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RIDE Adventures Blog

Smartphones for Motorcycle Trips: Might be the GPS you need

Posted by Eric Lange on August 2, 2011
Eric Lange
Since riding his KTM 950 Adventure down to South America in 2008 and launching RIDE Adventures in 2010, Eric now resides in Oregon for most of each year. Riding is still a regular part of his work though, in that guiding tours is a passion he'll always have, and researching new routes and regions allows RIDE Adventures to continue growing and providing reliable travel services to adventure minded riders and travelers from around the world.

Planning for your motorcycle trip, but tired of buying electronic devices that are outdated before you really get to know how to use them?

It seems as if everyone has a Smartphone with GPS built in these days, and of course those Smartphones never leave our side.  So if you already have what is essentially a GPS unit in your pocket, consider using that instead of buying a unit specifically built for GPS. 

Techmount Clamp

Techmount® is now making a couple of great options for mounting your iPhone or other Smartphone to your motorcycle.  First, their AR001 Cradle holds today’s smartphones quite securely as the phone comes from the manufacturer.  You can attach this mount to a variety of mounting arms & pieces and quite securely ride with your Smartphone leading the way.  

Some of us are using battery/protector add-ons like the Mophie® Juice Pack, and these change the overall size & shape of the Smartphone such that it won’t fit in the AR001 Cradle.  As shown in these pictures (with the Mophie® Juice Pack encasing the iPhone), the Techmount® HR2451, which at this time isn’t listed on their website for some reason, serves as a great “clamp” mount to accommodate varying sizes of Smartphones.  With twin supports from beneath and easy-to-use padded clamps closing in from the sides, it does a surprisingly good job securing whatever fits within it.  While you might be perfectly fine without it, it’s a good idea to use some kind of a rubber band (shown) or similar for either the AR001 or HR2451, just as a back-up plan in case the respective cradle lets loose.

GPS ISN'T EVEN NECESSARY On This Self-Guided Motorcycle Tour in Peru With Our Rentals

In the pictures shown, I used the Techmount® HR2451, which has a standard 4-hole AMPs bolt pattern allowing me to connect it to a RAM® RAM-B-202U ball mount. (The 2.5” round base and 1” ball.)  From there, a 6” RAM® RAM-B-201U-C Long Double Socket Arm gives the mount plenty of reach and adjustability before connecting down to a RAM® RAM-B-231ZU Zinc coated U-bolt and 1” ball that mounts on the handlebar.  (I combined the RAM® products with Techmount® because when I was shopping for all of this, the Techmount® options available did not have long enough of a reach.  With a tankbag on the KTM 950 Adventure, I needed around 6 inches of reach to clear everything when turning the handlebars.)

Techmount RAM Mount

Of course we run the risk of dirt, dust, and water damaging our Smartphones travelling like this.  Originally I had created an enclosure out of a clear plastic bag (that still allows you to use the static-touch screen) but in the pounding sun and summer heat, the iPhone kept shutting down from overheating.  Since then I just use this mount setup without a plastic cover when conditions are “favorable” for use. 

Let’s be clear:  This is far from a perfect solution.  The latest and greatest GPS units are far better in functionality, durability, and ease of use, some of them meant specifically for motorcycle travel.  However, this idea shown above can help you avoid the cost of a new GPS unit, travel lighter by having less “stuff” with you, and still get help with guidance from a tool you probably already have with you.  While most guided motorcycle tours and motorcycle rental providers offer GPS for your adventure tour, traveling alone on your own bike could be made easier with an arrangement like this!


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