Motorcycle GPS Buying Guide

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TomTom Rider 400 Portable Motorcyle GPS device - bike road tripIf you have been riding for quite some time and would want to start exploring the unknown countryside or start to make the best long weekend or motorcycle holiday trips, you definitely have to have your very own motorcycle GPS. However, this is easier said than done.

But what happens when you come face to face with probably a dozen different models and brands of motorcycle GPS systems at a store? Similar to the confusion you experience whenever choosing from a wide variety of motorcycle intercoms, choosing a motorcycle GPS is no easy task. Would you want to choose the wrong one and end up regretting and most especially wasting your hard-earned money just because you got confused?

See here our top 3 of the best motorcycle GPS navigators:

Ignorance is not a valid excuse anymore. With all the information that you can read from our website, all the comparisons, and product reviews, you can choose the best motorcycle GPS that will suit your needs and preferences.

Stop asking forum members about which is the best motorcycle GPS system today because there is no answer. They will give you an answer but that is based on their needs and not yours. It could only be best for you if you have the same needs and a similar riding style.

Everyone rides differently. There are techniques that work for him/her but might not exactly work for you and vice versa. If you have been riding for quite a while, this should be easy for you as you probably already know which would make you feel more comfortable and will be of greater help to you.

If you are a beginner, you might want to indulge yourself more on the information we are about to share to better know your way before finally making a purchase.

If you know more about motorcycle GPS units, read our extensive top 3 motorcycle GPS comparison!

Different Types of GPS Devices useable for Motorcycles

Basically, there are three different types of GPS devices that are useable on a motorcycle. Let us discuss each one below to determine clearly what each is for and which one has your specific needs.

  1. Special Motorcycle GPS units

TomTom Rider 400 Portable Motorcyle GPS device - mounted on motorcycle handle barNow, these are the ones that are created with a motorcyclist and him alone in mind. This type is usually built tough and is extremely durable being designed to withstand everything that could possibly come its way on or off the road.

Examples of such features would be waterproof casing, weatherproof ability, anti-glare screens, touch-screen options, and Bluetooth capability. With these features, convenience and safety are always assured.

If you ride frequently and want the quality of a proper GPS device, you should do very well with this. This type can be fixed on your handlebar and the great plus would be the Bluetooth capability, which opens a whole lot of other useful features. With the Bluetooth connection, you could interface the GPS device with your motorcycle intercom in order to have all the instructions coming in loud and clear.

  1. Portable Outdoor Hiking Units

Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld GPS NavigatorIf you not only love riding but other adventurous sports as well like mountain biking, camping, and even rambling, you will find the outdoor hiking GPS devices extremely helpful as you can literally take it anywhere with you.

It navigates accurately and is versatile at the same time. If you classify yourself as an active explorer, then you would want to save money by getting this type instead of buying a special motorcycle GPS system, a wristwatch GPS navigation system, and or other portable gadgets. Some even use this as well for their cars and boats, which makes this truly an all-in-one GPS device for as long as you do not mind carrying it with you everywhere.

However, make sure that the portable outdoor unit you will get comes with a universal mounting so that you would never have to be stressed out on how to mount it each and every time you bring it with you.

  1. GPS/PDA Hybrids

IPX4 Waterproof Tough Case Motorcycle Bike Mirror Stem Mount for Apple iPhone 5 : 5SJust like the types above, the GPS/PDA is designed to be portable. However, the deciding factor here is the large screen which some motorcycle riders favor. Again, this appeals most to those who love outdoor activities. This type pretty much works like any handheld GPS device. The only difference between this with the second type above is that this works like a PDA as well.

If you are out for an adventure but need to stay on top of your work most of the time, this type of motorcycle device is usually compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and even PowerPoint. In addition, you can play games and store digital photos perfect for those outdoor adventures worth remembering.

Getting to Know the Basics

As a motorcycle rider, it is your responsibility to select the motorcycle GPS system that would work best for you. Such gadgets are supposed to make every rider’s life on the road easier and more convenient. You have to know how to make the most out of it in order to fully enjoy all its features and benefits. In order for you to become a more responsible rider, let us get to know the basics of motorcycle GPS systems.

As you might know by now, there are quite a number of websites offering reviews on some of the best motorcycle GPS systems. Be careful though. You do not want to go there yet without understanding the basics.

  1. Location

Motorcycle in forestGPS systems of motorcycles today are equipped with high technologies and they all claim great efficiency in determining accurate location. However, you might want to check the roads that you frequently travel on. Are they rough roads? Do they have good GPS signals?

These things are important because if you do travel frequently on rough and roads through forests, blocking the GPS signal, then a motorcycle GPS system of strong connectivity should be on top of your priority list.

Another option here would be preloaded maps which should help you go through even without a reliable internet signal.

