Garmin Installation

Garmin 696LM

GPS mounted

The problem with motorbikes is you can’t really drink a latte whilst driving with your knees and texting with the other hand. This general problem is exacerbated by the issue of navigation. It’s all very well sticking your phone in some cheap cradle and jabbing at it between glances up at the irritating cyclist chicane in a car but on a motorcycle you have gloves on and, of course, that $10 mount that keeps falling off the windscreen would be fatal to your device on a motorbike.

Of course Touratech make an amazing solution. Think of a motorbike problem and the inventive Germans have already come up with a shining (stainless steel) doodad that does the job perfectly. Fine for the empty nesters with a savings plan and a house load of cash but I’m not really prepared to spend the same amount of cash on a bracket as the actual magic compass.

In steps my great mate Adam. The man who can make art of marshmallow sticks and hew a very convincing Dread Pirate Roberts sword from some scrap aluminium. In the usual ‘men standing around motorcycle drinking beer’ moment Adam figures a solution and the next day a custom Honda Africa Twin Garmin 695LM bracket is on Ginko, after a little light hacksawing of screws. I just

Custom Mounting Bracket

Adam’s Custom Mounting Bracket

hope that sword isn’t a couple of inches shy of some aluminium! The great thing about the solution is the GPS is pretty much on the same plane as the bike instruments, not jutting out like some giant technological carbuncle or, as Garmin would have, attached to my non-existent clutch lever hovering in the air on a RAM mount.

The other great problem was the bloody massive nest of cables that is on the back of the Garmin mount. I reckon the target market must be those massive Harleys with the HUUUUGE fairings because there was literally two meters of wire and connectors for speakers, microphone, power and a USB connection for the XM radio receiver that I intended to keep. All that was neatly entombed in a rubbery casket at the end of this massive cable. Out came the scalpel and hacking away at the block I went, eventually separating all the tiny hand soldered joints contained within. That was quite some job, but I wasn’t in the humour to re-join all those cables and I wanted to keep the USB length because I planned on putting the XM antenna on the back of Ginko, away from the GPS, so really needed that extra cable length. All the other cables I beheaded because I don’t plan on blasting Purple Rain from my Harley’s external speakers for the world to enjoy. Why do they do that?

I wanted to wire the GPS and the USB socket up to the original accessories socket behind the front fairing. This meant buying a special connector from the excellently named Eastern Beaver in Japan and disrobing Ginko of her front plastics. After which I jammed everything in there and hope like hell that none of the fuses blow because getting the fairing back on is some kind of Japanese logic puzzle that I don’t really want to have a go at in the middle of the desert!

It all seems to work well, but in retrospect I wouldn’t get the Oxford USB socket for the Africa Twin because the cap is a pain in the ass to remove and it really is not at all waterproof when the cap is off. In fact it will probably fill up with water and short out the whole proceedings, leaving me to fend off banjo wielding pig fetishists.

 

 

 

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