Motorcycle Specific?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by MrBob, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. MrBob

    MrBob Certified Geezer

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    I need a GPS unit for my off road forays on my KLR 250. My old eyes need at least a 4.3" screen. My budget is 150.00 or less for a new, refurbished or used unit (note the KLR reference). It would be used in my Jeep from time to time and it would be nice if I could throw it in my pack for use while hiking. Waterproofing would be okay but not a deal breaker.
    Are people using their Nuvi's on their bikes? How about other Garmin models? Garmin at least makes an attempt to work with the Mac platform so that's my preference.
    What makes a motorcycle specific GPS unit motorcycle specific? Is it important?
    I'm sure this question has been addressed many times but the search function on our beloved ADV page sucks.
    I do not want a Montana.
    #1
  2. TheBikeinator

    TheBikeinator n00b

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    I have a Nuvi 500, which is advertised as motorcycle-specific because it is waterproof and the touch screen is supposedly glove-friendly. I use it RAM-mounted on the bikes and also use the suction cup mount in the car. Note that you will need a 12v power source, otherwise its batteries will die quickly. (I have installed a cig lighter receptacle on both of my bikes.) At the time I bought it a couple of years ago, the 500 and 550 were the only waterproof Nuvi models - may not still be the case.

    Can't complain too much about anything for the price I paid. The only major issue I have is that it tends to throw away my loaded route if I get off-route and recalculate its own, which may or may not be my intended route. A workaround is to put in lots of waypoints and it seems to always try to get you to your nearest waypoint, then follow your route. I think the Zumo line allows you to turn off this recalc feature, but Zumos are more money. Another minor issue is that (unlike the StreetPilot III I had previously) when you are following a route it gives you minimal information other than your next turn. Sometimes it would be nice to know what cross-roads you are crossing, but you can't see them when on a route. Seems like the Nuvi line is intended for people wanting to get from point A to point B, not caring how they get there. Still, as I said, not bad for the price. One good feature (I think) for off-road is that the 500 comes loaded with topo maps (the 550 does not). And you may not care about the route auto-calc if you're primarily using it off-road, presumably without loading any routes.

    Hope that helps...
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  3. MrBob

    MrBob Certified Geezer

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    The Nuvi 500 and 550 are seriously discounted on eBay, so it's good to hear about them.
    The Street Pilot was my first GPS. It was worthless in bright sunlight and the screen became too small for my aging eyes but it wasn't a bad unit.
    #3
  4. MrBob

    MrBob Certified Geezer

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    This evening I bought a Nuvi 50LM at Best Buy. Apparently, if you ask, they'll match their online price with their in-store price which made it 127.00 before tax. I had reached GPS shopping fatigue at that point and just wanted to buy something and move on.
    I haven't fired it up yet but the 5" screen reminds me of an iPad.
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  5. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    Even more curious as to what level of "off-road forays" you expect the nuvi 50LM will support? Does it even save Routes? I know you can't import routes or tracks to the unit but I guess it will record [your tracks] to a "Trip Log".

    Cheers,
    #5
  6. ezo

    ezo Ezo

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    I use a Garmin 60CSx. The screen is small, but it is very robust. I use rechargeable batteries as they discharge quickly
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  7. MrBob

    MrBob Certified Geezer

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    I had one and it was an outstanding unit but I needed to stop and find my reading glasses to figure out where I was.
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  8. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

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    I have a Zumo 660 that I use on both a KTM 950 Adv and a DRZ400E and I am mostly satisfied with it both on an off road. (my gripes with it are due mostly to glitches in the firmware, but it is the best large screen GPS I have found for a motorcycle)

    On a recent trip to Cloudcroft NM with the DRZ400 I was able to load topo, trail and other useful information downloaded from the Interwebz to help find my way around the single track trail network, as well as having the connecting road info available.

    Big screen, easy computer interface, and will Bluetooth connect to headset and phone if you want to play music and take calls while communicating with your riding buds.

    For the DRZ I built an aluminum guard for the Zumo that is attached to the mount. This helps protect the unit itself from being damaged in a get off and served me well on my vacation.

    Budget-wise you would be looking for used or refurb. However, the Nuvi provides most of the same features, only it isn't water proof, nor does it support the Bluetooth features.

    Bring a Ziploc bag to slip over it should it rain and you are probably good to go with the Nuvi, if it has the same ability to upload maps, tracks, and way points as the Zumo.
    #8
  9. Rapid Dog

    Rapid Dog bikes, booze, broads...

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    Nuvi 2 series, whimpy plug went south...
    Zumo 550, screen went kablooie...

    Both are 'motorcycle specific'.
    BS!

    I blame it on my using these 'motorcycle specific' units offroad.
    They just don't hold up to the rigors of dualporting.

    What's the best answer? A Montana with TT mount?

    I also had a new 60csx, what a PITA to program and use.
    SOLD it.

    WTF next...:ear:ear:ear
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  10. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    What nuvi was branded "motorcycle specific"?

    I suppose any GPS can be broken doing just about any activity. Most of the Garmin GPS's that I've had held up quite well to off-roading and DS riding. I don't do much off-roading anymore but I do a fair amount of Dual Sport riding and I've never broken a GPS - and I have been known to fall over now and then.:evil

    You might try the Montana. It is quite robust and the mount is well suited for DS riding if you use the "locking" screw correctly.

    Cheers,
    #10
  11. Rapid Dog

    Rapid Dog bikes, booze, broads...

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  12. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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  13. Rapid Dog

    Rapid Dog bikes, booze, broads...

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    ...naw, my bad I ment Nuvi, I have a 200 series that when I bought it it said 'motorcycle friendly".
    Ay any rate, the mini connector power cord doesn't hold up to vibrations.
    Otherwise it works fine on the battery.
    #13
  14. MrBob

    MrBob Certified Geezer

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    I finally got my RAM and Nuvi 50 mounted and rode up into the mountains yesterday evening. Everything worked perfectly and the large screen enabled me to see the screen at a glance instead of peering at it and waiting for my eyes to focus. Also very legible after dark and not bad in sunlight.
    So far, happy with the setup.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #14
  15. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    I picked up some cheap reading glasses that have very short (from top to bottom) lenses, and I wear them way down my nose while I ride. When I need to glance down at the map in my tank bag or at my GPS, I see through the glasses and all is well. You just have to make sure they sit low enough that they are not in your vision path when looking straight ahead.
    #15
  16. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    The Nuvi 500 & 550 were MC rated. I can't find it now but Garmin used to list them in the "On the Road" > "Motorcycle" group of units. Also the Zumo 220 looks to share it's hardware with the Nuvi 5xx and it was on that list as well. Not there now as they have been discontinued.

    Bruce
    #16