Tag Archives: GPS

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.


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

Dead-end roads are a rider’s paradise

Most riders love a good round-trip, but there are many dead-end routes that can be just as rewarding for motorcyclists.

I’ve been riding with people who never venture down a road that says “No through road”.

They figure that it will be like doing the road twice.

Yet I’ve ridden on famous motorcycling roads such as Mt Glorious Rd, the GOR, Putty Road, Big Sur (USA), etc, in both directions and it feels almost like two completely separate trips.

Big Sur Harley-Davidson touring USA America california rules dead-end route
Big Sur

As they say, motorcycling is not about the destination, but the journey.

Who cares if the journey doesn’t have a destination, at all?

In fact, most destinations are a return to your home, anyway.

Dead-end paradise

Dead-end routes motorcycles Street Scrambler
Umm, it’s a dead-end that way!

MBW reader Tee Jay summed it up perfectly in this Facebook post:

If you think riding up and down the highway is freedom and it doesn’t get any better, then think again. SEQ’s (South East Queensland’s) back roads and dead ends are where the proper motorcyclists go.

The same goes for just about anywhere in the world.

Our tip for great rides is to look for dead-end valleys.

We recently used our TomTom Rider 550 GPS units to navigate three valleys south of Laidley in SEQ which go nowhere.

Dead-end routes motorcycles Street Scrambler
Stunning bike, stunning scenery!

However, the deeper we rode into the valleys, the closer the mountains and stunning scenery became.

And more importantly, the roads get twister and twister.

Dead-end routes motorcycles Street Scrambler
For those who know the area this is the Ropeley Rockside Rd

If you’re game, there is often a dirt road that will wind over the hills near the end of the valley to link to the next valley.

These SEQ valleys are only 40 minutes from the city, yet you feel like you are a million kays from home.

We were surprised at what we saw along the way: pecan plantations, camels, scenic creeks, stunning rock formations and more.

Dead-end routes motorcycles Street Scrambler
The things you see on a hump-day ride!

If you plan to do this ride on your own, wth friends or a group, you can stop for lunch at the pubs in Mulgowie (McGrath Crossing) or Upper Tenthill.

Click here for the Google Maps of our three-valley ride.

Click here for the TomTom My Drive route.Dead-end routes motorcycles Street ScramblerSuburban tip

Tee also supplies this tip for those who don’t want to venture too far from the city.

“Go where the wealthy folks live. Their roads are brilliant. From Dayboro you can spend an hour going down two roads that end in dirt and return for coffee. How convenient is that? Do it before 10am because the sunshine through the trees is just; well it’s all part of the experience.”

I have another nearby favourite that I use to test the suspension on bikes I have for review: Upper Brookfield Rd.

It’s only 10 minutes from home and it winds through some very wealthy areas.

The road is tight and twisty, it has concrete dips that cross creeks, there are on-and-off-camber corners, the greenery is stunning and there is hardly any traffic.

At the 60km/h posted speed limit it’s still great fun.

Dead-end routes motorcycles Street Scrambler
Upper Brookfield Rd is a gorgeous dead-end!

As Tee says, “dead-end roads are excellent, less traffic, terrific scenery and all so close to town”.

Tell us about your favourite dead-end ride? Leave your comments in the section below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

TomTom Rider 550 unveils hidden gem

If it wasn’t for the ride-sharing and mountain and wriggly route options on our TomTom Rider 550 GPS we might never have discovered a hidden gem of a mountain road.

Riding partner and map expert Peter “Worldmapman” Davis recently reviewed the TomTom Rider 550 for us and has been using it now for some time.

Usually one of our riding group decides where to go and then leads the pack. It’s usually me and I’ve almost run out of routes in the South East Queensland area.

I think I know every twisting, winding scenic roads in this region. But I was wrong.

TomTom decides

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav gem
“Plan a thrill’ with TomTom Rider 550

This time we decided to put the TomTom unit to the test and let it decide a route for us.

Since it was hot, we thought a ride up to Toowoomba at the top of the Great Dividing Range would give us a respite from the heat.

So we put that in as one waypoint, plus Hampton and Flagstone Creek.

You can select the waypoints by typing in a place name or simply pressing a point on the screen to drop a waypoint “flag”.

We then selected a return journey with maximum mountain and winding roads options. There are two levels of each and we chose the top levels.

That increased an out-and-back journey on the highway from about 160km to about 250km.

Because we were riding cruisers, we chose the “avoid dirt roads” option. You can also choose to avoid toll roads, highways and even roadworks in the settings menu.

Sharing a gem

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav gem
Sharing a route is easy

Route selected, we shared it among ourselves either with other TomTom GPS units or via their MyDrive app platform on their phones.

Sharing a route like this is great because it means you don’t have to bother about corner-man systems as riders can’t get lost.

