If you're planning to take your motorcycle out for a ride, you end up with a choice of two. You can either ride along the same roads that you have been on before, or you can risk some new roads that could be good, but also leave you with the possibility of getting completely lost. In the past we have looked at the Best Motorcycle GPS navigators from across the market, however given that Garmin now has four models that have been specifically designed for the biker in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to write a post on Garmin Motorcycle GPS Reviews.
Motorcycle GPS Navigation
If you want to go out for a drive, but at the same time don't want to get lost, get yourself at motorcycle gps navigator as it come with the added benefit of allowing you to explore new roads on your motor cycle but eliminates the risk of getting lost whilst allowing you to find your way home or that restaurant that you have arrange to meet your friends for lunch in.
The problem for bikers is that you don't have a lot of room on your motorcycle for a bulky GPS unit meaning that you need to find a motorcycle GPS unit that will give you all your navigation requirements whilst at the same time giving you features that can help you whilst your riding your motorcycle.
Garmin Motorcycle GPS Reviews
At needaplan.com we always recommend that our users by brand named GPS units as they are generally better units that come with features that you can actually use because they have been tried and tested over many years.
Yes, brand named motorcycle GPS devices are more expensive than those that you can buy from China, however they continually perform better during our tests. Of the top 2 Brand Name Manufactures of motorcycle GPS devices is Garmin who are well known for their GPS motorcycle unit given they have been making them for the last 10 years.
Over this time, they have perfected the motorcycle GPS device to give you the user a device that is small enough to fit onto your motorcycle, whilst at giving you enough features to help you when riding your motorcycle.
Garmin Motorcycle GPS Reviews
If you don't want to read the whole review but simply want to know what's the best garmin motorcycle gps on the market then take a look at the Garmin Zumo 395LM. The 395LM comes with a 4.3 inch screen which is slightly smaller than it's big brother, but does have the added advantage of being substantially cheaper than it's bigger brother.
During out test's the 4.3 inch screen gave plenty of room for the dual-orientation screen to show directions and allow if you choose to connect via bluetooth to speakers in your headphone meaning that you can both see and hear your directions.
Performance is great and most importantly, you're buying a Garmin meaning that your design has been tried and tested over the years and come with free lifetime map updates allowing you never to be driving along on out of date maps. Click here to see the full review.
Garmin Zumo Series
Garmin have been making gps units for motorbikes for a while under the brand of the Zumo Series. The designs has been specifically made for use with motorbikes and therefore come standard with smaller screen sizes, Glove-friendly touch screens that work well in direct sunlight whilst at the same time being 100% waterproof (IPX9) meaning that if it rains, you don't have to worry about your gps getting wet.
Currently Garmin have two models in their 2017 motorcycle GPS range the Zumo 595LM and the Zumo 390LM, however given that the previous are half the price and still very good we will include these into our tests as well. The 2015 models are the Zumo 590LM and the Garmin 390LM.
As with all Garmin's, the key differences between the two models is the size of the screen with the Garmin 595/590LM having a screen size of 5-inches whilst the 395/390LM both have 4.3-Inch screen sizes.
With both models comes Garmin's fantastic detailed maps and free lifetime updated meaning that you always have updated maps with any road layout changes to make sure that you have the best navigation device possible.
Battery Life is always a problem, especially now that screens have been every more detailed, however the Zumo series does well in this area and give you around four hours of battery life whilst providing you with navigation through 3D building on the maps and voice assisted street names to help you find the street that you want.
Unlike many car unit, the Garmin motorcycle GPS units come with waterproofing meaning that you can use your GPS unit even if its raining and whilst the screen is fantastically clear and you will still be able to use your GPS in direct sunlight, a screen sun-guard does make this whole process so much easier.
Garmin are famous for their massive points of interest databases and the Zumo series is no exception given it comes with over 6 million points of interest all over the US with popular destinations such as hotels, restaurants and gas stations.
Garmin Zumo 595LM Vs. Zumo 590LM
In this section we're lining up the Garmin Zumo 590LM against it's newer brother the Zumo 595LM. Generally, other than the price, there are few key differences between the two models and therefore it does really depend on your financial situation as to whether it's worth it or not.
Screen Size - (It's A Draw)
The Garmin Zumo 590LM and the Zumo 595LM both come with a rugged design, reliable, glove-friendly touch screen meaning its ready-to-ride the moment you take it out of the box. Both models come with a feeling that if you dropped them, they would bounce and nothing would happen.
Both models also come with a 5-Inch sunlight-readable display, is water resistant (IPX7), fuel spill resistant, and has the capability of enduring UV rays and harsh conditions. The screen is very good and clear meaning that you will be able to see your screen even in the harshest of conditions including in direct sunlight, however a sun glare protector does make this much easier.
Dual-Orientation Screen - (Win to the 595LM)
Having a 5-inch screen also means that you can take advantage of Garmin's new dual-orientation screen where you can have two views on your motorcycle GPS unit a the same time. This means that you could have one side of the screen showing your route and the other showing the road speed limit and your current speed or maybe specific directions for an up and coming junctions.
The newer 595LM is possibly slightly faster at managing two screens at once, especially when one side is controlling music or phone calls, but the differences are marginal. The fact the Zumo series can play an MP3player or connect to Pandora/Spotify is one of the key selling points of the Zumo series and its great to know what it works well.
