Tag Archives: Technology

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

Do You Want to Buy a Racing Watch?

(Sponsored post)

Watches will always remain tied to the automotive sports world. Often, we remain attracted to watches or other timekeeping devices and the roles that they play on track too. 

If you are interested in any racing watch like a chronograph watch, then read this post.

Characteristics of a racing watch

The following are a few features which separate certain racing watches from any other sports watches:

  • Basic three or two register chronograph function
  • The high-contrast dial which is easily read at a much higher speed
  • For speed calculations, the tachymeter bezel scale 
  • The orientation of the angled case which allows one to read the time without taking your hand off the steering wheel
  • Rubber straps or rally-style leather straps, both of which are comfortable and breathable to wear

Many racing watches may integrate characteristics, e.g. racing stripes, bright colors, or even recycled components of motorbikes and cars, which most people might find a little overwhelming. 

Therefore, consider your wearing preference, style and professional track needs before selecting one.

For the purist

If you are looking for something pure and understated, then consider:

  • A basic 2-register chronograph setup
  • No extra timing scales and any no-nonsense dial layout 
  • A classically-sized case which is bold enough for your modern standards
  • Any “high-speed” visuals which may work in both formal and casual settings
  • With various kinds of straps available, the case design must work for you
  • A low-maintenance movement which can handle anything

For the weekend track warrior

In case you are searching for something more functional while you are out on your track, then legibility is the key. Your watch should not only offer a true and in-the-field purpose but must also serve as a stylish piece that you can easily wear for most of the occasions. 

Try to look for the following:

  • Black and white, high-contrast color scheme
  • Full tachymeter scale
  • More ease of use when you drive select chrono pusher positioning or an alternate case 
  • A contoured or slim case design for all-day comfort  
  • Alternate material integration for light weight as well as increased durability

For 24-hours Daytona winner

It is crucial that you use the kind of watch that can tell you and the world where you have been and how quickly you are moving. If racing is in your blood, then you might even prefer Ted Gushue, who has made it right from the hospital to the crib. You should consider the following:

  • Precious metal or two-tone case construction
  • Truly in-house movement architecture 
  • Metal bracelets instead of rubber or leather
  • Oyster-style case meant for its increased water resistance
  • 3-register chronograph configuration

Your racing or any racing-inspired watch may serve as a great everyday watch. No doubt, you might not easily find your speed through your victory laps or time your work and commute with tachymeter. However, you may appreciate all these watches nonetheless. They will serve as a great addition to any collection and you can never go wrong with all the options listed above.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Senzar warns of tailgating crash

While motorcycle companies are developing integrated motorcycle sensors to detect and warn of an impending rear-ender, Senzar has produced an aftermarket device.

Companies such as Honda, Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki are developing radar sensors for their bikes.

Ducati will be the first manufacturer next year to add front and rear radar sensors to its motorcycles to warn riders of dangers.

Senzar is firstSenzar sensor unit monitors blind spots rear ender crash

However, they have all been beaten to the punch by Taiwanese company Senzar.

Their compact Senzar device mounts on the back of the bike and can detect vehicles up to 10m.Senzar sensor unit monitors blind spots rear ender crash

It then warns the rider with  flashing lights attached to the mirrors.Senzar sensor unit monitors blind spots rear ender crash

It’s not a wireless system, so you have to fit a long wire connector.

The Senzar BlindSpot Detection System is available for pre-order at a 50% discount price of $US399 (about $A570). That means it will eventually cost a whopping $800 ($A1140).

When the motorcycle manufacturers start fitting these devices, it will no doubt increase the price of the bike, but probably not by that much.

There is no word on when the device will ship.

Senzar sensor unit monitors blind spots rear ender crash

Motorcycle devices

Most cars have sensors that detect blind spots around the vehicle. 

Motorcycles are lagging behind despite that fact that rear-ender crashes are among the most common involving motorcycles.

Motorcycle manufacturers are now approaching this very real problem in different ways.

Honda has filed a patent for a system that has a rear-facing camera in a helmet.

Honda helmet radar monitors for rear ender
Honda helmet radar monitors for rear enders

It is connected via Bluetooth to the bike to provide warnings through the instruments.

Kawasaki will add radar systems to their bikes to detect imminent collisions and warn riders. However it will go further by also applying automatic braking.

Suzuki has taken a different approach with a radar deflector that makes the motorcycle more “visible” to the sensors in surrounding hi-tech vehicles.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

inVIEW helmet light shows brakes, turn

This inVIEW helmet light not only indicates when brakes are applied or a rider slows down on the throttle, but also shows a rider’s intention to turn.

There have been several products designed to attract the attention of tailgating motorists such as Cosmo helmet light.

