Thursday, February 27, 2014

Waterproof camera for motorcycle

Recorded video is the best evidence, and so we've seen it so much of it on the internet and TV. No matter how much we try to explain, the recorded video will awe many people and to the extend make people drop their jaws uttering OMG.

At the moment, the following caught my eye:
1) GoPro Hero3+
2) Drift HD Ghost S (Late 2013 model)
3) Sony Action Cam
4) SJ4000 (Somewhat a cam that looks identical to GoPro) but a lot cheaper.

There are many others out there. Check out SingaporeBikes forum discussion.

I like Juvena Huang's review and her vlog (see below), almost made my choice even firmer.

I liked the design between Drift HD Ghost-S and Sony Action Cam. So I had to find out how they are fitted to the helmets for most riders around the world. After much viewing of images done, I think Drift HD Ghost-S is the best camera for me.
1) It doesn't require a housing and is waterproof (up to 3m for 30 minutes)
2) Doesn't require an arm to be stick-onto the helmet for holding the camera. There's a adhesive mount that could allow you to attach the cam next to the helmet.
3) The lens of the cam can be rotated to adjust the view of the recording for the helmet.
Here, view this: for some reason, I couldn't put that video in this blog. Thanks to Juv and DSN, I decided to buy it.

Anyway, Juv mentioned in her blog that Motoworld sells it. So I gave them a called and discovered they want to bring in Ghost-S and the shipment will arrive in April 2014. After they said it will cost $750 and required me to put a deposit of $150 if I like to "Pre-order", I hesitated. They added I would be given freebies for this "Pre-order". I think I could get it cheaper elsewhere, which I did eventually, good to have friends in different parts of the world. Obviously I won't get the "local warranty", but I think it should be fine.

I'm now shopping for accessories and hope to have it install somewhere else also, like my car, bicycle helmet, etc.

Great stuff! Thanks Juv and DSN and the team at Drift Innovation.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Size does matter for your helmet

Ever since I started my lessons on motorcycle, I bought a helmet out of impulse because I didn't want to use the school's helmet. Well, I knew I need a good and COMFORTABLE fit, but I didn't know what is meant by getting a good fit.

So, after such a long while, I've decided to get another helmet, one with chin-guard, and while going through some articles on the internet, I realised I've been using a wrong helmet all along!

I find this website SHARP has a good database on helmets, and even a good animated guide on understanding the helmet fitting. 

Wrong helmet from the start
I didn't measure the size of my head, or I didn't think it was necessary because I didn't do that when I was buying a cap or hat!!! Who would've done that when buying a fashionable cap or hat anyway!!! Hahahahaha!!!! Well, back in the Singapore Armed Forces days, I would be wearing around 7 1/4 or 7 1/2 sizes comfortably, but I didn't note that as well.

While I was at HelmetBoyz, the kind person at the store assisted me to try several sizes. Thinking back now, he has a very keen eye for sizes straight away. He did gave me the correct size though, but since I was impulsive and wanted comfort, the good fit was rather uncomfortable to me. It was an alien feeling of compression, like something pressing too close to my head that I just need space in between. So, I got a size larger and was very comfortable with it.

Almost a year later now, I put this helmet on, when I do the left right up down shakes, it frightens me now because its very loose. I thanked the lucky stars shining on me so far.

Having measured my head again (using the animated guide), I'm always a 59cm or 7 1/2 size head.

Knowing what I want (Improved safety from open face helmet)
There are different types of helmets we know. For a helmet with chin-guard on my concern for improved safety, I have quite a few choices too:
1) Full face helmets (safe helmet, chin guard and helmet is the same mould)
2) Full face off road helmets (another safe helmet, exactly the same like (1) and with additional top sunshade)
3) Flip up helmets (Chin guard and helmet are not the same mould. Chin guard can be flip up to enable rider an open face helmet experience)
4) Modular helmets (Chin guard can be detached and attached with 2 options that I've seen. Either it becomes a flip-up helmet alike, or its fixed like a full face helmet)
Well, I could be wrong or in-comprehensive for the choices, but I'm no expert in this anyway. I would either go for option 1 Full face helmet or option 3 Flip-up helmet.

Knowing what I want (Keeping me awake from zoning off)
I found that riding without music is a bit dull for me. I hope to have some music to my ears rather than hear myself humming and sing songs and ranting. If it comes with a communicator and reasonable microphone, it would be good.

