You have to admit that technology is changing things for the better, and we couldn’t be happier. The latest technology to become part of our lifestyle is GPS navigation systems, and they are currently in our smartphones – nobody ever thought convenience would reach this level.
Unfortunately, having the navigation system on a mobile phone is not always convenient, and especially so if you are riding a motorcycle. It would mean making several stops, and which would make the journey uninteresting and more protracted. Chances of dropping your mobile phone are higher, and that would come with several safety risks to the motorcyclist.
The best motorcycle GPS is a more convenient device for serious motorcyclists. They are sturdier, user-friendly and quite effective. The motorcycle GPS navigators are especially critical for individuals that ride their motorcycles over long distances or love to explore different areas. Of course, the fun is in riding the bike to places that you have never been to before.
We engaged several experts in the industry and ardent motorcycle riders to determine the best among the motorcycle GPS devices on the market. Indisputably, Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S Motorcycle GPS took the top spot because of several premium features and convenience.
On second place was TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS, with its unique features, durability and user-friendliness.
Best Motorcycle GPS
Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S Motorcycle GPS
One of the most amazing things that the motorcycle GPS comes with include useful features to help you get to a destination effortlessly. For example, the free live weather and traffic keep you in the know about the conditions ahead to make the best decisions. You can avoid congested roads, or determine whether you need a break at a nearby hotel until the weather conditions improve.
The motorcycle GPS seamlessly connects to your smartphone, and you can use such features as hands-free calling, and enjoy the music. The smart notifications ensure that you don’t miss anything when riding the motorcycle. For the motorcyclists that love group rides, the unit is the best buy motorcycle GPS as it comes with features to support sharing of GPX files plans and live track.
An inbuilt Wi-Fi allows easy updating of the maps and other necessary navigation information. As the best motorcycle GPS system, the software is easy to update and allows smooth operation of the device. Even better, the device will find hilly and curvy roads so that you can prepare.
What we like
- Provides weather and traffic information
- Connect seamlessly to your smartphone for hands-free calling and listening to music
- Smart notifications so that you will not miss anything
- Supports group rides
- Built-in Wi-Fi to easily update the maps
What we don’t like
- The software may not be sufficiently intuitive for some people
TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS
Undoubtedly, TomTom produces the best adventure motorcycle GPS that you can rely on for out of town motorcycle rides. TomTom motorcycle GPS comes in a compact and sturdy design to make it appropriate for motorcycle navigation.
You can find the most exciting climbs and winding roads to make the ride exciting and satisfying. The graphics and the entire screen have one of the best resolutions for clarity. Anybody can read the information on the display, even at high speeds.
To sync the new maps, route information, and updating the software as well as the map, the unit comes with Wi-Fi connectivity. That means you can keep everything updated before you take on the road.
The compatibility with Google and Siri stretches the functionality of the GPS navigator to your advantage. You can access calling, messaging, and the music on the dashboard. But we cannot conclude this TomTom Rider 550 review without mentioning the smartphone messages, functionality that allows the unit to read them aloud.
What we like
- Compact and sturdy design
- Helps you find the most exciting roads
- It has a higher resolution screen
- Flawless Wi-Fi connectivity
- Compatible with Google and Siri
What we don’t like
- The Wi-Fi updates are very slow
BMW-Garmin VI Motorcycle GPS
What makes this the best-rated motorcycle GPS is such features as a compact and sturdy design. Among the convenient features that come with the motorcycle GPS include music streaming to make the ride enjoyable.
Unlike the other devices on the market, this GPS navigator comes with lifetime map updates. You don’t have to pay any fee to get the latest maps and data. All you need to concentrate on is the road.
The navigator has a very clear screen to make it easy to use and find your way. For communication and connectivity, the device comes with a flawless Bluetooth connection. It connects effortlessly with your smartphone, and you can enjoy hands-free use for convenience and safety.
We cannot fail to mention that the screen is clear even in bright sunlight. The improved readability is one of the features that make it user-friendly even for the beginners.
