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Thread: Yet Another GPS Thread

  1. #1
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Chestnut Hill, MA

    Question Yet Another GPS Thread

    I am looking for a minimal amount of advice from my fellow members regarding the purchase of a new GPS unit. I am retiring a Garmin StreetPilot 2820 which has worked well over 25,000 miles of riding, and a few thousand miles guiding me around the Eastern US mounted in my Toyota Tundra.

    When riding or driving, I have given the 2820 a destination and it has taken me there, albeit with a few blips regarding one-way streets etc. I have liked that minimal way of dealing with the Garmin. I don't like the idea of planning a route before-hand, as I use AAA paper maps for that. I wear earplugs on every ride, so music, BlueTooth communication and telephone conversation are not important.

    Since I expect to trade in my 2002 pickup truck for something smaller, I looked at the alternative navigation systems in new vehicles. The prices seem high ($1500-3500...with a bunch of other stuff in the mix) so I figured I could buy a new Garmin for much less which could go on/in the RT/car and handle both duties.

    Thanks for your tolerance in reading this far. Anyway, in summary: 1) I'd like a waterproof unit; 2) I'd like something easily transferable bike to car; 3) I don't care about trip planning in advance; 4) I don't care about BlueTooth capabilities on the bike, but maybe I should in the car; 5) I'm not really concerned about expense as I want the best thing for this application.

    I realize that a new GPS thread is like a new oil/tire/seat thread. Sorry for inflicting this on everyone, but I know there's some knowledge out there.

    TIA - John Gamel
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  2. #2
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    South Carolina
    A Garmin ZUMO is great. there are several to choose from. I've had a 450 for three years now.
    Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle

  3. #3
    I have never seen a nav system installed in a car/truck that I liked. They are toys compared to a real GPS - at least the several that I have seen.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  4. #4
    Ed Kilner #176066
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Mississauga, ON
    Perhaps you might rethink using planning on your computer. Recently, I used Mapsource to find a distant hotel. I made a waypoint for it and transferred it to the Zumo 550.

    But, I also used Mapsource to switch to view a satellite picture of the street and hotel. Wow, what a revelation. I could see why there was a funny u-turn at the very end and get a much better idea of the hotel entrance. When I got there, it all felt familiar, even though it was 12 riding hours away.

    I'm going to do this a lot more in the future, when I have a specific spot to end up at.

    I'd go with the latest Zumo with no hesitation. I love mine, even though it is now discontinued, and will replace it when it dies.
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)

  5. #5
    Registered User mervingry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    [QUOTE= I'd go with the latest Zumo with no hesitation. I love mine, even though it is now discontinued, and will replace it when it dies.[/QUOTE]

    +1 on a ZUMO

  6. #6
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Western MA
    John -

    Howdy from the other end of the state!

    Except for route planning, my requirements are the same as yours. I use a Garmin N??vi 550 which can be bought for about $230. It's IPX7 waterproof and has replaceable lithium batteries. The touch screen is operable with a gloved hand but is smaller that the new Z??mos. No bluetooth, external speaker jack, or MP3 capability...but it has a fairly bright screen (I'd suggest a hood) and the battery seems good for about 6 hours (if the unit isn't wired to the bike), depending on the brightness setting for the screen.

    I purchased the Garmin Universal Mounting Cradle with Power Cable kit, but instead of the RAM mount, I am using a Wunderlich Integrated GPS Mount. I like the higher (central) mounting position and need only to avert my eyes a bit to see the screen (choose "More Views" from the Wunderlich link below).

    I paid just under $400 for the GPS, Universal Cradle/wiring kit, and the Wunderlich mount. Installation was easy but did require removing the clutch-side tupperware to run power from my added-on fuse block.

    If you're ever out in the Springfield area, I can show you my setup. Meantime, here are some links:

    N??vi 550 info from the Garmin site
    Garmin Universal Mounting Cradle with Power Cable
    Wunderlich Integrated GPS Mount

    Last edited by THEO; 11-27-2012 at 04:59 PM.

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  7. #7
    Hey Chromehead ! bobs98's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Marlton, South Jersey
    +1 on the Nuvi 550! Excellent unit at a very reasonable price.

    If you do decide to do pre-planned routes, Garmin's BaseCamp is a pretty good tool. Advantage is you make the route using the GPS' maps.

    I got mine about a year ago from GPS City, and added the Auto Moto bundle that included RAM mount for the bike.
    Bob Smith
    1998 R1200C
    2005 Rocket III

  8. #8
    Ed Kilner #176066
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Mississauga, ON

    LCD Screen & Winter Temperature

    LCD screens may not work at temps around freezing. Aircraft primary flight displays will have an indium tin oxide coating that is conductive and forms a heater. Good for cold soaked airplanes in Alaska...

