GPS navigation systems have changed the way the world travels. Every vehicle on the road can benefit from a GPS system, especially motorcycles. However, motorcycle riders have had their problems with GPS devices.
Fortunately, there are low-cost, good-fit solutions that can change these experiences. The key is knowing what to look for and which devices are the best on the market.
Below is a list of the top five GPS products on the market that can change any rider’s attitude towards GPS.
Get the Perfect Motorcycle GPS: How To Choose
Before you can see the list, you need to know what to look for all on your own. This may seem like a tough question to answer, but it’s really not. Most of what you need to know about choosing the right GPS for your bike is common sense.
However if you’re unsure, there are some buzz words you can use to make your search easier. Buzzwords like, ergonomics, robustness and mapping. But the list doesn’t just stop there:
Ergonomics simply refers to the ease of mounting the system. If a GPS fits your bike ergonomically, the buttons will be within reach and easy to press. On the other hand, if it’s a touch screen, then it should be incredibly responsive even while you’re wearing gloves.
This is a word that can refer to more than just wine and beautiful women; i.e. motorcycle GPS. The robustness of a system is actually very important. The model GPS you choose should be able to handle the strong vibrations of your motorcycle and function well at the same time.
Any GPS device should come with ample or lifetime maps and map upgrades. Who wants to get lost in city, state or country they’ve never been to before? No one!
Water Resistance and Ruggedness:
Of course your system needs to be able to handle anything, like the water and rough terrain. Motorcycles can be driven in any type of weather so a GPS device should function in any type of weather. Look for a system that can withstand the rain, extreme heat and cold, the wind, fuel spills, rocks and UV rays.
This is a big one. No one wants to be rolling and have their GPS all of sudden stop working. The product you choose should come with a long or average battery life and/or have batteries that are easy to change and/or recharge
A system that has enough memory to store all of the essential navigation and road information is a must. Devices can come with memory that is stored on a flash, hard drive or flash card.
Hard drives offer the ultimate capacity for storage, but they most often fail thanks to all of their moving parts. Cards and flash are nice, but before you purchase, ensure they’ll have the memory capacity for your needs. Obviously, the one that works best will be the one that gives the maximum amount of memory with the smallest amount of risk for damage.
“Hello? Is there anybody in there?” Voice guidance in a GPS just makes using the system so much easier.
It’s difficult and dangerous to have to constantly look down and read a map and/or directions. To reduce the risk of having an accident and hurting yourself or someone else, choose a GPS with high-quality voice navigation. Besides, the voices on those things give you a much more soothing ride.
Bluetooth means that you can receive calls while driving and answer them hands-free. So, ensure that your GPS has a Bluetooth with a wireless phone and device connectivity.
Last but not least is the price! The price matters a lot, because it will determine the quality of the device you purchase. You must use good judgment when it comes to pricing and make sure the one that you purchase has comparable price, features, build quality and ease of use.
Top 5 Motorcycle GPS & its In-Depth Reviews
Garmin Zumo 660LM
This is a mid-priced GPS option that has many of the same features as the really expensive systems. Features that certainly make it one of the top products out there. These features include:
- Lifetime map upgrades
- A waterproof design (IPX7) that is resistant to UV rays and fuel spills,
- 5 hours of battery life
- Advanced 3-D navigation
- Wireless Bluetooth technology
- High-resolution, 4.3 inch touch screen display with 480 x 272 pixels
- Lane assist junction view
TomTom Rider 400
No top GPS list would be complete with a good ole TomTom. The TomTom Rider 400 is pricy, but it is worth it. It’s one of the most top rated systems on the market with highly praised features, including:
- 6 hours of battery life
- Instant new route discovery
- Winding and hilly road discovery and navigation
- Portrait view
- Bluetooth connectivity with a hands-free control system
- Round-trip planning
- Real time traffic information
- Frequent and Lifetime map updates
- 4.3 inch anti-glare touchscreen
TomTom Rider 2
This is actually one of the best low-price options on the market. Unlike many of its more expensive counterparts its screen is small, at only 3.5 inches. However, it has many cool features like they do, such as:
- Integrated sun visor and gloves-on operation
- Bluetooth technology
- Classified as a rugged and waterproof device
- 4 hours of battery life
- Voice navigation that is spoken via in-helmet cardo scala-rider
- Anti-glare screen
Garmin Zumo 390LM
The Garmin Zumo 390LM is probably one of the most expensive systems, but probably one of the most feature-heavy systems. It’s also has the longest battery life of any GPS. It’s features include:
- A WQVGA TFT display with white backlight
- Anti-glare 4.3 inch touchscreen display with 480 x 272 pixels
- Rugged, waterproof design (IPX71) that is resistant to UV rays and fuel spills
- Bluetooth with hands-free phone and speech control
- 7 hours of battery life
- Integration with the Tire Pressure Monitor System (if you have one)
- Free lifetime map upgrades
Garmin Zumo 590LM
This GPS has the biggest screen, at 5 inches, but it’s kind of expensive and the battery life is kind of short. However, it makes up for those shortcomings in other ways. Some of its features include:
- A weather and traffic smartphone link app
- Media-music player with iPod, MP3 and Pandora compatibility
- Sunlight-readable, anti-glare display on a 5-inch screen
- 4 hours of battery life
- Bluetooth technology with hands-free and in-helmet voice control
- Waterproof (IPX7), UV ray and fuel spill resistant
Our Ultimate Motorcycle GPS
Based on the list above, it’s not obvious which motorcycle GPS is the best. So to make it easy, the best GPS from this list has got to be the Garmin Zumo 660LM. Why?
Well, it’s not too expensive, it has an average battery life, it has many of the same features of more expensive systems and some that the more expensive ones don’t even have, like the advanced 3-D navigation. Effectively, it gives you the most bang for your buck.
So if you’re ever confused which GPS is right for you, just go for the one with the best features at the most reasonable price.