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post #1 of 22 Old 02-13-2014, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 189

Hello All,

I thought I saw postings regarding GPS units for bikes here in the past, but the searches did not show anything... so, here goes...

I have an interest in using a GPS on the bike - for touring - and the most important feature I need is to be able to create and upload routes. Many auto GPS do not accept uploading routes - really frustrating. I do not want to spend $500 to $700 for a motorcycle dedicated GPS... (Garmin Zumos, mostly), although the Tom Tom Rider is somewhat less - I just saw one on sale for $399 - I think I am okay with one that is not completely waterproof (I saw a tube video of a guy who sealed his Garmin Nuvi screen with silicone, and he says it works fine in the wet.)

One model I have looked at is the Garmin Nuvi 2595 LM - for for $139.99 on Amazon - it appears as though it will accept Garmin's Base Camp route planner - and I have also seen an independent motorcycle route planner called TourStart - looks cool, but I am not sure what models it supports...

Also, most units have spoken turns, although without the helmet earbud/speakers, it likely cannot be heard at highway speeds - I think I can survive without that.

Any input is appreciated - esp. re: the Nuvi 2595LM - it seems to be the best fit for my needs so far...


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post #2 of 22 Old 02-13-2014, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bellevue WA
Posts: 455

The 2595 will not, I think, accept waypoints or routes dwnld into it from any source. 800-800-1020 is the Garmin support ph for US and they will be happy to talk for free as long as you want. See my post elsewhere here for how I nav point to point with a Nuvi 1350. There are some pricier Nuvis that will accept routes but not like a Zumo.
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-13-2014, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bellevue WA
Posts: 455
My Other Msg

I have an old Garmin GPS V, which I haven not used in years. It was route/waypoint capable. Now, I use a Garmin Nuvi 1350 LTM. It will not do routes/waypoints. Garmin has 2 free apps, Mapsource and Basecamp that you can use for route planing using Garmin Map Data. While you can dwnld a route file you made in those apps into a Nuvi, it will not recognize it. Google Map and Earth are other ways to plan a route; not easy to learn. Nothing you do there is dwnld-able into a Nuvi, but can be into other GPS units after some conversion steps. The Nuvi does intersections, cities, POI. So, I use maps and then I use a post office, an intersection, even something in the Garmin data base that is close to my planned route. The Nuvi navs from point to point. I put together strings of Favorites, listed in route-order on paper. I get somewhere and then set up the next "Favorite" to nav to.

You can buy a much better Garmin Nuvi at Costco for < $175. If you use my style of work arounds, it will be fine. It is not waterproof but a zip lock bag and rubber band will make it so.

But Madchap's main theme is the enormous amounts of time that are involved in learning how to do things. If you created and then mastered a one-off technique with a Nuvi, you would almost start a whole new learning curve with a Zumo IF you were going to use its considerable capabilities. Zumo is Garmin unit that costs between $700-$1k. It is route/waypoint capable. I predict you would take far longer to master the Zumo for your needs than a Nuvi. You could do any kind of route, on or off road, in Google Map or anything else, convert and use in your Zumo. You can store routes on your computer and up to a point in the Zumo.

My Nuvi also can use the extra cost Garmin Topo maps. Here in W. WA, the U.S. Forest Maps show the roads FS built years ago with FS road numbers. There are few signs out there. People like to shoot at them. The Garmin topo map will give you the FS road number on the GPS display, which can be a Godsend sometimes. I use the Nuvi for everything except going to the store for milk. But, the Nuvi will sometimes do unexpected things and it will display undocumented choices. It is touch controlable with moto gloves, but still I have had to stop, turn the unit off completely, turn it on and start over. Last summer I planned "favorite" segments for a back roads ride through much of Western Oregon. It worked fine. I took one wrong road but it was my fault because when the GPS told me to turn, I did not believe it.

Finally, Garmin has the best tech support there is. You can all them and talk all you want for free about anything: how to use the Garmin product, how to use the map apps, how to use their other paid apps and maps. I'd say the first decision you have to make, with their help, after you buy at, is what is the biggest mini SD memory card the unit will take. It Is the mini Sd card you want. Good luck
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post #4 of 22 Old 02-13-2014, 10:39 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 765
I've always liked the Nuvi. I've used them for years (in my car), and currently have a 765T that has, and still does, work flawlessly (although, I voided the warranty by replacing the "non-replaceable" battery). That being said, I tried it on the bike, and found it requires it's own farkling to get it to step up to what you really need on a bike (including downloadable route planning, brighter display, waterproof, etc.

