What I thought was going to be an easy install turned out not to be. I don’t want the Garmin on a RAM Mount, I wanted it hard wired and neatly above my stock dashboard. I had first thought to go with arms that clamped to the handlebars but my Highway Dirt Bike Brush Guards use up all the room. So I returned the arms I had bought. Read about that at Adding a Garmin Zumo XT.
MAKING MY OWN BARS
There simply wasn’t much room but I had the idea that if I crafted something that perfectly in the space it would be stable and strong enough. It was worth a try. The available space was a little tricky to measure. So I got some modelling clay that would air dry. I sprayed the area with cooking spray and pressed it in, hoping to get a good impression that I could measure off of.
A couple of days later it was hard and dry. It released pretty easily. This is that same piece upside down.
Looking at the numbers it was just clear that a clamp that was thin enough to fit would be about 1/8″ thick at the thinnest section and there’s no way that would be strong enough considering the weight, and the vibration that off road would bring.
I scrapped looking at doing it the way others had. The HDB “Barkbusters” were just too much in the way. They are very stout. I started looking at ways I could tie into them, and use some of that strength to my advantage. There are holes in the Aluminum Bars already, if I use those… That might work.
So I started by creating a large template of where that would put it. I wanted to keep most everything behind the windscreen.
From that it was easy to rough out a general idea on 1/4 HDPE. This would be V1. I cut the outer from my stencil and then guestimated on the inner. I used a socket to give me rounded corners.
This stuff (HDPE) cuts like butter on my jigsaw. I cut it to size, and then sanded the edges a little with my belt sander, and used a drum sander on the drill press to get at the inside corners. I gave it a test fit. This looked like it might just work!
Next I took it back off and began trimming the unnecessary stuff and cleaned it up a little more.
It also needed a bend. I didn’t have a particular angle in mind so it was all just a guess.
Clamping it on the workbench, I could use a heat gun and heat a section up (somewhere around 250 F.) and by applying just a little pressure, I could get a good bend. Holding it there until it cooled and that bend is permanent.
Mounted it back to the bike, test fit and I was happy with the way it was looking. I cleaned up the wiring so that it wasn’t just a cord dangling down. I decided to run it down the right side and into the rats nest of wiring behind the headlight mask. At least now with the Ruby, I had much more room back there.
With the headlight / windscreen mounted I took it out for a ride. I could tell right away this is what I wanted, where I wanted. It wasn’t perfect. I needed a little more angle if I was going to see the GPS while standing. It also had too much motion, forward and back. So much that I couldn’t focus on the screen sometimes with it moving.
I looked at some way to tie the bracket into the windscreen up near the top. That would stop the motion issue. I was thinking maybe a rubber pad behind, or maybe a clip that attached directly. None of that was clean and proper. As for the angle of the GPS, I could easily reheat it and change the angle.
For Version 2 I decided to just double the thickness of the HDPE. I had a perfect shape already so the only change would be that I needed longer bolts, everything else would be identical.
I happened to have a spare scrap of 1/2 HDPE sitting on my workbench already. It was easy to trace V1 and cut out V2. I bent it the same way, but knew that I wanted just a little more.
In an hour it was done and ready to test fit. The one sitting on top is the 1/4 thick V1, with the thicker V2 behind it.
V2 fit nicely with longer bolts. I didn’t have the M4 screws that held the GPS mount so I had to go to ACE for that. I decided to give the bike a test ride with the GPS mount attached with the too short of M4s only. They were snug enough in the holes that it really didn’t move at all. The important part was that the GPS didn’t rock back and forth AND standing it was also visible and at a good angle!
Back at home with the right sized M4s (in stainless) I mounted everything together. I took the bike out for an extended ride and I think I’m very happy with Version 2.
While seated it’s perfectly visible, I have a clear view of the dash and everything I need to see. It does sit just a little above the windshield but that seems to be ok. I rode it on the freeway and saw no difference in buffeting.
From the front
While standing, the dash is blocked of course, but I have a good angle to see the GPS screen.
This was supposed to be just a test fit, but I’m kind of happy with it. I may take it apart later and give it a good sanding – but for now I am ok with it.