Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Finally some Technology

A couple of days ago someone on the SRA forums posted up a link to a new helmet.

Here tis ... http://www.skullyhelmets.com/

Now to me this looks like it has some good points and some things that I'm not too sure about. To myself I was thinking .. 'not the kind of thing I would just fork out the money for without knowing more about it.' Upon reading the post I discovered that these Skully people were giving me the opportunity to do just that .. test it out before a I buy. Ooh well I'd do that.

So here's the story, you can apply to be a beta tester of these brand spanking new helmets. Sounds too good to be true I thought, but then I thought well they can't shoot you down for trying can they, so I applied. And now I'm waiting to hear whether I got accepted.

So why do I want to try it? Because of what the Skully helmet is capable of. I'm still kinda on the fence about it all but a couple of the features do interest me. It has a HUD that includes among other things a rear facing camera and GPS, those are things that I could see as useful. Some of the features may be lost on me, I cant ever picture myself using it with my phone to answer calls. I don't need those kinds of distractions and I'm the kind of person who screens calls at home and never .. ever! answers her mobile. So talking on the phone while I'm riding is never going to happen .. I'm way too busy enjoying my ride for those kinds of interruptions and nothing is ever that important.

The question I am asking myself is, would the features I'm interested in be distractions instead of being useful. Would a rear facing camera that shows me what's going on behind me make me lazy, so that I would not be as aware of what's going on around me and stop the meticulous head checks that I do now? I'd like to think not, in my mind knowing what's in those blind spots that I can never be really sure about, at a glance, could only help me.

The GPS is the other thing that has really got me interested. I don't use a GPS now, I've always thought of them as more of a hindrance up to this point in time, I'm quite capable of getting lost on my own without the help of an annoying voice in my head telling me politely to just do a bloody U-Turn cause you're going in completely the wrong direction! But having said that, I do see the use of them, and have one for the car for just in case I get too completely lost to find my own way out. I don't use it that often and I do also have a husband who is more than capable of getting me a little less lost sometimes (sometimes we just get lost together :D ). The only real reason I haven't contemplated getting one for the bike is that distraction thing, taking my eyes, and my concentration, off the road for long enough to make sense of something like a map just seemed incomprehensible to me at my level of riding. Now I'm thinking that having it there in my helmet, at eye level, so that I don't have to shift my eyes too much to see it, might just work.

Hence the reason I'd be interested in trying before buying. I could just do it the way I check most things before buying .. Google it. But I figure since they are giving me this chance why not give it a whirl. If I don't get the chance to try I guess I'll just have to wait til it comes onto the market and look at all the articles and reviews on it to try to decide if I'd like it. If I do get to try then for sure I'll write up my thoughts and let you all know about my experiences.

What do you think, is this innovative technology or just another distraction?


  1. Brenda:

    I seldom/hardly ever use my phone whilst riding BUT there are times I am expecting a call and if I am on my bike, I cannot answer it. You know how it is, you have to find an exit or somewhere to park, remove your helmet, then the call is gone. I have a BT communicator which is paired to my phone. Although I can also hear music, I don't. I don't talk much, but if I answer then I just ask where we can meet or tell them I can call them back in a few minutes when I find a safe place to pull over

    The GPS is more valuable than you can imagine, but I suppose not where you live where your roads are straight and you don't have many hills. Imagine that you are in Oregon (USA) where the roads are very twisty and goes up and down mountains and hills and you don't know the road and have never ridden it before. As I enter a corner, at a fast speed, I can glance at my GPS and the line will show me if there is another curve over the hill, or which direction the road goes so I can get my bike in the right position to ride through the corner(s). You cannot see over the hill, or around the corner and sometimes there is a switchback after the first switchback. So I find that the GPS really helps to keep you on track. Also when you record video I like to record on corners or around water. I can see the GPS and know what is coming up so I can prepare my camera and turn it ON ahead of time.

    So you can see that the GPS is more valuable as a riding tool, rather than an instrument to find your way. It also has a speed indicator so you know your true GPS corrected speed as most motorcycle speedometers are not accurate

    I rode my bike across the continent last summer and it was great to be able to find fuel more easily as there are POIs already programmed in the unit, and you can also find accommodations too. So remember that a GPS is more valuable for other reasons than just showing you directions to here and there

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Thanks Bob, you've made some very valid points there. So you've talked me into definately trying it out if I get the chance .. still not to sure bout having a GPS on my bars though, as it is I have to really look down to see my speedo .. just the way the bike is set up. I might think about it though if the helmet doesn't work out, something with some of those RAM mounts you like so much to put it more in my field of vision maybe.

