Its all very well to take your motorcycle out for a Sunday afternoon ride, however you often end up with a choice – Do you ride along a road that you already know or do you take on a new road that will allow you explore the great countryside but accept the risk that you might get lost? It’s a choice that you have to make as motorcycles do not come as standard with a Sat Nav unit and therefore if you’re going to follow a route you will need to get a separate unit, mount it on your motorcycle and ensure that they screen in large enough that you can follow the directions that it provides.
This is where our next problem comes into focus as there is not a lot of room on your average motorcycle and therefore you need to make sure that you consider the features that you will actually need. Again, as always on this website, we highly recommend that you buy yourself a Brand name motorcycle Satellite Navigation device as whilst there are plenty of models on the market and you can get some really cheap models from China, often they don’t work or you cannot update them meaning that they will not last very long before they become out of date.
Before you choose the right motorcycle Sat Nav device for Your needs, take into account the following:
- The Mount Design – Your Sat Nav needs to stay on your
- MotorbikeScreen Size – To small and you will not be able to see your directions
- Bluetooth – You need to be able to listen to your direction in your helmet
- Screen Quality – Poor screen quality and it will not work in direct sunlight
- Processor Speed – You need a quick device to calculate routes
- WaterProof – It sometimes rains, so you need it be waterproof
- Price – No one wants to spend every penny they have on a Sat Nav
The Best Motorcycle Sat Nav Unit 2017
We love the first generation of the TomTom Rider and whilst we thought the Garmin Zumo 590 was probably a better model, it’s very expensive which means that it’s hard to justify the price tag when you start comparing it two the TomTom Rider. What’s great is that both TomTom and Garmin have both brought out new models to replace the older models, however the problem is that we still have the same result as we did for our last motorcycle review with new and improved Garmin probably being a slightly better model, but the price tag just makes it too difficult to justify when you start looking at the all new and improved TomTom Rider 400.
TomTom Rider 400
The TomTom Rider 400 Motorcycle Sat Nav is TomTom's all new and improved motorcycle sat nav unit. We loved the original version given it’s performance, the screen clarity especially in low light conditions and at night, and turn-by-turn directions that means that it’s virtually impossible to get lost whilst at the same time offering freedom and flexibility to explore the countryside around you. This all-new 2016 model has been improved from the ground and as a result every part of the sat nav is better.
The 3.5 inch screen is now covered with an anti-glare film that help with both colour clarity meaning that you can see the map even better, and helps in direct sunlight situations meaning that you don’t need a screen glare. The maps are great, whilst the screen is pretty small, it’s very easy to follow the turn-by-turn directions either through on screen directions or using the Bluetooth headset to your earphones.
Other key features that we really like include speed camera alerts, a massive points of interest data base and the Bluetooth which has been made even better meaning that now Bluetooth phone calls are clearer and easier to make. We also really like the TomTom MyDrive which whilst does come with a few bugs that need updating, allows you to create a route on your computer at home, download in onto your motorcycle sat nav and ride. The MyDrive feature is not perfect, I am sure it will be great later in the year, but right now it does have some annoying bugs that will drive you crazy, however we love the ability to combine the software and maps to choose a route based on our own unput and the sat nav unit meaning that if you’re in a hurry you can choose to drive along the motorway or if you want to explore roads, can choose from any one of 10 different settings from hills to road bends.
Overall a great model and at nearly half the price of the Garmin below, a value for money product.
Garmin Zumo 595LM
The Garmin Zumo 595LM is Garmin’s new and improved version of the Zumo 590LM that we reviewed last year. Again, like the 590, the 595 is a fantastic motorcycle sat nav unit that comes with a 5-Inch, glove friendly, direct sun-light readable screen that means you are able to read your turn-by-turn directions whether it’s bright day-light or pitch black at night. The screen is crystal clear and the larger size means that it’s easy to follow even if you are not listening to the directions through the Bluetooth headset.