Cosmo Connected emergency brake light and crash alert
Cosmo helmet brake light

We also sell a unit that activates your bike’s rear brake light when the rider slows

Smart brake system
Buy the Smart Brake System

However, this is the first we can find that also includes indicators.

The stick-on bluetooth units are available from Third Eye Design in America for $US249.95.

It features an accelerometer that activates the brake light even when just slowing down on the throttle which many riders do.inVIEW helmet Brake light and indicator

We can’t see why they would be illegal here as they do not replace the motorcycle’s brake lights or indicators.

However, Victorian police might take a dim view of this product since they still believe any addition to a helmet is illegal.

Some might think this is a great idea as it lifts these important lights higher where drivers are more likely to see them.

It could also be a good safety feature with its brake light that illuminates when the rider slows down on the throttle, rather than the brakes.

How inVIEW works

The inVIEW unit has bright LEDs and is powered by two AAA batteries that they claim will last for months.

Riders get a warning when batteries are low or if there is a problem with the system. 

inVIEW helmet Brake light and indicator
inVIEW comes in red or clear lens

It snaps on via a 3M hook and loop mounting system that Third Eye Design claim is unobtrusive when the unit is not attached and snaps off in the event of a crash.

There is also a small transmitter that can be located close to the rear brake light and indicators.

They say it draws “almost no power and works on all motorcycles, including those with CANBus electrical systems”.inVIEW helmet Brake light and indicator

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Inside the Stalker X-Series XLR Lidar Gun

Stalker has been building speed-detection devices for 30 years, helping law enforcement bring the hammer down on those of us with a heavy right wrist with its long line of portable radar and lidar machines. This is its latest creation: the X-Series XLR Lidar.

“It’s the worst thing invented for the happy motorist, especially this new one,” says Wayne Dixon, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “I’ve gotten this one out to 3,800 feet.”

At that distance, Stalker says the XLR is accurate to within 1 mph, and it can pick up a target in less than half a second.

“It’s traveling at the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second. By the time I pull this trigger, it’s already gone and come back.”


RELATED: Honda Africa Twin Redondo Beach Police Motorcycle Ride Along


That’s why lidar is so effective for officers, and so frustrating for riders with radar or lidar detectors. There’s no hoping that you have time to slow down when you see the squad car. If the cop can see you, he knows how fast you’re going.

And with machines like the XLR, lidar is more prevalent than ever. The gun weighs just 2.3 pounds with the battery in place, and unlike previous iterations that had to rely on a suitcase full of AA batteries or an obnoxious cigarette-lighter plug, the XLR uses lithium-ion cells that can power the gun for two full shifts and endure up to 500 charges before needing to be replaced. Oh, and it can track targets through obstructions such as leaves, bushes, or fences.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Motorcycle Engine Break-In Comparison

Your owner’s manual likely recommends a 600-, 1,000-, or even a 1,500-mile break-in process where you limit throttle angle and revs, and constantly vary engine speed so that all those new internal components can get to know each other. For a new-bike owner, it’s a slow, grueling march toward your first service. But do you need to bother with all those baby steps? There are riders who claim a gentle break-in is a waste of time and that you’re better off riding it like you stole it from the second you leave the lot. So, which is it?

Your new engine’s internals have microscopically rough surfaces that need to rub against their counterparts to bed-in, and that happens during the first miles of use. Once the components are polished smooth by wear, there’s less friction, better sealing, and you’re ensured good power, fuel economy, and reliability.

There are a lot of sliding and rotating parts within an engine, but what everyone gets riled up about when discussing engine break-in is the seal between the piston rings and cylinder walls. And rightfully so. Ring seal is the key condition that’s going to affect performance and longevity.

Our Test

We rebuilt two used Honda CB300F engines with new top-end parts and broke them in differently over the course of 1,000 miles.

We installed the first engine and followed the factory break-in procedure per the manual, which meant painstakingly limiting and varying throttle, and slowly ratcheting up the revs. We gave the second engine a few moments to warm up before subjecting it to plenty of hard acceleration and heavy use.


RELATED: Honda CRF250L Rally vs. Kawasaki Versys-X 300


The Results

There was hardly a discernible difference between the two engines once we tore them down. The compression and leakdown numbers were stellar and identical on both motors (235 psi and 4 percent, respectively), and all the measurements of the internal parts, including the piston diameter, cylinder diameter, piston-ring end gap, and valve clearances, were all within spec and in line with each other. The only real difference was that the ring end gap was a few ten-thousandths of an inch wider on the second engine.

The Conclusion

Was this a scientific and comprehensive test? Hardly. We had a sample size of two and only subjected the engine parts to the most fundamental mechanical analysis. But our test revealed that—for this particular engine—there doesn’t appear to be a night-and-day distinction between break-in methods.

