Tag Archives: GPS

Garmin zūmo XT now smarter, brighter

Garmin zūmo XT gets smarterGarmin has unveiled its new zūmo XT GPS which is brighter, smarter and packed with more features.

It would want to be, too, as it now costs  $A849 in Australia and $US499 in the USA.

If you have the Garmin Drive app it will also allow riders access to smart notifications, real-time fuel prices, live traffic reports and weather updates, and various hazard warnings.

Garmin Zūmo XT features

The new 5.5-inch HD resolution “ultrabright display” is brighter and clearer than ever and is claimed to be visible in the brightest direct sunlight.

However, if you turn the brightness up high it will reduce your battery life from about six hours to 3.5, although most riders hardwire it to the bike’s battery.

They say the rainproof unit works fine with any glove, whether it has touchscreen sensitivity or not.

You can switch from preloaded on- and off-road maps to topographic maps and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery for an extra $39 at the touch of a button.Garmin zūmo XT gets smarter

It features something called Garmin Adventurous Routing which they say will “turn straightforward rides into twisting, gnarly adventures by selecting your road preferences”.

That sounds very much like what other GPS units offer.

You can also record all the details of your ride and then share it with fellow riders using the Garmin Drive app.

However, be careful what you store as it could be incriminating.

Data stored includes distance, total time, moving time, stopped time, current speed, overall average speed, moving average speed, and maximum speed!Garmin zūmo XT gets smarter

Bluetooth

Bluetooth the zūmo XT to your helmet for spoken directions, live traffic and weather updates, as well as listening to music and making and receiving phone calls.

In the event of a crash, you can set the GPS to sent a text of your location to an emergency contact of your choice.

You can also send GPX files from your phone to the zūmo XT.

It comes with a database of notable sites, points of interest, iOverlander and millions of popular places, thanks to Foursquare.

If you are touring, it provides TripAdvisor traveller ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions along your route or near your destination.

Garmin zūmo XT gets smarterGarmin access Tripadvisor

It will also provide alerts for hazards such as sharp curves, speed changes and speed cameras.

You won’t have to plug it into your computer to update either. So long as you have a wifi connection, you can keep your maps and software up to date on the road.

Zūmo XT even tells you when new updates are available.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Must-Have Motorcycle Gadgets to Improve Your Riding Experience

(Contributed article on motorcycle gadgets)

Owning a motorcycle is an amazing experience. Regardless of the type of motorbike you have, it can’t get much better than cruising down country roads on your bike. Nevertheless, your riding experience can always be improved, and there is a myriad of accessories to choose from to do just that. We’re not talking about innovations that can turn your pride and joy into a self-riding autonomous motorcycle, but unpretentious gadgets that can have a serious impact on your daily rides and improve your quality of life during your travels.

We live in an age where our lives are intertwined with technology. As such, there’s no escaping its influence in every aspect of our daily routine. With the advent of groundbreaking technologies like IoT and GPS, we now have smart homes, smart kitchen appliances, and smart vehicles that can ‘talk’ to each other. We, motorcyclists, are blessed by the technological innovations of our time, with advanced communication, security and quality of life improvement across the board.

Here are some of the gadgets that have changed the way we ride and improved our daily adventures:

Camera Equipment

Almost all motorcyclists opt to use action cameras or video recorders while travelling these days, for diverse reasons. Accidents and confrontations between motorbikes and other vehicles occur almost every day – it’s astounding that car drivers still tend to ignore the motorcycles around them. When things go wrong, it can even lead to physical altercations between drivers and riders. In these situations, you may have to prove that you are not at fault, as motorbike owners are notorious for wriggling their way through traffic. It is not all bad news though – video cameras are also great at capturing the beautiful scenery you’ll pass during your travels, helping you relive your memories and reminisce from time to time.

motorcycle gadgets

GoPro devices are extremely popular among motorcyclists, with high-quality recording capabilities and immense durability. The devices can be mounted to a helmet or the bike itself in various positions. These small yet powerful video cameras can capture HD footage, and prove extremely useful in an altercation or physical conflict to determine who’s at fault, providing undeniable evidence of the event.

