Author Topic: economical (or cheap) Gps unit  (Read 5581 times)

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Offline Riles

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economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« on: June 25, 2014, 10:44:23 am »
Went for a day ride yesterday to Cabelas in Hartford. Got a little lost on the way back, but got home no less. Started mulling over a Gps but the prices shocked the hell out of me. Are there any affordable , functional units out there?? $700-800 is pretty steep for me.
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Offline Gypsy JR

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 12:18:46 pm »
I think the new Garmin motorcycle GPS is a little cheaper than that, but not sure.

To get waterproof and a unit that understands that turn instructions to a motorcycle rider are different than to a hiker or even car driver, you have to pay in that range.

I found a good reason not to use a smartphone GPS this past weekend. A friend was riding shotgun in my truck using his smartphone GPS to get us to a friend's house to help her move. The smartphone GPS put us back a small alley that dead-ended and had two choices other than go back the way we came. A muddy rutty cow path, and a grass field.

I was tempted to go mudding, but decided we needed to get truck and trailer where it needed to go. So I turned around and headed out, and fired up my real GPS, and it instantly routed us over REAL roads and we were there in 5 minutes.

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Offline Dave Scott

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 01:10:46 pm »
I use a garmin 255 on my bike.  if it rains, I put a ziplock bag over it to stay dry.  it's held up well for me for a couple of years.  You can get them for about 50 bucks (or less) on ebay.  at that price, I can afford about 10 of them for the price of a motorcycle-specific one.  Being a "frugal" connie owner, I opted for that!   ;D

Offline Bourne2Ride

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 03:21:00 pm »
Cell Phones are the cheapest. Most of us have them, and they have decent GPS programs avalaible for them. I use mine with a handlebar clamp. Works like a dream.
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Offline Pittsburgh_Clem

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 03:41:32 pm »
. On my way to Moonshine using my cell ATT Navigator, I arrived in Casey to get gas, not knowing I had arrived. My cell said I had 39 more miles to go.  I looked up and saw a sign that said WELCOME to Casey IL. Home of the largest Wind Chime. While camping at the farm someone stated that the time change messes up the cell navigators. You need to sync them sometimes when you cross time zones.  For weekend trips around my tri state area it has worked very well for me :great:
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Offline Speedy

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 05:11:13 pm »
My Zumo 665 was free to me....the previous owner didn't want to pay to have the wires removed. :nananana:

Waterproof is really nice if you spend any time in areas where the weather changes hourly.  Hard enough to stop and throw on the rain jacket/pants but to remember the gps ziplock baggie would be too much for my old brain to remember....

Don't forget, if you buy an upscale used model it will still have value on the used market in a couple of years so you should not loose too much.

Good luck.
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Offline Dave Scott

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 06:28:20 pm »
of course, on the other hand, if you buy a cheap model and happen to drop it off the bike at about 75 MPH going down the highway, you just shrug your shoulders.   ;D

(don't ask me how I know that)   :truce:

Offline Jlewis50

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 07:21:40 pm »
I have an inexpensive car Garmin I purchased at Target go $79. I cover with a sandwich bag when needed. Works we'll but not do nice in the sun. >:( :'( :nananana:

Offline BDF

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2014, 09:12:31 pm »
Really the question comes down to what you need the GPS to do and whether or not you really need it all the time or not.

If you just need something to use occasionally, do not need turn- by- turn directions (audio directions), do not need anything else such as MP3 player, Bluetooth connection and similar, then any inexpensive GPS from any store will do. You can mount it (easy boys!) on the bike with a universal mounting bracket from Ram, such as an X- mount, power it from the on- board battery and either put it away somewhere or put a plastic baggie over it if (when) it rains.

A true motorcycle GPS really only offers a sunlight- readable screen and the fact that they are weatherproof. As far as really useful function they are not all that different in getting us from one place to another.

Those who are counting on a GPS getting them somewhere, on time and efficiently really need to be able to see and read a GPS in the sunlight, the rain, at night, etc. Motorcycle GPS's also tie in better or even at all to a sound system for in- helmet directions.

