If you buy a random motorcycle GPS without reading reviews, you’re probably going to end up having a bad day. Instead, do yourself a favour and buy the best motorcycle GPS that’s in your budget. In this post, we’ll be looking at some of the top rated motorcycle GPS units that will make your motorcycle navigation life easier.
For shorter, local rides you can get away with using your smartphone. This assumes you have a data connection and motorcycle smartphone mount. For motorcycle touring and longer rides it’s a good idea to use a dedicated GPS for navigation. This is even more accurate in destinations that aren’t well-traveled, typically outside of Canada, the USA, and Western Europe.
Not only do the best motorcycle GPS devices help you navigate, they offer a number of other practical features as well. For example, you can use these devices for tracking your location, getting an accurate speed reading, and tracking various statistics. The mounting point on your handlebars and larger screens make them easy to use and view at a glance while you’re riding along.
With the right motorcycle GPS you’ll be set for riding anywhere you go. In this post, let’s take a look at some of the top rated motorbike GPS units to get you started. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a helpful buyers guide and FAQ. Let’s jump right into it!
The Best Motorcycle GPS Units for Motorcycle Riders
Garmin Zumo 396
Here at Rips and Rides we recommend the Garmin Zumo 396 as the best motorcycle GPS for most people.This is an affordable entry-level motorcycle navigation device that you can use for getting around on local rides or long trips.
Some key features of the Garmin Zumo 396 include:
- Glove-friendly display for on-the-go navigation
- 4.3-inch screen for easy viewing in outdoor conditions
- Built-in wifi for easy map access and updates when you’re on the road
- Built-in trip computer with digital fuel gauge
- Rugged and durable – designed for motorcyclists
There are so many awesome features with the Garmin Zumo 396 that it hardly makes sense to buy anything else. It’s hard to go wrong with this device as a motorcycle navigation system. It’s great for planning weekend rides away from major traffic routes or using to find the closest campground on your next motorcycle trip.
With the smartphone app you can connect your phone and enjoy hands-free calling and smart notifications. It also gives you access to live services for traffic and up to date weather reports when you’re on the road.
The Zumo 396 comes with Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect your Bluetooth headset or helmet directly to the navigation device. You’ll be able to make calls and listen to directions without having to stop or take off your helmet.
Two more features I love about this GPS are the built-in trip computer and navigation tools. The trip computer that’s you keep track of your own fuel mileage. It also lets you track your maintenance and repair dates.
The navigation tools are perfect for finding restaurants, hotels, and other attractions along your route or close to your destination. For some this might be easier than having to pull out a smartphone.
TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device (Best Cheap Motorcycle GPS)
TomTom is well known in the GPS navigation world and it’s hard to go wrong with the TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device. This navigation device is specifically designed for motorcycles, making it a perfect choice for riders looking to explore. A number of features have gone into this GPS unit that help make it suitable for motorcyclists riding in a range of different conditions.
Starting off, the TomTom Rider 550 is durable and sturdy. It comes with a 5-inch large screen that’s easy to see when you’re riding along. Wi-Fi connectivity helps you keep the device updated and allows you to download new maps. It also comes with Google Now and Siri compatibility so you can easily connect the TomTom Rider 550 with your smartphone for better navigation.
As for using the TomTom Rider 550, it boasts an impressive long lasting battery life (up to 6 hours). The bright screen is easy to read in various weather conditions, direct sunlight, and even extreme riding situations. The screen is also motorcycle glove friendly so you can use it without having to remove your gloves.
On the inside is an internal storage of 16GB. This is plenty of space for storing online maps and personalized riding routes. Should you run out of space, there’s a memory card SD slot available for added storage. Finally, the TomTom Rider 550 comes pre-installed with regional maps. Apart from that, it’s easy to download other maps through Wi-Fi depending on where you’re travelling.
As for the drawbacks, there are very few complaints about the TomTom Rider 550. Unfortunately, it comes with minimal mounting options. However, it’s not difficult to rig something up depending on your capabilities. Another drawback is that it can be tricky to update the device depending on your Wi-Fi connectivity. Apart from these small issues, the TomTom Rider 550 can still be a great choice for many riders.
Overall, the TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device is a great choice and one of the best cheap motorcycle GPS units available. This device has a long lasting battery, excellent Wi-Fi connectivity, durable build design, and a bright, responsive screen. The TomTom Rider 550 is easy to use and a practical choice for budget riders.
Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT (Best Motorcycle Bluetooth GPS)
Things We Like
- Large, easy to read screen
- Bluetooth connectivity
- User-friendly interface
Things That Could Improve
- Battery life (not such a problem for motorbikes)
- Reflective screen, difficult to see in direct-sunlight
- Can malfunction (easy to fix with a reset)
Garmin is a heavy hitter in the motorcycle navigation world. It’s the Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT that we want to recommend if you’re looking for the best motorcycle GPS with Bluetooth connectivity. This is truly a navigation device designed to take you where you want to go as effortlessly as possible. It comes loaded with practical features that many of you will find useful for your riding experiences.
Starting out, the Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT comes with a 7-inch display screen. This is amazing for navigating, especially when you don’t want to be squinting or bending over to look at the map. The screen even comes with a pinch to zoom feature, just like with your phone. This makes it easy for you to quickly access on-screen information while you’re riding.
The built-in Bluetooth connectivity lets you connect to the device to your motorcycle Bluetooth headset. Once connected, you can listen to the directions while listening to your music or conversation with other riders. Along with Bluetooth connectivity, the Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT is also equipped with voice activated command. This makes it possible to control the GPS with your voice for a safer hands-free operation.
The design of the Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT is simple and durable. It’s equipped with a glass screen and has a user-friendly interface for easy operation. There’s even active lane guidance that make it easier than ever to navigate in unfamiliar areas. Those of you on longer trips will appreciate the lifetime traffic avoidance feature that helps keep you out of traffic.
Another great feature worth mentioning is the automated navigation. With this feature, it’s nearly impossible to get lost. Even if there is no mobile network coverage you’ll still be able to navigate and get to where you’re going. Whether you’re riding in a downpour somewhere you’ve never been or you simply want easy navigation on your local rides, this is a great device.
Over all, the Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT remains as our top recommendation for the best motorcycle Bluetooth GPS device. The large-screen, easy-to-read display, and intuitive programming make this navigation unit a great device for most riders that want something with Bluetooth connectivity. As with many Garmin products, this is a rock solid product.
TomTom VIA 1525TM (Best Portable GPS for Motorcycle)
Things We Like
- Small, compact, lightweight design
- High resolution screen
- Easy-to-read display
- Can be used with motorcycle gloves
Things That Could Improve
- Clunky software
- Touchscreen could be faster
- Unimpressive battery life
Small and lightweight, it’s the TomTom VIA 1525TM that we recommend as the best portable GPS for motorcycle use. This is yet another navigation device from TomTom that’s loaded with practical features for riders.
Starting out, the TomTom VIA 1525TM is equipped with a 5-inch touchscreen. The screen boasts an easy-to-read display. It’s touch screen sensitive and you can use it while we’re in your motorcycle gloves. Even in direct sunlight, it’s still possible to read the navigation directions from the screen or use it for mapping your next route.
The design itself is lightweight and compact. That’s why we recommended as a portable motorcycle GPS. You can use it on your bike or in your car depending on where you’re going.
As for navigation, the TomTom VIA 1525TM comes with lifetime traffic updates. It also has lifetime map updates with maps of the USA already installed. Installing maps for other locations isn’t difficult thanks to the free software updates. These updates keep the device running smoothly and allow you to download other practical navigation features. One more feature worth mentioning is the advanced lane guidance, which is helpful for navigating in unfamiliar areas.
When it comes to tech specs, the TomTom VIA 1525TM comes with 8GB of internal memory. It’s also equipped with a microSD slot if you want to expand the storage. As for battery life, unfortunately it’s not that impressive. The battery life tops out at 1 hour of continuous operation. You’ll definitely want to keep this device plugged in when you’re using it.
Overall, the TomTom VIA 1525TM is a lightweight and versatile device. It’s more on the budget side of things, especially compared with all of the other models in this list. Despite that, the TomTom VIA 1525TM is a great choice if you’re looking for the best portable motorcycle GPS.
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle GPS | Buying Guide
Whether you’re commuting to work or exploring new roads, using a motorcycle GPS can be helpful in a wide range of scenarios. They’re quick to install, easy to use, and work on just about every bike.
The best GPS for motorcycle use will get you to your destination effortlessly and without distraction. You don’t want to be fumbling around with a screen while you’re riding. Having a device that simply works is all you need for navigation.
With so many models and brands to chose from it can be tricky finding the right motorbike GPS. The best units will have lane notifications, the ability to pair with your motorcycle helmet headset, and let you chose the best roads for riding.
When you’re using your car for local commuting or errands you can leave your smartphone mounted with accurate directions on your maps app. On your bike, you probably don’t want to leave your phone out and exposed to the elements. It’s also not easy to navigate when you’re already on the move. Plus those screens can be hard to see when you’re on the road.
So how can you navigate safely and effectively while you’re on the bike? By using a GPS unit that’s designed for motorcycles. These will help you navigate to your destination without being distracting or difficult to use.
