Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Charging accessories for your motorcycle for less than $30

Hiya.

It feels like just yesterday that we rode four days through blistering Australian heat, from Melbourne to South Australia’s south coast, around to Mildura and back to Melbourne last Australia Day and yet, here we are again about to venture off for the ninth annual Australia Day Ride. You can read about previous adventures here.
I’m totally psyched this year's ride, for some unknown reason called life, I never got to take that long solo ride I was planning back in November and I desperately need to take the S1R out on the open roads and be silly with a bunch of mates.

Preparation

Having done this eight times over now I am getting pretty good at cutting down the excess, trying to keep it simple, but I have a few obvious things to get in order and I like to think (a lot) of all the different aspects of being on the road for a few days.

Namely the bike, luggage and keeping various devices charged. Let's break it down in reverse.

Technology

I have to film shit, I just cant help it. I'm not particularly good at it but I like trying. This year with the addition of a UCLEAR HBC200 Bluetooth Headset I have in-lid-music which means I also have to consider keeping lots of various shit charged. My phone has a crap battery and won't last a full days use and the GoPro lasts about two tenths of not long...

The best solution was a dual USB charger I got for $28 from Peter Stevens spare parts, it's a cheap Chinese thing but hey, IT HAS ONE JOB. Sure would be nicer if BMW included ONE single power outlet on the S1R, but they didn't so lets just move on. It has dual USB outlets housed in a waterproof rubber case and two long cables wrapped in a tubing that hopefully is heat resistant, much like this one from Amazon only without the inline fuse.

I spoke to ADR fellow Murphy and was advised that an inline fuse would be a good idea so after I ran the wires down behind the side fairing below the tank and poked it out at the battery termys under the seat, I shot out to see him Discount Motorcycle Wreckers and he was kind enough to help me wire it into the battery with a 5A inline fuse, job done.

My only reservation is the tiny blue backlights that will stay on permanently. I will be monitoring in the days leading up to departure. This also means I need to remember to only charge while riding, which is the plan anyway, just have to unplug at longer stops. 

I've created a rule for myself this time around: all photography will be done with my Olympus PEN, leaving the phone for music and GPS app. Then I'll shoot 'good bits' of video at 1080p 30fps on the GoPro so I'll have one USB port hooked up to the N5 and the other the GoPro. Best I check how many microSD cards I can muster...expensive suckers, the good ones are.

To solve the issue of how to charge the phone (Nexus 5) on the go, I grabbed a Ram Mount Universal X-Grip and I am super impressed with how it works. The bar mount is a padded claw and you simply tighten it up in the desired position and then you have a universal movement ball mounted onto another claw of sorts which grips the phone. Fitting is easy and I double checked for free movement with the tank bag on, everything fits and moves smoothly. 

Luggage

I insisted on a tank and rear bag when I bought the bike, so I got this covered. I have played with, tested, rode with, packed and unpacked and I'm happy that what I've got will do the job easily; it’s only a two nighter this year, so not much to worry about in terms of capacity. 


Took a few happy snaps and I gotta say it doesn’t look too untoward. Kinda spiffy even, of course I'm gonna be swinging my leg up and through the gap now rather than over the back seat but that's ok. 

The bike

Bike is good to go! Had my first service at 1,500kms (or was it 1,000?) and am nearing 4,000km on the clock as we speak, so I have nothing to worry about as far as it goes. I’ll grease up the chain the night before, check my tyre pressure in the morning and top up with rocket fuel then hit the road for our 7:30am departure time.

While visiting Murphy I also grabbed a tiny can of chain lube for the trip, it's like a small can of Aeroguard which is the perfect size for travel.

I’ve got my little BHACO toolkit and a plug kit tucked under the rear seat for any unexpected punctures or things that rattle, and of course if I run into real trouble I still have 24x7 BMW roadside assistance to fall back on. Ahh the warm embrace of comfort offered up on new bike purchases. 

Packing for the ride will probably happen at the last minute on Friday night, but it’s pretty straight forward - 3 jocks, 3 socks, 3 t-shirts, 1 pair jeans, swimming shorts and a set of wet pants, 1 pair runners a toothbrush and my meds (a long boring story for another day).

I’ll chuck all that in the rear bag with the wets on top for easy access, and put all my electronic crap up front in the tank bag.

I’m looking forward to really trying out this sweet little GPS app I have just scored some more. It’s called the Ulysses Pro Speedometer and for a buck 99 AUD I’m pleased with it’s features so far. It can time your attempts at the quarter mile, 0-60, 0-100 and the best feature is that it works entirely from Satellite so it won't chew mobile data. 

I'm expecting having the screen on fulltime while riding and the app running as well as music playing chews the battery pretty damn quick so that USB charger will be getting a workout. Maybe I’ll do a full review of the app on my return...

 So I never quite covered all the technology farkels I wanted but I have managed to get two devices powered at once for under $30. Next week I’ll cover what went down (hopefully no-one). Expect much hooliganism.

Until then, enjoy this short video I made for ADR 4 five years ago now (shit, I'm old), and stay upright.