The technologies that make a GPS effective for a car are different than the characteristics that make the best motorcycle gps. Algorithms that determine optimum routes for cars place the highest priority on speed and efficiency, which aren’t always the most desirable aspects of a route for a cyclist. Many people travel on their motorcycle because they want to enjoy the environment, and would prefer to travel on a scenic backroad over a congested freeway, even if it takes extra time. This is why there is demand for motorcycle GPS’s.
The best motorcycle navigation systems give users the ability to increase the value of qualities that make a route desirable for a cyclist such as speed, curves, traffic, isolation, etc. So, it is easy to adjust your route to be optimal for your current plans, whether it be a commute or a joyride. They are built to cater to riding posture. A cycle GPS is waterproof, shockproof, has a glare-free ultra-bright screen that is clear in direct sunlight, and can be easily used with gloves on.
Choosing the right tech product can be difficult because many hardware and software shortcomings can’t be identified until they are exposed to the exact situation that causes them to fail. How is it possible to test the waterproofing quality of a unit in the store? This is where ExpNet can help. We have conducted countless motorcycle gps reviews in a mission to determine the best gps for a motorcycle. We have dunked GPS’s into buckets of water, dropped them onto the pavement while travelling at high speeds, as well as many other invasive tests. In the process, we have put together a list of products that we are proud to recommend.
Use our bike GPS reviews as a starting point for your own research. Check out our buying guides, and decide what the most important characteristics for your riding style are. Maybe you’re looking for a cheap motorcycle GPS? Maybe you are looking for the most durable motorcycle GPS? Whatever you value most, we hope you can find answers on our site. If you would like more information, don’t hesitate to reach out. Good luck and safe riding!
This navigation unit shines in comparison to the competition, handily making it the best motorcycle GPS on the market today. Connect with the Smartphone Link app to see notifications such as incoming calls and app alerts right onto the screen of the GPS to keep you as safe as possible while riding
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This feature packed unit comes equipped with everything you would expect from Garmin. Adventurous routing, music and media connectivity, rider alerts, hands free calling, among tons of others are all controlled right on the Zumo display
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Perhaps the coolest feature on any motorcycle GPS, TomTom allows you to simply tap an area on the map that you want to explore and this GPS unit will safely route you there. Change the orientation of the device to vertical mode to see more of the twists and turns ahead so you know what to expect
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The first motorcycle GPS to offer a large 5" display, this Garmin stands out with its easy to see display even in the brightest conditions. Enjoy Bluetooth connectivity to stream music and media right from the device into your helmet so you won't miss a turn or rider alert
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A great navigation unit at an extremely affordable price point, Koolerton offers this motorcycle GPS system as a cheap alternative to Garmin and TomTom. While lacking in some advanced motorcycle features, it's perfect for those riders on a budget that want a fully waterproof navigation system
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Garmin Zumo 595LM Waterproof Motorcycle GPS
Garmin's Zumo 595LM is the overall top rated motorcycle GPS that we reviewed. If you want to sync your smartphone and a Bluetooth headset or helmet with your navigation unit, this one stands well ahead of the competition. This is one of the more technologically advanced models, and it allows you to enjoy music and other media files while keeping your hands securely on the bars. Let's go a little more in depth to see what else this Garmin motorcycle GPS has to offer.
Garmin Zumo 595LM Basic Features
The Garmin Zumo 595LM comes with a 5-inch monitor equipped with a glare-resistant touchscreen. With a display resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, this is a bright screen that most riders can see easily even in bright sunlight. It's designed from durable materials that hold up to even the most intense weather. This fully waterproof GPS unit is rated IPX7, which means that it will not show water seepage when exposed to rain or harsh conditions. This rating is a must have for any unit exposed to the elements.
What sets this Garmin motorcycle GPS apart from many competitors is its compatibility with the Garmin Smartphone Link app. This allows you to sync your smartphone to your navigation unit, and you can then access your phone's music and other media files directly through the GPS map screen. You can also purchase a microSD card to load even more files into your GPS unit to increase the memory, which we absolutely love.
