Have you ever been lost in the unfamiliar countryside? Or maybe it was the endless maze of streets in the big cities that gave you nightmares? If your answer is “yes,” then it’s time to introduce you to motorcycle GPS systems.
Sure, we have physical maps or the ones that are on the phone, but stopping your ride for a quick look at a map to see where you should go next is kind of a buzzkill that seriously interrupts the flow of your ride. Also, maps tend to get unusable when it’s raining outside; indeed, you wouldn’t want to stop and get soaked in the rain until it works.
In this article, I will introduce you to motorcycle GPS. Walk you through its history and provide some recommendations and tips that you might want to consider if you plan to have your own.
What are My Best Motorcycle GPS Systems?
My best motorcycle GPS system selections are:
- Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S, Motorcycle GPS
- Trail Tech 922-122 Voyager Pro GPS Kit
- TomTom VIA 1535TM 5-Inch Bluetooth GPS Navigator
- TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation
- Garmin Zumo XT 5.5″ Motorcycle Navigator
History of GPS
Global Positioning System (GPS) started as a combination of various military technologies that have their origins in radio navigation systems developed by the British Royal Navy in the early 1940s. Those early devices weren’t exact and had a short-range since they were based on the Earth’s surface.
After WW2, the US Army takes the lead in navigation systems development. Throughout the Cold War and especially during the Space Race in the 1960s, the US Army had perfected satellite-enabled navigation for tracking submarines.
What started as a “small” project of six interlinked satellites that orbited the poles in search of enemy vessels grew to an impressive 27 satellites by 1993. That year is considered the beginning of the GPS era.
Today, although officially owned by the US Government, GPS is free for public use if you have an appropriate device linked with the US Air Force’s satellites.
What is Motorcycle GPS?
It is a dedicated motorcycle GPS unit is specially made for motorcycles. They’re small and lightweight, and the motorcycle GPS is always exposed to different weather, temperature, and humidity.
Motorcycle GPS Voice Assist Feature
GPS devices occupy an insignificant amount of space on your bike, making your ride enjoyable with instant feedback on where to go next. Some of them even behave as your travel planners and assistants, planning your routes based on your desires and expectations. It updates you with new information through their voice assist program that eliminates the need to look at the device.
Getting excited already, are we? We are here along with this article to help you decide if a motorcycle GPS device is for you. Let’s continue!
How Does the Motorcycle GPS Work?
The satellites in question make up the whole GPS. Each of those 27 satellites makes two full rotations per day. The satellites are positioned so that every spot on the Earth’s face is visible to 4 satellites at any given time. Your device links with them and then calculates the distance to all 4 of them.
This process is called Trilateration, and it even involves some heavy-duty physics concerning the General Relativity Theory. You must admit that it’s relaxed riding with Einstein for a guide!
|Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S, Motorcycle GPS|
View further details here on Amazon:
|Trail Tech 922-122 Voyager Pro GPS Kit|
View further details here on Amazon:
Why Should You Invest in Motorcycle GPS?
In this part, we will tackle the numerous reasons to invest in Motorcycle GPS.
Here Are the Reasons to Invest in Motorcycle GPS:
It is physically impossible to carry all the maps that you need with you. And even if it were, it would take you years to sort through them, especially in the middle of a rainstorm. GPS devices can instantly show you the correct way to your destination, wherever you may be on this planet, as they rely on a precise electronic system.
GPS is a Time Saver
If you are an urban biker, GPS can help you navigate those excruciating morning rush hours that can sometimes quickly consume a big chunk of your day. Awareness of alternate routes can make your life so much easier and save you a great deal of time. If you visit an unfamiliar city, finding your way through a big city’s busy streets can be a painful experience without one.
Motorcycle GPS Navigation
Instant and understandable navigation. GPS devices operate in real-time with an easy-to-use interface. While the device collects data on the road ahead, you are guided by a 3D representation of the terrain map. The interface is intuitive and straightforward, which makes getting lost almost impossible to achieve. The exchange of information between your device and the satellites is virtually instantaneous, making the map accurate and updated at every moment. With GPS, navigating the terrain is like playing a video game.
Theft Prevention and Safety
GPS would allow you and law enforcement to track and find your motorcycle quickly if stolen. t\his has got to be a great benefit to anyone who loves their bike.
GPS is Worth Your Money
Imagine having to spend a fortune on all the maps that you will need for your travels. We are talking about sheets and sheets of paper, some of which you will probably use once or twice in your lifetime. One GPS device can substitute all those maps and makes them available and easily accessible on the tip of your finger. Whether it is rural Asia, bustling metropolises such as New York City, or desolate spaces like Antarctica, you will always know your way.
If you are planning to get your motorcycle GPS, aside from the reasons mentioned above to invest, there are other things to consider before purchasing.
Here are more things to consider before purchasing a Motorbike GPS:
Define What Type of Motorcyclist You Are
Identify what kind of motorcyclist you are. If you are an off-road type, choose the most durable product in battery life and sturdiness. If you are an urban-type, a GPS device can make you better acquainted with your city.
There are roads less traveled for those who enjoy long cruises and sunsets on the horizon that you may never find about if you don’t have a GPS device. Some of them are pricier, while others are more affordable, so it is essential to fully choose the GPS that meets your needs.