What we like
- Compact and sturdy design
- Music streaming to make the ride interesting
- Free lifetime map updates
- A high-resolution screen
- Inbuilt Bluetooth connectivity
- Clear display even in bright sunlight
What we don’t like
- You may have trouble connecting to the motorcycle audio system through the Bluetooth
- Connection with the Bluetooth headset is not the best quality
Garmin GPSMAP 64st Handheld GPS
The 6.6 cm handheld GPS is the best off-road motorcycle GPS and an excellent option for motorcyclists that don’t want anything so big to affect their attention. The 2.6 inches colour display is sun readable and has excellent resolution. As a motorcyclist, the 16-hour battery that is handheld GPS comes with is music to the ears.
Other brilliant features that make it the best handheld GPS for motorcycles include smart notifications paired with other great features such as heart rate monitor, speed and temperature sensor.
What we like
- Compact and strong
- A sun readable display
- 16-hour battery
- Smart notifications
What we don’t like
- The screen may be too small for some people
- Updating the software may not be so easy
Garmin Montana 680T GPS
As the best dual sport motorcycle GPS this device has up to 250,000 preloaded geocaches. You have access to a one-year subscription to birdseye satellite imagery to have a better view of your surroundings.
GPS satellite capability of the device helps locate your position quickly, wherever you are. A track manager allows you to organise and navigate through different terrains and paths.
What we like
- Up to 250,000 preloaded geocaches
- One year subscription to a bird’s-eye satellite imagery
- Quick locating of your position
What we don’t like
- The menu layout is not intuitive
TomTom VIA 1525SE GPS
Surprisingly, this GPS navigation system has several features that any motorcycle rider will find useful, and therefore, the best cheap motorcycle GPS. The 5-inch touchscreen is highly responsive and higher resolution.
Other essential features include the lifetime traffic update and maps update. Also, the software update is free through the computer.
What we like
- A 5-inch high-resolution touch screen
- USA lifetime Maps download
- Lifetime traffic update
What we don’t like
- The screen is not very responsive
Garmin Zumo 595LM GPS
Some of the most crucial features we would like to highlight in this Garmin motorcycle GPS review, include a rugged design and sunlight-readable screen. It makes it easy to read the map and the position you are. It has other great features such as notifications for speed cameras, the state helmet law and sharp curves.
Bluetooth capability for smartphone notifications and hands-free calling is part of the package.
What we like
- Rugged design and sunlight-readable screen
- Smart notifications for speed cameras, state helmet law and sharp curves ahead
- Bluetooth connectivity for smartphone notifications
What we don’t like
- The screen is not very bright and clear
Koolertron All Terrain Waterproof Motorcycle GPS
The waterproof motorcycle GPS is versatile, and you can use it both on the motorcycle and car. It has a user-friendly interface and can comfortably handle snow and rain – the device comes with a water rating of 1 m depth.
The 4GB internal memory makes it possible to store data inside the GPS, which is pretty much convenient.
What we like
- You can use the GPS on a motor vehicle
- A user-friendly interface
- Waterproof and can comfortably handle rain and snow
What we don’t like
- The screen may not be sufficiently bright
Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT GPS
The 5-inch dual-orientation display is clear and easy to use. You can search for popular restaurants and other establishments in the area you are riding the motorcycle. Even better, the GPS navigation system simplifies the process, and you get a better view.
The device comes with lifetime map updates. You can know when new roads are coming up, and when the businesses are open or closed.
What we like
- You can use the GPS to search for popular restaurants and other establishments
- Simplifies the destinations
- Lifetime map updates
What we don’t like
- Some users report problems with the supplied cable
BMW Motorrad VI Without Cradle
Motorcycle GPS navigation system should have a bright screen that is comfortable to read in direct sunlight. The improved readability of this GPS device is something that makes it a favourite of many.
It is simple to use, no matter the model you have – nothing complicated about this GPS. Other essential features, useful to a motorcyclist include highway avoidance, curvy roads and round trips.
What we like
- Improved reliability of the GPs device
- Smartphone-like innovative design
What we don’t like
What is the Best Budget for a Reliable GPS?
