Author Topic: Best GPS?  (Read 908 times)

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Offline HiSport

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Best GPS?
« on: September 03, 2019, 01:09:35 am »
I'm prepping my  2014 C14 for traveling, and thought to buy a new GPS. Previously, I have used car Garmins, which are OK, but no audible (bluetooth) turn by turn directions, plus not waterproof. Last time I checked, the Garmin Zumo was the sole MC choice, but stupid expensive

On Amazon, the two choices now are Tom Tom 550 (poorly rated; $370) and Zumo 396 LMT-S (also kinda' poorly rated $311). The reviews on the Zumo are really bad (outdated, poor routing, unreliable, etc). I frankly expected better of Garmin

Is there a better GPS option? Any that will work with bluetooth earbuds and provide audible driving directions?

Offline connie_rider

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2019, 01:42:01 pm »
I've been considering a Motorcycle specific GPS too.
Looked on Ebay and came across this.
Have no idea if it would do as you wish, but seems a better price for a Garmin 550.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Garmin-Zumo-550-BRAND-NEW-BATTERY-Motorcycle-GPS-RAM-FREE-US-SHIPPING/283589293103?hash=item42073d342f:g:0m0AAOSw0DpdXyTb

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Offline MtnRider

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2019, 03:46:24 pm »
Ted,

A GPS? Really?!?! The way I understand it you don't ride the bike far enough at one time to have the opportunity to get lost...   :nananana:   :rotflmao:  :motonoises:  :beerchug:
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It works ok, I'm going to improve it. It works better, I'm going to improve it. It works great, I'm going to imp.... Sh*t, I broke it!!!

Online TimR

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2019, 04:04:00 pm »
I too am looking at a Zumo. Since my stroke in 2011, my path finding has gone away. Finding my way alone can be problematic at times. I'm looking at the Zumo 959 which is stupid expensive. The price has gone down a little but I am waiting for a little more price reduction. The Zumo 859 is set up to pair with an I phone which I don't have either at this time.
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Offline AmphibSailor

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2019, 04:59:16 pm »
I bought the Tom Tom Rider 500 while I was over in Europe.  It was not really intuitive, but I was able to make it work.  I'm sure the 550 is not that much different....so don't discount it as  the Tom Tom's are OK.  (I noticed that the 550 was on sale a couple of weeks ago for $270.  At that price...it would have been a no brainer.)

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Offline KnoxSwift

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 05:04:54 pm »
I still use my 2006? or maybe 2008 Garmin Zumo 660.
I bought it with lifetime maps.
It still get's the job done. I've dropped it dozens of times it's been in rain and desert sun...keeps on ticking.

FYI if you intend to buy one on Ebay make sure it comes with the mount! Since the 660 was replaced by whatever new product it is...the mount was also discontinued. I only know this because I have 2 bikes and when I went to buy a new mount I ended up having to watch Ebay for weeks to get a used mount for the 660.

Whatever replaced the 660 I'd probably buy with Lifetime maps again. I think it was a good value since I'll use it on 2 motorcycles until it fails or the mounts break or something like that. I recommend Garmin motorcycle specific GPS just because of the durability and longevity.


Offline robertv

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2019, 05:30:29 pm »
Honestly even tho Garmin hasn't updated their models/line in awhile, i caved in and bought the 595 after watching this YT vid since my old Nuvi was down to it's knees, wasn't waterproof and didn't really work well with my Sena.

https://youtu.be/Skar8PCXKOs

Luckily I bought it at a good deal and would highly recommend it if you're looking for the BT + Sena compatibility, directions, etc. In the end, it may be a lot of $$$ to begin with but the tradeoffs of what works great and included, it can't be beat. As for the glare that some folks complain about, you can adjust the angle, turn up the brightness and should be readable 97% of the time when riding. And now I don't have to worry about the rain here in the Seattle area...
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Offline smithr1

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2019, 05:36:08 pm »
I have a Garmin for the car.  I use a tank bag with gps holder to get it up in my site, make it rain resistant and reduce vibrations.  That has worked well for me for 3 years now.  I also have my XM in the same tang bag. 

I got tired of taking the units out of the tank bag and putting them in the car or van when needed.   I now just found a way to move the entire tank bag from car to bike.

I find I don't need turn by turn voice as long as I can see the upper corner of the display.  Display has all I need with the distance to next turn and which way.  I like that it connects to my phone and I can pull up a weather radar screen while moving.   It also detects traffic issues using phone real time data.
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Offline HiSport

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2019, 07:42:45 pm »
Gosh - many thanks for the discussion and advice!

After reading reviews of (three) current MC GPS products, I decided to buy the most up to date Garmin available (DriveSmart 65 (~$220), which is an automobile model) and try it out in a car. I wanted a new GPS for my XJR anyhow. Just completed a 6,200 trip using my current Garmin, a Nuvi 2598 (circa 2014), and will be interested to see if any fundamental progress has been made in GPS technology over the last five years. I also have a Nuvi 2460 (circa 2011; used extensively on my Ducati and BMW) and a Nuvi 760 (yr?).

