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I have a Nuvi 500 and a Nuvi 550. Both are small, 3½" diagonal, fully waterproof IPX7, and the 500 has Topo, which I never use. They handle 500 waypoints, routing and can avoid dirt roads (or not!). I got these on sale years ago for $99, which was a bargain. I see Garmin still has them listed for $299 and are probably refurbs. The maps are outdated and they lose USB connection intermittently due to excessive insertion/removal over the years (hard wired). They get removed whenever I stop for breaks away from the bike. I've ridden 10 days straight in heavy rains with no issues at all. So overall, they've held up very well. Plus, I'm still using my old version of MapSource. But like all Garmins, they are not without their share of routing inaccuracies.

My dilemma: 1) the maps definitely need to be updated ($90 EACH), 2) the USB connection issues are getting frustrating and will to be repaired if I keep them ($50 EACH?) 3) The screen is kinda small for my aging eyes, 4) I'm retiring this year and will be riding A LOT MORE! And 5) I have a $300 Amazon gift card to spend :)

So I'm debating on getting a new GPS, and if so, which one??? And if so, the 500/550 will be back-ups. I've always been a Garmin guy from the very first one they made ($350 and it only plotted a line, and ONLY when it had a signal). I've probably had 15 of these things over the years. That said... is a Zumo really worth the money? And I have no problem spending the money on a new one, but only if it provides additional value for the money. I read all over about people having issues with every brand and model of GPS; that I can understand. They all can't be winners. These 500/550 have been very reliable overall, especially for $99.

I don't use Bluetooth for turns or XM radio, although I am set up on my Uclear headseat for Bluetooth to my phone. I'm not a POI guy because 95% of them are useless IMO. I use the fuel option and Go Home more than anything, plus Where Am I? I like being able to link to MapSource, upload and look at the stats and the profile of the ride I just did. When exploring, I will select a random point 150 miles away and say Go via shortest distance avoiding tolls, highways, etc. with Unpaved Roads enabled. The Topo option is neat in that it shows mountain peaks and elevations, forests, etc. but is meant for off-road (no roads really).

So, those are my thoughts and experiences... what have been your experiences? Thanks!
 

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and you are still using ancient tech that costs too much why ?? You have a smart phone. Use it. >:)
 

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and you are still using ancient tech that costs too much why ?? You have a smart phone. Use it. >:)
I was hoping for a more thoughtful, insightful and useful responses; however, 2 primary aspects... waterproof and data usage. Garmin is free to use and totally waterproof, Google Maps or Waze use data, drain the battery unless plugged in and the phone gets covered in dirt & grime. And I have a nice Note 5 that looks new after 2 years of daily use thank you very much. Furthermore, you need to use capacitive gloves to swipe a phone which none of my expensive riding gloves are. Not to mention that pinching, swiping, zooming, etc. are all DISTRACTED RIDING. No thanks! Count me out.
 

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You are a tad out of date on your assessment. You CAN find out more and make an informed decision.

There is good reason Garmin is in the App business.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-CA/CA/on-the-go/apps/cOnTheGo-cApps-p1.html

Any glove can be be screen friendly - this is just one approach
Home - ThumbDogs

and waterproofing is simply a non-issue

You CAN listen to those of us that travel all over the world with smart phones on our bikes, rain or shine with no network requirements....or reject it out of hand.



and in my case - finds me roads like this


Good luck.

Your call.
 

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Another thing to consider with using a phone, some don't work well with the currently available mounting options. I tried using the the Ram mount universal X-grip with my Samsung galaxy 7 but it interferes with the volume buttons andor the power button.
My crappy but reliable (and cheap) Garmin Nuvi 56LM is very solidly mounted and it wouldn't cause a communications disaster if it fell off and smashed on the road. The loss of my phone would.
As mentioned above, the data thing is something to consider and also you can lose the GPS (location) function on the phone sometimes if you're out of cell range.
 

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You are a tad out of date on your assessment. You CAN find out more and make an informed decision.

