Top GPS for Motorcycles – Our Analysis and Guide
If you’ve been trying to get your hands on the best motorcycle GPS, but you have little to no time to go through the dozens of reviews available online, you can rely on us. We’ve done the research for you so that you’re able to pick the perfect unit right off the bat. Based on our specific analysis, it seems that the model you ought to consider is the Garmin Nuvi 57. Available with 5-inch and 6-inch displays, this alternative can assist you in getting your directions correctly and efficiently. The unit is backup camera compatible, so feel free to use it on all of your vehicles. Besides, the interface is far easier to use when compared to that of other devices in the line. In case the Garmin Nuvi 57 is no longer available, we suggest you have a look at the specs of the next best choice, the Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT.
Our Team Recommends
Sifting through the many motorcycle GPS for sale nowadays can take a whole lot of time and effort. To save you some hours, we have selected some of the most popular options that we have come across. They’re reliable, convenient, and based on what we have found about them, they seem to be easy to use.
Garmin Nuvi 57 B00RVGZS30
Garmin makes some of the most efficient tracking devices and GPS units ever to have seen the light of day. The brand’s engineers constantly improve their products so as for them to be tailored to the needs of modern motorbikers.
The Nuvi 57 comes in two sizes. You can choose the smaller 5-inch one or go for the larger 6-inch alternative. We recommend selecting a model that comes outfitted with both lifetime maps and traffic, as this way, you will know for sure that you will reach your destination without wasting any time.
Some of the critically acclaimed features boasted by the Nuvi 57 model range from a Lane Assist with Junction View setting to the well-known Garmin Real Directions. If you possess a quality pair of headphones, you can actively listen to the instructions provided by the interface.
What’s more, the Up Ahead feature lets you know where you can stop and grab a bite to eat or just park or refill your gas tank.
Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT B00AXX0I88
One of the neatest things about this particular choice is that its traffic feature doesn’t require a subscription. Therefore, what you pay is what you get without having to deal with extra costs. The product comes outfitted with both Garmin Real Directions and Garmin Real Voice, which means that you will be able to find out way effectively and learn what you ought to know about nearby landmarks and buildings.
There’s also a Smartphone Link setting you may want to use if you own an Android device or an iPhone. This way, the GPS will be able to rely on your phone’s data so as to constantly update your information. Your family and friends will find out where you are and won’t have to worry about anything.
What’s more, you get all of the info you might require displayed on the backlit screen. Even more so, the comprehensive driving guidance can assist you in changing lanes without too much effort.
Garmin Zumo 590LM B00JZSB7NW
Another good motorcycle GPS is the Zumo 590LM. Unlike some of the other navigational devices we have analyzed, this one is specifically designed to work on motorbikes and other types of small vehicles. Granted, it might have a smaller screen, and it is available in just one size — with a 5-inch display.
Nonetheless, the unit does come with more than enough features that will take usability to a whole new level. Aside from the traffic and the weather, as well as all of the other handy settings typically provided by the Garmin interface, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the MP3 player capability.
Something else worth noting in relation to the Zumo 590LM is that it is waterproof, which is not an aspect you might find in all GPS units designed for motorbikers. In fact, in many cases, you need to purchase both the device and a waterproof motorcycle GPS case so as to make sure that your unit is protected from the elements.
TomTom VIA 1535TM B004MYFTFQ
While some might argue that this product is capable of lower performance when compared to that of other models, the fact is that it’s a cheap motorcycle GPS that gets the job done effectively and conveniently. If you’re on a tight budget, you should consider it, especially as it comes with free map updates and traffic.
Another detail that seems to set the TomTom VIA 1535TM aside from the rest of its competitors is that it comes with a voice recognition feature. Believe it or not, this aspect might not be boasted by all modern models. The device lets you do a lot of things ranging from hands-free calling to consulting points of interest.
Whether you want to stop at the next gas station or check in to a nearby motel, you can safely do so with the help of this product. Additionally, if you ever run into any sort of trouble, the TomTom’s Roadside Assistance will help you get in touch with a specialist.
Garmin Zumo 395LM B01BVUWXAW
If you are on the hunt for a GPS unit that works under all circumstances, even in foul weather, you might need to check out the specs of the Zumo 395LM. Its rugged design is among its most esteemed features, but the fact that it also allows hands-free calling and it comes with both music and media are two other factors you may have to bear in mind.
As is the case with other GPS units designed specifically for motorcycle riders, this one boasts a plethora of highways and routes that can help you save gas and time. You won’t have to deal with any mishaps if you rely on the interface of this design.
