A few weeks in the past I used to be fortunate sufficient to be invited to journey a KTM 1290 Tremendous Duke GT from KTM’s manufacturing facility in Mattighofen, Austria, to Reschensee in Italy. To say the very least it was a blinding journey, a particular contender for one of the best rattling day’s driving ever I’ve achieved and I don’t anticipate to prime it anytime quickly. Everything got here collectively on that journey: the climate was good – no rain, not too sizzling, not too sunny – and empty, winding, swooping, undulating roads. And all 173 offended horses confirmed up, every one desirous to be utilized to the right street surfaces. KTM’s Tremendous Duke GT was as faultless because it was exhilarating and, nicely, I’m unsure I have the vocabulary inside me to even start to explain the roads and surroundings that the Alps offered for us. I used to be, and nonetheless am, head over heels in love with the place and can’t urge y’all sufficient to get on the market and expertise all of it on two wheels when you haven’t already.
Little did I do know, nevertheless, shock awaited us at our vacation spot – and I don’t imply the sunken church in Lake Reschen, though that was reasonably cool. The shock wasn’t even that we might additionally get to journey the Tremendous Duke GTs all the best way again to the UK, both, nor that we’d be loaned them for an extra fortnight to device round on. Because it seems, the actual shock was go-to from three head honchos who run a brand new firm known as Nuviz. They’d flown all the best way from their headquarters in San Diego to talk to us about their just-launched motorbike head-up-display unit.
Initially, the Nuviz identify had my thoughts drawing a little bit of a clean however I knew one thing, someplace, was rolling around again there. I managed to recall from just a few years in the past a Kickstarter mission that was aiming to construct a HUD unit for motorcyclists. I assumed it was fascinating at the time, however, I didn’t make investments, and actually, I don’t suppose I ever noticed or heard something concerning the mission within the time since. Because it occurred, the identical guys who began that mission on Kickstarter now stood in the entrance of me, operating by way of a product presentation and telling us concerning the “sports altering” system they’d in retailer for us to check the next day.
I sat by way of the presentation and, as I used to jot down expertise evaluations, this half was proper up my road. I ought to point out right here that, other than a lately and reluctantly added GoPro digicam, I by no means use any type of auxiliary digital system whereas driving, not even a GPS system. I am a little bit of a Luddite, and I genuinely desire to memorize a route or, if it’s sufficiently advanced or lengthy winded, tape a little bit of paper to the tank with street numbers and approximate mile markers. I like a journey! An incorrect flip or two by no means harm anybody, did it? As I’m positive all of us have, I’ve found loads of implausible roads and different routes totally by mistake. The B4494 from Newbury to Wantage springs to thoughts. “Sorry I’m late, I took an incorrect flip, however, Geez-Louise the tarmac was wonderful and the corners even higher! After which I took one other left, and…”. You already know the drill.
Much like GPS, I’ve by no means felt driving a bike can be in any respect enhanced by listening to music on the identical time. (Identical. -Ed.) Plus, I couldn’t think of a lot worse than answering a telephone name whereas driving. 9 in ten calls I get are simply insurance coverage scams, or “Eddy from Microsoft” who has discovered a virus on an imaginary Home windows PC that I’ve by no means had. I ought to state that I’ve no points and actually welcome bikes with digital gizmos that improve the bikes themselves – fast shifters, auto blippers, anti-wheelie, traction management, TFT screens, and many others. – as they have a tendency to get out of your means, reasonably than in it.
So, Nuviz. What’s it? It’s a helmet-mounted GPS system with an inbuilt picture/video digicam that additionally hooks as much as your sensible telephone to reply telephone calls and play music by way of a headphone and microphone set. In essence, it’s what you’d get when you threw a TomTom, GoPro, and a Sena intercom right into a blender. Apart from the very fact, it’s three units in a single, the apparent distinctive promoting level is the “display”, which is projected up by way of an optical viewfinder that sits immediately in your proper eye’s sight view. It’s, so far as I can inform, the very first system of its sort to hit the market correct. There have been a lot of different makes an attempt by varied firms within the not too distant previous, however, all of them have both vaporized earlier than changing into a precise on-the-shelf product, or are merely not true HUD models.
