Equipment recommendations

#1
Hi all,

I am pretty new to long distance riding but thinking about what I want/need. Currently, I have no kind of setup for this, so a just a basic helmet. I current have a Triumph Street Twin Bonneville.

Priorities are:
1) GPS
2) Ear plugs
3) Audio/music
4) Camera

So for GPS, I was thinking about two options. The first would be using my phone, probably shoved in a tankbag/pocket, and with audio. Alternatively, I used to have a Zumo so could go for that kind of thing again, if I can find a good way to mount it to my bike. The big issue with audio directions though is with ear-plugs. If I am writing ear-plugs to cut out wind noise, that will impact what I can hear in terms of audio directions too. I was thinking I would swap between earphones and ear-plugs depending on where I am and how I feel.

Ear-plugs, as written above, I want to use them to cut out wind noise, but also might rely on audio directions. There are times when I might want to listen to music too. Oh, any thing which I can connect up with someone I am riding with too (who may or may not have the same equipment) would be good.

For a camera, something that clips to the helmet rather than on the bike might be my preferred option, but something that I can control via controls on the side.

If there is something that can provide audio from the phone, allow talking with other riders, work with the phone for calls, and also work with ear-plugs, or have ear-plugs/pads that do a reasonable job of cutting out wind noise, that would be great. Oh, and cheap too.

So any suggestions about any of that?
 

mcrigid

Premier Member
#2
quarky,

Interesting topic, I hope it generates a lot of input.
Like you I am new to the LD community as well. I've gleaned the forum on various topics to see what equipment the "big guns" are using for their rides.

I ride a 2015 Harley Ultra Limited, Based on what I've read, here's what I've planned so far:

Zumo 66o GPS with my planned route installed.
InReach satellite tracker.
Android phone for navigating, Bubbler tracking and photos of gas receipts. (I like using Google to guide me from point to point to give me close to real-time traffic info) I've ordered but haven't received or installed the Android Intelliskin and mount from Ram. Anxious to see how that performs in wet conditions.
I have set up both the InReach and Android devices in Spotwalla

Haven't made any decisions on a new helmet/ communications system.

Waiting on my new Aerostich Darien Light Jacket and AD1 light pants to be delivered to be used as my primary riding gear, adding or taking off layers as needed.

Hoping to test everything out in the next few weeks
 

GraemeandSally

RBLR 1000
Premier Member
#3
I use a Zumo 590 also have second unit as back up and used in rallies, i have zumo linked via Bluetooth to Helmet, i have phone linked via sat nav, i also have it hard wired via a autocom (depending on what we are doing if riding longer than 12 hrs we use our other helmets and use autoco. find Schubert C3 coms collar runs out of charge aroiund the 12 hr mark. if music is needed can run through Garmin
 

owl*

Rally Bonus checker
IBA Member
#4
I have always used a pair of Garmin 660's for navigation and music/audiobooks, but they are becoming old and erratic.
I'm not going to the expense of buying more Garmins, so have been experimenting with using my iPhone 6S with MyRoute app for navigation and the SW Connect app for tracking, and iTunes for music.
SW Connect also allows me to link up with Spotwalla.
I believe Android phones with the Bubbler app can do exactly the same.
I have the phone fitted inside a Lifeproof case, which is dust and water proof, and mounted just in front of the handlebars.
It has been working flawlessly so far.
I also have an old iPhone 5 that I take with me in case I need a backup device.
 

Sean

Premier Member
#5
quarky,

Interesting topic, I hope it generates a lot of input.
Like you I am new to the LD community as well. I've gleaned the forum on various topics to see what equipment the "big guns" are using for their rides.

I ride a 2015 Harley Ultra Limited, Based on what I've read, here's what I've planned so far:

Zumo 66o GPS with my planned route installed.
Can I ask why your using a Garmin rather than the Bikes Own Sat Nav?

