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Thread: Motorcycle Compass

  1. #1
    Registered User talmadge_w's Avatar
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    Motorcycle Compass

    Anyone out there able to point me to a source for a good magnetic compass to mount on the bike (GS)? I use a GPS but am a little too "old school" to trust totally to a device that has "selective availability" built in AND requires electricity.

    Internet search yielded one cruiser model with enough chrome to blind anyone within 1000 meters on a sunny day and nothing else. Sould I be looking at automotive / marine models?

    Talmadge

  2. #2
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    I have a plastic ball compass attached to a suction cup stuck about 5 inches from the top of the inside of the windshield on my R1100RT. It works great. Its sold at Walmart and Target automotive sections for $2.99

  3. #3
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    Have to agree, check in the auto departments and you'll find many choices. The cheaper ones will probably not have compensation ability so metal near them will throw them off but they will be good enough to give you your general direction or to orient a map. Slightly more money will get you one with compensation adjustablility. Another source that has many choices is Aerostitch/rider wearhouse. They carry plenty for bikes in a range of prices. Two good ones with compensation that are reasonable are the Suunto Pilot and the Moto Compass.

  4. #4
    Aspiring Profligate jeff488's Avatar
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    Or one could use the sun, a watch, and/or a map.
    I must admit, cloudy nights are a bit of a problem, though.
    '04 Silver R1150RT "Big Oel". '05 Yellow KLR 650
    '00 Red Suzuki Bandit 600
    '65 Allstate/Puch 250 twingle
    "I just want somewhere to ride and food when I get there."

  5. #5
    Manfred
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    I've tried several of the $3 round compasses and they never were true North and they were significantly affected by engine interference. I then got extravagant and spent $10 on a better compass (from WalMart). It's flat, can hold a battery for night-time viewing if you can push the button with gloves one. Has a small mount that attaches with 2 screws or double-sided tape. I screwed my to the dash between the voltmeter and the clock. It works great!

  6. #6
    Registered User talmadge_w's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys! The ones at Aerostitch look promising. Afraid my celestial navigation skills are a little rusty to attempt a sun shot at highway speed (at least without cruise control).

    Talmadge

  7. #7
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Me too;

    I laugh, when I point out my 3$(compass) GPS to others, stuck on my GSA windscreen. Mine works quite well, especially when stopped. Bumpy roads have it excited a lot, however and its hard to read on those less than smooth roads. Pretty good for whats invested. Gets R Done....Pep Boys and others in the "cheapie" farkles section Sometimes the simpler things in life( a compass), just seem so natural, especially on our SO over the top motorbikes, by BMW. I still use 3$ maps too, which NO GPS will give that BIG picture. The high tech Plastic Maps are very cool, for a few dollars more....I may ride the most expensive m/c on the planet, BUT don't have to spend ALL my money, farkling it to death! Happy Trails, Randy

  8. #8
    Manfred
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    Rock-on PolarBear!

    I recall, now that you mention it, that the $3 compass was near impossible to read on a road with any bumps - such as expansion joints. The little ball was spinning and bouncing inside the bigger ball.

    The expensive compass I now use is relatively stable on all roads - allowing me to see which way I'm going even on a bumpy road.

    I use the directions from GoogleMaps, printed out and stuck in the map pocket of my tank bag, as the other half of my "GPS".

    I am, horrors!, considering buying a used Garmin 2720. I've found how to make Google Maps talk to it AND how to make Google Maps track it while I'm on the road. That would allow my wonderful wife to know where I am instead of wondering if I ran off the road (like my buddy did last month). But I do not see a GPS replacing my compass or my printed directions. I like the bigger picture they provide.

  9. #9
    Pusser's Pyrate Society Zygmund's Avatar
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    I have the micro compass from aerostich and stick it in the map case on the tank bag. Works for me!
    '02 R1150RT

  10. #10
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talmadge_W View Post
    Thanks Guys! The ones at Aerostitch look promising. Afraid my celestial navigation skills are a little rusty to attempt a sun shot at highway speed (at least without cruise control).

    Talmadge
    Your desire for a compass has merit. I mounted one (approx. $50) on my R1200RT and it has proven useful on overcast days deep in the Smoky Mountains, while interpreting a map absent of the sun's orientation.

    Only caveat is I need the engine turned off for it to read accurately, as elctromagnetic interference is significant once the boxer is humming.

    As for GPS, the compass is nice back up should my Garmin throw a hissy fit.

    Ride Safe, But Occasionally Take Time To Get Lost!
    Last edited by Greenwald; 06-28-2009 at 04:57 PM.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
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  11. #11
    R1100 RT
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    Wayfinder digital compass

    I have been using a Wayfinder digital compass VT 220 on my R1100 RT for over three years and have found it to be very reliable and useful. I found the digital compass at Sears. Below is a link to a website for more information.
    http://www.wayfindercompass.com/wayfinder.asp

    I used many magnetic compasses and replaced them each year. The Wayfinder digital compass mounts easily, is back lighted for night time and is very accurate. The Wayfinder compass works all the time. You just need a good battery in the unit. Looks like Amazon.com has these for $15.50.

    I also have a Trial Drop digital compass, thermometer and clock that comes in handy.
    Below is a website that gives you a good look at the product. I bought mine at a Gander Mountain store.
    http://www.livesciencestore.com/57994.html

  12. #12
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Oh MY, GPS Failure?

    What to do? Well, my compass has been pretty faithful for a lot of miles, BUT. The SUN and Moon/Stars make really good directional devices too. I had to take the course for sailing offshore. A neat backup, when all else fails and works EVERYWHERE on the planet, NO cost/free Randy

  13. #13
    Registered User Greg_K's Avatar
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    I carry a compass almost everywhere I go. It is in my Timex Expedition watch. After calibration, it is pretty accurate. Since it is an indeglo watch, I can see it in the dark as well.
    Of course, it seems that I am in a growing minority of those who actually still wear a wristwatch. Most folks seem to use their cellphone as their timekeeping piece. If you have a newer I-Phone and need a compass... well - "There's an app for that."
    '04 R1150RT

    No matter where you go, there you are!

  14. #14
    Registered User niebuhr's Avatar
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    Go to one of the hunting stores in your area like Cabela's or Bass Pro....been hunting in Colo. and my compass brought me right back to camp. Boy Scouts have a good one.

  15. #15
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Yeah, I got a GPS...a Graphical Paper System!
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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