Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Thing EATS Asphalt!

The new RT had it's first real ride after farkling yesterday.  I took the pic here out in the middle of nowhere, near Avera, Georgia, heading back from the Dutch House in Wrens with a top case full of xmas casseroles. This is the second year in a row I've made the casserole run. I love south Georgia in the Winter. Beautiful vistas, well-paved, empty roads, and a few old-standby restaurants. Some are even open on Sundays (the Dutch House is not).

Most of the work done by BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta shows up in the picture of my dash here. From the left are the Zumo 665, my old 276c, and the Adaptiv Radar Detector. What you don't see is the J&M MA-967 integration unit. Those excellent mechanics spent hours getting my system together and their work was magnificent.

The MA-967 integrates sound for my Zumo and the Adaptiv radar detector, and powers the Elite Series headset with mic that J&M installed in my new Nolan N-103 helmet.Since the Zumo can hold mp3s and Audible books, and is subscribed to XM Radio, AND is paired with my Bluetooth iPhone, I have a complete entertainment and communication system on the bike.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Sargent heated seat I installed myself.

So how did the system perform yesterday? Fantastic. Not a single hiccup. Not one! The Adaptiv detector even saved my bacon twice, if you know what I mean - excellent sensitivity, and extremely easy to use and interpret. The sound from the detector, different alerts for the different types of radar (and laser), interrupts the music in my headset, and the auxiliary LED warning light is right in my line of sight.

I started out a bit late for me, leaving the house at 8:15 am so that my wife could get out early for a book signing. Since I had breakfast at home and not at the Palace Bagel, I probably saved a few minutes of time anyway. I had loaded two routes into the Zumo the night before, one heading to the Dutch House, and one coming back. If I'm out for a day-ride with a particular destination in mind, I always break the instructions into separate "there" and "back" routes in the same gdb file, with the file name including destination, month and year. That way, I can track my arrival time to the destination, and I can always find the file later to ride the route again.

The new netbook I got for the bike, an Acer Aspire One, handled Garmin's MapSource and all the maps just fine, and while I only slightly modified an older route (make sure you recalculate the route in MapSource if you are using a file created with an older set of maps), the small screen was not a problem. I hit "Send to device", the program found the Zumo, and I loaded it to the unit's internal drive. I took the Aspire on the ride just in case, a first for me, but never bothered to take it out of its neoprene case.

That morning, I told the Zumo to take me to Wrens, and we were off. The Coffeehouse was my first choice for music. Wow, does the Garmin XM antenna perform! My old K1200GT had a standard magnetic car antenna for XM use, and it would not receive signals about 15 to 20 percent of the time I was on the bike, even in south Georgia. I never missed a single note yesterday. I was planning to spend a lot of time also listening to some of the 1,300 mp3s I had loaded to the Zumo's micro SD card, but I kept the XM on most of the day, trying to get it to zone out. Never happened.

And wow, the Elite series headset from J&M performed, too. It has THE BEST quality sound I have ever experienced in a motorcycle audio system. I could actually hear all the quieter parts of songs for the first time. It does not hurt that the Nolan, in combination with the excellent stock windscreen on the RT, is a very quiet helmet.

Routing was perfect, and my road selection was, of course, sublime. A few slight variations from past trips to the Dutch House turned out to be just as good as prior roads. I messed around with several variations of non-map information display on my two GPSs, since I now have the ability to show seven variables about travel between the two. Average moving speed is my new mantra, and that variable is displayed in the bottom left corner of the old 276c. (I was at 63 mph for the day - not bad for a ride that was 80% state and county roads.)

The Sargent seat kept me nice and warm on this adventure, and is much more comfortable than the narrow, soft stock seat. I was ready for another 400 miles when I got home at 3:30 pm. I love this bike. It's shaping up to be an Iron Butt Rally finisher.

Next up? How about Audible Books? Weather on the XM? A safety camera subscription? How about all of those. My goal is to have them up and running for the Last Ride of the Year.

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