What it’s like to use Android Auto on a motorcycle – Roadshow

Does a smartphone make a sensible bike even higher?

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Through the years, since its introduction within the early 1970s, the Honda Gold Wing has change into the unlikely venue for some early bike deployments of novel applied sciences, all the things from airbags to built-in GPS navigation. For a motorcycle typically thought of to be a bit stodgy, the Wing has been fairly progressive on the options facet. That continues with the newest mannequin, which was already the primary two-wheeled machine to supply Apple CarPlay on its 7-inch LCD. Now it is opened its doorways to the opposite walled backyard of smartphone expertise: Android, and Android Auto.

House owners of any current-gen Honda Gold Wing — 2018 or newer — are eligible for a free replace that was launched this summer season. It is taken a couple of months, however I’ve lastly had an opportunity to tether my machine and see simply what it is like to make use of Google’s first main foray into automotive interfaces whereas on two wheels.

I am already an enormous fan of Android Auto, having spent far an excessive amount of on an early aftermarket stereo so as to add it to my Subaru, however I confess I by no means discovered myself desirous to have it when out driving on my Triumph. After all, the Gold Wing is a really completely different bike than a Velocity Triple. The fashionable Gold Wing, regardless of being ridiculously fast and surprisingly nimble at velocity, is all about protecting huge miles. Whereas I am the type who usually enjoys getting misplaced on my two-wheeled journeys, have been I performing some critical touring I’d for positive need the facility of Google Maps serving to me discover my approach.

So, with combined emotions I booted up the ‘Wing, slotted my telephone into the central compartment, plugged in a USB Sort-C cable and… obtained completely nowhere. Android Auto requires a Bluetooth headset to work, one thing I’ve built-in into my helmet. Nonetheless, to make use of Android Auto on the Gold Wing, that headset should be paired to the bike, to not the telephone.

Honda assures me that is how Gold Wing homeowners are used to doing issues and I can admire that, however coming in chilly it was a little bit of a frustration to must unpair and re-pair.


YouTube Music, meet Honda Gold Wing.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

This finished, I reconnected my telephone and, presto, Android Auto popped up on the bike’s central show identical to on the Honda Civic Type R I used to be testing on the similar time. Nonetheless, the place Honda’s bewinged scorching hatch provides a collection of driver help choices like adaptive cruise management and lane-keeping help, the Gold Wing is inherently a bit extra hands-on in operation. I used to be subsequently a bit extra cautious in utilizing Android Auto whereas transferring.

Interplay is dealt with by a sequence of buttons on the left grip, a big joysticklike controller located just under the display screen or by way of voice. Voice after all is the most secure approach, however success there relies upon largely on the standard of the noise cancellation offered by your headset. Mine, apparently, was lower than the duty, and no quantity of yelling obtained poor Google Assistant to do what I requested. Once more, although, blame the headset, not the bike.

I as a substitute relied on the thumb controller, as taking both hand off the bars to fiddle with the joystick appeared like a extremely unhealthy concept. On this approach, Android Auto was completely usable, identical to on any automobile that lacks a touchscreen. Nonetheless, I made some extent of conserving my interactions quick. Although the Gold Wing is a remarkably straightforward factor to journey regardless of its girth, when driving I’ve come to deal with each object on or close to the highway as if it desires to kill you, and it is onerous to maintain one eye in your foes whereas the opposite is biking by Spotify playlists.


Your selection of inputs, however I might positively advocate sticking with the D-pad on the left grip.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

These tunes stream simply by the Gold Wing’s built-in sound system, which is highly effective sufficient to make me drop the quantity when cruising by my neighbors. Faucet a button and the Wing redirects the audio to your headset when you’d moderately. And certainly, I’d moderately.

After per week of driving round on this huge Gold Wing I used to be left satisfied that Android Auto is unquestionably a pleasant factor to have, as utilizing your telephone to get you to your subsequent lodge is quite a bit simpler than manually punching locations into the bike’s personal nav system. And, with CarPlay additionally on board, you are now lined no matter your selection of telephone.

Once more, Android Auto compatibility is a free replace in case you have a contemporary Gold Wing, so there is no motive to not add it. That mentioned, please be actually, actually cautious when making use of both. Although each techniques have been designed to maintain from distracting you, it is all too straightforward to let your eyes linger when pondering which podcast to play subsequent. Take into account it yet one more threat to be managed when experiencing the enjoyment of motorcycling.

#Android #Auto #bike #Roadshow


Tim Stevens