There is good reason Garmin is in the App business.

and waterproofing is simply a non-issue

You CAN listen to those of us that travel all over the world with smart phones on our bikes, rain or shine with no network requirements....or reject it out of hand.
They have great cradles for iPhones, not so much for some Android.
 

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The loss of my phone would.
As mentioned above, the data thing is something to consider and also you can lose the GPS (location) function on the phone sometimes if you're out of cell range.
You cannot lose GPS signal.....a smart phone IS a GPS period full stop - it needs no network connection. This is a common misconception. There are dozens of Nav apps - some free ...some like TomTom that I use which are one time purchases.

There are a variety of X-mount including a spyder mount that the phone is held in the x-mount - cannot come off



RAM Tether for UN7 X-Grip® Holders Unpackaged - RAM-HOL-UN7TU | RAM Mounts

There are lots of solutions for the Galaxy
https://www.armor-x.com/xmount/bar-mount.html



I've never required it. In addition I navigate fairly often with voice only - phone in my pocket.

Not sure of your volume issues but most nav rigs have other volume controls....my Shure 215s earphones have inline and the SENA 20 helmet mounted
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You are a tad out of date on your assessment. You CAN find out more and make an informed decision. Good luck. Your call.
Thank you for your assessment, which would have been more helpful in your first response BTW. FWIW, I was aware of Thumb Dogs, which do not get favorable reviews overall. I also own 2 of the RAM-X mounts, and both have failed miserably... highly NOT recommended by me.

To be fair, Doc, my posting was about my current GPS units, keeping them and updating them or getting a new GPS unit, not about smartphone usage. I see the option and clearly it is preferable for you and others, but for me that is not an option. I don't need nor want the extra wear & tear on my personal phone. However, I am glad that it works for you. Thank you again for your insight.
 

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X-mount is such a simple device it boggles my mind it could fail.

I'd be not very happy with Garmin hardware or software ...what rip those map prices are outrageous and you've gone through 15 Garmins !!!!! I'm sorry but that's not "holding up".....that's a rip off. Ou4 iPhone 4's are years old and we only use them as back up ( have not needed tho ).

You don't have to use your existing phone even ...there are loads of used phones for less than the cost of a single map.$50-$70 buys you a perfectly fine used phone.

I'd look at the TomTom GPS for riders if you are set on tho it's above your budget point tho not by a huge amount.
https://www.amazon.com/TomTom-Rider-400-Portable-Motorcyle/dp/B011J1P9NG




at least you get lifetime maps and traffic.

One thing nice on the TomTom is Hilly Roads as well as Winding Roads

https://www.tomtom.com/en_ca/drive/motorcycle/products/rider-400/

and there is a Garmin model pretty inexpensive tho not designed for motorcycles.



https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Navigator-Lifetime-Directions-Foursquare/dp/B01A1HL9Z6/ref=dp_ob_title_wld

and good reviews. Lots of riders do not buy the dedicated motorcycle models.

Given the competition from smartphones the manufacturers had to get real about pricing.

What I want is riders to be fully informed on choices....not running under misconceptions and dated information.

I'd certainly not being paying Garmin for maps etc.
 

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You cannot lose GPS signal.....a smart phone IS a GPS period full stop - it needs no network connection. This is a common misconception. There are dozens of Nav apps - some free ...some like TomTom that I use which are one time purchases.
I beg to differ (partial stop). During a long trip this past May into June, my son would set his iPhone to follow a route of his choosing and it would work for a bit but more than once, when something interrupted (like the phone going to sleep or something) it would drop the route and wouldn't restart the route properly until he was in cell range.
It was his setup, not mine, so I have no idea why this happened. It may be because he didn't have a specific app as you mentioned in your post. I'll ask him when I see hi m again to clarify.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I beg to differ (partial stop). During a long trip this past May into June, my son would set his iPhone to follow a route of his choosing and it would work for a bit but more than once, when something interrupted (like the phone going to sleep or something) it would drop the route and wouldn't restart the route properly until he was in cell range.
It was his setup, not mine, so I have no idea why this happened. It may be because he didn't have a specific app as you mentioned in your post. I'll ask him when I see hi m again to clarify.
I've had that same thing happen while using Ride With GPS... If I'm riding using GPS why would it EVER stop???
 