Cheers Sean
 
#6
I use my bike for work and four/five years used sat nav via the phone thinking it comes free why pay
It is limited in that you need to make sure the phone can charge faster than it drains down
In a tank bag when it rains it suffers from condensation which affects/ed the screen , it was never in the right spot to view and you move your head further down that you think to view the route which lead to some scary moments, i put velcro at the top to stop it sliding to the bottom of the see through cover
Calls used to interrupt the voice over regardless of settings
I used to use ultimate ear plus with a cable to attach to the 3.5mm jack plug which was fine but a faff when walking away from the bike

I now use a tomtom (mmm whatever to all the Garmin bods) and I don’t have any issue. I use sena bluetooth intercom that’s designed for my shoei so it looks integrated. can connect to others play music via suitable device

Sat nav is ideally located on stem via a Telferizer so a quick glance is all that is needed
No power issues as it’s hard wired to the bike
There is no issue hearing the directions with ear plugs, though nine out of ten times I know generally where I’m going, I just need sat nav for the last mile or so

go back to phone sat nav and cable plugs....no
 

owl*

Rally Bonus checker
IBA Member
#7
Forgot to say - phone is hard wired to the battery and I have custom made moulded earplugs with speakers in.
 

Aitch

Well-Known Member
#8
I have a Cardo solo rider (billy no mates) which connects by bluetooth to my phone (which I play music through) and my bike sat nav (garmin zumo). This works pretty well - music cuts out when voice directions from sat nav cuts in and then starts up again. Downside - the battery in the Cardo will need charging after several hours and at speeds above 60mph I can't hear the helmet speakers wearing earplugs. I might be able to improve this if I position the speakers right....

Sat nav - depends on your preference you could save a fair bit of money by using co-pilot on your phone. This vid might help
Maybe try your phone first - think there is a free trial of co-pilot as well. If you don't get on with that, then move to a bike sat nav. One thing that made a huge difference with me for sat nav use was to have the sat nav in an easily viewable position. Initially I use a ram mount on the handlebar which meant too much looking down. Its now mounted much higher and is a great deal more visible.

For camera - Drift Ghost S was pretty much the favoured option by many but the replacement Ghost 4k gets poor reviews (glitchy) and is pricey £300. Their new Ghost X is much cheaper (£118) https://driftinnovation.com/products/ghost-x - its a more basic model, no remote control but standard battery lasts 5 hours and the form factor means it fits nicely on the side of a helmet.

Other thing to mention is - when I last looked the helmet audio systems are generally not compatible with rival systems. So if you have a Cardo and your mate has a Sena - you're stuffed. However having just looked at the Sena 20s it seems to have a universal mode to talk to non-sena units but results are mixed....

One other thing for long distance riding - I do not have have cruise control so I got a cruise throttle lock so that I can rest my right wrist (even briefly helps) on motorways/carriageways
 
Last edited:

mcrigid

Premier Member
#9
Can I ask why your using a Garmin rather than the Bikes Own Sat Nav?

Cheers Sean
Hi Sean,
I've never been happy with the Harley sat nav. Maps are outdated and expensive to update. My 2015 came with 2013 maps. I have literally been on new roads and the nav screen shows me riding off road and POIs are can be out of date 2017 maps are available now but at a price. Garmin updates every few months for free. Not perfect, but better.
 

Sean

Premier Member
#11
Hi Sean,
I've never been happy with the Harley sat nav. Maps are outdated and expensive to update. My 2015 came with 2013 maps. I have literally been on new roads and the nav screen shows me riding off road and POIs are can be out of date 2017 maps are available now but at a price. Garmin updates every few months for free. Not perfect, but better.
Thanks for that, I have no idea what maps I'm running but I guess the Same, as mines an early 2014, I know what you mean about New Roads, mine made a right hash of getting me to Beverley Minster last weekend during the Jorvic Rally, Need to look properly into all the options before Next Years Rally Season.
 

FJRPilot

Iceni Rallymaster RBLR1000 routemaster
Premier Member
IBA Member
#12
In the detailed instructions document on the website there's information about clothing and equipment for this Long Distance ride. One thing not already mentioned above is hydration. I always find it useful to have a remote hydration set-up on my bike which means I can drink safely without having to stop and get off the bike. This is handy when stuck in traffic jams or while sitting at traffic lights etc. And can also prevent muscle cramps due to dehydration.

In the past I've used a Camelbak rucksack type pack, and also put a Camelbak hydration pouch in a tank bag with the hose coming out through a zip and clipped onto a D-ring. I now use a Sigg water bottle on a Touratech type bottle holder and fitted with a 'Source' Convertube kit which enables you to connect multiple hoses along and up to your handlebars. I have a retractable cable thingy which means I can just reach for the mouthpiece, flip my helmet chin bar up, have a few sips, let go and it retracts back by itself. :cool:
https://www.uktactical.com/p-11018-source-450436-convertube-military-storm-valve-coyote.aspx

As far as navigation and audio is concerned I too use two sat navs on long distance rides and IBA Rallies but also have my Samsung S7 phone mounted on my handlebars in a waterproof and powered case by Ultimate Addons. This means I can use my Garmin Smartlink App to advise me of weather, traffic, and roadworks etc Bluetoothed to my Garmin 590.

