review by Victor Wanchena
The bike sputtered a bit then died. I coasted to a stop and tried to restart my bike, barely a click. I was 150 miles from home and worst yet I was headed out on a long trip. The culprit, as I discovered the hard way was a voltage regulator that would slowly fade as it heated up. The old machine I was riding lacked any sort of charging system warning light so my predicament was a complete surprise for me. It took a day and a half and three cycle shops to get back on the rode. It was a hard lesson I learned but since that day I have not let another charging system fail on me.
One of the secrets to never being stranded by a bike that decides not to run is to have as much information about what all those whirring parts are doing within the bowels of your motor. In steps this month’s gear item, fanfare please, the Charge Guard by Kisan Technologies. Kisan Tech is the Colorado based company builds and sells an array of motorcycle gadgets packed with features and technology. The Charge Guard is no exception. The display unit gives you five separate functions: volts at the battery, amps flowing into or out of the battery, temperature in both Fahrenheit or for you metric types Celsius and an ice alert. These features are combined with a full function on-board battery charger complete with wall cord. The first thought I had when I read about the Charge Guard, with all the functions it offered, it must be as big as a bread box and twice as heavy. Imagine my surprise when I received a test unit and found the display unit about the size of a small pager and a battery charger literally smaller than a pack of gum. After reading the directions I headed to the garage to install the Charge Guard on the MMM flagship, a BMW K1200LT. The directions were clear and concise on the installation and within 30 minutes I was done. Kisan gives you several options as to the mounting of the display. On a faired bike double-sided tape is the easiest, otherwise there is a bracket for mounting the display on tubular handlebars. The installation really was a snap even if you don’t do much of any wrenching on your bike.
Upon starting your bike the Charge Guard flashes to life and gives you a reading of the default mode which is battery voltage. After that it will remain in whatever mode you select. You toggle between modes with a single, easy to hit mode button. The display will remain on for 2 minutes then automatically shuts off. It will restart any time there is a change in the battery voltage. You can also turn the unit on manually at any time by hitting the mode button. To use the on-board charger simply run the attached cord to a wall socket. The charger is a full function auto-charger that analyses the battery and charges accordingly. The display has large easy to read numbers and the backlight dims automatically at night for easy viewing. A check of the Charge Guard’s honesty with my own test equipment found the voltage readings to be accurate with temperature readings a couple of degrees on the low side.
The usefulness of the Charge Guard is undeniable. Do you run lots of accessories or huge driving lights? Do you place in the top three of every light parade you enter but are tired of lugging a full sized charger around with you? Or do you enjoy vintage machines with less than reliable charging systems? Is it worth the $225 price tag? If the Charge Guard ever saves you from being stranded on the road side it’s a bargain and given the fact that it is packed with a lot of technology and functions in a clean setup I wouldn’t have to think too hard about spending the money. The Charge Guard and other motorcycle products are available from Kisan at 1-888-464-5472 or www.kisantech.com.