Handheld units vs. moto specific?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by Bier, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Bier

    Bier Adventurer

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    As a disclaimer, I have tried doing searches on this forum as well as google but am having a hard time finding anything (either search turns up nothing or something over 3+ years old and would hope tech has changed since then). So, please be patient with a self described noob if you know this is covered somewhere already. On to the questions!

    For a while now I have been thinking of getting a gps to use with my tiger 800 since I'm getting more and more into touring and off-road use where gpx files that I can download would be fantastic. I currently use Navigon on my iPhone which is great in some respects (no need for cell coverage to use) but horrible in others (no ability to pre-make routes on computer and dl them to the phone, or dl other people's gpx files for off-road use). I listen to music via bluetooth from my iPhone to my scala g4 so no need for an mp3 player.

    Originally I had kept my research to strictly the moto specific units such as the 550/660/rider etc. But after seeing on this site and others that many folks use "handheld units" such as the Garmin 62/Montana etc. it has confused the issue for me as I would never have thought of those on my own (maybe I am just that dumb, or at least that's what my wife says). So looking at the 2 types of units I was hoping for some help:

    1. It doesn't seem like the handheld units can communicate via bluetooth with helmet systems such as Scala/Sena. Is that true or is there an aftermarket something to address this?
    2. For those people that have the handheld units, how difficult is it to just have the visual image vs. in helmet turn by turn on and off road?
    3. Does one style unit work better in all conditions for providing turn by turn instruction? (long distance touring, day rides with lots of roads, off road use, etc.)
    4. Is one style system better for being able to download pre-made gpx files or routes you make on a comp?
    Thanks for any help
    #1
  2. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    Just to clarify, Garmin might have the Montana in the 'Handheld' category, but it's far more than a handheld unit. Using it on the Rugged Mount, it's as useful as any Zumo, except for the Bluetooth audio. The Rugged Mount does have an external audio cable though, so you can get voice navigation if you need it.
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  3. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    1. It doesn't seem like the handheld units can communicate via bluetooth with helmet systems such as Scala/Sena. Is that true or is there an aftermarket something to address this?
    I think there are little aftermarket bluetooth gizmos that can be plugged into an audio output jack that will send bluetooth if you need it. I don't use bluetooth, personally so am not knowledgable about it. One word of caution is that not all "hand held" GPS units have any kind of audio output jack, so check carefully. The Montana does have one.


    1. For those people that have the handheld units, how difficult is it to just have the visual image vs. in helmet turn by turn on and off road?
    This is largely a function of how complex your route is and how busy the roads are. My first GPS was a GPSMap 60C (no audio output) and I planned and rode some multi-day routes through tiny backroads on it, and it drove me crazy because I had to keep looking down at it all the time so I did not miss one of the frequent turns. In heavy traffic, this would not be very safe. With audio alerts, I can more or less ignore the map until it says there is a turn upcoming, then I can glance down quickly and see what I am supposed to do. On the other hand, some people like to follow "tracks" instead of "routes" and tracks do not give one any kind of audio alerts, so they are looking down at the screen to stay on track. :dunno


    1. Does one style unit work better in all conditions for providing turn by turn instruction? (long distance touring, day rides with lots of roads, off road use, etc.)
    Each unit has slightly different ways of doing things. "Better" might best be defined by matching your specific needs best. If you need to see "tracks" that others have made, then units like the Zumo 350LM are out, but the Montana and Zumo 660 (I think) are in. But, if you want "advanced detour" features during route navigation to avoid a road or a distance, the 350 has that and the other 2 do not. Montana has no detour feature, and the 660's is unclear what it does but you can't put in a road name or distance to go around.

    A note about "off road use": Cit Nav has a lot of dirt and way back roads in it (even some snowmobile trails too nasty to ride alone, DAMHIK) that are routeable. The 24K regional Topo maps also have them. This allows you to include such roads in a route that offers directions. If you need to follow some kind of thing that is not in there, e.g., a footpath or a road not on the map, you need a track that you can display on the screen. Tracks are not dependent on a "road" being routable, they are more like a freehand drawing of a line on a paper map. So, if you need to follow tracks, make sure you get a unit that can display them.


