Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 SML Radar Detector Shootout

We were back in Texas last weekend again for the 2010 Radar Detector Shootout, conducted by Speed Measurement Laboratories.

As with years past, I rode the bike out there from LA.  I left on Wednesday afternoon around 3, which was a couple of hours later than I wanted to.  I ended up fighting LA traffic for the first couple of hours just to get out of town.  Thankfully we are allowed to split lanes here in California or else it would've put me way behind the schedule that I had in mind.  After getting out of town, I was able to open up the throttle a bit.  As always, CHP was out in force, but I was on good behavior and didn't encounter any real threats.  The cops were also out and about in Arizona, as the state is notorious for dishing out speeding tickets.  Again, I didn't encounter any real threats, although I did notice a significant drop in their mobile radar camera units on the side of the road.  It probably has something to do with the fact that the entire radar camera program is going to go away comes middle of July.  The ride through Arizona was a scorcher and I ended the day in Chandler, AZ.  When I got off the bike at 9PM, it was at a balmy 105 degrees!

I left early next morning, trying to avoid some of the heat... but to no avail.  It was pretty damn hot at 7AM already.  I made my way through Arizona into New Mexico, and finally, arrived in El Paso in mid afternoon.  Again, didn't encounter any real threats along the way.

We spent the next 3 days testing a few prototypes under the blazing Texas sun.  I'm happy to report that overall, the testing went well.  I don't have the official results to share, as they won't be ready for another couple of weeks or so, but I will reveal this: the much asked Laser Jammer tested very well, and looks like we can finally put the final touches on it and finally move into production phase.

After the last test finished up on the third day, I hopped back on the bike to head back to California.  Nothing too eventful for the first hour or so, but the TPX once again proved its worth going through New Mexico in the next few hours.

If you read my blog entry from my trip back from last year's SML, you'll remember that the TPX saved my butt a few times in NM on the way back.  I definitely remember them on the ride and I was being careful while speeding through the state.  The first save took place right outside Las Cruces.  I was approaching town, and was on a long incline on the interstate.  As I got close to the crest, the TPX started going off with a weak K band.  Immediately, I backed off on the throttle and let my speed drop down to the posted speed limit of 75.  I got to the top of the crest and the K band grew to 3 bars.  On the other side of the crest was a downhill bend, which I couldn't see much past the bend because of the trees lining along the side of the road.  As I started to go into the bend, what do I see on the side of the road hidden behind the trees?  A New Mexico state trooper waiting for speedsters.  Count that as a definite save.

As I went along, maybe an hour later, in the middle of nowhere, K band went off again, and it started weak but got to full tilt very quickly.  Again, I backed off on the throttle immediately and sure enough, a few seconds later, a cop hiding behind some overgrown bushes in the median was catching speedsters going in the other direction.  How do I know that he was catching speedsters going in the opposite direction?  The fact that I had a relatively short warning and I was able to pick up the signal as I headed away from the cop for the next mile showed that the cop had his radar pointed at the opposite direction.  Not a save, but it's always good to slow down in the presence of cops.

The same scenario would play out two more times before I crossed into Arizona.  I guess the cops were just focused on traffic going east in NM on that particular day.  I finished off the day in Goodyear, AZ.

Since I was pretty tired from 3 days of testing and the ride from the day before, I slept in a bit and left for the road a bit before 9 the next day.  Going through AZ I encountered a couple of mobile radar camera units and Arizona troopers, but no real threats.  In California, the TPX came through again.  I had just crossed into California and was going at a pretty good pace, when all of a sudden the TPX went off again.  It started as a weak Ka and stayed there for a while.  As always, I backed off on the throttle.  After receiving the weak signal for a bit, the signal quickly ramped up and I could see a CHP coming from the opposite direction.  I'm not sure if the CHP was catching people going in his direction or my direction, but I've seen cops making a quick U turn across the median to pull people over for speeding, so I would consider this as a save as well.

I made it back to the office in the mid afternoon safe and sound, and after over 1,800 miles, still no ticket!  And the best part is we are that much closer to having the Jammer available!

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Stuff for Old Bikes

Our new AdaptivMount got a brief mention in the July/August issue of Motorcycle Classics magazine.  Check it out!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Go Fast Gadgets

Got some love from Super Streetbike Magazine, as they reviewed the TPX in their "Go-Fast Gadgets" article in the June issue.  Check it out!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Very Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

Man oh man, what a Memorial Day Weekend I had.  Definitely one of the most interesting and memorable weekends in recent years.  Riding from LA to Tooele, UT for the SBK races and back, a lot of time on two wheels!

I left on Saturday morning and took the boring route of I-15.  Before I even got to my first gas break I saw 6 CHP's.  I knew it was going to be a tough weekend, police wise, as cops are usually out in force on Memorial Day weekend, but 6 in less than 125 miles?

My first gas break came at Barstow, CA.  After a quick fill up, I got back onto I-15.  Traffic was a bit on the heavy side, but still flowing pretty well.  As soon as I merged onto the freeway, I made my way over to the leftmost lane and just as I was about to open up the throttle a bit, my trusty TPX went off.  Ka band, about two bars.  Immediately I backed off on the throttle and settled into the same pace as the surrounding traffic.  In less than a couple of seconds, the two bars quickly jumped to full six bars and sure enough, there was a CHP parked underneath an overpass just ahead, hunting for speedsters.  Count that as a save.