Communication

One of the biggest challenges with motorbiking is communication. Communicating with passengers or fellow riders used to be almost impossible without devising hand signals to convey your thoughts. But motorcycle intercoms, Bluetooth headsets and hands-free communication devices have gotten better and better over the years. Many tech companies now offer helmets with integrated systems that provide a link to your smartphone, that allow you to talk to those around you or even make phone calls to your friends and family while travelling. You can also listen to music or GPS directions through the same channels. What’s more, most of these devices can be activated using voice commands, so that your focus can remain where it should be – on your motorcycle and the road. Check out brands like Sena and Shark for helmet options with integrated communication systems.

Security

One of the hardest challenges as a motorcycle owner is keeping it safe. Motorcycles are one of the easiest types of vehicle to steal, especially when they lack comprehensive security m

easures. Yet, depending on the make and model, they can still be as desirable and expensive as other vehicles. These factors put motorbikes among the favourite targets of criminals. There are even organised gangs that target smaller motorcycles and use them to commit other crimes. Keeping a motorcycle out of sight, parking it in a safe spot, and securing it with durable chains can only help to a certain extent – an experienced criminal will come prepared with tools like bolt cutters to make quick work of your motorcycle security and get away with it as fast as possible.

motorcycle gadgets

There are few security systems on the market that can change the outcome of a theft attempt given enough time. The most reliable are GPS tracking devices – there are many models designed especially for motorcycles, allowing the exact location of your motorbike to be pinpointed on demand. If an adept criminal manages to steal your bike, a well-hidden motorcycle tracker with a backup battery can pretty much guarantee its recovery. The tracking device will also give numerous alerts and location updates along the way.

Lightingmotorcycle gadgets

For motorcycle riders, it’s extremely important to see clearly and to be seen by nearby drivers at all times. During the day this is less of a problem, but once it gets dark, a lack of proper lighting can lead to serious accidents. A simple mistake on the behalf of the rider, a nearby vehicle driver or even a pedestrian can result in a collision with life-threatening injuries. Developments in lighting technology have helped to make motorcyclists considerably more visible over the years. Wireless helmet brake lights and LED light strips around your motorcycle and/or its wheels can make you and your motorcycle significantly more noticeable in low-light conditions. For safety reasons, motorcyclists should prioritise proper lighting devices that increase the visibility of their motorbike over tools that look cool but fail to provide real protection.

Conclusion

Technology has a significant role to play during your travels on your motorcycle. It’s worth investing in the right accessories and gadgets to improve your riding adventures and boost the security of your precious bike. Luxuries that were once thought to be privy to other vehicle owners – such as listening to music or navigating your path in remote areas – are now readily available for motorcyclists with the help of new technology as well. Sophisticated next-gen helmets will allow you to talk to your friends, while a motorcycle GPS tracking device will boost the overall security of your two-wheeler and provide theft recovery methods should the worst happen. Most of these gadgets are relatively cheap and easy to install or use; motorcycle owners can enhance their daily rides to a whole new level by adopting devices specifically designed for motorcyclists.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Stealth law gives cops extra power

Helmet cameras, GPS units, radar detectors and other devices could be ruled unlawful by Western Australia Police under a rule amendment that is being brought in by stealth, say critics.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts has added a section to the Impaired Driving and Penalties Bill that allows police to ban any “device” they deem fit.

Those devices could include helmet cameras, intercoms, radar detectors (legal only in WA), dashcams and even phones being used for sat nav or music.

Rather than police applying the law, it would make them creators of the law in a dangerous precedent for other states.

Stealth law

Motorcycle Riders Association of WA representative Dave Wright says the Minister is effectively trying to allow legislation by stealth without proper consideration or discussion by the voted Members of Parliament.

The issue was brought to light by the Australian Drivers Rights Association who is lobbying the Upper House to reject the amendment.

