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HealTech GIpro Gear Indicator

HealTech Gear Indicator Pro With Gear Advanced Timing Retard Eliminator

HealTech Gear Indicator Pro With Advanced Timing Retard Eliminator
wBW Owner Report
by Simon H. for webBikeWorld.com
Photos by Simon Holywell and Courtesy of Healtech

More:  wBW Reviews Home  |  Owner Comments (Below)

Introduction
When I bought my latest motorcycle, a Cagiva Raptor, it was a jump up going from a 600cc in-line four to a litre V-Twin and the completely different engine characteristics often left me wondering what gear I was in.

This tended to manifest itself in my search for a non-existent seventh gear when cruising along the highway.  I also found this a little unnerving when preparing to overtake a slower vehicle on country roads so I quickly realised that a gear position indicator would help to improve my confidence on the new bike and aid me in adapting to it more easily.

HealTech of Hungary are probably best known for the SpeedoHealer speedometer calibration device they build for most modern motorcycles, but they also make gear position indicators, timing retard eliminators and an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) interface reader for Suzuki motorcycles.

The subject of this review, the HealTech GIpro with ATRE (Advanced Timing Retard Eliminator), is a combination of two products: a gear position indicator and a Timing Retard Eliminator or TRE. 

The TRE aspect of the indicator was my prime motivating factor in selecting the HealTech product over making my own indicator or perhaps looking at the similar offerings from Acumen and BikeTronix.

Another option would have been to get a TRE separately such as a Nikko G-Pack or make one, but it quickly becomes more expensive than the HealTech product not to mention taking up more space on the bike.

HealTech GIpro - Mounted on Cagiva

Features of the HealTech GIpro With ATRE
The HealTech GIpro has either a red or blue single digit display protected by a layer of Plexiglas, which is about one inch high, making it is easy to read at a glance.  But it can be quite hard to find somewhere to mount it on an unfaired bike like mine.

There is a light sensor built into the indicator to allow it to automatically dim or brighten the display depending upon the level of ambient light and this can also be further adjusted to suit you using the button on the base of the display.  In practice, this means that the illumination is reduced during the night time and increased during the day to ensure it is always readable and at the same time not causing too much glare.

Of course, the main function of the indicator is the fast and accurate display of the currently engaged gear, which is achieved by directly reading the motorcycles gearbox sensor.  Whilst it comes pre-programmed, if you do find that it is regularly displaying the incorrect gear information then you can put it into an auto learning mode and train it where the gears actually are.

It is, as you would expect, completely waterproof although HealTech do not recommend using high pressure water washing equipment near it, which you probably will not be doing anyway as it is likely to be fitted right by your steering head bearings! 

If the bike suffers from battery failure or a loss of charge then the GIpro has a flash memory store so that none of the custom settings are lost.

Finally, the GIpro also includes an automatic ignition timing retard eliminator with the aim of smoothing out the throttle response and releasing more power from the engines low and mid range in gears one through four.  It achieves this by essentially tricking the engine into thinking it is in sixth gear no matter the gear that is actually engaged whilst automatically accounting for the idle map when the bike is in neutral.

HealTech give you the option to choose which gear's mapping you want to use as the base map for the rest of the gears, but they will recommend the best option for your bike.

HealTech GIpro Parts
The HealTech GIpro unit (Photo courtesy HealTech).

Fitting the GIpro
The device comes in a small box with a few cable ties, a couple of stickers, some Velcro tape and the all-important manual, which contains very helpful and thorough installation instructions for your bike.  It comes with connectors that are the same as the original equipment on the bike so there is no splicing of wires or soldering required during the installation.

As you can see in the photos there is simply a male connector and a female connector, which go in between the connectors already fitted to your bike.  There is also a third wire included in the harness that needs to be connected to power for the gear position indicator to light up.

Also, I am not sure if it was just my unit but there was a very strong petro-chemical smell from the display and the box which took quite sometime to go away after fitment.

Completing the installation is a very simple and trouble-free affair as one might expect with only three external connections required to the bikes wiring harness.

Once you have worked out where you would like the unit to be located it is a simple matter of routing the cables down behind the headlight or fairing and through to the gear box sensor's cable connection. 

Separating the aforementioned connectors then allows you to easily plug the GIpro in between them.  This then only leaves the red power wire which needs to be hooked up to a source of positive twelve volt (the ground is sourced from the bikes gear box sensor connectors).

Once connected to the power, the GIpro will light up for a moment before entering sleep mode until the bike is started.  I settled on a location between the top yoke and the handlebar mountings where it is partially obscured but perfectly readable.

HealTech GIpro Gear Indicator in Action

Operation and Gear Indication
When the bike is first started, the display will automatically come out of sleep mode and indicate a zero for neutral and as you would expect, when you move off and go through the gears it instantly updates with the selected gear.

Whilst moving, the large screen is very easy to read at a glance and it soon became a very handy addition to the bikes instruments without being distracting.

