GPS First Purchase Questions

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by apexeric, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. apexeric

    apexeric Been here awhile

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    I am completely new to dedicated motorcycle GPS.

    I did take a 1200 mile trip last year to Bar Harbor and back and used my Android phone connected by Bluetooth to my helmet headset.

    The phone gps was a somewhat satisfactory way to navigate but it did have some limitations.

    First, I was not familiar with the controls on the Parrot SK4000 controls. Second, screen on the phone was difficult to see, especially since I had it tucked into the map pocket of my tank bag.

    After I arrived in Bar Harbor I picked up a cell phone mount at a local bicycle shop in town and rigged up a mount to my handlebars. The screen visibility improved somewhat until I had to ride through some rain. Then I had to put a plastic bag over the phone which reduced the screen visibility.

    Then, after a few more trips with the phone as a gps the powerlet power cord broke. The mini usb jack pulled away from the cord.

    So now I am planning the same trip (to visit my son) and am considering purchasing a dedicated motorcycle gps.

    1) It seems like Garmin is the most popular choice? Are there better brands?

    2) Is the 350LM better than the 660LM? Seems like it costs more and does less. I've read many reviews on Amazon about both. Each model seems to have its own set of issues.

    3) Is there a better headset available instead of the Parrot SK4000? The Parrot is glitchy. The volume control is odd, you cannot adjust volume until you are making the call, not before. If you separate the headset from the phone and loose the connectivity then you must restart the Google map route upon returning.

    4) How are the gps wired to the bike? I see that powerlet makes power cords for the zumo 450 and zumo 550. Will those same cords work for the 350 or the 660?

    5) If I have a Garmin Zumo paired to my headset can I pair my phone to the headset also?

    I appreciate any information that is available.

    Thank you.
    #1
  2. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    In no particular order, I think you should consider the Zumo 350LM, Zumo 660LM, and Montana. ("LM" means lifetime maps)

    A lot of 660 vs 350 debate here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=868994

    I have a 350 and a Montana 650T.

    I like the way the 350 allows detours for distances or of specific roads while following a route and also how it will let you search for and insert a gas station (or whatever) into your route as you go along. It does both better than the Montana does.

    I like how the Montana lets me turn all the data fields completely off to get an unobstructed map view. I also like how it will let me customize how things are set up; it is the king of UI flexibility in this field, IMHO.

    I have just started running both the 350 and the Montana on the bike simultaneously. I have the 350 displaying road maps and the Montana displaying topo. Fun. :lol3
    #2
  3. Cerberus83

    Cerberus83 The Wingman

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    1) There are other brands, but in my mind, it comes down to two things:
    A) how much do you want to spend and
    B) what features are you looking for (bluetooth, mp3, Sirius/XM, top-maps, etc.)

    TomTom is coming out with their new Rider 5 and it looks promising; however, it does not have a slot for a memory card (you're stuck with 4GB of internal memory) and it does not support mp3s, if that your thing. It also costs much less than Garmin.

    2) As already mentioned, there is a discussion on this subject already. My personal opinion, I would go with 66x and here's why: replaceable battery and 66x uses A2DP profile. I went with 665LM for SXM feature.

    4) In case of 66x, its comes with everything you need to wire it to your bike (wiring harness with built-in cradle, ram mounts and handles). Of course, you can get your own ram mount and change the setup or you can get creative with the OEM cradle and splice the wires so you can remove the cradle and put it on a different bike (the OEM cradle is designed to be installed on a single bike). As for the wiring itself, all you do is wire it to the battery directly or use fuzeblock or similar for switched power. In case of 66x, I don't think you can use powerlet to power the unit b/c the USB connection is in the battery compartment and you would have to open the door to get to it; thus, making the unit not waterproof.

    5) Depends on how you pair them. If you want just turn-by-turn directions from the GPS and you want listen to the music via phone, then yes, you would pair them both separately. However, if you want to listen to the music via GPS (in case of 665, Sirius/XM), then you cannot do that. Instead, you would pair the phone to the GPS and then pair the GPS to your BT headset. As a result, you can listen to the turn-by-turn directions and mp3's or Sirius/XM that are on the GPS and you can only use your phone (via GPS) to place/receive the calls, but cannot listen to the music (regardless if it's mp3's or if you're streaming Pandora) on your phone.

    Hope this helps.
    #3
  4. apexeric

    apexeric Been here awhile

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    I was all set to purchase the 350 based upon Emoto's input.

    Now I'm flip flopping between the 660 & the 350:D

    I am curious about powerlet's cable for garmin:

    [​IMG]

    Also, does the 350 utilize the A2DP profile?

    Thanks for all of the advice so far.
    #4
  5. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    Flip-flopping on this issue is good, provided you try to refine/discover your needs as you do it. :wink: What I mean is that there is no point in making a decision based on some feature that you will never use.

    The 350 comes with everything too (you have looked these up on there and compared specs and seen the "in the box" section right?) .

    Note that I am not trying to push you toward one or the other, as I do not understand your needs. I made assumptions about the 350 when I bought it that turned out to be untrue. I thought it would have all the capabilities of the 66X except for the MP3 player and XM, which I didn't care about. Had I known before buying that the 350 did not show tracks (except current or picked form a list of your own past) I might not have bought it, except I do prefer the 350 advanced detour avoidance, and I never need tracks, so I might have still bought it. :dunno :lol3

    Oh, and that powerlet cable is for some other model of Garmin, one of the old ones, I think.

    350 manuals: http://support.garmin.com/support/manuals/manuals.htm?partNo=010-01043-00&language=en&country=US
    660 manuals: http://support.garmin.com/support/manuals/manuals.htm?partNo=010-00727-06&language=en&country=US

    I don't use blue tooth, so cannot comment on any of that.

    Comparison: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=135&compareProduct=107979&compareProduct=117259
    #5
  6. apexeric

    apexeric Been here awhile

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    ^^^^
    I really appreciate the input. It's been very helpful.

    I think that Bluetooth is probably the most important feature that I'm interested in. If I'm taking a trip on unfamiliar roads and I've chosen to avoid highways and tolls, the most important feature in a gps for me is to get through the outskirts of the towns without getting bogged down with complicated directions to get you to the next stretch of open road.

    I could live without the phone connection. I take these trips to get away from the phone!

    Music is optional too.

    I'll keep researching.
    #6
  7. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I love using the turn by turn directions, but I do so without using bluetooth because I am lousy at keeping batteries charged, and the piece on your helmet is going to have a battery. I plug a cord into the audio out jack and send that audio (eventually) to my headset via wires. The headset I have attached into my helmet uses a connector and a coilly cord and, so no battery on the receiving end, and that works fine for me.
    #7