It hasn’t taken me long to realize that a GPS is a convenient accessory to have in this part of the country. For starters, there are no road signs. Not just out in the countryside either; even around town it’s common to approach an intersection — one major enough for a traffic light, even — and there’s not a sign to be seen.
Fortunately, I still have my Garmin zumo 396 LMT-S GPS unit, which has proven its value on many a test bike, not just as a functional GPS but also with its super-easy installation and wiring. It performs software and map updates over Wi-Fi and communicates with my phone via Bluetooth, so there aren’t a bunch of cables to mess with.
Also, it’s easier to install electronics on my Honda NC750X than on many other bikes, thanks to its innovative “frunk.” Pop it open, undo two screws on the panel inside, and voila! Direct access to the battery.
I have plans to add some LED lights in the future (winter project?) and have already got a battery tender pigtail hooked up, so at some point I’ll be adding a power block to simplify things and make sure my lights and GPS are on a switched circuit. But for now, I just needed a quick-and-dirty install — I need a GPS, making it pretty can come later.
So it was easy: attach the Garmin’s battery connectors, tuck the single cable with its small in-line fuse into the battery compartment (plenty of room), then run the cable up and out.
When installing a GPS (or anything else with a cable that you’ll be mounting on your handlebar), before you tighten everything down you’ll want to make sure you’ve given yourself enough cable slack. There should be enough so that you can turn the handlebar to full lock both directions.
Once I determined exactly how much slack I needed, with just a tiny bit of extra, I screwed the panel inside the frunk back on. It’s plastic and therefore has just enough give to allow the small cable to pass through without crimping it — again, this isn’t a permanent solution, just something to get me by until winter.
Same with running it up and out of the frunk’s main door: the rubber surround inside the door seems to seal pretty well around the cable. Well enough anyway.
Now armed with a way to know where the heck I am, especially useful when deep in the hills and hollows, and without requiring me to strip off a glove and pull out my phone, I can explore with more confidence. Or at least get lost without being so…well, lost.