Shinya Kimura’s lo-tech navigation system

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Riding across the country on a 1915 Indian as part of the Motorcycle Cannonball, a modern satellite navigation system wouldn’t just be out of place, it’d be against the rules. So Shinya Kimura, a motorcycle builder that re-imagines the past’s future to create his own custom bike reality, cooked up this simple navigation device and mounted it on his handlebars.

Along the same ideas as a modern road book — a spool of paper connected to the odometer that spins as you rack up mileage, common in The Dakar and other rallies — Shinya assembled this device out of an old first aid kit and a couple of dowels.

Every morning, he tapes together sheets of paper with the day’s directions on them, then wraps those sheets around the spools. Spinning the end of the dowels where they poke out of the metal box progresses the direction.

The Cannonball rules do allow for an odometer, so comparing the mileage on the paper to that on the bike keeps him on course.

via Chabott Engineering

  • Patrick from Astoria

    Denis Jenkinson used something almost identical to this when he navigated Stirling Moss to the epic ’55 Mille Miglia win:

    And isn’t this just the handwritten version of what you get out of Google Maps directions? Good stuff.

    • CG

      Good job, my immediate thought also. Useless for me, I ride with my contacts and putting my reading glasses on every time I look down to read my map would be…um, dangerous?

  • caferacer

    It’s a roadbook, albeit a cooler looking one then what you find on the (not in) Dakar rally bikes.
    It’s not far off from what enduro and dual sport riders use either.
    Few of them are as cool steampunkish looking as this one is.

  • robotribe

    Hey, that’s my neck of the concrete woods in those directions. Route 66 trip?

  • T Diver

    Do they have any Cannonball races with street bikes? That look fun.

  • pplassm

    It’s just a roll chart holder, people. Enduro riders have been using them for 60 years.

    I have two.

  • Steve516

    “It’s just a roll chart holder, people. Enduro riders have been using them for 60 years.

    I have two.”

    Ditto – nothing rare or special about this. I would guess that he did not have the time to order one, or decided it would be better to make one. It should have some sort of cover (clear plastic) to keep mud, rain, dirt, etc from munging up your notes and or the mechanism.