By James Parchman
[This Glpro With ATRE Aftermarket Gear Indicator Review was originally published in the March 2009 issue of Rider]
In honor of GearLab’s first Hungarian product, let’s start by mentioning several famous exports from this beautiful little country—celebrities. Consider that the original famous-for-being-famous divas (Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor), the scariest Dracula (Bela Lugosi), and our favorite Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) were all Hungarian born. Now, to our moto-product!
Motorcycle transmissions have evolved during the last half-century from three forward gears to today’s five or more. Changes in vibration or engine whine of those early bikes indicated when a rider should shift. Proper gear selection wasn’t a problem either, as a glance at the hand lever verified first gear (fully back) or high (fully forward). Things are different today. With more gears, wider powerbands, and the reduced engine noise of modern motorcycles, few riders among us have not found themselves blissfully tooling down the road, failing to make that final upshift. Some motorcycles include panel-mounted gear indicators, but most rely on the memory of their pilot to keep track of the current gear. Sometimes a scary thought!
Since a gear indicator is not included on the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom we currently ride, it seemed a good opportunity to look into an aftermarket gear indicator. HealTech Electronics’ GIpro with ATRE came highly recommended. Todd Robinson, owner of the company’s American distributor, Cal-Sportbike, was happy to ship one right out, and explain its features and installation procedure.
Clear and detailed instructions are important to we who scored poorly in rocket scientist class, and HealTech addresses this by including both a complete user’s guide and model-specific installation information. It’s plug-n-play; Robinson claiming 10 minutes, but to remove and replace the Strom’s plastic, make the appropriate connections and secure the 1-inch display pod took two people the better part of an hour.
Once connected, the GIpro should indicate the correct gear immediately. If not, it defaults into auto-learning mode that quickly accomplishes the task. We mounted the display in a location near the instrument cluster, allowing no more excuses for correct gear selection. A button on the display pod is used for changing the GIpro’s functions, including 10 levels of intensity for the gear-indicator light.
ATRE is a bonus addition to GIpro, and a feature which sets it apart from competing units such as the one made by Aucmen. For many, ATRE alone will justify the $160 retail price. ATRE = Advanced Timing Retard Eliminator; it removes the timing retard motorcycle manufacturers incorporate into a machine’s computer mapping to meet noise and emission regulations. ATRE doesn’t add more horsepower at full throttle, but claims to increase response through the gears, and disables the top-speed limiter on many motorcycles. The Strom has such a docile tune that we could not discern a difference with ATRE activated or not; we are told there is an amazing difference on higher displacement four-cylinder machines.
The GIpro with ATRE is a clever product, available for a wide variety of motorcycles, and which HealTech backs with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a two-year replacement warranty.
No plans to visit Hungary anytime soon? No problem; Cal-Sportbike is HealTech’s stocking American distributor. The name Cal is a little misleading, the company is actually located in Sagle, Idaho, a pretty spot just northeast of Spokane, Washington. Contact Robinson for the name of a local dealer or more information.
For more information contact HealTech Electronics Ltd., www.healtech-electronics.com. American Distributor: Cal-Sportbike, 589 Hart Lane, Sagle, Idaho 83860; (877) 234-5150; www.calsportbike.com