Dual Sport Motorcycle GPS....What to choose?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by VT-OregonTransplant, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. killowatt

    killowatt Adventurer

    Apr 22, 2010
    hillsboro, Or
    I'm going to throw in my 2 cents
    I have used a Garmin Oregon 550 for about three years now and it has treated me perfect. I've beat the crap out of it on the bars on my bike for almost 10,000 miles now. its been dropped, wrecked, crashed, rained on, ect. the only issue i have ever had is a poor connection when using shore power. the loose connection on the mini usb plug would cause the unit to turn on and off and would eventually "lock up" until it was powered down for a few minutes. not using the external power has not been a problem though, I usually get a full days use from a pair of rechargeable AA batteries.

    the oregon's screen is a bit small and i would love to jump up to the montana series but that requires more money and they have had some durability issues with some of the internals. I think an earlier post in this thread mentioned a bad connection at the battery and Hodakaguy did a bit about a broken antenna lead. like i said before the oregon is a tough unit. due to the small screen i don't usually try to navigate with this unit in the field. (thats what the map is for) I generally preload a route from base camp and just follow the line on the screen or set a way point and use the "go to" feature.

    you can get it preloaded with a topo map. I chose to purchase the 24K micro card topo map rather than the preloaded 100K map. the 24K detail is amazing. it holds an amazing amount of tracks and points. I have all the OBDR routes programmed in with room for more. Before you buy a new unit be sure to compare the track log capacity. My buddy has a 60CX thats a dam nice unit but not enough storage to hold the OBDR tracks

    i can use the touch screen with my riding gloves as it seems to be pressure sensitive instead of thermal sensitive like the phones.

    oh yea, the camera. true its not a high resolution fancy camera but it does take pretty good pictures. I have to say that i almost didnt spend the extra 50 bucks to get the camera but im glad i did. while my nice camera is always in a pocket or tank bag, the Oregon is always right there when you want to grab a quick shot

    anyone thinking they can use there smart phone apps have it all wrong. true i love that i can get google earth or road maps on my phone but most of the places i like to ride are Sans Cell Service. then all you have is a flashing pin on a blank screen. thats not to say I travel without it, i do but its safely stowed in my pack.

    the trail tech unit looks cool but seems like it has limited applications. as i understand it, the tracks have to come from a proprietary supplier. The Oregon is small enough to carry when hiking or use in the car. plus the price has come down on these quite a bit. my guess is that Garmin is phasing out the oregon series in favor of the montana

    like i said, just my 2 cents.

    here is the unit in a Ram mount. It has yet to get knocked out. I only have good things to say about the ram mount stuff!


    here are some pictures taken with the units 3.2 megapixel camera. Not too shabby...

    checking out an old homestead in dry valley



  2. VT-OregonTransplant

    VT-OregonTransplant Adventurer

    Dec 24, 2012
    Bend, Oregon
    All great info. I am so torn between like 3 or 4 different models.

    the Garmins, Oregon, CS (models), and the dream Montana

    and then the Voyager.

    I have come to realize that being a new rider I just need to find some riding buddies and chances are they will have one. Not to toot my own horn but i am a mountaineer and pretty damn good with a compass and map.
    I am going to go get a Oregon Rec trails map.

    Any Idea where i could find one in Bend?

    Thanks for everyones help.
  3. Handy

    Handy Sunburnt

    Sep 17, 2011
    The great state of Idaho
    I am pretty partial to maps as well, but when you are traveling hundreds of miles it is pretty tough to keep all of the 24k maps you need right in front of you. I have the Oregon 550t but if I had a choice now I would get the Oregon 450. The camera is OK as long as you don't zoom at all, so to take decent photos you need another camera with you and the topo maps can all be sourced for free.
  4. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

    Jan 22, 2007
    Now serving just Snohomish County
    If you decide to buy maps for your Garmin, you are better off buying them on a CD or DVD than on the card. If you buy them on the DVD, then you can put the ones you need on your computer and into your unit and use the storage on the card for other things. If you buy the card, you loose the extra storage. Plus, you cannot see the maps you paid for on Basecamp unless you have the card in your GPS and it is plugged into your computer.

    Here is a link to where I have found some useful free maps. The US Planimetric NW and SW are both very handy. NW Trails and Topos are also very good for around here. If you spend enough time on that site, you can learn how to make your own maps.