In this section, let’s take a look at the features you should consider when shopping for the best motorbike GPS.
There are two main types of mounting options for most motorcycle GPS units. These are the bar mounted and tank mounted style. It depends on your preferences and how much space you have on your handlebars that determines the type of mount you need.
This type of mount positions the GPS directly on your motorcycle handlebars. The unit is kept in place while you’re riding and always provides you with a clear view of the screen. This style is typically more secure as the GPS unit is attached directly to your motorcycle and locked in place.
This type of mount has the GPS unit attached to the tank. This position isn’t as secure and the screen is harder to see since you’ll have to look down for a clear view. You also can’t use a tank mount if you’re riding with a motorcycle tank bag. Compared to the bar-mounted units, this type of mount isn’t nearly as secure.
There are a number of different mounting systems and adapters that can be used to mount a motorcycle GPS. Depending on your bike, you might have to get creative with how do you attach a navigation unit.
Some bikes have more handlebar space than others, making a handlebar-mounted unit ideal. Others, like my Honda CBR250R, will require a tank-mount or custom solution.
Motorcycle GPS Features
Most GPS units come with their own basic features built in. Along with the basics, there are some other important features that you’ll want to look for.
The specific features you choose depend on your riding style and personal preferences. These features include:
This is an incredible feature that allows you to navigate with your voice. With voice navigation you can change settings, add new destinations or way-points, and control the GPS unit without taking your hands off your motorcycle.
Bluetooth Headset Pairing
There are some units that you can connect to your motorcycle helmet or Bluetooth headset through a Bluetooth pairing connection. This way you can listen to the navigation voice giving you accurate, turn-by-turn directions while you’re riding. This makes it easy to navigate without having to look at the screen.
For motorcycle navigation, route options are essential. This is one of the main features I look for in any motorcycle GPS. This setting allows you to choose or avoid certain routes and road types. It also helps you to miss heavy traffic areas.
Waterproofing and Weatherproofing
The reason you don’t want to rely on your smartphone for navigation, especially when it’s mounted on your bike, is because it’s not weatherproof or waterproof. Weather always needs to be considered when you’re on a motorcycle ride.
The gear you have on your bike, whether it’s heated grips or a GPS, needs to be able to withstand all weather elements. This includes periods of heavy rain or even winter riding conditions.
It’s a good idea to select a waterproof motorbike GPS unit. These are designed to be used in wet and rainy conditions. They won’t be damaged or broken if you happen to get stuck in the rain.
Depending on the tank bag you’re using, it might even come equipped with a special waterproof pocket. Consider stashing the GPS in this pocket for further protection.
Another important feature is the overall durability and construction quality of the GPS you’re interested in. It’s likely that you’ll be riding in rugged and bumpy conditions, so choosing a product that’s durable and reliable is important.
Look for models with rugged frames and a durable build quality. Hard plastics and rubber guards are some construction quality features to look for. Don’t forget to read the description of any specific models to see what they’re recommended for.
Glove-Friendly Touch Screen
Let’s assume you’re riding with a pair of motorcycle gloves. Some GPS units come with a glove friendly design. These can be used when you’re wearing gloves.
Any models with this feature should be considered. They’re easier to use when you’re on the road and there’s no need to take off your gloves to operate the GPS.
Remember, always stop and pull to the side when you’re changing settings or adding a new destination. Avoid using the navigation while the motorcycle is in motion.
Best Motorbike GPS FAQ
Why Use a Motorcycle GPS?
There are number of benefits to using a dedicated motorcycle GPS as opposed to relying fully on your smartphone. Modern navigation units allow you to track almost every aspect of your ride along with providing you with local navigation.
With most new GPS models you can accurately monitor your speed, track your travel distance, and assess the terrain you’re about to explore. These little units also can show you points of interest nearby such as restaurants, gas stations, and historic sites.
The main problems with relying on your smartphone for navigation is the smaller screen and lack of weatherproofing. Navigation units come with large, easy-to-read screens that provide you with your navigation information at a quick glance.
They also are typically waterproof and designed to be used in all weather conditions. You won’t want to spend the day riding in the rain with your smartphone mounted to the motorcycle.
How Do You Mount a GPS to Your Motorcycle?
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of mounting capabilities depending on the GPS unit. Your type of bike will also determine how it can be mounted.
The most common way of mounting these devices is on the handlebars. This provides you with a clear, unobstructed view of the screen. The handlebar mounting option also makes it easy for you to access the screen for changing settings or adding new destinations.
Mounting the unit in your motorcycle gas tank is another option. This setup has a few drawbacks, including being less secure and harder to see while you’re riding.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions how to properly mount your navigation device.