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Discussion Starter #1
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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+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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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.

..Tom
 

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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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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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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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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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... 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...
..Tom
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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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.
You don't know Garmin very well, eh? :mrgreen: This exact thing seems to be a specialty in parts of NH, VT, and western MA.
 

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Need? In the absolute sense - probably not, but since we are asking the question of "need" relative to motorcycles.... Then yes I need it.

Great for Iron Butt rides where managing your estimated time of arrival against time lost to fuel, food, and rest stops is crucial. Also keeps you (usually) from losing time by taking the wrong turn.

On more sedate rides, I like to get out to an area with nice rural roads (like far SW Wisconsin), reset the routing to "shortest distance" and have the GPS lead me home through the back roads. I have been down some very nice roads that I would never have thought to take otherwise.

I agree though that a GPS can take you down "inconvenient" routes sometimes. I say: It can replace a paper map, but it cannot replace your brain.
 

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After getting my Zumo, I feel that it is needed. Give me an address anywhere in the US and I can drive to the front door with never having to look at a map (I do use maps for route planning to get a general lay of the land). I'll also telll you pretty darn accurately when I'll arrive.

I now consider it a safety device as well, no more pulling over to the side of the road to flip the map or study the directions and try to memorize them. Take a wrong turn, no biggy the unit will re-calculate (if you want it to).

I can sit in my living room and put a ride together in an area I've never been to. Look at Mapsource and just "stich" together some good looking roads, load it into the Zumo and hit the road (turn by turn directions the whole time).

I will NEVER be without one of these things again. One of the best things I've ever bought.

For me it's hard to put into words how much better my rides have become after getting a GPS, I'm getting all teary eyed, need to go and hug the Zumo!!!
 

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On single track and offroad I NEED my GPS.....I'd still be lost in the woods without it.

But this is a Strom forum and I LOVE it on the strom. Like roger123 said it has made a HUGE difference in how much more I enjoy my trips.

I too used to pour over maps and take lots of time planning a route and I pretty much stuck to that route.

As I have got comfortable with my GPS's I explore off that route much more and make many on the fly changes that I just would not have tried pre-gps.
Here in thunderstorm central, its also very useful in routing around storms.

There is a huge comfort in knowing where I am, vs thinking I might have an idea where I am.
 

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If a GPS was not available, I would still ride so need may be too strong a word. If the only GPS that would work cost $2000, I would still buy it though.
 

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GPS - Yes

No one needs a GPS to ride a motorcycle, but they are nice and I would fight anyone who would try and take it away.

Cost is of course relative. One does not need to spend a lot of cash, just a little. In fact when I bought my Garmin 2610 a couple of years ago, I wasn't sure I really NEEDED a GPS so I didn't want to dump large dollars into something I wasn't sure of. So I did do some research and found it at EDGE NAVIGATION. They handle refurbished factory guaranteed units, as if it comes directly from Garmin. It has all the software and Garmin guarantee. So I bought it and have never been happier. The cost when I bought was around $210, but now I see them for around $180.

So you really don't have to spend large bucks. Go ahead and pull the trigger, you'll love it.
 

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How is the ability to lock on sats with your GPS's?
I have lost reception in deep woods cover with an IQue 3600. I haven't taken my Zumo on any trips through the woods yet. The Zumo will detect the satellites from inside my house though whereas the IQue will not.
 

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you didn't need a Wee, did you

need is always a relative term. I use an etrex legend hcx in the car, on the Wee and on my bikes as well as hiking and general goofing off. I like having one thats completely portable. My wife and I even take it for walks to keep up with how far we go. I use to drive the routes first. Auto re-route is perfect for motorcycles since we tend to get lost on purpose. I apparently don't know how to get home from work. Any other thoughts on a GPS, see my quote :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm getting the impression that 'needing' a GPS is about like 'needing' a cell phone. We all lived successful lives before they came around, and have adapted our lifestyles since they arrived. My own opinion, based on the excellent responses (+1 to all of you!) is that a GPS is handiest for giving the rider flexibility ... the ability to find things that aren't on a map (restaurants, gas stations, etc.), the ability to find routes that aren't obvious, the ability to find your way back when you got yourself into a location you are unfamiliar with, the ability to find a new route when you overshot your intended turn, etc.

I don't think a GPS can truly replace a map, but enhance it. It's not required equipment for a successful ride, but enhances the experience.

Now, the mystery is...which one? :)

(I really want a Zumo 550 but need to do some more side work to save up the money.)
 

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Now, the mystery is...which one? :)

(I really want a Zumo 550 but need to do some more side work to save up the money.)
I've read so many topics on that particular question... and I still don't know. I think the Zumo 450 would be good enough, unless you really want the features of the 550. But, I'm personally considering the 60csx, as it seems to be an overall favorite, feature rich, and basically able to do anything, anywhere. On the other hand, there is the new Lowrance XOG, which looks very nice.
 
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