The Nuviz group’s motivation for your entire mission is security. With GPS and different units mounted to your windscreen or handlebars, you’re required to take your eyes off the street so as to take a look at after which digest the knowledge being displayed. In fact, that’s arguably true of your bike’s instrumentation, too. Primary math means that when you take two seconds to have a look at a GPS unit at 70MPH, you’ll have traveled roughly 200 toes without trying the place you’re going. In fact, that’s not fairly the case with a HUD – you continue to must look away from the street to have a look at the show, however in concept for a lot much less time because it’s immediately in your sight view, reasonably than the exterior of it.
The Nuviz group handed out the models and, with no actual concept what I’d discover in it aside from the Nuviz unit itself, I received caught proper into the unboxing course of. Inside I found the Nuviz unit itself, a control system with varied mounting kits, a helmet mount and canopy, a headphone and microphone set, a battery and removing a device, a USB cable for charging, and a carry pouch. There have been adding the same old manuals, fast begin information, and different miscellaneous, boilerplate documentation included. All this gear was wrapped up properly in an excellent trying, well-designed bundle. Preliminary impressions didn’t disappoint; all the things felt stable and nicely constructed with loads of consideration to an element. For instance, the carry pouch has interior pouches, presumably for carrying the battery removing a device and helmet mount cowl. The battery removing device appears barely surplus to necessities – any coin of small denomination or perhaps a first-rate thumbnail will take away the battery cowl – however, it’s a pleasant contact and provides to a premium really feel.
As we fiddled with our setups, the Nuviz group suggested us that we’d be out on one other 200-mile journey across the wonderful Austrian and Swiss surroundings to offer the Nuviz an intensive road-testing the next day – it’s a tough job, however, somebody’s received to do it (wink).
First issues first – battery set up and energy up. The battery for the HUD unit is rechargeable, however, the battery within the controller is a generally discovered button sort which can apparently final for a couple of yr of typical utilization earlier than operating dry and requiring substitute. Turning the Nuviz on routinely pairs up the HUD unit with the distant controller that gives all of the controls essential to run the system whereas on the street. The one time you immediately work together with the Nuviz unit is when turning it on and off or adjusting the digicam. In flip, which means you haven’t any alternative, however, to mount the controller to your bike’s handlebars – it’s a non-optional element and you can’t manage it by way of your telephone (as I had, initially, and looking back, wrongly hoped).
There are two strategies for mounting the controller – you possibly can both stick the controller subsequent to your bike’s current handlebar controls or, when you’ve received room to accommodate it, or you possibly can mount it on a steel bracket which lifts it up and over your handlebar’s management cluster. Most individuals might want to use the bracket as trendy bikes more and more have increasingly more controls on the bars, and this was actually the case on my Tremendous Duke. You possibly can, in concept, mount the controller on the left or proper handlebar however in actuality 99.9 % will mount it on the left handlebar for causes of practicality.
The subsequent job within the set-up course of was to mount the Nuviz to my helmet, a course of almost equivalent to mounting a GoPro or related. A base plate with a sticky pad sticks to the precise facet of the helmet itself (it may possibly be mounted on the left), then the Nuviz system slots into the bottom plate and secures with a clip. The pad is pretty huge and extremely sticky, which left no doubts in my thoughts as to whether it’d stick or not. The bottom plate can be the place the headphone and microphone set plugs in. Initially, I puzzled why that was, however, it’s apparent after just a few seconds thought – when you’re transferring between helmets (maybe commute vs weekend leisure driving), you solely want to maneuver the Nuviz system and controller between bike and helmet. The HUD is angle adjustable by hand and affords a good quantity of motion to account for various bikes and driving postures.