Association secretary Glen Secco says it was sneaky of the Minister to attach the section to the Bill.

“Problem is it’s an open ticket to be used at any time to ban whatever they want,” he says.

Glen believes it is primarily designed to outlaw radar detectors.speed camera radar speeding fines rich rich

“The Office of Road Safety keeps putting this forward and it’s been rejected by the government in 1998, 2003, 2006 and 2012,” he says.

“The office receives all its money from speeding fines and a lot of things they support is simply to increase their revenue from speed cameras.

“Motorists make mistakes and it’s not all speeding; driver inattention, misjudgement and distraction cause the majority of accidents and yet they just concentrate on speed.”

However, Glen says a lot of other devices could also be ruled illegal in a vehicle or on a rider.

“GoPros on a helmet also aren’t safe,” he says.

“They may also decided that phones on a bike are not safe as they are a distraction.”

He is asking all WA motorists to visit their website, copy their letter and post it to their elected representative in an effort to reject the Bill amendment.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

EyeRide HUD has unlimited group chat

French company EyeLights already makes head-up display units for cars and is now planning to move into motorcycles with a revolutionary EyeRide connection system for large group intercom.

Instead of using Bluetooth to connect, it uses a data connection to a Discord app server.

While EyeRide promises virtually unlimited group chats with others on the same network including non-riders, it relies on an internet connection and will use up your phone data.

Eyeride HUD screenEyelights EyeRide hud unit

Otherwise, EyeRide is like a standard Bluetooth intercom that supplies music, phone calls and GPS navigation prompts using Garmin HERE maps, but also has a small HUD screen for important information as in this video.

It is slightly transparent and on the right side, which may be fine in a country where you drive on the right.

We are not sure yet if it can be moved to the left for riding in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and other left-side countries as they haven’t released all the details yet.Eyelights EyeRide hud unit

The company plans to launch a Kickstarter shortly to get the product off the ground. (We will update with the link when it starts.)

We advise to be cautious of supporting Kickstarter programs as you may not get your money back if they don’t go ahead.

Given EyeLights already produce a car HUD system, they may be a little more secure than a normal speculative start-up.

HUD concerns

I haven’t used a HUD system yet in a helmet and can’t verify if it is a distraction or allows you to safely keep your eyes on the road.

However, I have driven several cars with HUD systems on the windscreen and found them extremely useful, safe and non-distracting.Eyelights EyeRide hud unit

Unfortunately, few of these aftermarket HUD systems or integrated HUD helmets have made it to market.

Infamously, Skully HUD helmets raised a record amount through crowd-funding then fraudulently spent it on fast cars and fast women and went bankrupt.

It was later bought and resurrected as the Skully Fenix AR, but we haven’t seen them here yet.

Skully Fenix AR head-up display helmet HUD revolutionSkully Fenix AR

Yet, almost every month new HUD systems and helmets are announced.

The latest smart helmets, unveiled at the recent Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, are one from Chinese cycling helmet company Livall and the Tali Connected from a French startup

Tali Connected and Livall smarter helmetsTali Connected and Livall HUD helmets

Meanwhile, the first aftermarket HUD company, NuViz, recently closed down, leaving owners stranded with no GPS function as their map licence expired, according to RideApart.

KTM invests in Nuviz-770 HUD technology smart helmetNuviz HUD unit

Like all new technology, there will be bugs and it seems HUD has had more than its fair share over the past few years.

That doesn’t mean HUD technology isn’t coming.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Satnav app adds traffic light countdown

A satellite navigation app that has a countdown to how long a traffic light will change has been recognised as a CES 2020 Innovation Awards honoree.

The Slovakian Sygic navigation app used by more than 200 million drivers globally has a new and free Traffic Lights countdown add-on.

It is only working in the US at the moment with plans to be introduced in Europe in 2020. There is no scheduled release time yet for Australia.

How the countdown worksRed-light traffic light

The Traffic Lights countdown add-on does not trigger a green light.

