Quick Overview: Our Top 5 Picks For Motorcycle GPS Navigators
|Garmin Zumo 395LM||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|TomTom VIA 1525SE||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|TomTom Rider 550||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Koolertron V.912S||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Most motorcycle riders don’t consider a GPS Navigator an essential motorcycle accessory and resort to using their phones propped up on a mount. While this definitely does the job, there are many more advantages to having a dedicated GPS Navigator, namely that it’s designed to withstand the vibrations of a motorcycle.
While I’m ready to wager that the top-of-line GPS navigation is better than my smartphone’s Maps features, it’s the fear of scrambling my iPhone camera that really gets me. There’s always a risk of causing permanent damage to your expensive phone when mounted to your motorcycle, which a GPS system doesn’t face.
Not to mention the comfort and ease of having a big screen with pre-loaded maps and routes to glance at while riding. I don’t want to be squinting at my phone screen, trying to figure out which left to take when I’m going at questionably high speeds.
I initially planned to make this a top 10 Motorcycle GPS article, but quite honestly: not all of them made the cut. There are too many rip-off GPS products in the market — so I’ve only included the top 5 best performing GPS navigation systems that are big on safety, performance, and ease-of-operation.
If you’re in a hurry, I’d recommend the Garmin Zumo 395LM.
Top 5 Best Motorcycle GPS 2021
1. Garmin Zumo 395LM
The best motorcycle GPS on my list is the Garmin Zumo 395LM, the ultimate GPS navigation guide.
There’s an incredible ‘adventure routing’ feature where the tracker alerts you of sharp curves, hilly roads, changes the speed in time, and a lot more real-time updates.
In addition to this, you’ll get information on the state helmet laws and get notified when taking the wrong direction on a one-way lane. When approaching the street lights you receive an alert for nearby red lights and speed check cameras.
Who doesn’t like discovering interesting new places as they ride? The Zumo Up Ahead feature will help you discover scenic spots and interesting buildings along the way.
One of the most useful features is its trans-reflective technology — this limits glare from the sun and adjusts the screen colors for the best visibility. The display is also resistant to vapors from fuel, extreme weather conditions, and ultraviolet rays.
Other features include inbuilt Bluetooth devices to make calls while riding and music controls. By the way, if you’re sporting motorcycle gloves (as you should!) this touchscreen is glove-friendly as well.
The only drawback is that you can’t use all features without a Bluetooth helmet: such as helmet law alerts and voice navigation. It’s also not the most affordable option out there. Check out TomTom VIA 1525SE if you’re looking for a budget GPS Navigation system.
- The device mounts well on the motorcycle
- It comes with a glove-friendly touchscreen display
- A visible screen in the daylight
- Easy to use
- Can be used in different environments
- Compatible with other devices with Bluetooth connectivity
- Red light and speed camera alerts may not apply in all cities/regions
- To receive helmet law alerts you need a Bluetooth compatible helmet
- The fatigue warning takes some time to activate
The Garmin Zumo 395LM is a great GPS tracker for anyone and is a solid investment that will pay off over time. It’s particularly helpful for motorcycle riders who do a lot of long-distance traveling.
2. TomTom VIA 1525SE
This is the best motorcycle GPS tracker for someone on a budget. The TomTom VIA 1525SE is designed with a 5-inch touchscreen that displays information clearly even when using it under bright sunlight.
Just like the Garmin Zumo, this TomTom GPS also has an advanced lane guidance feature. What this does is tell you about exits and intersections + which driving lane to take for your chosen route. The screen is glove-friendly thus allowing you to use it with ease. It comes with 8 GB internal memory, you can download applications and other important features that you may find useful.
If 8 Gb is not enough, it comes with a MicroSD slot that can be used to insert a memory card. The device also comes with a reversible mount to hold it securely in place.
With this model, you get a lifetime of traffic updates to inform you of the current traffic situation and (if possible) direct you to another route to help you save time.
The only caveat is the battery life — up to 1 hour of autonomous operation, which is only useful for short rides. It’s difficult to find a good GPS with long battery life in this price range, so you might have to invest in a higher-range GPS like the TomTom Rider 550, which has 8 hours of battery life.
- Easy to use
- Compact design
- Large glove-friendly screen
- Clear and high-resolution display
- The touchscreen is slow to respond
- Lacks some POIs
This GPS tracker for motorcycles is a perfect device for you if you want a budget-friendly intuitive navigation system to find your destination.