You can also connect this Garmin to Pandora or Spotify to stream your playlists directly through the GPS system. These connectivity features are what set the 595LM apart from other Garmin motorcycle systems.
Once you get the navigation unit installed on your bike and take it out for a ride, you may appreciate that the system delivers loud, clear instructions and announces cross streets as you travel. You will also receive warnings when a speed camera or red-light camera is detected along your route, which we think is a pretty cool feature. Other notifications sound for steep curves, speed limit changes and other possible road hazards to help keep you as safe as possible.
While your Garmin Zumo 595LM will help you avoid the highways when you want to feel the wind in your hair, it also makes maneuvering interchanges and exits easier. The map screen presents a large arrow to help you determine which lane to take, and you can see detailed images of the full intersection. The system offers 3D images for elevation and terrain as well.
Garmin also allows you to update maps for the lifetime of your device for free.
Bonus Features for Bikers
Before any model can be declared a top rated GPS for motorcycles , it must offer features that make riding a motorcycle safer and more enjoyable. Garmin does this by equipping the Zumo 595LM with adventurous routing, which allows bikers to find long, winding roads that are perfect for pleasure rides. You can also eliminate unpaved roadways from your route.
When you take advantage of the Smartphone Link app, your friends and loved ones can track your location while you're out riding. This makes long solo trips a bit safer, but its also an awesome feature for groups traveling together on poker runs and bike weeks. We consider this the best adventure motorcycle GPS due to the advanced functionality with this app.
This Garmin GPS delivers biker-specific alerts, including warnings when you may need to look into the biker helmet laws for some locations. The TracBack feature takes your previous route and displays it in reverse, ensuring that you can always get back home safely even if you're wandering in an unknown area. If you ride for too long and may need a break, fatigue alerts will give you a warning along with suggestions for nearby places to stop.
Potential Garmin Zumo 595LM Cons
Even great GPS units for motorcycles will have some potential cons. For Garmin's Zumo 595LM, there are just a few disadvantages to consider:
Garmin Zumo 395LM Motorcycle GPS Review
Our vote for one of the top adventure motorcycle navigation unit goes to the Garmin Zumo 395LM. It's several hundred dollars cheaper than the Zumo 595LM while offering many of the same features, and it has some options that are appealing to bikers who do more than commute to work on their motorcycles. Let's take a close look at the pros and cons to see if this motorcycle GPS could fit your needs.
Basic Garmin Zumo 395LM Features
The 4.3-inch monitor on the Zumo 395LM is a bit smaller than the monitor on many competing navigation units, but it's still adequate for many riders to see the well-lit screen. It's equipped with a touchscreen that's resistant to sunlight glare, fuel vapors and whatever the weather can throw at it making it fully waterproof, so it's perfect for adventure seekers who don't always check the forecast before heading out for a ride.
If you've owned older Garmin GPS models, you'll appreciate the single power cable used to connect this model to your bike. The mount is sleeker and much easier to use than older models.
The GPS system is designed to minimize manual operations, so you can keep your hands on the handlebars and your eyes on the road. You don't even have to remove your gloves to efficiently operate the touchscreen, and all points of interest are displayed directly on the map screen.
You can connect a Bluetooth helmet or headset to make hands-free phone calls, and you can stream music and other media files from your smartphone or MP3 player. The downside is that the GPS only works with an iPod Touch 2nd generation and higher or an iPhone model 4S or higher. Android isn't supported at this time.
Your Garmin motorcycle GPS ensures free map updates for the life of your device, including many points of interest that are particular to motorcyclists. You may also want to track your miles and maintenance duties through the service history log.
Added Features for Adventure Seekers
If you look to your motorcycle for excitement and adventure, you may appreciate that the Zumo 395LM is compatible with Garmin action cameras and allows you to plan routes that include big hills, breathtaking curves and other thrilling road features. With a bit of pre-trip planning, you will find the most adventurous routes in your local area or wherever you may wander.
Once you hit the road, you'll have the advantage of motorcycle-specific alerts, including sharp curves, speed limit changes and even the location of speed cameras in some areas. While you can't count on any GPS system to catch every camera on the road, this feature may save you from a few speeding tickets. There are even alerts for state helmet laws as well as fatigue alerts that suggest stopping points if you've been riding for too long, which we love since some states have different laws than others.
