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Roy Atkinson

Bike Sat Nav ?

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Roy Atkinson

I have been looking online at the 2 major websites, for a descent sat nav unit but the choice is endless.

I could do with a 6" screen but looks like I will have to accept a 5" screen.

Yes you can pay from £80 to £180 for a good sat nav but which one?

Any ideas out there, its obvious a lot of you do go on good runs across the uk and Europe

and so have the knowledge which sat navs are good value and reliable.

Which one?

 

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ste7ios

I guess you mean Garmin and TomTom. When speaking for motorcycle specific sat navs the choice is limited to the expensive Garmin Zumos and TomTom Rider series...

 

You may be ok with just a smartphone app or you may need a proper solution...

 

It depends on your needs, how you use your motorcycle...

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chris

I've got a Garmin Zumo 340 lm on my bike, it works ok and was the cheapest Garmin at the time I got it.  Since buying it years ago the phone nav systems have improved a lot.  Whenever I rent a car these days I use Waze on my phone. If that fails (rarely happens) then I switch back to Google maps. When I swap my own car in a few years I doubt I'll get a built in sat nav as the phone's are so good and cars are starting to come equipped with Android and Apple play. A few years ago I found phone nav too unreliable,  maps were hard to download and seemed to use a lot of data so I always rented Sat nav but today the phone apps are very good. Great traffic info and info on all sorts of incidents.  

 

For the bike the main issue is keeping the kit dry of course.  I stick with my old Garmin because it's there and it's waterproof. If I didn't have it I'd be trying out a phone holder and waterproof case on my phone. 

Edited by chris
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Andy m

I believe Tom Tom are about to leave the device market. With everyone using their phones (as I do) or having it built into the dash on cars and bigger the market is in  pretty terminal decline. Much as I detested Garmins software, this would drive me their way. They are in the device market for industrial use, less Euro centric and as an American company less likely to stick two fingers up at their customers and say "get over it, buy the app, move on". 

 

Andy

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fred_jb
3 hours ago, ste7ios said:

I guess you mean Garmin and TomTom. When speaking for motorcycle specific sat navs the choice is limited to the expensive Garmin Zumos and TomTom Rider series...

 

You may be ok with just a smartphone app or you may need a proper solution...

 

It depends on your needs, how you use your motorcycle...

I agree that it depends on your needs, and for motorcycle touring it is generally desirable to be able to pre-plan your routes to ensure that you take the more entertaining and scenic routes, so I would say the ability to plan routes offline and download to the satnav is therefore a prerequisite.  This rules out a lot of car type units intended for simple A to B navigation.

 

However, I wouldn't agree that a smartphone can not be a proper solution. I have used both TomTom and Garmin motorcycle satnavs but now use the MyRoute Navigation app.  Other similar products are available, but in my opinion this one has route planning which is the easiest to use, and best integrated with the satnav function, of any product I have evaluated or owned.  It is easy to plan or modify routes on the phone itself, or on laptop or PC, and easily transfer between them via the MyRoute website. 

 

You do need to have a phone with bright display, and which is either water resistant or can work in a waterproof case without overheating.  It also helps if it supports fast charging and can work off a matching 12V fast charging adaptor, as otherwise the heavy power demands of satnav use can run your phone battery down well before the end of a full day of riding.

 

 

Edited by fred_jb

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MikeBike

I bought a 7" samsung android tablet with an otter box case to use on the bike with a ram mount. But the ram mount order never arrived. So I started just using a phone app without any display, getting the directions by Bluetooth headset. 

 

I think not having a screen might be a plus for safety, especially with the difficulty of viewing in all conditions. I find voice directions perfectly fine, so the app can be anywhere such as on a phone in the frunk or in my case an old phone which runs a dashcam app.

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fred_jb
5 minutes ago, MikeBike said:

I bought a 7" samsung android tablet with an otter box case to use on the bike with a ram mount. But the ram mount order never arrived. So I started just using a phone app without any display, getting the directions by Bluetooth headset. 

 

I think not having a screen might be a plus for safety, especially with the difficulty of viewing in all conditions. I find voice directions perfectly fine, so the app can be anywhere such as on a phone in the frunk or in my case an old phone which runs a dashcam app.

 

I agree that it is essential to have a voice output as this is less distracting in some situations than trying to follow a route onscreen. I find it particularly useful when trying to find my hotel at the end of the day, usually in busy city centres when I need to keep my eyes on the road and other traffic.

 

However, having both is ideal as it can be very useful to have a visual advance warning of the route, such as hairpins or severe tightening bends, etc.

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ste7ios

There will be always a market for motorcycle sat navs until we have smartphones with the necessary IP (Ingress Protection) and operating temperature specs...

 

Most smartphones are not waterproof (IP67 at least) today, only the high end (and very expensive - £700 and more) smartphones offer that but they are still limited by their operating ambient temperature range of 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C).

