Whether you’re on two wheels or four, the basic function of a vehicle is to get you from point A to B. And this certainly holds true for motorcycles as well. But sometimes you need to how to end up from one point to other, and that’s where a Motorcycle GPS comes in.
It doesn’t matter if you’re riding to work or just out for fun, a GPS is essential for finding out where to go. However, you might be confused with all the different options out there. So let’s take a look at the Best Motorcycle GPS for you.
How I Picked
To pick out the right units for this list, I had to go digging around in various catalogues and review sites. I got all the top picks on a list that was based on the best value for money.
From there, I had to narrow down my choices based on user reviews and professional reviewers. I also used message boards to get a good idea of which units were popular and offered the best quality for the least amount of money.
How I Tested
Once I had all my candidates ready, it was time to test them. I loaded up all the GPS units on my trusty Harley and set out on the same trip along highways, country roads, and city streets.
I evaluated all the units on their features, durability, accuracy, and their ability to update their software and maps to the latest version. I then had a list that came down to about 5 or so of the best GPS units.
1. Garmin Zumo 395LM – Best Motorcycle GPS 2020 (Editor’s Choice)
- Weatherproof, waterproof, fuel vapor and UV resistant design.
- Alternative adventurous routing options.
- Rider alerts built in.
- Bluetooth compatibility.
Garmin’s legacy with GPS units shouldn’t be understated. They’re a brand that have been consistently putting out a decent amount of high quality GPS and navigation systems. That’s why it should be no surprise that this unit is our top recommended editor’s choice for this list.
The Garmin Zumo is a compact GPS unit that has a 4.3 inch touchscreen. This screen has multiple sensitivity options for use with gloves on. What’s more, the screen is well designed for readability. You can easily look at all the details even in harsh daylight conditions where there is a ton of sunlight hitting the screen dead on.
And if you’re worried about protection, Garmin has you covered. This unit is not only weatherproof and waterproof but they will also stand up to fuel vapors, UV rays, and harsh weather with IPX7 protection.
This unit gives great navigation capabilities. Aside from the standard navigation, you can choose to take the adventurous routing which will bring you down winding curving roads and hill paths while avoiding highways.The Garmin has exceptional Bluetooth capabilities which will let you connect to your phone for calls and music. You’ll even get alerts for things like sharp curves, state helmet laws, speed cameras and more. It’s something that will more than add to your ride out other than just guiding you to your destination.
- Bright and readable display that works in sunlight.
- Rugged design provides great protection.
- Great sensitivity options for gloved use.
- Rider alerts make for a stress free ride.
- Software instability in some cases.
- Updates aren’t as frequent.
2. TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS – Best for Adventurers and Thrill Seekers
- Integrates with Siri and Google Now.
- Includes map, traffic, and speed cam data.
- Quad Core Processor.
- Weatherproof design.
Tom Tom is a well-known brand when it comes to GPS devices. They cater to both consumer and enterprise level needs and have a long standing reputation because of it. You can find their various offerings like GPS devices, navigation systems, location analytics, traffic details, and various other apps.
The Tom Tom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS is built up as a rugged device that you can take just about anywhere. It’s marketed as a GPS that’s suitable for adventurers and thrill seekers with features that accommodate people of that category.
The unit comes with a 4.3 inch screen that displays all your maps fairly well. The unit is small enough to fit without an issue on almost all motorcycles out there. It comes with a capacitive touchscreen that has multiple sensitivity options that you can use to choose to your liking. This is helpful when you’re trying to use your GPS with gloves on.
In terms of coverage, the Tom Tom Rider 550 provides all kind of important location and traffic data. You can get lifetime maps of North America that update regularly through a Wi-Fi connection. You also get some data about speed cams along the way as well as up to date traffic data that you can use to make your route a little smoother.
One of the biggest advantages this GPS has over others is the option to show winding roads and hill climbs as part of your route. This makes it a great option for those that are looking for some exciting pathways to go down through rather than the same old boring roads. It’s a big advantage over other GPS units that will show the straightest and most efficient way possible. If you’re a biker with a love for adventure, this might be a good option to consider.
- Great for planning adventurist trips on winding roads.
- Regularly updates all maps for lifetime support.
- Works great on all kinds of gloves.
- Syncs with your smartphone for music, calls, and texts.
- The screen can be a bit too sensitive for some.
- Has had user reported problems with logging into your account.
- Big 5 inch screen.
- Voice activated navigation.
- Bluetooth and Smarphone link capabilities.
- Native Foursquare support.
Garmin is a big brand that should need no further explanation. They make different products to suit a multitude of different needs like sports gear, fitness equipment, action cameras, wearables. marine and aviation gear, and navigation equipment. Their products are always up to the mark so expecting quality from them isn’t much of a tall order.
The Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT is one of the latest GPS units from the company. It comes with a large 5 inch display that supports dual orientation as well as touch gestures like pinch to zoom. The unit is considerably larger than other similar units thanks to a large screen and thick bezels. This does make it a bit of a challenge to put on some motorcycles.
The unit comes packed with FourSquare integration right out of the box. This makes it easy to search popular nearby places like malls, restaurants, and more. It even includes shortcuts to places that might be important like gas stations and airports.
The unit has lifetime coverage and updates regularly over the network without any ads or subscription fees. This makes it a breeze to constantly be on top of your local areas without having to keep changing units when they get outdated. You can find all the changes to streets and businesses being updated without any major hassles.
The Garmin Nuvi also excels at providing a great hands free experience for all your navigation needs. It comes with built in voice navigation that helps you keep your eyes on the road while being guided properly to your destination. Additionally, the unit can also link up to your smartphone with Bluetooth which adds even more functionality in terms of being able to find your way.
- You can pair it with two different phones.
