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Motorbike sat nav units reviewed and compared

Updated on December 10, 2012

The best motorbike sat nav systems

Here we have the best motorbike sat nav systems reviewed and compared. Before the invention of gps satellite navigation systems the only way of navigating was to use a map, which is fine if you are in a car and have a passenger with you but not ideal on a motorcycle.

Navigating on a motorcycle was a pain and I remember riding around with road numbers etc. scribbled down on a bit of paper and taped on to my petrol tank on long journeys or having to make regular stops on the roadside to consult the map. Fortunately, those days are gone.

Nowadays motorcycle navigation is much easier with motorbike sat nav systems that provide turn by turn directions. Motorcycle gps systems are specialized bits of kit and the range isn't as large as that of car gps systems. This is not a problem though as all the gps systems for motorcycles are very good and worth buying, which cannot be said about car gps navigation systems.

In my opinion a motorbike sat nav is an essential accessory and I wouldn't be without mine now. If you ride a motorcycle and go on long and adventurous rides you need a motorcycle gps system on your motorbike.

So, for a review of the best motorbike sat nav systems, and everything satellite navigation related, please do carry on reading.

Motorbike Sat Nav - Tom Tom Rider

Tom Tom is a market leader in gps navigation units and have been since the outset. In fact, many people would argue Tom Tom started the gps revolution and brought the product to the masses, and I have to say I would agree.

Tom Tom primarily manufacture gps units for cars however the company also produces the Tom Tom Rider, which is a motorbike sat nav. There is only one Tom Tom rider model and whilst some people would see this as a bad thing I don't agree with this because it makes the buying decision that much easier. With one product there is, obviously, one choice to make meaning you don't have to go through the pain staking exercise of weighing up pros and cons and then worrying if you have made the right choice after you have purchased the product.

Tom Tom Rider Motorbike Sat Nav

The first thing you will notice about the Tom Tom Rider is that it feels solid and very well built. Given Tom Toms reputation of producing high quality GPS units, this is to be expected. The unit is fully sealed which is essential if you get caught out in some heavy downpours.

When you are on the move the Tom Tom Rider goes in to

safety mode which means accessing the menu and other screens is not possible. If you need to change anything you have to stop the motorcycle, make the necessary changes and then continue on your way. On the face of it this is a neat feature but it is annoying if you have to change a setting or need to do something whilst riding. There is a way of disabling this feature, which simply involves taping up a switch.

The gps chip in the Tom Tom Rider is quick to locate and lock on to available satellites and once there is a lock the satellites aren't lost until you turn the gps unit off.

Like all Tom Tom gps navigation systems the Tom Tom Rider is user friendly and a doodle to use. In fact, it is so simple you won't even need to revert to the user manual.

Overall the Tom Tom Rider is a neat motorbike sat nav unit that works very well. It is tough and durable, it is waterproof, the screen is bright and easy to read and it is good value for money.

Motorbike sat nav - Garmin Zumo

Garmin are well known for producing high quality satellite navigation systems for both cars and motorbikes. Garmin's motorbike sat nav range is the Zumo models and there are a few different models in the line up to choose from. At the lower end of the range is the Garmin Zumo 220, the middle range is the Garmin Zumo 350 and at the top end is the Garmin Zumo 550 and Garmin 660.

All of Garmin's gps units for motorcycles are tough, durable and made out of top quality components. They are also fully sealed and weather proof, an essential feature if you get caught out in an unexpected downpour. In addition, the gps mapping is very accurate, which is essential when navigating whilst riding a motorcycle.

Garmin Zumo 660 4.3 inch Motorbike Sat Nav

Out of all the motorbike sat nav units the Garmin Zumo 660 is the best made. This gps satellite navigation unit feels chunky, sturdy and built to last and when you consider the motorbike sat nav system is exposed to the elements this is a good thing. The unit is fully weather sealed and capable of dealing with the wettest conditions you encounter and still remain unharmed. Garmin claims the Zumo 600 can be immersed in water (up to

a depth of 1 metre) for 30 minutes and it will still work as it should. I am sure you will agree this is quite a claim, but it is a testament to how waterproof the Zumo 660 is.

The Garmin Zumo 660 is very easy to use and after a few minutes of playing around with it you will soon be entering addresses, points of interest and destinations with ease. It really is that easy and the user guide will be redundant.

The Garmin Zumo 660 finds the available satellites in super quick time and instantly locks on to them, and once locked on the satellites are never lost, until you turn the unit off that is.

The display of the Zumo 660 is large, crisp and bright. The Zumo 660 is very easy to see in all weather conditions, from bright sunlight to dull rainy days to riding in the dark. With the Zumo 660 you will never lose sight of where you are going.

There's no doubt about it, the Garmin Zumo 660 is the best of Garmin's motorbike sat nav units (it gives the most bang for your buck) but it does come at a price. The term expensive is relative, i.e. what some people consider expensive others may not, however you are going to have to shell out a few hundred bucks for this model, but it is worth every cent. That said, any Garmin motorcycle gps system is worth buying and you won't be disappointed.

Motorbike Sat Nav - The Garmin Zumo line up

If you want to check out the other motorbike sat nav gps units produced by Garmin take a look at the products below.

Garmin Zumo 220CHECK PRICE

Garmin Zumo 350CHECK PRICE

Garmin Zumo 550CHECK PRICE

Garmin Zumo 665CHECK PRICE

Wiring a motorbike sat nav

Many riders have concerns how to wire a motorbike sat nav, and this apprehension is only natural. However, wiring a motorcycle gps system really isn’t that difficult and it is a task you should be able to do at home. Don’t believe me? Check out the following video demonstration to see exactly what is involved.

If you have any comments, rants or raves please feel free to note them in my guestbook. Similarly, if you know of any other gps navigation units for motorcycles please feel free to share them here. Thanks.

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