      Yep you've got me thinking now.

  2. ^^^^ What Bob said.
    Hey be nice to try it out and see what its like. Couldn't hurt. I like the GPS feature with the speedo showing up. That could come in handy, if you know what I mean.

    1. Yeah it could come in handy cept I'm still too gurly to even think of needing it just now :D

      Might be useful for the next bike though :D

      Definately gonna try if I get the chance .. cant hurt eh

  3. I dunno. I think if the opportunity arose to try one for free, go for it, but I am not sure it is anything I'd enjoy.

    I don't have a line land at home for phones and rarely answer my cell unless I recognize the name and number. Otherwise everything goes to voice mail. I know my speedo is about 10 mph out. Sure it might be nice to see the curves up ahead, but then that takes a little of the adventure/mystery of new roads away.

    Fingers crossed you get to try it though.

    1. Thanks Brandy :)

      Gotta agree with you bout the adventure, but it would be good to know when to turn the gopro on before the good bits are over. Can't count how many times i've turned it on just in time to get the last corner. That reminds me must finish my latest video!

      BTW I love your new avatar ... That look suits you :)

  4. I had a TomTom Classic XXL Sat-Nav on the top of my tank bag on my Suzuki Inazuma 250 for a trip to Spain back in 2012 and I couldn't see ANYTHING in the sunlight. Also, after a spot of rain, the heat from the TomTom completely misted up the inside of the clear plastic lid of the tank bag. Not particularly safe to look at a Sat-Nav either, wherever the Sat-Nav may be mounted!

    Since I had the free OSMAnd app (http://androidvnd.com/detail.php?id=net.osmand) installed on my Samsung Galaxy Y mobile phone (which has built-in GPS) in my jacket pocket before I left home, complete with downloaded UK, France and Spain maps, I used that instead on my way back from Spain, to drive a pair of Sennheiser CX300 II Earphones, which I happened to have with me, which plugged into my ears under my helmet.

    So, I got the benefit of noise reduction on the bike as well as navigation directions on the way back from Spain and it worked a treat! Of course, you just need to configure OSMAnd settings - I told it that I was a car wanting directions to the next stopover destination which I typed in and it found immediately! It uses the free OpenStreet Maps from the internet which are now very good and complete.

    You can also import pre-configured GPX route files into it from applications such as ITN Converter (http://www.benichou-software.com/index.php). So, you can plan the whole trip on a home computer before you go, add all the desired waypoints and then export the file (in GPX format) onto any Android mobile phone employing Android 1.6 operating system or later, such as the Samsung phone. Alternatively, you can just type in a destination in OSMAnd and the nice English lady voice will navigate you there (there's loads of voices to choose from)!

    I am in process of writing an article, which I hope to post on my blog in the coming days, about fitting the 2 speaker transducers (30mm diameter) from a pair of cheap Sennheiser HD202 headphones to an HJC motorcycle helmet. I'm not sure whether they will be fitted with Velcro in the pockets that are provided in the helmet - I am still in the process of experimentation.

    The 3.5mm headphone jack plug would then conveniently fit the 3.5mm earphone socket of most Android mobile phones which a biker would place in their upper jacket pocket, for example.

    Of course, all navigation devices will distract to same degree but hopefully one can keep their eyes on the road with this solution. Anyway, Brenda, I hope this gives you some alternative ideas on the subject of bike navigation.

    1. Hi Walter,

      Thanks for visiting my little blog and for your great comments. And wow you are innovative, I can see how your idea is much less distracting than having to look at something on your bike.

      My tank bag has one of those pockets for a gps and one for your phone, I took out the one for the GPS it was just taking up space in the bag, the one for the phone I cant remove so it's just wasted space, I keep my SRA members badge in it so it doesn't get lost. I can see how the sun would reflect on it making it impossible to see .. but I never even entertained the thought of using either pocket for the use intended because both are sitting pretty much in my lap, I'd have to do some serious yoga to look at them properly.

      What I will do is wait and see if I get a free go at helmet, if I dont I quite like your idea with the phone navigator but my phones nav sucks to the max, it would have to be upgraded for me to use with an confidence. You have given me some ideas tho, so ta for that Walter.

      I had a quick glance at your blog, great stuff!! I'll be visiting more often now :)