We live in a fast-paced world where we have less and less time for ourselves. Endlessly searching for an address in a remote village is no longer possible. With a motorcycle navigation system, you no longer waste time finding the most beautiful roads. in this blog, we'll help you get started in the right direction
Navigation systems come in many forms. For example, you can buy separate (dedicated) navigation systems, but you also very often see a smartphone mounted on the motorcycle. Still, your phone can't compete with a real dedicated motorcycle navigation. For starters, such a dedicated device often offers a much brighter screen, so you can still read it well in the sun, in addition, they are really made to be used on the motorcycle and are therefore more resistant to the violence and especially the vibrations involved. The often larger casing offers the additional advantage of being able to accommodate a larger battery, and you can still operate the screen with your thick gloves. If you really want to explore the boundaries of civilization, there is a chance that your phone will lose signal, whereas a dedicated navigation system using stronger GPS receivers can show you the way without any problems.
But time has not stood still on the software side either and a navigation system can no longer just show you the quickest route. Most navigation systems give you the option of 'winding roads' which will lead you to your destination but on winding roads that are a lot more interesting for us motorcyclists! Nowadays you can often also share your own routes or load routes from others via .gpx files.
There are several motorcycle navigation systems on the market, but there are two brands that you really can't ignore; Garmin & TomTom. TomTom we all know from car navigation, and they have really become a big player in the motorcycle world with the Rider series. Garmin was one of the first to bring GPS devices for motorcycles onto the market, and today it is hard to imagine a world without it. TomTom has recently reduced the range to just the Rider 550 with a suggested retail price of €399.95. At Garmin you have the choice of the Zumo 346 LMT-S, Zumo 396 LMT-S and the Zumo XT which have recommended retail prices of €299.99, €339.99 and €499.99 respectively.
Two of our top picks are the TomTom Rider 550 and the Garmin Zumo XT but what are the differences? We start with the Garmin Zumo XT; it has a 5.5 inch screen and a modern design. The TomTom Rider 550 is a bit smaller and has a 4.3 inch screen, with the typical convex design that we are used to from TomTom navigation systems. Both navigation systems support map and software updates via wifi.
Even though both navigation systems have pre-installed maps of Europe, the TomTom 550 wins with coverage of 152 countries.
Finally, when you buy a Garmin Zumo XT, you get extra mounting options so you can also use it in the car.
TomTom's systems are known for their user-friendly interface. They are easy to use for almost anyone and offer enough features for the average consumer. If you mainly ride on asphalt, TomTom systems are an excellent choice. With Garmin systems, the possibilities are endless, but this also means that it takes some effort to master the system. If you like to go off-road or take unknown forest roads, we recommend a Garmin navigation system because it can also handle so-called track files. Another big advantage of the Zumo XT is the fact that it can connect to GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites so that you can find your way around the world. Finding a suitable hotel, camping spot or restaurant is a piece of cake thanks to the built-in apps such as TripAdvisor, iOverlander and Foursquare.
Beeline - Relatively new on the market, and really a totally different concept are the systems from Beeline. Are you looking for a small navigation system that doesn't distract you too much ? Then a Beeline navigation system could be interesting for you. The Beeline is an industrially stylish navigation system that is very easy to use. On the Beeline you only see the distance and the direction, so you can get from A to B in a playful way. At Beeline they want to make sure that you enjoy what is happening around you and do not constantly look at a screen.
Mobile - Don't feel like buying a dedicated navigation system, or is the investment too big? As we indicated earlier, a phone cannot compete with a dedicated navigation system, but if you have fewer requirements, you can often get by with this. If you do decide to use your mobile to navigate, mounting it on your bike is the biggest challenge. In the next blog we will discuss how you can best mount your phone and which phone holders are interesting.
Your smartphone is not specifically designed as a GPS system, but it is a great option if you do not yet have a navigation system. For now, we will discuss which apps are worthwhile. There are many navigation apps on the market, each with their own functions. But which navigation app is the best? That depends on what your needs are. Some navigation apps can only take you from A to B, taking the traffic situation into account. But there are also (often paid) apps that offer more. For example, there are apps that allow you to view and import routes from fellow motorcyclists, often giving you access to a library of worldwide routes from thousands of users.
CaliMoto -> is a paid app with special features, such as the Round Trip function. With this function, you no longer have to think about which route you will ride when you want to go touring. You give a desired length and a global direction and CaliMoto calculates a nice route for you.
Osmand - > Very comprehensive navigation app that is perfect for the offroad motorcyclist thanks to turn-by-turn navigation that also works over .gpx tracks
TomTom Go -> A user-friendly app that doesn't provide unnecessary distractions while riding and is very easy to use.
Waze -> Extremely suitable for everyday use. This is because it is very easy to use but still provides all the features a motorcyclist needs. Waze loads live traffic information based on input from other users on your route.
Maps.me -> Features free worldwide maps and can be used offline. The app is quite basic, but is excellent for getting from A to B, anywhere in the world.