Going A Little High Tech


I have mentioned before that my trusty Garmin Streetpilot 2610 didn’t survive my trip to South America. It actually didn’t even make it out of the USA, though I sort of made it work the rest of the trip. I had assumed that, at some future point, replacing it wouldn’t be that difficult or expensive. The 2610 is a discontinued model, and this was my second which I’d picked up on ebay for $25, and I figured a new (sort of) replacement would be about the same.

The 2610 is, or at least was (I haven’t been paying attention lately) a popular model for long distance motorcycle riders. Its simpler interface and customizable maps make it a good choice. And, since they aren’t making them anymore, there is a limited pool, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found 2610s were going for $200-$300 online. That was out of my budget.

A friend (from Sport-touring.net, a group I hang out with frequently) gave me one of his older GPS’s a 2720 model (old for him, new for me). I could see why people preferred the 2610, since I found the 2720 a lot harder to use. Of course, I had a lot of previous experience to overcome.

One feature the 2720 offers that my older one didn’t was the ability to play music or audiobooks. I do listen to audiobooks when riding, so this was a cool feature, though I needed to run a wire to the GPS unit, and there was no syncing with audiobooks I had on my phone. This wasn’t terrible, but it was annoying.

Then I wondered why I just didn’t use my phone as a GPS, and have it also play audiobooks. Since my phone has bluetooth, I just needed a bluetooth intercom for my helmet and some sort of powered phone mount for Curiosity.

The intercom was easy. I went with the Sena SMH-5. Not their top of the line unit, it had the bluetooth connection for my phone which is all I really wanted.

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Yeah, I also got a thing to hold my phone on a tripod, more on that later.

Along with the headset I needed a waterproof mount to hold the phone. While I could run audio in my helmet with the phone in my pocket, I wanted it to be somewhere I could see for the GPS. There are actually several on the market, but I found one with a switched power supply. This meant I could turn if off when it wasn’t needed, and the mount would be hard wired to Curiosity.

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Since I wanted to keep the Garmin wired up (in case the phone thing didn’t work out), I was starting to get a lot of stuff attached to the battery. Curiosity doesn’t have a dedicated accessory circuit, so along with the motorcycle wires (one) I have heated gear (two), a generic connection for charging or jumping or random other things (three), the Garmin wires (four) and now the phone connection (five). I might need to install a fuseblock, though all the wires have inline fuses, just to regain some sense of order.

The case was a bonus with the package off Amazon, and I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan of it.

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I think it’s intended to hold the phone all the time, and is somewhat easy to remove from its mount. That isn’t really a positive feature, and I don’ really know how waterproof it will be.

This weekend (The 12th-14th) I am going on the Moonshine Lunch Run, a Ride To Eat in Southern Illinois. I haven’t been in a few years, it’s a huge event with hundreds of riders from all over – not really my scene. But Curiosity has had a lot of work done, new GPS notwithstanding, and I want a longer trip before heading to the Overland Expo next month.

Oh, and this means I’ll have a nice ride report coming up – with food!

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