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something interrupted (like the phone going to sleep or something) it would drop the route and wouldn't restart the route properly until he was in cell range.
Some apps that are not specifically for off network download the maps temporarily.....proper Nav apps the maps are downloaded just as they are with a normal GPS.

When you go to Europe say you might have to buy the Euro maps ( that's what happens with TomTom ).

Googlemaps downloads a small portion tho it has gotten to be larger lately and gets rid of it when you close the app.

ALL GPS software has hiccups .....the software in a standalone is nothing special or different.
 

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Some apps that are not specifically for off network download the maps temporarily.....proper Nav apps the maps are downloaded just as they are with a normal GPS.

When you go to Europe say you might have to buy the Euro maps ( that's what happens with TomTom ).

Googlemaps downloads a small portion tho it has gotten to be larger lately and gets rid of it when you close the app.

ALL GPS software has hiccups .....the software in a standalone is nothing special or different.
That makes sense, thanks.
I'm going to read through that recent thread "Route-mapping without a GPS unit" and see if I can figure it out. It would be nice if could get my Galaxy 7 to work in that way and be reliable. There's way too many areas without cell service where I go touring (New England and Eastern Canada).
 

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Thank you for your assessment, which would have been more helpful in your first response BTW. FWIW, I was aware of Thumb Dogs, which do not get favorable reviews overall. I also own 2 of the RAM-X mounts, and both have failed miserably... highly NOT recommended by me.

To be fair, Doc, my posting was about my current GPS units, keeping them and updating them or getting a new GPS unit, not about smartphone usage. I see the option and clearly it is preferable for you and others, but for me that is not an option. I don't need nor want the extra wear & tear on my personal phone. However, I am glad that it works for you. Thank you again for your insight.
Garmin Zumo 390LM, phones still aren't the better choice IMHO for just navigation...........not even close. I gave the phone thing a try for navigation, its a pain in the ass with the multiple apps needed, nor are they as tough as a Zumo. I am sure Macdoc will quickly disagree and correct me, but I will stick with Garmin units and leave my iphone for phone stuff. ;)
 

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I was hoping for a more thoughtful, insightful and useful responses; however, 2 primary aspects... waterproof and data usage. Garmin is free to use and totally waterproof, Google Maps or Waze use data, drain the battery unless plugged in and the phone gets covered in dirt & grime. And I have a nice Note 5 that looks new after 2 years of daily use thank you very much. Furthermore, you need to use capacitive gloves to swipe a phone which none of my expensive riding gloves are. Not to mention that pinching, swiping, zooming, etc. are all DISTRACTED RIDING. No thanks! Count me out.
WATERPROOF, put it in a lifeproof case or similar, and make the Lifeproof mount onto the dash/bars. DATA USAGE - not needed, I use MAPSME and you dont need data and the software and maps are free. You down,load the maps when you are home/Macdonalds etc etc on WIFI etc. I rarely touch the screen while riding, so that isnt a problem. And I get all my music in the helmet with the Intercom as well as directions.

So In summary, I used an old old phone (Effectively free) MapsMe software (Free and no data) and got all my music etc. Its not hard mate.

Is that
thoughtful, insightful and useful
enough for you.
 

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you can lose the GPS (location) function on the phone sometimes if you're out of cell range.
Mate - I dont even have a sim card in the phone I use on the bike, GPS location and Cell Tower access are NOT linked
 

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Outback, I still use a GPS. The one I'm using now is a Garmin Nuvi 2455. It's not motorcycle specific, but I've been using it for many thousands of miles now with no issues. I waterproofed it from information I found on a Youtube video. It's been in multiple downpours now, including one about a week ago on my way back from Pennsylvania, that was so bad I had to pull off the road.

Mine is mounted in a RAM cradle specially made for the 2455. The cradle is attached to a homemade ball mount.

I just looked on eBay, and you can still buy the 2455 there; I've seen them as low as twenty bucks. I got mine on Amazon some time back as a refurbished model; they were cheap enough that I actually bought two of them. The newer model, the 2555, would be a more updated replacement.

