sena

InRoute, a way to navigate with your iPhone and Sena!

Finally, what I've been waiting for. A reason to replace my Garmin Zumo. Which may not happen immediately, but I foresee this as a really, really great tool.

I know, I just published my Garmin Zumo 390 review but now I found what I have been searching for! An iPhone app that lets me import the GPX file I need from Furkot and then it reads the turn by turn directions into my Sena SMH10R.

This iPhone app is called InRoute Route Planner. It's a free app but it comes with optional upgrades, which I'll gladly pay for. The free version allows for up to 24 locations in a particular map I think. It's $2.99/month or $24.99 for the year if you want up to 100 locations per map. So I went ahead and bought a year. Why not? 

If I can successfully use this app for all my turn by turn navigation, then adios Garmin! Fingers crossed, as we leave for Port Jervis in the morning on a quick overnight :)

Update August 2016

I've now been using the InRoute app exclusively for the past two months. It has definitely done its job and very well, I might add. 

There are two things that I've wanted my phone to do for me; navigate and then give me turn by turn directions through my Sena SMH10R Headset so I don't have to look down or check to see what the display is showing.  Although it has some minor issues to resolve, overall its the best navigation option I've ever used. 

Back in June my husband and I ventured north to Port Jervis, NY. We left early Sunday morning and then headed up to the border as far as we felt like going. Then we grabbed a hotel for the night once we got into New York. 

Opening GPX Files

The photo above is the ambitious ride route I laid out for us. You can download a copy of the GPX file here. :)  All you have to do is either create a route on a website such as Furkot.com, save it as a .GPX and then open it easily on your iPhone (there are others I'm sure, just use whatever site or software application you want to create the GPX). (Or, alternatively you can create a route on the fly right inside the app. We'll get to that part in a bit, so keep scrolling if you want that part.) 

I use iCloud Drive (in addition to Google Drive) so all I have to do is open my file. Once you create the GPX on your desktop, you could also just email it to yourself too. Once I've found my file, I just tell my phone how I want to view it. 

inroute_openingfiles

In this instance, I want it to "copy to InRoute". If I already have another route or map open, it'll ask me if I want to Restore Route. I Choose Restore. 

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And then voila! I have my ride route. All I have to do is hit GO and we're off. My Sena starts talking to me and I'm ready to ride. 

Creating Routes on the Fly

However, sometimes you just need to make a quick route without a computer nearby. This is my favorite feature. I can instantly create a route, tweak it and then share it with my husband so he can also lead part way. It's as simple as putting your finger exactly where your destination is. As soon as you do, it asks you if that's going to be your Start, a Waypoint or your Destination. For this example, I choose Destination. 

inroute_shamokin

But I really really really don't want to take the turnpike there. And this map much like other maps might assume you do. No Thank You. Maybe I want to visit the infamous stretch of road where I lowsided last year to see if they patched up the entire roadway or not. So I place my finger at on the road and it drops a pin. I select Waypoint.  

Now, we have a decent route!

Inroute_143

But let's just say that I want to make another stop along the way, just for fun. 

Crap. Now things are in the wrong order. No problem :) Click on the little 2Way Sign in the upper left corner. 

Now you have this handy option to Optimize Waypoint Order. SO handy. You can also rearrange points manually here too. If you select a particular point you can then delete it. 

Now that I've rearranged the order, I have a proper route. 

Then when it comes to sharing this route with the man, I just text it to him like any other image or file on my iPhone. 

The only downsides of the app that we've discovered are:

  1. It uses the Apple Maps Engine. For some reason, and I'm not quite sure why, it won't interrupt my intercom conversation with my husband to give me the directions. I have to toggle back to my phone to hear it. I'm ok with this for now, because it's a small sacrifice to have a much better app interface such as this. Google Maps and Waze don't do this, so it's definitely possible and most likely a feature they have to program into the app (something about APIs to tell the phone that it's an incoming phone call, not just music - per my mobile app developer expert husband). 
  2. The Northeast is full of roads and highways with multiple names. Look at this one for instance. You can see that Route 143 is also known as "Ontelaunee Trail". It might tell me one or the other, so I have to trust it when it tells me to turn somewhere. It doesn't always do this, but often enough that I try not to worry as much if I'm turning at the right point. 