That’s a particular issue with riders whose motorcycles may not be large enough to be detected by the induction loop cut into the pavement. Click here to read more about triggering green lights.

Instead, the Sygic add-on displays a green or red light countdown timer at each traffic light.

They claim it will encourage motorists to slow down, increasing safety at intersections, reducing CO2 emissions and improve traffic flow.

Sygic CEO Martin Strigac says their artificial intelligence add-on “will have a major impact on safety and the time of arrival”.

“The kit will be continuously upgraded with additional assistance features, including detection of speed-limit signs, lanes, and obstacles on the road, and collision detection,” he says.

“We are also exploring the idea of integrating it with rail-crossing warning systems.”

CommentsTraffic Lights

Two out of every three motorcycle accidents (66.7%) occur at intersections and motorists running red lights is one of the major causes of those crashes.

Anything that can reduce that would be welcome.

However, we are unsure if a countdown feature for a green light to turn red might actually encourage motorists to speed up to catch the light.

Also, a countdown to a red light turning green might encourage motorists to jump the lights.

We are also concerned that drivers who already don’t look for motorcyclists might be more intent on watching their satnav traffic light countdown feature than scanning the road for riders.

Technology is great when it is proven to increase safety, but the jury is still out on this, as far as we are concerned.

Meanwhile, the CES 2020 Innovation jury of 82 technology experts says the Sygic GPS Navigation’s Traffic Lights add-on “showcased innovative features that scored highly across the evaluation criteria and joins a special group of other products given this honour.” 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

X2 motorcycle phone mount has power

This universal X2 phone mount comes with power attachment at just $36, including postage.

Many motorcycle and scooter riders now use their phone rather than a GPS to navigate, but most phone mounts won’t power your phone or electronic device.

However, the X2 will keep you powered up all day long.

It will fit just about any phone size and grips with four sprung claw-style holders plus the extra security of a rubber holders top and bottom. The back also has non-slip pads.X2 phone mount

We have tried the unit with iPhone plus sizes and the smaller XS over some bumpy country roads without the phones shaking loose.

It comes with two mounting options to fit just about any motorcycle or scooter. One is a U-clamp to go around the handlebar or wing mirror stem, the other is a bolt-down mount.

The holder has ball-link points to rotate the unit 360 degrees allowing you to position it so it is easy to see, but does not obscure your bike’s instruments.

There are many other similar phone holders on the market, but this is the first we have seen that is also powered.

It comes with 1.3m of cable to attach to your ignition or directly to the battery.X2 phone mount

The built-in USB charging port will allow you to keep your phone or other electronic device charged while you are riding.

This is important as navigation and Bluetooth connection can drain a phone quite quickly.

However, we warn riders not to use the phone screen while riding to check your Facebook status our any other distracting function.

The X2 phone mount comes standard with the clamp mount and bolt mount, two spare claws, anti-slip pads and rubber holders.X2 phone mount

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How To Improve Motorcycle Safety With GPS Tracking

(Contributed article about GPS tracking)

Motorcycles are fun, thrilling, expensive and a preferred target for thieves, but GPS trackers will follow your bike’s location if it is stolen and help you get it back.

What is GPS tracking system and how does it work?

A GPS motorcycle tracker is basically a location tracking system that uses ground stations and a satellite network to find the exact location of the signal. Just place this small tracker device on your motorbike or any other vehicle whose location you want to track.

This device precisely tracks the location of the object to which it is attached in real time with high accuracy. This makes it easy for the owner to quickly find their stolen bike without any legal intervention.

Benefits of a GPS tracker system

Additional layer of protection

As cases of motorcycle theft have been increasing dramatically lately in the UK, it has become very important to take appropriate safety measures to safeguard your bike against theft.  Motorcycle tracking is one of the best ways that has been adopted by many bike riders.

Hassle free way to track the location

The best feature of these GPS tracker systems is that if you do not have access to a computer, you can use a tablet or smartphone to pinpoint the accurate location of the bike.