You are right about the shocking prices for motorcycle GPSs, even used. And unfortunately, they are no more robust or likely to last than the cheapest auto GPS in my experience.

Just a suggestion but perhaps you could start with an inexpensive auto unit and see if that fills your needs?

Brian

Went for a day ride yesterday to Cabelas in Hartford. Got a little lost on the way back, but got home no less. Started mulling over a Gps but the prices shocked the hell out of me. Are there any affordable , functional units out there?? $700-800 is pretty steep for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Jim
KiPass keeping you up at night? Has the low fuel warning burned your retinas? Find peace, harmony and the answer to these problems. www.incontrolne.com

Offline ZG

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 09:31:49 pm »
Really the question comes down to what you need the GPS to do and whether or not you really need it all the time or not.

If you just need something to use occasionally, do not need turn- by- turn directions (audio directions), do not need anything else such as MP3 player, Bluetooth connection and similar, then any inexpensive GPS from any store will do. You can mount it (easy boys!) on the bike with a universal mounting bracket from Ram, such as an X- mount, power it from the on- board battery and either put it away somewhere or put a plastic baggie over it if (when) it rains.

A true motorcycle GPS really only offers a sunlight- readable screen and the fact that they are weatherproof. As far as really useful function they are not all that different in getting us from one place to another.

Those who are counting on a GPS getting them somewhere, on time and efficiently really need to be able to see and read a GPS in the sunlight, the rain, at night, etc. Motorcycle GPS's also tie in better or even at all to a sound system for in- helmet directions.

You are right about the shocking prices for motorcycle GPSs, even used. And unfortunately, they are no more robust or likely to last than the cheapest auto GPS in my experience.

Just a suggestion but perhaps you could start with an inexpensive auto unit and see if that fills your needs?

Brian

Went for a day ride yesterday to Cabelas in Hartford. Got a little lost on the way back, but got home no less. Started mulling over a Gps but the prices shocked the hell out of me. Are there any affordable , functional units out there?? $700-800 is pretty steep for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Jim

I use my Zumo probably 80% of the time for toggling through tunes on the built in mp3 and for accepting/declining phones calls and making phone calls from it, and 20% of the time for the actually gps... To me it's an essential part of the bike blue-toothed to my helmet, I remember the days before I had it, yes I got along ok, but it's so much better now that I have it IMO.  :great:

Now if I could just text through it too...  >:D             ;D


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Offline BDF

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 09:48:28 pm »
Me too- just like you, I use the MP3 player, the Bluetooth connection to screen calls, and the GPS virtually all the time. And it makes me a bit cranky because frankly now I am depending on the unit. I have two mounted on the bike just in case one fails.... like the 550 did on the way to a BBQ place in Johnson City TN. :-(   

A little offtopic but next time, I am going to go for the daylight readable, Windows based tablet and scrap the GPS entirely. A bigger screen, MS Streets and Trips, which IMO is far superior to any current or past dedicated unit, and more functionality, all for the same price as a Zumo 590.

Brian

I use my Zumo probably 80% of the time for toggling through tunes on the built in mp3 and for accepting/declining phones calls and making phone calls from it, and 20% of the time for the actually gps... To me it's an essential part of the bike blue-toothed to my helmet, I remember the days before I had it, yes I got along ok, but it's so much better now that I have it IMO.  :great:

Now if I could just text through it too...  >:D             ;D
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Offline Riles

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2014, 11:23:26 pm »
Good suggestions. Not being a tech guy , how do I get the audio cues in the helmet?? Ear buds?? Speakers?? I've heard the tork xpro speakers are good , would they work??

Offline stevewfl

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2014, 11:40:14 pm »
Cell Phone.

GPS maps are behind the times, where as google on a phone not only is pin point accurate with daily construction zones, road changes, brand new roads, but gmaps even tells you current traffic situation ahead of you in real time...that moment!

And there are phone apps that allow the phone to banigate whether there is cell signal or not.

