Read to the end of this blog if you want to find out about…
- Navigating through forests in the dark using a roadbook.
- How to turn the GasGas ES700 from an adventure bike, into a rally bike, and back again.
- Using the DMD T655 nav phone as a digital roadbook.
This autumn the team at RallyMoto headed north to host the Dark Skies Rally in Kielder, UK. It’s a roadbook event with a twist. One of the stages takes place in the dark!
I was there (for the day bit) and put the new GasGas Hard Parts to the test, and gave digital roadbook nav a go for the first time.
If you want to know more and you’ve got a little more time than usual then this email is for you.
RallyMoto are about five years into hosting roadbook rallies in the UK and you can tell. Every time I go it gets a little bit slicker, a little more tuned up, a little more fun. For those who are unfamiliar with these roadbook events, this short film is a good starting point.
This year’s Dark Skies round included both adventure and rally class (for riders looking for more of a navigation challenge) and the unique experience of riding through Kielder Forest in the pitch black for extra seat of the pants entertainment.
There was also a generous dollop of rain and fog during the evening for extra spice.
I chickened out of the night ride and rode the day section with new AS team member Adam.
Adam rides in the The Linesman Jacket (grab yours in our sale here!)
We spent the day powering our way through hundreds of miles of Scandinavian style gravel, onto wild twisty roads, and ventured north of the border into Kershope Forest in Scotland. A rare treat to ride through gravel tracks and woodland that are normally off limits to motorcycles.
Adam is part of our Helpdesk team and this was his first ever roadbook event so if you want to know more about what it’s like for a newbie hit reply and fire over your questions.
THE GASGAS HARD PARTS:
The bit that really grabs your attention is the yellow screen mounted to the fairing. I’ve been running the clear screen mostly but thought I’d go crazy and give the big bold yellow a go for the rally.
What a look.
Davy rides the clear screen = adventure mode
Adam rides the yellow screen = rally mode
In less than a minute, the bike is transformed from adventure bike to competition bike.
Behind the yellow screen Adam mounted a simple F2R roadbook holder to the Adventure Spec fairing. This keeps the paper roadbook right where you need it, easy to flick eyes up and down as you read and wind on the the tulip instructions.
He removed his left Double Take mirror so it was easier to move his hand from handlebar to wind on the roadbook.
The Giant Loop Zig Zag pouch allowed Adam to easily store a power bank that kept the iPhone charged for the day.
I think that the most impressive bit of this setup is how quick it is to install and remove. There are many riders at RallyMoto events who have bikes entirely set up for roadbook rallies, with all the tech mounted and wired in. Wonderful if that’s what you are looking for. In contrast, everything on Adam’s GasGas was added in minutes, and could be taken off just as quickly.
GasGas in rally mode. Husky in ADV mode.
It made me think that if you had two AS Fairings, with just four bolts you could swap from adventure unicorn bike to rally unicorn bike version super easily.
THE DMD T665 + RALLYMOTO APP:
The Dark Skies Rally was my first experience of using a digital roadbook. In the past I had Adam’s paper based setup, but this time round I used the DMD T655 on my KTM 450EXC and the RallyMoto Roadbook App.
The T665 is a nav phone, basically a water resistant high spec android phone that has a unique cradle / charging system built into the unit (instead of relying on an extra case). This allows it to be mounted and removed from the bike with ridiculous ease.
Imagine someone designed and built a phone for adventure motorcyclists. Well they did, and this is it.
I’ve paired up the Carpe Controller to be able to T655 from my handlebars. There’s a growing list of Bluetooth handlebar controllers out there but essentially they let me scroll, zoom and perform basic controls of my nav phone without taking my hands off the bars.
Handy when navigating the TET, but in the Dark Skies rally it also meant I could scroll my roadbook up and down, and tweak my trip meter while having two hands firmly on the bars which I have to say, felt a lot more reassuring than the hand manual paper scroll I’ve used the past.
The RallyMoto team have developed their own roadbook app which means that all you need to do is punch in a password supplied at the rider briefing and hey presto the days roadbook appears on your screen.
It does take away some of the highlighter pen action that many associate with roadbook rallies, so if you are a purist it’s probably not for you, but those who already have a nav phone or tablet it makes the whole process a real non-intimidating joy.
One word of warning, the size of the digital roadbook on the T655 was quite small, so for those with less than 20/20 vision a device with a larger screen may be a better choice. Or let me hassle Burt at RallyMoto into designing a portrait mode in the RallyMoto app!
OK - you made it to the end of the email, it was a long one, well done.
Not only are the guys at RallyMoto getting better at what they do, they are also expanding, from UK to European events.
It’s been a joy being part of their story.
You can find out more and get booked on your next roadbook rally here.
This story was first published in our email Newsletter. Subscribe now for the most ADV email you will get all week!