Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

Chronicle of My Participation in the World's Toughest Enduro Rally – Again…

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How low can you go?

Posted by desflurane on May 8, 2012

I lost my trusty Garmin 60c when it bounced out of the cheesy bike handlebar mount I had it in. That setup was certainly not bomb-proof enough to survive the Romaniacs.

I purchased a nice, new Oregon 450t and vowed to mount that thing so that a jackhammer couldn’t part it from my bike.

A concerted stretch of searching online indicated that the Ram Mount was the way to go. I ordered up their cradle, bar mount and the shortest clamp-thingy that they sell. This worked “OK” in my estimation. It wasn’t -really- solid, as the unit would move around when hitting the bumps hard. It also just stuck up too high. I took a sucker punch to the navel every time I leaned over the bars, such as when hitting a sharp climb with any speed.

My search continued.

While over in Romania I saw a mount bolted up to some guy’s bike which fit my requirements perfectly (as far as I could tell anyway). It attached via one of the sets of bolts holding the handlebar to the triple clamp. It appeared to have been cast from stainless steel and accommodated the cradle from the Ram system. It allowed the GPS unit to sit really low, tucked in nicely where it would be unlikely to get bashed too badly or eviscerate an unwary rider.

Wisely, I chose not to ask anybody where this little gem came from or even to snap a photo of it for future reference – surely it would be easy enough to find online!

Yeah, not so much…

I even tried posting on a dirtbike forum in England to see if anybody knew where this thing had come from. No luck. But! A few guys had made their own mounts in similar fashion. Being English they had done this in extraordinary style. One of these guys ( or – dare I say – “blokes”… No, I don’t think I will…) had machined the whole thing from a block of aluminum. It looked FANTASTIC, but was definitely beyond my means to duplicate.

I left this all on my back burner until about a week ago when I started thinking about the problem again. A big ride in some remote hills of Nevada is coming up and I’d like to take the GPS along, but only if it is mounted up in reasonable style.

I decided to try building my own version of the “Romania mount.” I bought a piece of 1/8″ aluminum plate and visited the local seller of fine fasteners. I got a set of nice M8 socket-head cap screws to replace the stock bolts, since they would not be long enough once the mount was placed on top of the handlebar “cap.”

While there, I learned that very nice, chromed spacers are readily available in an array of sizes. I got a pair with 5/16 ID – 5/8 OD and 1″ tall.

I returned home, measured and marked everything up and cut out a nice little aluminum plate. This was drilled to accept the screws that would hold on the Ram cradle as well as the cap-screws that would attach the whole assembly to the bike.

It worked perfectly! I was amazed how nicely it turned out. But I quickly saw room for improvement. Like the “Romanian mount” I had built it with the GPS unit sitting outboard of the bar mount which required the 1″ spacer so that there wouldn’t be interference from my brush-guard mount. I saw that if I mounted the unit INBOARD I could use a 3/8″ tall spacer and gain better access to the cradle-mounting screws, which were hard to reach with it set up the other way around.

Another trip to the fastener place, and viola! It is as near perfect as I’m likely to get. I’ve had it out on one ride so far and it is flawless – out of the way, stable as a rock. Time will tell if any changes need to be made. I’ll probably redo the leash I have on it right now. It works but doesn’t inspire loads of confidence.

Here it is:

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