That being said, taking it easy with a new bike is still a good idea. Even if your motor doesn’t technically need a stringent break-in, there are lots of good reasons to give yourself and your bike a day or two of gentle riding to shake things out. You need to scrub-in those new tires, bed-in the brakes, and get familiar with how your new bike turns, handles, shifts, and stops. But at least you’ll know that you aren’t causing any harm by opening up the throttle on the way home.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.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

Neckmike headset suits motorcyclists

The new Neckmike headset should resolve the two biggest problems with wearing earphones connected to your phone when riding.

The problems are that the microphone supplied with most smartphone earphones is usually useless against wind noise on a bike and the bulky earbuds are often uncomfortable under a tight helmet.

Neckmike has a microphone that attaches to your neck and works like those fighter pilots we’ve seen in many war movies, cutting out all wind and ambient noise.

The earbuds are also small and the type that slot right inside your ears to reduce background wind noise so you don’t have to turn the volume up ridiculously high to hear.

(Now we know some riders are totally against this sort of communication/entertainment while riding. However, there are other riders who love music and being able to stay in touch. Plus there are professionals who need to be in contact for work while riding such as couriers and moto-journos like me!)

Neckmike

Neckmike is the product of a two-person Swedish company that produces headsets for military and first responders.

Co-founder Carl Franzén tells us they have now developed a civilian version suitable for active use such as motorcycling, skiing, jogging and cycling.

Neckmike Case
Carl models the Neckmike

They have launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding program to help get the product to market.

There are three types of headset:

Neckmike Case
C30 unit
  • The C30 costs $US109,99 (about $A155) and is designed for use with a smartphone, although it does not have a lightning connection for the iPhone so you have to use the adapter that comes with the phone. You can also plug it into some Bluetooth intercoms that feature an external speaker socket. 
  • The C50 ($US129.99/$A180) is the same headset but with a lower volume output to meet CE requirements.
  • Top of the range is the Neckmike M4+ bundle at $US209.99 (about $295) which contains a Neckmike C20 and a M4 bluetooth intercom. It’s good value as you also get a handlebar controller for easy access to controls. 

    Neckmike Case
    Bundle comes with M4 intercom and handlebar controls

Carl says the units are completely waterproof and the earbud speakers are made with hi-fi elements from a “renowned Danish company”. 

While Neckmike can be connected to many communication devices, a number of versions with different cable sets will be released soon.

We also hope to test one of the units when they become available.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Airbag suit to ‘save millions’ of riders

A patent is pending for a motorcycle seat that ejects a rider in a crash and then cocoons them in a full-length airbag suit to protect them from injury.

Brooklyn start-up Airbag for Bike has posted a digital animation of the patent-pending device, claiming it could save “millions from serious accidents and death”.

They also say it would allow “millions of new riders previously hesitant to sit on a motorcycle because of safety, to enjoy motorcycling”.

However, we’re not even sure a working prototype has been made or even tested. So far there is only this animated video for a patent drawing that is yet to be approved!

How the airbag suit works

Unlike the Honda Goldwing airbag that inflates a bean-bag-sized pillow in front of the rider, this airbag suit system is in the seat which the rider straps themselves into with a special seatbelt.

Click here for details on the mandatory recall on the Goldwing over its Takata airbag.

The idea is that the seat ejects with the rider and then deploys several full-length airbags around the rider. 

We reckon this photo of the airbag as it starts to inflate is simply rude!

Airbag suitAnd we’re not so sure we would like the explosive device that deploys the airbag this close to the family jewels!

We thought it would be hilarious if the airbags went off when you parked and got off your bike, but the patent says the airbag deploys only if the motorcycle is traveling at a certain speed.

It has various motion sensors and gyroscopes that detect a sudden deceleration or acceleration if hit from behind, or “a loss of balance that would not be correctable by a human”.

Also, the belt system “automatically unfastens in a crash that is not severe enough to warrant a system deployment (to allow the rider to jump off the bike) or if the rider tries to stand up from the bike while it is stopped”.

So it wouldn’t be of any use in racing like the airbag race suits by Dainese and Alpinestars as the belt would come undone on the first corner when the rider slipped out of the seat to get their knee down!

airbag suit
Alpinestars airbag vest

The belt would also unfasten if you stood up when riding across rough or loose surfaces.

Airbag for Bike

We contacted Airbag for Bike for more details about the inventor and whether they have made a prototype yet and intend to produce the airbags or just sell the idea.

No reply yet, but stay tuned for updates.

The problem with these sorts of inventions is that some road safety expert will agree it will reduce deaths and injuries.

Then politicians will make it mandatory!

Experts like UNSW Sydney Professor Raphael Grzebieta who won an international award for advocating wire rope barriers, lower speed limits and mandatory hi-vis vests for riders, and alcohol interlocks and electronic rider aids on bikes.

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