You can plan your route on the GPS unit, or on the TomTom MyDrive app on your phone or your computer. Each allows you to share with other TomTom users via Bluetooth, email or message.

When we headed off on the Brisbane Valley Highway TomTom almost immediately took us off the highway on to back roads.

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

This led us the long way round to Esk before heading up the only sealed road to Hampton.

In fact, it even bypassed some of Esk.

Peter says a good tip in selecting waypoints on this sort of route is to never select a town’s CBD or the name of a town.

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav gem
Following the route

Always select a waypoint on a road past the town. That will actually throw in a nice little deviation and avoid sending you down every suburban street.

In fact, you should even start your journey out of town or it may take you on a wild goose chase around the suburbs first.

The great thing about the TomTom Rider 550 is that you can change your mind along the way.

If you decide to go into town for a coffee or toilet stop, just head on in and the unit recalculates the route very quickly.

In fact, it is the fastest of any unit Peter has used in his extensive mapping career.

You can also add more waypoints, or change the winding road option from super wriggly to less wiggly or to the fastest or most direct route if you are getting tired and want to head home.

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav Peter Davis map
Wriggly route

All it takes is a touch of a button on the screen.

If you decide to bypass a waypoint, the unit will try to recalculate you back to it, so it’s a good idea to delete the waypoint by going to your list of stops and deleting it.

Gem discovered

We largely followed the directions, but also chose to ignore them a little and explore.

But we are glad we did not ignore its advice when we came down the Range on Flagstone Creek Rd.

It pointed left on to Blanchview Rd which we have done before and enjoyed, so we followed.

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav gem
Silver Pinch Rd is a gem

But shortly after TomTom took us right on to Silver Pinch Rd which looks almost like someone’s driveway. We’ve ignored this road in the past … but not today.

Just as well as it is a real rider’s gem.

It traverses several narrow ridges past Table Top Mountain, overlooking beautiful fertile farmland with jaw-dropping views on either side.

The road really does wriggle along and it seems it has only recently been paved along its entirety until it becomes Topps Rd and ends at the T junction with the Back Flagstone Creek Rd.TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav gem

What a rollercoaster of a road it is with plenty of elevation, looping corners, esses and switchbacks.

We enjoyed it so much we stopped along the way for photos and doubled back a bit to ride some sections again.

Consequently we ended up running a little behind our schedule return time.

So at Laidley we simply decided to switch to the shortest destination and head home.

When we got home, we shared photos and maps with each other via MyDrive so we can do it again another time … maybe in a reverse direction.

You can do that by simply shuffling the order of the waypoints. Just drag and drop the last stop to the top and make the rest of the changes accordingly.

Click here for our route.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

What do riders know or care about GPS?

Map and satnav expert Peter (World Mapman) Davis provides some interesting background information for riders on GPS in this fourth instalment in our satnav series.

You can check out the other articles by clicking on the topic: Satnav for beginners, planning a route and reading a map the right way. You can also ask Peter any tech questions on satnav by clicking here.

What is GPS?

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) use satellites that are in a geo-stationary orbit. That means they rotate at the same speed as the Earth so they remain in the same place above the globe.

You need at least three satellite beams to “triangulate” your position, which means it is the average position between the three beams.

The original satellites were sent into orbit by the US military for their use in navigation.

However, tech-savvy people soon found out how to communicate with them and use their navigation services.

When US authorities discovered that their satellite navigation systems were being used by civilians, they allowed what they called “selective availability”.

They actually built in some positioning inaccuracy.

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav Peter Davis map
Map expert Peter Davis

Military GPS

If the military needed to use their satellites for operations, they would simply turn off selective availability and suddenly people would get very accurate positions.

It became evident that this was a very useful tool for the civilian population, so the last Bill President Bill Clinton signed was the abolition of selective availability.

These days we now get more accurate readings as there are a lot more satellites in orbit that belong to other countries and even commercial operations.

To obtain an accurate position, a GPS device needs to have at least three satellite connections.

A satellite is a transmitter, not a receiver. It transmits a signal which the GPS picks up.

The more satellites you get the more accurate your position.

Early GPS

Early GPS devices had a very narrow beam of reception to gain signals from satellites.

This made them lose satellite reception very easily if you were riding in dense forest or even through cities with tall buildings.

Europe motorcycle travel parking Italy tunnel GPS satnav

All GPS units need line of sight with satellites.

However, newer GPS units have a broad spectrum of reception which is basically horizon to horizon.

Consequently, so long as you can see some sky, it works. The satellite doesn’t need to be straight above.

They also now work in some tunnels that have repeaters in the roof to beam the satellite signal.

Land beacons

Satnav has become even more accurate with the introduction of ground-based GPS nav beacons or “differential nav”.

Your position can be triangulated using a combination of satellites and land beacons which can be radio transmitters or mobile phone towers.