Interface Menu System - (It's a Draw)
Both models come with the Garmin's Garmin very easy to use interface and menu system meaning that entering destinations and finding different features on your GPS unit is a complete breeze right out of the box. The in-built computer not only means that route calculations are quick, but the computer powers a lot of the extra features that come with this motorcycle gps device.
Again possibly the 595LM is a little more organized and faster, but the differences are very small and not worth considering.
Directions - (It's a Draw)
This is a very hard choice as whilst the newer model probably comes with a slightly more refined direction system, it does not work any better than the older model. Both are still good, however we found both still had the same old problem when you're listening through bluetooth where the sound is a fraction out.
Generally we don't very often use sound through a bluetooth headset and therefore this is not something that bothers us, however I have heard reports of it driving some crazy. The gps will tell you to "turn left here" a good 20-30 meters ahead of the actual turning. In extreme cases, we have seen reports of users going around a really wide corner only find out that the gps is trying to calculate a new route and therefore is spitting out that "you need to do a U-turn" message which is not half annoying.
Bluetooth - (It's a Draw)
Both models come with bluetooth capabilities which allows you to pairs the device with a receiver and speaker system which is built into your helmet therefore allowing you to speak to your device or make bluetooth hands-free phone calls and control your device with voice prompts.
It's not something we have ever used however it works well and something that comes recommended.
Free Lifetime Maps - (It's a Draw)
Both models include free lifetime map updates for the lifespan of the motorcycle gps unit. This means you get the most up-to-date information such as points of interest on your routes.
They also support TOPO and custom maps for adventurous rides. The unit also features a Curvy Roads feature that lets you on winding rides. 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.
Extra Features (Win to the 595LM)
Zumo 590LM - Extra features require the smartphone link app however with it you can get traffic alerts, weather alerts and a fantastic points of interest system.
Zumo 595LM - Extra features include alerts for sharp curves ahead, speed changes, animal crossings, school zones, helmet laws, nearby red light, speed cameras, fatigue warnings, livetrack feature that allows your friends to view your location as you move and potential rest areas.
Both models are pretty expensive, however the older model is as much as half the price of the older model. Whether it's really worth the extra money is really up to you and your financial situation however we cannot really justify the extra price tag for the newer models. Check out below where we have crawled through the internet looking for the best prices on the market.
We still have a a Zumo 590LM that works perfectly well and I have no plans to replace it anytime soon. If it broke tomorrow, I would have a serious think, but I think I would end up going for a Zumo 590LM and save the money.
Garmin Zumo 590LM
Garmin Zumo 595LM Motorcycle GPS
Garmin Zumo 395LM Vs. Zumo 390LM
In this section we're lining up the two smaller models form Garmin being the Garmin Zumo 395LM and the Zumo 390LM. The key difference between the two models apart from the price is that the Zumo 395LM is part of the 2017 range of motorcycle gps units whereas the Zumo 390LM is the older model that retails at half the price, but it our opiniom is less than half the performance and therefore really depends on your budget to whether it's worth it or not.
Motorcycle GPS Design - (It's a Draw)
Both the Garmin Zumo 390LM and the 395LM Motorcycle GPS come designed with a stylishly rugged outlook that means that it both looks nice whilst at the same time means that if you drop it, it will not break. Possible a test for the future, but it's design does make you wonder at what speed it would break if you drop it. For now we need our Zumo series and therefore it will not be tested, however in the future, this could be an idea. Both designed are very similar and whilst there maybe some slight differences, they are pretty marginal.
Screen Size - (It's a Draw)
Both models come with Garmin's 4.3 inch screen display that comes with a white backlight meaning that you can easily use it at night, whilst the super clear screen is also perfect in day time meaning that you can read it in direct sun-light.
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.
Interface Menu System - (It's a Win To The 595LM)
Both models use Garmin's new an improved menu system that make it so easy to use your gps system. The 395LM is the newer model and therefore has an improved system, however the 390LM is very easy to use. With both models you can simply switch on the device, enter your destination and the device will provide step-by-step directions to help you get to your destination.
Directions - (It's a Win To The 595LM)
Direction are great in both models and together with Garmin's real directions that help to provide you with direction that sound like a friend rather than giving you standard directions, the 395LM comes with Garmin's Adventurous Routing internal software which allows you to set from within a route that finds curvy or hilly roads and limits any boring major highways. The 390LM does have this feature, however it's external in the form of the basecamp software which does an okay job, but it's quite hard to use. ]
Bluetooth (it's A Draw)
Both models come with Bluetooth meaning that you can make hands-free calls on this unit, listen to your directions and listen to music all through pairing your device with an external 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.
Updates (It's a Draw)
Both models come with free lifetime map updates for the lifetime of the device. Both models don't have traffic updates, however this is not important when you riding a motorcycle.
The key point here is that whilst there are a few deals across the internet, the difference in price is not great and therefore it does make sense to go for the newer model with it updates rather than the older, however if your budget does not stretch, take the 390LM and you will not regret it.
We do like the 390LM, however our favourite is the 395LM.
Garmin Zumo 390LM
Garmin Zumo 395LM Motorcycle GPS