From motorcycle radar detectors to motorcycle GPS units, there are a lot of interesting motorcycle gadgets for the road. Here are 10 reviews from the editors at Motorcycle Classics:
1. Different people look at motorcycle radar detectors in different ways. Some believe that if you drive (and ride) like the law-obeying citizen you should be, there’s no need for one. The reality is that speeding tickets suck. They’re expensive, and that’s before court costs, lawyer fees, increased insurance premiums and the time spent getting it all taken care of. Want help avoiding the next speed trap? The TPX Radar and Laser Detection System from Adaptive Systems is designed specifically for motorcycles. The system features a quick-release mounting plate that attaches to a variety of mounts, including, of course, the AdaptiveMount, also sold on the company’s website. The TPX is water resistant, comes with a heavy duty wiring harness, a Visual Alert system that can be mounted just about anywhere on your bike for optimal viewing, and features large buttons designed to be easy to use, even with gloves on. The angled, backlit LCD screen allows you to read it day or night. Certified by Speed Measurement Laboratories, Inc., the leading independent evaluator of radar detectors in the market today. Price: $299.
2. Designed specifically to isolate your expensive electronics from the vibrations of your motorcycle, the AdaptiveMount motorcycle accessory mount features two plates separated by AdaptiSorb vibration dampers. Your gadget mounts to the top plate only, insulating it from the stem of the mount. The double ball-joint design provides a variety of positioning options, easy adjustment and simple installation. Price: starting at $85.
3. When you’re traveling, it’s really nice to be able to keep your gadgets powered on the go, especially if it’s a cell phone you rely on in an emergency. Why not turn your tank bag or saddlebag into a charging station? This Basic Luggage Electrix Tankbag & Saddlebag Power Kit from Powerlet has everything you need to get things wired. Perfect for charging cell phones, GPS units, radar detectors, satellite radios, air compressors and more, the connector can be installed into most any piece of motorcycle luggage. Power can come from an SAE battery lead, a Powerlet outlet or a battery charger SAE lead. Price: $59.95.
4. Anything that makes a bike more visible in traffic is a good thing. This Flashing Halogen Taillight Bulb from our friends at Aerostich looks like a bright taillight. And it is, until you hit the brakes. Then it goes into action, and becomes a great flashing motorcycle brake light. It flashes four times fast, then pauses, then flashes three times a little slower, then pauses, then flashes two more times really slow, and then stays on full time as a stop light. The full flash/pause sequence only takes 4 seconds, and it repeats each time you re-apply the brakes. Cool, eh? The reliable digital electronics are all contained inside the bulb’s base, and it uses a widely available, easily replaceable G4 halogen bulb. It even comes with an easy-to-carry extra bulb, and fits standard 1157 dual filament brake/taillight bulb sockets. Price: $69.
5. Once you’ve ridden down a country road on a dark night with a good set of motorcycle driving lights, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to get along without them. And if you ever tour in the boonies and like to ride at night, you’ll really appreciate the difference they make. Though they’re not cheap, these PIAA Cross Country 2-inch HID lamps are the gold standard in motorcycle driving lights. These lights feature an internal ballast and igniter, with a housing built from machined anodized aluminum and a hardened glass lens. They feature 25-30 watt HID bulbs, pull just 1-2 amps (5 amps at start up), and will operate down to 9 volts and up to 14.5 volts. Think about it; the farther you can see, the better you can prepare for the road ahead. Price: $594.95.
6. If you have a strong battery and a properly functioning charging system on your bike, you’ll be able to add a few electronic gadgets without any troubles. But try it on a weak battery and you’ll be up a creek quick. You can’t repair a trashed battery, but you can help extend your battery’s life by keeping it hooked up to a motorcycle battery tender whenever you’re not riding or when you don’t plan to be getting back on the bike anytime soon. We’ve featured the 1.25-amp Battery Tender Plus before, and here’s it’s little brother, the Battery Tender Jr. It runs at .75 amps, so it will take a bit longer to recharge a low battery with the Jr., but it’s nearly $25 cheaper than its bigger brother. Cheap insurance, that. Available in 6 or 12 volt. Price: $39.95.
7. Looking for another way to make your bike more visible? Try adding a motorcyle LED light bar. The Versa LED Turn/Brake/Running light is a simple row of super-bright LEDs made to attach directly to the bottom of your license plate using the same mounting holes. Connect it to your brake light wires and you have another brake light. It also functions as a running light and a turn signal indicator when properly hooked up. Price: $42.
8. If you ride with a passenger or tour with a friend aboard another motorcycle, a good motorcycle communication system can really make a trip much more pleasant. We’ve toured using the Scala Rider Q2 Bluetooth Headsets (we’ve also used their integrated system available in the new Schuberth C3 flip-up helmet), and come away impressed. The Scala system was easy to use, provided excellent audio quality and had surprising range. Cardo has now introduced this updated version, the Scala Rider G4 Power Set. The units feature MP3 jacks, 4-way connectivity and are pre-paired for immediate use. Price: $489.95.
9. The Zumo 665 is the latest motorcycle GPS unit from Garmin, and it’s chock-full of handy features. For starters, it’s waterproof, and it now incorporates onboard entertainment into the mix, as it features an onboard MP3 player and XM radio capability (subscription required). It has a headphone jack for connecting your headphones or helmet headset and mic. The unit comes preloaded with City Navigator NT software, offers a 4.3-inch glove-friendly touch screen, and comes with a carrying case, motorcycle mount with integrated power cable and mounting hardware, battery pack and more. Price: $999.99.
10. Want to do all you can to make sure your bike is still there when you come back out from lunch or from a motel in the morning while touring? One of the most compact motorcycle alarm systems out there, the Cyclone 866F is no larger than a pack of cigarettes, yet it contains all of the best features known to prevent motorcycle theft. When the system is armed the motorcycle cannot be started, even with the key in the ignition. And in addition to shock sensors, the Cyclone uses a sensor to detect inclination from side to side or front to back. It also incorporates a built-in back-up battery capable of blasting the full-stage siren for up to two continuous hours, even if power is cut or disconnected. All together, the company claims the Cyclone to be the world’s smallest full-featured motorcycle alarm system. An optional one-way paging system is also available for the alarm. Price: $179.95 (Pager, $94.95).
Price and availability confirmed at time of publication. Subject to change, please visit the product website for the latest prices and availability.