With all the mounted to the bike and helmet, the subsequent step was to get my smartphone speaking to the Nuviz unit by way of Bluetooth. Whereas the Nuviz is managed with the controller on the handlebars, it’s configured by way of a bespoke app. In context, which means constructing GPS routes, adjusting navigation preferences, configuring rider profiles and stats, digicam settings, and many others, is finished by way of the app and never the system or controller. That, in flip, means an additional step in a setup as you’ll obtain the Nuviz app. I am an iPhone man, however, the app is available in Android taste as nicely, so irrespective of which facet of the fence you sit you’re good to go. The iPhone app requires Apple’s iOS 10.2 at the least, which suggests anybody operating an iPhone 5 or any later mannequin will have the ability to run it. I can’t communicate for Android, however, I assume it’s an identical story there and also you’ll have the ability to run on comparatively outdated so long as it may possibly run a current OS model. It’s valued checking earlier than buying nevertheless, as a result of without the app you’ll have purchased your self a really fancy paperweight.
Configuring a route was an easy job of punching place names into the app to type our 200-mile route and urgent ‘Finished’ when completed. Waypoints can simply be re-ordered, and the app permits preferences that you simply discover on any typical GPS unit – keep away from or permit toll roads, ferries, highways, unpaved roads, and so forth. Not desiring to make any calls or take heed to any non-existent music on my telephone, I opted to not match the headset into my Kenny Roberts Arai RX-7V, so in concept, all I actually missed out on was the voice instructions from the GPS unit. Any Bluetooth headset might be paired to the Nuviz in case you have already got a setup like a Sena. Worldwide maps are saved in the system itself – which has 16GB of inner storage, expandable with any Class 10 MicroSD card as much as 128GB – and are offered totally freed from cost from Nuviz. These maps are downloadable, and delectable, on a country-by-country foundation.
All that was left to do was to go and take a look at it out. Out on the bike, nearly all of my skepticism for the Nuviz fairly shortly disappeared. With these kinds of units, particularly the primary technology fashions like this one, the primary variations are notoriously fiddly and unintuitive. Not the Nuviz, although, and I think that is as a result of truth a number of the Nuviz group are ex Nokia, and this isn’t their first time at the rodeo in terms of person interfaces. The controller is refreshingly easy to make use of. The buttons correspond to icons on in every nook of the HUD and transferring up and down on the joystick merely adjustments the display mode between GPS, Music, Calls, Rides and one other display which mixes a speedometer with GPS. In any given display mode, take for instance GPS, the icons prime and backside left shall be zoom in and zoom out – so merely hitting the corresponding button (prime or backside left) on the controller will zoom in or zoom out.
The GPS mode might be the mode of most curiosity. It’s clear and straightforward to learn, displaying a street community map along with your plotted route highlighted in blue over it. The show is small, clearly, so that you’ll discover nowhere as a lot element as a standard GPS unit, however, it works nicely sufficient. Huge intersections with loads of on and off roads will little doubt be tough, with probably the most friction centering across the outdated “which lane do I would like of those 5?”, however, it’s simple sufficient to get that incorrect even with a full sized system particularly if site visitors are heavy. For many of our route, I most popular the mixed GPS and Velocity mode which relegates GPS to an easy ‘subsequent flip’ with the route of the flip and distance till the flip must be made, along with your present velocity displayed prominently within the middle, reasonably than utilizing the street map mode.
The HUD display itself is vibrant and even in the wall to wall sunshine remained utterly seen. There have been no awkward reflections or something alongside these traces, though it did take an excellent 30 minutes for my mind to cease considering it was truly my proper hand mirror. I stored taking a look at it anticipating to see no matter was occurring over my shoulder, however as an alternative discovered the Nuviz. I couldn’t detect that it was fitted to my helmet in any respect and it produced no audible wind noise both. The unit, battery, SD card, and base plate weigh a complete of 256g or 9oz, which is remarkably gentle for the scale.
