Just because you’re driving your motorcycle as opposed to your car does not mean that you more or less likely to get lost. In-fact users often say that they are more likely to get lost whilst driving your motorcycle than you are whilst driving your car. This is because when you use your car you’re probably just popping down the road to the local supermarket whereas when you’re out riding your motorcycle, you’re probably trying to explore the country side or find new driving roads that can really help you reach the full performance of your motorbike. The problem comes when you decide to take your motorbike out for a drive to meet your friends who have found a new riding road, but you don’t really know where you’re going.
Motorcycle GPS Navigation System
Can you not just use your telephone? Yes you can, however smartphones have two problems. Firstly they are expensive which means that if you drop your smartphone and crack the screen, you’re going to have a large bill to replace the smartphone. The second big problem with smartphones is that they really do not work well in direct sunlight or in rain. Let’s be honest, no screen works well in direct sunlight and if you have a motorcycle GPS unit you will need a sun glare to be able to see anything in direct sunlight, but with a smartphone you don’t have this option and therefore you’re not going to be able to see anything even if you do have the best map apps on the market.
Motorcycle GPS Design
When choosing a Motorcycle GPS unit you need to make sure that you choose the right model and take into account a few basic principles.
Design – If you have a bike, you’re probably going to be doing some serious riding and therefore you will need a GPS unit that can stand up to the odd fall as well as handle any vibrations that your bike will give off when you’re driving at speed. You need to make sure that you buy a sold GPS that will take the stress that you’re going to throw at it. Honestly a Car GPS is just not ruggedness enough for this and will probably brake somewhere down the line.
Mounts – Generally your standard motorcycle GPS unit will come with either a brake or clutch bracket, however often the standard models are not up to scratch and you will need to buy another mount that is more user friendly such as one with longer bolts or a U-bolt clamp. This is something that you can easily pick up in an accessories store.
Screen Size and Clarity – Screen size and clarity is very important when buying a motorcycle GPS unit as you will be out in the open road with no protection from the sun. The bigger the screen size the easier its going to be to see your motorbike GPS and you will be able to have more features showing on your bike gps unit at any one time, however if you cannot see your GPS device then its not going to be much use. Look for a GPS device that comes with some kind of screen glare or screen protector to protect you from the sun.
Features – Features come in two shapes, firstly those that help you with your directions and secondly those that are there to make your life easier. If you cannot see your GPS unit because the sun is directly shinning on it, then you need to be able to hear your unit which means that your going to need bluetooth to pair your device with your helmet so you can hear your GPS unit. Extra features to make your life easier include map updates or traffic to make sure that you do not spend all your life in traffic jams.
We would always recommend that you buy yourself a brand name GPS unit as whilst they can be slightly more expensive they often are much better and provide better navigation routes with features that you can actually use. For this reason we would highly recommend that you buy yourself a Garmin Motor cycle GPS unit which will give you a motorcycle navigation system that really works well and will provide you with features that you can actually use.
The Garmin Zumo Motorcycle series comes in two models, the 590LM and the 390LM. Both models are specifically made for your motorcycle and come with many motorcycle specific features that will help you with your riding. The major differences between the two models are show below.
- Screen Size – The 590 comes with a 5-Inch screen as opposed to the 390 which has a 4.3-Inch screen.
- Dual Orientation – The 590 allows this where as the 390 does not
- Traffic – The 590 supports traffic updates where as the 390 does not.
- Maps – The 590 supports custom maps, 3-D terrain, active lane guidance and shows you what’s up ahead
Garmin Zumo 590LM Motorcycle GPS
The Garmin Zumo 590LM Motorcycle GPS is rugged, reliable, glove-friendly and ready-to-ride. It comes with a 5″ sunlight-readable display, is water resistant (IPX7), fuel spill resistant, and has the capability of enduring UV rays and harsh conditions. It is tough enough for cruising and adventure riding alike meaning that you can take your motorcycle GPS both on the road or off-road should you choose.
The device comes with Garmin’s 2014 processor which allows for super fast route calculations and re-calculations should you take a wrong turn. Given the larger screen size, the device supports dual orientation meaning that you can view more than one map display on your screen at the same time. You could view an overview of your route together with a lane assist function to show you at all times which lane you should be in or maybe you want to have a simple route navigation on one side and some road information such as your current speed and the speed limit of the road.
The device comes with preload maps of the US which offer turn by turn directions, however it also supports TOPO and custom maps for adventurous rides. The unit also features a Curvy Roads feature that lets you only ride on winding roads and avoids any highways. You can plan your round trip route by simply typing your requirements such as time, distance and location, and the rest is taken care of. The device also comes with free lifetime map updates for the lifespan of the unit. This means you get the most up-to-date maps, always on your GPS and always an updated points of interest database.
The device also comes with an in-built computer which supports bluetooth therefore you are able to make hands-free phone calls and the in-helmet voice prompt does provide you with directions by way of the BlueTooth technology. If you like your music as you ride, you will be glad to know that you have the ability to control your MP3, iPod or Pandora right on your GPS’s display.
In addition, dual orientation is possible, meaning that you can have either vertical or horizontal views. You have the ability to monitor your tire pressure on the display by way of the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor accessory. Real-time weather and traffic information can be readily accessed on the unit via the Smartphone Link2 app. The Zumo 590LM also keeps track of your service history log such as tire changes, tire mileage, chain cleanings and tire pressure among others.
Garmin Zumo 390LM Motorcycle GPS
The Garmin Zumo 390LM Motorcycle GPS the baby brother to the slightly larger better equipped Garmin 590LM above. Whilst it slightly smaller, its still a fantastic motorcycle GPS device that can give you all the directions that you need for a slightly cheaper price than its larger brother.
The Zumo 390LM comes with a 4.3-Inch screen that is both stylishly designed and ruggedly built to ensure that it survives the pounding that you give it whether you decide to take it on the road or maybe off road whilst you explore the great wild outdoors. The screen come with a crystal clear, sunlight-readable and glove friendly touchscreen meaning that you can use your GPS in all conditions. The screen is very good, but like all GPS units whilst you can see the screen in direct sunlight, it does work better if you get yourself some kind of screen glare to protect your screen from the sun and give you better views of your GPS unit.
The motorbike navigator comes with a good mount, however in honestly you want to get yourself a slightly better motorcycle mount so that you can either put your GPS unit on your hand-bars or put your GPS unit between your handle-bars with some kind of motorcycle mount.
The 4.3 inch screen display comes with a white backlight that makes for easy reading in the nigh time. The unit itself is not only water proof, but is resistant to fuel spills and UV rays, hence making it ideal to use in some pretty rough conditions. You can make hands-free calls on this unit because it makes use of the Bluetooth technology. In addition, spoken directions are available via the headset. You can also call points of interest through the Bluetooth interface, which makes it a perfect feature for those last-minute changes in plans or for those moments when you need to make a fuel or food stop and need the nearest place to do the same.
You don’t have to worry about the pressure of your tire because when you make use of the Tire Pressure Monitor sensor, which is sold separately, you are able to keep track of your tire pressure in real time, with the results displayed on the screen. The Zumo 390LM is not only easy to operate, but it is lightweight and can be easily mounted onto your motorcycle. It includes lifetime map updates, comes with a new Curvy Roads feature and offers lane assist with junction view.