A cool function that you might appreciate if you decide to go for this product is its collection of rider alerts. What this means for you is that you will receive a notification each time the helmet laws in the various states you are transiting change, or when there’s a sharp curve ahead.
TomTom Rider 400 B011J1P9NG
This portable navigational device is waterproof and convenient. It can help you make the most of your trip by assisting you with planning it. The interface is specifically developed so as to help you find areas you want to explore or just look at while you’re riding your motorbike. You can set all of your stops right from the beginning of your journey.
While it might not be the most affordable model ever to have been invented, this TomTom one definitely comes with several features that are rather hard to say no to. One of them is the unique Winding Roads function. If you take pleasure in taking a long ride and seeing as much as possible, you might not want to choose the same boring straight road as ever.
In addition to all of this, the Rider 400 is accompanied by a Lifetime TomTom Services function that doesn’t cost an extra penny. The device is also waterproof, in case that’s the most important feature you want from a GPS.
Other accessories you may need for your motorbiking pursuits
Many motorcycle GPS reviews recommend purchasing several accessories along with your base unit, and that’s either because some of them are not waterproof and as such, can’t withstand the abuse of the elements, or because you have to connect the GPS to your motorbike somehow. Check out some of the most popular such extras below.
Battery Tender 081-0158 B00DJ5KEF4
Despite being one of the most affordable options we have come across, this charger is easy to use, convenient, and above all, versatile. It can be used to charge any device you might use for your ATV or bike. The rubber flap that it has been outfitted with protects the charger connectors, so you needn’t worry about anything.
What’s more, since the Battery Tender choice weighs next to nothing and has a small size, it is quite portable. In fact, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from carrying it in your ATV rear seat bag or personal motorcycle backpack.
One thing that we do have to mention in relation to this type of product is that you do have to disconnect it from your motorbike when the motor is turned off. Otherwise, it might drain the battery gradually.
After all, the whole point of getting such a charger is to be able to provide extra power for your navigational device, smartphone, or any other electronics you may want to use.
Aduro U-Grip Plus B00R6RSCV4
One of the worst things about some GPS units is that they come with zero mounting equipment. If you aren’t particularly creative or you do not possess a set of DIY skills, you may find it hard to make the best motorcycle GPS mount all on your own.
Here’s where the Aduro model comes in handy as it saves you all the hassle. All you have to do is attach it to your motorbike handlebar or roll bar. It is compatible with a wide array of devices ranging from the iPhone X to a variety of Samsung smartphones.
The cool thing about this mount is that its position is adjustable, so you can set it however you want. Some backlit screens are better than others, but when the sun is shining directly on the display, you might have to adjust the device to see what’s going on. This mount can assist you in doing just that.
Since it’s budget-friendly, we really couldn’t recommend it more. Even if you prefer using your personal cell phone instead of a dedicated GPS, you still might benefit from utilizing this accessory.
CAW.CAR Bike & Motorcycle Mount B015UIPMH2
In some respects, this product is more or less similar to any other mount you might have come across. However, it does have several limitations and a variety of extra features, too. Although it is universal, it mostly works with smartphones.
The neatest thing about it, though, is the fact that it comes with a shock-absorbing and particularly secure rubberized clip. The silicone belt grips keep your device in the right place all throughout your journey.
Just like the Aduro choice we’ve also mentioned in this selection, this one boasts an adjustable grip with 360-degree rotation freedom. You can set up your smartphone or device in any orientation you like.
To make sure that this product works for your specific motorbike, you ought to know that it fits handlebars that range from 0.6” to 1.4” in diameter. It is compatible with any type of device that’s up to 3.7 inches wide. Given that this product has acquired over two thousand favorable reviews over time, we say that it’s worth a try if it’s compatible with your bike’s handlebar.
Ram Mounts RAM-B149Z-UN7U B006X387ZS
The design of this model is slightly different from that boasted by other choices we’ve found to be available these days. It’s outfitted with a spring-loaded holder, which means that it is capable of expanding or contracting depending on the attributes of your bike’s handlebar.
Unlike some of the other mounting systems we’ve come across, this one is zinc-coated, so it can definitely put up with a lot of abuse. The rubber coated tips that it has been equipped with are able to hold your device in a stable position and in doing so, they will ensure that your smartphone or GPS is safely fastened to your vehicle.
As for versatility, the coolest thing about this product is that it works with a plethora of smartphones ranging from the antiquated iPhone 3 to the more modern Samsung S6 Edge Plus.