3. TomTom Rider 550
If you are searching for an updated version of a TomTom Rider with better battery life, this navigation unit is an ideal one for you. It comes equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and new wave technology.
This motorcycle GPS has a pretty sturdy build and you can navigate in any weather condition, be it harsh sunlight, heavy rainfall, or snow without worrying about its functional abilities or damage.
It has a five-inch glove-friendly touch screen that is bright-sunlight readable. The GPS device is designed with an internal memory of 16 GB to store as much data as possible. If you exhaust that much memory, you can back it up through the SD slot available on the tracker. (But I doubt you will!)
It comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that has an incredible lifetime of up to 8 hours of autonomous operation.
There are plenty of pre-installed terrain maps that come in handy and give you way more information than something off the internet. I love the ‘Personalized path feature’, it really helps in taking the right route that’s not just the shortest but also the best ride.
I just wish that there were better mounting options for this GPS unit. It would be nice to have a handlebar mounting option.
- Great Wi-Fi connectivity
- Excellent battery life
- Availability of updated maps and new Points of Interests (POIs)
- Responsive screen display
- Limited mounting options
- Does not function with the updated software
If you’re looking for a well-designed GPS system that’s worth the price and can be trusted when taking your bike to hilly and winding areas and long battery-life — stop scrolling, you’ve found your match in the TomTom Rider 550.
4. Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S
Best Adventure GPS Navigator
If you are an adventurous biker who likes participating in group biking activities, look no further than the Garmin Zumo 386 LMT-S. It is another great GPS tracker for motorcycles from the Garmin Zumo range that could be your ultimate choice.
You can add a few selected maps to spice up the game while the tracker allows you to pair up with a couple of different devices to have a more fulfilling and enjoyable trip. This Garmin model comes with a special fuel detector to alert you when running out of this necessary commodity. This fuel detector feature isn’t commonly found in motorcycle GPS devices, and it comes in very handy. It’s also designed to notify you about the nearest gas filling stations, mechanic shops, restaurants, etc.
The device also offers Bluetooth connectivity which makes it compatible with smartphones. The GPS device gives room for multiple pairings with other gadgets while on a group road trip so everyone can listen to songs, radio, receive calls, and read texts.
The touchscreen display is of high quality and resistant to moisture, extreme weather conditions, fuel vapors, UV rays, and climatic changes.
- Great rugged design
- Great battery life
- High-quality navigation features
- Connectivity problems with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi together
This Garmin model is worth buying if you are looking for a sturdy GPS device to accompany you on all your adventurous rides, alone or with a group of friends. This is due to the distinct features that make it suitable when on a group tour.
5. Koolertron V.912S
Best Waterproof GPS Navigation System
The last model on our list of best motorcycle GPS 2020 is by Koolertron, a versatile motorcycle GPS device for all-terrain navigation. This particular model is unique in its design as well as features. It offers great mounting options with a highly resistant compact design. The device is reliable and an ideal product if you are a biker with a passion for nature.
The best part about the device is water resistance — it can be used while it’s raining or snowing. The device is water-resistant up to 1 meter when dipped in water for a total of 30 minutes, so rain shouldn’t be a problem.
It offers storage of 4GB, making it ideal to store and download new maps before going on a road trip. if this much storage is not sufficient, you can always insert a micro SD card for more memory. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can receive calls and listen to music. I like the echo cancellation feature that delivers high-quality sounds.
- Compact design
- Quick Bluetooth connectivity
- Waterproof and moisture resistant
- Adequate memory storage
- It is likely to drain your bike’s battery faster if not switched off immediately after use
This versatile GPS device is a good option to consider if you ride in a lot of inclement weather. It’s one of the best waterproof GPS options in the market.
Important Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Motorcycle GPS
The key to finding the best GPS tracker for motorcycles is thinking about which device best fits your personal requirements.
Here are a number of things you need to keep in mind when selecting a dedicated motorcycle GPS tracker.
1. Ruggedized Frame
Given the higher levels of vibration and tough conditions they are subjected to, this is a crucial aspect of a motorcycle GPS design (especially if you frequently engage in off-road riding). With a ruggedized frame, your device is more likely to last for a longer period of time.
2. Weatherproof Design
This is another necessary requirement for the successful use of sat-nav technology on motorcycles. Even if you’ve planned your journey carefully, you could end up being caught out on the road in a sudden downpour.