    1. Is one style system better for being able to download pre-made gpx files or routes you make on a comp?
    Go to the Garmin site and look at the pages for individual units. The "specifications" tab will have a table with a line for "routes". If it accepts routes, that will be stated. Not all units that accept routes have audio turn-by-turn directions, though (no audio output).
    #3
  4. Bier

    Bier Adventurer

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    Thank you very much for the help and insight guys. I had no idea about the whole tracks vs. routes thing so good to know they don't work the same. I appreciate your story about the 60c as I am afraid of running into the same sort of thing.

    From the sound of it, something like the Montana may work best, but need to look more into how to get the audio into the helmet while also being able to listen to music via bluetooth from my phone (plenty of sites/forums to research I'm sure as to ways to do that).

    "even some snowmobile trails too nasty to ride alone, DAMHIK" - sounds like there's a good story there
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  5. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I run a wire from the Montana audio output to my MixIt2 unit, where it joins input from my V-1, iPod, and Zumo 350. From there it goes to my Chatterbox GMRS X-1 and from there (via coily cord) to the chatterbox headset in my helmet. I don't like the idea of bluetooth because it involves batteries that have to be kept charged (a topic beaten to death elsewhere). All my stuff, whether it has internal battery or not, is powered by the bike. I am a Luddite. :D
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  6. Bier

    Bier Adventurer

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    wow, that sounds like a lot of cords running all over. I'm sure its one of those things that once you have routed it all it's fine and yes I agree there is always the corded/bluetooth debate to be had.

    I am curious though, why do you use both a Montana and a Zumo 350?
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  7. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    The wires all sort of route into the tank bag and basically take care of themselves.

    I bought the 350 when my old 2720's USB port started getting flaky. Used it a bit, liked it overall, but then I learned about the inability to display tracks (not that I have needed that yet, but someday I will) and wanted more display flexibility in terms of data fields and learned that the Montana provides that. Then, EMS was blowing them out for a really cheap price back in November and that did it for me. :dunno Since I like gadgets, I am running them both at the same time (well, they're mounted but it is icy and snowy here, so realistically haven't done it yet for more than brief blasts) and will see how that suits me. I have the 350 displaying City Nav and the Montana displaying 24k Topo. :wink:

    The idea of redundancy appeals to me, too, especially when out for multiple days following a route of tiny backroads that it took me hours to assemble.
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  8. FiveG

    FiveG Been here awhile

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    I am interested in this comparison. I presently have an Oregon, but my eyes ain't what they used to be, so I'm thinking of migrating to something i can see better. I really don't want "in helmet" voices (I have enough of them on my own <g>) but want a screen whose map I can see without a lot of difficulty.

    By the same token, I prefer replaceable AA batteries to either hard wired to bike or dedicated battery pack, as I move the unit between bikes and I can keep a stash of rechargeable AAs with me.

    So, with that, is the screen on the Moto specific units that much better than the Montana? Or would the Montana work well?

    Thanks.
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  9. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I wear a tiny set of short half-glasses reading glasses slid down my nose while riding to allow my 56 year-old eyes to read maps and GPS units. I look straight ahead and see normally, but when I look down, I see through the reading glasses.
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  10. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    I wear bifocal safety glasses so I can see normal looking straight on and magnified looking down. The bonus is they protect my eyes for when I raise my shield.
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  11. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I have a set of those too. I need to cut them down though, because the low top of the eye port in my helmet makes them press down on me too hard.
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  12. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    +1

    RayBan frames with progressive bifocal lenses under Arai XD Dual Sport helmet. Shield up in the dirt, down on highway.
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  13. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    On long haul rides, I often use my Montana connected to a Sena SR10 which is Bluetooth paired with my Schuberth SRC-System in my C3 helmet. I also pair my iPhone 5 with the SRC-System where I can listen to music or if need be talk on the phone - all handsfree. The iPhone has voice control of the music app and phone functions; among others.

    It all works well together.

    Cheers,
    #13