Six Ways the Swivel-CAM is Better Than a HelmetCAMWe’re aware that Helmet CAMs are all the rage. We even own a GoPro ourselves, and there are times when it’s the appropriate choice. That said, we’re not fans of the helmet-mounted camera for most motorcycle uses, and here’s why.
- You can't change the angle of the shot. Wherever you’re looking, that's what you're getting. If you look down at your gauges, so does your video. If you look behind you to check traffic, guess where the HelmetCam goes?
- You can’t easily adjust the camera. I once lost an entire sequence because I thought it was powered on when it wasn’t (I couldn’t see it up on my head!)
- Depending on the camera you may not have a good zoom function; you might find your target turned into a speck on the horizon.
Apparently we’re not the only ones who feel this way:
“Mounting a video camera on a motorcycle helmet is difficult. Modern helmets have all sorts of wacky curves, put there for either styling or aerodynamic purposes. The larger the camera the more difficult it is to mount on a helmet.” ~ WebBikeWorld Review
Our Solution? The Swivel-CAM Motorcycle Camera MountThe Swivel-CAM motorcycle camera mount solves some key problems that Helmet Cameras don't:
- Flexible mounting options. The Swivel-CAM is not limited to one location (helmet); it can be mounted on a handlebar, brake/clutch assembly, mirror stem, windshield and more (you can get extra base brackets if you want to shoot from several different angles/places).
- Get almost any angle you want/need. The Swivel-CAM features multiple joints (which we call Ultra-Swivels) as well as 360-degree rotational ability at the tip. This is our ‘third generation’ design, arrived at after our own trial and error with other mounts; there are very few angles you can’t get with the Swivel-CAM!
- Different height options. The Swivel-CAM is available in three different heights, so no matter what you’re riding or where you mount the camera, you can shoot over or around windshields or other parts of the motorcycle.
- Classy look. Let’s face it; a lot of motorcycle camera mounts are ugly. The Swivel-CAM’s slim rod and base look like they belong on the motorcycle.
- Anti-Vibration & Heavy-Duty Construction. We’ve done everything we can to minimize vibration, such as the anti-vibration ‘cushion’ found on each and every Swivel-CAM. Stainless steel and aluminum components also help minimize vibration and won’t rust or wear out (rubber or plastic is much more susceptible to vibration and wear).
- Works with almost any camera. The Swivel-CAM works with any camera that is tripod compatible (that is, has the industry-standard ¼-20 stud hole on it, or has a “tripod adaptor” in your kit). If you have more than one camera, or you change cameras, you won’t need another mounting system.
Can't picture it? Let us SHOW you the difference!
- Tracey Cramer
Six Tips to Get the Most from Your Phone
Having a smart phone on your motorcycle can be extremely helpful, but as with any technology, you can experience glitches. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of using your phone while riding a motorcycle.
Make it easier to read:Go to phone settings -> screen brightness. Turn off “auto” and adjust the brightness as high as it will go.
- Reduce sun glare: When phone is in the mount, angle it so that reflects toward your chest; this will reduce glare from the sky (all our phone mounts have adjustable angle features)
- Touch screen function: If you need to use the touch screen function, go to phone settings -> screen sensitivity and turn it all the way up. This makes the touch screen more responsive when you are wearing gloves
- Font: You may want to change your font to a larger size
- Color: Similarly, you could change background colors (the more plain the better)
- Organize: Set up your initial screen with the apps you need the most when riding to minimize the number of swipes required
For help with mounting your phone, check out Tracey's other recent articles: Choosing a Phone Mount that's Right for YOU and Location, Location, Location: WHERE to Mount your Phone.
- Tracey Cramer
New & Shipping! Dawgs for Harley “Milwaukee Eight” Softail Models!
The wait is over.
Riders who’ve made the move to the new 2018+ Harley-Davidson Softail Models can now get the protection and comfort of the Desert Dawgs Rain Guards/Wind Deflectors!
Keep the rain off your feet and reduce those annoying updrafts and helmet buffeting. And there’s more:
- repel road spray from front wheel and flared front fender
- keep bug juice off motorcycle chrome (and legs!)
- allow engine cooling - NO temperature restriction!
