why use a Montana 680t rather than a Zumo 396LMT off road?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by randingo, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. randingo

    randingo Voted "Class Lounger"

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    One can buy a 396LMT for $250 and put topo on it. Or..... for a whole lot more money, one can get 680t and put Street Navigator on it. I see a lot of guys using the Montana off road, but why for the price difference. I've called Garmin, GPS City and Tourtech , besides reading a shit load of threads on ADV, and cannot figure out why people are buying the Montana over the Zumo for off road. Can someone with real world experience shed some light on this for me. Tourtech's big sale runs out tomorrow and I'd like to take advantage of it, but only if it makes sense for off road.
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  2. SquatBirdJunior

    SquatBirdJunior Special Snowflake

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    So, what did you do? Black Friday is pretty soon.
    Last year I sunk my 5 year old 650(pretty same as the 680) The screen fogged up. Could have been left to the paper map:(. When I came home I bought a 396 as a quick simple GPS. Then after a month I decided to get my 650 refurbished by Garmin. So this past year I had both on my bike. I use the 650 as my off-road GPS. I have the SouthWest forest service map CD, I put on both GPSs. The 396 doesn't seem to show all the dirt roads, even when enabled. I put the 650 close up and the 396 far away. For me, It is really nice to not have to mess with the GPS. The one problem, is they are both Garmin, and you have to be able to learn the stupid processes to get them to work. Having to mess with Basecamp or Mapsource just to transfer GPX files can be frustrating. The 396 has the street maps built in where the 650 has the topo maps. The 396 screen is cut in half with tool bar(don't know sure if you can get rid of it). Either one is fine, I would get the 680 for being off-road, but if you have the 396, just get the free state topo maps to put on it. I'm still learning the quirks of the 396, so I'm not saying it can't do the same as the 650, it just doesn't seem very user friendly for a slow learner. So, what I learned is to have a back up on a long trip.

    DSCF2747.JPG
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  3. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    You don't have to use Basecamp or Mapsource to transfer GPX files. I have never used either program and I get and put GPX files on Garmins all the time.

    While I like my Montana 650, I'm interested in other replies to the OP's question.
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  4. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    people think is they pay more, they will get more.
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  5. SquatBirdJunior

    SquatBirdJunior Special Snowflake

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    I guess I blame Basecamp or Mapsource, but really it is that when connected to different computers, the Garmin GPS aren't recognized as hooked up. I have to plug/unplug several times. Or it could be user error? And transferring the file to the sd card, then not being able to find the file on the GPS. If I have a hard time with one program, I change and use the other, this normally works.
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  6. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Early on I noticed that sometimes when I transferred a file to the Montana, it would not be there.

    I now do a formal Windows Eject before unplugging the GPS. This seems to ensure files I transfer to the Montana actually make it.

    I know nothing about Zumos and am also interested in hearing more pros and cons for offroad MC riding.
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  7. randingo

    randingo Voted "Class Lounger"

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    I went with the 396 @ $250 from Tourtech. Basically, I could not find anyone with first hand knowledge (vs the usual interweb BS with no real knowledge) on the real differences between the two when it comes to offroad riding.
    I did have one brain fart regarding using them off road and that is battery life. As I typically hard wire all my bikes to power GPS, I realized that I can't do that with my 2006 KTM 200. As a general rule, I don't need or care about GPS when I ride single track on that bike, but it would have been nice. Other than that, I've yet to figure out any real advantage to the Montana when dirt riding. As crazy as it sounds, I almost feel like a pioneer on this. The unit should arrive last this week, so I'll post regarding my learning experience.
    Maybe I should note that I worked in the high end (dual frequency) of the commercial GPS industry for a couple of decades and that has some bearing on my opinions. Until very recently, I've considered most consumer GPS to be pathetic, particularly in its user interface. To date, I've tried a couple of old Garmin units and hated them both, so for me to take the leap and actually buy something new from them was a pretty big leap of faith. Now that I'm retired and have time, it should be fun to do the deep dive in really exploring this unit and determining it's strengths and weaknesses.
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  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    they haven't changed in the last decade or so. same slow responses, same non qwerty keyboard, same hit/miss reactions, and a lot of lag.

    your 200 (unless it's an SX) can power a GPS , LED light bar, etc, just slap an Amazon rectifier on it for $5 and go. i use led lights and fan with the stock 250 stators lighting coil.

    the Internet's knowledge was trying to tell you something: it's an old unit.... check out the Amazon reviews, they're normally a really good source of real world use issues, instead of the glossed-over stuff you find on forums (that read like advertisements) about products.
    https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-010-0...&sr=8-3#aw-udpv3-customer-reviews_feature_div
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  9. eduro

    eduro Been here awhile

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    Montana has a "Profile Change" function, so one map setting for off-road, one for on-road, etc. without having to mess up your settings every time.

    Montana has 10,000 track points per track that won't mess up your screen like waypoints (route) do at every bend in the trail. Zumo doesn't handle tracks. Montana only handles 50 waypoints per route.

