How to Choose the Best Motorcycle GPS Unit

best-motorcycle-gps-garmin-zumo-590lm

Taking your bike out on the open road or even for a bit of off-road fun is a great way to spend a weekend. However, it is not so fun when, somewhere during the course of your trip, you realize you have no idea where you are.
Most of us are comfortable with basic GPS systems and can understand why they would be useful for bikers as well as people who are just driving around the city. What people might not know is that there are units that are specifically designed for bikers and their individualized needs.

Best GPS for motorcycles


1

Garmin Zumo 590LM - Bluetooth

best-motorcycle-gps-garmin-zumo-590lm

Since the first GPS units became available on the consumer marketplace, Garmin has been a brand on the cutting edge of GPS technology. They are a trusted and time-honored company that produces a wide range of different types of GPS units for different needs and levels of functionality.
The Zumo 590LM is a high-quality motorcycle-specific GPS unit that has a variety of different features that make it well suited to bikers. It has a large, 5" screen that can be easily seen, even in the brightest sun.It also has a glove-friendly touchscreen, which means that the touchscreen can easily register your commands, even if you are wearing gloves. This system can easily be linked to smartphone apps for additional functionality.

This is a touch GPS unit that can handle spills, rain, wind, sun, and is even resistant to cracking if dropped.

This is a great GPS unit for the biker who is looking for an easy way to plan a fun and adventurous ride. It boasts a winding road feature that helps you pick out an exciting route that is full of twists and turns. It boasts 3-D terrain detail maps as well.

The biggest downside of this unit is that you have to buy additional mapping like the 3D terrain detail maps separately, which does tack on more costs to an already hefty price tag.

Pros

  • Comes with all the mounts for motorcycle. 
  • It is bluetooth.
  • Comes with a big 5 inches screen that can be read even with plain sunlight.
  • Comes with USB port to charge cell phones. 
  • Includes a cradle for motorcycle. 
  • Can be used with Iphone, Pandora, itunes.
  • Indicates speed limits.

Cons

  • Difficult to load tracks. 
  • Display could be brighter. 

2

TomTom Rider 400 - Bluetooth

tomtom-rider-400-portable best motorcycle gps

TomTom is another popular GPS manufacturer that is known for making high-quality, highly functional GPS units that will not break the bank. TomTom offers a whole line of different GPS units—from traditional, car mounted units, to those that can be taken off road with ease.
The Rider 400 is an excellent option for those who want a nice combination between a traditional GPS unit and also those that are portable and off-road appropriate.
This unit will help you plan your perfect trip. Want to take a twisty path to your destination? No problem. Want to avoid hill or find the highest vista? This unit has you covered there as well.It is designed to be waterproof and is tough and durable enough to handle off-road conditions. You also get lifetime map updates with the Rider unit.
This is a great GPS unit for those who want to take fun, long biking trips, or those who are looking for a little off-road adventure.
The biggest downfall of this model is that it does not offer the features and city amenities that any traditional units utilize.

Pros

  • Includes windy roads and elevation selections.
  • Very responsive to locations. Fast! 
  • Bluetooth device.
  • Good battery life. 
  • Screen is bright except when the sunlight is direct. 

Cons

  • Menu is not the best and the route planning can be difficult to work it out. 

3

BMW Motorrad Navigator V - Bluetooth

bmw-motorrad-navigator-v-with-cradle-best-motorcycle-gps

BMW is known for making top-of-the-line cars and bikes, but they also make a wide variety of accessories and additional gadgets as well. Many might be surprised that they make a pretty top-notch, motorcycle-specific GPS unit that is designed with the rider in mind.
The Motorrad Navigator is not just for use with BMW motorcycles; they can be mounted on most other brands as well with a special mounting kit. This is a high-quality GPS that has a large, easy-to-read screen. It also boasts a glove-friendly touchscreen, making it easy to operate even if you are wearing riding gloves.
This is a great basic GPS that will handle the needs of most bikers. However, for the cost, there are models that offer a higher level of functionality, but may not have the advantage of the fine tooling that BMW is known for.

Pros

  • ​Includes Wireless Bluetooth to use with your helmet or headset
  • It has a good reputation on amazon with many happy customers. 
  • Compatible with any other motorcycle brand. 
  • High-end, Premium GPS. 
  • Its screen is clear, even with sunlight.
  • Accurate and free updates. 
  • Easy to operate and fast. 
  • Fast route calculation. 

Cons

  • It is a little more expensive than other GPS of the same quality. 

What Should you consider before buying?

Not all GPS units are created equal. There are tons of different kinds of GPS units that are designed for specific vehicles or specific uses in mind. A motorcycle-specific GPS is going to have more features and options that are of use to bikers. This is just one reason that we highly recommend you choose a GPS unit that is designed for motorcycles.

You will need to take into account size and portability when choosing your unit. You don't want a GPS unit that is so big as to obstruct your line of sight, but it also needs to be big and have a bright-enough screen that you can easily follow the maps.

Portability is also a concern. Some people like to take their bikes off road on dirt trails or even just for a jaunt through the forest. Some GPS units are designed to be used as mounted or portable units, meaning that if you want to take a walk in the woods, you simply unhook the unit and can take it with you.It also needs to be able to handle much harsher elements than a GPS installed in a car. The weather can change in an instant and you want your GPS to be able to handle rain, wind, sun, and even a few drops and bumps.

So size, durability, portability are all important things you need to consider when you choose which option is best for you. In addition to these considerations, it is also helpful to know what kind of mapping and terrain features the unit has.Some units are designed for predominately city use; this means there is little need for the GPS to offer terrain information and weather alert services. However, when you are out in the middle of nowhere or off road, you want to know what kind of terrain lies ahead and it really does help to be notified of potentially dangerous weather conditions.

Some offer a lifetime of free map updates, whereas other brands charge extra for specific maps such as those designed to show off-road terrain, or those for use on water. There are some great GPS units that require small additional fees for specialized maps, but these are often worth the few bucks they cost.

why are motorcycle gps units so expensive?

who makes the best motorcycle gps?

how to install motorcycle gps?

how does a motorcycle gps tracker work?


How to choose a budget motorcycle GPS


Verdict

There are seemingly endless options when it comes to the best motorcycle GPS. Which will work best for you depends on a number of different factors: how much you have to spend, what features are most important to you, and what your expectations are from said device. All three of the models we reviewed here are high-quality options. Some are better suited for bikers who want to take an exciting, winding trip on the open road, whereas others are more well suited for those that offer a lot of off-road functionality. Whatever your specific needs, there are great available options, from those we have reviewed here and beyond.


Last Updated on

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Garmin Zumo 590LM
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

Leave a Comment