How to Make Your Motorcycle a Connected Motorcycle

It can be part of the “Internet of Things”.

joshua willuhn
Sep 14, 2016 · 4 min read

TL;DR; Go to and download app.

The Internet of Things, as modern connected devices are being called, is here. From your refrigerator, bed, and treat dispensing video chat for your dog to your washing machine, door bell or a wide variety of other things.

You can even buy a connected motorcycle.

Specifically an R1 has apps that you can download to use with it. However, I can’t afford a new motorcycle. So I decided to make the bike I already have into a connected motorcycle, because, why not? I sorta love the damn thing. I don’t say that about many “Things” so it really makes sense.

Why Connect Your Motorcycle?

Just making a “thing” an “internet of things” …thing, isn’t good enough. It has to have a purpose. A reason. It needs to do something cool or why bother?

Really — if I had a connected doorbell I would have to lure the dog away from the door to be able to hear the person, or the speaker would have to be really loud. I would have to have the dog treat dispenser too or the doorbell wouldn’t work. Plus the dog loves chatting with people at the door, I couldn’t take that away from him, it would be cruel and unusual punishment.

What can a connected motorcycle do?

When you dive into a good corner it’s a dance with gravity, centrifugal force, speed and traction that hold you in place. An IMU sensor can be used to record data from gravity and when combined with a motorcycle, the results are cool. It’s how bikes like the R1 or BMW S1000RR have traction control and IMU data isn’t just on bikes either, some cars use them, planes and NASA use them, ships and a wide variety of things that need to balance themselves use them.

Why would you add one to your bike if it doesn’t have one?

On a motorcycle — you have to balance yourself. On some bikes, YOU are the traction control.

You can learn about your riding style from the data you can record from an IMU. Eventually you can end up being a rider more aware of what’s going on when you lean into a corner. You can learn about your riding style. That can help you be faster and safer, help you be a better rider.

Of course it takes dedication to be a better ride, but if you’re reading this still you probably dedicated tons of time to your motorcycle already, so I’ll assume that from here forwards.

How to connect your motorcycle?

IMU data is nothing new. I started RideData because I wanted an easy way to get started recording data. It’s a work in progress but I’m dedicated to the project and I’ve had a lot of fun working on it so I invite you to check it out.

RideData uses your phone and an optional external sensor mounted to your bike to record data. The optional external sensor is Arduino based and uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone and record data with the RideData app.

You can use just your phone. It’s better with an external sensor though.

Setting up the Arduino is probably the most complicated part but it shouldn’t take more than 15 or 30 minutes if you have basic computer and mechanical skills. If you can ride a motorcycle and navigate to this website — you can set it up.

To get started you need an Arduino Uno, Bluetooth shield and IMU sensor.

Also you’ll need a USB cable and a high quality USB battery. Mounting it on your bike depends on your bike, I use the spare space under the seat on my bike and it works great! The battery usually lasts 24+ hours of continuous use.

The last things you need are the Arduino / Genuino code editor, this code from GitHub, and the RideData Android App.

You put the “libraries” folders from GitHub into the folder with the Arduino software as shown in the video and paste the contents of the ride_data.ino file into the code editor, save it and upload it to the Arduino.

There’s a video to help combine it all and make it work. Once it’s loaded on the Arduino you link it up with the RideData app and record data while you ride. Once you get back you can see the data on your phone or the website and learn from your ride. Blog

The RideData and RidePlan apps blog

joshua willuhn

Written by

at Blog

The RideData and RidePlan apps blog

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