February 22, 2018

Smart Turn System – Intelligent Indicators

Confessions of a Born Again Biker - Smart Turn System

I left my indicator on. It is more frustrating and embarrassing than anything else. I could dwell on the possible dangers of my stupidity, but dark thoughts are never helpful.

To top it all off, a few days later I did it again. Brother Andy told me about it this time. He even wrote it in the mystical book of thoughts he keeps, when training motorcyclists. More embarrassment and now recorded for all time.

Committing and then repeating this sin, courtesy of my own forgetfulness has allowed me to develop a whole new paranoia. It won’t be lonely, I seem to have so many these days. I now find myself checking and double checking that I’ve cancelled my indicators. I even press the cancel button after I’ve checked that the repeater lights on the console aren’t flashing. Told you I was paranoid.

Somehow the internet knows when I’m paranoid and starts to suggest things to me that will ease my unrest. Most likely what is happening is I’m just noticing the adverts that have been there all along. Who knows? Whatever it is that causes these to appear, I recently started noticing adverts for the STS Smart Turn System appearing on my social media feeds.

The Smart Turn System is a small, exceptionally clever box of electronics developed by a group of mechanical and electronics engineers from Slovenia. The device comes to life when you put your indicator on. It then monitors twenty different parameters regarding the movement of your motorcycle, and when it senses the manoeuvre is complete, it cancels your indicator. A much more sophisticated solution than the eight flashes and off system that Brother Andy moans about on his Honda.

By monitoring the numerous parameters, the Smart Turn System can – it seems – differentiate between the time the indicators need to be on to change lanes, comapred to when you are waitng at traffic lights before turning, or perhpas on a roundabout. It is applying intellegance to cancelling the indicators, something I have forgotten to do, twice, recently.

All of this inteligence sounds rather wonderful, and being a natural-born cynic I turned to Australian Andy – rather than Brother Andy – for some guidance.

Motorcycle Obsessed Andy is an Australian that I have never met, and I don’t know. He does, however, have a excellent Youtube channel, and one of the videos covers fitting the Smart Turn System to his project Yamaha XS1100 Cafe Racer.

Most companies have promotional Youtube videos for their products. My logic, however, is that there is nothing more revealing than a “bloke in his garage” – and sometimes the bloke is female – if you want to know the plain, unvarnished facts on the matter. Motorcycle Obsessed Andy, is exactly the sort of person I was hoping to find when deciding if the Smart Turn System is something I should invest in.

Andy's Motorcycle Obsessions
Having watched Motorcycle Obsessed Andy “pop it on the basket case”, as he refers to fitting the STS to his XS1100, my next stop was CagerOnTwoWheels, another person I don’t know, this time living in Portugal. Having fitted the Smart Turn System to his Yamaha Tracer, Cager took the STS for a real-world test ride.

So exacting was his test that Cager managed to trigger the default cancellation that the STS has. Default cancellation is when the STS system realises that you can’t need the indicators on any longer. It may have missed a subtle lane change or very gentle turn, but looking at all of the other parameters it knows that now is the time to turn the indicators off.

Despite sounding like a fault, default cancellation is a cool feature. It covers the possibility of the STS system committing the same idiotic sin as I had and leaving the indicator on, because it is stupid. Afterall, what would be the point of having a clever system if it can’t work out that it has made a mistake?

Cager On Two Wheels
So, here on my desk is a Smart Turn System, ready to be installed on Susan III, the Kawasaki Versys. The box of magic electronics at the heart of the system is 3cm square, 5cm long and made from black aluminium. The eight cables running from the black box are shrink-wrapped and well-finished. It is a well-made, high-quality unit, that looks simple enough to connect to the wiring under the seat somewhere. In the box along with the unit are some cable ties, extra crimps and a simple one-page installation guide.

So, do you need one? For me, it comes under the same heading as helmet, gloves, boots or a back protector. No, you don’t need one to ride a motorcycle, right up to the point when your ride is about to turn to custard. If the Smart Turn System stop that awful moment from happening, then it was worth every penny. Ironically, because you have an STS fitted, you will never find yourself in that position.

One thing is certain, the Smart Turn System certainly outperforms anything that the motorcycle manufacturers are fitting as standard to their bikes. I wonder if they will ever start fitting STS as standard?

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