Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

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

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GPS mount – Trial by Fire

Posted by desflurane on July 29, 2013

So, I’m sure that all (read: both…) of my loyal followers are sitting there, scratching their heads and asking the same question in desperate unison – “How well did the hand-made GPS mount work out?”

Well, isn’t this your lucky day!

For those with pressing engagements to rush off to – the quick answer is that the mount worked “OK.” Not fabulously, but OK.

I had assumed that my combo Ram cradle and aluminum mounting plate would prove indestructible, but I guess I underestimated the beating it would take in Romania. Here is what it looked like to start with:

13E3A376-2D7C-4E9E-ACAC-7D28362C11C8.jpg

To be quite honest, the mounting portion – that would be the bits that I was responsible for putting together – worked absolutely flawlessly. They held up without even breaking a sweat. The Ram cradle, on the other hand, had some issues.

Here is what I ended up with:

20130729-093335.jpg

Not as “crisp” and “tidy” looking as before.

Note the absence of the little roller-thingy on the “upper arm” of the cradle. That disappeared into the dense Romanian undergrowth whilst I was distracted by being in the middle of a crash. The whole arm was bent backward so that it no longer made any contact with the GPS unit at all. I discovered that the injection molded plastic that the cradle is made from can in fact be deformed in a non-elastic fashion. Meaning that it wasn’t going to just “spring back” to its proper shape. With no other alternative leaping to mind, I just bent the little arm back to a near-original configuration – hoping that it wouldn’t just snap off out of sheer spite. It worked, but the GPS unit was definitely not held as securely as it had before. Not to worry, the leash would prevent the unit from vanishing should it come out of the cradle! (I am SO clever!)

I didn’t see it until later, but the bending back and forth did create a crack in the plastic of the support rib running up the back of the little arm.

20130729-093358.jpg

This took place during offroad day one, as I recall. The mount survived without incident until day three. Just after Klaus assisted me in heaving my bike over a slippery rock ledge, narrowly avoiding a disastrous dropping of my bike down a bottomless mountainside, I managed to crash right in front of Klaus – cementing his opinion of my riding skills I’m sure. This time, my GPS shot right out of the cradle onto the ground.

Hey, wait that can’t happen! I have a leash…

Ahh! It certainly can happen – if your GPS’s case breaks where the leash attaches!

20130729-093411.jpg

If I might just direct your attention back to the first image for a moment, you will note that the leash was threaded behind a little bar molded right into the case. Apparently the engineers at Garmin failed to anticipate the demands that would be placed upon their products when used during an extreme enduro event, and this little bar was tragically under-built.

Thank heaven I had stuffed a few zip-ties into my pack! I wrapped a couple of them around the whole mess and hoped for the best. This actually worked fairly well. If I had put a zip-tie on initially, my problems may have been completely avoided. The only down side would have been the need to cut the zip-tie off at the end of each day so the GPS could be handed in to the Staff in charge of loading the course maps up each night.

So looking back, I think I WOULD use this same mounting set up again, but I would definitely add a security zip-tie. It obscured only a minimal portion of the display and increased the mount’s strength tremendously.

Of course I will NOT use this GPS unit again – as its case is broken. I really would want that leash as added insurance against loss.

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2 Responses to “GPS mount – Trial by Fire”

  1. kjetil said

    Brandon….. are you alive???? what have you beem up to latly…

    • desflurane said

      Kjetil Hello!

      Still alive. I haven’t been doing much other than work since Romaniacs 2013. I’m pondering going back in 2016, but haven’t made a firm commitment yet.

      How about you?

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