Taking the Ultimateaddons Tough IPX5 Case for the Samsung Galaxy S8+ tough mount case in Scotland on part of the iconic NC500 route.
Setup was Samsung Galaxy S8+ mounted on a KTM 990SM via the handlebar clamp bolt mounting attaching and 25mm to 3 prong adapter powered via the waterproof hardwire charging kit.
The route was Ullapool to Applecross down the west coast part of the NC500 route and i would arguably say the best riding part and then back up the same route, i had planned to go down to Isle of Skye but the road was blocked due to landslides so that put an end to that.
I set the Waze i normally use TomTom Mobile on the Galaxy S8+ and left a very bleak Ullapool and headed south down to to Corrieshalloch Gorge, a nice view point just west of the gorge. The roads were a bit greasy with a bit of rain but not enough to give them a proper clean. Stopping off at the view point to take the obligatory photo, i was attacked, by a hored of tiny wee savage creatures that anyone who rides in the west of Scotland will know all to well as the EVIL MIDGES. There is not many things worse than midges getting inside your helmet. Anyway back to the Samsung Galaxy S8+, it is a big phone and for that the screen is very easy to see, when riding you are not constantly looking at the phone as your riding but it is very handy to be able to glance down and double check your route. The cockpit of the KTM 990SM is very small so the case does look big but put it on the 1290 and the case does not. However when you are riding the clocks are not blocked by the case, the picture above is not the best simply due to the KTM being so tall as your riding position you are much higher. I was wearing my summer Alpinestars gloves which work fine through the touchscreen but my winter gloves wont as not enough static passes through. After changing my Spotify to "walking like a bad ass" i headed off riding with my visor open for a few miles to try and free myself from the grip of the midgies feasting on my face. Listening to music while i ride has been something i have been doing since i passed my test, gets me into the zone / groove and helps me concentrate. Some say its a distraction but i don't think so, I use ear plugs to block the majority of wind noise and have in helmet speakers. I am yet to find a company that make comfy speakers, I wear a Shoei ADV motorcycle helmet that has fairly deep cut outs but i do find that they still feel a little soar after a long ride.
The ride over the Fain (A832) was great fun, the road offers long straights and sweeping bends but you do have to be careful as there are a lot of people that go hill walking and cars can be parked fairly close to the road. The end of the straight drops down into the woods where the road can be a tad bit slippery with leaves. You pass several little places and you can stop at Dundonnel Hotel to get petrol, yeah the hotel has petrol pumps at the other side of the road. There is another cracking view point on the right as your leaving Dundonnel, i forget all the little place names in between.
Once you leave the layby this is where the road really gets good, there are some sweeping bends where visibility is good and you can get the bike properly cranked over. Once you pass the lovely sandy beach at Gruinard there is another cracking view point just on the right as you head up this rather steep hill. The image below is taken using a GoPro Hero 5 mounted on a chest harness so a pretty low perspective, a cracking set of bends are just over the top of this hill before you get the second coasts where it straightens off.
As you can see from the Galaxy S8+ screen the waze satnav app is pretty basic but gives you a pretty clear view of the road ahead however im still leaning toward TomTom for being the better of the apps.
Moving on a fair bit, leaving Gairloch is one of my favourite bits of single track, its sort but its very tight and twisty and shock horror ive just been told its getting upgraded to be two way :-(. I love this bit of road its were the 990sm was so light and flick able it always puts a smile on my face. The single track roads were one of the main reasons i went from a Kawazaki ZX10R to the KTM. As the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is mounted onto a 25mm ball head it is easy enough to go from portrait to landscape and vise versa, simply slacken off the nut and adjust.
It was at this point my GoPro battery decided to die on me.
Stopping at Kinlochewe for some petrol and a bacon roll :-) Free Wifi access here, has to be for the price of the bacon roll but i used this time to check emails and facebook on the Galaxy S8 plus to let the wife know how i was getting on as the weather had turned pretty nasty back in Ullapool. That is one of the great thing about mounting your phone to your bike you can charge it as you ride so your battery is never low. You are going to be taking your phone with you regardless so in my eyes you might as well use it.
Moving on to one of the best parts of the route is the Kinlochewe to Applecross on the A896, this road is simply awe inspiring, i remember the first time i rode it was simply stunned at how beautiful the area is. The road is mainly single track and the surface is not great until Torridon but the views make up for that, you will be panning left and right a lot looking at the mountains either side.
It keeps getting better and better as you get ready to ride up the Bealach Na Ba (pass of the cattle) the road the goes up to Applecross. Again the road surface is not great and expect to have a fair bit of gravel in the middle so ride left of middle and try and not cut across the middle of the road much.
I have owned this KTM 990SM for 7 years, the longest i have ever kept any bike, i did not find anything in that time that would make me think about trading her in. She is not everyone's tastes but the best road bike i have ever owned, especially for riding in the highlands. The backdrop from the Bealach Na Ba is simply stunning, photo taken just off one of the laybys.
While road testing the case I was also testing the new 25mm to 3 prong adapter that will make it much quicker to remove your case from your bike. A little sneak peak of the new adapter is below.
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