When you get lost on a long, winding road, make use of the built-in digital fuel gauge. This feature tells you how many miles you can cut loose before running out of fuel, and it will give you an alert with suggested nearby gas stations when it's time to fill up. If you need to get home after an adventurous ride, use the TracBack feature to retrace your route in reverse.
The Garmin Zumo 395LM is also compatible with the Garmin Tire Pressure Monitor Gauge, so flat tires will never take you by surprise. You need one gauge for each tire, and it only works with metal valve stems.
Garmin Zumo 395LM Cons
Even the best adventure motorcycle navigation system will have a feature or two that is far from ideal. There are just a few things to keep in mind if you're considering the Zumo 395LM from Garmin:
TomTom Rider 400 Waterproof Motorcycle GPS
We consider this TomTom the best GPS for motorcycles outside of the Garmin Zumo series. The features are similar to those found on the leading motorcycle navigation systems, but you get the value and expertise that comes with the TomTom brand. Let's take a closer look to see if this could rank as one of the best options for your adventures on the bike.
The Basic Features
The TomTom Rider 400 GPS comes with a 4.3-inch touchscreen monitor that is designed to withstand the wind and rain that naturally comes with motorcycling. It mounts onto your bike with a charging dock that is compatible with most bikes, and the battery lasts up to six hours when not plugged into a power source.
This is a far more impressive battery life than you will get from most competing models. The 16GB internal memory is also an improvement over many of those competing devices, and you can add a microSD card to extend that memory even further.
The Bluetooth connectivity is what really allows this TomTom motorcycle GPS to shine. Connect your smartphone and a Bluetooth headset or helmet to make hands-free phone calls. You will also hear your GPS directions and alerts directly through your headset or helmet, so you're never fighting the noise of your motorcycle and the wind.
You can also receive real-time traffic updates through your Bluetooth connection. All map updates are free for the lifetime of your device.
Features Just for Motorcyclists
The real magic of a motorcycle GPS is in the extended features specially for those on two wheels. TomTom elevates the navigation experience by offering advanced trip planning that allows you to map out your round-trip route on a computer before leaving home. You can search for the winding, curvy roads that give you joy or add some major hills into your route, so adventure biking is possible with the TomTom Rider 400. We found it was much easier to plan a route on a computer than using a touchscreen of many of the competing Garmin models, so this feature is something that really sets this unit apart. This is perfect for poker runs where you want to plan your trip on windy roads and avoid major highways.
This GPS is equipped with an extensive database with points of interest that appeal particularly to motorcyclists. You can even read feedback for some destinations from other motorcyclists, allowing you to find the best stopping points on any route.
The advanced alerts on this GPS include speed camera locations, so your GPS may save you some money if you tend to twist your right wrist a bit too much. When you need to see more details of the upcoming road, you can flip the monitor into portrait view to instantly change your angle.
Potential TomTom Rider 400 Cons
Are you convinced that this is the best motorcycle GPS for your next ride? Before you make the investment, it's important to consider a few potential cons that come along with the TomTom Rider 400:
Garmin Zumo 590LM Navigation for Motorcycles
We consider this a fantastic naviation unit for those who are disappointed with the small 4.3-inch screen that comes on most competing systems. This model gives you a larger screen with all of the advanced features that you expect from Garmin, but is it the right pick for you? Let's highlight the pros and cons to help you make an informed buying decision.
The Basic Features
When looking just at the basic features, the 5-inch touchscreen is what makes this model different from other Garmin motorcycle GPS systems. Garmin is well-known for adding points of interest, speed limits and many other features directly on the map screen, and this larger monitor makes it easier to see all of those details while riding.
This is also a dual-orientation screen, which means you can turn it horizontal or vertical. The resolution is bright and resists glare even in bright sunlight. This is one of the more rugged systems in the Zumo family, and it's designed to take vibration from the bike and anything that the weather may throw your way.
Another feature that you won't find on most of the best motorcycle GPS units is the removable battery. Keep an extra on hand, and you can simply swap them out as needed. This overcomes the problem of short battery life that is an issue for a lot of GPS systems in general.
