When it comes to exploring the open road, a motorcycle GPS is a biker’s best friend. With one of these handy devices, you will always know exactly where you are and where you are going—and you can track everywhere you’ve been. Many motorcycle GPS units also include entertainment and communication features so you can listen to music or chat with your buddies on the road.
Not sure where to start in your quest for the perfect motorcycle GPS device? Below you can compare prices and features on highly-rated motorcycle GPS models.
|Garmin Zumo 595LM||Check Price on Amazon|
|Garmin Zumo 395LM||Check Price on Amazon|
|Garmin Zumo 590LM||Check Price on Amazon|
|BMW Motorrad Navigator V||Check Price on Amazon|
Still not ready to pick the best motorcycle GPS device? Read on to learn more about questions to ask yourself while shopping and features to look for.
What is a Motorcycle GPS?
A motorcycle GPS attaches to your handlebars so that you can see the map right in front of you while you are riding. You can use it to pinpoint your precise location, plan routes, and track waypoints. Motorcycle GPS devices can even recommend exciting winding or scenic roads. With the right GPS on your side, your destination is always adventure!
How Does a Motorcycle GPS Work?
Like other GPS devices, a motorcycle GPS receiver communicates with the Global Positioning System satellites in orbit around the earth. By checking in with several different satellites and comparing the data they transmit on time and position, the device is able to extrapolate your precise position on earth.
Will the unit fit your bike?
Most motorcycle GPS units are designed with universal kits so that they can be easily mounted on the vast majority of bikes. Still, you should always make sure that a specific model will fit on your motorcycle. You may also want to make sure it is easy to attach and detach on a regular basis if you will be moving it around a lot (i.e. using it on different bikes).
What types of maps do you need?
A motorcycle GPS may use proprietary maps or it may allow you to load in third party map data. Figure out what types of maps you need and how you want them to display. Some devices can even display 3D buildings on the map to help increase your awareness of your environment and how it corresponds to the map.
Are you willing to pay subscription fees on maps?
Some GPS companies will charge you fees if you want to update your maps over the years. But other motorcycle GPS companies will allow you to download updates throughout the year without paying any additional fees.
What other devices do you use on your motorcycle?
Many motorcycle GPS models can talk to other devices through Bluetooth. If you will be using a separate cell phone, MP3 player, headset, or so on, make sure that you can connect them with your new GPS device. That way you can enjoy the combined functionality of all of your electronics on the road.
Recommended Features For Motorcycle GPS
Water-resistance is an important feature in a motorcycle GPS, because while you are on the road, you are probably going to be exposed to all kinds of weather conditions. You do not want your GPS to short out during the first unexpected rainstorm. Obviously if you are going to be spending a lot of time riding in a rainy climate, this is even more vital. While you are at it, also look for a GPS which is going to resist dust and UV rays.
Screen Dimensions and Quality
The easier it is to see your display, the better. Make sure that the screen does not have a lot of glare, and that it is equally clear on bright sunny days and moonless nights. A larger screen may also be easier on the eyes—and easier to use in terms of touchpad functionality.
Many motorcycle GPS units also include Bluetooth integration. With Bluetooth, you can chat with your buddies on the road without taking off your helmet or removing your gloves. You do need a Bluetooth-enabled headset to do this, but if you have one, you can link the two devices along with your cell phone. You also can receive verbal instructions from your GPS through your headset. This helps you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars.
You can purchase a motorcycle GPS which includes an MP3 player built right in. Hook it up with a headset and you will be able to enjoy music while you are on the road. You also have the option of listening to audiobooks. If you take regular long trips, entertainment features like these are indispensable.
Route Planning Features
A motorcycle GPS is not just for finding out where you are; it is also for helping you to plan where you are going.
The route planning features on a motorcycle GPS are far more comprehensive and specific than those you would find on another GPS device. On a bike, you do not always just want the quickest route to a destination; sometimes you want the most beautiful route or the road which is going to be the most fun with lots of winding curves. Some motorcycle GPS devices will actually help you to find these fun winding roads.
Points of Interest may also be included on your maps so that you can find restaurants, gas stations and hotels. You also may have the option of adding your own Points of Interest and saving routes you have enjoyed so you can return to them on future trips.
You now know the important features to shop for in a motorcycle GPS. Scroll back up to the top of the page to take a closer look at our comparison chart. There you can view features and prices for top-selling, highly rated motorcycle GPS devices at a glance!
1. Garmin Zumo 595LM: Offers Awesome Smartphone Interconnectivity
The more information you have when you ride a motorcycle, the better. The Zumo 595LM helps you stay informed by sending you weather notifications, fatigue alerts, text messages and more.
- View text messages. The Garmin Zumo 595LM is one of the only motorcycle GPS units that will allow you to receive text message notifications from your phone.
