Monday, January 17, 2011

Let there be heat!

Irondad plugged in the fuse and heat came to be.

There now exists a plug for a heated jacket liner or vest. There is another one near the passenger seat for Katie. Yes, I did later erase my diagonal marks that helped find the center of the plate. That's why you use a pencil for such things.

There will be no heated grips, or seat, or whatever such. I reluctantly offer up this appeasement to the Gods of Comfort. I stoically bow my head as a blow is struck to my reputation as a hard core and spartan rider. It is necessary for the greater good. As was pointed out to me by Troubadour ( read the comments ), I must walk the talk of an instructor. If I preach the virtues of being comfortable on a motorcycle then my own steed must show the brand. Elvira has thus been suitably marked.



I have been riding this past week while deep in the grasp of bronchitis. The heat has been somewhat comforting. One day I was not up for going anywhere at all. Katie told me that she was sure even Superman stayed home and drank chicken soup once in a while. So I relented and went back to bed.

As a matter of utility rather than comfort, I also wired in the mount for the Garmin Zumo 550 GPS. To date I'd been using it by sticking the Garmin in the tank bag. I have a streamlined Jabra bluetooth device that fits nicely under my helmet. Voice directions arrive with the reliability of a back seat driver. The only two drawbacks to this are the fact that the GPS has to run on battery power and I don't get any clues before the voice commands. It's nice to glance up at the screen once in a while to see how far until the next turn, etc.

The Zumo comes with a motorcycle mounting bracket. It's monster sized. I also had kicking around a mounting plate based on this decorative nut on the steering head.



Firstly, I wasn't able to get this nut off in my first few attempts. I also wasn't anxious to try real hard. Secondly, even that mounting contraption was big and ungainly. With an added curse of putting the whole GPS thing right in front of the ignition key and instruments. Size alone was bad enough. Kind of like putting a bicycle rack on top of a Ferrari. It would be okay on a BMW but not on a sleek and sexy Yamaha. It would also seem that some people can't tell the difference.

So I found this.



It fits the feel of the bike. I stole the photo from their website but I'm pretty sure they won't mind as I'm promoting their product.

The unit mounts with screws that replace the existing clutch fluid reservoir screws. All in all a very nice installation that looks classy and puts the GPS into a good place for me. Here's the end result.



The company that makes this mount is called Adaptiv Technologies. They have a lot of useful stuff. Click here for their website. Notice how I cleverly waited to put this link at the end of the post so when people clicked they'd be done reading, anyway? Pretty smart for a guy obsessed with motorcycles, isn't it?

So there you have it. May our electric coils help delay the shrugging off of our mortal coils. Or at least may they make these aging coils more comfortable. Peace be the journey.

Miles and smiles,

Dan

27 comments:

MeanStreak said...

Very nice additions! If I didn't have serious doubts on the ability of the electrical system on my sportster I would add an outlet for heated gear. Such are the drawbacks to my contraption :)

Charlie6 said...

Irondad, you'll not regret the added safety of keeping your core warm during the cold rides.

Still, heated grips are not a luxury per se....frozen digits are unresponsive digits when manipulating controls during long rides; but you know that.

In fact, when I ride in the real cold days, I just use the heated grips and not the vest. Grip covers and heated grips are the key for me. That and a big windshield. : )

As you probably know, my Ural days are probably done. Moving on to something else in terms of a tug for my sidecar.....more on that later.

Congrats on letting the iron self image bend just a little....you've lost nothing in our eyes.

P.S. First its the GPS, then a radar detector, then perhaps a 2d GPS in case the first one fails, then the IPAD to check the internet...then the automatic "hand waver" option...the expresso machine option...the SPOT transmitter....the farkling opportunities are endless. Me? Until recently, I'd be happy if the engine started on the Ural! : )

dom


Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Redleg's Rides

Allen Madding said...

MeanStreak, I can tell you from personal experience, your sportster can adequately handle the demands of heated gloves. I rode that way for two years.

IronDad - I don't know how you've ridden this long without heated gear. It doesn't make you weaker, it simply makes even older temps and longer rides that much closer to your grips.

RichardM said...

I've never made the leap to heated gear. My bike has an outlet and a few watts to spare but have never felt the need. The huge windshield and the full faring seems to provide pretty good protection from wind and rain. I tried the heated grips for the first time last fall and they felt strangely warm. I think the big difference is that I rarely go much faster than about fifty since we have no interstates. And I don't put in the miles you do.

That looks like a nice, neat install. I still don't have my GPS wired in since it will run over 20 hours on 2AA batteries. Seems adequate.

Richard

irondad said...

Mean Streak,

I'm sure Charlie6 could help you hook up a direct drain system on your battery!

I actually know how you feel. The BMW guys keep telling me to get a real motorcycle. Sigh.....

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Dom,

We only have a very few days with temps in the teens. If I lived where you do I would have to seriously consider my stance.

Thank you for the list. I've added up the current draw and decided I need two more alternators and three more batteries. I'm sure the expresso will be worth it, though!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Allen,

Kind of like super powers? Never thought of that. Thanks, Pal!!!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Richard,

Alaska? No heated gear? I hereby pass my Iron Man title to you!

A GPS that runs 20 hours on 2 AA batteries? Ah, but does it talk to you?

Take care,

Dan

RichardM said...

Irondad:
My GPS, a Garmin 60CSx, has no audio and no Bluetooth so no strange voices in my ear. But it is waterproof, keeps tracks and works great when I'm out walking or skiing.

Richard

Andrew said...

Over here we probably don't get as cold as you guys (except in the far South and the Central Plateau in the North) so I doubt I'll ever need a heated jacket.

Hot grips are a must however! I like to wear thin gloves year round so the hot grips come in handy in winter...

bluekat said...

