Saturday, January 30, 2010

Teltek Informer II Thermometer review

After using the Teltek Informer II BL "Glow" thermometer off-and-on for the last 10 months on my motorcycle, three things I can say without reservation:  it reacts quickly; it's not bothered in the least by water, heat or cold; and, it's very large (31/8" W X 13/4" H X 17/16 D).  The last trait isn't really a fault as the unit was designed primarily for heavy trucks, and may not bother you or you may have more room for mounting.  But for me, as good as this gauge is, its just too large to be a permanent fixture on my Kawasaki ZR-7S.

Details: Teltek claims a range of -40° to 120° F and ± 1° F accuracy.  The 1/2" LCD display reads in tenths of a degree and is behind a water resistant display window. There are four available variations on this basic Informer theme; the II Glow gets high/low temperature memory with one-button reset, and an always-lit soft green backlight (hence the "Glow"). Each unit comes with a 12' sensor cable, 3-way plastic mounting bracket and an AA cell to power the display.  The cost is $65, and the temperature sensor wire can be special-ordered at shorter lengths for free (this isn't advertised -- call Teltek to request). The Informer I Glow deletes the temperature memory for $15 less.  I've seen the Teltek Informer range referred to as "Glacier Chain" in various motorcycle forums, after one of Teltek's retailers. 

Bob Johnson, Teltek's very helpful president and founder, told me that Teltek uses a technology that enables the unit's backlight to operate for a year on one AA.  In use, I got about 8 months on factory-installed "no-name" AA, still an incredibly long time.  I chose a 3' sensor wire and probably could've gone as short as 1' as I ended up looping and zip-tying the excess.  Bob advised that while the unit is very water-resistant, a dab of RTV to seal the area where the sensor wire exits the case wouldn't hurt.  I didn't do that before I Dual-Loc'd the Teltek to the top of my ZR-7S' gauge cluster, but it may be desirable on a fully naked or adventure-touring motorcycle.

I don't have the tools to accurately measure the thermometer, but it seemed accurate enough.  While it's a rabbit compared to the turtle-like response of the Formotion I tested, it's still not quite as "instant" as the thermometer function of my old Kisan Chargeguard. The LCD display is very easy to read, day and night, and easy on the eyes as well with no afterimages at night.  The keypad buttons are all but impossible to operate with gloved hands, but again, this isn't a motorcycle-specific product, and really, how often would one need to mess with thermometer memory on the fly? (The backlight is always on so no button).

This is an excellent product with several appealing features to motorcyclists -- no external power requirement, a large display with a constantly-lit backlight, temp memory for those who like to record their insanity, various mounting options, and a tough and weather-resistant housing.  Now if I can just get Bob to shrink it down a bit...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Top Tier Gasoline; new Retailers

To update my prior post concerning the Top Tier gasoline program, Road Ranger and CountryMark have been added to the approved retailer list.  If you want to ensure you're treating your motorcycle to high-quality additive packages, you may want to avoid regularly filling up with any non-listed retailer. The complete list  of qualifying retailers is now:

MFA Oil Co.
Phillips 66
Entec Stations
The Somerset Refinery, Inc.
Kwik Trip / Kwik Star
Aloha Petroleum
Tri-Par Oil Co.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets
Mileage Stations
Chevron Canada
Shell Canada
Sunoco Canada

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Timid on Narrow Bridges?

Then don't watch this video!  Ballsy Blighter Graham Styles astride his BMW F-650 negotiates a wet, swaying footbridge in poor repair dangling over a rain-swollen fast-moving river in Columbia while on his little trek 'round the Americas.  And you think your commute is tough!  Follow Graham's adventure here.

To make this ride even more thrilling, select full-screen mode!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hawk's Nest Cafe to rise again!?

Great news for motorcyclists in the northeast U.S.; the Hawk's Nest Cafe may come back. The former owner has begun turning the bureaucratic wheels with the hope of rebuilding the popular motorcyclist hang-out on its former location.  For those unfamiliar, the "Hawk's Nest" is the unofficial name for a very twisty, scenic, European-feeling (but sadly short) section of NY 97 that runs high above the Delaware River northwest of Port Jervis.  It's the type of road no serious motorcyclist can resist, and has been used in numerous auto commercials over the years. (I believe I shot the photos in 1998 and 2004).  It's so much fun that a few times I've turned back after the road straightens out and rode the twisty section again in the opposite direction -- once I did it repeatedly until it raised suspicion of a local gendarme, who approached me when I stopped at one of the scenic pull-outs and inquired what I was looking for.  Fun, officer, just fun.  The Hawk's Nest Cafe was owned by an avid motorcyclist.  It sat just off the road and the lot was always full of motorcycles of all types, along with a few sports cars, etc.  Having stopped there for a few times prior, but not since 2001, I was looking forward to a much-needed break and chow on a very rainy day in 2004 on my way to Americade.  I arrived at what I remembered to be the Cafe, only to find it had burned to the ground in October 2002, and wishing I had shot some pics of the license-plate festooned interior and outdoor deck overlooking the river when I had the chance.  Hopefully, the Hawk's Nest Cafe will soon arise like the Phoenix and give me another chance. 

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Aerostich 20% Off Sale!

Aerostich/Riderwearhouse is selling many popular items at a 20% discount thru the end of the month, thereby providing an all-too-easy way to rid oneself of any pesky cash that may have survived the Christmas season, or to make up for Santa's failure to understand simple requests. (I mean, does "insulated Triple Digit glove covers" sound anything at all like "socks"??).