    As far as I know, even my Zumo is good only down to around zero.

    A few years ago, on a tour of Manitoulin Island, the older GPS I was using needed some time in the sun to produce a picture.

    Just something for your knowledgebase.
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)

  9. #9
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA
    Hi John,

    Just some random thoughts from someone who has gone from a BMW NAV-III (basically a 2830) to a Garmin ZUMO 660 (basically a BMW NAV-IV).

    - Screen - the Zumo is better in sunlight, but, the font size tends to be too small for me, and no option to change the colors of the font/background for better visibility. The Zumo screen is larger, but has more "stuff" around it (display options) The zoom in works OK, and the once or twice it thought it knew where I was and showed the lane display - that was fairly impressive. The Zumo has brightness adjustments for both the day AND night screen. The NAV-III only has one. That's a biggie for me since the default night screen on the NAV-III is too dim to be useful. I'd give the Zumo a +1 on screen.

    - Routing - the NAV-III does better routing then the newer Zumo. Less oddball things (like telling me to get off a highway on an on/off highway ramp, ride down the ramp and then get back on the highway..) happen with the NAV-III. Both are capable of being told an address and generally will take you to at least someplace near enough. Again - a wash. Both use the same awful computer programs to do off-GPS trip planning. The Zumo seems to work better with the newer on-line trip planners I've tried, both require recalculating the route so the route actually follows the maps on the GPS.

    - User interface - NAV-III is simpler to use. The interface on the Zumo offers more, but requires more digging through it to get to stuff. That said - the on-screen keyboard of the Zumo is superior to the NAV-III one. So - pretty much a wash again.

    - Bluetooth. Both do it. The Zumo seems to do it a bit better/easier. I want this for no other reason then it means I don't have to look at the GPS for instructions, I can listen to them. This is doable with bluetooth even if you wear earplugs. I used to use a bluetooth dongle with Entimotics ear-plugs. As good as custom earplugs, with a speaker built into them. I now use a Schuberth SRC system, built into my helmet, uses speakers - is loud enough to hear with my custom earplugs in.

    - Audio/Phone - I actually answered the phone the other day using the Zumo. Yelled into my Schuberth SRC for the caller to hold on while I found a safe place to stop. So - it worked. That's the only time aside from test calls I've made that I've used it. Audio is better on the Zumo. Volume to the SRC is louder, allowing me to use bluetooth/SRC with earplugs just fine. The ability to play MP3s is nice, but flawed - the Zumo has a known problem with failing to recognize MP3s on a memory card when turned on. This happens about half the time for me. It's annoying but not a fatal flaw. I thought I wouldn't like having tunes while riding, but it turns out I was wrong. I like them at a low background level.

    - Custom POIs - specifically speed traps/red-light camera databases. Both can use custom POIs. The NAV-III does a better job of displaying a warning when you're approaching one. It makes some beep noise, then displays the warning in the top band of the screen, large enough to read. The Zumo makes noise, but displays the warning on the map, in a banner with red background - which is about impossible to glance at and read. +1 to the older unit for custom POI warning messages.

    So - I guess my point is (if there is one here..) what you have isn't going to be drastically improved on with a newer motorcycle unit from Garmin. Garmin makes about the same unit in car models for very little money.. less then $100. You give up waterproof, but you'd also not be switching it from car to bike. Keep using your 2820 on the bike. I think that's the route I'd take. One for each purpose.
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  10. #10
    Based upon various garmin and Iphone GPS verzions, I thought all GPS units generally worked, unless you were in a parking garage, a valley, or looking for one of those phantom addresses. That was until we bought two Tomtom's. Don't work, can't work for very long. Technical support at the company could sometimes get (through various restarts and button pressing) them to work for several hours, sometimes not. They knew it was a pervasive problem, admitted it was widespread, but could not offer a fix lasting for more than a few hours. I use my iphone's flawless MotionX Drive voice guidance GPS, or my old, completely trusty Garmin. Both work great. The roughly six year old garmin still holds a 3 hour battery charge for when I don't or can't plug it into a lighter.
    R75/6, Non functioning 2014 FJR1300A

  11. #11
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    WNY, Further fron NYC, than 6 entire states!
    Still tough to beat the Garmin 276C/376c/478's IMHO
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  12. #12
    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Acworth, GA
    Garmin Zumo 220. Made for a motorcycle (water & vibration resistant). Inexpensive so far as Garmin motorcycle GPS units go. Comes with a motorcycle mounting kit IN THE BOX and a car/truck mounting system IN THE BOX. It also comes with MapSource should you decide to do route planning.
    Chris Ehlbeck
    BMWMOA 168990
    Chris & Donna's Motorcycle Journeys

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