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Cheetah Discussion of the Speed Cheetah GPS detector (GPSmirror), which detects speed cameras & red light cameras, and the GPS mirror's related accessories.

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Old 2007-10-03
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Traditional speed trap detectors designed for cars don’t cross over well to bikes. Wind noise, engine noise, earplugs, helmets, dealing with the elements; all these factors present a different set of challenges, meaning that car products are just not useable on a bike. No detector is going to help you if you can't see or hear it’s alerts!

For a speed trap detector to be useable on a bike it really needs to be robust, waterproof and deliver information to the rider effectively. So when you’re thinking about a speed trap defence, you need to consider how your products are going to survive the harsher environment, how the speed trap information will be delivered to you and if you are genuinely going to be able to see or hear the warnings?

Here are my top 5 tips to help you make up your mind.

1. Decide on the level of the protection you’re looking for.

If you’re up against radar, you need one of the top performing radar detectors. On a bike you need the extra time that a decent detector provides! We make special packaged systems for the UK and Europe markets, but for the US market, go for one of the top products like the Valentine 1, the Bel STi Driver or the Escort 8500 X50. If money is no object consider a remote system like an Escort SR7 or the new SRX which have a waterproof detector head that can be permanently installed under your bike’s fairing.

If you’re up against laser, you also need a laser jammer (“in states where they are legal” of course) One product is not enough to do everything and there aren’t any shortcuts - laser guns can easily pick off bikes in less than a third of a second, so relying on a radar detector's laser alert is usually pretty pointless.

For laser jammers on a bike, the new Blinder M25 is a pretty good choice. The basic system comes with two heads so it can protect against front and rear targeting. Other jammers are single head systems but they will allow you to purchase extra heads for 360 degree laser protection.

2. Decide on how you want to get the alerts.

Forget about relying on the standard internal speakers and displays of radar detectors – you just can’t hear or see them on a bike.

You’re going to need extra equipment and the choice comes down to whether you want to see the alerts or hear the alerts. There are as many opinions about the best solutions as there are riders, so you’ll have to make up your own mind as to what works for you. In my experience, sportsbike riders prefer visual alerts, tourers prefer audio and cruisers can go either way.

VISUAL ALERTS – The time when you need a detector most is when you are concentrating hard on the road ahead, so a heads up display system is usually best to make sure you don’t miss an alert. Our Vizalert display is the only motorcycle heads-up display in the world that is wireless, waterproof and works with both radar detectors and laser jammers. It is motion sensitive, daylight sensitive and has many unique features like different colours for different types of alert and flash rates that increase in line with signal strength as approach the threat.

AUDIO ALERTS - Standard earphones are the cheapest and simplest solution but can quickly become very uncomfortable under a helmet and don’t cope with the ever changing noise levels from the wind and the engine. Some manufacturers make amplified speaker boxes for their detectors, but the best way of hearing alerts on a bike is to use an intercom system. Autocom are the market leaders but I also really like the audio quality from the Intaride kit, particularly at speed.

(As a brief side note, laser jammer systems do not have an audio output that can be connected to an intercom system. However the Cheetah Wireless Fitting Kit for cars actually works very well as an intercom conversion kit for laser jammers. It accepts standard intercom system cables and, very importantly, it gives you an adjustable volume control which you can balance to the same level as your other audio sources like music or cellphone.)


3. How are you going to mount the products on the bike?


Radar detectors work best with full line of sight, but they can be concealed behind light weight plastic with only a slight impact on detection range. If your radar detector dealer doesn’t carry an appropriate motorcycle mount, Ram Mounts can usually come up with something for every bike on the market. Industrial grade Velcro (sometimes called 7Kg Velcro) is a godsend.

Laser jammer heads must have line of sight.

4. How are you going to power the products on a bike?

A bad wiring job can quicken flatten your battery or, worst case, set your bike on fire! Make sure you never leave any accessories powered up all the time.

Like any 12V product, it’s best to power detectors and jammers from a switched live circuit but if you’re not 100% sure about bike electrics or you don’t want the hassle of figuring out that mass of tangled spaghetti on modern bikes, use our little POWERSENSE node instead. It’s a clever engine running sensor that will only apply power when you start the bike and automatically cuts power when you turn the engine off. It simply hooks up to the battery terminals so there is no complicated hardwiring. We include one of these POWERSENSEnodes as standard in each detector or jammer interface but we often get requests for it on its own, usually from BMW riders fitting intercom kits.

5. Does the equipment need to be waterproof?

Even if you never intend to ride in rain or plan to take your radar detector down when it does, think about getting some kind of plastic cover. Getting caught in an unexpected shower can mess up your expensive detector so it’s not worth the risk. Inexpensive plastic covers are now available which don’t impact on performance and will offer some dust protection as well. Jammer heads are a permanent fixture so they are designed to be waterproof and can usually be fitted discreetly under a fairing.

Don’t forget about equipment under the seat. This is where you’ll keep the jammer interface box, wireless transmitters or your intercom system.

One final piece of advice - where you can, go wireless. There’s nothing more embarrassing than going to pay at the gas station and forgetting you’re still cabled up.

BUYING TIPS

The Vizalert RADAR package has everything you need to use your detector on a bike. Your dealer should offer a package with a high end detector.

The Vizalert LASER package has everything you need to use a jammer on a bike. Your dealer should be able to do you a package deal with a Blinder.

If you want to use a detector and a jammer on the bike at the same time, buy a Vizalert RADAR with a Laser Jammer Interface.

If you want to shut down your jammer manually, buy the waterproof handlebar switch (this item is included as standard in UK and European laser packages.)

You can use our Wireless Fitting Kit to convert jammer audio into a suitable format for your intercom system.

Click here for details on European and UK packages.


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