A couple of fun features is that it offers temperature, humidity and a few other details along your route, super handy. 

Those are the main features that I use on the app. I'm sure I'll discover more as I use it further. 

Other than those two details, I don't foresee going back to the Zumo anytime soon. The only thing I still might need is a waterproof case which is easy to come by.

In order to have my phone easily accessible on the bike I purchased this Ram Universal X-Grip cellphone holder. All I had to do was take off the Garmin Mount from the Ram Arm and swap it for the X-Grip. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sena SMH10R Firmware Update

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Attention all Sena fans, firmware updates were announced for many of it's products this past month. My beloved SMH10R was one of them.

If you need to update the firmware, you'll have to plug your Sena in with the charging cable, then connect it to your pc or mac. Links to the Device Manager software and instructions are at the bottom of the press release page.

Happy Bluetoothing!

Sena SMH10R Review

sena_smh10r_shoei_rf1200_graffiti  

Yay! It's review time. I finally upgraded my bluetooth head set to the Sena SMH10R. Oooooooo. Aaaaaaaaah. Ohhhhhh. Read my review here. Did I also mention that I upgraded my helmet to a Shoei RF-1200? :D

Since my Qwest fit me so well, why not go for a lighter, quieter version of it? I'm an XS, and this helmet only weighs 3lbs 5oz! So light. The shell is also really compact, so when I turn my head I don't hit my backpack or my shoulder. It's quieter, less resistant in the wind at high speed, stable and ridiculously comfortable. It comes with a Pinlock faceshield and insert, bonus!

I just picked up this helmet yesterday and have only ridden 10 miles in it so far. I will report back in a month or so. In the meantime, a couple pics of the Graffiti graphic. 

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I found calculus equations underneath the graffiti:

 

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I guess it's fitting since I was an Econ major in college, I did take 2 quarters of Calculus....... :D

 

 

Sena vs Cardo

Another reader question! What is a better communicator, the sena smh10r or cardo scala g9x?

Thx for your help, Patrick

So if I had to answer this question in a quick minute, I have to say the G9X. However, that answer is based solely on features and functionality when you compare the two side by side.  But that is simply because the G9X is designed as the master of Group Riding, assuming all of the riders are using Cardo units. It's a robust bluetooth intercom to ride with a ton of people. Whereas the SMH10R is really a low profile unit designed to interact with maybe 3 riding friends, not all of the members of your local riding club.

sena smh10R shoei qwest
sena smh10R shoei qwest

I whipped up this chart to compare what features each unit has in common, and then who wins in certain categories so you can see how different these units are. In the first section "Shared Features", you can see they do have similar functionalities. In the "Cardo Wins" category, there are a few cool features that the SMH10R doesn't have.  And then in the "Sena Wins" category, it has a few features that the G9X doesn't have.

SHARED FEATURES:

CARDO G9X

SENA SMH10R

4-Way Intercom Conferencing

yes

yes

A2DP Stereo

yes

yes

Answer Intercom Calls via VOX

yes

yes

Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

yes

yes

GPS Connectivity

yes

yes

Hot Dial

yes

yes

Make and Receive Mobile Calls via VOX

yes

yes

Mobile Phone Connectivity

yes

yes

MP3 Connectivity

yes

yes

Music-Sharing™(between Rider-Passenger)

yes

yes

Plug-In Speakers (3.5mm)

yes

yes (optional)

Replaceable Mics

yes

yes

Software Updates

yes

yes

Spoken Status Announcements

yes

yes

Voice Commands

yes

yes

 CARDO WINS:

Web platform to change settings

yes

no

FM Radio with RDS

yes

no

Automatic Volume Adjustment (AGC)

yes

no

Click-to-Link®

yes

no

Flash Pairing®

yes

no

Group Signal

yes

no

Intercom Bike-to-Bike

Up to 1mile

Up to 0.55 mile

Intercom Toggling

between 9 bikers

between 4 bikers

Talk Time

13 hours

8 hours

Standby

7 days

7 days

SENA WINS:

Universal Intercom

no

yes

Ultralight Profile

no

yes

Cardo Scala G9

Cardo Scala G9

I would say that if you're looking for the Cardo version of the SMH10R, look at the Q3. Lower profile than the G9 and offers practically the same features as the SMH10R, with the exception of it's low profile, thin unit. For ME, this trumps everything else. It's aesthetics, and purely superficial. But it totally depends on what your priorities are as a rider. Having ridden with the SMH5 for so long, I really like the low profile look of the SMH10R and am getting comfortable with the controls each time I ride.

Ride Report to West Virginia

2012_triumph_street_tripleR A couple weeks ago I took a nice 4 day, 965 mile trip to West Virginia and back. It was shorter than I expected, but I had a great time anyway. All I can say is I LOVEEEEE my bike! (and WV)

Sunday

So my plan was leave Sunday early afternoon, ride for 3 glorious days in W. VA and then come home Thursday. I knew that there was going to be a very rainy day, possibly Wednesday so I of course wore my Rev'it Legacy Gore-Tex suit for the trip. I decided to wear my Gear 2' pants down there since it was pretty nice out and I packed my Legacy pants into one of the US-10 packs.

In preparation for the trip, I actually purchased 2 fantastic upgrades. The first one was the Sena SMH-10R Bluetooth Headset. I wanted a better unit than my SMH5, but not a bigger one. I love the slim look and feel of the unit and am still in the process of finishing my review. Check out what I have so far here and stay tuned for an update on my social feeds and a blog post when it's ready.

The second upgrade was a pair of Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Xtrafit gloves. I've never owned a pair of Gore-Tex gloves, because I could never find anything that fits me right. These are especially amazing because they're not winter gloves, they're simply leather street gloves with a bonded Gore-Tex membrane! That's right, they completely bond the membrane to the leather so you have a clean, lightweight glove that isn't bulky or heavy. It's the perfect arrangement for wet, hot, summer riding. Both performed beautifully, especially when I got caught in a heavy downpour for 150 miles on the freeway.

sena_smh10Rrukka_apollo_goretex_gloves

Now let's talk about the fun stuff. The Riding!

Oh My God. West Virginia feels like home for me; my long lost motorcycle home. So many twists and turns, curves, uphill/downhill, everything I want and need when I go riding. I CAN'T wait to go back so I've already planned another trip for mid June. I was supposed to meet my good friend Tamela Rich Sunday night at a beautiful bed and breakfast in the mountains of the Monongahela National Forest. It's located right in the middle of the most heavenly roads I've seen on the East coast.

highway 250 west virginia from philly

250 is downright heavenly. It's too bad I had to ride in pitch black darkness. I left so late (1pm) that by the time I got to 250 it was ~8pm. :-( Nothing like riding twisties in total darkness. So it took me a couple hours to ride what would've been an hour in daylight. I tried to grab a couple pics along the way when I could. I believe this is right before I turned onto 84.

triumph street triple west veirgini

It was still a great ride and I enjoyed every minute. I even dodged a possum that decided to visit the middle of my lane. I rolled in to a lovely white building with bright lights (which was great given how remote and dark it was). Gotta love a hotel that has perfect motorcycle parking.

The Inn at Mountain Quest in Marlinton, VA

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I had no idea what I would be getting to until I woke up that morning to this glorious view from my room:

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It was so quiet, calm and downright peaceful. We were the only ones there that night since everyone had left earlier that day. It just worked out that previous visitors had left and no one else was checking in until the later in the week. If you and your moto-loving partner are looking for a relaxing riding weekend, my friend Tamela is hosting a moto retreat in the 2nd week of June called Ride to Reboot.  My hubby and I will be there, hopefully we'll see you there! Here are a few pics of the ranch I snapped before I left.

inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va 4  inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va 2 inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va 1

The next morning my friend Tamela and I headed South.