Early on, they used the Triple J radio signal.

Land beacons improve position accuracy from about 5m to 1m, or even less depending on how close you are to a land beacon.

The real advantage is that they are very accurate for vertical elevation or altitude.

Surveyors even use them and it helps adventure and off-road riders using topographical satnav.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Do you turn your paper map or GPS to face north?

Should north be at the top of your paper map or GPS satnav device for the best guidance? Satnav and mapping expert Peter (World Mapman) Davis looks into the phenomenon in the third part of our satnav series.

Paper maps always have north at the top. However, you can just as easily turn the map around to face the direction you are going.

GPS satnav units also have north at the top when showing your position on a map and sometimes even when a route has been selected.

However, they usually default to having the direction you are going at the top when you start navigation mode.

Map expert reviews TomTom Rider 550
TomTom Rider 550

You can overrule that by selecting the option to have north at the top.

So which is the right way?

I believe those who turn a map in the direction they are going may actually be better map readers.

Turning the map so the top is the direction you are heading allows you to get your bearings.

It also makes more sense. If you need to turn left, you turn left.

Having north at the top is not the wrong way to do it, but it does require your brain to do another process.Map expert reviews TomTom Rider 550 paper map

For example, if you are heading south, then a left turn becomes a right turn on the map.

This can become confusing and is often the cause of navigation errors.

On a motorcycle it is also better and safer to have a simple process as riding already takes a lot of mental activity.

Some people can do both methods. Some can only do one.

But people who say they are a terrible navigator are usually those who persist with the north-at-the-top orientation.

I can make them a good navigator just by turning their map around.

Are paper maps obsolete?TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav Peter Davis map paper map

It seems GPS satnav devices and smartphones with maps have taken over the world.

In fact, some experts say the reliance on satnav has robbed millennials of their sense of direction.

I say use both.

Before you start your road trip and every day before you start the next leg of your ride, get out a paper map.

It shows you the whole route and gives you a good idea of distances and perspectives.

Also, when satnav fails — and it periodically does — you will have some idea of working out which direction to go.

A paper map is a great fallback and the image in your head will also help you find your way.

If you blindly follow satnav guidance it is just like following someone’s taillights.

Click here to find out about types of satnav guidance.

Click here to learn how to plan a route.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How to plan a ride route on GPS

Map and satnav expert Peter (World Mapman) Davis tell us how to plan a ride route on a GPS in this second in a series on satnav.

In the first in this series, we talked about the different types of Satnav: moving maps and guidance navigation. 

Planning a route moving maps

TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav Peter Davis map route
Moving maps

Using moving maps, you can select points on the map which creates a waypoint file.

These can be selected by going to the menu and usually clicking a plus sign.

You can then either nominate a latitude and longitude or simply touch your finger on the screen to drop a “flag” icon.

If you enlarge the map, you can move the flag to an exact point.

Give the waypoint a name and you will be able to find it easily later on.

The waypoints show up as a layer over the map and you navigate yourself on the tracks and roads to those waypoints.

If you save those waypoints, you can share the file with others no matter what moving maps app they use because it is just a series of lats and longs.

Once you import a waypoint file, go to the menu and it will show waypoints as a series of flags on a moving map.

Moving map nav also allows you to record and save the tracks you have done which allows you to view and share so you can repeat the journey.

Planning a route on guidance navTomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav Peter Davis map route

GPS units allow you to plan a route using waypoints just like on a moving map by touching the screen.

But it also allows you to use POI (points of interest) or type in names of places, street names, towns, etc.

You can save the routes to favourites, my routes, etc.

However, once you have created a route, you can only share it with other riders who have the same satnav brand.

That’s because manufacturers develop unique software with features they continue to develop. They don’t want people to use their system unless buying their GPS unit.

You can export them via email, Messenger and sometimes Bluetooth or wifi, depending on the device.

They often include a smartphone app so you can plan a route on your phone or computer and then send it to your device or are it on an online community such as TomTom’s MyDrive.

How to become satnav savvyMap expert reviews TomTom Rider 550 route

The trend with most satnav software is to provide fairly limited instructions in the owner’s manual, or no manual at all.

These days you get comprehensive instructions on the internet or even in YouTube.

But studying the manual first will only get you so far.

By all means, explore the menus at home, but then get out on the road.

The only way you really get to know your satnav device, is to start using it and not worry about making mistakes.

Take your satnav device or app for a ride through an area you already know well so that if you get things wrong, you can still find your way home.

I’ve learnt more satnav quirks as I ride along, rather than from studying the manual.

Explore the settings and try changing things to see what happens.TomTom Rider 550 GPS satnav Peter Davis map route

You can also go for a ride with friends and talk to them and get their tips.

They don’t have to be using the same satnav device as you.

These days most systems are fairly similar in how they work.

So it doesn’t really matter what satnav you use.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com