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GoPro Photo-Mode Outtakes and Candids

The GoPro in photo mode is really the gift that keeps on giving. I was just going through iPhoto on my Macbook Air – the computer that I drag around when traveling. There are often photos on it that I forget about.

I just stumbled across this one:

I love that Kenny looks like a teeny-tiny person and I look like a giant, even though he towers over me in real life.  Apparently I was a giant that made no sense whatsoever, judging by the look on his face.

You can file this one under ‘pinky out’. I had no idea that I did this weird pinky move until I started using the GoPro.

Considering there is absolutely NOTHING but bright blue sky, I have no idea what I was pointing at in this picture. Maybe I was trying the ole “OMG, it’s Bigfoot!… made ya look” on Kenny?

 Then are those time when you capture… moving on…

Sometimes the unfortunate innards of a bug will ruin what could have been a lovely photo.

The same can be said for a poorly placed rain drops or fog on the lens.

But my favorite GoPro candids are the ones that capture a view that you might not have otherwise stopped for. When you find those gems on the memory card, it makes it all worth it. 

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Sometimes a Bargain Isn’t a Bargain – Buy Right, Buy Once

How many times over the years have you bought yourself some ‘bargain’ motorcycle gear, trying to save a couple bucks – only to end up spending more money and buying something to replace it?

On the flip side, have you ever been let down by gear that cost a premium?

I really didn’t want to spend the loot to buy my Sidi Adventure GORE-TEX boots. But, now that I’ve had them for a while ~ I’m glad I did, they were worth it to me. Dry feet are a thing of beauty.

Sena SMH10 Bluetooth Headset

A few weeks ago, I received a set of Sena SMH10 Bluetooth Headsets and a a SM10 Dual Stream Bluetooth Stereo Transmitter to use and review. Preliminary long story short? I am LOVING using the headsets!

I have never used any type of helmet communicator before. Frankly, I wasn’t really sure if it was something that I really wanted. I was skeptical. As I thought about it, because the SMH10 does so much more than allowing me to talk to another motorcyclist riding along with me – I figured, what the hell? I’ll give it a try.

The headsets can pair to several devices at once – other Sena headsets for bike to bike communication, your GPS, your phone – it’s all pretty awesome.

Helmet Communicator – Party of One

More often than not, I find myself riding solo. What can one of these Sena devices do for someone like me? Well ~ I regularly use the SMH10 with my phone and GPS features:

  • Send text messages verbally
  • Listen to text messages I’ve received
  • Make and receive phone calls
  • Use my phone’s music library
  • Use Siri on my iPhone
  • Turn by turn directions
Now, I don’t really recommend riding and talking on the phone – but, it is possible.

Being able to bluetooth to my iPhone and GPS has been great. I put this combo to good use during the Void Rally. Having turn by turn directions pause the music and whisper sweet turn lefts in my ear was incredibly helpful.

It was also during the rally that I discovered that the lady who lives inside my GPS seems to have a little bit of an attitude problem when it comes to recalculating,… but that is a story for another day.

Initially I wasnt sure how well I would be able to hear through the helmet speakers because I ride with earplugs in. It was a pleasant surprise to find that I was able to hear my music and the GPS, even with the deafening buffeting coming off of my Tiger’s windscreen at highway speeds.

Now that I have the Ural, being able to freely talk with my sidecar monkey has been a big help. Actually hearing, “Mom, I need to pee” works much better than taking my eyes off the road to try to figure out what the gesturing beside me means.

Miscellaneous Notes:

Being that there is only a glove-friendly jog wheel and a single button, you don’t get get confused about what you’re supposed to press or turn. I find it to be totally intuitive to use even when you’re concentrating on you know, riding.

Battery life has been great. I’m not actually sure how long the battery lasts because I haven’t had it go flat from full charge on a single day’s ride.

I had no trouble with the device riding 500 miles in the pouring rain from Virginia to Long Island. It worked like a champ.

Pairing the headset to my Zumo 660, my iPhone, and another headset is straightforward –  a piece o’cake.

Verdict So Far?

I’m so happy with the SMH10. It’s is greatest thing I didn’t even know I wanted! Now I can’t imagine riding without it.

I will update this post with any other findings during our travels together.

Stay tuned for a post on the SM10 Transmitter.

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For More Information: Sena Bluetooth

Review Disclaimer: I did receive these products complimentary. This will in no way influence my opinion on the product. That would be crap.

The Saga of my Denali D2D LED Lights

When riding at night – being able to actually, you know, see? …is a pretty big plus. Since I have the Void Rally coming up where I will be spending a large amount of time riding in the dark, it seemed like a no brainer to get some extra illumination. So a few weeks ago, I got a set of Denali D2D LED lights for my Tiger.

Wiring the lights up required pretty much taking all of the plastic bits off of the bike and running the wiring under the tank and into the block under the seat. So, doing all of that neatly required a couple hours. It wasn’t a hard job, it just took some time because we were doing it for the first time. When I say “we”, I mean Kenny. My job was to be annoying and hold the gas tank up, which I did flawlessly if I do say so myself.