Real-time tracking of location

Installation of a GPS tracker unit gives you clear information on the location of the motorbike along with its movement at any given period of time. You can also view the previous route history up to three months in the past.

Geo-fence Zones

Geo-fence zones are virtual geographic fences that you can draw on the map so you receive a notification if your motorbike enters or leaves the area without your consent.

Mental peace

GPS tracking devices come with a movement alert feature that sends a message to the owner about any motion of their parked bike. In this way, the owner knows about an attempted theft even before the bike is taken.

Saves Money

The GPS tracking system also monitors your motorcycle, providing details about fuel consumption, range covered, etc.

Keeps your bike safe

Installing such an effective motorcycle tracking device is safer than traditional locks that can be broken, no matter how sturdy they are.

Conclusion

GPS tracking is one of the most valuable ways of ensuring the safety of your most prized possession.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

TomTom GPS makes all riding safe and easy

Most people only use their TomTom GPS to guide them to a destination they don’t know, but there are advantages to putting in the destination even if you know which way to go.

I’ve recently been riding around with the TomTom Rider 550 tuned into destinations I know, and I reckon the various alerts have not only helped me to get around quicker, but probably saved a few demerit points on my license.

That’s because TomTom Rider 550 includes relevant alerts about traffic jams, roadworks, speed cameras and even on adverse weather ahead of you. It will also tell you how long a particular hazard might hold up your ride.

These alerts flash up on the screen and if you pair the device to your phone and/or helmet intercom, there are also audible warnings.

This has allowed me to concentrate more on the road rather than worrying about looking out for speed cameras, roadworks and hazards.TomTom Rider 550 GPS

Services alerts

But wait, there’s more. It also shows important information about upcoming services such as petrol stations, rest areas, tollways and ferries.

And when you reach your destination, it will even guide you to the closest parking areas. Just press the parking button on the route bar.

It takes a lot of guesswork out of negotiating through heavy traffic and around traffic snarls and roadworks.

TomTom Rider 550 GPS

The GPS could also save your licence with reminders about where and when fixed and mobile speed cameras are located.

Custom displays

The information is displayed on the map and/or the route bar down the side.

It also displays your estimated time of arrival, distance and/or time remaining to destinations, upcoming events and services, as well as current time or distance to the next event, depending on how you set it up.

Now that’s a wealth of information that could easily be distracting were it not for the audible alerts.

You can actually customise the Rider 550 to just display only the alerts that are most important to you. That makes it a much simpler and less distracting screen display.TomTom Rider 550 GPS

The GPS can give you an alternative route by just tapping on the icons on the route bar. However, I suggest you pull over to do this. It won’t take more than a few seconds.

You can even help other riders using the TomTom MyDrive app by adding updates to the vast network of important information. 

Just tap on the speed panel at the bottom of the screen and a menu comes up with options: “Report speed camera, mark location, change speed limit and avoid blocked road”.

Data usage

To access all this information, you just need to set up a personal hotspot on your paired smartphone which accesses your data as the GPS doesn’t have a SIM card.

That keeps the GPS affordable at $599.

But don’t worry about blowing all your data. 

TomTom says it will only use about 7Mb a month even if you run your GPS on it an hour every day. That’s less than downloading two songs and certainly wouldn’t blow the budget on most people’s mobile plan.

It might also save your life, save you time and save your licence!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Road names that entice exploration

If I pass roads with names such as Goat Track or Hell Hole Creek Road, it’s like a red rag to a bull and I simply have to explore it.

Sometimes these roads have warning signs that ban trucks or caravans, or warn of tight curves, gravel and other hazards.Road names motorcycles Triumph Street Scrambler

It’s only more reason to explore further.

Road names

But it’s the road names themselves that sometimes give the best hint as to what lies ahead, especially if it includes of the following words.

Old, Historic, Heritage: if these words are present, it indicates the original road before bulldozers and surveyors with theodolites carved a straight line through the hills. These roads follow the natural contours, usually in a very entertaining fashion.

