Will phones replace bike instruments?

BMW phone cradle

Smart phones are adding functionality to riding, replacing GPS units and even motorcycle instruments with their own accurate accelerometers and other useful apps.

Now BMW Motorrad has designed a handlebar cradle suitable for phones up to 15cm that swivels for horizontal or upright format. It will arrive in Australia this month (July 2016) at $300. 

The BMW Motorrad smartphone cradle uses their Navigator V holder and is made of hard plastic for dust and water proofing with a shock-proof gel pad. It also has an antireflection flex foil see-through vision panel.

You can charge on the run via a micro-USB to an optional onboard 12V socket. Or you can wirelessly charge by electromagnetic induction with a light-emitting diode informing the rider of the charging state.BMW phones cradle

There have been other phone cradles before for motorcycles, but this is the first time a motorcycle company has designed their own and it could lead to a new trend where phones or tablets replace bike instruments.

It would not only provide a more customisable experience, but also save the company and rider money.

If you think a phone or tablet screen on your bike would be a distraction, there is a new generation of head-up display (HUD) helmets coming that will display relevant information on your visor or a small screen just inside the helmet.

MV Agusta One motorcycle instruments phones
MV Agusta One concept bike with iPad motorcycle instruments

In fact, Aprilia has announced a collaboration with American HUD helmet company Skully and has developed Aprilia Multimedia Platform (aMP) which connects the bike to your iPhone or Android phone.

The partnership with Skully will help develop new forms of rider-vehicle interaction for V4-MP, Piaggio Group’s multimedia platform found on the Aprilia RSV4 and Tuono 1100. This will provide bike information to the Skully helmet visor screen so riders won’t have to take their eyes off the road.

That’s in the future, but right now you can add aMP to your Aprilia Caponord with a $341 retrofit.

The aMP app is available through iTunes and talks to the aMP platform fitted to your bike.

It transforms the rider’s phone into a virtual, real time, multifunction on-board computer allowing the rider to choose between speedometer, tachometer, engine power and torque, instant and average fuel consumption, suggested gear selection, longitudinal acceleration along with an extended trip computer.

With the help of gyroscopes and vehicle telemetry, the application is also able to calculate the rider’s lean angles.

Aprilia joins forces with Skully phones
Aprilia joins forces with Skully

The aMP application will flash to indicate the intervention of Aprilia Traction Control (aTC) and the rider can also set a shift light at their favourite revs. The aMP application will also store the journey data so that the rider can analyse their trip and their riding form.

However, riders should be careful as the information may incriminate them should the police or your insurance company gain access.

The app also notifies the rider of low fuel and the GPS function identifies the nearest fuel stations and even the nearest Aprilia dealer.

For security, it records the position of the motorcycle when the engine is turned off in case you forget where you parked it.


  1. Another smart technological device that also automatically connects and uploads to overseeing satellites making policing authorities jobs a whole lot easier at raising the revenue quota. Best to remember,the machines & associated accessories are much more efficient, responsive and faster these days, but the speed limits haven’t changed since ever…only the speed increments in between the upper and lower limits have increased.

  2. I know I am old school, but I like the bike to have dedicated instruments and I like having a separate GPS unit (when I need to use it) and my phone can stay in my pocket or in my pannier bags where I only use it when I want to. Not having a phone to distract and annoy me while riding is one of the pleasures of having a motorbike, it is also why I have only turned the radio on my bike on a couple of times just to make sure it actually works.

  3. Indeed android and iPhones will and do that job already. Any motorbike or car with an OBD2 port has the ability, thanks to WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and an absolute mountain of apps, either android or iOS based.

    I personally wanted to monitor the coolant temp and know at what temp the cooling fan kicked in. Faced with the fact of brackets, wiring and having sender adapters made, I stumbled across these Bluetooth and WiFi OBD2 adapters. Which will depending on the apps used, can monitor far more than a simple coolant temp task.

    I now use up to 5 apps to monitor both my car and bike, for the home tuner, the information brilliant.

    Best part is adding all the costs for the adapter and the apps, I’ve chosen to use cost less than a single 52mm electronic coolant temp gauge.

    Depending on the make, model etc of the vehicle, solely dictates which app will work and what monitoring will be available.

    My bike for instance, I can monitor AFR’s, TP MAP to which I can base mapping changes. Coolant, ambient air temps. Gear position indicators etc etc, the list does go on and on.

    The car is much the same but with oil pressure, temp. Transmission oil temps. Etc etc. I can now register a battery change.

    On both vehicles I can read code errors and reset.

    To the home tuner these are an awesome way to achieve great outcomes. Save lots of money being armed with the information that dealers and others can and do charge a fortune for.

  4. If the rumours of an Apple motorbike ever come true you can bet your life that ownership of an iphone will be mandatory and the bike will be tied into the iphone as tightly as an ipod is to itunes.

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