    Montana comes with free Birdseye subscription (think Google Satelite Imagery), nice to have this capability when no data connectivity in the woods. Birdseye also lets you explore without having to preplan routes because you can see everything around you in real imagery. Zumo has no Birdseye capability.

    Topo maps loaded into Zumo will display with less detail such as terrain, elevation grid lines, missing backroads, trails, etc.

    I wouldn't take a car gps into remote wilderness.
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  10. randingo

    randingo Voted "Class Lounger"

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    Interesting
    I am told the Zumo does do tracks and the same number of them
    I also heard that Zumo wouldn't do the topo at the same level of detail. When I asked about that, I was told that's BS
    It's going to be interesting to see what reality is.
    I wasn't interested in the imagery, so that's not a big deal to me.......but the track and top sure are
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  11. eduro

    eduro Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to your findings :thumb
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  12. scootertrog

    scootertrog Jedi Fart Master

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    This is the first time I’ve read anywhere that the 396LMT could import and display a track file. If so, are you sure it’s not getting converted to a route that the unit can recalculate.
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  13. randingo

    randingo Voted "Class Lounger"

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    The sucker just showed up and we are supposed to be having some crummy weather coming is, so I hope to start sorting through fact from fiction
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  14. jmarleau

    jmarleau Been here awhile

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    I have a Zumo 350 purchased in 2013 that handles tracks fine. You can change the color of the track but I find the line too fine to see while also displaying the map. I ran this for the Fundy Adventure Rally in 2017 up here in Canada. I had good success turning off all maps, then just used the track on the plain white screen. With the proper zoom level this worked fine.

    The biggest limitation that I found with my old 350 was the elevation lines on my topo maps were far too course. The overall display on my Montana 600 that I have been using for years is far better in terms of elevation lines, elevation data and of course shading. It is my understanding that the Zumo 396 does not feature elevation data and shading like the Zumo 595. A quick look on Garmin's website confirms this when displaying the two units side by side.
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  15. motolover

    motolover rookie

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    All Garmins have a thin line for track (bothers me too). Make a route out of track and the line will be shown thick and in a very visible purple colour.
    The main difference that is important to me between the Montana and Zumo is the battery life. One can have a broken bike far away in the woods and won't be able to find the way on foot with Zumo, because of poor battery life. This can be very dangerous.
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  16. eduro

    eduro Been here awhile

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    Yup, easier to ride longer in a few hours than your feet will carry you out in a few days, and considering your bike's the only thing broken. :muutt
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  17. ADVer

    ADVer Been here awhile

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    Touratech has a series of you tube videos called GPS classes focussed on using tracks.
    They go into lots of detail on the Montana - 3 parts- as well as the 396,595 and Nav5/6.
    It seems like while the Montana can be significantly customized, the other units work pretty well for off-roading on motorcycles.
    #17
  18. randingo

    randingo Voted "Class Lounger"

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    Well...........this has been an adventure. I've spent many hours working with the 396, including a lot of phone calls to Garmin tech support. At the end of the day when chosing a Garmin unit for off road use, I would say the Montana is the ONLY way to go. Granted, you need to spend the extra money on City Navigator and a mount that you can power to, but there really is NO comparison for off road use. Some of the advantages have been posted above by users. City Navigator has gotten better over the years and can now be used to a significant advantage in off road applications. The deal breaker for me was to find out the 396 will not display the same level of street name detail as a Montana. That was discovered when my buddy and I ran my 396 next to his Montana. I thought I HAD to be doing something wrong, so I got on the phone with Garmin and walked through it in real time with tech support. They thought something was wrong as well only to find out "that's just how the 396 works". Maybe it's just me, but I thought the Montana was much more user friendly for off road apps. particularly with the user profiles. At the end of the day, I sent the 396 back and am going with the Montana.
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  19. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil. Supporter

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    I have both. I purchased the 396 for overland travel in less isolated areas than I was in when doing the North road and trips to James bay and the trans-Lab highway etc. I loved the 600 for those trips. The 396 seems, so far, very well suited for use on the highways and byways I will be taking from CT to Deadhorse and Tuk this spring/summer. I use to add many of the Topos to the 600, something I will not likely be doing on the 396. The advantage for me on the 396 is the built in bluetooth support. Something I had to rig to have that ability on my 600. I like the connection to the phone which will be a nice addition on the upcoming trip in areas with cell data coverage. I have added the OSM map sets to the 396 just like I had done with the 600 and they seem to run fine for me. The two Garmin base mapsets seems to have most everything I need but I just wanted to try them out and they seem fine to me. Road detail seems fine to me also. Going through the most obvious, you do have the map detail setting set to the highest setting correct? Also changing the zoom so it might be different than the 600, does that make any difference in the road names? I'm sure you have probably tried this also but I just thought I would mention it. I consider them two different animals. I love the 600 and will not sell (unless I come across a cheap 680) it but I think for the upcoming trip the 396 is actually going to be a better unit for me.

    KR
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  20. randingo

    randingo Voted "Class Lounger"

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    Both I and and Garmin check the settings
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