I would love to install some electronic accessories such as fog lamps, USB power and DVR camera (just to name a few) to my newly acquired BMW R1200GS LC. As I was researching on how to wire up to supply power to these components, I’ve come across a diverse range of opinions from the “unlike the Japanese bikes, you should never mess with the CAN-bus system of the BMW” to the really expensive solutions such as Fuzeblocks (USD90) and Hex ezCan (USD170).
While the above gadgets have some additional fanciful features to justify their price tags, in reality, I was searching for a simple, elegant, inexpensive solution to power my electronics without interfering with the CAN-bus on the BMW and must also not fry the onboard electronics of the R1200GS should any of the add-on electronics decide to turn rogue.
Do you keep your motorcycle helmet in your topbox or side cases? What about your riding jacket and riding gloves? If you do, like me, then you’ll find that the boxes start to smell after awhile. Now here’s a tip…
The added advantage is that this leaves your helmet and riding gear smelling fresh and ready to wear when you return to bike from that lunch / dinner / shopping stop!
It’s been a tad over 7,000km since my last oil change. And of late, I’ve noticed that gear changing on the 400X seem to have gotten a little clunkier. Definitely not as smooth as I once remembered it to be. And so there I was contemplating the decision as to whether I should pamper my machine with some fresh engine oil.
But then, this clunky gearshift appears to be rather random too – sometimes shifting from one gear to the next feels like the gearbox of an agricultural tractor; but on other occasions, it could feel as smooth as a well-oiled precision machinery. And so I figured that it shouldn’t be the case of the engine oil approaching end of life.
This has got to be the easiest to install, yet useful mod I’ve added to my CB400X. Being a somewhat budget bike, the Honda CB400X does not come with a gear indicator. And because the gears are so close together – especially gears 5 and 6, I found myself searching for that phantom gear 7 on many occasions.
With the number of irresponsible road users these days, sometimes all it takes is just one idiot to bump into you and subsequently deny all responsibilities to cause your insurance claims to shoot through the roof. Worse, it was recently reported that sham accidents and motor insurance fraud is on the rise. The cheapest form of insurance against such cases would be an on-board video recorder to capture the evidence if you ever run into such incidences.
While I’ve previously connected some electrical devices to the Honda Options Connector on my CB400X, they were done rather crudely. Instead of splicing the wires, I opted to squeeze them through the connector. While this resulted in no physical damage to the existing cable wiring, there were 2 possible issues…
Firstly, there’s no way I can ensure a secure connection. A little bit of bike vibration may just shake the connection loose. But secondly (and more importantly), in order to squeeze the wires through the connector plug, I had to use a very small diameter wire. Now, I’m not sure the actual AWG of the wire I used as it wasn’t printed on the insulation sleeve, but I’ll estimate it to be either a AWG22 or AWG24 multi-strand insulated copper wire.
I was searching for a place to hang my helmet off my bike. This is especially useful at the Singapore-Malaysia immigration borders where I’d need to remove the helmet for proper identification. Some people choose to hang the helmet over the mirrors, but I don’t like that as it may inadvertently adjust the mirror angles.
And then I chanced upon some spare s-hooks purchased from Ikea. Enter the Grundtal S-Hook! $2.90 for a pack of 5pcs – and boy! Are they useful!
Safety has no compromise. In my recent 2,000km tour to Thailand, I experienced one of the heaviest downpours when traveling along the Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW). Visibility was so bad that many vehicles had their hazard lights blinking as the crept along. I had a riding buddy close behind me, and over the Sena Bluetooth comms, I queried…
“Hey JC, I’m gonna lightly hit my brakes. With my tail lights turned on, can you help me take a look to see if the OEM Honda CB400X brake lights are obvious enough, or do you think I should add an auxiliary brake light?”
I tapped on the brakes lightly and intermittently.
Having recently purchased the Honda CB400X, I’d love to have the option of adding on electrical accessories. I have previously wired up my Pulsar 200NS and added a relay and a fuse to help isolate the circuit from the rest of the bike’s electrical system. The main reason being that if an add-on accessory fail and short circuits, you don’t want it to affect the bike’s other electrical system.
While researching on how to wire up the CB400X, I realised that Honda has already included a fused ignition-on feature built into the bike! No messy relay needed! And this is done via the 4-pin MT090 options plug found underneath the seat.
My very first DIY mod on the CB400X – wiring up for USB power!
Now, I’m super-dependent on my mobile phone (who isn’t these days??). My iPhone 8 is not only my communications device, but also my GPS navigator. With the screen kept on and GPS active, it takes a huge toll on the phone’s battery. Ideally, it should be hooked up to a USB power source to keep the battery charged.
I’m still awaiting for some other electronic accessories to arrive via mail order. Meanwhile, I’ll need to keep my iPhone happy. So I did some research on how best to tap a 12V source only when the ignition is turned on. Turns out that Honda has an Options Plug tucked neatly underneath the seat which provides a source of 12V (always on) and 12V (only available when ignition is on). Perfect!