GPS: Nice to have or a need? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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GPS: Nice to have or a need?

I'm curious. On a recent vacation I rented a car with a GPS unit in it and found it useful between 50-75% of the time. One time it routed me through a neighborhood full of speed humps when a freeway 100 yards away would have done the job.

I know a lot of people ride with GPS units on their bikes. Zumo's, Streetpilots, etc. So far I've only 'needed' a GPS once when on my bike, trying to find my motel on a trip to Missoula after going over Lolo Pass.

My question ... would you consider a GPS on your V-Strom a 'need' or merely a 'nice to have' item? Or perhaps somewhere in between?

I have a pretty good sense of direction and really pour over my maps before going on a ride, but I tend to follow a pre-defined path without deviating much. I'm assuming a GPS would help me wing it, so to speak, and also find businesses like restaurants, gas stations, motels, ATMs, etc. more easily.

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post #2 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 07:44 PM
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+1 on your question. I am trying to justify the $400-$600 expense.

The only thing I have to say is, I know of only 2 people that cannot live without 'em, only because they are traveling more than 50% of the time. The others that I know say they haven't used theirs very much since they don't get out of town often.

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post #3 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 07:47 PM
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It depends. If you never go anywhere, why bother?

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post #4 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 07:59 PM
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I use my GPS to see the road ahead: how much of a curve, tight or a sweeper. cross road ahead etc.

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post #5 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 08:14 PM
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I don't know if you *need* to have it, but it certainly is nice to have. It lets you deviate from your course and find nice roads the you might never have suspected were there. You can take detours without ever worring out how to get back to your destination.

It's also nice to find things on the way like gas stations, etc. I like to know how much time or distance left while on a trip and it tells that.

It also can get you messed up now and then so if you do get one please always use common sense with it.


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post #6 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 08:50 PM
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I travel a good bit on both my bikes. Not nationwide or anything like that, but several hundred miles each way are common. I absolutely love having something with me that always knows the way home, the way to get to the nearest gas station, restaurant, or motel. I love being able to find nice twisty roads as opposed to interstates. If I go more than a few miles my GPS is with me. A necessity? No, it's not. But it's something that I've come to depend on and use a great deal.

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post #7 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 09:05 PM
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I use my Garmin etrex all the time. Most of my rides are "exploratory" so I
often use my GPS to just to give me a sense of direction and to let me know where I am relative to the nearest town or how to get back home. I also use the "find gas station" feature which is comforting when the gas tank is getting low. I don't rememer what I paid for the etrex but it was less than $200 ... well worth the investment.

So to answer your question, my GPS is a need because of the type of riding I do.

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post #8 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 10:53 PM
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I wouldn't go back to travelling without one, but I'd hesitate to say it is a need. Much nicer than dealing with maps. Gets me found if I'm not sure where I am on a map. Finds points of interests (though not always accurate - things change ya know).I love having an estimated arrival time. I like having an accurate speedometer. And since I've got a Garmin 2730, I've also got an mp3 player (albeit with limited memory). Directions and music. 'Tis good.

Last year I went on a week plus trip with a friend. He had purchased a custom seat for his cruiser. I purchased a gps. This year, he's gotten a gps and I'll be getting my seat rebuilt. If I had to choose between the two for a long trip...get the seat first. That's a need.

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post #9 of 34 Old 02-18-2008, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by stevewz View Post
One time it routed me through a neighborhood full of speed humps when a freeway 100 yards away would have done the job.
More than likely it was set up not to route you onto freeways. That would simply be a preference issue from the last person who played with the GPS in the car.

I have one in the car and it's invaluable. I know how to get around this city but I don't know every street by any means and the GPS will often take me ways I hadn't thought of that are better than the way I know. In the country it's also fun to put in your destination and let the GPS take you there, you invariably also go routes that you hadn't thought of or don't know about and see all sorts of new places and sights. You could do this with a paper map but the time and effort involved in pre planning the route then actually navigating it while riding or driving diminish the enjoyment.
I don't have a GPS on the bike but it's high on the list of "must get around to getting one days" simply because the technology is there, it's easy to use and takes a lot of the hassle out of trip planning and execution.
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post #10 of 34 Old 02-19-2008, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by V-Tom View Post
... It lets you deviate from your course and find nice roads the you might never have suspected were there. You can take detours without ever worring out how to get back to your destination...
This is the main reason I have mine. Its nice to know the road your on isn't going to dead end in a farmer's driveway.
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