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How To Make Your Bike A “Connected Bike” - Aeris AerTrak Review


Aeris’ new ‘connected motorcycle’ platform promises quite a bit for bikers, but does it deliver?

 

In an ever-increasingly connected world, it’s quite a surprise that our vehicles have not. We are beginning to see some connectivity in our cars, but this 21st century buzzword has eluded the two-wheeler world, at least the internal combustion side, till recently. We had a chance to test out a device called the AerTrak from Aeris on our long-term Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 for a couple of months. And this device promised to add a whole bunch of smart features to one of the most analogue motorcycles out there.

 

But who is Aeris?

First things first, Aeris is a company that providers IoT (Internet of Things) and connectivity solutions for various companies across the globe, ranging from auto makers and fleet operators to medical solutions providers. But most of this has no bearing to us. What’s interesting is that its connected motorcycle platform can help provide riders with data regarding their riding habits, bike diagnostics and even crash alerts.

 

Connecting AerTrak

So the AerTrak device that we tested was a little larger than the size of two standard matchboxes put together. Plugging it into the motorcycle was simply a case of splicing the box’s wires to the bike’s ignition system. Well, simple enough for those acquainted with their bike’s wiring harness that is. On the Interceptor, we were able to tap into the ignition system by accessing the right wires behind the headlight.

And the large headlight cowl had enough space to accommodate the entire device as well. As soon as it started receiving power, the AerTrak device went online with its built in cellular functionality and was connected to the AerTrak phone app.

 

Using AerTrak

The biggest sore point of using AerTrak for me, personally, was that at the time of testing, there was no iOS app, which meant I would need to log in to the system using the browser on my PC, or through my colleague’s Android smartphone (which was used to register the device to our account in the first place). Using the web app on the PC wasn’t the most intuitive experience (clearly designed for fleet management, rather than an individual vehicle), so I had to resort to relying on my colleague’s phone for most of our testing period. Near the end of the testing phase though, Aeris did release the app on iOS, but we simply didn’t have time to test it out on that platform.

The Android app was easy enough to use though, with its default map view showing the bike’s location at any given point of time, although Aeris’ fleet inclination was clear with a truck icon representing our Royal Enfield Interceptor on the interface. Apart from tracking the bike’s location, we had the option to geofence it. This meant that if it crossed a set distance perimeter from its current location, we would receive an alert on our app. And the app could also trigger an alert if the bike exceeded a set speed. Great if you had to lend your bike to any of your buddies. If only there was something you could do if they exceeded that distance or speed parameter.

Well, actually there was. With just a tap on the screen, we could immobilise the motorcycle whenever we wanted. Neat! Not only did the app allow us to geofence our bike, it provided an option of “Secure Parking”, which, when enabled, would send an alert at the first sign of movement. And this secure parking function could also be scheduled using the app. There is also an option to send an SOS through the app to your saved contacts in case of an emergency, and the app can also send a “crash alert” automatically. That said, the latter is a feature that we really had no interest in testing ourselves, so we can’t really comment on how well it works.

One very interesting feature that the AerTrack system presented was the trip log. Not only did it record the general trip history with the route travelled as well as travel time, it also recorded a “driving score”. This score kept track of hard braking, hard acceleration, hard turning and speeding events. In theory, analysing this data should help riders develop a smoother riding style on a given route by eliminating common riding errors such as building up speed too quickly and braking hard after that.

 

How much does it cost?

Here’s the problem. Aeris doesn’t share pricing for the AerTrack system as the company specialises in providing enterprise-level solutions. So this price may vary drastically on the type of solution provided. How do you get yourself one then? Well, you can ask for a quote on the Aeris website. This might make sense for fleet operators or groups of motorcyclists looking to get connected. But if we’re being honest, we don’t think that this is a great solution for a solo purchase. In such cases, we’d rather recommend the Maximus Pro, which offers a display module for navigation as well. You can read more about that HERE.

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