The gear position indicator will automatically adjust the brightness of the display so that it can be read in all light conditions, which is a brilliant addition to limit glare in the night time.  I found the default brightness settings were perfect for me, but for those who wish to customise it, the sensitivity can be adjusted through the button under the display.

The GIpro responds to gear changes very quickly, but I did notice that mine could sometimes be fooled into thinking that second gear was selected even though the bike was really in first gear.  This only seemed to happen as I moved from first to second and back to first whilst stationary when parking the bike or sometimes at very slow speed.

As mentioned before though, if it does not perform correctly then it can easily be taught using the auto learning functionality.  Performing the additional calibration is a trivially easy task by placing the unit into learning mode and then running through the gearbox whilst stationary.

Automatic Timing Retard Eliminator
As an additional benefit, the GIpro incorporates an ignition timing retard eliminator or TRE to increase and smooth out power delivery in the first four gears.

Activation of this feature is also completed through the button under the display, which for my bike meant setting it to use the 6th gear map.  It certainly helped to reduce the worst of the on-off power delivery provided by the V-Twin when negotiating slow turns in first and second gears.

There is also a noticeable increase in the midrange power when preparing to overtake, but I should also point out that there are fast road cans and a performance air filter also fitted to the bike.  Their presence may be advantageous or detrimental to the additional power unlocked by the TRE however there is no way of telling without a dynamometer.

The automatic aspect of the TRE means that the mappings for the ignition are not affected when the bike is in neutral and I did not notice any problems with having the TRE activated during cold or hot starts.  In fact, the usual running of the bike was not affected at all, but HealTech state in the manual that to comply with local regulations, presumably emissions related, the TRE should not be used on public roads.

Overall I was very impressed by the improvements the timing retard eliminator made to my bike and I particularly enjoyed the increase in smoothness during slow turning manoeuvres.

HealTech GIpro - Mouting Example
Mounting example for the HealTech GIpro (Photo courtesy HealTech).

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Power Consumption
One issue that I did stumble across during the colder months of the year was that the unit maintains a continuous electrical connection with the battery.  This means that much like a motorcycle security alarm or immobiliser, the display draws current even when the motorcycle is not running.

According to the GIpro manual, the gear indicator consumes 3.6 mA in hibernation mode, which does not sound like much but over the course of two weeks it reduced my battery enough that my motorcycle would no longer start.

If the bike is connected to a trickle battery charger or if it is ridden on a regular basis, then of course this is not a problem; however, we live in a large block of flats or apartments and there is no power available in the shared underground parking.

As I do not wish to have to remove the battery and charge it inside every time I want to go for a ride, I will be fitting a relay to switch the display power off when the bike is not running.  The display has an internal flash memory store so all the settings will be saved and ready when the ignition is turned on.

You may have noticed in the introduction that there is no wire to hook up to the ignition of the motorcycle to prevent this from happening.  I assume that this functionality is not included in the unit as it would require the box to be larger, but as the current draw is quite low it could use a transistor instead of a full size mechanical relay to reduce the footprint perhaps.

Either way it would be a very welcome addition to have the display completely stop draining current when the motorcycle is not running.

[UPDATE (Information received from HealTech post publication):  We have updated the documentation recently and supply a wire-tap quick connector.  We recommend connecting the GIpro red wire to a switched 12V power lead (e.g. hot wire for the license plate light the brake light switch).  No need to add an extra circuit, just tap a switched power lead.  This is covered in the new installation guide available on the HealTech website.]

HealTech GIpro - Mounting Example Close-up
HealTech GIpro mounting example (Photo courtesy HealTech).

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Suggested Improvements
HealTech make another gear indication product called the GIpro X-Type and it has two nice extra features that would be a complementary addition to the GIpro with ATRE that I have been reviewing here.

The X-Type can be taught where the optimal points to shift up are in each gear and then display a shift light to alert the rider it is time to change gear.  It can also be programmed to display a warning when the engine speed is too great in case you miss the shift.  Perhaps, again, there is not enough room in the display box and of course it would affect the purchase price, but it would still be nice to see.

Conclusion
Whilst there are some improvements I would make to the GIpro w/ATRE, it certainly does what it says on the box.

Fitting the display up to the bike was a very simple process which only took me about 20 minutes including mucking about trying to find the best place to locate the display itself.

The gear indication was almost faultless and easy to remedy with the auto learning functionality.  I was also impressed with the gains and improvements that were implemented in the timing retard eliminator aspect of the unit.

It is not a cheap device, but when compared to competing products on paper it proves to be the best bang for the buck from my research.

I feel that it has helped to smooth out my bike and it is very helpful to know which gear I am in whilst riding even if it only staves off the annoying search for seventh gear!

It would also be of good use whilst out on track days as well, but I have not had the opportunity to test it in that environment yet.  I have, however, been able to use the gear position indicator for over two months and I would very happily buy it again and recommend it to friends.

wBW Product Review:  Healtech GIpro Gear Indicator

Available From:  HealTech Electronics Suggested Retail Price:  USA, Europe and other regions - $162.99 or 119
 
Colors:  N/A Made in:  Hungary
Review Date:  May 2010

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