I use a free software program called Tyre to Travel to plan routes on my computer in .gpx format. Tyre uses Google Maps, so the downside to the program is you need an internet connection to use it. I like it a lot; you can plan the most convoluted ride possible, drag and drop the route onto the Nuvi, and the Nuvi will follow the route and give you turn by turn directions. Garmin also has a free route planning software called Basecamp, in which you can download maps and plan routes on your computer without an internet connection. I've messed around with Basecamp, didn't like it.

If you want to use Tyre with a Garmin GPS, make sure the GPS has a feature called "Trip Planner". Trip Planner lets you import a .gpx file of your own creation into the GPS. Tom Tom also has this ability (I don't know what the feature is called on Tom Tom's units), and you can use Tyre to Travel with a Tom Tom.

I've also used an android phone with an app called OsmAnd. OsmAnd has the advantage of using downloaded maps stored on the phone, so you don't need an internet connection to plan routes on it. I hate the interface for the app, though, so if I do use it, I still end up creating routes on Tyre and importing them into my phone. I've found that, after using both devices, I still prefer the GPS.

Zumos are Garmin's top of the line motorcycle specific GPS units, and if my life depended on a GPS, I'd opt for one of those. For my day to day use, the Nuvi works just fine. The older ones are cheap, so if it gets damaged, you can toss it and get a new one. The weak point is the USB connection on the rear of the GPS; the fit isn't very tight, and they are susceptible to vibration. My USB connection is rigged to a homemade flange with velcro tape to keep it tight in the GPS.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
what rip those map prices are outrageous and you've gone through 15 Garmins !!!!! I'm sorry but that's not "holding up".....that's a rip off.
I'm sorry I wasn't really clear on this part... I've purchased all of the Garmins because I like them and wanted new "toys"... not 1 of them ever stopped working and I sold all (except 1) of them in their original boxes but for the 4 I now own (2 for the bikes and 2 for the cars (cars have lifetime maps and traffic and work great)). And I can easily afford to buy 20 Zumo's at any time, but that's not the point. I'm just trying to rationalize the value in upgrading the units vs just upgrading the maps and that's the objective of this post.

As stated in the OP, I'm a Garmin guy and have all of the related cables, chargers, mounts and software so for me to change to Tom Tom or some other brand would be even a higher investment. Again, I need to justify that value. I'm a researcher when it comes to all major purchases and rarely, if ever, impulse buy unless I need it immediately.

Great information and you obviously have done your homework on your current setup. Glad your iPhones are working out, but I'm a Droid guy because I get them for free through work. I'm in no hurry and am considering most options except the phone use. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Outback, I still use a GPS. The one I'm using now is a Garmin Nuvi 2455. It's not motorcycle specific, but I've been using it for many thousands of miles now with no issues. I waterproofed it from information I found on a Youtube video.

Garmin also has a free route planning software called Basecamp, in which you can download maps and plan routes on your computer without an internet connection. I've messed around with Basecamp, didn't like it.

Zumos are Garmin's top of the line motorcycle specific GPS units, and if my life depended on a GPS, I'd opt for one of those.
Thanks. I have read a lot of guys using the 2455 and it seems to hold up well, plus I've read about the waterproofing trick. My 500 and 550 still work great except for outdated maps and the 1X per month USB loss that simply requires wobbling the plug. They are IPX7 waterproof (rain, snow, etc. and 1 meter under water for 30 minutes) so that's not an issue. I have been running MapSource since it was invented and also Streets and Trips. I am competent in creating routes and manipulating GPX files for use (I use GPS on the bicycle too).

The search continues...
 

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I've had a Zumo 590 for a couple of years. It has a MicroSD slot and I have a 32 or 64 GB in it (I forget which). It has held up well, thru rain and shine plus a little snow. It's mounted above the tach/speedo behind the windshield. Powered by the 590 cradle mount. Bluetooth the 590 to a Sena 20s.

Also, just got a Drive 60 for the wife's Subie and an upcoming trip.
 
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