Best Rated Motorcycle GPS Units for 2014

It wasn’t long ago that GPS devices were considered a luxury. However, the last few years they became ubiquitous as prices of GPS chips have dropped and became smaller and easier to implement in a variety of devices. The benefits of using a GPS are many, they can help you plan your route, avoid traffic, will show you nearby POIs (points of interest). Overall they can make your ride less stressful and can even save you same gas money. The majority of the available devices have been built for cars, however there are few that were made specifically for motorcycles. Below we are going to take a look at some of the most popular and highest rated motorcycle GPS devices currently available.

GPS UnitImageScreen SizeScreen ResolutionBluetoothBattery LifeWaterproofOther Notable Features
Garmin Zumo 590LMGarmin Zumo 590LM5"800 x 480 pixels Yes up to 4 hours Yes (IPX7)MP3 player, 3-D terrain view, dual-orientation transflective screen,
Garmin Zumo 390LMGarmin Zumo 390LM4.3" 480 x 272 pixels Yesup to 7 hoursYes (IPX7)Curvy Roads routing guides,
Garmin Zumo 665LMGarmin Zumo 665LM4.3" 480 x 272 pixels Yes (with A2DP technology) up to 3 hoursYes (IPX7)MP3 player, XM receiver antenna, 3-D landmarks and terrain, digital fuel gauge
TomTom RIDERTomTom Rider4.3"480 x 272 pixelsYes (For handsfree calling and data exchange)Up to 6 hoursYes (IPX7)Charging bike dock,
Garmin Zumo 660LMGarmin Zumo 660LM4.3"480 x 272 pixels Yes (with A2DP technology) up to 5 hours Yes (IPX7)MP3 player, digital fuel gauge
Garmin zumo 350LMGarmin Zumo 350LM4.3" 480 x 272 pixels Yes (Helmet or headset use only) up to 7 hours Yes (IPX7)Digital fuel gauge,

Essential Features of a Motorcycle GPS

Mobile GPS units have become virtually mandatory for many drivers. Gone are the days of trying to hold maps unfolded over the steering wheel or reading hastily written directions while watching for signs and landmarks. Today’s drivers rely on GPS units that give them spoken directions every step of the way, often while displaying real-time maps marked with the vehicle’s location.

Motorcycle riders can benefit from this same technology. The GPS unit for a motorcycle, however, needs some features and capabilities that may not be found in standard GPS systems.

Glove-Friendly Operation

Motorcycle riders often wear gloves. This may be for protection in a crash, for comfort in cold weather or for a better grip on the handlebars. This means that they must be able to operate their GPS unit with gloved fingers. Touch screens need to have large, well separated icons that will respond to the touch of a finger covered in leather or cloth. Controls such as on/off switches and function buttons also need to be large and easy to find.

Easy to Read Screen

Large, glove-friendly icons would have the added benefit of making the screen easy to read when the rider glances quickly at it while riding. Another readability issue for motorcycle riders is the sun. If the unit is mounted where it can be seen while riding, it will also often be in direct sunlight. A screen that has filtering or shading to make it visible would be essential for a motorcycle GPS unit.

Bluetooth Connectivity

A conventional GPS speaker would be difficult if not impossible to hear on a motorcycle. A motorcycle GPS would need to have Bluetooth capability to allow the rider to listen to the directions through an earphone. This might be accomplished via a separate earpiece, with a helmet that has a built-in Bluetooth capability, or via one of the popular in-helmet communication systems that allow riders to talk to each other while riding.

Protection from the Elements

A motorcycle GPS will be exposed to harsh conditions. Vibrations, rain and wind can damage sensitive electronics. A GPS for a motorcycle would need to have a rugged construction that could stand up to the elements.

Just like their car and truck driving counterparts, motorcycle riders want the convenience and safer driving that can come with a GPS system. Riders need to be aware of the extra challenges that a motorcycle GPS faces, and look for a unit that has the features and capabilities they need. This will ensure that their GPS units will be long-lasting, safe and easy to use.

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