- Get useful notifications as you ride. Stay aware of helmet law changes, curves, speed limit changes and other important info.
- Fatigue alerts. After you’ve been riding for a certain amount of time, the Zumo 595LM urges you to take a break.
- Weather notifications. Find out if a storm is about to roll through before the raindrops hit the ground.
- Adaptive screen. The Zumo 595LM’s screen looks great during the day and night
- Plot out fuel stops in advance.
- Finds curvy roads for you.
- You have to pay a small monthly subscription fee to use the weather radar feature.
- The Garmin Zummo 595LM is expensive compared to other motorcycle GPS units.
2. Garmin Zumo 395LM: A GPS Designed for Adventurous Motorcycle Riders
Have a spirit for exploration and adventure? Take that spirit on the road with you with the Garmin Zumo 395LM GPS. This device was designed specifically with fun and excitement in mind, offering features to help you enjoy the ultimate riding experience.
- Explore off the beaten path. This GPS has a feature which allows you to navigate off major thoroughfares. With Garmin Adventurous Routing™ running, you can locate roads which are hilly or feature a lot of curves. These roads are usually less crowded and more fun to ride on.
- Get alerts to keep you safe and in compliance with local laws. As you ride, the GPS will inform you when you can expect a sudden curve in the road. You can also get alerts about speed cameras as well as changes in speed limits for state helmet laws.
- Compatible with your other devices. If you purchase the headset to go with your GPS, you can use the Bluetooth functionality of the GPS to connect with your smartphone for hands-free calls. You can also connect your GPS with your MP3 player so you can enjoy music as you ride.
- Lots of other great features. These include intuitive directions featuring landmark navigation, alerts to help you remember to refuel in time, free map updates for the lifetime of the GPS, and more. You can even connect the GPS with the Garmin Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor. Do this, and you will always know when you need to add pressure to your tires.
- The software can be a bit finicky at times. This can lead to navigational issues and ease-of-use frustrations.
3. Garmin Zumo 590LM: A Premium Motorcycle GPS with Advanced Features
Looking for a motorcycle GPS unit which delivers more? The Garmin Zumo 590LM is a premium GPS which sells in a premium price bracket. While it is a significant investment, its sophisticated range of features makes it a worthy purchase for serious riders.
- A large, beautiful, clear display. Measuring 5”, this display is colorful and detailed, and has been designed to be bright enough to read even in direct sunlight.
- Get updates while you’re on the road. Stay apprised of traffic ahead as well as weather conditions in the area where you are traveling through the Smartphone Link up.
- Listen to music while you ride. You can connect a range of different portable music players with this GPS for easy navigation not just on the roads, but through your playlists as well.
- Built for harsh conditions. Whatever the road throws at you, your GPS should be able to handle it. With an IPX7 rating, it can stand up to precipitation. It can also survive fuel spills, and can continue to function even when subjected to direct UV rays over an extended time period.
- Get off the main roads. If you want to get away from the traffic of the highways and enjoy an adventurous ride on a winding road, you can do so with the help of the Garmin Zumo 590LM. So that you always know what is up ahead, you have the option of purchasing and downloading detailed terrain maps.
- Other great features. These include tire pressure monitoring (with the Garmin Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor), free lifetime map updates, a log for service and maintenance for your motorcycle, a digital fuel gauge, a speed limit indicator, and more.
- The user interface is not 100% intuitive. Even though this GPS packs a lot of features, it can be tricky to learn how to use all of them.
4. BMW Motorrad Navigator V: A Top-Shelf GPS Unit For BMW Motorcycles
Those who are in the market for a top-of-the-line motorcycle GPS unit for a BMW motorcycle will be interested in the Motorrad Navigator V. BMW markets this unit as “more than just a navigation device. It is a reliable travelling companion.” In short, it is built to fulfil all of your needs on the road.
- Top-shelf display. The bright screen measures 5”, and is easy to read even in the sun.
- BaseCamp route planning software. With this program, you can select up to 30 routes for a trip, and define each with 125 points. This means that you can explore to your heart’s content on your way to your destination.
- Intuitive, conversational directions. When your GPS tells you where to go, it does so with audible, intuitive instructions referencing obvious landmarks.
- Stands up to water and fuel. With an IPX7 rating, this GPS is tough enough to last.
- Lots of other excellent advanced features. These include the option to explore on scenic, winding roads, a full set of maps for your continent, free lifetime updates, photorealistic displays of upcoming interchanges, a Smartphone Link app which you can use to receive updates on traffic and weather, and much more.
- Installation can be complicated. The BMW Motorrad Navigator V was designed specifically for BMW motorcycles, and more specifically those with compatible cradle mounts. If you want to install it on other motorcycles, you need to get an appropriate mount.
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