Motorcycle owners are some of the most adventurous in our world. They traverse the open road with the wind whipping across their shoulders and the sights and sounds of nature infused directly into their journey. Motorcycles offer a freedom that isn’t matched in a standard automobile. Cars offer a reliable means of transportation, but to fully enjoy the voyage from one place to another, there’s not much that can compete with a motorcycle.
Budget Direct notes that motorcycles offer immensely improved fuel efficiency, making them a more economical choice for drivers as well. However, motorcycles aren’t without their shortcomings. For one thing, motorcycle owners all across the country have likely encountered the dreaded stale red light. This happens because the metal chassis of a motorcycle isn’t bulked out enough to trip poorly calibrated detection circuits in the roadway. Motorcycle owners combat this with added tools and intelligent positioning at intersections. But these aren’t the only accessories that are a must-have for chopper enthusiasts. In truth, there’s a world of gadgets and add-ins that motorcyclists can take advantage of.
A compact and powerful internet hotspot
Internet connectivity has become a key resource in the modern world. Drivers demand a connection to the digital world that doesn’t suffer from dropped coverage or blackout spots. Motorcyclists are often known to ride out to remote locations and explore places that are far off the beaten path. The natural instinct for riders is often one of wild and unrestricted adventure. This may bring a motorcyclist outside of typical cellphone coverage on a regular basis. But emergency calls and even offline GPS guidance remain a high priority. Finding your way home or calling someone for help if your bike breaks down or you are involved in a collision is crucial and these needs don’t fade away based on the path you’ve chosen to ride along – in fact, they often become more prominent as you stray farther from the typical roadways. Qualcomm may be bringing emergency satellite communications to smartphones, but that will take a while to get here. Meanwhile, Apple’s satellite communications package is very limited. But there is another answer.
According to Ultimate Motorcycling, the Somewear Global Hotspot is a great option for riders who frequent the backcountry roads and open terrain that’s known to come along with unbeatable views and shoddy service. The device is tiny, weighing just 4 ounces, and is smaller than a pack of cards or a box of cigarettes. Ultimate Motorcycling reports that the tool is waterproof and includes an SOS feature that confirms your plea has been received. The device connects to the Geos Worldwide Response Center and can add crucial satellite internet connectivity for GPS and data service to your phone in even the most remote parts of the world.
A quality set of earplugs
One important feature that many motorcyclists simply overlook is the use of proper ear protection. Damon notes that the engine in your motorcycle produces a consistent sound that ranges from 65 to 115 decibels. The CDC estimates a level of about 95 dB from a motorcycle and notes that damage to your hearing can occur after about 50 minutes of constant use. In contrast, shouting or barking directly next to your ear rates at about 110 dB and can produce some level of hearing loss after just two minutes.
On a motorcycle, you’re directly exposed to all the noises that go on around a typical roadway. Inside the confines of a car, drivers and riders are protected by metal and glass, so sirens, horns, and engine noises are muffled by a significant margin. The only way to improve your hearing protection is by adding earplugs to your typical riding loadout. Damon offers two great options, one from EarPeace, and the other from Big Ear Inc. Either of these ear protection tools can minimize the decibel level you’re subjected to by a sizable margin. With customized and premium materials available, adding earplugs that are comfortable and can drastically improve your experience on the road and the aftereffects is easy. A noise-canceling earplug is an important tool for any biker.
The neck brace and airbag vest
Impact protection has come a long way in recent years. Not all states have adopted universal helmet regulations (via Value Penguin), meaning some riders cruise the highways with no protection at all in the event of an accident.
In a car, the violent momentum of riders is blunted by airbags and seatbelts. But these protective features aren’t a part of motorcycle design. Instead, a rider is likely to be thrown from the vehicle and therefore is reliant on worn safety gear for protection. In addition to the helmet, neck braces and airbag vests can form a protective core that may just save your life in the event of a collision. MotorcycleiD reports that most neck braces these days are so lightweight that a rider may forget they’re wearing one, but the difference a brace can make is startling. In studies of motorcycle accidents, researchers have found that critical neck injuries are 89% more likely in crashes involving riders who choose not to wear this additional piece of equipment.
The same can be said of an airbag vest. My Legal Needs reports that head trauma is reduced by about 80% and forward momentum during a crash can be blunted by as much as 60% when using an airbag vest. Simply put, this safety gear can mean the difference between life and death while engaged in this hobby that gives so much to a rider.
Vibration dampening phone mount
Phones have become such an important part of any road journey that a driver might make. Whether commuting to and from the office and checking in on traffic conditions or investigating the weather for a day out on the bike, your phone is a critical piece of equipment. However, the mount that a biker will use on a daily basis is much different from the attachment that a car owner will place in their vehicle. Some phone mounts in the car include moving parts and less-than-rigid locking mechanisms that make for easy removal. This is possible within the shielded space of a car. But on a motorcycle, you’ll need a mount that locks the phone in place and offers versatile movement for the safety possible positioning.
Damon reports that the Quad Lock Handlebar Mount is a great asset for bikers looking to safely add their phone to the steering column of their motorcycle. This phone mount will rotate the arm a full 360 degrees, allowing for a variety of potential mounting positions and securely locks the phone into place so that you don’t have to worry about the device becoming a flying debris hazard for drivers following behind your vehicle. The tool also brings a vibration-dampening technology to the fore, which brings a number of advantages.
First, the vibrations can damage your phone when mounted directly to the handlebar of an ICE motorcycle. Second, vibration will drastically reduce the quality of video you can capture (if you want to video your ride). Finally, the phone screen will remain stabilized so you don’t have to squint to make out a direction as the turn quickly approaches.
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Last, but certainly not least is the motorcycle camera. Bikers come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they can agree on is the enjoyment that the voyage provides. Motorcycles turn even the most basic commute into an experience. It’s only natural that the urge to capture these experiences creeps into the picture!
Many motorcyclists upload their journeys to YouTube, showcasing the enjoyment of riding a bike on the roadways and offering some helpful tips to improve safety and driving habits. Learning opportunities have skyrocketed with the continued adoption of YouTube and other online outlets that make interaction within communities of users seamless. Devitt Insurance notes that some of the largest YouTubers in the motorcycle space have hundreds of thousands of followers (and some with over 1 million), signaling that people are hungry for content that tackles this hobby and the realities of owning these special vehicles. Motorcycle.com offers some expert picks in this arena, including a few GoPro models, an INNOVV camera, and the Sena 50C. Any of these tools can be leveraged to quickly get started on your own content creation journey while participating in a hobby that brings joy to your life.