Wednesday, January 30, 2013

GPS units & mount recommendations

I am seriously thinking of getting a GPS unit for my bike, I get hopeless lost sometimes and it am thinking about road trips.  Any suggestions?  I won't want to use my phone because it just sucks the batteries to death.  So wise ones in moto land can you please enlighten this newb. 


RichardM said...

Probably not what you are looking for but...

I've been using a Garmin portable GPS for years on the motorcycle as well as when hiking of walking or cycling and even rental cars. It is waterproof, runs 25 hours on 2 AA batteries and has a sturdy power outlet to be powered off a vehicle. It keeps tracks and does turn by turn directions as I've relied on it to get me to my destinations all over the country. It just doesn't talk to you, just beeps when there is a turn coming up. My primary reason for using it on the bike is as a more reliable speedometer that can easily be switched between km and miles.

Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx with a 2GB micro-SD card loaded with street maps for North America and Mexico. And a model specific Touratech mount on a RAM arm.

bob skoot said...


I like Garmin, get Lifetime maps, bluetooth, and traffic receiver model.

and use RAM mounts.

can't wait for you to get your bike ready for touring. Perhaps a dry run "up Island" in the Spring ?

Riding the Wet Coast

Dar said...

Thanks Buddies!!! YOu guys are awesome!

Richard - I need one that will whisper sweeting nothings into my ear, because then it is kind of foolproof, I might miss the beep.

Bob - Absolutely! We should figure out a weekend and get Kirk all ready to go and head up visit Tofino? Bob I also want to investigate getting a Sena unit(s).

Right now I am trying to track down saddle bag brackets for the '85 Shadow, I desperately need to do something about this, the backpack thing is getting pretty lame. UGH.

Trobairitz said...

Brad is my GPS when riding, we won't go into mounting procedures. :-)

Trobairitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VStar Lady said...

Hi Dar - Garmin Dan (the Zumo 660 model) and I have been having an affair to remember for three years now - he whispers sweet nothings in my ear, never gets angry, is completely waterproof and comes with two mounts (ram for the bike and a separate mount for the car.) The mount is hardwired to my bike, I just pop him in the mount and we are good to go. He holds a charge for 6 hours off mount and he and I have even found a few Geocaches. It was the only real bike specific GPS that I found that I liked. His touch screen is fairly glove friendly in an emergency, he plays my tunes (though in mono), I can plan my trips and import them into his files, he remembers everywhere I've been (he can find all the Wally marts where ever I go)... and I hear he has a younger brother with sirius radio, real time traffic and weather. He is going to be pricy, but you can find deals around. I love him and would never leave him behind. He gives me independence - no more having to stop, put on the glasses, check the map - try to remember what turn I'm supposed to stop at again.
As for the saddle bag brackets - they should be pretty generic any bike shop that sells accessories should be able to get them for you. I purchased mine with the bike, but the ones for my Suzuki I bought from GP Bikes here in Ontario, they ordered them and I had them within days.
So, where are you planning to go?

Patricia Carpenter said...

Scootard is mine as well....:-). I just read the maps when we are together in the car for long distances. But let me know when you find that works for you. I would like to know what brand it is.

Diane Higdon said...

We use a Garmin as well. Her name is "Lupi". ;) need I say more. LOL.

Brenda said...

We dont use a GPS on the bikes, I used to dread getting lost cause I knew it would mean I'd have to do a U-Turn at some stage and I hated them!! Now that I have mastered that little trick half the fun is getting lost somewhere completely new ... but hubby does need to learn the difference between my right and real right.

We use a Garmin in the car tho and it's a pretty handy little beastie.

You are planning trips? Oh cant wait to hear about that!!

Fuzzy said...

I'm a Garmin user, too. I went from the Zumo 450 to the Zumo 660. I find the experience using the 660 much better overall. It's easy to use w/gloves on, easy to add new points & route on the fly, free lifetime map updates, bluetooth to my headset. I didn't get a GPS with a traffic package because its not something I personally feel I need.

In looking for a GPS to use on the bike - I limited my field of search to those that are made for motorcycling. Glove-usability & being waterproof might not sound like much - but I find them to be a necessity :)

Do you have an electronics chain store where you could go look at different models?

David Masse said...

Dar, funny you should ask, I've been working on a GPS post for the last little bit that I've been sitting on.

The gist of it is that I currently use a lowly Garmin on a RAM mount that we use in the car, and I use on my bike.

I wanted to get one dedicated to the bike. Ideally it would be waterproof and send turn-by-turn directions via a Sena headset.

Turns out that only the Zumo that Karen has fits the bill. The bill is too steep for me, though.

Lately I have been experimenting with the turn-by-turn directions on my iPhone 5. Basically works great, a few downsides, not waterproof, and there's a debate whether it uses cell data or not (yes for the screen updates, but no for GPS, but yes for turn-by-turn? It's hard to tell). As long as you're in a place with cell coverage, and you have an iPhone 5, then the iPhone does 90% of what the Zumo does.

I've decided to hold off on a new GPS, use a combo of the iPhone and the Garmin for a certain planned road trip, and carry Ziplock sandwich bags for the rain.

Now I've scooped myself, but you're worth it! :)

Let us know what you decide.


VStar Lady said...

David - I lucked in on a real deal on my Zumo 660 - a $100. off manufacturers coupon plus a Future Shop error on their on line sale ad and the Best Buy's policy of beat the best price by 10%...but even at that the 660 model should have come down in price with the 990 (I think that's the model number) now out.

Edward Kilner said...

Yes, do get a GPS! I bought my first one for my old Triumph 900 ( year 2000 ), a Garmin handheld. Used it in the map pocket of the tank bag. Sometimes in summer it would overheat and once I drowned it with rain through the zipper. Upgraded to a 60CS and a RAM mount, but had to keep it dry. Finally, I got a Garmin 550 and love it.

I never go anywhere on a bike without a GPS and it's great. Last June, out your way, it took me right to the driveway in Duncan, via a huge number of turns. When I stopped and turned my head to the right, my friend's wife was waving to me. Earlier, got me right to a friend's house in north Seatlle. Never had I been to either place.

I use Grmin's Mapsource on my computer to do route planning and to set waypoints to ensure I take the tricky bits - the GPS unit uses a slightly different routing algorithm - always screws up in Buffalo. Should have learned from first experience.

When in the US, it nice to have an mph speed displayed, but I now no longer can judge 0.1 miles as a distance and might overshoot. But, the GPS recalculated the route and I found the motel, eventually.

I really love my GPS.

polarbear said...

I use the cheapest one I could find.. bought on sale at Kohl's Department store a couple of years ago and just tuck the thing in the clear top of the tank bag... (oh yeah, price of the Avion GPS unit with the 12v adapter..$30...) If it gets lost, broken, or stolen..mehh. You really need Trobaritz to hook you up with a Rick Rick unit....Its exceptional accurate in Portland and Seattle and will even work 6 floors underground in a parking garage.

Andrew Thomson said...

I'm in the Garmin camp too and love my Zumo 550. I have lifetime maps and it does everything I need (although I would like the stereo bluetooth you get with the 660).

The Zumo came with a few mounts and the Ram stuff is good for more options. I even have custom mounts for both bikes.

The best "gadget" I own.

Dar said...

Thank you everyone!!! Here is my farkle list 1) GPS with Mounts 2) Sena system 3) saddle bags & saddle bag brackets 4) fuel bottles 5) tail bag or larger tank bag.

Deb said...

Good information, all. I use paper maps and Google maps on my phone so I cannot add to the discussion.

Next scoot I have is going to have a 12v plug-in for my phone.

Get farkle-ing!