You can also connect this GPS to your Bluetooth-enabled helmet or headset to make hands-free phone calls while riding. The ability to set the GPS to deliver instructions and alerts directly through your helmet or headset is a feature that our team especially loves on the 590LM.
This GPS also connects with your iPod or Pandora account, allowing you to play music directly through the GPS. Feed your music into a Bluetooth system, and you have the ultimate setup for hands-free riding.
Use the service history log to track maintenance tasks and mileage. Take advantage of free map and points of interest updates for the life of your device.
Added Features for Motorcyclists
This top rated motorcycle GPS allows you to download added maps, so you can turn it into an all-terrain GPS if needed. It's also compatible with some of the best Garmin accessories to extend functionality, including:
Once you have your system setup just right, start planning your next trip with adventurous motorcycle routing. You can easily find the best roads with all the twists and turns you can handle. You may also find long, straight roads that allow you to just ride for hours without running into highways. Wherever you ride, the 3D terrain features and comprehensive points of interest database will keep you on track.
When you do run into complicated highway interchanges, make use of the clear, close views and lane assistance. The GPS delivers real-time alerts for speed limits and sharp curves, and you can use the TracBack feature to follow your last route in reverse.
Finally, this loaded GPS comes with a digital fuel gauge. Never get caught in the wild when your bike needs fuel.
Potential Garmin Zumo 590LM Cons
We highly recommend this model as the best GPS for motorcycle riders who want nothing but the best, but that doesn't mean there are no potential flaws. There are a few downsides to consider before you make the investment.
Koolertron All-Terrain Motorcycle GPS Review
While the Koolertron V.912S All-Terrain GPS doesn't offer most of the features that you would get with an advanced Garmin GPS, we still consider it a great option for those shopping on a tight budget. It may also serve as the best pick if you spend a lot of time off the beaten path and need all-terrain durability.
If you can't afford to spend $300 or more, this model will give you a cheap motorcycle GPS for about half the price. The question is what you get for the price, so let's take a closer look at the features.
What Koolerton Delivers
The Koolerton All-Terrain GPS attaches to your motorcycle with a battery or cigarette lighter adaptor. It's made to work in a car or motorcycle and comes with a motorcycle mount and suction mount. This may extend your use of the GPS, but it also highlights the lack of motorcycle-specific features in the software. While it will give you navigational feedback regardless of your vehicle, it doesn't provide points of interest and alerts specific to motorcyclists.
What does stand out on the Koolerton motorcycle GPS is the all-terrain design. It's waterproof in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, so you can mount it on an ATV and ride through streams and other off-road terrain without panicking if it falls into a puddle or a pile of snow. This durability is also good news for motorcyclists who may get caught in the occasional downpour.
This is a Bluetooth-enabled GPS, so you can connect a headset or helmet to check messages and make phone calls while keeping your hands on the handlebars. It has an internal memory bank that holds up to 4GB of data. You may also add a microSD to hold up to 16GB of additional memory.
What Koolerton Doesn't Deliver
If you've read some of our Garmin motorcycle GPS reviews, you're probably wondering where the advanced features are for this lower-priced alternative. The simple answer is that they aren't there. This is a basic motorcycle GPS system that won't deliver much more than a map screen and directions to a known address.
Don't expect it to tell you which lane to take on a highway interchange or to notify you of speed limit changes and state helmet laws. You can find all of that plus more on a Garmin or TomTom, but you will pay twice as much for those advanced features. This is why we designate this as the best cheap GPS for motorcycle riders on a budget.
The Koolerton navigation unit also doesn't come with map updates, so you need to source your own software if your maps are outdated. This can take some time because the manufacturer notes that the unit isn't compatible with Garmin software but doesn't specify which software packages are compatible. However, if you're even the little bit tech savvy you will easily be able to hook this up to a computer and download new maps. Its not hard to do or complicated by any means.
Potential Koolerton GPS Flaws
You may appreciate the Koolerton GPS if you want something cheap, durable, and simple; but there are a few potential cons to keep in mind -