For us, part of the joy of being on a motorcycle is getting away from everything, leaving our smartphones out of sight, clearing our minds, and hitting the open road. It seems that the world of motorcycling is about to change. The eve of the ‘infotainment’ system is upon us. Yep, Touchscreens are coming to motorcycles…
Polaris Industries, the company responsible for Indian and Victory motorcycle brands, announced the introduction of ‘Ride Command’. ‘Ride Command’ is the companies new 7 inch touchscreen system. The system will provide turn by turn GPS direction, will sync with the riders smart phone, and will even flag up the nearest petrol station when needed. (That’s the clever part here, it knows when you need fuel, and proactively points you in the right direction…we actually think that part is pretty neat!)
The Ride Command will be a standard feature amongst the new Chieftain and Roadmaster bikes. These 2 models account for around half of the companies sales.
Truth be told, Polaris are actually a little late to the party. BMW have been offering flat screen devices in conjunction with Garmin since 2013 in their device dubbed Navigator V. Harley Davidson also joined the party back in 2014, offering its Boom! Box system.
The turn-by-turn navigation makes sense, the real-time help such as close by petrol stations when in need make sense too, we’re just not sure that motorcyclists really need the additional distraction of their phone flashing up notifications in front of them….According to the latest research, motorcyclist’s in the UK are between 38 and 40 times more likely to die in an accident on the road than car drivers. In 2013, 331 motorcyclists died and 4,866 were seriously injured in road collisions in Great Britain.
If the tech is developed correctly, to anticipate the riders needs so that it provides real-time relevant information, without the rider needing to fumble around with pressing the screen, then we think it’s a great idea. If you could be warned about a deflating tyre whilst on the motorway, or about the loss of traction when beginning to aquaplane etc. then the improvement in rider safety would be significant… However, if it’s geared towards flashing up with tweet notifications, Facebook comments, and snapchats… then we’d probably place these devices into ‘Room 101’ where they belong.
In this day and age of people wanting new technology at their fingertips, the argument for inventing these devices is that, arguably, its safer to provide a well designed system that’s built for the job, than to wait for riders to cobble together their own makeshift systems.
What are your thoughts on the introduction of touch screens to Motorcycles?