Under $300: The majority of the GPs devices will mostly be in this price range. But it is vital to note that these inexpensive models will not have some of the premium features in more expensive models. Of course, they may be friendly to the pocket, but they come with several shortcomings. For example, programming them is not effortless, and they may not be durable as the more expensive GPS devices.
Above $300: The best motorcycle GPS navigation systems do not come cheaply. At best, they will take you back several hundred dollars, but you are sure to get a durable and reliable unit. Expensive GPS systems will have premium features that make them user-friendly and convenient. More importantly, the systems are dependable, and that makes them all worth the price.
Benefits of Motorcycle GPS – Why Use GPS?
There’s nothing more fascinating for explorers than riding a motorcycle. The pleasure and excitement associated with riding to different places and experiencing the best that the outdoors have to offer incomparable. You can be riding the bike in a group or by yourself, but you will need a good quality GPS navigation system.
Of course, it would be intimidating to ride the motorcycle in new areas without a map or anything to guide you. Most of the bikes do not come with an in-built GPS, and it is always essential to acquire and install one.
One of the benefits of motorcycle GPS systems is that they are easy to use. Most motorcycle riders will find them handy to use in a variety of situations. The devices are easy to install, and you don’t need advanced technical skills to pull it off.
For the people that love mountain biking, hiking or hunting, the GPS devices can help them navigate unfamiliar territories by recording, planning and retracing their steps. You can, therefore, move anywhere with confidence and save on time as well as fuel. The device is especially helpful when travelling over long distances, and at high speeds.
And talking of recording, the best GPS for motorcycle will not only track your movement but also keep different statistics such as distance travelled, speed and elevation among others to help you improve on your riding. The best motorcycle GPS will come with various options such as different routes and relevant map data to make the adventure, even more exciting. Always, the goal is to have fun, and a decent quality motorcycle GPS navigation system is an essential piece of equipment.
Most of the motorcycle GPS navigators are sturdy, and they come with waterproof casings, and you never need to worry when the rain starts falling. The devices are robust, and they can take the abuse associated with riding a motorcycle in different terrains and speed. Of course, you cannot say the same for your expensive iPhone. Plus, you will never be at ease using your phone as a navigation system.
Even the best budget motorcycle GPS will come with touchscreen functionality for convenience and ease of use. You can make a turns with your motorcycle and focus ahead without any problem. It is convenient as you don’t have to keep stopping to ask for directions from other people or to trace your location on a map. As a motorcyclist, you should realise that it is not every place that is worth stopping because of your safety.
The GPS PDA hybrids have a large screen that motorcyclists will find useful. The more significant screen device will be more portable, accurate and with better signal functionalities. More importantly, the hybrids are for people that want something fashionable to go with their motorcycles.
A sound quality motorcycle GPS will do more can help you track your movement. They can help you trace your motorcycle if stolen. You can get the best motorcycle alarm system with GPS, especially if you have an expensive ride.
Choosing a Quality GPS Navigator – Key Features to Look For
Before you can splurge your savings on a particular GPS navigator system for a motorcycle, it is vital to take due diligence. Determine the most critical factors that make one GPS navigator system better than the other. What are your needs?
The build and design of the GPs navigator system should be in such a way that it is convenient to use on a motorcycle. It should be able to take different environmental conditions without necessarily breaking down. Of course, motorcycle riding is not similar to driving. Everything is open to the elements, and it would do you much good to find a GPS navigator system that is weather resistant. Rain, sun, snow and wind should not affect the functionality of the GPs navigator in any way.
The touchscreen should be user-friendly. You should be able to operate it effortlessly while also keeping your eyes on the road. Ideally, the touchscreen should allow easy use even with gloves on. It is inconvenient if you have to remove the gloves to operate the touch screen. It would mean stopping at various locations so that you can remove the glass and run the GPS, and that is never the main idea.
It will not hurt if you find a GPS touch screen that is sunlight readable. You don’t have to squint to read anything on the screen. Most of the systems have a bright LED light to make it visible in a variety of lighting conditions.