In my little researching, seems that the GPS tide has shifted toward cell phones. Plus, most newer cars have GPS built in. I like a dedicated aftermarket high end GPS myself, but realize that this niche may have become a technological backwater. In the same vein, the MC submarket segment is ever more vanishingly small.
After getting updated via a new GPS, I'll decide whether a Garmin 396LMT-S ($250 now) or 595LMT-S ($600 now) is sufficiently better than a repurposed Nuvi 2598 (and a few baggies).

Very interested in hearing your views on the best MC GPS. I'd like to be able to upload custom routes (eg, Road Trip USA routes) without tons of bother. I'd like the option of hearing turn by turn directions, cell calls, music, radio, etc via bluetooth without lots of fuss.

My C14 came with a steering stem Ram ball mount. Is this where most of you put your GPS (or phone?) I tried it briefly, but found glare a bit bothersome...  Also previously tried using a
Nuvi GPS in the clear map holder compartment on top of my Held tank bag. Not a success (bad location; couldn't read or input touchscreen). Must be a better tank bag approach?


Offline Daboo

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2019, 09:50:58 pm »
I tried to use a car GPS for several years.  I wasn't successful.  The screens didn't have the brightness.  They weren't waterproof.  And the ones I had did not have the ability to hear GPS instructions via Bluetooth.  You could make a call...but not hear directions.

In the end, I bought a refurbished Garmin 590LM from the Garmin factory outlet.  It came with a full Garmin warranty.  When I got it, the box looked brand new.  The GPS looked brand new.  The accessories were packaged like new. 

The only thing different that I could tell between a refurbished model and a new model was the hundreds of dollars more I'd pay for the new model.

I'd like to use a smartphone, but there's some issues with making that work well.  Few are waterproof.  Few have a bright enough screen.  Few can take the heat without shutting down.

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Offline HeavyRotation

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2019, 02:19:39 am »
I use an old deactivated Samsung, you don't need a service plan for the location to work. I run Avenza and OruxMaps. I use it in the woods and for dual sport. I run Waze on my good phone on the street bike with bluetooth to my Cardo 4+ for real time traffic and speed trap alerts. There's absolutely no reason to buy a standalone gps anymore. I also can sync my phone to my garmin Inreach Explorer+ when I'm out dual sporting for emergency iridium satellite network beacon, two way messaging and shared tracking in case i go missing. I ride alone 99% of the time and way off the beaten track.
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Offline Deanc

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2019, 03:13:45 pm »
I'm happy with my Garmin Zumo 395; I've had no issues with it for the past year. 
Downloading routes from BaseCamp on the Zumo has never a problem; I've had this problem with my Garmin Nuvi GPS. 
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Offline HiSport

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2019, 11:59:32 am »
Thanks again for your notes and advice!

I've now tried out the new Garmin DriveSmart 65 (car) GPS and studied the current Zumo (396 and 595) offerings.

- DS 65 is a big (7"), bright car GPS with great smartphone integration (and lousy voice command software). Its fine for the car, but too big? for a bike, plus not waterproof, etc. I bought it to judge Garmin's latest GPS technology

- The Zumo 396 (~$250) is a bit closer to the DS 65, software wise, but has a smaller (4.3"), lower res screen. The 595 (5" screen; ~$600) is more similar - SW wise - to my 2015 Garmin. Both have bluetooth, and both come with bike mounting hardware. Both are rugged and water resistant, which - on a rainy day in the middle of nowhere - is more important than all the gee whiz stuff

- Many folks get along fine using a cell phone or auto GPS, though both are challenged in a motorcycle environment

Personally, I'm going to keep an eye peeled for a factory refurb Zumo; hopefully one with a 5" screen

Offline RWulf

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2019, 01:37:01 pm »
I have a Zumo 660. Not one bit pleased with it's readability in sun light. Next GPS I buy
will have a TFT display (I think that's what it's called) boaters seem to be able to use these
on water on sunny days.

Offline Sailor Rich

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2019, 03:43:14 pm »
I replaced my Garmin GpSMAP 276c last fall with the new version GPSMAP 276cx.
It has great sunlight readability like the previous models. They made a few changes like GPX format and 3d view.
Lifetime maps are available. It's a big GPS. 10 hr battery life, Great for waypoints. I prefer the button operation.

Just another option



Offline 2andBlue

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2019, 07:34:49 pm »
Thanks again for your notes and advice!

I've now tried out the new Garmin DriveSmart 65 (car) GPS and studied the current Zumo (396 and 595) offerings.

- DS 65 is a big (7"), bright car GPS with great smartphone integration (and lousy voice command software). Its fine for the car, but too big? for a bike, plus not waterproof, etc. I bought it to judge Garmin's latest GPS technology
HiSport I have been using a Garmin DS 55 for at least 2 years, no prob.  If there’s rain throw into a sandwich baggie if lots of prolonged rain breakout the Waterproof Phone / GPS case.

For mounting I use a Ram ball mount anchored to the Clutch reservoir bolts holes.   Adjustable all over and suitable for easy near line of sight viewing.