Following Tamela on the short gravel road as we leave Mountain Quest. There's a small bridge just past where she stopped, it's a little creaky so I found standing on my pegs helped make that bumpy section feel a little smoother.

inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va 3

Monday

On Monday afternoon Tamela and I headed out towards Oak Hill, WV. She's on her BMW F650GS and of course I'm on my Street Triple R. From the Inn, we headed North on 92, East on 66, then South on 219/55 to Slaty Fork. There's a really cool spot called Sharp's Country Store that we had to stop at and check out. I guess it used to be a service station so there are cool old gas pumps, and some knick knacks in the window. During business hours you can walk through the store and buy a few souvenirs. Unfortunately they're closed on Mondays!

slatyfork_westvirginia 5  slatyfork_westvirginia 3 slatyfork_westvirginia 2

gastation_slatyfork

slatyfork_westvirginia

Sadly, this is where my report gets a little sad. After this, we headed towards lunch in Marlinton, WV. It was in town that my bike died at a stop light. Everything just shut off. I thought I dumped my clutch but in fact, my bike turned off. Luckily it was right in front of the gas station so I pulled in and tried to troubleshoot. I didn't see anything visibly wrong on the battery so I put my luggage and seat back on and then tried to start it again. Nothing was turning on, no lights, nothing. After about 10 minutes, she started up again. I let it run for about 5 minutes and it didn't die so I figured it wasn't too major. So off we went to our final destination, Oak Hill WV.

I believe this is the ride route we took. "G" is Marlinton. "H" is the hotel. I believe we stopped somewhere along 41 to take some cute pictures of ourselves and our bikes.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 11.49.57 PM

 

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I can't help it, I love selfies. Especially when my friends are in them! If you don't know Tamela, read her story. She's an incredible woman who's ridden across the country more than a few times. Travel is her middle name, so check her out.

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tamela_rich_bmw_f650gs

We booked a room at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. Thanks to the lodge for allowing us to park right outside the front door :)

triumph_street_triple_kriega

Tuesday

Sadly, Monday was the best riding I was able to get in all week. The next morning, I was spooked out from the electrical issue so I decided to head home Wednesday :-(. I tried calling a local dealer but they were too busy to see me so I decided to leave a day early. Tamela headed home that morning, and I decided to head to Harrisonburg, WV for the night. Then it would only be a ~6 hour journey home on Wednesday.

I booked a room at the Country Inn & Suites (my favorite hotel chain) and headed that way in the pouring rain. It rained like crazy but only on Tuesday! I've never ridden that long in the rain before: 150 miles, 3.5 hours. Since it was pouring I averaged about 55-60mph. The temperature wasn't too chilly (high 50s, low 60s) but I didn't want to risk another electrical issue so I didn't use my heated liner.

I did get a little wet sadly, even though I was decked out in head to toe Gore-Tex. Here's what I wore:

I've always said that wearing anything Gore-Tex is the only way to truly stay dry. And even if you don't stay dry you have that lifetime guarantee! The only caveat is that you must be the original owner of the product, for them to verify the history of the item. It makes sense, if you bought something secondhand how do they know the original owner didn't screw something up? So I wasn't able to warranty my Ladystars, because I scored them on eBay hardly worn a few years ago. But since I only paid ~$90 for them, I'm not going to worry about it. I may just have to buy a brand new pair at some point. :D

I also get a little wet on my left sleeve because I wore my sleeve over my gloves instead of inside. I thought the velcro was snug enough to keep water out, but I guess not going 65mph on the freeway. The other spot I got wet was right above my left butt cheek. I was wearing my heated jacket liner and I think the bottom of the liner got wet and seeped up inside. I'm going to try and ride in the pouring rain again soon so I can test this theory out. Otherwise, I will definitely be contacting Gore-Tex for a warranty claim.

