Vehicle Remapping

Now I know this is a little off topic for a Motorcycle forum, but I know a lot of our members are also car/van drivers, and felt that this would be a good discussion point.

Well, the topic of this Blog post has come about due to me having my car remapped around a week ago.
For those of you that don’t know what a ‘remap’ is, it’s basically what used to be referred to as ‘chipping’, and if you’re still clueless, then think of it along the lines of squeezing that last bit of toothpase out of the tube!

Nowadays a computer is plugged into your ECU (vehicle computer) and the data which tells your car to do everything is fiddled with – so to speak – to get more power, more torque, and improved fuel consumption.
This can sound quite daunting, and it was to me when I first started looking into it, and it certainly can be quite catastrophic if it was to be attempted by the wrong hands.

My remap took about two hours to complete, and cost a little over £200.
This is for a bespoke remap, rather than the ‘one size fits all’ remaps that you may get from some installers or from the infamous DIY kits from eBay.
The proposed benefits of the remap for my particular vehicle are; +25bhp, +30nM torque, and ‘upto’ 20% increase in fuel economy.
Now I have used the term ‘upto’ very loosely above, as this depends on so many variables, such as driving style, fuel quality, engine condition etc.

So my car has now been remapped for about a week, and what can I say, I am absolutely astonished!
It now pulls like it’s run on rocket fuel (compared to what it used to, anyway), it is so much smoother, more responsive, and an absolute pleasure to drive. As for fuel economy, before taking my car in, I was running at about 58.8mpg – which was bloody good anyway.
I have tried to not alter my driving style from before, but I cant help putting the foot down a bit on the up-hills and slip roads. Even so, my car is now running at 70.5mpg!

MPG After Remap

I find it amazing that my car didn’t come out of the factory like this.
I’ve worked out that (and I hope that I have worked this out correctly) with my mileage at the moment, and with this MPG, I will be saving about £23 per month on my fuel bill – so within 10 months the remap will have paid for itself.
I’m also so much happier with my car now, and am no longer looking to trade it in – saving me about £8,000!

I believe that it is only turbo’d vehicles that can really have this work done to them, and see this type of an improvement anyway.

I’d like to say a big thanks to the team @ Motorsport Developments in Blackpool for carrying out the work. They are a great team, with an amazing knowledge, and I’d urge you to give them a call to see what they can do if you are thinking that this may be for you. They answered all of my questions and quashed all of the ‘hearsay’ surrounding remaps.

As always, discussion is open on the Forum HERE

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Gift of life in bikers’ Christmas stocking fillers

“Our Mediform key rings are for life – saving life – not just for Christmas but will make the perfect festive stocking filler!” That was the message from North West motorcycle safety group Ridesafe Backsafe today as Highways Agency Traffic Officers backed its drive to get more riders to carry the free key rings which are designed to give emergency services vital medical information in the event of an accident.

Ridesafe Backsafe, which covers the whole of the North West, launched the initiative in the summer and it is now being backed by the region’s Highways Agency traffic officers and the North West Motorway Police Group (NWMPG).

LancsBiker RideSafe BackSafe Mediform Keyring Motorbike Lancashire

Under the scheme, bikers carry a key ring on their machine keys attached to a small, green ‘Mediform tube’. Inside each water and air-tight tube is a small form for personal information – such as blood group or allergies – to inform the emergency services in the event of them being involved in an accident. The forms can also include contact details and notes on any medication being used by the biker.

The biker also places a green key shaped sticker onto the right side of their helmet to inform emergency services they are carrying a tube.

The scheme is based on the C.R.A.S.H. Card concept devised by the Ambulance Motorcycle Club. Ridesafe Backsafe is now making the Mediform tubes available free to all motorcyclists across the North West with a number of dealers stocking them. A list of dealers is at: www​.ridesafebacksafe​.co​.uk/​n​e​w​s​_​m​o​r​e​.​a​s​p​?​n​e​w​s​_​i​d​=​105

Other organisations such as Lancashire County Council and the North West Ambulance Service are also backing take-up of the tubes.