The unit fits rails that have a diameter ranging from 0.50” to 1.25”. This model is another popular choice for motorbike riders.
MICTUNING SAE Cable Adapter B01HEJVXUK
Nothing beats a quality cable adapter if you don’t want to use an external battery charger. You can conveniently connect this product to your motorbike battery so as for it to supply the necessary power to the smartphone or GPS unit, you will use on the road.
This all-around USB charger and adapter can be utilized with two devices at the same time, which essentially means that you’ll be able to charge your phone and your navigational device simultaneously. The unit is both CE and ROHS certified, which is a clue as to whether it’s perfectly safe to use.
Nobody likes to have to organize too many wires or cables, whether they’re those of your computer or those you need on your motorbike. So you may want to know that this unit is accompanied by a steady and flexible mount complete with four install ties and glue. Furthermore, the charger comes with a rubber weatherproof USB cover that ensures both dust and water resistance.
Some consumers argue that the sticky tape provided in the box might be less useful, however.
322 GPS Glare Visor B009N9JXD4
Just as your brand new motorcycle helmet might need a visor if you want to make sure you’re able to see the road no matter the weather conditions, the same goes for your GPS device. This visor is capable of providing both a little extra in the way of security and has a glare-reducing purpose.
The model is made from 75% polyester and 25% foam, which means that the material it is designed from should be able to make it stand the test of time. Probably the neatest thing about this choice is that it is a breeze to install. You can set it up in a timely fashion, and therefore save time.
Something worth mentioning regarding the product is that it is compatible with GPS devices with 4.7-inch to 5-inch displays. Given that the standard when it comes to motorbike GPS units is 5 inches, this feature somehow limits the versatility offered by this particular product.
Nonetheless, it does do a pretty good job when it comes to blocking unwanted sunlight. The GPS screen won’t have to become scalding after several hours of riding.
This Year’s Buying Guide
The best GPS units for motorcycle riders don’t come cheap, and some might have features that you could do without. If this is the first time you’re scouring the market for the perfect device for your needs, you’ve ended up in the perfect place.
We’ve created a straightforward guide that can assist you in understanding what aspects make the difference between a GPS you want in your life and one you might be better not buying.
What type best suits your needs?
There are roughly three ways of going about things if you want to make sure you’re getting a perfect navigational device for your motorbiking pursuits. You can get a dedicated motorcycle GPS unit, make the most out of a portable hiking unit, or use your smartphone.
Special motorbike GPSes often do a better job compared to the other kinds of products we have mentioned. Most of them are equipped with sensors that enable them to connect to satellites, and as such, they don’t need to be connected to your smartphone and use up your data to do their job. Besides, they are built to be rugged and are designed to withstand a lot of abuse.
The problem with some motorcycle GPS units is that they aren’t particularly user-friendly. Some, most of which are unfortunately manufactured by big brands such as Garmin, are accompanied by apps that should make the task of updating maps a lot easier. The Internet is jam-packed with forums where motorbike riders vent their frustration with regard to the Garmin Basecamp application.
So, this is one of the risks you ought to consider when you’re getting a dedicated GPS for your motorcycle. They do have loads of useful features, though, and the fact that they come with audible directions make it easier for you to find your way.
Hiking units mostly speak to the needs of motorcyclists who also love to engage in other activities such as camping and mountain biking. Although this kind of devices is, without a doubt, versatile and accurate, they might do less in terms of offering you the info you need when you want to know that the tunnel you’re going to pass through isn’t closed for repair. All of this brings us to the conclusion that hiking GPS units do not address the requirements of all motorbikers.
Finally, if you want to save some money and want to make the most of your latest smartphone, you can safely use an app. We’ve included a section at the end of the article on the most popular and effective mobile applications for the purpose of motorcycle riding, most of which you can use for free.
Keep in mind that you need to have signal and data in order to use such apps.
Screen size and anti-glare properties
It goes without saying that your GPS unit should come with a display that’s readable both when it’s dark outside and when the sun is shining up in the sky. Anti-glare screens are standard in dedicated models, but they might not show up in hiking GPSes.
As for the dimension of the display, it’s mostly a matter of personal preferences. While some motorbikers might feel like using a too large GPS can hinder their sight and moves, others might be more reassured if they have a significantly bigger display where they can see everything. The screen needs to be glove-friendly because you always need to be protected and wear some of the most effective motorcycle gloves you can afford.