I would see two more CHP's before I cross the state line into Nevada, where I took a quick lunch in Las Vegas before hitting the road again.  It was pretty uneventful riding through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah on the interstate, and the cops were not as abundant in those states as in California; I only saw one cop in each of the three states.

I finished the day in Draper, UT after about 700 miles.  I could have made it into Salt Lake City, but decided to stop a bit earlier so that I could catch the last few minutes of the Stanley Cup game.

The next day I headed over to Tooele for the SBK races.  It was a gorgeous day with some awesome racing.  During the down times between the races, I would venture out to the parking lot to see other people's bikes.  I'm particularly interested in seeing what other gadgets people put on their bikes and how they do it; it's where I get some of my inspirations.  Anyway, while I was checking out the bikes, I met Mark from Washington, who rides a FJR1300.  He had just got to the track after leaving the Seattle area earlier in the day, and he went on to show me one of the most ingenious radar detector mounting methods I've ever seen:

Yes, that's right, he strapped his cordless radar detector to his forearm and would "wear" his radar detector on his rides.  He runs earphones up to his ears so that he could hear the detector going off.  Pretty clever!  While clever, I still think the TPX set up is much better than his!

After the race was over, I hit the road again.  My original plan was to take the back roads back to LA, but after a few hours of riding, I had to change my plan.  I was filling up in the town of Ely, NV and getting ready to cut across the state on US6.  Just as I got out of town, a sign posted on the side of the road said the next gas station is 167 miles away.  Crap.  Time for a detour because my Gixxer Wannabe can go about 145 miles or so on a full tank.  167 is a bit out of reach.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to take US93 instead.  Oh, and by the way, as I was leaving town on US6, my TPX went off.  I wasn't speeding at all as I knew full well to always obey the posted speed limit in little towns, and sure enough, right up the road was a cop trying to catch people speeding through town.

US93 is literally in the middle of no where.  It runs north and south along eastern Nevada and it's both scenic and desolate.  Traffic was extremely light, and I decided to take the opportunity to find out the top speed of my Gixxer Wannabe.  As it turned out, the Gixxer Wannabe's top speed is 129 mph according to the Zumo, and I've tried several times to verify it.  On the speedometer, the top speed registered 142... how generous.

Right before it got dark, I ended up in the town of Pioche, NV for a gas break.  I had thought about calling it a day since it was starting to get dark, but I was feeling good and figured there's still some daylight left, so I decided to trek on to the next town of Caliente.  By the time I got to Caliente, it was dark and I'm starting to get tired and hungry.  I decided to look for a place to stay.  First motel that I rode by was closed.  Next one, no vacancy.  Third and last one, same thing, no vacancy.  With no vacancy at all the motels, I had no choice but to ride on.  Now, the speed limit in Caliente is 25 mph and I was going pretty much at 25 or maybe just a tad faster.  As I approached the end of town, I see two sets of headlights coming from the opposite direction.  First vehicle went by me... and as the second vehicle got pretty close to me, my TPX went off with Ka on full tilt.  That's gotta be a cop, I thought to myself.  Sure enough, it was.  Since I thought I was going right around 30, I didn't think I would be in trouble at all.  Wrong!  The cop flipped on his lights and made an U-turn.  I thought to myself there is no way that the cop was pulling me over for speeding; I wasn't going fast enough!  Plus, I was close enough to the edge of the town that the next posted speed limit sign of 40 is only about 20 yards in front of me!  Maybe the cop just want to run my plate and make sure I'm not trouble.

I pulled over, the cop came up to me and asked me for my license.  He asked me if I knew how fast I was going and I told him I was probably going around 30 or 35, admitting that I was going faster than the posted speed limit of 25.  He said he got me at 42!  I was shocked, but I didn't argue with him, I was just being polite and told him that I'm really surprised that I was going that fast.  He asked for my license and I gave it to him, he then asked me if all my paperwork is underneath my seat.  I said "yes", and he told me to sit tight while he runs my license.  A few moments later he came back, handed my license back to me and asked me to ride careful in the dark.  I was thrilled.  On one hand, I couldn't believe that he didn't give me a ticket, on the other, I figured that he couldn't have possibly issued me a ticket because I wasn't going that fast and even if I was going at 42, the speed limit sign of 40 is just in front of me and I was probably close enough to be justified for going at my speed.  Plus, being polite to the cop probably had something to do with it also.

Regardless, this just shows that no matter if you have a radar detector or not, there isn't much you can do if the cop uses instant on and you are the only vehicle on the road.  Three years of riding with the TPX with thousands of miles underneath my belt, it finally happened... me getting pulled over.  But still no ticket yet!

I ended up spending that night in Las Vegas, and for the day, spotted 6 cops, with one memorable encounter.

The following day I had the pleasure of splitting lanes for a good part of the ride getting back to LA from Las Vegas, but made it safe and sound.

For the weekend, 1,588 miles, close to 24 hours on the bike, 23 cops spotted, getting pulled over once, and still no ticket!