The GPS device should also have sufficient memory to store all the information that you require when riding in different locations. Ideally, the device should have an internal memory or an option to add an SD card to hold the data that you can use to navigate.
It will also be a good idea to make sure that the rechargeable lithium-ion battery has sufficient charge capacity to use for a long time without the need to keep on recharging. Most of the devices come with a 6-hour battery for convenience if you can find a battery that holds the charge for longer times, the better.
Additional features such as personalized paths will come in handy when riding in new areas or regions. You can determine the shortest routes to get to your destination, and you can save on fuel, and of course, time. Other great features include Siri and Google compatibility that allowed her hands-free answering of calls and listening to the music. and of course, that is what makes the ride so exciting, and unforgettable.
Wi-Fi connectivity will help connect to the Internet quickly and get the most updated GPS and mapping systems for navigation purposes. It would be unfortunate to use an old map to ride through an area that you have never been before.
Make sure that the GPS navigation system comes with the latest software to avoid problems and inconvenience. You already know that a lot can change in one area, and high rise buildings can come up quickly, or the infrastructure can change everything in one area.
Best GPS Navigation System Brands
It is always best to get the best GPS navigation system on the market. Unless you are familiar with technical terms and specifications, it is difficult to find the most ideal for you. It is even harder if you are buying the navigation system for the first time.
But how do you pull it off? How do you get the most reliable navigation system to make your motorcycling the most fun activity?
Well, one of the simplest ways to get your prize by choosing a top brand. Of course, the top brands will have premium pricing for their products, but that does not matter if you get the best quality. You cannot compromise on the quality of a navigation system, especially if you are the type of person that loves riding to new areas.
But enough with the chit chat.
Junsun: You cannot talk of GPS navigation systems without mentioning Junsun. There is so much talk about how GPS navigation systems are all expensive, but in every market, there is always an exception. That exception is Junsun. So, if getting your feet wet in all matters, GPS navigation systems, then Junsun is the right choice. Of course it may not have premium features like more expensive models, but we all start somewhere.
Junsun GPS navigation systems come with various excellent features that include a large touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity that allows seamless communication with your phone, and 3D navigation.
Garmin: When talking of excellence, reliability and durability, Garmin is a brand at the top of its game. It is indisputably at the top of the park when it comes to GPS navigation systems. They are just excellent in their trade- nothing less.
Garmin is a leader in the GPS navigation systems because they keep evolving and innovating to incorporate the latest technology., Garmin is an excellent brand when talking of navigation systems. If looking for nothing but the best, then you are very much at home with Garmin.
The brand has different models, screen sizes and every other feature that you can think of, and should be in a navigation system. That means you can find the Garmin navigation system model that is according to your budget and needs. In essence, the brand gives you access to such premium features us live traffic feeds and voice activation.
Garmin has efficient connectivity such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to allow seamless syncing with your phone. Furthermore, the interface is incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. You can easily set it up, and be on your way across town to a new place that excites the senses, and makes the trip all worth the effort.
TomTom: TomTom is simply a brand that gives Garmin, a run for their money. They are a top navigation system company that most people have come across. TomTom manages to stay afloat and at the top by innovating and maintaining consistency in terms of producing quality products.
One thing about TomTom is that all their screens are bright and come with the best resolution, that everyone seems to appreciate. The size of the screen is not so bad, and they are very good looking. TomTom is the go-to brand for motorcycles, and that makes them a good sport for every motorcycle owner.
The connectivity of TomTom navigation systems is top-notch. For example, you can use their Wi-Fi to connect to your phone and read the text messages as you keep your eyes on the road. If that is not convenient, what is?
The TomTom navigation systems traffic information is better than that of competitors, and that is the best deal that any motorcyclist can get. You want reliable information to make timely decisions and help you to get to your destination, quickly and effortlessly.
A premium interface on the TomTom navigation systems is what makes it easy and a joy to use.
Garmin vs TomTom – Which System is Better?