Nice job on the wiring!

Not sure if anyone has warned you, it's a slippery slope this heated gear stuff. My last couple of rides were sufficiently warm to not need the liner or grips...but I still turned them on...just cuz it was nice and snuggly warm. I'll stop when it turns 60 F...yeah then I'll stop...

One of these days I have to bite the bullet and get a gps unit ( I hate learning new technology!) My current system is a paper map in the tank bag.

Heal up well from the bronchitis, and take care!

Bucky said...

Heated grips + Hippo Hands help immensely. Summer gloves work well with that combo.

Tell us about the helmet speaker. I have a GPS with Bluetooth, but cannot find a [reasonably priced] speaker for my helmet that is loud enough so I can still wear earplugs.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad:

Do I understand correctly that that "X" pencilled in on plate with the accessory socket marks the spot where you drilled the hole for the installation? If so, allow me to congratulate you on a clean installation that looks as if it came straight from the factory.

I should know.

My 16-year-old BMW did come straight from the factory with a powerlet socket on the dashboard and another on the left-hand side cover. It's nice to know you are equiping your touted Yamaha the way Beemers came standard in 1995. I am proud of you.

While I have not gone the route of heated grips, my machine came pre-wired for that optional installation. It also came with a 52-amp alternator (over 600 watts) to run the ancillary lights and the heated seat. How does BMW think of these things years in advance? Amazing, huh? I know how pleased you are to read this.

The problem is my machine does not have a rotating brush to clear the salt and gravel from the road, and I derive no pleasure from the constant sliding as I come to a stop. I had envisioned a dryer, cleaner winter, and am feeling gyped. I am throwing in the towel for the season. There is no thrill in crashing for me.

We got storm #4 of the winter today. Storm #5 is scheduled for Friday.

I have an older Garmin Nuvi 660, with a large touch screen, that talks just fine, but which will only Blue Tooth with a cell phone. At full volume, I can hear it over the whisper of my K75 engine up to 70mph.

I think you will enjoy the heated gear as it greatly reduces rider fatigue. Yet whether you ride a BMW or a Yamahaha, I suggest you carry a spare sweater and your heaviest non-electric gloves in a side bag. I know plenty of riders who developed a wiring problem in either the controller or somewhere north of the fuse, which killed the heat. The result was freezing their smug asses off in thin electric clothes that couldn't keep the cold out without juice.

I would never recommend a BMW to anyone. It is an awareness that comes from a pure soul.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Troubadour said...

I'm glad you finally took your own advice, and you're welcome.

Stacy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacy said...

Dear Dan,

I must say that I'm quite surprised at this turn of events, as I suspected that your electrics remained disconnected out of spite. Now that pigs are flying, I'm awaiting the announcements that Harley is producing a motorcycle that appeals to the under-80 crowd and that BMW has signed a deal with TAPOUT to market to someone other than well-heeled nerds.

You mustn't mind Jack -- he really has no idea about riding in less than pristine weather. Something about the dangers of delicate BMW-booted feet slipping in gravel...

Dean W said...

Tell 'em your "real motorcycle" is in the shop...

Psst- Charlie6- you forgot the HID driving lights / deer vaporization units.

bobskoot said...

Irondad:

It's nice to have the choice. You don't have to use them. I have a heated vest which I haven't worn for a long time, even though I always carry it in my side case. but the heated grips are great in the rain for keeping your gloves dry.

Your bike looks more like a Beemer every day

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Stacy Via IronDad:

"Held in the most delicate of scented hands, the dagger caught me right between the shoulder blades..."

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

irondad said...

Andrew,

From what I hear perhaps a life jacket would be good investment!

bluekat,

It's simply amazing how quickly we can become creatures of comfort, isn't it?

I tend to use maps a lot, too. However, I also travel to a lot of different cities where I need to find places. The GPS is easier than buying maps of all those places and plotting a route. I simply listen to the directions.

Besides, after a call I often feel like having a cup of coffee. The GPS tells me where the nearest Starbucks is and directs me right to it. Let a map do that!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Bucky,

I use a Jabra bluetooth device. It fits nicely under my Arai helmet. The earpiece goes right into my ear. It actually sort of acts as its own earplug. I use a standard earplug in the other ear and things work well.

Here is the link to that model

http://headsets.onlinephonestore.com/details/36305/jabra-bt5020.html

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Jack,

Thank you for noticing the neatness of my installation and likening it to a factory BMW job. I actually used to be a BMW tech but got fired. Apparently I was not elitist enough. The boss went into the restroom after I had been there. I guess there was some sort of odor so he decided I didn't fit in.

Seriously, though, very wise advice about having spare warm clothing. Offered like a true veteran rider!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Troubadour,

Shamed me into it, you did! Besides, now I have voltage handy to run my electric glass tapper next time I visit your office.

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Stacy,

I did hold out for spite for a long time. More like being stubborn. Especially after Troubadour said something! Truth be told, I'll probably not use the heat for that reason. Call it ego, if you will. Mostly I was interested in the GPS mount so I did the vest thing while it was all apart.

On the other hand, having a sort of safety net isn't a bad idea. If I find myself two hundred miles from home and getting quite chilled it's good to have an option for safety.

Funny, I never would have thought of Jack and delicate feet in the same sentence!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

DeanW,

et tu, Brute?

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

bobskoot,

You are exactly right about options. Plan A, Plan B, and even Plan C!

Will heated grips actually dry out a glove?

Take care,

Dan

Krysta in MKE said...

Once you try heated grips & a heated seat (or maybe more accurately, once Katie has a heated seat) you won't want to give them up. I sure don't.

Besides, heated grips at least are a safety measure. You need your hands at their peak operating condition to control the bike well.