    Have fun out there!
  5. norwstrider

    norwstrider n00b

    Dec 27, 2012
    Idaho; dirt roads, dirt roads, dirt roads
    I currently have a Garmin Zumo 550, and a CX60. The Zumo is easer for me to use, but I find the CX60 to be more versatile for back road use. So I use the CX60 for Duel Sport, and the Zumo in my van. I have had both Garmin III, and Garmin IVs. The color screen is much easier to read than the black and white screen.
    Happy Ridden
  6. dukegnarley

    dukegnarley Been here awhile

    Sep 26, 2011
    Bonney Lake, Wa
    That is simply not true. I've been using a 7" galaxy tablet, and it doesn't have a cell connection at all. There are several apps which allow you to preload your maps, so you do not need cell service. Crafty Coder's Dual Sport Maps App is one of them. For routing roads, I just switch apps to Navigon.

    The gloves not working on the touch screen is really the major drawback, but for the price, it's tough to beat.
  7. jprovence

    jprovence Adventurer

    Sep 20, 2012
    Another Montana user here. That thing is priceless. I have an 8GB SD card load with all the western states 24k maps and city navigator on the internal memory. I have the powered mount on both my bike and my tacoma and I use it for hiking. I like I can throw it in the river and know its going to fine when I pull it out. Or when its raining hard and water is slashing all over it, its not going to fail me. Its very visible in the sunlight without back lighting to burn power up. I can carry spare batteries for it that I can get at any store. Since it runs on both AA's or lith-ion. Garmin is always updating and adding features. Plus there are tons of support on this sight and others for it.
  8. ThumperStorm

    ThumperStorm Long timer

    Jul 3, 2012
    St. Cloud, Minnesota
    I just bought an Oregon 450. It is my first gps. I did a lot of online research before I decided what to get. For what I want and for the price I was looking to pay, I think it will work out just fine. I got it from GPSCity for $199. After some thought I decided to get CityNavigator Lower 49 as a download for a micro sd card. I have also put some maps on it from GPSFileDepot. I have been playing with it for about a week and so far I am happy with my choice. I have downloaded a bunch of tracks and routes from dualsportmaps.com. I am really looking forward to nicer weather so I can try it out on my bike (it was only 15 degrees yesterday).
  9. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

    May 23, 2006
    Back in the Saddle
    Hi'ya VT-Oregon trans.. Lot's of interesting information here; you started a great discussion. I am probably late to the party and I am sure you have since selected the desired toy, or umm I mean Santa has delivered something to your liking. That said I'll just throw my Nichol in.

    I have been dabbling with GPS's since right after Desert Storm when Uncle Sam started issuing a POS called a PLUGGER. Fast Forward............ I now have 4 GPS's 3 0f 4 Garmin's. I use my Zumo 450 the most for highway travel. it works great for getting through large metropolises but I am not overly fond of it off roading. I have a Garmin M60 that has taken a hell of a beating in the last 6 years so the 60csx or any 60 series you can't go wrong. I have some friends who swear by their beloved 76's and convent them!

    Well, to be a turn coat of sorts I purchased a Magellan Triton 1500 back at the end of 09 because 1) it was only a $168 new 2) it supports National Geographic Topographic mapping software 3 to replace my aging M60.

    I have been using Nat-Geo Topo for around 10 years now and so what a great augmentation. I have just never really warmed up to Mapsource mainly because I was already using NGT before being introduced to it. None the less As trailrider showed you nothing like having a good map along and BenchMark is awesome. it always good to validate and or reroute via "manual paper manipulation" I have one with me all the time.

    So here's my Triton


    Topo allows me to load maps directly into my GPS in 7.5 USGS

    See the mapping




    Just open the software


    Open the desired route (one earlier created)


    load route select map section and load it too.... takes a few minutes to render it.

    and there it is


    I know Garmin owns or is the ruling king of the GPS world but there are cheaper alternatives that will get you from point to point.

    What ever you get have fun with it and save travels.

    OH, and one more thing. Radioman had a brand new 660 when we enter into Mexico and about halfway through it quit working and we had to get it replaced which Garmin was good for under warranty and logistically a bit of a challenge as we were outside the US.
  10. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

    Dec 5, 2007
    Spokane Washington
    If you are looking at different models then you need to verify the units capability. You will want at a minimum:

    1. To be able to load maps
    2. To be able to load 3rd party maps
    3. To be able to load predefined routes with multiple waypoints
    4. Auto-routing capability (The maps and the GPS need to support this)
    5. Track navigation (follow a predefined track or at a minimum display a track)

    Nice features are:

    1. Route creation/editing
    2. Display multiple tracks
    3. Waypoint download, creation & edit
    4. Navigate tracks with large amount of points (more than 500)
    5. Navigate routes with large amount of waypoints
    6. A large selection of downloadable maps (free is nice if the maps are good)

    The other features you can get don't hurt but I find the above the most useful