RiderScan - A Different View Of The World
This initial version of the product really needs a fairly upright screen to fit to although a version for sportsbikes is in development as we speak in spring 2012.
What is it? Well it's claimed to be a blind-spot eliminator or at least offer a greater view of what may be alongside and beyond the range of your standard bike mirrors (depending on how you have them angled naturally).
It retails for about £35 and so it doesn't require a massive investment, nor much of a technician to fit as it is basically a stick-on mirror.
Busy urban rider Guiliano (Julian) was offered the chance to try it and since he often works around St James's in the city he was a perfect guinea pig. Here is his report:
Fitting (Piaggio X9 500 Evolution)
With a nice high and wide screen there was an obvious place to stick the Riderscan and I decided to place it level with the large mirrors. I was tempted to place it high up but was concerned this might be too distracting – a decision I think this was a wise choice with hindsight.
I was initially impressed with how easy it was to adjust the fitting to get a good contact with the screen but quickly realised that once adhered to the screen, it would be impossible to get a tool on the four adjuster screws so I needed to get the adjustment right before placing the sticky pads on the screen. Fortunately, I got the adjustment right, but it could have caused problems, especially if I had not got the adjustment for the curve of the screen right.
Once in place the Riderscan is unobtrusive and (carefully mounted) doesn't get in the way of any controls or views of instruments etc.
Wow! What an impressive clear wide view! The positioning on the X9 means the Riderscan is about 600mm from the eyes. The rider's body takes up about a third of the view (may vary with rider's build) and the remaining two thirds gives a view of what is alongside and just behind the rider.
On the move, the Riderscan is very still – no sign of vibration which on a 500 single can be problem with the regular mirrors. The mirrors fitted to the Evolution models are large and wide and give an excellent view across a wide field, but the Riderscan complemented this well. It didn't cover any of the area shown by the regular mirrors, there being no overlap, but there was still a small blindspot between the Riderscan and regular mirror coverage. This coverage of course depends on your mounting location and to a greater extent the bike you ride.
On The Road
Gosh! The view is fantastic! My first ride was on a glorious sunlit evening and the Riderscan showed the world flying past and the clear blue sky. It also showed me, and due to the convex surface of the mirror, looking very thin!
Initially I found the Riderscan very distracting. As my eyes dropped to the speedo they tended to linger on the Riderscan and I found I was become less aware of my speed. This only lasted for the first few journeys though when I stopped finding it a distraction.
I also stopped finding it a help.
As the Riderscan is located inside the field of view of the bike mirrors from the riders point of view, it is hard for the brain to work out where things you see in the Riderscan actually are. For example, if you scan from right to left across your mirrors you see behind your right shoulder, alongside your right shoulder, alongside your left shoulder and then behind your left shoulder. The Riderscan also only really shows you what you would see with a 10 degree or so movement of the head and is not a replacement for a full shoulder check.
After three days of commuting I found I wasn't really using the Riderscan at all. However, by my second week of use I found I was starting to use it more, but only in very limited situations. For example, when stationary at lights in central London it was useful for monitoring cyclists and other bikes coming alongside or cutting in front as the lights change. It also can be useful on very congested dual carriageways when you need to quickly see what is going on around you, but I have not found it a general replacement for proper shoulder checks when changing lanes or turning.
Is it any good? Yes, with limitations. It can be distracting so take care when you first have it fitted. It is cheap and easy to fit, so worth considering. It is also a very effective diet aid – it took about five stone off me!
So as promised this product gives a view of areas outside the regular view of standard mirrors, just how useful this view is given how quick and natural it would be to just glance to either side (as opposed to looking at the Riderscan) is going to be to the individual rider.
As I said at the beginning there is another version in development (see below) although offering this up to my Triumph 675 any new version would have to be smaller and offer far more adjustment to be practical to mount on a sportsbike.
But for the scooter crew buzzing around London, dodging other riders and cyclists, I can see this being £35-£40 well spent to be honest.
Check it out here.
LB Score = 8/10
Can't hold the distraction factor against it, nor the limited view bearing in mind that a wide view would show objects so small to be pointless. However it is a big old thing and this will limit it's mounting options for most bikes I think.
Revised (from 7 to 8) after communications with the manufacturer because there is a sports bike mounting kit and indeed a handlebar mounting kit for those without windscreens, both of which appear to make this product more accessible and increase the mounting options.
Looking at the images supplied Hunter Create Ltd have suggested that this Riderscan has been mounted too low - on their website they do suggest that another person aids with the installation to help avoid blindspots. Stephen Hunter also cautioned against tightening the mounting unnecessarily tight as this hinders adjusting it on the move.
The sports market is now catered for by a different mounting kit but using the same basic device; the mounting kit positions the Riderscan on the top of your windscreen rather than behind it (where room is limited) and retails for £20.39 (find it once you select to Buy the Riderscan).