It’s valued noting that you simply do should intentionally take a look at the HUD, it isn’t at all times there in your imaginative and prescient as films would possibly lead you to anticipate. Ergo, you continue to should look away from the street, however doing so is orders of magnitude sooner than taking a look at a standard GPS unit. The show itself is clear and takes up, in line with Nuviz, round 14 levels of your imaginative and prescient. Regardless of being very near your eye, it’s the equal of specializing in one thing about three to four meters in the entrance of you. Always the display shows helpful data, corresponding to the present velocity restrict for the street you’re traveling on and the time which might be 12 or 24 hours, and even an analog clock.
Nuviz states that the rechargeable battery’s 3250 mAh capability lasts about eight hours, however, I managed to get 10 out of it earlier than it gave up. I think this might be as a result of I wasn’t listening to music or taking calls, or maybe as a result of ambient temperatures have been excessive. The battery might be recharged in an exterior charger however mostly shall be charged by way of the Nuviz system itself. Eradicating a small rubber cowl on the again of the unit reveals a Micro USB port for charging, and the slot for the Micro SD is hidden in there too. The system might be charged whereas in use, with one of many groups powering it by way of photovoltaic panels fastened to his rucksack.
That brings us to the digicam. When driving, urgent the underside proper button on the controller will arm the digicam and provides a video preview of what any movies and images will appear like. As soon as the digicam is armed, urgent the button takes a photograph and holding it takes video. You possibly can change display mode and hit the shutter button at any time to shoot, however, the digicam disarms itself after three minutes of inactivity to protect battery life. Photograph high quality is configured by way of the app and runs between 1, 5 and eight megapixels. The video digicam shoots in a variety of SD and HD resolutions with the utmost being 1080p at 30 frames per second. Movies are saved on the SD card, whereas images are synced routinely to your sensible telephone and routinely tagged with geolocation information.
As you possibly can inform, I’m pretty optimistic concerning the Nuviz to this point. Since my journey out within the Alps, I’ve related the headset to check out music and telephone calls. That each one works as meant, however my solely actual grievance can be that the headset isn’t fairly loud sufficient to take heed to music at velocity. An associated gripe can be that to alter observe, or pause/play, the Nuviz needs to be on the music display; it can’t be adjusted from some other which is mildly irritating. It appears like an additional button on the controller someplace would possibly assist.
On my journey again to the UK, some reasonably inclement climate in northern France killed the unit by way of water ingress. To present Nuviz credit score, we have been warned that the models have been pre-production and that extended and/or heavy rain would possible make its means into the unit and kill it. Given the warning, the system did nicely to face as much as what was, fairly actually, a 100 mile per hour, cruise-controlled dash to Calais. Being a geek who isn’t afraid to make use of a particular set of screwdrivers, I took my unit aside earlier than returning it to Nuviz to see if I might work out the place water received in. Sadly the reply was all over the place on condition that I just about tipped the water out of it after opening it. Nuviz has since changed the unit and has assured me that fashions which might be brought to most of the people shall be 100% waterproofed.
As for worth, your pockets will take a $699 hit so as so that you can mount a Nuviz to your helmet. Is it value parting along with your hard-earned money for one? Effectively, if you’d like not less than two of the three separate units (GPS, intercom, GoPro) then I feel, truly, it might be an excellent funding. The digicam’s impressively good, GPS works precisely as meant, and the telephone and music performance are stable. Construct high quality is true up there and having handled the shopper help group I can say that service is sweet.
Regardless of my gizmo-averse tendencies, I’ve pressured myself to make use of it. I exploit the digicam a lot because it’s simply extremely handy to make use of and I positively miss it once I’m not driving with it. I exploit the GPS occasionally, however, it’s helpful to have it there simply in case. The speedo mode could be very helpful and sees the overwhelming majority of my utilization. Calls and Music aren’t an enormous factor for me, however, are actually an enormous deal for very a lot of you on the market.
General, probably the most spectacular facet to the Nuviz is that it truly works. It’s decidedly not a gimmick, and it is surprising is straightforward to arrange and use. Presumably, it may possibly solely get higher from right here and it is fairly good, to begin with.