So, enter the Zumo. I have a 350LM. Not perfect (in fact, I like the Nuvi's interface better). However, it does do everything you really do need on a bike. It's brighter (however, there are still times glare prevails), it's waterproof, handles downloadable routes/waypoints/tracks/etc., and it's (supposedly) built tougher for the higher vibration environment on a bike. I haven't learned everything the Zumo does... it's extensive.
With the introduction, recently, of the 390LM, the 350 has dropped in price significantly. It *is* a Garmin, and as noted earlier, their service is great (I *did* have to return an original frozen 350, for a new one, and they took care of it directly with no questions asked, even though I didn't buy it direct).

So... for a GPS on a bike... my feeling is pay now, or pay later...

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post #5 of 22 Old 02-14-2014, 01:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 18
The 2495 and 2595 accept routes from Garmin Basecamp.

I had my 48 states entire route saved into it ahead of time with alternate routes for alternate days.

Here is mine on the Wee:

... and on the Harley with it's rain gear somewhere in upstate New York.
I'm thinking of patenting the system... i call it "sandwich baggie-bread tie"

Works like a champ and 125 bucks.

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SS1000 - Aug '13
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-14-2014, 08:58 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: DE & NH
Posts: 107
Ive been using a variety of gps on motorcycles over the last 10 years or so. All Garmin, other than an oem gps built into one of my gl1800's.

Ive always used my older gps units on the bikes so no worries if they go belly up. (none have)

This past Christmas my wife bought me a Garmin 3597 for my car and travel. The voice command recognition is amazing. I just ordered the mounting h/w to try out the 3597 on the strom via bluetooth from the helmet.

If it works as well as I suspect it will the most important feature on my bike gps from here on out may just well be how well it supports voice commands via helmet bluetooth.

Being able to effectively use a gps on the bike with both eyes on the road and both hands on the bars would be a huge plus for me.

2012 Vstrom 650 Adventure
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-14-2014, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: near Montreal
Posts: 242
I used to ride with a Garmin Quest untill it just died. I then got a Garmin ZUMO 220. I believe it is discontinued. I find it does do the job just fine. It has the capability of dressing itineraries with multiple way points, directly on the unit, whithout the use of the computer, which a car (read a nuvi) unit cannot do. The ZUMO also has a glove friendly screen, which the nuvi has not. I find the letter pad annoying as it does not appear in a QWERTY pattern. Since I mostly use it in the map or plan view mode ( not 3d), i also find that the colors on the maps do not offer sufficient contrasts, especially in daytime use. Roads are grey on a light green background. So, I just set it on night light condition all the time. If you can get your hands on one of these units, you might find it is all you need. It comes in a complete kit with a ram mount and also a car mounting bracket. The whole kit came in a substantial advantage price compared with that of newer ZUMO units that sold for many hundreds of dollars more. Good luck!
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-14-2014, 11:35 AM
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Location: Oxnard, Ventura County. Calif
Posts: 1,006
If you can get your hands on a used/refurbished Garmin 765t you'll be one step closer if in the future you want to go with a blue tooth headset for your helmet. There's alot of info on the Internet about this. And, you'll save yourself some $$.

Sent from App

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post #9 of 22 Old 02-18-2014, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 189

I ordered a Garmin Nuvi 2595LMT from Best Buy - $139.95 with a price match from Amazon. Not waterproof, but there is a guy with a U-Tube video showing how he silicone-sealed the screen on his Nuvi... he showed testing it with direct spray from a garden hose - pretty impressive. I don't really want to bother with helmet mic. - this model has a big speaker and is supposedly quite loud, so I am hoping if I install it behind my shield (Givi 260 with a Madtad) I can hear it at speeds below 45 mph. This model is 5", and it does have spoken commands. I called Garmin, and the tech. person assured me that it will do trips, and also upload routes from BaseCamp. The main reason I got it from Best Buy, is that I can return it for full refund for any reason - no questions asked - within 15 days of purchase.

I plan to put it through it's paces in that time... will keep you all posted.

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post #10 of 22 Old 02-18-2014, 01:25 AM
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I see you don't plan on useing speakers but if it does not work out you should know while my Nuvi has bluetooth it will not give instructions via bluetooth to my helmet.

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