MotorCycle Cruise Control – New Software Review - by Mark, Kansas, USA•
Posted on May 19 2013
In April 2013 I received an e-mail from Tony Guymer of MotorCycle Cruise Controls announcing their new software. I had been using their cruise control on my 2000 Honda ST1100 for a couple of years with good results. My riding is commuting about 40 miles each way on open highway to work, plus some Iron Butt rides. In both cases, a good cruise control really takes the “wrist pain” out of riding. The BunBurner 1500 rides – 1500 miles in 36 hours – change from unbearable to just ‘long rides’, with the cruise control engaged. The new software sounded like a promising possibility. My job as an engineering test pilot on a large business jet highlights the value of good software. Modern aircraft systems are completely software controlled. Good software makes them a joy – bad software approaches hazardous!
This all sounded good and I e-mailed Tony I would update during the winter season – Kansas USA in the winter is not good bike country – can you spell “blizzard” and “ice”??? Then Tony teased me with his exchange program. He would send a new computer charged to a credit card. When I received it I would ship my old computer back for credit, resulting in a net charge of $100 plus shipping. So for $130 I could get the updated software and not have the cruise control inoperative waiting for shipping to and from Australia. OK, let’s go for it!
Soon enough the new computer arrived. I had a good handle on how the original software worked, so let’s drop this new computer in the tail section and see how it performs. Let me skip to the conclusion – it works wonderfully! The original software worked pretty well. But, it would drop a few MPH when first engaged before it “figured out” what throttle position was required and varied a little going up and down hills – yes, we do have hills in Kansas! I have checked it all the way from its min engage speed (about 23 MPH) up to 95 MPH (short bursts on a deserted highway out in the middle of the Great Plains), plus lots of sustained of legal, 70 & 75 MPH cruising. It engages exactly spot on and no speed change on hills. I only had to “tweak” two things – (1) changed the speed increment from 1.5 KPH to 1 MPH per press of the ACC or DEC buttons and (2) changed the Acceleration Spread Adjustment from the default setting of 3 to 4 -the ST is a sport touring bike and I like the acceleration to be a little more sporty – this change worked fine with no negative effects on other aspects of the cruise control. So, am I glad I made the upgrade? You bet! Performance is stellar and having the codes (via flashing lights) available on the Control Switch panel with the new software versus only on the computer module in the old software, is a real aid on setup.
Now, for the “lesson learned”. Before I got to the “conclusion”, Tony & I exchanged some e-mails working thru one issue. When I first installed the new computer the performance was OK, but not that much better than the old software. And, the ACC function was not working well at all. At city speeds (40 MPH or less) it worked fine. But, out on the highway pressing and holding the ACC button resulted in the throttle going up, then back, then up, etc, etc until the cruise would disengage after about 5-10 seconds. And, if the ACC button was momentarily pressed to step the speed higher, it would disengage after the fourth press. If I reinstalled the old computer, the ACC worked just fine – ruled out throttle cable problems, etc. What??? Tony & Frank had me check the wheel speed magnets to see if they all had the same polarity – didn’t matter which polarity, just so they were all the same. I had some rare earth, super strong magnets so I took one and guess what? One magnet was opposite polarity from the rest. I absolutely know they were correct when I installed the system two years ago. Finally figured out that when I had a new rear tire installed the shop probably got a wrench too close to one of the magnets and “sucked” it out of the rear brake disc socket head bolt that holds the magnet. Swapped the magnet, reinstalled the new software and hit the road for another test ride. Worked like a champ and far better than the old software. As Tony explained, the new software is much, much more precise than the old software. However, it is not tolerant of mixed speed magnets. Moral is: when you install the new software, and every time you have work performed on your wheel with the speed sensor magnets in it, make sure none of the magnet polarities get swapped.
Would I buy the new software again? Based on the performance on my ST1100, I would not hesitate for a second to do the upgrade.
People have commented on how much “stuff” you can put on an ST1100, but where do you put it? I can validate that the ST tail section has enough room (but no more) to hold a Centech fuse block, a power relay, an Autocom Pro intercom (don’t mess with Bluetooth if you want to really have good comm.) and the MotorCycle cruise control. It’s crowded, but it all fits as in the picture. The Centech and power relay are under the Autocom box.
Here is the bike which a friend custom painted for me with black pearl. I had the metal work gold powder coated, but I have gone back to basic silver – looks better. The “duckheads” are due to my involvement in the non-profit organization Ducks Unlimited as the Kansas State Chair. It also now has a Delkovic carbon exhaust system – looks great and it no longer sounds like a well insulated washing machine! 65,000+ miles and going strong!