You get on the bike to unwind, to experience your environment without being behind a glass screen. It seems counter-intuitive to turn to your cell phone to enhance that experience. However, the best apps for Harley® motorcycle riders can make your ride safer, help you save money, protect your bike from theft and connect you to the biking community. Here are a handful of the best apps for bikers. Let us know which ones you've tried!
Bike theft is one of the Harley® owner's worst fears. They're the most well-known and coveted type of motorcycle. Every time you turn on the news you hear how expensive they are. Plus, Harley® owners are perhaps the most likely of any motorcycle owner group to invest in performance upgrades and customization. Like with any other type of high-end vehicle, that makes them a target.
H-D Connect allows you to monitor your bike remotely for round-the-clock convenience and peace of mind. The H-D app delivers stolen vehicle alerts and tracking. It's a subscription-based service with a free initial trial available on Touring bikes and with LiveWire.
Why it's Great
Let's say you look at the weather and realize the next day is going to be perfect for taking the long way to work. However, you haven't ridden in a week or so, and you don't remember how much gas you have. Or maybe it's been longer and you're not sure about your battery status. You don't have to walk out to the garage and start your bike to find out. Just pull up the app. If you need gas or a charge, you can look it up from within the app.
The app also gives you turn-by-turn directions. LiveWire will even give them from within the motorcycle's display. On other bikes, you can get it through your headset. On Touring bikes, transfer your ride to your BOOM! Box infotainment system.
The app also helps when along the way you decide to make an unexpected stop at a roadside cafe. You don't know the neighborhood, and your bike is no longer protected by the garage. The app will monitor your bike using GPS and cellular technology while you're inside. If someone decides to take off with it, you can send law enforcement to get it back before they have time to cause damage. Even if it's just bumped, you'll get a notification.
Eat Sleep Ride
If you're looking for the Swiss Army Knife of motorcycle apps, this is it. Eat Sleep Ride is available as a free download both through Google Play and the App Store. It offers a whole range of tools, for tracking, social and safety.
If you've ever been just going wherever the road takes you and later wished you could remember the route, this motorcycle app can help. Use it to record your ride, replay it when you're done, save your favorites and share with other riders.
Sometimes just using your odometer doesn't give you a full picture of where you've been in a season or a year. Use the Eat Sleep Ride app for motorcycle riders to track mileage, look back at your speed, see your lean angle and review the elevations traversed. That ride to Sturgis might have been a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but you can look back on every turn of the journey later.
One of the app for motorcycle rider's biggest strengths is the social aspect. If you're ready for a ride and you want to try something new, but don't want to take a chance on a route that might not pan out, Eat Sleep Ride lets you discover and share nearby (or far away) routes. You can also see where other riders are around you for a chance to interact. Make yourself visible to meet other motorcyclists, share only with your ride group or go private. Share photos or browse bikes for sale nearby or across the globe.
Best Feature of This Motorcycle App
This app is worth downloading just because of the CRASHLIGHT feature. With no additional technology required, it uses your cell phone to monitor your speed and detect the possibility of a motorcycle crash. If it thinks you may have had an accident, you have a brief time frame in which to cancel an alert as a false alarm. If you don't, it sends a message with your location to up to three pre-set contacts. CRASHLIGHT is an additional in-app purchase.
Texas is great, but you gotta admit the weather has more than a touch of multiple personality disorder. This app for motorcycle riders claims to be the most accurate source of hyperlocal weather information. No more watching the news the night before and trying to figure out if that 50 percent chance of rain will interfere with your ride, because Dark Sky provides up-to-the minute forecasts to tell you precisely when weather will start and stop. Dark Sky Premium costs $2.99 a year, which breaks down to around a quarter a month.
Why It's Awesome
It's like magic, because the app uses a cocktail of crowd-sourced data and government-sourced radar info. If you have one in your phone, the app integrates your built-in barometer. You get constantly updated data for your precise location. It also sends rain notifications, severe weather alerts and custom alerts to your phone without you having to check the app. It's compatible with your smart watch whether you use Apple or Android.
Try this one instead of Google Maps next time you're out for a ride, because it's great to be on the open road, but being stuck in traffic sucks. Waze is a community-based navigation app, so it doesn't just rely on GPS data, users also can report wrecks, detours, road closures and police sightings (so you know when you're in a no-wheelie zone).
Like Google Maps, it also lets you know what businesses are nearby and takes you quickly to frequent destinations. Plus, it has motorcycle mode which uses real-time data from other motorcyclists to give you a more accurate arrival time and allows you to take more narrow or dirt roads that might not be an option for other vehicles.
Why You'll Like It
Waze allows users to "level up" when they provide accurate information, which makes it feel like a game. It also has community features that help you find the nearest, best-priced gas or the currently most popular coffee shop. Plus, the app is free.
Like Waze, Gas Buddy is an app for all drivers, but it's just as useful for bikers as it is for soccer moms (Ha! Never thought you'd see those in the same sentence in a Harley® blog article, did ya). But the thing is, it may be an even more important app for motorcyclists than it is for sedan owners. Not all of us have a gas gauge. Our tanks are smaller. And we tend to go on long trips across country where running out of gas in the middle of nowhere is a very real possibility. The app is a free download for Apple and Android.
What it Does
Again like Waze, Gas Buddy uses a community of drivers to compile a gas price database. The app tells you how recently the price was reported so you know it's current or might have changed. Sort by price, distance, gas station amenities etc.
Other drivers can also leave reviews, so if the station has a tiny, crappy parking lot full of potholes and coffee that tastes like what's in those potholes, you know to avoid it. Instead of changing levels, when you provide information or reviews, you can enter challenges for a chance to win things like gas card giveaways.
Allstays Camp & RV
If you go on road trips, you might also camp along the way. This app for motorcycle riders works even without the internet, so if you're in an area with bad service, you can still search for a place to pitch your tent. Photos and reviews from all over the Internet, not just from one travel source. Within the app you can access GPS based location of the campground you're considering and find resources for road conditions in the area.
How it Helps
The app allows you to wander and not be tied to a trip schedule. You can pack a bag, grab your wallet and head whatever direction you choose. If you're low on funds, find a place to sleep in a rest area or parking lot. If you're interested in a landmark but not the associated crowds, search nearby to find a place to camp off the beaten path. The app costs about $10.