen or frat boy would enjoy sticking something as deep in their mouth as the Colgate Wisp. The single-use, waterless toothbrush is an interesting idea, but you’ll abrade your chomps down to enamel pebbles using the stiff bristles. The Wisp is so short I can’t reach my back teeth without putting my hand in my mouth, and I have had eleven teeth removed. Economic and ecological problems aside, the Wisp doesn’t even work very well. I can’t believe these made it to production, but I should have been tipped off that they sucked when I found them on clearance at Target.

(Dis)honorable mention: 905 Racing FJR1300A motorcycle crash bars
Small-scale motorcycle gear and equipment manufacturers are totally hit or miss. Sometimes you find people like Dennis at BeachMoto.com who love their product and have excellent customer service, or that one retired fellow who cranks out tons of high quality custom parts for my FJR. Then you have jerks like Wayne Boyer of Motoport who wouldn’t recognize customer service if it crushed him. Unfortunately the couple that run 905 Racing seem to be nice folks, but their FJR crash bar design is fundamentally flawed and dangerous. I ground down the edge of their engine crash cage during a maneuver that would have cleared the stock Yamaha peg feelers.

For a company that designs stunt cages for a living, this is an obvious and unforgivable oversight. After posting my experience on the FJR forum, several others came forward stating they had similar experiences. It’s a blessing no one was injured with 905’s bars on their bikes. They have since changed the design.

Adding insult to potential injury, my emails to them went unanswered, even after sending them photos of the bars installed and ground down to bare metal.

Who knows what I’ll review in 2010, but it’s always fun to look back on a year’s worth of write-ups. Thanks for reading, and have a happy New Year!

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