Switches

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I’m probably getting a little ahead of myself here, but that’s not unusual. As part of my thoughts about communications and electrics on the bike, I’ve been thinking about the PTT (push to talk) switch for a UHF radio. There’s a few options, from more permanent fixtures through to velcro-on buttons. My current radio was a wonderful investment from Aldi (not known for their communications or motorcycle accessories – but it was cheap), and it came with helmet speakers, a flexible boom mic and a PTT switch which you could velcro to the handlebars or to your finger. Either way, it wasn’t great. The finger Idea was just fiddly, since it got in the way of gloves (on the outside, not the inside), and there really wasn’t a practical place to mount it on the handlebars. A friend roughly mounted his over the standard indicator switchgear, but that was awkward, and it was still quite hard to press the button while riding. Sadly, the StarCom1 comms integrator that I’m looking at ships with the same switch.

Thankfully I’m not the first person to think of this (lets assume that goes for most things, eh?). There’s a range of after-market switches available. Most resemble a plastic “kill” switch or a cut down version of the indicator/lights/horn switchbox. The trouble with all of these is that they take up handlebar real-estate, which means that either the after-market unit or the original indicator switch is going to end up too far from your left hand to make it useful.

Some of the cleverer solutions offset the switch housing above or below the handlebars, and mount to the bars with a thin clamp – thin enough that the indicator switch is not pushed too far to the right. Another (beautiful) solution is a polished aluminium slimline switch housing. This one comes in single and double swich configurations, and is just stunning.

But the more I think about it, I reckon this one might be the best yet. It places the button right where your thumb would reach if you fully extended it, which means it’s out of the way, yet completely accessible without moving your left hand. The switch comes as an accessory for some freakish quick-shift device, which lets you change gear without easing off the throttle or touching the clutch, from what I can tell (there’s something about that which makes me not want to ask questions). It’s a shame that a simple switch like that sells for around $US100. It makes much less compelling options suddenly seem more viable. Still, I might be able to get one for less when the time comes.

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