Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
A motorcycle global positioning system or GPS allows you to ride anywhere you want and have a good idea of where you are at all times. There are two different schools of thought about global positioning systems. One is that a motorcycle rider wants to get on the road and ride and let the road and their fancy lead the way, they don’t want a global positioning system to show them the way. The other is that a global positioning system provides extra security in knowing where you are and how to make your way to a destination. If you have all the time in the world, maybe it is good to just wander down a little unused road, however, most of us have too much to do and too little time. That is just one of the reasons a global system positioning would be a great gift for you or your significant other.
Major Motorcycle GPS Manufacturers
• Lowrance iWay (new to market)
Important GPS Features
After review of many GPS consumer and manufacturer sites, these are the factors that seem most important.
•A motorcycle GPS must be waterproof and be able to withstand road vibrations.
•The mapping data that is loaded into your GPS is important because you want accuracy and a large selection of data. Make sure you buy a GPS with reputable mapping software. The two main suppliers are NavTeq and Tele Atlas. Basically, if you buy a really inexpensive GSP, you will get less expensive quality and accuracy.
•Communication technology has improved dramatically versus the older GPS models that didn’t always get good reception. Make sure you have a high performance receiver to enable you to get reception in the middle of nowhere or under steel structures. The SiRF Star III chipset is the latest in GPS technology.
•Most GPS have points of interest preloaded, so that you can search by motorcycle dealership, businesses, airports, etc. If you know you are interested in certain points of interest, you should find out how many each GPS contains. The points of interest can range from 100 to millions.
•Each GPS manufacturer has different routing capabilities and displays the route in different ways and use different methods to calculate. This is not information that manufacturers share, so it pays to surf the internet and look at GPS reviews to find out what manufacturer does the best job.
•How easy is the GPS to use while operating your motorcycle? How easy is it to use standing still? In other words, can you easily enter an address without taking your gloves off? How many clicks does it take to find your route? Do you like the way the map displays? Go to an electronics store and try a couple out to see what you like about them.
•A motorcycle needs vibration resistant mounting hardware that is compatible with your motorcycle. Ram-Mount produces an excellent mounting hardware that is sturdy and the GPS is easy to mount and dismount. Also, can you move from your motorcycle to your automobile?
•Is the screen easy to read? Is it sunlight resistant? Is the print too small to read while riding?
•Is the GPS Bluetooth capable? This may not be the most important feature, but it does allow for hands-free speaker capability.
GPS Price Points
The price of a motorcycle GPS ranges from $350 to $1000. It depends on the quality and features you want. If you really want to go for the least amount of money, you can purchase a handheld GPS for less money and carry it in your pocket, but you would have to stop often to check your route (not). Any holiday season means sale prices, so you may be able to save big dollars on a quality unit if you can buy around a holiday.
Best Rated Motorcycle GPS Units
The deluxe Garmin unit is the Garmin Zumo 550 with a street price of about $650. On almost every consumer and electronics review site I visited, this unit was rated as one of the very best. From TomTom, the TomTom Rider 2 is rated the best around $650. From Magellan, the Magellan Crossover series is their best with a street price around $450. I have listed some major GPS review sites, as well as, consumer opinion sites in the GPS review link below for you to personally check out the GPS units available in the market.
I have also listed the major manufacturer’s sites in the links below. The top rated GPS units are linked to amazon.com for your review.
Until next week, ride safe.