As a motorcyclist looking to buy the best satellite navigation system, you most probably have come across Garmin and TomTom. The two are some of the best brands on the market. But the question is, which among the two navigation systems is the best?
Well, we can pretty much say that both Garmin and TomTom are at the top of the food chain and you cannot be wrong choosing any one of them. The two brands almost have similar features, and the quality of their systems are the best.
But as motorcyclists, we all have different preferences, and one feature can prove a deal-breaker between Garmin and TomTom. So which are these factors that make one system better than the other?
The price point of a particular device can determine whether you are going to pick it above the other. But to be honest, both Garmin and TomTom have different models that come at various price points. The easiest way to find an excellent navigation system is to determine how much you have to spend on a navigation system, and then pick the one that fulfils your needs and budget.
Which among the two is more user-friendly?
For both Garmin and TomTom, users only need to input the address, and the system calculates the best route and the distance. Despite a few differences between the two systems, Garmin and TomTom work very well on basics and interfaces. The calculation, finding and searching is effortless and quite convenient.
But a few users are quick to point out that Garmin has better interfaces and easy to use buttons in comparison to Tomtom. and even though TomTom has one of the best resolution screens, the information on the display is not very clean. However, you get more information on the TomTom display.
Time taken to calculate a particular route and to lock with a satellite is essential. It is never fun to sit inside your car as you wait for the system to connect and give you the data you need to be on your way. In terms of speed in calculating the new routes, TomTom wins hands down.
The maps incorporated into a GPS navigation system is another critical consideration. The current navigation systems are coming with lifetime updates and worldwide maps. That means you can drive anywhere in the world, and get updated information such as the newly constructed roads and the closed roads.
However, the majority of users are quick to point out that Garmin has the best maps for North America, and TomTom is the most appropriate for Europe. It may be challenging to ascertain the accuracy of these statements, but it is always good to keep it in mind.
How Does a Motorcycle GPS Work?
The latest motorcycle GPS navigation systems function by using maps provided by the brand. Mostly, the rider inputs the information on the navigation system, and it calculates the distance, and the best route to get there.
However, there are very many different GPS systems on the market, and they can be different in terms of functioning. Read the manual and understand a particular system before you go all-in to purchase it.
Types of Motorcycle GPS
One of the most common motorcycle GPS is special GPS. The special motorcycle GPS comes with all the features that make it a top product to use. The equipment usually has a durable material that can withstand the different elements such as UV, rain and heat.
Most of them have special navigation features and have Bluetooth capability. But as you would expect, the special models have a higher Price Tag than the others on the market, but it is all worth it.
Hybrid is another type of motorcycle GPS that comes with a large screen and special features to help with navigation. Hybrid systems are also portable.
The portable motorcycle GPS systems offer more versatility than special and hybrid systems. They have a smaller screen to enhance their portability, and you can take them on hikes and camping. The portable motorcycle GPS systems are easy to use.
Installation of a Motorcycle GPS Unit
Motorcycle GPS installation is quite different from motor vehicle installation. Before anything, make sure to purchase the right equipment and the necessary installation hardware.
The next step is to pick the most appropriate place on your handlebars to install the GPS unit. This position depends mostly on preferences.
Use the Allen key to unscrew the handlebar and adjust the size of the mount to fit appropriately on the handlebars. You will mostly find a piece of rubber that you install on top of the handlebars.
Place the mount and rubber on top of the handlebars and use the Allen key to tighten the unit until there is no movement. Attach the holder and the included screws using a screwdriver. After this, you can now place the GPS unit into the holder.
Use the battery cable to connect to the GPS. Typically, one end of the cable will go to the 12-volt motorcycle battery and the other end into the GPS. Switch the GPS on and start using it.
A good quality mount is pretty much like the Garmin motorcycle GPS mount.
Smartphone Navigation vs Dedicated GPS – Which is Better?
One of the riddles that most motorcyclists have to solve is whether to go for a dedicated GPS unit or use their smartphone for navigation. Well, there are various factors to consider before we can choose one method over the other. But mostly, a dedicated GPS unit is better for motorcycles.
