Navigation while riding a motorcycle can get particularly tricky if you're not the stop-ask-for-directions kind of person. If you are, worry not! I have figured out a couple of jugaads that could help you navigate efficiently. Technology has come a long way now and it's only the matter of implementing it in our daily usage. 1. Use a GPS Holder: This is the first thing that came to my mind when looking out for ways of navigating efficiently. I bought a Rynox mobile mount a few months ago and it has been serving me pretty well. I also did a review of the mount which can be read here.
Apart from this mount, there are other brands such as RAM mounts, which is a bit upmarket and expensive, but the quality is pretty good. There are two kinds of GPS holders that are common. One is an open type and another is an encased one. In open type like the Ram X-Grip mount, the phone is exposed to elements but there is air flow around and the phone doesn't heat up that quickly. In the enclosed type holders, the phone is resistant to slight rains and drizzles, depending on the variant, but phones tend to heat up quickly as there is no air flow around. Another point of concern is the screws. If the holder doesn't have anti-theft ones, then it is prone to be stolen, especially here in India. 2. Use a Bluetooth earphone: This is the simpler option. Just pair your phone with your bluetooth, set the coordinates/ destination, enable voice navigation, lock your phone, and listen to directions while riding itself. Yes, it may not work all the time and roads which are confusingly twisted are tough to navigate just with the audio instructions.
I use a Sony SBH20 stereo bluetooth headset which costs around INR 2,300. It fits well, even with the helmet on. Care is taken to ensure your hearing sensitivity isn't compromised while riding. The SBH 20 can even pick calls. So it is quite handy when you need to attend a call while riding. It is kind of like the hands-free system for bikers. 3. Samsung's smart windscreen: Alright, we're entering a bit of sci-fi territory here. I mean the technology is so good that it is unreal! Basically, the Samsung Smart Windshield has a projector which is capable of projecting on the windshield. The smart windshield can be paired with your phone via an app and the projector displays relevant information on the windscreen. Although this is just a concept, it is a pretty interesting. Check out the video by Samsung:
This is a genius idea but comes with negative consequences as well! You could be navigating turn by turn and on the side, you could also be reading whatsapp messages, facebook notifications and whatnot. This could be very dangerous and could very well be compared to the usage of mobile phones while driving. We all know distraction and riding never go hand in hand. 4. HUD in Helmets This is probably the best way to feel like 'Iron Man' and feel secure like one! Skully's helmet, the AR-1 is a piece straight from science fiction movies. The awesomeness does come at a cost though. At around INR 90,000, this helmet is pretty expensive.
On the upside, I think you get a lot for your money! The HUD (Heads- Up-Display) in the helmet can display your GPS navigation, voice activated calls and even music streaming! On top of this, it has a 180-degree blind-spot detection camera which continuously feeds the video into your visor display. You may ask how can one focus the HUD and the actual view from the helmet. Worry not, Skully has designed in such a way that you don't have to refocus when shifting your eye from the display to the road ahead. Additionally, the helmet also comes with a photo-chromatic visor which darkens in sunlight and becomes clear at night. All this for a price of less than a lac? Shut up and take my money already! Here's a video by Skully. It is some really cool stuff!
When riding a bike I don't want any sort of electronic gizmo trickery distractions to take away from the pure joy of motorcycling. I would rather stop, plot my route and then head out. Or ask for directions probably. That said, I love that helmet. Rear view camera is a great safety concept.
3. Samsung's smart windscreen: Alright, we're entering a bit of sci-fi territory here. I mean the technology is so good that it is unreal!
I think this should be removed from the post - unlike everything else you have mentioned in the post, this is just a concept - not available on sale anywhere. Also, it is too distracting - Samsung will have to pare down the number of things displayed - or else they could be facing a lot of accident-related lawsuits (maybe not in India, definitely in America). I like a mix of both personally - using technology and just asking people. I have a love-hate relationship with Google Maps, it has taken me through some of the worst roads (for a car) that I know while also helped me avoid traffic jams and discover new roads.
NikilSJ , Roshun These aids are quite useful when riding in the city. Riding isn't all that pleasurable when you're coasting in 1st gear in full traffic. Yes, I wouldn't use these aids in highways. I usually checkout the map or ask people for directions. Nevertheless, I'd say technology has come a long way, intrusive or not. MotuSid Yes, you've got a point. The Smart wind screen may potentially be a fatal distraction while riding. But i think this feature will eventually come up in the high end tourers like Indian Roadmaster.