With a reliable motorcycle GPS unit, you can have peace of mind knowing it can withstand the worst that nature can toss at it. GPS devices manufactured by top brands like TomTom and Garmin are in fact tested to meet the highest standard of waterproofing and can also survive a dunk in the water of up to 1 m in depth.
The bigger the better, right? Not when it comes to GPS units. A bulky GPS tracker may get in the way and it is easier to accidentally crash into it. Even a little clink can inadvertently impair the device, not to mention being a safety hazard to you. On the flip side, a small motorcycle GPS device may be hard to read when you are riding your bike. You should select a device according to your needs and buy one that is just the right dimensions for your bike.
4. Glove-Friendly Touch Screen
The first feature to look for is a glove-friendly touch screen display, especially if you are an avid motorcyclist. The touchscreen display should respond to your touch without any interruption, even when you are wearing gloves.
This is one of the essential features because you wouldn’t want to remove your gloves every time you need to use the GPS. Removing the gloves while riding is an unnecessary distraction that could be easily avoided by investing in glove-friendly options.
5. Preloaded Maps
The best motorcycle GPS tracker comes with preloaded maps of the United States, allowing you to operate the device immediately after installation. Many also allow you to download maps for other countries and states in North America, like Canada and Mexico.
Some units feature a slot for an SD card so you can add more maps and lifetime map updates are a plus point. Preloaded maps are important because they can provide navigation in places that don’t have adequate signals and can also help you find interesting and scenic roads.
An ideal motorcycle GPS system is user-friendly. It should be easy to use and feature intuitive actions. If you are struggling to operate the tracker, you are less likely to use it even when you need it. Menu items should be clearly listed and it shouldn’t be hard to map out your destination.
7. Battery Life
If you are thinking of buying a GPS system for motorcycle use, odds are you are planning at least one fairly long road trip on your bike. But what if the tracker dies before you reach your destination, then it hasn’t fulfilled its purpose. Select a device that lasts for a reasonable period of time or comes with some sort of backup.
8. Voice Navigation And Guidance
It is not always easy to look at your GPS tracker when you are riding your bike. A GPS that comes with Bluetooth will allow you to hear the device’s instructions through your helmet. The best GPS for motorcycles features high-quality voice navigation. It makes the ride much safer and lets you keep your eyes on the road to prevent any accidents.
An ideal motorcycle GPS unit should be simple to install and include all the necessary mounting hardware. Many models come with a universal mount that fits on most motorcycles.
Some are made to be mounted on the handlebars. They are set in place with mounting screws and thus, are very secure. Other units are mounted on the gas tank. In this case, you need to look down to see the screen, and they need a tether strap to keep them from falling off.
FAQs On Motorcycle GPS
Q1. How Does A Motorcycle GPS Tracker Work?
Both car and bike GPS units use earth-orbiting global-positioning satellites to channel your location and route. The satellites share information to locate your position.
Q2. Can I Use My Smartphone Instead Of A GPS System?
Yes, you can, but there are some things you need to be mindful of. Use your smartphone for the purpose only if it is weatherproof and has a 100-percent waterproof case.
Or else, it can get damaged due to exposure to the elements and extreme weather conditions. Also, if you are operating your smartphone while riding and it falls at a high speed, it is likely to break, which can be costly. Not to mention that phones are not built to withstand the vibration of a motorcycle. Even if there’s no visible damage, the insides of the phone can get scrambled.
Q3. Does The Motorcycle GPS Charge While I Am Riding?
Many motorcycle GPS trackers come with a wire that you can connect to the motorcycle’s battery and the power collected from the bike will allow it to function. If they don’t charge, make sure you purchase a dedicated motorcycle GPS with a long battery life.
Q4. When Should I Update My GPS Device?
Most recently launched GPS systems are ready to use right out of the box. However, even if they’re relatively current, updates will most likely be available, including maps and other downloadable features.
Q5. Can You Use A Motorcycle GPS Tracker As An Odometer And Speedometer?
No, you cannot. A GPS device made specifically for navigation purposes should be used as a navigational aid. It should not be expected to provide accurate measurements of speed or distance. These factors can also vary, depending on the precision of the GPS position at the time of use.
The Best Motorcycle GPS – Final Thoughts!
We hope this guide has given you a fair idea about motorcycle GPS systems available on the market. Most of the products listed here are waterproof, come with a large, easy-to-read touchscreen you can use wearing gloves and can be programmed to find the best routes possible.
If you haven’t made your choice yet, I’d recommend the Garmin Zumo 395LM.