Imagine our surprise to find that at the final stage of installation, screwing the second  lamp onto it’s pivoting bracket – that the screw wouldn’t bite. It just spun in the bracket. What the heck? The light seemed to have a machining defect that wouldn’t allow it to slide fully into position and sit flush against the bracket, making the screw too short. Great.

We sent an email to Twisted Throttle where we’d bought the lights and explained what was happening. They requested some pictures of the light showing the issue, which we sent and they sent us an RA for the single lamp. They said it was no problem, apologized for the trouble and let us know they’d send us a new single light.

After checking to see that they received our returned light, there it was: Oooooh, sorry. Backordered.  The availability showed a date of mid-October. That wouldn’t help me on my rally but there was no point in freaking out. What can you do? Stuff gets backordered.

Kenny, my angel, decided to take one for the team and buy a second set of lights to put on his Tiger. The thought being, he would order a set so I didn’t have to be crippled by my backordered light. He would give me one lamp out of his new set and then take my replacement when it came.

Three days later, Kenny’s set of lights showed up. He took one of his new lamps out and installed it on my bike. Angels sang, birds tweeted, all was right in the world. Mostly.

A few days after that – my original replacement light actually showed up, too. Kenny had already gone through the process of setting up the wiring on his bike and put the bracket in place so that when the replacement light came it would be a basic plug in with all of the leg work already done.

You Have Got To Be Kidding

The replacement light would not slide fully into the bracket and the screw wouldn’t bite.

I think it might have taken every once of self control that Kenny had for him not to go all Hulk Smash! and splinter the light on the garage floor.

Instead he did a little grinding, a little drilling so that it would attach. A “light tap” for its high tolerances just didn’t cut it.

Fine, whatever. We now have two sets of working lights.

Both of which apparently have an intermittent slight flicker in one lamp when running on the low beam. Oh, COME ON! 

What would cause the lamps to flicker? Is it worth sending the lamp back again? For $350+ bucks you’d think I wouldn’t have to even ask this question.

Kenny took a video of his light flickering while the bike was idling in our garage and sent it to Twisted Throttle. They sent him another RMA.

We’ll see if his replacement light has any issues.

What a pain. :-?

[UPDATE]

Based on Ken’s questions in the comments – just a little recap in case anyone has suggestions:

  • Both of our Tigers have intermittently flickering lights.
  • 1 Tiger has 2 lights that flicker, the other, only 1.
  • Flickering occurs at idle when the bikes are running.
  • Flickering occurs at varying RPMs while riding.
  • Flickering only occurs on the ‘low” or 40% beam, high beam does not flicker.
  • Flickering does not occur when the key is switched on but the bike is not running.
  • TT suggests a “light tap” will allow the screw to seat… eh, that wasn’t the case for us.

[UPDATE #2]

To recap, my Tiger has 2 light pods that pulse or flicker intermittently. Kenny’s Tiger has only 1 light that flickers, the other light is fine.

Tonight, Kenny took his 1 good, non-flickering light and put it on my bike. It did not flash on my bike either. The “good light” operates as it should, no matter where it is plugged in, on either bike.

My bike with Kenny’s ‘good light’ and one of my original flickering lights on the low beam:

 [UPDATE #3]

Okay, so… A couple phone calls and emails back to the guys at Twisted Throttle~

The first tech suggested that they would sending us a newer version of the harness, which apparently uses a plastic box instead of metal and has new innards. He thought that might help kill the issue.  The suggestion was that the metal box might be causing some problems.

After talking with the tech, Kenny took a look at our bikes once more and found that his Tiger already had that updated plastic box harness, my Tiger did not.

Another follow up call with another tech letting them know about the harnesses. During this call, the tech mentioned that the Tiger was known to have a dirty power issue causing problems with these lights. Uh, what? 

If there was some knowledge of a “known issue” why wasn’t it mentioned right out of the gate? Or noted on the website? Or why would there be RMAs for parts to be returned or  someone saying they’d send new wiring harnesses? If it is a known issue – surely there would be an appropriate place to mention a workaround on the website or on one of the previous calls or emails, no?

So, yesterday Kenny did a little testing. The light only flickered on low beam when the high beam wire to the controller was wired in. If the highbeam wire was not wired in, the light would not flicker on low beam.

The Fix:

Wiring a relay off the headlight to the high beam power on the controller. That’s it. A hack fix putting a relay in front of a relay (in the controller).

Were you hoping for something more complicated? :)

Let There be Light!

Tonight, my Tiger’s Denali D2D lights shined on low beam with no flicker. I could have wept. It was the greatest day of my life, since last time.

So, through all of this, the folks at Twisted Throttle didn’t give us a hard time, they were pleasant, tried to be helpful and they were really good with being open to returning things. The techs took time to talk things through with us when we called.

When all is said and done my only complaint is really - if there was some knowledge of a known issue with the Tiger, just include what needs to be done at the time of install somewhere. It would have saved a shitload of time and troubleshooting.