So, at this point of time, communications set are:
1) UClear
2) Scala
3) Nolan N-COM
And of course there are more, but the forum posts I've read from SingaporeBikes are hovering around these few (at leasts those few posts I've read). UClear had very good local reviews and can be fitted to any helmets, no boom-microphones, and bluetooth will automatically switched off once disconnected. Nolan N-COM is another choice because its designed to fit very nicely to the helmets, although it has a boom-microphone but owners here hadn't complained that much. Hmm, nothing heard much about Scala... 

PSB approval
This little sticker can be annoying for some, but its the sticker to get your insurance claims most of the time... I think. Read the forums for ranting of this little sticker, I find it amusing for some of the threads. This is rather individual opinions, but I would go for it for insurance purpose. 

Safety, safety, safety. The angel on my right seems to be nagging at me too much on this. Once I have zoomed in to a few choices of the likes, I've also paid attention for other global / regional safety standards such as:
1) DOT
3) ECE
Personally, I also reference the SHARP website.

Brands, costs and reviews
This is the most daunting part of choosing helmets, we have many brands in Singapore!
3) OGK
6) AGV
7) HJC
and so many others. For a helmet with chin guards, I heard some can be less than $200, and can go up to $700!!! Of course, I often read some said "It depends on how much you think your head is worth". Oh c'mon, I think my pocket is burning also.

Conclusion for me
NOLAN was the choice for me. I didn't spent time to go jalan jalan see see look look. It was pretty straight forward for me. NOLAN has communication sets and they had designed to fit it nicely into their own helmets. Others said it was pricey, but hey, they did made it specifically and its proprietary. Gotta give it to them... but then again, this is my choice. :-)

The model N86 Full Face was my first choice. However, I learned that N86 was not PSB approved, only the N104 is. I liked the inner sunshade visor that helped lessen the glare of the morning sun. I would be getting the N-COM B4+ to compliment my helmet and hope this would last for sometime!

Here's an final note on safety helmets in Singapore.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Defensive riding is key

I have never take heed in the advices of my instructors in the driving schools (SSDC) until I started riding.

As an experienced driver, I have never understand the term "defensive riding".

Even with the videos and lessons given in the classes, I could not decipher what is so important.

With an expensive equipment in SSDC on riding simulation, I didn't feel the need of defensive riding.

UNTIL I started riding... I realised it is very important. 

I asked some of my friends and colleagues who stopped riding. Many said even they have been riding many years, it is still dangerous to them. 

No matter how slow or safe we ride, there are still erroneous road users out there... sometimes including me. 

Motorcycle Accident in Singapore @ 080912

1st Feb 2013 Accident in Singapore

Bike skid on KPE

A motorcycle skidded at the KPE entrance

There are a plenty of videos out there. 

  • Riders must always stay visible during day and night. 
  • Don't "hide" in the blind spot of the other road users, including behind big vehicles.
  • Take care of your motorcycle by servicing it regularly, replacing the parts where necessary, don't save the money because it will save your life. Money can still be earned back, otherwise don't buy a motorcycle if it eats your budget. Remember, get something that is comfortable to your budget. 
Since I am still a "P" plate rider, the more I should exercise defensive riding and cautious. I will ride at a moderate speed and keep to an appropriate lane. It will be advantageous to ALWAYS keep a look out for all vehicles around you, especially those road users whom doesn't practise signal early. I have a habit to make sure my lights are bright, so I could observe objects on the roads that doesn't send me flying in the air.  

Being paranoid is one thing, enjoy riding is another. Safe riding to whoever is reading this. 

Servicing and understanding your bike

There should be plenty of advices out there. I went to Jia Jie's favourite general servicing at Autopoint in Ang Mo Kio.

The old uncle whom serviced my bike seemed knowledgable, that's why Jia Jie trusted him. Since I ride my bike occasionally, the uncle recommended to put semi-synthetic oil rather than fully-synthetic oil. Although it isn't really good, but it should fit my style of riding. If I decide to ride more than 60% a week, I should change it back to fully-synthetic oil.

After weeks of riding, I realised my SYM GTS 200 jerks when riding off 10-20 KM/Hr around 3-4K rpm in the morning after starting up. Having check the singaporebikes forum, a few experienced riders recommended to change the clutch. I went to Tai Hin to get it changed, the man whom seemed like the owner or manager said SYM original seemed to "jump" after fitting it in, he recommended to use KYMCO's clutch. Well... Anything he says, I'm just riding it for experience.

I still feel I need to clean my carburettor, the old uncle say to do that, he will need to dismantle a few parts, quite big job he said. Maybe next time then I do lar... zzz