My Garmin Zumo nor the 550  has anything over my phone, and its amazing when I use them side by side.  I'll never sucker up to garmin ever EVER again
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Offline C14lvr

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2014, 12:21:51 am »
Cell Phone.

GPS maps are behind the times, where as google on a phone not only is pin point accurate with daily construction zones, road changes, brand new roads, but gmaps even tells you current traffic situation ahead of you in real time...that moment!

And there are phone apps that allow the phone to banigate whether there is cell signal or not.

My Garmin Zumo nor the 550  has anything over my phone, and its amazing when I use them side by side.  I'll never sucker up to garmin ever EVER again


Steve,
I'm with you about Garmin. About fed up.
But, my problem is I'm on a 300 mb/mo data plan...
If you use your cell's gps, aren't you required to turn data on, and doesn't it have to use data to work?
Or does the app get around that?

Friend of mine recently started using a 7" android tablet and a mount on his bike.
Had an initial issue with the first app's gps only working if he was stopped...not moving.
(That was a lot of help...)
But a different app cured that.

But, it frequently shuts down when he's riding.
I think it's the shock...
But it will work.
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Offline BDF

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2014, 12:37:00 am »
I am using a Starcom Digital system which works well but is kind of expensive and requires a fair amount of wiring into the bike. This is an intercom system that provides communication between rider and passenger, as well as 'outside' comms with MP3, cell phone and other methods, such as Family Service Radio (FMS) and such. The upside is that it is full duplex communications, never requires charging and the entire system operates with one cord to each helmet.

Most people now seem to be using a Bluetooth comm. device. There are several ways to use it but the most popular is to put a pair of speakers in the helmet along with a microphone and then connect the helmet communication to something external such as a GPS, cell phone, etc. At first this seems to be an ideal way to go but there are a couple of pitfalls such as Voice Operated communication which drops the first syllable or so, and the fact that quite a lot of devices will not 'play nicely' with other devices, especially when used in multiples such as trying to use a GPS and a cell phone at the same time. Bluetooth does not have well defined standards and communicating with more than one device often works poorly and requires a very specific start sequence (the GPS, the cell phone and then the helmet for example) and can be sketchy regarding working once paired.

If you poke around a bit there is a LOT of information about motorcycle communication units and quite a few manufactures of these systems.

Brian

Good suggestions. Not being a tech guy , how do I get the audio cues in the helmet?? Ear buds?? Speakers?? I've heard the tork xpro speakers are good , would they work??
KiPass keeping you up at night? Has the low fuel warning burned your retinas? Find peace, harmony and the answer to these problems. www.incontrolne.com

Offline Colt45

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2014, 02:39:46 am »
I use a Garmin Street Pilot C550 car unit through my intercom.  I use a folding top sandwich bag over it when there is rain.  The bag is thin enough that it will go under the mount and stay on.  It was ~$200 new years ago and plays MP3s.  It will bluetooth to my phone and display my address book and text messages and allow me to talk over the phone.  i stopped that crap after work called when I was coming home from TX. 
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Offline JS_racer

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2014, 10:15:40 am »
if you are looking at car gps, make sure they can work with a glove on.
i run an old tomtom, with the latest rider software, works well. wish sunlight visability was better, but its old as heck.

Offline Tundra Tom

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2014, 12:00:08 pm »
The voice command turn by turn is invaluable and makes navigating while riding MUCH safer.
Wireless Helmet systems have made great improvement in the last couple years.
I'm currently running a Cardo Q3 set up that connects automatically with my phone and Zumo 550 when powered up. This set up worked fantastic for riding to, from and at the national rally. When my old Zumo glitched (had to clean the mount connections with alcohol) I used the phone to nav with it in my tank bag.
With the newer A2DP Bluetooth profile the music streamed from my phone sounds so good I can just use the helmet speakers and leave my ear plugs in. Unfortunately the 550 does not support this format so the tunes sound like a cheap AM radio so wired ear buds must be used though the navigation commands work fine.
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Offline Riles

