Today, I installed a radar detector on a bike for the first time.
My bike is a 2017 (facelift) K1600GT, and the radar detector a new Valentine One.
The radar detector needs to be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle. The others are cars and I didn't want some unsightly attachment used for the bike mount to be on the detector when it's up on my cars' windscreens. The mount I chose for the bike enables the detector to be instantly removed and reattached, while leaving only a slim, nearly invisible magnetic plate attached to the underside. If you care about aesthetics, this ought to work for you.
I used a number of accessories to install the Valentine on the bike, several of which I learned about through this site.
You can see photos of the installation attached
, and below is a list of all hardware
Prices, where quoted, were current at the time I ordered them - July 2017 - and exclude any sales tax or shipping (except Visual Alert), and are in USD. Click the underlined links to be taken to the page on the seller's website with the very item I bought. (I hope the links work for a long time).
1. Valentine One ESP radar detector, obviously
2. Visual Alert for Valentine One by Mark Parnes. You won't hear your detector when riding. This ingenious adaptor turns sound into very bright red light within your field of vision.
As Mark Parnes' prices include shipping, your price depends, of course, on where you are. $59-$65.
Radar Detector Visual Alert for Motorcycles
2. Valentine Audio Adaptor - item 20200 (Valentine's SKU). This is required for the Visual Alert to work.
$49.00. I suggest Amazon (you'll pay slightly more, but have an easier experience).
3. Ram mount with Power Plate
RAM Brake/Clutch Reservoir Mount with Power Plate? III Radar Detector Holder Unpackaged - RAM-B-174-300-1U | RAM Mounts
4. Power lead: Powerlet 36" curly cord from Powerlet who, it appears, make the socket on the bike that we're using here for power - as well as, plugs to go in it, and complete leads with plugs on the other end for various gadgets including V1.
Powerlet Low Profile Plug to RJ11 36" Charging Cable - Powerlet Products
This plugs directly into the power socket beside the fuel tank. Note, I bought the wrong one. This 36in curly cord is way too long - go for the 12in one if you're going to mount the audio adaptor on the right hand side of the fairing as I did (and I can't see why one would do otherwise).
The 12" one is here: Powerlet Low Profile Plug to RJ11 12" Charging Cable - Powerlet Products
$29.95 regardless of length
The Ram mount makes it possible for the radar detector to have a more or less unobstructed view forward and back, which you want. The only things in front are part of the windscreen, and the radio aerial. The only thing behind, potentially at times, is one's own right elbow.
Important notes re: Ram mount installation
Note: Your method of mounting the Ram mount may somewhat differ from the following if you have a pre-facelift K1600, or a facelift K1600 with Emergency Call function (whose control panel takes up the space I used) which I understand are for Northern-Hemisphere markets only. If you have one of the above bikes, I suggest you look elswehere in this forum, or do your own assessment.
This Ram mount comes with multiple items in the packet so that the mount can be fitted to various motorcycles.
For the facelift 2017 K1600GT (sans Emergency Call) that I have, I found only one method of mounting works:
In broad brush strokes:
You'll need to modify the effective length of two bolts, use two spacers, and mount the Ram mount over the top of the brake assembly clamp on the rear face of the handlebars.
Specifically, you'll be using a matching pair of straight bolts, that is, the mid-size pair of the three pairs in the packet from Ram, because the thread of the longest and shortest straight bolts they supply do not match this bike's brake handle assembly thread, and the U bolts just won't fit this bike's handlebars at all as there's no room between the bars and the brake or clutch fluid tanks etc. That middle-length pair of straight bolts supplied are however 3mm too short for your needs here, that is, that is, as supplied, there's 3mm less thread going into the brake handle/tank assembly than is the case before any modifications. (You'll be passing the bolts through the RAM mount, the spacers, and the BMW clamp. You can't put these bolts straight in without the BMW clamp, as you'd then also have to skip the spacers, and the bolts then will be way too long).
The most important thing here, more than having a radar detector on your bike, is that you don't want your brake handle/brake fluid tank coming off in the middle of braking as you will then be completely unable to operate the front brake right when you need it, which will, without a doubt, be your biggest problem ever!
So we want to make sure the amount of thread going in here is the same as there is in unmodified form.
The solution was to go get bolts with matching thread, but about 3mm longer; or spacers matching those supplied, but about 3mm shorter; or to cut down the supplied spacers by about 3mm. I chose the latter route. The result (of any of these three approaches) means that the same amount of thread can be screwed into the brake assembly as was screwed in by the original bolts before any changes. Please do your own check, as your safety is vital, and I accept no liability. It's up to you. If you can find identical spacers but for being approx. 3mm shorter, you'll have an easier job mounting.
Re: the Mark Parnes Visual Alert
The shape of the nylon "box" the LEDs are in doesn't exactly suit any place on the bike, in that, ideally, you'd want a large surface area of the box for the velcro attachment to the bike, but if you go with the obvious, which is the slanted edge behind the LEDs, they won't be facing you directly. To make sure they face me, I cut up the supplied velcro and fit it to the two thinner edges of the "box" (5mm or so wide) so its two surfaces - rear, and bottom, are attached to your bike with the LED's aimed at your visor. Fit it atop your tachometer (on the facelift K, at least). In the photo attached that shows it lit, it doesn't look very bright, but believe me, the camera just dulled it down. it's extremely bright in real life.
As for the Audio Adaptor
Connect power to this. Connect the Visual Alert to the "ACC" socket and the Valentine One to "Main". Turn the volume on the Audio Adaptor up to the maximum. (Too much below that and the lights won't come on.)
Like the Valentine One, the Audio Adaptor is not waterproof
. What to do? 1. Easy. I'm sure you never exceed the speed limit in the rain. So once it gets a little precipitous, put the V1 in your jacket, a pannier, or somewhere else out of the rain. 2. Mount the Audio Adaptor under something, like I did, or cover it permanently with a plastic something. You should find it unnecessary to ever touch the knob on this, so a covering that doesn't permit adjustment of volume etc should present no problems.
There's too much cable. Even if you get the shorter length of Powerlet cable you'll find this the case. I used a lot of cable ties to tidy it all up, but as I know a cabling guy, I'm going to borrow his RJ11 crimping tool and get a couple of RJ11 plugs, cut off some lengths of cables and fit new plugs. At present, all that surplus cable is neatly cable-tied together and stuffed into the cavity between the main fairing and the right hand pull-out airflow adjuster that the manual says only to open when you're not in motion (do you follow that rule?)
The total price I paid for mounting and connecting was: $195.44 (to which, add shipping and the cost of a torx driver/bit, cable ties, and something to cut down the length of the mount's included nylon spacers by about 3mm if you don't find shorter spacers or longer bolts with correct thread. This doesn't include the cost of the radar detector.
The work was fun.
I hope this all helps a few people! Thanks to all those on this site who helped me by leading the way on some of this stuff. This is my way of giving back.
If you're in New Zealand
as I am, call/text me on 021 2266133 for a much more cost effective way to buy a Valentine V1 detector customised for NZ conditions than buying retail at NZ$1200. That's just nuts.