As mentioned in the instructions document it's also advisable to have some basic route instructions i.e. road numbers, and motorway exit junction numbers etc written down and displayed in a tank bag. That way, if your phone or sat nav packs up you have a back-up system in place. Like a lot of Long Distance rides, it's all about the Planning and Preparation. Which surprisingly quite a few riders don't do much of for this event :eek:

I have a Cardo Sho-1 headset fitted to my Shoei Netoec helmet so I can play music through my phone too. I rarely listen to sat nav directions as I prefer just to glance at the screens every now and again. The advantage of this type of headset is it has a separate battery so I carry a spare and can just swap it over and leave the other one in my topbox charging up via a powerpack thingy.
 

Dave Rose

Active Member
#13
Mostly the responses have been about GPS/SatNavs, with a couple of noticeable exceptions.

Thing's I carry.
  • A torch, and spare batteries
  • Mobile phone, essential and handy for tracker info for families to check where you are
  • Don't forget a cable for USB charging of phone, and a small mains plug with a USB socket for when you stop somewhere.
  • A jump start, I have a small, but quite powerful, Streetwize unit - https://www.screwfix.com/p/streetwize-150a-power-bank-jump-starter-12v/1830r This can also be used to charge things like your phone.
  • Hi Vis vest
  • Spare Gloves and overgloves in case of lots of rain
  • Waterproof trousers and top, lightweight which I got from Go Outdoors quite cheap
  • I don't carry bulbs as all my lights are LED but especially if you going to mainland Europe you need them, plus other stuff so need to google that.
  • A basic, small, tool kit to fit allen key bolts and other nuts etc. for your bike.
I thinks that's my advice pretty much done.
I did carry a 1ltr fuel bottle when I had the shadow but unless you are going into remote areas abroad I really don't think it is necessary (Unless you have a Harley 48 or Iron 883, even the salesman said to me "Great bikes but the tank is smaller than a gnats bladder"! :D
 
#14
I always ride with earplugs in - my tinnutus goes crazy if I don't. But I can hear directions/music/phone calls fine through my bluetooth headset on my Neotec - it's an Interphone F5MC with optional Pro Sound speakers, the standard speakers used to become a bit inaudible at 50mphish but the Pro Sound stuff sounds good way beyond the speed limit.

The "Oh, and cheap too." might be a limiting factor though quarky - get things bit by bit I reckon, if you buy it all at once it can be a bit of a wallet stinger.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#15
So, if a Yank can add a point or two along the way in the conversation - after all, LD riding seems to be rather universal with respect to location... :D

My input - simply put all four items are at the top of the list. While many are discussing GPS options (which may be different between the UK and North America), the one that's universal is a camera.

Is this one to mounton the motorcycle, or to bring with you for photo opportunities along the way?

I'll focus only on the second half of the question above. Any decent, point-and-shoot you can get for £150 or maybe less will give you the ability of photos while on the fly...





This is a three-year-old Nikon Coolpix S4300. I wear it around my neck with a lanyard while on the motorcycle. The power on/off button *is* small, and is sometimes a challenge to operate while wearing a glove. The shutter is big, and it's easy to hit with that same gloved finger.

I used the same camera for photos of my receipts during a ride:



Hope that helps!
 
#16
Garmin 660 plus spare, Neotec 2 with built in speakers plus dedicated sena bluetooth phone linked to the 660 as the phone controls/phone book appear on the screen saves faffing about if you are making a call when stationary then the 660 to the helmet.
The unit lasts approx 30 hours if you don't have the FM radio or music on just sat nav link you can charge via a power bank not sure if the unit will charge when operating, the sound quality is excellent Whilst on the RBLR 1000 i had a five minute phone chat with SWIMBO at speed on the M6 Chrystal clear both ways that is with ear plugs with 10 % attenuation.
A basic tool kit, plug and go/ gummy string puncture kit plus compressor.
And a brew kit some times it's good to be off the bike for a coffee.