The Digital Dashboard on Modern Motorcycles


It's the digital switch-over in motorcycle dash form. Since motorcycle manufacturers first started dumping cable operated speedos in the late '90s and moved over to digital tachometers, dashboards have been getting smaller, lighter and more daring in their layout. But they still generally looked like conventional dashboards – until now.

To borrow a phrase from the aviation industry – BMW's HP2 Sport has a glass cockpit. And a smart one at that. There isn't a single moving part, yet it's capable of relaying far more information than any production motorcycle dash to date (I think).

So what can this dash do that a normal set of clocks can't? It has to do the basics of course, RPM and speed, and recording the motorcycle's kilometers. It also has the usual array of warning lights too; neutral, high-beam, indicators and so on but the similarities end there. You can change the dashboard's configuration by pressing a switch. And that's useful in itself.

Multiple-layouts are useful as different information is important at different times. For road riding, your speed is more important than gear position so it makes sense to be able to change this to suit, and the BMW HP2 Sport allows you to change between Road and Race configurations. In race mode things like laptime and gear position are given prominence over speed and time.
However, there's nothing to limit how many layouts are available it just depends on how much information there is to present and how it's programmed. For instance, they might display fuel consumption figures if you hold a certain speed for more than 30 seconds. Or total running time on a mechanic's service page to make servicing easier.

Lap times, good for track days or way-points. The BMW 2D dash can record up to 100 lap times, which you can then review. This is nothing new in itself. The difference is, the rider isn't forced to trigger it manually. You can buy a beacon and receiver from your BMW dealer that plugs straight in and gives you lap times accurate to within a thousandth of a second.

Programmable shift lights, several motorcycles have a shift light, but the BMW HP2's dash has eight (two amber, two green and four red ones), and you can tell the dashboard when to light each one up. So they can come one progressively or all as once. You can also adjust how bright they are.

And the BMW HP2 2D dash has many more features that we could talk about, but you better ask your BMW dealer to do that (and take the afternoon off)...
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