25/07/14 22:36 Filed in: Motorcycle | intercom | Pmr
At some point, you just want more. For the last few years, I have been riding with an Autocom intercom system hooked up to a Kenwood PMR radio for bike2bike communications. I don’t really needed the intercom part, but it was the only way to connect my Garmin Zumo and a bike2bike PMR radio together so I could hear both.
The Autocom Super Pro AVI did well. Sound quality was nothing exceptional, and ok, but it all worked well. I killed one, because the Autocom boxes are not waterproof (these things are designed for motorcycles and they are not waterproof? What where you thinking Autocome??) I replaced it with a second hand unit of the same type and continued using it happily for the next few years.
But at some point you want more. More space underneath the saddle, as modern bikes get less and less space for stuff under the seat and it is always a struggle to find a place for these things. And then it is a struggle to get to the stuff if you need to. Better reception and clarity of speech. Better music quality.
So when I found a shop (www.partsonweb.nl) that offered the excellent Baehr Capo 3, new in box, for just 299 euro, I jumped on it. Baehr equipment is good, but it is also pricy. The Capo 3 system normally costs 639 euro, so this was a more than excellent deal. Don’t worry, they are fresh out and don’t sell it anymore.
The Baehr system is waterproof, so no more worries something is getting wet and your intercom is getting fried. It’s only one small box, with the PMR radio integrated into the device which makes it a lot easier to stow away somewhere on the bike unlike having an intercom unit and a separate PMR radio. The sound quality is much clearer than the Autocom, it really is a step up. It’s more like putting up your headphones. The PTT button doesn’t just let you talk, but it also allow you to change the transmitter channel and change the volume up or down. And it lets you switch OFF the bike2bike transmitter if you don’t use it. This is great. The only thing I have not been able to test so far is the bike2bike reception and clarity, but so far it has ticked all the boxes.
I’ll keep you posted with updates as I get to use it more.
I am launching a new website called European Travel Photos
. I wanted to create a better means to display my photos from all over Europe and show them full screen on your computer. You can turn off the menu system and just watch the photos slideshows full screen, or you can click the info button and read about the trip. It replaces the travel reports section previously on here. It is not finished and not all content is there yet, but I like where it is going. I hope you will too.
You can find the new site in the menu to the right, or by clicking this
31/01/14 17:11 Filed in: BMW | Motorcycle | K1200S | ESA
On several forums there has been some discussion in the past about ESA, alternative ESA systems etc. Contrary to popular belief, our ESA shocks can be rebuild. And to already spur controversy in sentence 3, despite what some believe, these shocks do not suck and they are not bad quality parts. They are however setup to BMW specifications, which does not necessarily corresponds with the best setup.
My K is from 2007 and by now it has more than 50,000 miles on the clock (most of which are mine) and my shocks were getting tired. Not feeling like spending $2500 per shock to replace them, and not wanting to give up ESA either, I did some investigating on rebuilding my ESA shocks.
As it turns out, about an hour from where I live there is a little company called [URL="http://www.jjsuspension.nl"]JJ Suspension[/URL] that rebuilds these shocks. The guy who is running this little suspension shop is actually an ex-WP engineer who was part of the original ESA design team. After WP was bought by KTM and subsequently moved to Austria, he quit and started his own company.
Anyway, first week of January I removed both shocks and drove over to drop them off. A week and a half later, I got the call to pick them up again. Price: 459 euro for both shocks combined, full rebuild, all wearable internals replaced, new shim stacks for a proper setup and of course fresh oil and a new filling of nitrogen. For the last btw, he has build his own tools so he can fill the shocks with nitrogen without needing to uglify the shocks by welding things to the body.
Next step was to put everything back together again and get the bike ready. Let me tell you, BMW does not think up the most user-friendly solutions. I think they do it on purpose.
Today I got a chance to ride the bike for a short while, despite near freezing temperatures. The change is quite apparent. The old Cadillac mode (with free motion sickness), ie 'Comfort' mode does not exist anymore. It is replaced by a setting that is just above the original 'Normal' mode. An excellent and usable setting now.
On the other hand of the spectrum, the 'Sport' mode is much firmer and gives clear feedback from the wheels. At the same time, it does not get harsh or uncomfortable like the original 'Sport' mode and the damper doesn't hydro-lock on you if the roads isn't perfectly smooth like the original makes you feel.
The adjustment range has become smaller, but ultimately significantly more usable. They now feel like proper shocks with a proper setup. As they should have been from the start.
I have only been able to do about 50 miles and mostly highway at that, so this is a very limited first impression, but so far I like what I am feeling. These will hold out a few more miles.