GPS User Interface
Choose a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate with a high sensitivity touch screen feature that can be used even if the rider is wearing gloves.
GPS Device Battery Life
This battery is one of the most critical features that need to be considered. Unlike cars, motorcycles GPS can’t be charged while driving. Ensure that the battery can provide enough power for long drives before recharging and that your GPS comes with a charger.
The Durability and Authenticity of the GPS Device
Though a motorcycle GPS is expected to be exposed to outdoor weather, make sure to research the brand and product you will buy. Read customer reviews and feedback, counterfeit versions of the device nowadays and fake versions usually don’t last.
Dedicated Motorcycle GPS in comparison with Smartphone Navigation
Dedicated motorcycle GPS navigation units have pre-installed maps that can be updated by installing the latest maps downloaded from the computer. At the same time, smartphones can be connected through the internet and update the maps while driving. Both devices can receive real-time traffic information. Smartphone navigation tends to be more unstable when it is storming compared to the dedicated motorcycle GPS navigation. The accuracy of both devices is somehow the same based on the reviews and feedbacks. In terms of price, reliable motorcycle GPS navigation would look pricey compared to smartphones, given the fact that it is solely for motorcycles. Both would be worth it, but in the end, it will all depend on your needs and budget, of course.
|TomTom VIA 1535TM 5-Inch Bluetooth GPS Navigator|
View further details here on Amazon:
|TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device|
View further details here on Amazon:
Motorcycle GPS Product Examples:
Vigo Smart Track GPS System
Vigo Smart Track is said to be the cheapest motorcycle tracker. Movalyse developed the app. This app has been available in the USA, Europe, Canada, Norway, and United Kingdom. Vigo smart track was composed of two elements, the device and the software application. The device can be installed directly to the motorcycle battery, and the phone app will be activated on your first ride.
Vigo Smart Tracker is not only a tracker. It has a reliable anti-theft notification feature and SOS notification.
This smart tracker has built-in sensors that sense three levels of accidents.
- Level one – is if a high-speed accident occurs. This level will automatically call your emergency contact.
- Level two – is if an accident at low speed occurs. With this level, the system will send the rider a notification to check they are ok. If no response is received from the rider, the system will call the emergency contact.
- Level three – is a lower level of priority. If the accident is level three or the motorcycle continues to move, the system won’t send any notification or vice versa.
This app also has a ride scoring system that evaluates the rider’s skills. It also records and saves every ride that the end-user can only access through the app.
Garmin’s GPS System Devices
Garmin Zumo 390LM is ideal for those who like adventure and finding new roads. If, on the other hand, you want your gadgets to be as precise as possible, you should better try Garmin Zumo 660LM. Its detailed graphics make riding in a confusing place, such as the city center, more acceptable and understandable.
Unfortunately, Garmin’s devices are among the pricier on this list, but judging by the high sales and good user experience, they completely justify their price. However, if you don’t care about flashy options and want to enjoy the biker subculture and connect to your fellow bikers, TomTom Rider can offer you the most. With its network of users that help each other and share their best road secrets, owning this device feels more like you are a part of a community of like-minded individuals that are there for each other.
How to choose the right GPS:
Choosing the right GPS device is a challenging process that can’t be done quickly. As stated above, if you decide to purchase one, try taking all the pros, cons, and specifications into consideration and see what fits best in your riding habits.
First, identify yourself:
- See what you enjoy the most. If you don’t have much use for multiple options and need to get from point A to point B, any affordable model can do the trick.
- Don’t rush into buying.
- Take your time and choose wisely.
Are All GPS Systems the Same?
No. Most people purchase a product believing that all GPS devices are the same and that there is no difference. Our position is: if you are already investing, invest wisely. If you are an off-road type, try something that can satisfy your wanderlust while being tough and durable.
It’s pretty much clear that the age of huge and endlessly foldable maps is behind us. GPS navigators often convenience beyond imaginable. Having a voice-assisted road orientation is like having your riding assistant. You can relax and quit worrying about complicated decisions on which road to take next because you can easily rely on your trustworthy GPS navigator. You can quickly recharge them via adapter on the next stop.
Are GPS Systems a Luxury Motorcycle Accessory?
No, they’re not a luxury anymore. GPS devices are affordable, and buying one is a sound investment that more bikers worldwide choose. Sometimes, the road you take is much more important than the destination.
This review article we made to help you find the best GPS for you and your motorbike. We hope that it was useful and informative enough. We also hope you will consider dumping all those useless maps that have been gathering dust somewhere in your house or your motorcycle compartment.
Join the ever-increasing number of happy riders who have tried this new and exciting technology and made it a part of their passion, and that is riding.
Best Selling Motorcycle GPS Systems on Amazon:
Motorcycle GPS Concluding Remarks
GPS devices have come a long way from their humble ground-based origins and military background to our bikes and cars. The technology itself has revolutionized road-trips, making them comfortable and comprehensible while making drivers more relaxed and less stressed out about finding the right way. Merely speaking, maps are things of the past.
Remember, it is not a question of having any GPS device but having the best motorcycle GPS device. We hope you enjoyed the ride and, above all – ride safely!