- does not affect bike handling
- accommodates all standard foot peg settings (does not apply to Mustache fitment)
- Ultra-Pockets on both sides for extra carrying capacity (garage door opener, sunglasses, camera case, etc.)
Unlike competitive products, the Desert Dawgs are easy-on, easy-off. They require NO special tools or maintenance, and can be rolled/folded and stored in a saddlebag when not in use. Choose from Original or Bling It Out with chrome studs!
They will fit the following models: Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Deluxe, Breakout, Softail Slim, Street Bob & Sport Glide.
- Tracey Cramer
Motorcycle Travel Comfort & Convenience (the Cool Stuff & the Little Things)
Do you dream of life on the road, just you and two wheels (or three)? We all have places we’ve been daydreaming about. Pick one from your ‘bucket list’ and make it happen! Here are some tips to help!
Picking a Route
The beauty of traveling on a motorcycle is that no one just “takes the freeway.” For some the point/goal is to pick roads they’ve never ridden on. Others look for scenic drives, roads with lots of curves (hooah!) or quaint towns they can explore along the way.
Google the words “scenic routes” and all kinds of things come up. Or, get out your “old-fashioned” map and peruse your route to see what towns and sights are near it.
If you’ve always wanted to see a landmark (say, Mount Rushmore or Niagara Falls) or tourist attraction (Disneyland?!), plan your route to take you through it (or by it).
Experience Cool Stuff
The roads are not the only reason for the trip. Make sure to plan fun and interesting destinations along your route.
Look for out-of-the-way “local” places to eat (they often have the best food and atmosphere).
Think about where you want to stay. Do you prefer a big hotel chain or something smaller? I love a good B&B (see http://www.bnbfinder.com/ or https://www.bedandbreakfast.com/); they’re often quaint or quirky, and the food is usually fantastic. Plus they have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening locally and are a great source for things to do in the area.
Every state (and many municipalities) has dedicated tourism websites that can be helpful in identifying destinations and lodging.
Try to plan your day’s travel so you end up at a location where lodging is available. (In peak times of the year you may want to make reservations in advance.)
TIP: Don’t get lost
You’ll enjoy your trip more if you’re not stressed about finding a place to sleep, or wondering how far you can go on a tank of gas. Get a GPS or a navigation app on your smart phone (See our blog post about GPS vs. Phone) and plug in your route. That way you can simply follow along and not have to worry about getting lost. Of course, you want to make sure your phone or GPS is securely mounted (hint: use a Leader mount!).
The Little Things: Comfort & Convenience
Packing: Packing is super important on a bike because you have such limited space. You don't want to look like this guy! Think about the weather where you’re traveling and realize the temperature may swing from high to low in the span of a day. Layer clothing whenever possible, and make sure you have the essentials. Another must: rain gear and good-quality leather chaps.
Helmet Laws: Know the helmet laws in the states in which you’re traveling. Don’t get caught without one in a helmet-law state! (No fun to get a ticket on your dream trip.) Check out this site for a map of the states where helmets are required.
Don’t Try to do Too Much
If you’re not used to riding long distances, don’t force yourself to stay in the saddle for hundreds of miles. Plan stops along the way: for hydration, a bathroom break, or just to walk around and get the blood flowing (and give your rear a break). Plan the total number of hours or miles to be comfortable for you and you’ll have a much more enjoyable trip.
Invest in a set of Desert Dawgs for rain and wind protection; a butt cushion (or custom seat if your budget allows); or some music… anything for comfort and convenience.
One last thing to think about
Have you taken your bike for a “wellness” check? You and your motorcycle are going to spend a lot of time together on this trip, so make sure your bike is “healthy”! Make sure someone knows where you’re going and all your contact information and insurance information is up-to-date and stored in a safe place.
You are prepared, packed, organized, and it’s time to hit the road. You can do it knowing you are going to make memories that will last a lifetime! Enjoy!
TIP: Saving Memories
Now that you’re finally taking your dream trip, there’s nothing cooler than recording it in both picture and video. The scenery and shots can be amazing!
Today’s action cams are light and powerful. Naturally, we have what you need to mount the camera: the Swivel-CAM is perfect for shooting video.