 

Only Caterpillar’s rugged smartphones are more than ok with operating temperatures of -13°F to 131°F (-25°C to 55°C) but they are super expensive too...

 

You may not seeing that in UK but going southern the sun can be a real problem. The weather on the mountains can also be unpredictable...

 

I didn’t mention waterproofing cases because usually  it’s a failure when you need to control the device under the rain... 

 

And as Fred said there are also some important features that are missing from A to B software.

 

But I have to say that sat navs are not perfect, they have their problems too...

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poldark

Not currently in stock, but I've been tempted by this beauty.

 

Linky

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MikeBike

Just to add that my smartphone isn't waterproof, I just put some duct tape around the usb connection and over the headphone socket. It's behind the screen and doesn't really get wet more than some drops. When I stop it goes in the frunk.

It's only an old phone so no big deal if fails but it's been like that for 3 years.

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baben

Got my Galaxy A5 in a Givi bike mount and powered by a powerbank from Aldi. Use Myroute, same as Fred. Much easier and more effective than my old Garmin.

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ste7ios

IMHO it’s not important that the smartphone may be ruined by the rain, it’s only money, but that can be in the middle of nowhere where you need it most...

 

An almost 15 hour trip with rain on most of the time was a good test for me. I saw ruined sat navs (not motorcycle versions), smartphones and some headsets as well. It was a reason that we got lost and had bad communication... Precious time lost... We did about 5 hours more...

 

The paper maps as a backup was useless under the rain...

 

The result was to do half of the trip alone...

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embee

I'm relatively old school in that I still like a motorcycle specific satnav (if you count that as old school). I used a Garmin Zumo 550 for many years, it worked fine but lack of support, out of date maps and a grumbly touchscreen persuaded me to get a 595 when I saw it on a great offer. I use the mp3 player in it a lot of the time when touring on holiday and like how it is integrated with the satnav, I know phones will do it too but not my preferred solution. Still expensive, but it is a great tool.  I'm sure many phone based systems work absolutely fine, I just like the dedicated tool stuck there in front of me, powered, use with gloves, most features I actually want. A friend loathes and detests Garmin satnavs after battling with his 660 Zumo and getting sent off on strange routes, but that's a personal thing, I find the 595 with the current software does a decent job reliably. If you don't want the mp3 player the cheaper versions are better value.

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Tonyj

I’ve been using the 590 for donks and it’s been good . I like it’s dedicated use for some weird old fashioned idea . Bit like having a post office or the electricity board . As opposed to going to Tesco for my gas bill

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fred_jb
22 minutes ago, ste7ios said:

IMHO it’s not important that the smartphone may be ruined by the rain, it’s only money, but that can be in the middle of nowhere where you need it most...

 

An almost 15 hour trip with rain on most of the time was a good test for me. I saw ruined sat navs (not motorcycle versions), smartphones and some headsets as well. It was a reason that we got lost and had bad communication... Precious time lost... We did about 5 hours more...

 

The paper maps as a backup was useless under the rain...

 

The result was to do half of the trip alone...

 

Sounds like a bit of a disastrous trip technology-wise!  If the heat doesn't get you, looks like the rain will!

 

I haven't had a problem so far with heat affecting my phone even in 35+ degrees, but the small airflow under the screen when moving probably helps keep it cool.

 

My phone sits in a reasonably sheltered position under my screen, but if it started to get really wet in rainy conditions I would put it in my tankbag from where I could still get the audio instructions.

 

If all else fails I take a cheap backup phone with me which has all my software, maps and routes installed.  

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Trev

Still using Fred's old Zumo 550 (thank you sir!) although it doesn't get latched onto a bike very often as  I just prefer to see what comes along when out on a bike. For me sat nav is useful when trying to find that important meeting point or pre-booked hotel but as I rarely have either when on two wheels  I have thankfully been able to step back from NavWars for now :whistle:

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Spindizzy

I use a paper map 

 

I find with a sat nav that I have no idea where I am unless I do it old school.

 

I also get to see various places I never intended when it goes a bit awry....

 

(Okay I cheat now and again using the GPS on my phone a a locator when I find myself...elsewhere :D)

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ste7ios

I had this problem with an iPhone 4 during May while charging it in a case. The temperature was close to 30°C. Charging rises the internal temperature but it was necessary...

 

The long trip I mentioned was in September-October through the whole central Greece. I started riding at 6:00 and stopped at about 22:00+.

 

A fella of the team had a BMW Garmin Zumo but his Sena headset stopped working with the rain at about the middle of the trip.

 

Other guys had problems with some car nav sats and smartphones (various brands and no name)...

 

The Rider was ok and had less map errors than Zumo’s (Here maps).

 

34401986425_807fd9c4cd_n.jpgIMG_0448 by ste7ios, on Flickr

 

I will never forget the difficulty of that trip because of the conditions, especially the fog, and probably I will never ride again with the suspicious of bad weather but you never know on the mountains...

 

I always have my smartphone as a backup but only to find a nearby destination. It was impossible to load the route file...

