Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Most Expensive GPS Mount...

Lately, Pardo and I have been making jokes that we've been running the most expensive bike shop in the world out of his garage. Obviously, we're being facetious, but the amount of engineering time we've put into our bikes have been enormous, and at Pardo & my billable rates, would be incredibly unprofitable if we had tried to do bicycles as a business (the average bike mechanic in our area probably makes $20 an hour, with the good ones earning as much as $40 an hour --- really good mechanics make 6-figure salaries at the BMW dealerships). At one point we had Lea building wheels in Pardo's garage, and of course, that meant that we were spending on the order of $600 of engineering time per hour. Of course, if the average bike mechanic paid as much attention to detail to our bikes as we do to ours, we'd be happy to pay $40 an hour.

Well, I recently wanted a 31.8mm space grip type mount. It turns out that all existing mounts (including my favored Nitto Lamp Holder) are designed for 25.4mm handlebars. I did, however, find the FSA Control Center mount, and bought it. To my disappointment, mounting my Garmin 76CSX on the mount was too much --- the unit shook and vibrated all the way down the road, making the display absolutely worthless.

Well, any other bike shop would have given up and told me to buy a Garmin Edge 705 instead, but the most expensive bike shop in the world does not give up that easily (after all, we're open even on Easter Sundays)! Pardo machined a couple of aluminum mounts to fit the carbon fiber rod that came with the FSA Control Center, mounted it to my bars with a couple of hose clamps, and a little bit of fiddling later, we had ourselves a working GPS mount for the 76CSX unit that works very well, and is in fact, probably overbuilt. The total weight of the mount comes up to about 150g, which is a bit on the heavy side.

Another interesting thing is that the Garmin 76CSX when turned on, disables the 2006 MHR Sigma Computer, which really surprised me --- both units are supposedly passive receivers, but I guess the circuitry in the Garmin confuses the Sigma. Not a problem, since the 76CSX contains a barometric altimeter anyway, so we're still good to go.
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