- You get hands-free phone calls.
- The audio range is about 2 km.
- You can use it via voice command.
- It blocks out all ambient noise.
- I have a nine-way intercom service.
- Software has had some compatibility issues in the past.
- Can be a bit too big for some bikes.
4. BMW Navigator VI by Garmin – Best Motorcycle GPS with Bluetooth
- Bluetooth connectivity to smartphones
- Bright 5 inch display
- Includes avoid highways feature
- Free lifetime map updates
This GPS is made in joint collaboration with BMW’s motorcycle division; the BMW Motorrad, and Garmin. Both of these companies are equally known for their high quality of products as well as having a high regard and reputation in the industry. This should make it very easy to recommend this GPS to just about anyone.
The BMW Navigator is a specialized unit that’s designed with the strengths of the BMW and Garmin. It takes the immense map data knowledge of Garmin and combines it with the mounting expertise and incorporation with a motorcycle that BMW possesses. What you end up with is a fantastic GPS that’s nothing short of a premium product.
The unit comes it a 5 inch screen that works well for navigating around maps and settings. The bezels and overall design of the unit is slim enough that it can snap enough to most bikes without being a big issue. The screen is incredibly bright and visible even in harsh sunlight which makes it ideal for daytime use.
The map data is accurate for almost any area that you can take it to. It covers the span of the North American region which makes it the ideal choice if you live in the region. If you want, you can buy alternative maps from Carmin’s website but they won’t be built into the unit out of the box. However, once you have the map that you’re looking for, you can be sure that you will be receiving regular updates for life.
Additionally, you can even get Bluetooth connectivity which makes it easy to connect to your phone for all kinds of increased functionality. This is helpful if you’re looking to get directions fed into your wireless headset without having to look at the screen all the time.
- Compact despite its large screen size
- Can be used to route through paths that don’t led to highways
- Solid build with great software support
- Screen works well in bright sunlight
- You have to connect a headset for audio.
- Have to buy maps for regions other than North Americas.
5. Koolertron 4.3 Inch All Terrain – Best Waterproof Motorcycle GPS
- Internal and external storage capabilities.
- Bluetooth call connectivity with noise cancellation.
- User friendly UI.
Koolertron is a brand that’s spread over multiple different industries. They make products for a variety of purposes and needs. They make electronic equipment like LCD screens, speakers, cameras, microscopes, keyboards, car entertainment systems, and much more. It’s safe to assume that this gives them the necessary experience they need to make their own GPS units.
The Koolertron is a decent GPS unit that’s designed to work for both cars and motorcycles. Unlike most battery operated units, the Koolertron comes with a set of two wires that can be hooked up to a cigarette lighter or motorcycle battery.
This means that you don’t have to rely on the internal battery of the unit to keep it powered which takes away the hassle of charging. But it does make it so the unit only works as long as your motorcycle battery has juice in it.
The unit comes with a 4.3 inch screen which has a user friendly touch UI making it very easy to navigate. The entire GPS unit is IPX7 waterproof which makes it stand up to rain, snow, or any kind of moisture. It’s rated to be submerged at a 1 meter depth for 30 minutes which makes it withstand any basic weather conditions you can throw at it.
The Koolertron deals with all kinds of routes and terrain well. You can even store more map data if you want on the internal 4GB storage and 16GB storage capabilities via micro-sd card. You also get Bluetooth connectivity with active noise cancellation capabilities which make it incredibly easy for you to sync up your phone for calls without any background noise.
- Good for harsh weather conditions.
- Easy to go through the menus.
- Provides decent navigation data.
- Works for both cars and bikes.
- Needs constant connection to on board battery.
- Very infrequent updates and bug fixes.
Buying guide – How to Buy The Best Motorcycle GPS in 2020
Picking the best motorcycle GPS may not always be the easiest task. But if you want to get some headway, then you can take the following tips for yourself.
Screen size is important when you’re buying a GPS unit specifically for visibility. A larger screen will be easier to see and you won’t have to squint your eyes too much to see the directions.
On the contrary, having too a large of a screen can be bad as well. Anything over 4.5 inches with thick and wide bezels can end up being a nuisance on your motorcycle.
Durability is a highly crucial part of GPS unit especially when you’re taking it out on the road. A good unit should be able to take a few normal bumps and falls along the road. If your GPS unit fails every time you hit a pothole, then you know something’s wrong.
Conditions can drastically change when you’re out on a ride. Everything from snow, fog, and rain can come into contact with your unit without warning. And the worst thing that can happen is losing your navigational capabilities especially in bad weather.
You want to have something that at the very least can handle water. Most units will be IPX7 waterproof will give you protection from rain and other weathering conditions.
Software Capability and Stability
GPS hardware without the software is like your bike without a drop of fuel in it. Even the GPS units with the best hardware will fail if they’re being propped up by insufficient software.
Ideally, you need a GPS unit that can provide software stability to the hardware that it’s supporting. On top of that, it needs to be able to be updated every now and then to remove critical bugs and add new features as they roll out.
Having extra features baked into the software can also be a treat. Things like having Bluetooth connectivity, voice activated commands, and even saving routes can be a big help to you in the long run.
Most GPS units these days use a touchscreen for navigation. But making the touchscreen function optimally all the time is out of the question. If your hands are wet, have dirt stuck on them or if you have gloves on, then you can expect the touchscreen to stop working or work inefficiently.
In these situations, it’s best to have a unit that has multiple sensitivity options that you can select through. It can make your life a breeze by making it possible to use the GPS when your hands are dirty or if you have your riding gloves on and don’t want to take them off.
By now you should have a good idea of what to look out for in motorcycle GPS units as well as what some of the best units look like. As long as you stick to your specific needs and desired budget, you can find the right GPS unit for your bike rides.