Newb looking for a GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by ADVoldie, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. ADVoldie

    ADVoldie Adventurer

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    I’m new to the adventure game and I’m having a heck of a time finding the right GPS. I’ve tried using my iPhone which then got ruined. Is it possible to get something that you put in a starting and ending point and it shows the an off hwy route? Not looking to spend a fortune.
    #1
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  2. turtlespeed

    turtlespeed Been here awhile

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    people have used car cheap GPS ... any gps 2-3 years old should do... I bought a device only Garmin 50LMTHD for $22 few months back on ebay ...
    #2
  3. Snake Oiler

    Snake Oiler If the world didn't suck, we would all fall off

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    I do know of a good that's going to route you primarily on dirt roads/routes.
    #3
  4. Boatman

    Boatman Membership has it's privileges ;-) Supporter

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    #4
  5. Photowriter

    Photowriter Been here awhile

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    In my line of work I am reviewing MC GPS navigators and have access to a few of the latest models. But usually myself I am using a "rugged" Android based mobile phone with a free software like HERE WeGo or Maps.Me.

    With a good screen on the Phone I have found that the free software works just as good as the big brands purchased maps and software. And when you park the bike you only have to remove the phone, you should NEVER leave a GPS navigator mounted on your bike. Even with the special, and expensive, theft locks mounted they are very easy to steal.
    #5
  6. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    Garmin Montana is great, covers roads to hiking trails, etc. You will need to buy a Topo map of your chosen area!
    #6
  7. webnetxpress

    webnetxpress DakarEnduro

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    Garmin Montana. Period. (my opinion!)

    Power mount system is indestructible. The unit is clearly and easily direct sun readable. It does not overheat like some phones do. It survives crashes, drops, temp changes, rain, etc without need for anything extra.

    There is a reason why it is the defacto gps unit for all African and EU rallies.

    Started to ride with a new to me rider. He was using his iPhone in a case. First ride after about 90 minutes in the direct sun he said it started to go on the fritz and ultimately stopped working. Lucky for both of us, I had the Montana on my bike. No problems.

    I have over 1000 hours of hard use- racing and training on my Montana. It is 3 years old and still works perfectly. From freezing temps with snow on the ground to 120F.

    It simply works.
    #7
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  8. mwoods

    mwoods Back for more adventures Supporter

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    I have an old Garmin Nuvi 550 that works fine. As some others have said, get something used and inexpensive. Deals often pop up on the forums here. Another option is to get the right mount for your phone. After upgrading my phone and hearing how vibrations kill the image stabilizers in iPhones, I bought the mount and buzzkill device from Hondo Garage. It's a bit pricey, but cheaper than a gps. I like this option because it gives me options in software. If I'm running up he highway to get somewhere quickly, I can use Waze. If I want to plan a twisty route, I map it in Rever before heading out. All that said, one advantage of the GPS is that I find it easier to read in sunlight. Since I already had an old GPS, I'm running both, but would be fine with the phone only. I don't think I'll buy another GPS if this one eventually breaks.

    My setup:
    tempImage3NtrWO.jpg

    I have the Hondo mount on the left, and GPS on the right (sorry, not a great pic):

    tempImageOet5Ni.jpg
    #8
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  9. ADVoldie

    ADVoldie Adventurer

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    I’m noticing a few different models, do you know which one you have/recommend? The 700 series is a little out of my price range.
    #9
  10. Wattner

    Wattner Long timer Supporter

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    Ive been amazed with the Garmin zumo xt

    may give it a look?

    super easy, fast, amazing display and glove friendly
    #10
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  11. webnetxpress

    webnetxpress DakarEnduro

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    #11
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  12. Snake Oiler

    Snake Oiler If the world didn't suck, we would all fall off

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    610 for myself
    #12
  13. boney

    boney Ride > Post Supporter

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    Everyone here will tell you what the best GPS is PERIOD.

    But they're wrong.... It's the one that works for them and it may not work for you.

    Your best bet is to do a little homework and sometimes, unfortunately like with your phone, you will buy one and find out it's not so great. In general, my experience with software based routing once you leave the pavement, is that it's unreliable at best. If finding yourself on a single track trail on your BMW R195000 GS isn't your thing, you'll probably have to do some additional planning instead of plugging in POINT A and POINT B then asking it to take you off road.

    The reliability of the type of road surface is getting better in the electronic data sets. But I don't think it's there yet.

    If you want cheap, you'll not likely find what you're looking for. If you can stomach used, then go look in the Flea Market for better prices, but don't expect the really cheap ones to have great used prices either.
    #13
  14. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    Gpscity.com has sales on a few units that may be of interest to you.. Zumo xt is one of them that may work for you as it comes with topo maps YMMV
    #14
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  15. DonM

    DonM Do-dah Do-dah Supporter

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    OP, you just stepped in the GPS quicksand! It is a learning experience so welcome to the club :-)
    #15
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  16. Snake Oiler

    Snake Oiler If the world didn't suck, we would all fall off

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    @boney is absolutely correct. But a few are better than others. Even with the best out there there will be problems. I personally carry my Garmin montana but also carry a cell that's a dedicated spare gps. I download a couple different offline maps on it and it has a couple gpx reader apps loaded. I've found the phone to be very handy in the past on occasion. Doesn't need to be activated or even a sims card to work.
    #16
  17. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    routing is a huge ball of wax. what YOU want for a route and what someone else wants for a route is usually a very different game. and that's just talking about streets. when you go off-road ... one guy calls riding down 600-1 (a dirt road in Alabama) "serious off road", while another guy will drive his Camry down it to deliver mail every day.

    it's best to ask other people for their off road TRACKS that you can follow, or plot your own instead of hoping the GPS will make good decisions for you.

    the hardware side is much easier:
    $700 Garmin that uses software designed in the 80s
    $45 rugged phone that uses software designed _yesterday_

    mounts...
    Garmin has every kind of money you can imagine... some of them require modification immediately, some don't. if you change from one model to another in the stand alone world, expect to change mounts too. these are not cheap.

    smartphone mounts that are flexible are my favorite. sure, you can buy the most rigid mount ever, but the flexible mounts flex when you loop out the bike and it slides on it's bars until hits a root and tops the bars out of the triple...
    P__20201121_140155.jpg

    all I ride is single track nowadays, so flexible $12 Amazon mounts are for me....

    maps, routing algorithms, point a to b, etc all become considerations .... but it's not as hard as imagined.

    Kyocera e6790 $45
    mount $11
    extra batteries $9 each
    whatever app you like
    then start downloading tracks and enjoy following them
    #17
  18. deserteagle56

    deserteagle56 deserteagle56

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    Short answer - NO!

    Oh, a gps unit will give you a route for off-highway travel. But you probably wouldn't want to follow it. Routing works fairly well on good paved roads but not worth a darn off highway. Most of us who ride off highway create our own "tracks" to follow and load them to the GPS.
    #18
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  19. ADVoldie

    ADVoldie Adventurer

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    That makes sense. Now I just need to find a qualify unit for a decent price.
    #19
  20. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Do you also carry a handlebar mount and charging system for the phone? What about special gloves?

    I have a dedicated smart phone as a backup to the Montana. But since I do not carry all the aux stuff, I have reverted to just using my normal smart phone as a backup.
    Obviously if the Montana failed I would have to be stopping a lot to pull the phone out of my pocket. Fortunately nearly all my rides are with others who use Montanas. So if I were to have a failure, I would just rely on them.
    #20