Turning my motorcycle into a musical instrument


New member
Yup. You read right. Next year I will be leaving on an around the world motorcycle trip and I want to turn my bike into a musical instrument. Here's the idea - each time I hit the front or rear brake, clutch, shift gears, throttle up or down, and using my speed as BPM - I want to generate midi, and send it to my computer. At the end of the day, edit this info. I will be using FL Studio to compose music on the road, and perform as I go - and I want to use this to create original music for the videos that I'll be creating.

A unique idea.

How? What kind of triggers can I use? How can I make them waterproof? How can I turn my speedometer into midi, odometer, GPS info - anything into midi?

Every day will be unique as you never ride the same way.

Any ideas - really appreciated. Just getting started on this idea....any cool ideas accepted. I have even been considering using a MS Kinect to capture motion and thurn that into midi.....

So, seeking creative minds who think outside the box.


This whole "on the road" thing doesn't give me a warm fuzzy. After all, piloting the vehicle shouldn't come with distractions.
Recording all the inputs against a time base and then dumping that data back home in your FL studio is a GREAT idea.
Your bike could essentially be your Novation Launchpad
With a little bit of coding and nerdgasm, you could even rig gyros and accelerometers all over and record those data streams, too. Just rig your bike like a Formula 1 racer and store all that telemetry for later consumption in FL.

Then you can do all the regular things: assign various data to controllers, parameters, etc. Give them each a try. Maybe throttle is lousy BPM, but upshift/downshift works better. Maybe throttle is better Fc or Q. Or maybe it pages through samples. Maybe cornering is good pitch bend.

Every ride spits out enough data to do some real synth exploration, for sure.

I see a definite art gallery gig in this one. :-)


New member
Check out the possibilities for using 'logistics map' equation. You would have to compensate for the limited range of constants the equation can have.

Anyway, to me it's so mundane and boring to take a bike just from Carolina to Florida, so I like this bit of philosophy from Robert Pirsig:

"Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.”

“You look at where you’re going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you’ve been and a pattern seems to emerge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.”

Good luck.
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rob aylestone

Well-known member
Musically, what would it be for? I remember people doing similar with the first midi synths and plants growing. Musically it was terrible, and you could create exactly the same but better by simulating this with some curves in the editor, and then throw it away as rubbish. You don't make music people want to listen to like this without considerable manipulation, and if you are going to manipulate data, why record real data? Make some more exciting data in the studio.


New member
My first idea was to actually place triggers on the bike I can compose with while riding....but I do not want to commit suicide. It will take some experimenting to find what works best and I expect a lot of garbage at first. But what the hell - lets go.


New member
I will be filming my trip - the music is for video. As I stated above - at first I expect nonsense, but I should be able to manipulate this in pre-production into something that could be called music. What I mean, is that by setting the proper parameters in advance, something cool should be achievable.


Active member
As far as the sample library goes, I respectfully submit avoiding crashes, impacts, hits, metal scrapes, bursts and benders.