Emma Kelly, RideSafe BackSafe Project Manager, said:

“The support of Highways Agency Traffic Officers and NWMPG is very important. Their patrols are very often first at the scene of an accident and can advise paramedics straight away if they have spotted that a motorbike rider is carrying a tube.”

LancsBiker RideSafe Backsafe Mediform Motorbike Motorcycle Lancashire Lancs Highways Agency

Highways Agency Traffic Officer Tom Delve, himself a keen motorcyclist, is backing the project.

Tom works in the control room at the Agency’s regional control centre at Newton-le-Willows answering calls from emergency roadside telephones, monitoring motorway CCTV cameras, setting signs to warn of incidents and dispatching patrols of on road traffic officers to incidents.

He said:

“I have been supporting this project for a while. As a motorcyclist I know how vulnerable we can be in accidents and, in the event of an injury, how important it is to get the right information to the right people as quickly as possible for the quickest and most appropriate treatment.”

Tom, who runs his own website at www​.lancsbiker​.co​.uk which helps to promote safer biking, added:

“Carrying a Mediform tube could really save a rider’s life.”

Sergeant Neil Anson of the North West Motorway Police Group, which is based at the Agency’s regional control centre, said:

“Motorcyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and any initiative which can help riders in the event of them being involved in an accident is to be welcomed.”

More information on Ridesafe Backsafe and its safety campaigns is available at www​.ridesafebacksafe​.com.

 Above text taken from the Highways Agency press release by Neil Sterio.

Forum discussion for this Blog entry can be found by clicking the link HERE 

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Good Ol’ British Weather

As bikers, I think we are all more up-to-date with the weather than other motorists, as we generally would like to know whether we’re going to get to wherever we are going and have to wring out our protective clothing.

We have had a horrible mix of different conditions over the past week or so, from glorious sunshine and 25 degree heat, to wind and rain that we don’t see in the winter months of this odd-ball climate we have.

Personally, I am a self-confessed fair weather rider, and really quite happy with the fact. I am lucky enough to have a car to take me through the winter months (and unfortunately a lot of the summer months too), and a bike to play on when the big fireball in the sky decides to grace us with it’s presence.
Now I know we are not all in the same position, with the rising cost of motoring, to be able to run two vehicles, but my question today is; Could you ACTUALLY ride all year round in this country? And more importantly, would you want to?

I was driving home from work a few days ago along the M62, and a couple of guys passed me on BMW GS’s. They were travelling along lane 3, conditions were shocking with the rain coming down hard, spray clouds flicking up from the back of cars and HGV’s, and visibility poor. They were travelling at a sensible speed, and had hi-viz and reflective clothing on.
I watched and cringed as an impatient car driver in lane 2, whom had been tailgating the car infront for the past mile or so, decided without indication to pull out into lane 3. This was just at the point that the two GS riders were completely level, side-by-side the impatient driver’s car. Luckily, there was a a wide tarmac central reserve and the rider pulled across to that in time to avoid contact with the car, but had it have been a grass central reserve, it would have been a different story.

This highlights the fact to me, that this country is not for year-round riding. Firstly, the weather we get thrown at us through the seasons is really not ideal for two wheels. Secondly, the car drivers on our roads, generally speaking, have no idea how to drive to the conditions, and have a complete disregard for other motorists.
I think we all agree that certain changes to the driving test could lessen the appalling driving that we see on a daily basis, and certainly adding motorway driving as a mandatory element to the test would decrease the amount of incidents and ‘near-misses’ that happen.

But even in an ideal (completely imaginary) country where all motorists were advanced drivers, and drove in a manner where they respected the safety of others, could you really say that you would like to ride on two wheels through all of the rain, snow and ice?
I know I certainly couldn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire the bikers that I see ‘braving it’ through the elements, but it’s just not for me. I’m far too happy riding when it’s cracking the flags. I’m warm, comfortable, and in turn it makes me feel more confident as a rider. In the times that I have rode through the heavy rain and snow, I’ve been so miserable that I could have quite easily have stopped, dismounted, and thrown the bike into the nearest ditch.