As with all Garmin's, the menu interface is easy to use meaning that you can easily get around your sat nav whilst the maps are brilliant and offer plenty of detail. As an added benefit, the Garmin 595LM comes with free lifetime map updates for the UK, Ireland and all 45 European Countries meaning that you are safe even if your drive abroad. The turn-by-turn directions are fantastic, and easy to follow either through the Bluetooth headset or just using the on-screen directions. Extra features include an SDMicro card slot meaning that you can store your music on your sat nav and unlike old sat nav models, the 595LM now comes with on-screen music control button’s meaning that you can forward your music straight from your sat nav unit, the Bluetooth can also be used for hands free calling and LiveTrack which helps your friends see where you are.
Overall we really like the Garmin 595LM, however there is a massive problem. It’s over £500 that is a hell of a lot of money for a sat nav system to use on your motorcycle. If you’re riding your motorcycle as a delivery person then maybe you can justify the price tag, but we cannot therefore the TomTom above is a better buy.
The Best Motorcycle Sat Nav Unit 2015
Our favourite motorcycle Sat Nav unit is the TomTom Rider as its both good value for money and super easy to use whilst giving you a motorcycle satellite navigation system that provides you with all the latest maps and turn-by-turn directions to allow you to get to your destination. The Garmin Zumo series is probably a better Sat Nav unit, however if you want to get any form of useable features then you will have to pay for the top model that has a massive price tag that simply cannot be justified.
TomTom Rider Motorcycle GPS Navigation Unit (Our Favourite)
The TomTom Rider is TomTom’s all new 2014 model that comes with a new 5-inch high resolution touchscreen with that has been designed to help with use in direct sunlight and allows you to press buttons on the touchscreen without taking your gloves off. The rider comes with a new super fast processor that helps to find satellite connections and calculated routes quickly.The interface is very easy to use and comes with a menu system that is so simply to use that you don’t even need to read the instructions to be able to understand how the unit works.
The all new updated 2014 maps provides you with turn-by-turn directions, route re-calculations and a huge “points of interest” database that means you are never short of places to go if you want stop for a quick break.The Rider is fully waterproof meaning that you can use your Sat Nav whilst its raining without any fear its going to stop working due to the rain and while both on-screen text and voice activated directions help you with you directions, Bluetooth comes in handy to help connect to your smartphone allowing you to take hands-free calls whilst your riding at the click of a button.
Past problems especially with Motorcycle Sat Nav systems has been their battery life giving the power needed to run the high resolution screen and the inbuilt computer, however with this model the battery life is superb and allows you to ride your motorcycle Sat Nav for over 5 hours without needing to charge your Sat Nav unit. One slightly annoying problem with the the TomTom ride is that you will need separate TomTom accounts for your car and motorcycle as you cannot updated multiple products through one TomTom online account.
Garmin Zumo 660LM GPS Motorcycle Navigator (Contender)
The Garmin Zumo Motorcycle Sat Nav series has six models within it offering a range of prices and navigation units to suit all users. The range start off with the Zumo 220 which is a basic model offering no other features other than turn-by-turn directions and rises up to the Zumo 590LM which is a fantastic model and comes with many useful features that you can see here, however it also comes with a huge price tag that really takes some justification on whether its really worth it.
Our favourite Garmin motorcycle sat nav device, is the Garmin 660LM which comes with a super wide 4.3 inch touchscreen, water resistant meaning that you use can use your device in the rain and a super fast processor speed to allow for calculations and re-calculations without you having to wait for hour while the machine tries to catch up with your movements.The touchscreen that handles viewing in direct sunlight very well allow Garmin fantastic maps to be used allowing for turn by turn directions to be shown on your screen and uses 3D landmarks to help direct you to your destination. When you approach a difficult junction, the unit uses Garmin PhotoReal which shows you an image of the junction and brightly coloured arrows to help you move into the correct lane that you need.
The Zumo 660LM features Bluetooth technology which allows you to connect your smartphone to the Sat Nav unit and therefore make and receive hands free phone calls through a speaker system in-built in your helmet. This Bluetooth technology also means that your direction that would normally just be shown on the screen are now spoken to you through the same speaker system in your helmet. As an added benefit, the in-built computer not only handles directions, but can also give you real time information such as speed limits to include both your current speed and the speed limit on the road, and can even hold music meaning that you can use your Sat Nav system to play your favourite music through the speaker system in your helmet.