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MCN  says:

You ask/you answer: Are sat-navs really necesarry?

"When I need to, I strap a knackered old map to my tank to get me from A to B. My friends all seem to use sat-navs but I don’t see the point. They are hugely expensive and fiddly, having to attach and detach them after every use must be irritating. Are there really any benefits that my trusty map can’t...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (18 February 2013 11:31)

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Mar 10

Posts: 119

MudDoctor says:


with greatest of respect, there are situations where you can't read the road ahead because the signs, natural or man made, are simply not there. Up in the Highlands, on single track roads, for instance, the signage is somewhat lacking. On a bleak uphill road over the saddle of a mountain pass, there are no trees or hedges to give you a clue as to which way the road goes over the summit. Sharp corners are signposted, but not all corners are. It takes no more time to glance at the SatNav than it does to glance at the speedo. I'm not map reading, or staring at it, it's just a glance, like you might glance in the mirror, and no more of a distraction than that. There's enough information there to see what you need to see.

Like I said, if I'm on a familiar road, I don't need it or use it. If I'm on a road that I've never been on before, I find it a useful aid.

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Feb 09

Posts: 515

@ Mud doctor, with respect to you also, Satnav is only as accurate as the information it receives from GPS signals. On an unfamiliar road, I tend to slow down and READ the clues as to where a road goes. Telegraph poles and lines, hedges, vanishing points on bends - they all matter, because a satnav cannot see what is in front of it, what the road surface is like, is it raining, gravelly, frosty - I could go on, but don't to bore anyone. My point is, gadgets can be useful, but an innate sense of self preservation and not trusting to a device which can't actually SEE what's in front is, to a certain extent, trusting to luck and not ability. As bikers, we are inherently individuals. What we each choose to do is our business. For those who like them, carry on using these thingys. For me personally, I won't, ta. I trust me, not some Chinese factory worker.



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Jan 11

Posts: 8416

snev says:


Fair shout..... there are times when it is of use But I have watched Generations of people becoming dependent upon the latest technology as if their lives depend on it, the average teenage girl is seldom without the latest HTC or iPhone. Go to a pub and everybody is multi tasking on their phones. The use of these important devices is so ingrained that it is no wonder so many people Text, email, Facebook, Twiter etc Whilst driving. I drive and ride quite high miles all over the country and witness many many clueless drivers some eating and drinking some texting others so wrapped up in conversation with passengers that they don't have a clue what is going on around them. It is clear to me that this will only get worse. 

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Sep 10

Posts: 1323

SatNavSteve says:

I find it hard to believe how reliant on sat navs some people commenting on here are. What happened before them? Were there holes in hedges and walls all over the country as people couldn't manage to take a bend without crashing? I've had two near misses in the last year where I've rounded a bend on a road too narrow for stopping but there was a vehicle stopped for whatever reason and I narrowly missed it because I was concentrating on where I was going and missed it. If I had been dependent on a sat nav, I may have taken it for granted how to take the bend and hit something I wasn't expecting. I think riders should concentrate on their own inherent skills and not rely on technology. If your sat nav fails, do you ring for a breakdown truck because you don't feel capable or confident to ride home?

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Sep 12

Posts: 212

domster says:

Sat Navs

Swapped a tank bag full of tatty, rotting maps for a sat nav & road atlas 12 years ago, sorted! Just a shame none available with a headphone socket now.

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Feb 13

Posts: 12

talkToTheHat says:

No, but weights less than all my maps

Trying to plan a sensible route on a satnav is irritating. I don't want to go chasing up the M1, nor do I want to cut through every town centre and housing estate on my way from A to B. I've got A to Z streetplans that cover most of yorkshire and some of the surrounding counties, handy for actually finding a place I need to get to, and getting an idea of how to get across a town sensibly. I can usually study a map once and get to my next comfort break without getting lost. However, google maps and google local get used on my phone if I do lose track of where I am, or if something unexpected shows up and I need to find the nearest petrol station or place to eat. At this point having clever satnav on the bars would be luxurious. Tried to use google navigate, it's always late with directions at really irritating times, and is a liability through anywhere with complex roundabouts. Will never blindly follow a satnav, too many times I've been in a car trying to give directions to somewhere I know how to find, and driver demands use of satnav which then fails to find place, or asks driver to do something dangerous.

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Feb 12

Posts: 242

Titosfuneral says:

Not essential but useful in certain situations.

Whenever I have to go to London, a city I don't really know and hate riding in a satnav is almost essential because I find using a map so distracting and potentially dangerous. However, if I'm going long distance or on country roads, I prefer to use a map.

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Jul 09

Posts: 7

JustChillOut says:

Some of the best roads I have ever ridden were 'discovered' on a map. Out in the middle of nowhere, we stop to look at the map and see a road that looks interesting and go check it out. Being able to see how a road tracks the contours of the terrain, the switchbacks, potential for great views etc. we've found some real gems. SatNav is great for navigating cities and getting to your destination with maximum efficiency. But for adventure, give me the map every time.

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Jan 13

Posts: 19

NoddieGee says:

Satnav Rules!

I'm 48, have been riding long before the dawn of the Satnav age. In my opinion, if used as it should, Satnave is so much better than a map. Relaxed, confident, seamless riding are the first things that come to mind, and not to mention the fact that you can see the road ahead of you! Nowadays, I use maps only for the planning stage of my trips.

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Dec 11

Posts: 11

kharli says:

100 quid got me second hand sat nav ,cover and bracket..I find essential for city riding (leeds anyone !) and a hoot set on bicycle routes in any country...sure you have to turn around occasionally but you will find beautiful routings. The ability to see somewhere on the hoof and just go for it and seamlessly getting back on track great too....running low on petrol..simple clik to find nearest..campsites and many other useful poi are good too. I use map for general planning and sat nav en route.. As mine a cheep car one i find i have to spray it with wd or similar to stop humidity ingress when coming from cold to warm ..or a general reboot is required

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