In late July 2015 I started a project to make my motorcycle a connected motorcycle. I have an older bike that doesn't have an app from the factory or telemetry analysis like some of these race teams and new bikes have so I wanted to make something for it.
I decided I would define it for myself and just make something cool to compliment my bike and the rides I go on.
Self driving cars and "smart city" infrastructure weren't on my mind. I wanted to record performance data from my bike and see what, if anything, I could do to analyze it and learn about my riding style.
It's an older bike, a 2007 still the newest vehicle I own, it has no OBD2 or anything. Without converting to a standalone ECU, data collection from the bike's computer that it does have isn't really possible.
I try to do more with less and do whatever I can with what I do have. I used a DIY Arduino sensor and bluetooth shield, made an app to record data from it as well as internal phone sensors and mounted it to my bike with a portable USB battery.
To be honest, at the time it was the coolest thing I'd ever done. It combined everything in my life into one massive project. Maybe I need bigger goals in my life but either way it was the coolest thing I'd ever made.
Cool. But it wasn't great. The app worked but it needed help in every way possible.
It eventually simply didn't live up to my standards. Once that "new app smell" wore off and even after some improvements, it was so bad I eventually retired that version of the app without a replacement and started working on an Engine Simulation Virtual Dyno app.
But I knew the connected motorcycle wasn't gone forever. I had rushed development, I should've done things differently, I made mistakes and "wasted" more than a year. I know I just said "it was the coolest thing I ever made" 😂 it's complicated okay?
Experience is rarely cheap. But the first version gave me a chance to learn and experiment. I had the chance to learn what I did wrong and what I did right.
I let it kick around for awhile as an idea and I spent a solid year just trying different ideas from what I learned from the first app before starting on the actual next version in late 2017. I was already 2+ years into the project.
It took another year of actually working on it but in October 2018 I very quietly launched a beta version of the new Connected Motorcycle app and in March 2019 I changed the name from RideData.net to MOTOrift.com (pronounced MOTO - rift in your best monster truck announcer voice).
I split everything up into multiple apps and it's a platform I plan to build on. For the moment, I (temporarily) ditched the bluetooth external sensors and just focused on making the most out of the internal phone sensors. It records and analyzes gps data for stats like 1/4 mile times, 0–60 times and in depth data viewing and analysis for any location on your ride.
Instead of one app crammed full of everything I made a couple different ones. There's an app to record GPS and your "motion profile" from gravity (IMU) data and other apps to use and analyze the data. I did that because I plan to have a separate recording app once the next version of the external sensor side of the project is ready, with a shared data viewing app.
I'm also fusing the Engine Simulation app I'm working on together with it so you can get more analysis of your high performance vehicle.
The goal I started with was to make a motorcycle and high performance vehicle app that would work without OBD2 and without any bluetooth or external sensors, but the phone you already carry with you, and add in features as I go.
Without a good base app why bother with an external bluetooth connected sensor? That was the conclusion I had to come to terms with but I do have another project in the works with an external sensor for better accuracy than what a phone can provide.
I wish I could say there's a team of people working on this app but it's just me. I've made some mistakes along the way for sure and I'm still working on making fresh new and improved mistakes to learn from 😆
That's sorta where I'm at with it all, as of now.
When I launched the first version it seemed like some people thought the idea or direction of the app was cool but wanted a better app overall. I'm hoping this new version delivers on that but it is still in 'beta test' mode.
We all start somewhere and four years after I launched the first version of RideData I'm finally starting all over again with the idea in the form of MOTOrift. If you've read to here, thank you! I hope you'll stick around and see how the apps turn out, I appreciate any and all feedback.