Offline Bruce_Reafsnider_TN

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2019, 10:46:46 pm »
I have TomTom Rider for the bike.  Yes it is different than the Garmin I used for years in my work truck, but it does all the things I need a gps to do.  Using TomTom Home or Tyre I'm able to update maps, set routes, upload routes, etc.  I'd not discount the TomTom as a viable option for the bike.

Offline ginzburg

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2019, 02:55:38 am »
I have a Zumo 660. Not one bit pleased with it's readability in sun light. Next GPS I buy
will have a TFT display (I think that's what it's called) boaters seem to be able to use these
on water on sunny days.

 I think what you are looking for is called a transreflective display. Those are usually sunlight readable.

Offline ginzburg

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2019, 03:17:13 am »
Some options I have been considering, but I don't have first hand knowledge of.

1. A rugged tablet like the Panasonic Toughpad. There are sunlight readable models and they are waterproof and rugged. A new one is pretty spendy. There is also a Samsung that should have the transreflective display called the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I think a 7" tablet would fit right between my handlebars. I've been waiting for a deal on one of these. There aren't exactly tons of them available.

2. A phone with an AMOLED screen. Most of the newer Samsungs and a few LGs have them. Also most Sony phones. I think my Sony phone is very readable in the sun. It is hard to actually order one of these others without seeing it in person though. They should be good in theory.

3. A cheap rugged phone like the Kyocera Duraforce. The screen is not specified to be sunlight readable, but it is supposed to be rugged in other respects.  There are lots on Ebay, but there are also a lot of broken ones. That makes me think it can't be dropped like the other rugged phones, but it really is cheap enough to not worry about.

Offline Daboo

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2019, 04:23:50 am »
On one of the forums I visit, someone is saying they have gone through three new phones because the vibration kills the camera.

At some point, you end up spending more money on alternatives than just buying a refurbished motorcycle GPS.

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Offline 2andBlue

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2019, 11:15:44 am »
Good point on cost of alternatives.  I would be hesitant to mount my cell direct to the motorcycle...

I have been utilizing for years Garmin DS-50 without trouble.  If it rains - out comes a plastic baggie.  10’s K’s of miles and trouble-free.  Biggest downside to this model other than aforementioned —> Lack of Battery Life; if you need socket for another gadget length of unplugged operation is dismal...

For mounting: Ram motorcycle ball mount anchored via clutch reservoir mounting bolts.  Places GPS close to line of sight and infinitely adjustable preventing both glare and viewing problems in day.


Offline JPD

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2019, 01:08:00 pm »
I have used several different Garmin GPS units in both my cars and on my motorcycles. Older button controlled units were easier to see in the sunlight. Most of the touch screen units are harder to see. Viewing angle or shading can help. My new Zumo 396 is better then most. I think my biggest failure point is the micro USB power port. The vibration on my C-10 mirror mount ram ball is very high frequency and I will get a lost power warning, or it will try to go into data transfer mode. This will not happen at first only after several thousand miles of use. I have now made my own mount that is on top of the dash and has much less vibration. It also puts the GPS front and center.

I also run a old Samsung S-5 phone with no service plan with a off line map program. I have it mounted on the mirror ram ball with a x-grip mount and a Otter-box case to dampen vibration. I power it from a cig lighter adapter and short USB power cord. I use it for wide area map view 20 to 25 mile range so I have a better idea of where I am in relation to the nearest town. So far it has worked well for about 3000 miles even in the rain. I don't think I would use my current in service $1000.00 phone the same way.

So I use both with GPS signals, not a data based map program. (Maps-ME) I like to ride on the smaller roads and often am out of data coverage so maps and routing coverage can be spotty. I came thru NJ on Labor day and WASE lost its routing data and I couldn't get it back until I got into Delaware. I kept getting a data time out error. I think the system was overloaded due to high volume. I still had basic map and warnings for police or cars stopped along the road. My Garmin kept working all the time and had no problem recalculating routing if I did something different then it had suggested. You still need an active data connection if you are looking for speed trap information or real traffic. The newer units from Garmin and I think Tom-Tom have smart phone links to get at least traffic with the phone in your pocket. The M/C units will also turn by turn into a headset.

What you get or use may depend on what you have already or are willing to spend.

Offline HiSport

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2019, 07:46:39 pm »
Truly wonderful range and depth of knowledge among COG members; Compliments!

As ever, I'm intrigued by the ingenuity of others on this forum. Lots of great insights on what really works (and why).

I'm still casually researching the "Best GPS" thing. (eg,) Here's everything (and more  :truce:) you ever wanted to know about the Garmin 396:

https://advrider.com/f/threads/new-garmin-zumo-396.1293919/

Offline Jim

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2019, 11:24:26 pm »
My girlfriend bought me a Zumo 595 this past Christmas. It has worked spectacularly. Love the ability to sync it with both my cell phone and my Sena. I've run into situations where the cell phone GPS isn't always dependable, so I really like having the dedicated GPS unit.

Offline HiSport

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Re: Best GPS?
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2019, 01:44:47 am »
Jim,

Does your girlfriend have a sister?