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2014, 05:01:09 pm »
Good info, kinda overwhelming in a way but I like the idea of a cell phone. I'll have to update to a smartphone ( I currently have Christopher  Columbus's older phone) because it has many capabilities besides the GPS. I think I'll give my wife's Droid a dry run and see how that works. I think she has Google maps on hers.
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Offline BDF

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2014, 06:02:25 pm »
Well a smart phone will work fine, and a lot of people use them as a GPS, a music source and they can do much more such as weather displays and so forth. The downside is the monthly data plan cost. The phones themselves are not only not expensive (for what they do) but are actually a bargain. But that pesky data plan is not even reasonable in cost IMO. I too am using a cell phone with a crank on the side, just like you, for the very reason that I have chosen not to get into the data plan commitment (read: ongoing, never ending cost).

That said, a lot of people have and will continue to have smart phones anyway so using them for navigation actually makes great economic sense. But buying and maintaining one to navigate with is a terrible economic value, again IMO. Sort of like committing to getting set up with the hardware and subscription to a cable service, or similar, just to have the ability to watch a movie that you might like now and then.

By the way, my wife has both an iPhone as well as a Surface Pro with MS Streets & Trips, a GPS receiver and a cellular data connection for the. All of that combined makes a superb route planner as well as an outstanding navigation device but the cost is beyond ridiculous if it were purchased / maintained for that specific use IMO (she has the above for other reasons and having it along on a trip is great).

Brian

Good info, kinda overwhelming in a way but I like the idea of a cell phone. I'll have to update to a smartphone ( I currently have Christopher  Columbus's older phone) because it has many capabilities besides the GPS. I think I'll give my wife's Droid a dry run and see how that works. I think she has Google maps on hers.
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KiPass keeping you up at night? Has the low fuel warning burned your retinas? Find peace, harmony and the answer to these problems. www.incontrolne.com

Offline Riles

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2014, 01:33:55 am »
Thank you for the info and suggestions. I'm thinking of going with a sena SMH 5 FM . I'll be able to use my cave man cell phone for GPS till I upgrade, have fm  for music, news, and weather, and maybe a Bluetooth mp3. We'll see if I can pull this off.  ;)
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Offline Colt45

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2014, 06:17:08 pm »
Google maps won't work where there is no data coverage.  No maps in the unit.  A Garmin will work where ever it can see the sky. 
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Offline freebird6

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2014, 07:40:36 pm »
Google maps won't work where there is no data coverage.  No maps in the unit.  A Garmin will work where ever it can see the sky.

there were many places surrounding the national that at&T, verizon or any other carrier the folks on our group had, that anyone had service. We got a lecture froma local Radio Shack employee who was getting gas as to why we should not be using maps on our iphones and droids in the mountains.

My old car tom tom worked well till I moved it a bit and turned the bars cracking the screen on a trusty 7 year old friend. Plastic bags worked fine in the rain and gloved hands were not a problem with that thing.

Offline rogracer

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2014, 09:53:19 am »
Just so you know, google maps has the ability to download maps to your phone now, at least on android. :great:

Offline Stasch

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Re: economical (or cheap) Gps unit
« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2014, 11:12:03 am »
Here's a yesteryear option I still use:  Garmin 2610 - 2820 series.  I use it one on the tank bag and in my cages.

Purchased a used 2610 unit 7 or 8 years ago for $150.  Still working great.  They can be picked up for $50 - $75 now.

Pros:

- Cheap on Ebay (make sure you get ALL the connectors, the remote, beanbag etc.)

- They are waterproof.

- the remote is awesome for zooming in and out by feel without having to pull your eyes from the road.


Cons:

- are not updateable for most current maps - not an issue for me.  I just want to know where the roads are.  Specific restaurants or gas stations not that important.  If I see several coming up in a cluster, I know here's going to be one.

- They are 2D until you get to 28xx.  - not an issue for me.  Could always go 28xx next time around.

- MapQuest or most recent Base Camp not as easy to use or import into.

- Not Bluetooth, but can be used with AutoComm and other older wired solutions.
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