Motorcycle sat navs tested #ride5000miles

If you're planning to #ride5000miles this year a good, reliable motorcycle sat nav is almost a necessity. Some of #ride5000miles members have covered tens of thousands of miles with their sat nav of choice, so who better to give you the lowdown.

Garmin Zumo 590, £539

Geoff Blackburn, Honda VFR1200
Used for 10,000 miles

“I’ve linked this to my Autocom and to my HTC phone. It’s a great bit of kit and I especially like the Smartlink app on the phone which allows the Zumo to monitor traffic, roadworks, road closures and to use my Google calendar. If I have a meeting or event on my Google calendar with a destination stored on my phone, I can set off on the bike and a message comes up on the Zumo asking if I want to navigate to it. Very clever.”


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BMW Nav IV, £550

Ian Speight, BMWR1200GS
Used for 45,000 miles

“Three years and it’s never missed a beat. I used to swear by maps and bulletpoint directions in a tankbag, but not now. I still research the route and sometimes let my eyes and road signs over rule the sat nav, but it makes finding hotels so much easier. I use it with an interphone Bluetooth if I’m on my own but always revert back to the Autocom if the other half is pillion.”


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TomTom Rider 400, £280

James Goodwin
Used for 3100 miles

“I find that it can be slow and unresponsive, but works well though once I finally manage to get the route programmed into it. I can fortunately plan it in advance on my phone and send the route to the device which helps. It’s also managed to get a little condensation inside which becomes really noticeable when the sun is in a position to cause glare, which makes the screen even less visible.”


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TomTom Rider 3, £250

Keith Henson, Ducati ST2
Used for 10,000 miles

“It has worked wonders on trips from Wales to Spain, Italy and Poland. Paired with a nxet headset (best £30 I’ve ever spent) it has been faultless. And whoever invented the twisty road button needs a medal as some of the routes it comes up with are utterly amazing. I don’t use my Samsung 6 Edge, I just turn that off and carry it in case something goes wrong wth the sat nav.”


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Garmin Zumo 660, £385

Eric Backhouse, Yamaha MT-09 Tracer
Used for 90,000 miles

“Used in a Touratech secure mount, it’s a great device. The Zumo’s standout features are: connection to my intercom, the built-in MP3 player and book reader. And it is connected to my iPhone so I can take and make calls with my Shoei still in place. And that big screen is an advantage. I also have a Starcom Advanced Intercom which lets me listen to my Zumo, music and use my phone.”

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The ultimate set-up

Mark Fowler, R1200GS Adventure
“For long distance rides and Iron Butt events I always use two sat-navs. A Garmin Zumo 590 (top) as my main unit, set to ‘Track up’ and an older Garmin Zumo 550 (right) as my back-up which is set to ‘North up’ and zoomed out so Ic an see the overall route, just in case my 590 tries to route me a weird way.

“I sometimes also mount my Samsung S4 in a powered and waterproof Ultimate Addons case (left). The thing in the centre is a laminated route card which I can write on using a Lumo pen. This mounts via velcro onto a perspex holder using another Ultimate Addons ram mount style ball joint thingy!”

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