I’m sure we will all have different views on this, and I think it will be interesting to see what everyone else thinks. This is my own, personal opinion. Please take the time to add your views to the forum thread for this discussion http://www.lancsbiker.co.uk/index.php/topic,742.new.html

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BikeRS Vehicle Tracking System – Part 2

Well, the guys from Insurefit came to remove the Tracking System on Sunday. As advertised, as soon as Insurefit started to remove the device, I was bombarded by emails telling me that the unit was being tampered with. So it definitely works!
Now it’s time to conclude on the product.

I really do feel that this is a great product, and plan to invest in one of my own very soon. This is a local company, with great customer service, who have a fantastic product and are trying to make their own way without having to rely on dealers to get their name out there whilst taking a huge chunk of the profit. I think this will be one of the main differences you will find – apart from the obvious technical specifications – between this product, and other similar trackers that are out there on the market already. There is that customer service element which you don’t seem to find much anymore.

There have been quite a few questions thrown at the owners and fitters of the device, which is great, and I thought it would be a good idea to grab some of the questions from the Forum, and answer them on here so they don’t get lost in the thread. Here they are:

Q1: Could we check where the bike is if the rider is on a time critical (blue’s & two’s) run? (the hospital may ask “Where is our blood?”)

A: In a word, yes. The unit has a complete user interface for Internet Explorer, or mobile devices that can show you the last ‘ping’ of the GPS, and from our trial period, we have found that it is very reliable and accurate – to the point where we could tell which motorway lane we were in!

Q2: Can the system be set-up to check if equipment has been used?
(Can we look back a day or 2 to see if a rider has used ‘blue’s & two’s’ when they was not allowed to)
(I.e. blue’s & two’s are not to be used unless the hospital states that it’s an emergency)

A: I have spoken to Graham at Insurefit regarding this, and I don’t believe this is possible from within the unit. However, in such cases, relevant documentation would be obtained from the hospital, or relevant department, to state that an emergency run had taken place, so there would be an audit trail.
** UPDATE ** Since posting this blog, it turns out that it now IS possible for this tracking system to complete the above query. It will require some additional wiring, but it adds another functionality to the system.

Q3: Who actually monitors it?

A: For your £99 per year, you will get a 24/7 control centre who monitors your product, and are there to inform you if your bike is moving without the ignition on, unit tampers etc. This gives the device it’s ‘Thatcham Cat. 6’ status. Obviously, it’s completely up to you whether you want to subscribe for the 24/7 monitoring, but if you choose not to, you cannot declare the unit to your insurance as Cat. 6.

Q4: When you take your bike out yourself, do you disarm it some how or is the monitoring not active? i.e. is it down to you to contact them to say it’s been nicked? (if you get my point)

A: If you take the bike out yourself, hopefully you will remember to turn the ignition on. By turning the ignition on, it means you won’t get any alerts for the vehicle being moved, as it recognises you are riding, and have used the key. However, you can set ‘ignition on’ as a trigger for it to send you an email, so you are alerted every time the ignition is on. Even when riding, you can set up the device to alert you when the vehicle travels over a certain speed. This could be relevant if the vehicle was stolen with keys. Another feature of the device is that it contacts you 6 times daily (by default) via email to say ‘hello’ and let you know of it’s current location. If the bike is on the move, and you’re not riding it, this will enable you to contact the control centre and inform them that some scallywag is on your motor!

Q5: If on a ride out you park up etc and wonder off is it possible to set the perimeter so if its moved etc you know, because that is my main reason for looking into this? Rather than for when it’s at home.

A: Yes. No matter what the courtesy wake up period is set at. If your bike is moved it will wake up and email you. That is always ready and on standby.
The daily emails are just a courtesy, reassurance feature.

Q6: Sounds good, just need to save up!