 

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wendeg
On 11/18/2018 at 19:34, embee said:

I'm relatively old school in that I still like a motorcycle specific satnav (if you count that as old school). I used a Garmin Zumo 550 for many years, it worked fine but lack of support, out of date maps and a grumbly touchscreen persuaded me to get a 595 when I saw it on a great offer. I use the mp3 player in it a lot of the time when touring on holiday and like how it is integrated with the satnav, I know phones will do it too but not my preferred solution. Still expensive, but it is a great tool.  I'm sure many phone based systems work absolutely fine, I just like the dedicated tool stuck there in front of me, powered, use with gloves, most features I actually want. A friend loathes and detests Garmin satnavs after battling with his 660 Zumo and getting sent off on strange routes, but that's a personal thing, I find the 595 with the current software does a decent job reliably. If you don't want the mp3 player the cheaper versions are better value.

+1 here for the Zumo 595LM. Caught in some heavy rain and performed flawlessly! Had the Zumo 340 which also gave years of flawless service. Still going strong but since it had no lifetime updates I upgraded to the 595LM this year. Use the 340 for everyday use and the 595 when I am touring.

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Grumpy Meltdown
20 minutes ago, wendeg said:

+1 here for the Zumo 595LM. Caught in some heavy rain and performed flawlessly! Had the Zumo 340 which also gave years of flawless service. Still going strong but since it had no lifetime updates I upgraded to the 595LM this year. Use the 340 for everyday use and the 595 when I am touring.

 

I started with a second hand 550. It lasted 8 years with me, before finally giving up at the start of our NC500 trip.

I replaced it with a 395. The only difference between the 395 and 345 is that the former has Western Europe maps and the latter doesn’t.

I believe that numbering format is the same for all current Garmin models.

I like planning routes on the PC and uploading them to the unit. Basecamp can be a bit fiddly to get your head round to start with but easy once you get the hang of it

I also have a Garmin in the car. Both have lifetime maps but, curiously, only the car unit has traffic alerts.

I guess that is because you filter in a car. 😋

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embee

… also bear in mind that the latest versions (Garmin anyway, I assume TomTom too) will work alongside your phone for all sorts of live functions if you want. Personally I haven't gone into all that malarkey …………….. yet.

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slowboy

Happy with my Garmin 390 on the CRF. Works very well once you understand how to programme it. Letting it choose the route for you can throw up the odd 😬 anomaly. The Garmin PC based planning system is worth getting to know, but is a PITA to be honest, I programme using the option to manually select a place on the map. 

Don't have a headset, so no voices in my head that I don't know about already, and I always have a backup map some where.

 

Simples

Edited by slowboy
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ste7ios

Understanding is one of the biggest problems as I can see from TT forums...What are the differences between routes and tracks, route types, how the technology works (like TT IQ routes), how to design properly a route, and stuff like that...

Edited by ste7ios
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Mr Toad
2 hours ago, ste7ios said:

Understanding is one of the biggest problems as I can see from TT forums...What are the differences between routes and tracks, route types, how the technology works (like TT IQ routes), how to design properly a route, and stuff like that...

 

My understanding is that a route is a plan to get you from A to B using waypoints and it continuously points you at B, if you go off route it will re-calculate. A track is a breadcrumb trail usually of where you, or someone else has been and is made up of track points. You/they go out on a ride and find a really good route so they export it as a track for others to use. If you deviate from the track the satnav doesn't take that into account and recalculate the route to send you to the destination, point B, it tries to send you back to the next track point in the trail of breadcrumbs and put you back on the track at the point you left it.

 

The way I think about it is:

 

If you want to get from A to B and you don't mind how you get there or if the route varies then uses a route.

 

If you need to get through a minefield and someone has sent you a safe route, a track that you must follow or risk getting blown up then you should use a track.

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Skipper

I've been using Garmin Nuvi sat navs for several years now. Put them in an SWMotech sat nav holder , a Ram mount and it sits nicely above the instruments behind the screen using the Palmer brackets and accessory bar. Protected from the rain in that position as well. Use a similar set up on my Tiger Explorer and yes it's a bit more fiddly but saving more than a couple of hundred pounds I can put up with that. I don't like using the sound  and prefer to just watch the screen as I use a lot of prepared routes that I input in to the sat nav. All was ok until I got to France this year and found the sat nav updates had only uploaded Northern Europe due to a glitch on Basecamp (didn't discover until I got to France) so had to revert to my phone and use Navmii app or Google maps that I had preloaded until I could get the sat nav reloaded whilst away. Just put the phone in the GPS holder and problem solved other than I couldn't follow my preloaded routes. The only problem with the Nuvi is that I can't update Basecamp maps with it but I have access to a Zumo to do that. Also use MapmyRoute as well for preparing routes as someone else on here does - a bit easier than Basecamp. Two sat navs delivered to the house for £160 from Aldi a couple of years ago when they had a deal and they have been great value and I have done loads of travelling with them.

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