I forgot to mention of course, that all of my Kriega packs came with me as they work beautifully on naked bikes like mine. They also performed perfectly in the pouring rain.

The Sena headset is NOT waterproof. It's water resistant so if you get stuck in the rain it'll be okay. Turns out the unit is far more robust than Sena says because it actually held up for 3 hours in the pouring rain, on the freeway! But the battery died on me the next day. So both parts survived the journey but the next day when I rode home, it shut off without warning and wouldn't stay on for more than a few seconds. Luckily, I bought a dual pack so my husband could upgrade his unit as well. So I stole his battery for the time being and replaced it. The unit has worked perfectly since then.

Thank you Sena for making a unit that is practically waterproof! I was scared that I ruined the main unit, but the battery was a small sacrifice :D

Wednesday

2012_triumph_streettripleR (1)

The next morning, when I went to start up the bike it wouldn't start. So I took the seat off and tightened the battery terminal, it was a tiny bit loose. After that she started right up! The rest of my ride home was uneventful, as I slabbed it home on the Interstates to get back before dark.

Long Distance on a Street Triple

I have to say that although the STR isn't a long distance tourer, I definitely enjoyed the ride. Since I'm used to touring on the SV's, this is a welcome upgrade. It's definitely not something that works as well as say, an FZ1 or F800GS. But in comparison to my SV's, it's fabulous. The added horsepower is nice, and certainly noticeable especially while jumping on the freeway. But I really appreciate the suspension and handling. It's smooth, responsive and not too twitchy at the throttle. One thing I read in many reviews of this bike is that in 2012 they adjusted the throttle response so it's a smoother transition when rolling off and on.

The stock seat is great and far more comfortable. I can go a solid hour before my booty starts to complain and I have to pull over. But as with any naked bike with a minimal windscreen, any substantial riding in high winds is tiring. When I was riding in the rain it was terribly windy. I was exhausted as if I'd ridden all day in 100 degree heat. I pulled over about 3-4 times to keep up with the added fatigue along with being wet and chilly. No fun.

As I've always recommended in the past, I definitely appreciated my Techspec Gripster Pads for a little extra grip and stability against the tank. Other than that, I had nothing else to help me along. I logged a little under 1,000 miles and would've happily ridden another 500-600 if everything went the way I'd planned. Originally, I was going to spend Wednesday riding in the mountains and then take the slow route home Thursday. Oh well. I've already started planning routes for June!

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Thanks for reading, look for a full ride review of the STR soon.

me_triumph_wv

Also check out Moterrific for Episode 64, for an audio version of this ride report!

Reviews TBD:

Sena SMH-5 Bluetooth Intercoms

shoei qwest sena smh 5 So I finally got around to updating the firmware on my SMH-5. If you have a Mac and have been trying to update yours, I highly recommend finding someone with Winblows. My husband and I tried at least 10 times to update it using the Mac software and couldn't get it to work. I rarely use my VMWare machine so it didn't occur to me to try that.

So I downloaded the PC version and voila, it worked the first time. Sena, you need to fix your Device Manager for Mac software!

Bluetooth motorcycle headsets

Sena Bluetooth Motorcycle Headset

SMH-5 by Sena

The one thing that really makes the Sena standout is the intuitive dial/button. Something that's easy to operate while riding and with your gloves on.

Update 4/12/12: I just found out that these aren't available from the distributor just yet. They should be available for shipping in May / early June. Can't wait to get my hands on these!

This is on my wish list, because it's a smaller, more compact version of the popular SMH-10. The difference between the SMH-5 is that it only allows for rider 2 rider communication, so only 2 people.  The SMH-10 will allow you to connect up to 4 total riders, after a firmware upgrade.   The price point is also nice at $129 for one or $249 for two!

Previously, with the SMH-10 you had to buy the pair.  Now you can ride solo with the freedom of no one else talking to you, unless they call you first. :)

The SMH-5 is on my hitlist to replace my aging BlueAnt headset from way back.

Where to Buy: BuySenaBluetooth.com, Scuderia West/San Francisco