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 trackeris 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The GPS could also save your licence with reminders about where and when fixed and mobile speed cameras are located.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
It’s only more reason to explore further.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.