Scootering classics: GPS

GPS Universal Solution

The benefit of fitting a sat-nav goes far beyond artificially improving your sense of direction, a good sat-nav can act as an accurate speedo, provide you with information on distance to the next fuel stop and display up-to-date journey stats — all of which can prove very useful on long rides! The two major problems scooter riders face when it comes to fitting a sat-nav are how to mount it and how to power. Both of these issues are relatively simple to solve, but there is no single ‘off the shelf’ solution which is universally applied.

I decided a sat-nav was a must after the YGSC tour round the Low Countries; my old school taped-to-the-headset directions were great until we needed to get to the specific location. I did not want to suffer the same woes again, so fitted a GPS. Dedicated motorcycle sat-navs are very expensive, so instead I had been looking for ways to integrate one of the many high quality and good value car systems available. The power issue is more pronounced on non-battery AC models, like most Lambrettas. Looking for a simple and cheap solution I used one of the nifty BGM regulators with the DC trickle. All you need to do is run a length of wire from the regulator, along the frame to the feed for the battery and earth appropriately. I’ve located mine behind the legshield spare wheel holder. A toolbox can also double up as a great location for the battery, particularly as it has the flat surface on top in which to mount a 12V socket. However, I was keen to retain the spare wheel so I sourced a Rally Master style dash (from K2 Customs) on which to mount the 12V socket.

Universal GPS mount kit with Navi – RRP £49 approx. www.sw-motech.com

It’s important to use a high quality case and mount. Cheap eBay ones can often be flimsy and move under the strains of riding. Old scooters and the amount of vibration they produce can be quite challenging for many parts and accessories. I have opted for the universal case produced by SW Motech and, I have to say, it is excellent. It uses a ‘Ram Arm’ system, which has two ‘ball mounts’ (one on the case and one on the scooter) and a clamp arm to form a sturdy fixing between the two. The arm is clamped via a quick release screw mechanism, allowing for this to be released easily. The kit comes with several of the ‘ball mounts’ with different adapters to allow these to be attached in several different places, according to the rider’s preference.

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BGM AC/DC regulator – RRP £25 approx. www.scooter-center.com

I supplemented the kit with a swingarm bracket attached to the master cylinder on the disc brake; the SW Motech kit comes with a ‘ball mount’ suitable for these. The end result is a very sturdy piece of kit that does not move from vibration or the wind. The case itself comes with a selection of handy features: for example, several foam pads that can be placed inside the case allowing the GPS Unit to fit snug against the case. What I really liked about this was the Velcro straps that held it all in place and reduced fiddling while zipping the unit together.

The case’s peak is made of a sturdy material and does not flex easily, meaning that it effectively reduces the glare from the sun. The last thing you want is to be straining to see the unit while riding! Although it’s one of those upgrades that takes a little effort and a little imagination, it’s definitely worthwhile. After a long hard ride, there’s nothing better than just simply knowing where your digs are!

Jordan

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