Are you looking for the best motorcycle gps unit? The most frustrating thing about riding a motorbike is trying to explore new routes, whilst at the same time having no idea of where you’re going, nor how to get back to your home or worse still, finding out how to get back to that amazing road again.
Imagine the situation, you find a perfect road that is empty, a road that is perfect for exploring the limits of your bike, however after you have driven down it, how do you find your way back to that road the next time that you want to head out and really test the limits of your new motorcycle.
The problem is that motorbikes do not come with in-built GPS navigation systems and therefore if you want to find out where to go to get to a specific destination or to get yourself home after you have been for a ride, then you’re going to need to buy a motorcycle GPS unit.
Why Not Just Use Your Cell Telephone?
For a motorcycle you don’t want to be using your smartphone for two key reasons, firstly it’s not waterproof meaning that if it starts raining or worse still, you drive through a puddle, then it’s going to get wet and you’re going to have a large bill to replace it.
The second key reason that you don’t want to use your smartphone comes down to the thought of dropping it at speed. Yes there are mounts, however they’re not always perfect and if you drop your GPS and it breaks into a million pieces, you have a bill of a few hundred dollars, if you drop your smartphone then potential your bill could be much larger.
What Features To Look Out For?
When you’re thinking about buying a motorcycle GPS unit then you need to think about what features you want and which you don’t want. It’s important to remember that you need to make sure that you buy a GPS unit that has been designed for a motorcycle and therefore will comes with the right features included in it.
There really is no point in simply buying a car gps unit and trying to make it fit for your bike as it probably will not. As example, storing your gps in a car is very easy, simply put in on the dashboard with a dashboard mat, however with a bike you need to think about the mount and where you’re going to store it to ensure is both safe and you can see it.
- Screen Size – Very important, too big and it will get in the way, too small and you will not be able to see it
- Screen Clarity – Seeing your GPS in the dark is very easy, but how about in direct sunlight or when it raining and the light is low.
- The Mount Feature/Design – You don’t want your GPS unit Falling Off your Motorcycle
- Bluetooth/Wireless Connectivity – You don’t want to be taking your hands off the handle bars
- Processor Speeds – How Quickly your GPS Unit calculates routes
- Waterproofing – If it rains whilst you’re driving it will get wet.
- How much does it cost – Price is important.
Best Motorcycle GPS 2022
TomTom Rider 400/550
For 2020, TomTom have a motorcycle navigator line-up that consists of a Rider 400 and a Rider 550. The key difference between the two models is the price and the fact the 550 can update Via WiFi and can work in conjunction with Siri/Google Now & read out smartphone messages.
The Rider comes with TomTom’s all new 4.3-Inch screen that comes with superb clarity meaning that you can easily see your maps and directions in both direct sunlight and in low light conditions.
The small screen is glove friendly and means that you don’t need to take your gloves off before entering your destination using the full QWERTY keyboard.
The maps are fantastic and the turn-by-turn directions are easy to follow either through on screen directions or by using the Bluetooth facility to connect your head-set to the gps unit and hear your directions. The Bluetooth facility also means that you can now take smartphone calls directly using your gps unit and control whether you accept or reject the call directly on your gps screen. Extra features we liked include, speed camera alerts, a massive points of interest database.
We also love the TomTom “My Drive” that has been worked on and improved over the last few years. The software allows you to plan a route on your laptop and then sync it with your gps unit. It works brilliantly today and is very useful when planning weekend trips away. TomTom have taken this a step further this year with the introduction of TomTom Road Trips, that included over 100 riding trips and directions, pre-loaded onto your device. This only comes with the 550 as standard.
Garmin Zumo 396 / 595
For 2020, Garmin have not updated their 2019 motorcycle navigator and have simply stuck with this range. It’s a great range consisting of a 396LMT-S that comes with a 4.3-Inch screen, map updates and traffic alerts provided by your smartphone app.
The second model is a 595LM that comes with a 5-inch screen, map updates, but no traffic alerts. Personally, I was rather hoping that Garmin would add traffic alters to the 5-inch screen as it’s a great size gps that you can actually use.
Both models come with a glove-friendly, sunlight-readable, dual-orientation touchscreen with rugged design for harsh weather and IPX7 waterproofness. Switching your gps on brings up Garmin’s easy to use interface and menu system meaning you can easily find your way around your gps unit. Once your ready to go, enter your destination and your gps device will calculate your route.
Turn-by-turn directions are easy to follow either through the on screen direction or by using the built in Bluetooth unit that not only allows you to hear your directions, but also take hands-free phone calls or listen to music directly on your gps unit, both using on screen controls. As with all of the latest Garmin GPS unit’s, the unit comes with Lifetime Map updates of the USA meaning that you should be able to keep your maps up-to-date. Extra features include an SDcard that allows you to save and store music on your gps unit and listen to it whilst your driving.
Overall we love the 595LM, we love the Garmin interface, the extra SDcard to listen to music on and we love the larger screen that really helps to see direction even when active lane guidance switches into view to help with difficult junctions, however what we really don’t like it the price tag.