Have you ever had something unexpected happen in front of you while you glanced down at your speedometer or GPS? If you have, you understand that the fraction of a second you look away from the road can have dramatic negative consequences, and as a direct result, you also understand that shortening the time away from looking ahead at the road would be a good thing. This is the beauty of head-up displays (HUD) which are, in their most basic sense, a translucent display which allows the rider to view information without needing to look away from the road. The NUVIZ head-up display (HUD), the first HUD built specifically for motorcycling and is our choice for Best Motorcycle Product of 2017.
The NUVIZ unit attaches to the chin bar of a rider’s helmet, placing the translucent optical prism housing slightly below the rider’s right eye. Having the location of the prism below the main field of vision keeps it from obstructing the view, yet it allows the use a virtual screen which appears to float about 13 feet ahead. Compared to the traditional location of instruments on the motorcycle dash or handlebar, the amount of eye movement and refocusing required to view the screen is minimal – and this is the real benefit of a HUD.
The NUVIZ chin bar-mounted unit pairs with a handlebar remote, and the engineers have created a consistent visual language for controlling the device with just four buttons and a toggle. Riders can view a speedometer (that is more accurate than the one on their motorcycle) and a GPS map with posted speed limits on many roads plus music and incoming call information – all without taking eyes off the road. The NUVIZ unit also has a built-in camera for recording videos and stills with the push of a handlebar button, but although these features are well-implemented, they are secondary to the HUD functions.
NUVIZ impressed us with its implementation of HUD technology for motorcyclists. The visual display of information is something we miss when not riding with the unit. The functionality is good for a first-generation product, and other features, such as Bluetooth communication between devices, can come in the future via firmware updates. The video function is good for riders who like to record dashcam footage of their commutes or videos of interesting roads.
Being fans of technology, we always thought that HUDs and motorcycling would be a good mix, and the NUVIZ is a well put together proof-of-concept. We look forward to watching the product evolve through firmware updates and further hardware refinements. Although the NUVIZ’s $699 price tag (with shipping included in the U.S.) puts it in the realm of luxury items, technologically minded riders will find the NUVIZ HUD to be an integral part of their riding kit. For these reasons, and more, we chose NUVIZ as our MO Best Motorcycle Product of 2017.
Yes, an electric vest, riding technology that is old as the hills, is our runner up in the MO Best Motorcycle Product of 2017 selections. However, a piece of gear doesn’t always need to incorporate the latest high-technology to be award-worthy. The Airvantage Electric Vest takes a clever approach to an age-old problem encountered by riders who use electric gear: namely, how to make the electric gear transfer its heat to the rider more efficiently.
As with most other electric gear, the Airvantage is constructed with a nylon liner that holds the wiring for the heating element. Normally, that would be covered by some fiber-fill insulation or fleece that would be sandwiched between the windstopper and the nylon. In the case of the Airvantage, an air bladder provides the insulation. Additionally, the bladder presses the wire heating elements into more uniform contact with the rider, minimizing hot and cold spots and allowing for more efficient transfer of warmth to the rider’s torso. Since the sections of the bladder are all connected, it applies uniform pressure on the rider which can be tuned to the rider’s preferences by varying the air volume in the bladder through an easy-to-use inflation tube. The vest’s fit is comfortable and is cut higher in the front and lower in the rear for optimal fit in the seated position. The heating element in the collar is a nice addition. The vest comes with a built-in pocket for storage in a tank bag or saddlebag.
However, it is the clever use of the air bladder that makes the $247 Airvantage Electric Vest stand above other gear we’ve tested in 2017, making it our MO Honorable Mention Best Motorcycle Product of 2017.