One of the advantages of using a dedicated GPS over a smartphone navigation application is the size of the objects on the screen. Of course, you may have trouble reading the smartphone display, especially when riding a motorcycle at high speeds. But that is not the case with dedicated GPS that have more extensive and bright displays.
The voice directions on smartphones can be quite useful when riding. On the other hand, dedicated GPS contains everything on the screen. The premium models will also have voice directions, and therefore, it is a win-win situation for both the smartphone and the dedicated GPS.
Dedicated GPS comes with windshield mount that will help to keep them in place when riding the motorcycle. On the other hand, you may need to purchase a smartphone mount, which is an extra cost. Furthermore, the extra mount may not be as efficient as the dedicated GPS mount. Another thing to think about is that the smartphone mount may not have a charging system like a GPS mount.
With smartphones, you will have access to the latest maps, and therefore good access to the newest information. The old GPS systems may not have updated maps. However, you may not need to worry about that with contemporary GPS systems. They may continually update the maps, and it’s all thanks to Google Maps.
And while you are always connected to the cell phone network when using the smartphone, using a dedicated GPS unit will need paying a subscription fee to maintain connectivity. And while the smartphone is usually free, it will drain battery power and internet data.
Charging Time, Power Backup, and Battery Life of a GPS
Premium models like Garmin will take about 4 hours to charge. They will maintain the battery charge for between 8 and 12 hours, which is mostly sufficient, in the majority of the cases.
Battery-powered USB charger may come in handy in cases where you are away from the motorcycle such as hiking a mountain or camping.
GPS Navigator vs GPS Tracker – What’s the Difference?
GPS navigation systems are units that help you move around a particular location. Typically, the navigation system allows you to input the destination, and it calculates the best route and the distance. The system gets the data from the satellite.
Similarly, the GPS tracker uses the information of the satellite, but the difference is in the person that sees the data. The GPS navigator will display information on the console for the driver or motorcycle rider to see. However, the data obtained from the GPS tracker is available to a person, thousands of miles away. The information is then sent to your desktop screen or your smartphone to determine the location of your vehicle or motorcycle.
The GPS tracker contains a SIM card that connects to the Cloud servers and provides information on the location of the motorcycle.
Tips on Maintenance of a GPS System
To protect the device from theft, always put it in a bag when not in use. An insulated camera bag is a good option.
You can acquire a screen protector to ensure that the GPS is always responsive. A screen protector will protect the system against the oil from your hands, and the elements such as UV rays.
Never poke the screen with a firm finger as it may compromise the integrity of the screen. Be as gentle as possible and clean the screen at least once every month. Avoid harsh soaps and detergents as they are a sure way to damage the screen.
The CPU is the main component that works the hardest to calculate your location and connect to the satellite, and that can affect its durability. Ideally, you should avoid overworking it. Don’t leave it on for too long, especially when you don’t need it. It is also good to avoid switching it on when in weak reception areas such as inside a building.
A power surge can damage the GPS device. When turning on the motorcycle, the flow of power comes up by at least 20%, and that can damage the GPS navigator, over time. Make sure to unplug the unit when switching on the engine of the motorcycle.
Best Motorcycle GPS App – Are They Free?
There are various motorcycle GPS apps that you can install and make it convenient for you to travel. For example, Waze relies on community input to function and to provide the best data when riding a motorcycle.
Some of the GPS apps are free, but you will still find others that are subscription-based. Waze is free, but you will need to chuck out some amount, every month, to use Best Biking Roads. You will get the fills and photos of different places even before you ride there.
Both Rever and Eat Sleep Ride are free. And even though inRoute is also free, there are in-app purchases.
The best motorcycle GPS navigator adds a bit of fun into the motorcycling. You are sure of where you are riding, and you can get to your destination quickly and effortlessly. It is fun to find your way to the location where you want to be, while the opposite is true.
The above GPS navigators are some of the best on-the-market, and you can rely on them to get where you want to be. They are user-friendly and quite durable. Get on your motorcycle, and let’s explore different places, because that is the ultimate fun.