There’s nothing quite like getting lost on a motorbike to clear your mind and find yourself. But other days you really just need to get from A to B without hassle or stress. Maybe you need to be somewhere for work, maybe you’re off to a social rendezvous or maybe you’re leading your crew on a ride. For this, you really need a satnav, but motorcycle satnav’s aren’t cheap. However, you’ve got a decent phone in your pocket with loads of GPS apps on hand, so why not use that? For this, you’ll need something like this Shapeheart phone mount for motorbike.
The folks behind the Shapeheart asked me to review their new motorcycle phone mount, which promises to be a good budget contender, but is it the best motorcycle phone mount for the money? Read on to find out more.
When I recently swapped to a GoPro Hero 9 camera after using Drift cameras for years I was pretty disappointed by the GoPro motorcycle helmet mount options. Out of the box, your only option is a sticky pad to plonk the camera on top of your helmet. Fine if you don’t mind looking like a telly tubby and having a huge air brake dragging your head back.
Alternatives either bolt the GoPro sticking out at the side of your helmet or near the chin. Both often using some convoluted sequence of brackets off a sticky pad on the side. All because the GoPro’s do not have a rotatable lens or a side mounting like the Drift cameras, so must be mounted upright from a mounting on the base. The problem with all these scaffolding brackets is a) you need to buy them separately b) they add extra weight to your lid and c) too many can introduce a source of wobble screwing up your footage. That’s when I came across the Motoradds GoPro Motorcycle Helmet Mount chin bracket which appeared to be a far better solution.
On my old Fazer, I had installed a Stebel Nautilus air horn, a super loud horn that saved my bacon on a number of occasions on my daily commute into London. As such, I was keen to install similar on my new FZ6, but with the Stebel horns less readily available in the UK I came across the Denali SoundBomb. On first glance, it appears to be a spitting image of the Stebel horn and priced similarly at £40.
With the horn being such a large lump, mounting needed some thought as the FZ6 stock horn is mounted between the forks and there are no handy mounting points on the sides under the fairing. Denali sells a number of specific bike and generic crash bar mounting brackets, but unfortunately nowt suitable for the FZ6. That’s when I found the Denali SoundBomb Split version which separates the two halves of the air horn, thus allowing the compressor and horn elements to be mounted individually. A supplied thick heat resistant hose then connects the two halves. As with other large horns, the compressor should be wired to the stock horn via a relay due to it’s 20A power draw. i.e. the stock horn wire triggers the compressor via a relay, to power it directly from the battery on its own fused line.
Keeping your motorcycle tyre pressures correct is crucial to keeping your bike handling well. When down on pressure and you can really notice the handling go down hill, with cornering suddenly feeling unnatural and tyres squaring off faster. As such every biker needs a good pump they can rely on to keep tyre pressures on spec at all times. About a year ago I picked up this Ring analogue air pump from Screwfix for just under £20 quid and has since been put to good use in that time. Read more to find out my final verdict after a year of use.
No one likes cold fingers on a motorcycle. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, hinders fine control and can get painful. It’s also all too easy to underestimate the wind chill factor when travelling fast on a bike. It may be a bearable 5°C outside, but on a 60 mph blast, the wind will chill you down to cool -3°C, which will inevitably give numb fingers after a short while, even with thick gloves.
I’ve written about a number of approaches to tackle the cold hands on a motorbike issue in the past, but here today I have a pair of Oxford Commuter Hot Grips up for review. Intended to replace an old set of failed heated grips on Mary’s Honda, we picked these up as a freebie gift with a Ride magazine subscription last year. Annoyingly they took ages to turn up leaving Mary with cold hands for the first half of the winter, but finally, I fitted these last January and they’ve been tested thoroughly since.
I tend to have a love-hate relationship with bus lanes; when you can use them they’re great for filtering past long queues of traffic, but with so many not open to bikes or only active at random times it can be a pain to work out when you can take advantage of them. Especially so when you’re riding an older bike with no clock! Which is exactly the problem with my wife’s Honda CBF500. Not wanting to get caught out with a bus lane fine, we bought this Oxford analog clock.
You know what parents are like, strong opinions as to what is best for you, mildly tolerant of your motorcycle ‘hobby’, but secretly scared to death you’re gonna kill yourself on your bike. So my old man keeps seeing lots of big adventure bikes adorned with bright spotlights, and declares I must install said distinctive pattern of lights on my bike to ensure I stand out. My Dad has a few odd opinions, but more often than not he’s right.
After borking at the price of offerings from Givi etc, I decided to take a punt on some cheap Chinese lights off eBay. Very cheap at under £20 for a pair including wiring. I didn’t have high expectations, but they can’t be that bad, can they? Read on…
After Mary had flattened her battery twice this week, I promised to wire the heated grips up properly with a relay…
When we first bought Mary’s CBF500 it came with heated grips fitted, but they were installed with no relay so all to easy to leave on when parking up. After Mary had flattened her battery twice in this manner this week, I promised to wire them up properly with a relay to cut the power when the bike’s ignition is off. However, the heated grips aren’t the only accessory wired in, we have a satnav, USB sockets and probably more gadgets in the future. So, to help simplify stuff, I opted for a secondary fuse / distribution box.
Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short, loosing the number plate light won’t prevent us riding.
A mate happened to have a basic Mictuning 6-way fuse box going spare – perfect for the job. My plan was to tap a switched live feed from the rear number plate light circuit, which would trigger a relay, to feed this fuse box and in turn all of the bike’s gadgets. Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short for any reason, loosing the number plate light is no big loss and won’t prevent us riding. On the CBF500 this light is connected by some bullet connectors behind the rear right hand fairing panel. I opted to strip back the insulation and solder on a feed, rather than using a Scotch lock which have a reputation of failing. The final join was covered in heat shrink wrap and waterproofed with amalgamating tape.
So, you want a motorcycle Bluetooth communications headset for your helmet, listen to some tunes, your SatNav or natter with your partner, friends or pillion whilst you ride. But, you’ve checked out other Bluetooth headsets for motorcycle helmet offerings from the likes of Sena, Midland, Interphone, Cardo etc in the shops and probably come to the conclusion it’s gonna set you back quite a bit of cash. But, you’ve seen eBay is littered with funny Chinese branded gadgets at far more affordable prices. Sure they may not be the best Bluetooth headsets, just how bad can they be? Well, I took a punt on a pair of T-COM VB Bluetooth headset and this review tells how they turned out.
The first issue is narrowing down what you’re buying as you browse the glut of these intercoms on eBay. There are seemingly dozens of subtly different variations, on branding, spec and revision. Ultimately, I just took pot luck grabbing one of the cheapest FreedConn T-COM VB Bluetooth helmet intercom kits I could find from a UK seller. I wasn’t keen on waiting 4-6 weeks for a China-based seller to post or risk getting charged for VAT and duty by Royal Mail on arrival. Expect to pay around £40-50 a pair on eBay.
When it comes to satnav’s on a motorcycle you basically have two choices: splurge a tonne of cash on a proper water proof and rugged device from the likes of TomTom or Garmin; or you make do with the smart phone you already have. With the latter cheap skate route you either make do with audio direction only and keep your phone in your pocket or you look at a waterproof case to mount to handlebars. This is where this Herbert Richter phone case and mount comes in.