  1. Durability

You have to make sure that the motorcycle GPS unit that you will get is resistant to vibration and reverberation which is bound to happen a lot on the road. Keep in mind that you are not always going to travel on smooth roads. A durable motorcycle GPS device is one that gives you the freedom to go anywhere and use it with a great deal without ever having to worry that it might break down.

Always check the outer case. More than just being beautiful, you have to make sure it is weatherproof with a shockproof mount. This ensures that any external friction will be absorbed therefore keeping your precious motorcycle GPS device safe from harm and accidents. Through this, you are assured that it will still give you accurate navigation instructions.

  1. Mount

This is another fundamental factor in choosing your would-be GPS. Make sure to ask if it comes with a universal-fitting mount or not. This would make a lot of sense if you have more than one motorcycle and would want to transfer the GPS system every once in a while depending on the need.

  1. Screen Size

Garmin nuvi 2495LMT Motorcycle GPS deviceMake sure to have a handy measuring tape with you or at least have a really good approximation of the actual size of the motorcycle GPS system. It would also be great if you can check the actual varying sizes of the ones available in the market today just so you would have a better grasp of the size you really want and which one you would be most comfortable with during your frequent rides.

  1. Anti-Glare Properties

You may be used to wearing high-end sunglasses that are perfect for motorcycle riding but that do not assure you that you can see the screen clearly especially under bright sunlight. If you have quite sensitive eyes and would be totally grateful for a motorcycle GPS system that is easy to view, then make sure to include this on your list. The special motorcycle GPS units normally have anti-glare screens and the standard car devices do not.

  1. Waterproof/Weatherproof

Garmin Montana 650t Waterproof Hiking Motorcycle GPS deviceBasically, it would be wise to choose a weatherproof motorcycle GPS system because water is not the only thing that could cause damage to your newly bought motorcycle GPS system. Think of everything that you come across the road – the wind, moisture, rain, dust, dirt, and everything else.

Unlike you, the GPS system which is probably mounted in your handlebar does not have a helmet of some sort to get the same protection making it vulnerable to all the environmental factors. For this, it would surely be an investment to get a weatherproof motorcycle GPS system or at least one with a trusty tough casing.

  1. Glove Use

This is another concern with regards to the screen. While every single motorcycle GPS unit in the market today probably claims that they offer glove-friendly screens, you cannot be so sure unless someone else says so or you have tried it yourself.

However, you and your friend most likely have different hand and glove sizes. For this, what works for his/her gloves might not work for you and vice versa.

  1. Battery Life

This is where most motorcycle GPS devices today greatly vary. Battery life usually varies with the given price. You will find GPS devices that range from only a couple of hours to some full 16 hours.

You have to think very carefully about this one. You may be traveling short distances for now and would want the cheapest and as expected, shorter-lasting battery. However, are you sure you will not engage in long trips in the near future?

If you are unsure and you would like to take some trips especially with your new GPS device as your riding partner, then it would be wiser to get the one with the longer-lasting battery or your other option would be to purchase additional batteries if such is possible with your chosen unit.

  1. Bluetooth Ability

Cardo Scala Rider Q1 Teamset - fitted on helmetsThis is of high importance for people who just cannot stay off of their phones at any given time. If your work requires you to be on the phone most of the time including that of your travel time to and from home, then this is a definite necessity. In fact, even those who are not on the phone most of the time will still benefit from this.

Having a Bluetooth capability on your motorcycle GPS system ensures that you can connect it to your motorcycle intercom for phone calls and message alerts and to your headset for GPS instructions and other things. Through this way, you can focus on the road more and never keep your eyes off it just to see where you should go. The voice instructions will be enough, safer, and absolutely more convenient.

  1. SD Card Slot

Most of the GPS devices today come preloaded with certain maps. In fact, some even have Canada maps. However, some require a membership in order to download more maps should you wish to traverse new roads and make new adventures that are not on the preloaded list though there are some that still do come for free.

Having an SD card slot gives you another option for downloading maps if membership does not exactly work for you. More than that, you can easily save the routes you have taken (especially if you accidentally found a shortcut somewhere) and easily trace it back some other time when the need arises.

  1. Entertainment Features

This includes weather and traffic updates. Some may even come with a satellite radio which should keep you entertained especially for long drives. The weather feature is especially helpful if you forgot to check the weather and you are already on your way to work or for long rides under stubborn skies.

This should give you an idea and let you plan way ahead of where you are going to stop over if in any case, it rains hard or where you will eat, etc. The traffic update is of course the most practical feature since we all know how traffic can be these days. This will help you stay off jam-packed lanes and find another way to go home without being stuck in traffic for hours. Basically, you save gas, time, and effort all because of a multifunctional GPS gadget.

Remember that you would not want to spend hundreds of dollars on something that you are not comfortable with. Finding the right motorcycle GPS system is tricky but definitely possible. A lot has already been successful in finding theirs and with all the information that we have provided; there is no reason for you not to be able to find the one that will work best for you. Trust our opinion and choose one of our top 3 motorcycle GPS devices!