The Big Thought Exercise, Trad vs Digital.
So now the hook is set and you want to try a rallye, you've read what the old guard had to say, they point you to their buddy that has a great list of gear that these experts say you need to have and you're ready to plop down that hard earned cash. Throw all that in your cart, hit refresh, grab your ankles and say W...T...F...?
Now these guys are experts, but there has to be a better cheaper way to give this a shot you think to yourself, without breaking the bank.
Well, there is, here's a breakdown of each setup.
1. Roadbook holder,
2. Resetable ODO or trip meter,
3. CAP or GPS to display compass heading,
4. Switches to manipulate #1 and #2,
5. Bracket to mount all that gear on, preferably one that won't kill or main you if you go over the bars,
6. Tower or clamps to mount the bracket in #5, also preferably one that won't kill or main you if you go over the bars,
1. iPad or Tablet running a RB app, preferably in a waterproof case,
2. Bluetooth switchgear to manipulate the app in #1,
3. Mounting setup, as simple and robust as a 1 1/2 Ram ball and clamps.
Now lets drill down a little on the gear used, both trad and digital.
Paper Roadbook holders, $275 to XXX, these are enclosures that hold the paper roadbook, if you're lucky they will be provided in a continuous scroll, if not you'll need to cut to width and tape each piece of paper together, load that puppy in the holder so that it doesn't bind or tear, and hope like hell it doesn't get wet.
There are many makes out there, I wouldn't waste your time on anything but an electric one, unless you're also training for a finishers metal in overcoming frustration.
And those out there that will say make your own out of tupperware, for that I would just say one word, Digital. If you have more time then money or sense, knock yourself out.
I use an original cellular iPad Mini off eBay, $120, running RallyeBlitz Nav Pro, $25. Load a PDF version of the roadbook from your library of many and go, it eliminates the need for an ODO and CAP.
It also utilizes a unique and valuable feature, waypoint functionality, no trad gear on the market offers that, and it is a game changer. More on that later.
Again, many to choose from, anything from a $90 Vapor to a $425 Max-G, most will need to be calibrated and the calibration continuously maintained.
Included w/All-in-One RallyBlitz Nav Pro, not needed.
GPS or GPS and repeater, or again $425 Max-G. Oh yeah, that's not a typo, $425, and all it does is displays 3 little numbers, it's absolutely useless for anything else.
Again, included, not needed.
Most trad gear comes with usable, but less then desirable switchgear, most upgrade to better setups, $275 to $350.
5 button Bluetooth setup, $140
Mounting brackets and towers,
A couple of considerations here, with most gear you'll need a compromise between viewability and safety. Towers an be used with both trad and digital, but even the lightest trad setup cannot be mounted with Ram setups, that alone will add cost and complexity. $100's to over $1000
Roadbook holders with a couple pounds of paper, ODO, CAP and a mounting bracket will need to be hard mounted and as vibration free as possible, placed high this can be a dangerous obstruction, in fact a killer, too low and too much time will be spent taking your eyes off the terrain. Care must be taken and careful consideration given. One last thought on this is you've now dropped a lot, and I mean a lot of money on this trad gear, hard mounted to the front of your bike, in the event of even a low speed crash you can kiss some of it goodbye very quickly.
Much of that goes away with digital, at only a couple of pounds, a tablet w/case can easily be mounted with a 1 1/2" ram ball setup, stay in place through the toughest gnar, but still be able to move out of harms way in the event of a crash or your body.