Thoughts On Portable GPS's?

Discussion in 'Communications And Radio' started by Dr. Dolittle, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    I've read lots of internet posts on how great the GPS's made specifically for motorcycles are (Zumo 450/550 and Tom Tom Rider.) I don't feel like I'm at the point in my riding evolution where I want a GPS guiding me 24/7. The $400+ price tag is kind of turning me off, too - that's money I could sink into my Glide! I would just like a tool I could use if I get a little off track from a planned route. I also want to be able to use it in the cars - got a wife and 2 teenage daughters.

    For these reasons I've been considering a small, portable GPS. BJ's, Best Buy, and Circuit City sell models around $200 that still have text-to-speech, points of interest, customized routes, detour/reroute functions, and up to 3 hours battery life. That way I could plan a route in the morning, ride until I get lost, then turn on the GPS during a gas/rest stop and find my way back on track. I would not have it mounted since it's not waterproof - they're thin enough to carry in your jacket or easily in a saddlebag.

    Anyone tried this approach yet? I'm sure eventually I'll end up with a nice system on the handlebar, wired into the bike, for full time guidance on long trips but I'm just not there yet.
  2. Spade5

    Spade5 Active Member

    I am thinking about getting one as well. I sometimes ride until I get lost and want a way to get back to a central point. I am not interested in turn by turn directions or points of interest.

    With that being said, I will most likely go with the Tom Tom One third edition. It currently runs about $150 with the 3.5 inch screen and supposedly has about 3 hours battery life. From the reviews I have read it seems to lock on to sattelites quickly and allows you some selection as to the type of road - avoid toll roads, highway only - that type of thing. I don't know that it would be as good in a car if you wanted turn by turn because it does not give street names only turn right in 100 feet or something like that.
  3. Vibratinharley

    Vibratinharley Junior Member

    I have the Garmin StreetPilot c550 that I bring with me and usually keep in saddlebag and only use it when I have to. I preloaded it with different HD shops that I have been visiting as part of the EASTERN HARLEY-DAVIDSON DEALERS ASSOCIATION ride with us program. It is also good for when you are in the middle of nowhere and your fuel tank is on fumes as it provides you with a points of interest (POIs) database with hotels, restaurants, fuel, ATMs and more. It also has bluetooth wireless tech that lets me listen via my headset. It is not waterproof but (IMO) it was a great deal for $199. considering all the features.
  4. cdn-bigfoot

    cdn-bigfoot Junior Member

    I have the TomTom Rider 2. It's a motorcycle gps so it's waterproof, comes with a good handlebar mount and wiring to run off your bike battery. Best piece of equipment included is the helmet mounted earpiece that relays all the turn by turn instruction into your helmet via bluetooth wireless. It will even interface with many bluetooth cellphones and allow cellphone incoming calls while riding. If a buddy has the same set-up, with a phone connection, the TomTom will show you his position on your GPS and your position on his! Cool! The gps unit itself, because it's waterproof, has no speaker. You must use it with the headset or other bluetooth earpiece. Beats trying to hear audio commands from a tiny speaker on the gps unit over pipe, road and wind noise.

    Expensive, but well worth the money for touring.
  5. otter1958

    otter1958 Member

    I have a Zumo 550 that mounts right on the handle bar. It plugs into my radio on my 06 Electricglide, and it's awesome! We go on trips almost every weekend and just about dark we check for Hotels and it gives you locations and phone numbers so you can reserve a room down the road. It finds gas stations, food, entertainment, etc. It's the best investment I ever made. If you like to travel on long trips you can download trips off your computer as well. It saves us a ton of back tracking looking food, hotels etc.
  6. WHM1

    WHM1 Junior Member

    I also have the Zumo 550 and I can not imagine traveling without it. Easy to find food, gas and hotels while on the road. I also have my cell phone connected via Bluetooth and can see when someone is trying to reach me. I do not talk while riding but will find a place to pull over and return the call if I think it may be important.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    I have a Tom-Tom One and use it in the cars, and I finally got my gal to embrace the technology (she loves to take it on quick trips to garage sales).

    Hey, last weekend on my Sporty, she took a bottle of water and wedged it between us, "--Where are the cup holders on this thing"? :D

    Seriously, Is there a decent, secure aftermarket mount that can deal with the fairly high vibration on the handlebars. The Harley has big 1" tubing (the cross bar is a smallish affair), but my single clock (speedo) is in the way (my gal also wants to use it on her little scooter, but that's a whole different problem). :coffee

    My mirrors are aftermarket, mounted rigidly and show only a hint of the vibes at various RPMS that go on; but an LCD display w/ "solid state" electronics on the bike makes me wonder about usefulness and durability (as well as moisture resistance). :dknow
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  8. lannyw

    lannyw Member

    I purchased the Garmin 200 ? for around $150.00 at Best Buy it allows you to download from HD trip planner website, etc. and my thoughts are if someone stills it or I lose it I'm not out several hundred's of dollars.

    The only issues I have is how to securely mount it.
  9. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Is it weatherproof? Haven't seen one intended for motorcycle or marine use for that price yet.
  10. gs34

    gs34 Junior Member

    I've got a Garmin 250. I plug it into the lighter leave the cord coiled in a loop around my ignition switch. Stick the stock suction cup mount right to the chrome gas cap cover on my tank. I had it stuck on there on a 3600 mile trip, and it never moved. Not weatherproof but has been thru some showers with no ill effects. Also, seems to get Zero vibration stuck on the tank.
    All in all, quite satisfied with it's performance.