Way, Drive, Track: while you should avoid anything called a motorway or freeway, words such as Way, Drive and Track usually indicate much more fun. However, even some highways can be motorcycle roads. Anything called a street should probably be avoided at all costs.Road names motorcycles Triumph Street Scrambler

Scenic, Vista, View: often these indicate roads that wind around a mountain, although they are also used by land developers to dupe buyers into purchasing a block which has much less than panoramic views.

Hill, Mountain, Ridge, Range: if any of these words are present in a road’s name, you have a pretty safe bet that it will be fun.

Valley, Gorge, Canyon: same deal.

Creek, River, Dam: ditto. The word “River” in a road’s name can even make a flat plains road interesting as rivers meander more through flat land.

Road names motorcycles Triumph Street Scrambler
Welcome to Hell Hole Creek Rd!

So, if you see a “Gravel road” sign on “Old Farmview River Track”, click down a gear and have fun. That’s a motorcycle-friendly road bonanza!

GPS to your aid

If you get lost you may eventually need to consult Google maps or your GPS to find your way home.

My TomTom Rider 550 GPS has functions that lead you to find some amazing hidden gems!

Map expert reviews TomTom Rider 550 route names
TomTom will include scenic back roads

GPS is also handy to breadcrumb the route you’ve just taken so you can do it again and share it with your friends.

Tell us of your favourite route where the road lives up to the name! Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

High Tech Motorcycle Accessories That Every Rider Must Have

(Sponsored tech post)

Every day, new technology is introduced to motorcycle gadgets to improve the riding experience and make it safer. More and more of the modern bikes have heated seats/grips, tire pressure monitors, rearview cameras, and more. Today, you can find some high tech accessories that will help you deal with discomfort, inconvenience, and weather. Even if you prefer the traditional route, there are several high tech gadgets that can elevate your experience. Below are some of the high-tech gadgets you can get to pimp up your ride.

1 Helmet Sound System

If you ride your bike regularly or for long distances, you’re likely to feel dull at times. Well, this can change with a helmet sound system which lets you listen to music and communicate. You can pick phone calls, connect with other riders via intercom, and follow GPS navigation using the helmet audio systems.  When buying this gadget, look out for multi-device capability, sound quality, durability, battery life, and volume controls.

2 Motorcycle GPS Navigator

It’s never an option to use your smartphone for navigation while riding a bike unless you’re willing to stop and get off the road every time. That’s why you need a motorcycle GPS unit. A motorcycle GPS makes it easy for you to navigate while you focus on the road. In addition, the system offers extra features such as hands-free calling, streaming music, and alerts.

3 Rearview Camera

A rearview camera helps you to easily see what’s behind you, adding safety and convenience to your ride. Rearview cameras for motorcycles give you a rear vision that your rear mirrors can’t. The mini camera is usually placed on the bumper of your bike, giving you a perfect view of your rear. When buying a review camera, look out for key features like waterproof, night vision, and viewable angle.

4 Motorcycle Jacket Airbag

The motorcycle jacket airbag works in a more or less similar manner as the airbags in a car. When the system deploys the airbag, the air cushion inflates to protect the most vulnerable body parts such as shoulders, elbows, and the spine. You can use an airbag vest which can also serve as a reflective vest or get an airbag jacket. Modern airbags strike a balance between comfort, safety, and good looks.

5 Brake Free Helmet Light

The normal brake lights on your motorcycle work just fine. However, they are mounted low on your motorbike and are not easily noticeable in traffic. Brake Free Helmet Light mounts a smart brake light on the back of your helmet, making it easier for motorists to see you. It detects when you’re slowing down and responds accordingly to regular braking, engine braking, and emergency braking. It attaches to almost any helmet using a magnetic mount and uses LED lights that make it visible both day and night. It is a smart brake because it needs no wired installation or connected apps. The gadget is weather resistant and stays lit all the time, only becoming brighter when you brake.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com