Top tips on fitting a satnav to your bike
Find your way when fitting a bike-friendly routefinder with this step-by-step guide
1 Got everything you need?
Open your satnav fitting kit and make sure all the required components are there. You should also check that the cradle itself is compatible with your particular satnav and that you have adequate space to fit it on your bike. Lay out the power cable and run it along the outside of the logical route it will take to connect to the bike’s battery, making sure that it is long enough to reach without snagging.
2 Find the best place to put it
Assemble the mounting bracket and offer it up to where you are planning to fit it. Try doing this as you’re sitting on the bike so you get a rider’s eye view. Ideally you don’t want the satnav obscuring anything on the dash, especially your warning lights. Turn the bars full lock on both sides to check for interference against fairings and brackets, adjust if necessary and then tighten up the bolts.
3 Access the power
Gain access to your bike’s battery by removing the necessary panels, seat and anything else that you need in order to reach the terminals. Our Yamaha XT660R needed only the seat and left-hand side/tank panels removing, and the tank bolts loosened to allow the tank to be slightly raised. This process will vary depending on your model, so check with your manual if you’re unsure.
4 Pick your route
Start to route the wires alongside your bike’s loom, this will keep things looking neat and will also prevent damage to the wiring. Pay particular attention to the way in which the original wiring routes from the headstock area and up and over the top yoke. If done incorrectly the wire can snag or bind when the steering is on full lock.
5 Tidy the wires
Once you have finalised the route of the power cable, run any excess wire to the battery where it can be gathered up and shortened. Cable tie the power lead alongside the original loom. Look out for any OE cable ties that are already fitted and are reusable, as using these will help keep the job looking tidy and professional.
6 Don’t get crossed wires
Before you connect the battery check that the colour of the wires corresponds to the correct polarity. In this case it’s easy: red equals positive, and black equals negative, but some kits from the far east don’t have the same colour coding. You should also check that any inline fuse is correctly inserted and undamaged.
7 Start to rebuild
Refit the seat and sidepanels, checking as you go that none of the original wiring route has been disturbed, and taking care not to trap any part of the wiring between the panels. Turn the handlebars to full lock both sides to make sure the power lead doesn’t pull tight at any point.
8 Fine tune the position
While sitting on your motorcycle do a final check to make sure that you’re completely happy with the satnav’s location. Look again to see that there is clearance between any fairing or brackets with the bars turned at full lock. Switch the satnav on; it should now be taking power directly from your bike’s battery. Do a final check of mounting bolts and fasteners to make sure they are secure.
9 Test ride and tweak
Keep the satnav powered up and take the bike out on a road test. It’s wise to pack a couple of tools just in case you need to tweak the position out on the road. Keep an eye on the satnav’s power or charge icon while you ride to ensure that the power is constant and not intermittent. Remember to tighten up fasteners properly once you’ve finalised the installation – and don’t forget to read the instructions!
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