A: Well buy it now, and save 10% on the listed price. This is for LancsBiker members only, so if you don’t have an account, get signed up, and contact Insurefit! This deal will end 15/4/2012 so get ordering!

If you have any further questions about the device, please don’t hesitate to discuss on the Forum Topic Thread http://www.lancsbiker.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,564.0.html

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New Site Sponsor

Hello all, and welcome to the first blog post for LancsBiker.

I’m pleased to inform you all that we have a new site sponsor, and will be working in partnership with them from here-on. I’d like to formally welcome ‘Insurefit’ to the site, and they bring to us their brand new, and exclusive product, the ‘BikeRS vehicle tracking system’.

As mentioned, this is a brand new and exclusive product, and has features that are just not included in other tracking systems that are on the market.
Insurefit have kindly fitted their demo unit into my GSXR for a week, so we can test it out, and review it for our members.

The tracker was fitted to my bike on Sunday 11th March. Insurefit came round to my home address in the morning, and fitted the unit within about 15 minutes – even though this can take longer depending on the bike setup, and where on the bike the tracker is fitted. One of the key selling features of this model is that it does not run from the bike’s battery, it has it’s own internal battery pack. This overcomes the age-old problem of coming to your bike after a few weeks, and the battery being flat because the tracker has drained it.
There are only 3 wires used to connect the tracker to the bike, one to the ignition, and two earths.
All in all, a very neat, simple, and inconspicuous device. There are no visible markers on it to scream ‘I am a tracking system’ to would-be thieves.

Graham from Insurefit gave me a run through of the device’s capabilities and features. It’s a very clever system that is fully connectable to it’s own feature-packed personal website, and to smartphones accessible via mobile internet. It is also easily configurable to send email alerts for several different options, for example; when the bike is moved, rolled when ignition is off, speeding alerts and so on. There is also the option for dedicated call centre assistance, for an annual fee of £99. This is for extra peace of mind, someone is there to watch for anything suspicious when you’re not in a position to. They can call you to inform you of suspicious movements, take up stolen vehicles with the police etc. The unit is also Thatcham Approved, Category 6.

With the installation and run-through done, Insurefit gave us a quick demo of the online interface, and shown us some of their data from the van it has been attached to. There is an amazing amount of data kept from every movement of the bike, with the GPS picking up the vehicle’s location, speed, direction of travel and even G-force. This all results at the end of the day to a nice little route map, which gives the capability for us to show the routes of our rideouts, and warn other members of problems/dangers on the route with pinpoint accuracy. All-in-all it looks to be a pretty neat little product!

We were hoping to have a few more with us, but it become just LancsBiker & Leigh on the ride, for one reason or another. We decided to head over to Clitheroe, on Leigh’s suggestion.
As you are all probably aware right now, I took a tumble on the way down there, so we didn’t get the data from the tracker that we were really hoping for. But what we did get was very useful and accurate, and even shows the data upto the off on the corner.

If you take a click of the image above, you will see a screenshot of some of the data from Sunday.
All of the green dots are where the unit has been tracked, and the data grabbed by the GPS. The red dot you can almost see is where I came off on the corner and the ignition cut off.

Below is an example of the data you will get from the mobile version of the site, and also the email alerts that can be sent to you for various reasons.

The above image on the left is the mobile tracker website. The data isn’t anything like what you get off the full website, but it gives you the important info you need for when you’re not with your bike. It accurately locates the tracker, down to a few metres. It also has data along the bottom of the screen to tell you whether the ignition is on, and the percentage of battery left on the unit.
The image on the right is an email that was sent to me, because I moved the bike without the ignition being on.

All very clever stuff, and this is not limited to just bikes. It can be used in cars, vans, trucks etc. I have also been informed that there is a unit available soon that can be used on trials bikes – which will be a complete first in the market, due to them not having a battery.

This unit is available for the price of £279, inclusive of VAT and fitting costs.
More info and ordering details are available @ www.insurefit.co.uk

You can discuss this on the forum **HERE**

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