Think of all the fun you’ll have going back to watch this video in the dead of winter!
- Tracey Cramer
Overstock Sale: 30% off Mirror Mounts
Mount your Phone, GPS, Camera or other device to any brand/model motorcycle with a mirror stem (3/8” to ½”).
Easy to see yet out of the way! Mount toward front/back or to the left/right – it’s totally up to you!
All mirror mounts 30% off!
Use code: MIRRORUP
(minimum order $59)
Option: URBAN (Black)
We call these “Stealth Mounts” because they’re so unobtrusive; the bracket measures less than 2 inches square! Check out this video to see how easy it is! Click here to see URBAN Mirror Mounts
Option: eCaddy (Chrome)
The eCaddy’s u-shaped slot-and-lug design has been proven over and over again – for 16 years! Click here to see eCaddy Mirror Mounts.
All Leader Mounts are manufactured in the USA from aluminum and stainless steel – no rust, no wear!
- Tracey Cramer
Becoming a Spyder Rider After 30 Years on Two Wheels
I became a Spyder owner Sept 16, and it has been an adventure I did not foresee. Here's why...
Discovery #1: Lack of Backrest = Problem
On my 10yo daughter's first ride with me, she felt like she was going to fall off the back. I felt that way too, after having a passenger backrest for 10+ years (not to mention the safety harness we had when the kiddos were younger).
So, first order a business was to secure a passenger backrest. That set me back $500, although I’m very happy with the seat (special thanks to Jim @ www.smoothspyder.com, another family-owned business manufacturing in the USA).
Discovery #2: Excessive heat by legs
Almost immediately I started noticing how hot it got by my legs. And lo and behold, without me even mentioning it to our Spyder customers, Bernard S offered up some SpyderPops parts he’d bought for his wife’s Spyder and never used (she traded up before he got it installed) – all for the price of postage. It was a deal I couldn’t pass up (thanks Bernard!). I confess I haven't installed them yet (in Minnesota, you WANT extra heat when you ride in October!) but I think the heat will be borderline intolerable in the heat of the summer, so they will get used!
Discovery #3: Ancient battery
A couple weeks later, we lost out on a couple rides because the battery wouldn’t hold a charge. I’d hoped to limp it through the fall, but when I found out the battery was nine years old (in 30 years I’ve never had one last more than 7!) I knew it was time to let that one go. $150 later, I had a new battery.
By mid-October, I was enjoying the heck out of the Spyder. My right hand had finally stopped reaching for the front brake automatically, and I’d gotten used to that “jiggly feeling” I wrote about back in September.
But I can’t say I was truly “one with the machine” yet. My biggest challenge was cornering, especially to the left. I’ve been leaning on two-wheel motorcycles for thirty years, and I have to admit… I miss leaning! My cornering was still herky-jerky.
I figured I had another few weeks to work the kinks out of my cornering methods before the Red Beast would have to go under wraps… and then disaster struck!
Discovery #4: Gear Shift Issues
We were having an unseasonably warm Indian Summer the week of Oct 16, and my daughter was off school. She and I tooled around town on the Spyder that Monday (that's us!) and even splashed around in the Rum River. I dropped her at home (with her brother) and headed to her parent/teacher conferences.
I never made it. The Spyder got stuck in first gear. (Did you know it takes 45 minutes to go 12 miles in first gear?!)
The repair shop picked it up the next day, but they were confounded. They consulted with BRP technicians. Meanwhile, the BEST week of the season raced by (Friday’s high that week was 80).
To make a long story short, it was a swing arm that had not been installed properly, either by a previous technician or maybe even never. It had hung on but over time finally vibrated off. By the time I was able to pick the Spyder up, a week had gone by and it was now 50 degrees with 35mph winds.
As a further indignity, we got SNOW two days later!!
Sad to say, I haven’t had the Spyder out since I brought it home, since temps haven’t gotten out of the 30s (in fact it's snowing lightly again now).
One thing I need for spring is a bigger windshield. After a couple decades on cruisers with a windshield, having the full blast of the wind in my face in Minnesota fall season has not been very enjoyable.
I hope you are still out riding your Spyder, and I hope we get at least one more day of 50+ degrees so I can get one more ride in!
- Tracey Cramer