Until a few years ago, Indians were mostly a budget-conscious lot, slowly graduating from staid motorcycles to a car. But things have changed. Big global brands have made a beeline for the Indian market, and the burgeoning rich in a growing economy have taken a fancy for superbikes such as HarleyDavidson, Suzuki Hayabusa or Honda Fireblade. Motorcycling clubs have mushroomed, and weekend rides are an in-thing.
If cult-riding is here, can gadget cool be far behind? There are now tools that help you enhance the riding experience while making the whole thing safer. We sample a few.
Helmet-friendly talk Scala Rider G9 @ Rs. 18,500
Ever seen someone on a bike or scooter, with his cellphone stuck inside the helmet and talking away? Or helmetless riders gripping their phone between their head and shoulder? If only they had hands-free headsets. Regular hands-free units don’t work with helmets. Enter Scala Rider, which fits inside your helmet, and not only lets you answer calls but lets you communicate with up to eight people. Pairing units is simple: just bump them against each other. A unit lasts roughly seven hours on a single charge, and the G9 is waterproof.
Since it uses Bluetooth, you can communicate with people even when you are out of a cellular signal zone, if they are within Bluetooth distance.
Plan your ride, and more Torqq
This is a free Android application, currently available in Beta and on-invite only. It will be released later this month. What it is trying to do is essentially to make it easier to plan a ride. It lets you set up a social media event for your riding buddies right off your phone, inviting them to be a part of a conversation, planning rides and sharing tips from within the app. Later on, Torqq may get a Web Interface or become available on other platforms.
Let your family follow you Glympse
Available as a free app on Windows, Android and iOS, Glympse lets people know where you are. If you are heading for a long ride, select the duration till which you want to share your location and send a link to your family members. They will be able to see where you are, live, as long as you have data coverage. They don’t even need to install an app: all information is shared with them securely and privately via a Web browser. If you remain stationary at a place for too long, they would notice it and be able to send emergency backup or call and check on you. You can connect glympse to your Twitter and Facebook accounts as well.
Power for your gizmos Emergency battery pack
With apps such as Glympse running in the background, the demand on your phone batteries would be higher. One way to ensure your phone has power is to get an external battery pack. Remember to buy your battery from a known source: large consumer electronics brands such as Sony, Mili, Mophie are good brands. The price ranges from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 15,000, depending on battery capacity and brand. The higher the MAh, the more charge it can hold.
Rainproof your cellphone Pelican 1020 micro case @ Rs. 2,411
Cellphones are not designed to go through rain. Backpacks may be waterproof, but keeping your phone and other electronics safe and running is crucial. Pelican makes a range of safety cases, and the 1020 is perfect for a 4”-screen phone. The case is weather-sealed and shockproof, and there is an array of models to suit all sizes.
Know your beast PDF manual of your bike
The good part of technology is that you can find the PDF manual for your bike online. Download it and save it on your phone, for emergencies. Say a light is on inexplicably. What does it mean? Just check the PDF file and you may be able to sort it out yourself, or tip off the local garage mechanic.
Let there be light! Btwin Vioo LED lights @ R499
Being visible on the road is high on priority. A couple of BTwin Vioo LED lights, which have white or red beams and can hook around your jacket or be stuck to your helmet or elsewhere, add prominence. The Vioo has two LED bulbs that can stay on or flash intermittently, making you more visible as you ride. They run on three button cells, which can last out nearly a month of daily riding.
There is a plethora of gadgets and devices available, such as LED headlamps and helmet-mounted weather-proof cameras to record your ride. Choose smartly. Enjoy the ride!