One of the most important concerns of motorbikers who are on the hunt for a brand new GPS is the number of hours it is capable of doing its job. Not only does the GPS device battery life matter, but you might also have to consider getting an extra charger. Be sure to pick the most user-friendly one, which means that it should be mounted somewhere conveniently so as to avoid dangling from the handlebar.
Fortunately, when it comes to connectivity, most GPS units are outfitted with USB ports, which means that they’re a great fit for most chargers available nowadays. Some chargers are better than others because they can be connected to your motorbike battery, too.
Entertainment and updates
If you own two smartphones and a GPS unit, three might be too many devices to carry on you. If you want to avoid this hassle, we suggest opting for a navigational product that can allow you to listen to music and consult both traffic updates and all sorts of weather alerts.
The weather feature can make it or break it, because we all know how the elements can sometimes get in the way of a safe and comfortable motorbike ride. If you have the money, we suggest choosing a GPS that comes with free lifetime map and traffic updates.
As we were saying, you want to keep track of everything that might happen ahead of you. With a traffic update feature, the device will notify you of accidents and roadblocks that might ruin your trip and force you to turn around and get on a different motorway.
Sharing is caring
It’s often that a motorbiker’s family and friends might want to keep track of his or her progress on the route. There are two ways of achieving this goal. If you use a smartphone like an iPhone, you can conveniently activate the Find Friends app and share your location with your contacts. The app is free and comes pre-installed on all iPhones.
On the other hand, you can do the same with your GPS unit provided that it is equipped with a Bluetooth capability. There are either apps manufactured by the brand that let you share your location through them, or the unit needs to connect to your smartphone and do that via Foursquare or other location apps.
There are other features you need to watch out for, such as the SD card slot boasted by your chosen model, whether or not it comes with its own mount, and in the end, how durable it might be. Before spending a whopping $500 on a new GPS, we suggest analyzing every bit of info you can.
Frequently asked questions about motorcycle GPSes
How to install a motorcycle GPS unit?
It shouldn’t take you too much time and effort to get your device up and running. Most interfaces are easy to use, and all you have to do is connect it to a charger or the battery of your motorbike. Some models come with their own mounting systems while with others, you will need to purchase a separate one.
Most of the mounts we have come across are user-friendly and convenient and can be attached to you handlebar in under two minutes. As for your journey, you can set everything up with the help of the interface.
Why are motorcycle GPSes so expensive?
Not all navigational devices cost a pretty penny, but there are some that might require quite a lot in the way of financial investments. The best waterproof motorcycle GPS will always be more expensive than one of its less rugged counterparts.
Moreover, base models are traditionally cheaper compared to those that include map and traffic updates. While with the latter, what you see is what you get as you won’t have to spend an extra cent later on, with base models you may have to purchase extra maps or spend money on a monthly or yearly subscription if you want traffic updates.
Why buy a motorbike GPS?
One of the core advantages ensured by a motorcycle GPS, especially when compared to mobile apps that virtually do the same thing is that the first is more reliable. The GPS and maps are loaded or built into the device, which means that the unit is capable of providing directions even when you have no data.
Plus, let’s face it. The size of a typical GPS is considerably bigger compared to any smartphone you may want to use. Moreover, utilizing your personal phone can be risky as you can break it if you don’t protect it with some sort of extra rugged cover.
Best motorcycle GPS apps
Millions of people use Waze on a regular basis. It’s a community-based traffic and navigation app, which means that it can help you get updates regarding incidents up ahead, as well as whether there’s a police vehicle doing its rounds. Maps are edited both by Waze employees, but also by drivers like yourself. You can also select the type of vehicle you drive so that you get personalized updates for motorbiking.
This free app is available for iOS devices. It’s said to be one of the most efficient applications if you want to plan your route and track the progress of other motorbike riders. The navigation screen is designed to use on a motorbike and features large fonts, as well as a screen layout that allows you to see everything with just one peek.
While it might be imperfect when compared to other apps, Google Maps remains one of the most reliable collections of online maps. You can use the app both when you’re online and when you’re offline. What you need to do is download a particular map of the area where you are going to travel or transit through so that you have it on hand when you need it the most. One thing that this app can’t do, though, is to provide you with info regarding the traffic.
This application is popular with iOS users, and some might argue that it beats Google Maps when it comes to reliability and efficiency. However, the app has had a lot of bugs over time, which is why it might be less critically acclaimed compared to others we have mentioned. It has the same drawback of not being able to offer you any traffic-related info as Google Maps.