Friday, February 21, 2014

Doran TPMS

I was excited when I learned that Honda was including tire pressure monitoring (TPMS) on the 2012 Goldwing ABS that I purchased in 2011. I was less excited when I learned that the system only alerts you when a tire is low, and does not inform you which tire is low. In addition, there is no indication of the actual pressure inside the tire. Yet another oversight by Mother Honda. I suppose the factory TPMS is better than nothing, but it is far from elegant. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to install, video, and review the TPMS from Doran, I was pretty stoked.

Included in the Doran system is the monitor, which is a bit bulky, but feels and looks to be very well made. The monitor is the only piece of the puzzle that must be wired to the bike's electrical system. Basically, it is a receiver that monitors the two wireless transmitters and an LCD screen to display alerts and other information. A remote flashing alert light is also included. The kit includes two wireless transmitters that can be mounted either inside the tire using the provided replacement steel valve stems, or outside in place of your plastic valve stem caps. If your motorcycle has rubber or plastic valve stems, Doran recommends that you replace them with the provided steel valve stems before installing the transmitters.

The kit includes everything you need for a successful installation on virtually any motorcycle. A mounting ring and base plate are provided for motorcycles with round handlebars. Or, the monitor can be mounted using double-sided tape to any flat surface. There is also an external low tire pressure alert light that can be mounted anywhere allowing you to mount or store the main monitor out of site, say, in a saddlebag or glove box. Of course, you would only be alerted when a tire drops below a specified pressure, but then you could pull over and retrieve the monitor for additional information.

A well-written and illustrated user guide is included along with cable ties, alcohol wipes, etc.

INSTALLATION

If your motorcycle has rubber valve stems, or even valve stems with rubber mounts, they should be replaced with the steel ones included in the kit. The transmitters are just heavy enough to cause your rubber stems to flex and wear when the bike is being ridden. The transmitters can be mounted inside the tire, or on the outside replacing the valve stem cap. Of course, if you choose to mount them inside your tires, you will need to break down the tire so that you can replace the valve stems and install the transmitters. CAUTION if you use any sort of stop leak gel or liquid in your tires, this could ruin a transmitter. I use DynaBeads in my tires for dynamic balancing, and have never had a problem with the factory TPMS, so I assume there would be no problem with the Doran.

Doran transmitters

Since my 2012 Goldwing has factory TPMS, I already have solid metal 90ยบ valve stems, I was able to simply remove my valve stem caps and screw on the Doran transmitters. Each transmitter has a unique 3-digit number code that must be used when you program the monitor. This is how the Doran monitor is able to distinguish between the front and rear tire.

The first step for me was to decide how and where I was going to mount the monitor. I decided to mount it using 3M hook & loop fastener which is stronger than Velcro and waterproof. Of course, you could use double-sided tape, but that is more permanent. I mounted the Doran monitor to a bracket which I made that mounts to the top of my clutch reservoir. There are plenty of aftermarket brackets that would work perfectly. A less elegant installation would be to simply stick the monitor to your fairing, not my idea of a good install. Another option is to install the monitor inside the glove box and mount the small red remote alert light in plain view. If you are alerted to a low tire, then you could pull over, pull the monitor out of the glove box and see which tire is low.

I wired the Doran monitor to the ACC terminals on my fuse box so that the monitor is only ON when the bike is on or in the ACC mode. There is no need for the monitor to be drawing power when the bike is turned off. I ran the wire along the left side of the bike up through the left glove box then up the left handlebar post to my bracket. I used cable ties to secure the wire to other wires. However, a simple installation could be to wire the monitor to the ACC power under the left glovebox.

Next, I installed the two transmitters on the valve stems. I did not install the remote red alert light for reasons that I will mention later. The monitor includes a red low-tire warning light, so the external warning light is really redundant when you mount the monitor where it is visible. However, if you were to mount the monitor in your trunk, or glove box, then the external lamp would be useful.

A cleaner installation would be to have the sensors installed inside the tires using the provided steel valve stems. However, that would require me to trash my factory TPMS, so the external mounting was my choice. If you do not have a factory TPMS, you could easily have the new valve stems installed with your next tire change and have the sensors mounted inside the tires.

The kit comes with some sensor "locks" which are rings that can be mounted to the valve stems to prevent someone from stealing your sensors.

One more thing to note: the transmitters are heavy enough that I suspect they could throw your wheels out of balance. I use DynaBeads in my tires, so this was not an issue.

Note for trike owners: Doran makes a system specifically for trikes.

PROGRAMMING

The user guide does an excellent job of explaining how to program the monitor, so I will not go into the details here. You basically enter the 3-digit codes for each transmitter so that the monitor knows which tire is the front and which is the rear. Then, you can program the base PSI for each tire. Doran recommends that you use the factory recommended tire pressure, however, I keep my tires at 41/41, so that is what I entered. Whenever the pressure in one of the tires drops by 12% of the base pressure, a red "low tire" light will flash on the monitor. If you connect the remote alert light, it will also flash. In addition, the LCD will display the pressure and which tire is low. Very cool.


CRUISEMAN'S TIP

You can increase the battery life of the sensors (if you mount them externally), by removing them during extended periods when you are not riding your motorcycle. The sensors go into a "sleep" mode when they are not depressing a valve core, this saves battery life!

WHAT I LIKE

  • Very well made
  • Easy to install
  • Monitor lets you see the actual pressure in each tire
  • Monitor alerts you when a tire is too low
  • 2-stage alert system

WHAT I DON'T LIKE

  • Monitor is thick and a little bulky
  • Buttons on monitor are hard to press with gloves on
  • Batteries in transmitters cannot be replaced*
*Doran claims the batteries are expected to last 3 to 4 years.

SUMMARY


The Doran TPMS system is everything the factory TPMS should be. Even if you have a Honda factory TPMS, the Doran is worth the investment. If you do not have factory TPMS, it is a no-brainer.

For more information on the Doran TPMS, go to http://www.doranmfg.com/motorcycle-tire-pressure-monitoring-systems.htm






Reactions:

6 comments:

  1. It alarms at 5 lbs loss of air? I think I would want to know before that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael, tire pressure can fluctuate 2-3 lbs just from temperature changes, so any less than 5lbs could cause unnecessary alarms. I keep my tires set at 41psi, so even at 36, the tires are well within spec.

      Delete
  2. Isn't the front tire supose to be at 36psi and back at 42? Just asking

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on the tires you are running, but I have always run 41/41 in my Bridgestones and had very good results.

      Delete
  3. Honda now recommends running your front tire at 40 psi to avoid the cupping the front tires was having at only 36 psi for the front tires.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

    ReplyDelete