Picture an excellent bike, hopefully your own! The screaming engine, smooth ride, and sleek styling, for example, may come to mind. But don’t stop there; also consider integrating some useful personal electronics into that view of your motorcycle–cases, covers, and mounts of all kinds for smart phones and tablets, plus a radar detector, and audio products.
Truth be told, what really piqued our interest in Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular! electronics show in San Francisco was the part in the press invitation that excitedly promised “Fighting Robots!” Okay, then! We love robots! They can even be taught to ride motorcycles!
Well, folks, the robots were mostly sad pieces of dung. One thing that must’ve weighed as much as an elephant could barely move, but it did shoot attractive foam darts. Another human-sized robot looked, literally, like it was made with an old Erector Set.
The Woojer seemed like it would be an excellent addition to motorcycle audio systems. Alas, it was also pretty much pointless. The device is a wearable transducer that, for a person already wearing conventional headphones, is supposed to give the sensation of a big audio woofer pounding in the room. The headphones did put out incredible bass (and I’m a bassist), while the Woojer itself felt like a cell phone vibrator with a near-dead battery. The demo guy must’ve read my thoughts about the thing ’cause he quickly disappeared before I could ask him what the hell was going on.
The show was kinda fun, though, with lots of free tasty appetizers and vodka! Oh, and let’s not forget the hot chicks dressed in silver mini-skirt outfits presumably intended to make them look like robots (which some of them may have been, even without the silver suits).
When all was said and done, though, the show actually did have a handful of products that looked like they could be very useful for the motorcycle enthusiast.
LifeProof Covers, Cases, and Mounts
LifeProof’s products allow swivel-mounting your iPhone on the handlebars, and protecting that phone from water (for an hour at a depth of six feet) and shock (from a height of six feet). The user-applied cover, also available for iPad, adds a mere 1/20th of an inch to the depth of an iPhone, and, with its thin display cover, still permits screen touch sensitivity. iPhone covers start at $80 and covers are also available for Galaxy III and S4.
At $550 (street), this new gadget isn’t cheap, but it may save you in the long run. Via blendmount.com, the Passport Max (just 1″ x 3″ x 5″) has five different motorcycle mounts, and it comes with an earphone jack, multi-colored display, and travel case. Claimed to be the first and only detector with High Definition performance, it covers all radar/laser bands. Digital Signal Processing provides a quicker response time.
Speck doesn’t make motorcycle mounts for its cases, but should your iPhone fly out of your pocket at 70 mph you’ll appreciate that they meet military drop standards. And, they come in a mind-boggling (or mind-numbing, depending on your perspective) array of colors and graphics. iPhone cases start at $30. Speck’s shock proof cases may not be quite as durable as LifeProof’s, but they sure are more colorful.
Phiaton PS 210 Noise-Cancelling Earbuds with Bluetooth
If you’re sitting up front wearing these earbuds, you’re liable to get busted, but your passenger will probably love them; according to Phiaton, they fit comfortably inside a helmet. The small remote allows switching on/off the Bluetooth (standard 3.0) and noise cancelling. Features include 14 hours of music play-time, and an operating range up to 32 feet. Included are four sizes of silicon ear tips. The entire system, $130, allows use with iPhone, iPod, and players for MP3s, CDs, and DVD. Earbuds are available separately for $80. phiaton.com
Robot and Robot Girls photos by Bill “WBGO” Lanphier.