All Things Gadgetal

2009 Christmas Gadget List


Gift #1 for me is the SPOT satellite tracker.  I was an early adopter of the device.  We just had Jason Jonas on last week and previous shows have also covered this device in various trips.  Even Tom used it and is becoming a believer in it.    Because it is so valuable, it�s my �don�t leave home without it� gift.  It�s available in both the original version (V1) and the newer and smaller (V2) which I now have.  The distinguishing feature of the V2 unit is the stronger sending signal, smaller size, it takes 3 AAA lithium batteries, and has protected help and SOS buttons.  Again, don�t leave home without it. 

    Gift #2 is a tire pressure monitoring system.  For me, the TIREGARD system is a good value starting at around $150.  There is a 2, 3, and 4 tire system (regular motorcycle, trike, and motorcycle and trailer). Tiny sensors are affixed to the valve stem of each tire and there is a little fob which has a screen which displays the temperatures.  There are warning alerts that can be set for both low and high pressures.  It�s no substitute for manual pressure checking before each day�s ride, but it can alert the rider to potential issues before it becomes a real problem.

      Gift #3 is another of my favorites.  ROK straps are a simple strapping device that uses a loop (or hooks) at each end to fasten on to an appropriate mounting point on the bike or something affixed to the bike.  The excess slack is taken up to put tension on the elastic portion of the strap.   There�s a handy plastic clip that joins the elastic portion with the other portion.  They come in various sizes and lengths and belong in every motorcyclist�s gear bag.  Prices start around $5. 


        Gift #4 is an amazing gadget.  This EXTREMELY bright (the brightest I�ve ever seen)  LED flashlight from comes with two proprietary batteries and a charger.  The light is bright enough that one could tape the light to one�s bike or helmet and use it as a headlight.  With a running time of around 1 � hours on the bright setting, it might be the ticket for making it out of a dark place in the event of headlight failure. According to the manufacturer, it�s widely used by law enforcement and truck inspectors.  It�s $100.  In our January, 2010, we�ll interview the President of Clearwaterlights regarding some other lighting products.  Stay tuned for that interview.

          Gift #5 is a simple and inexpensive light to have in your tankbag.  It�s an emergency LED light from Risk Racing that is roughly the size of a ping pong ball with magnets strategically positioned around the outside surface so that it can be positioned to direct the light  where it�s needed.  At $6.99, this is one that�s in my tank bag.

            Gift #6 is a beadbreaker from There are a number of bead breaker products in the marketplace.  This kind of product should be part of any group doing rides away from the pavement. BestRestProducts� version comes in a zippered bag about 12� long.  It makes demounting tires much easier when you are away from your shop bead breaking tool. You do have such a tool at home don�t you??  <grin> List is $140.

              Gift #7 is the one gift that is bike marquee specific. The GS-911 code reader is a Fault Code Reader that works on BMW bikes.  For the ultimate gadget freak, this can be an indispensible gift to help diagnose pesky electrical issues.  Expensive at $299.00 to $549.00 but if you need it you need it.

                Gift #8 is for me another of those always have along items: a tire plugging device.  Yes, like me, one can carry the simple rope style plugging kits available at your local auto parts or Wal Mart, but I also carry a STOPnGO and have used it on several occasions to enable me or a riding partner to make it home.  I don�t recommend that the plug be used as a permanent repair, but others have had good success doing that.  The Pocket kit is $31.95 while the standard kit is $47.95

                  Gift #9 is intended to appeal to the thrifty among us. It�s a simple alcohol stove that runs on HEET gasoline dryer (really just alcohol).  It�ll burn about up to about 5 minutes on a filling; and don�t ask me how I know, it�s a real heat producer in a very compact size.  It�ll heat up water for a morning warm drink or oatmeal. This is a great stocking stuffer and conversation starter.  These are shipped for $9 each and I recommend getting two:  one to warm up your item, and a second to finish the job.

                    Gift #10 takes us back to the first All Things Gadgetal interview from a few weeks back.  Curt Gran�s FUZEBLOCK at $79.95 is a very handy way of creating a place from which all of one�s electrical accesssories can be powered.  Again, the feature of this product is that it has both switched and un-switched power sources in a compact and well-engineered package.


                      Our last Gift #11 isn�t really a gadget, but it sure works with one.  Many people complain about the cost or availability of maps for their GARMIN GPS receiver.  Bob Morley (a previous guest) over at puts out a series of MapSource compatible maps for virtually the whole world.  I used them in Nicaragua this past summer and Simon and Lisa Thomas are currently using them for their trip around the world.  They run about $50 for the entire set which includes updates for the first year.

                        That wraps up my 2009 Gadget Gift list suggestions.  If what I�ve suggested doesn�t scratch where you are itching, contact me at tim at tkbowman dot com, and I can make additional suggestions. If you have any gadget suggestions, please send them to me as well and I�ll consider them for a future show. Look forward to a lighting presentation on in January, a chat with Jeff Gerbing of Gerbing�s Electric Clothing in February, and much more in 2010.  Each of the Gadget shows is scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Thanks for the opportunity to present these items. 


                        And if you've read this far, below are some bonus suggestions:


                        Bonus Items


                        ChargePod  (charge up to 6 items from one power source)  $39.95



                        Motorcycle Brake Flasher (No wiring required as it is battery powered � battery life is said to be a year)  $21.99 special going now - Bright LED�s and the unit simply bolts on to your license plate. 



                        Battery Bug (monitor the condition of your battery)



                        Datel Digital Voltage Meter (A must have accessory to monitor your electrical system) $50 . 



                        Christmas Gift Guide from (more than just gadgets)



                        US CTEK 800 Battery Charger (A great little battery maintainer for $49.99)