Garmin Montana 600 Moto. My previous Garmin took 6 years of abuse and was still going strong. I chose a Montana for the ride to Vietnam because it also works as a handheld satnav, can run on AA batteries as well as being powered by the bike, can leave breadcrumbs for you to trace your route back and has a large 4" screen. I was very pleased with it and will be using it again for Africa.
Being stuck in congested cities, held up at traffic lights or slogging along muddy trails can be problematic for an old air cooled engine. Furthermore, crossing Sudan in late spring could see ambient air temperatures in the high 40°C range. I've fit a cylinder head temperature gauge (Aircraft Spruce Micro1000 CHT pyrometer) to warn me of impending overheating. It's superbly accurate and even self compensates for changes in the surrounding air temperature. Peace of mind is priceless!
A good GPS needs good mapping and Traks4Africa are the specialists in African travel. Their map of Africa reflects where people travel and is packed with detail for the self drive traveller. It covers many aspects like where to stay, eat, shopping, fuel, money matters, emergencies and obviously what to see and do when you visit a place. Perfect. It's also Garmin compaitible, allowing you to pre-plan routes.
We all now use so many electronic gizmos in our daily lives. This Bike-It USB charger will allow me to charge my camera and phone whilst on the go, a real essential if I'm camping for a couple of nights in a row. It was supplied by Brendan Layton of SS Direct. Brendan is a regular at most large UK motoircyckle shows where his trade stand sells everything from bar end weights to hydraulic table lifts, helmets and LED spots.
For peace of mind I've fit a Datatool Evo alarm. Using a sophisticated movement sensor, the Evo constantly monitors for signs of unauthorised movement, triggering the loud siren when the movement exceeds the permitted level. The movement sensor can be adjusted via the remote control to one of three levels. There's also a panic button, which I hope I'll never need to use. It was easy to fit and is blooming loud when set off... perfect!
I like to know the time when riding without having to stop, take off my glove and roll up a jacket sleeve. Checking the temperature, especially the extremes of freezing and blistering hot, is great fun too. My waterproof clock and thermometer are beautifully made in England from billet aluminium by Phil of Time4Bikes.com.
The original charging and ignition unit fitted to early 1950's 500 Twins was a 65 watt Lucas dynamo with points and a car-type distributor mounted on top. Sparks were provided by a coil. This was an usual set-up in the day, with only the 1000cc Ariel Square Fours sharing the technology. The 6 Volts lighting it ran was never very strong, especially at low revs. Bennet Longman of Iron Horse Spares has developed an upgrade foir Square Fours using a Japanese motorcycle alternator putting out up to 300 Watts. He was able to modify one fior the Royal Enfield engine, so I now have great 12 Volt lighting, LED spotlights and even heated grips for when I'm north of the Arctic Circle!
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On previous overland journeys I've strtuggled to keep tabs on mileage, distance between unmarked turn offs and even fuel range as none of my old bikes have a fuel gauge. I've solved these problems by fitting an ICO Racing Rallye Max Tripmeter. Amongst many fuctions, it has two reesettable trip meters and a resettable hour meter to keep track of maintenanve intervals. Functions are easily selected from handlebar thumb buttons. The unit works off a sender mounted onto the front wheel and runs off the bike's battery.