How to Find the Best Motorcycle GPS
The adventure of the open road is one of the features that attracts new riders to owning a motorcycle. However, just like any other vehicle, sometimes you need something to tell you how to get where you’re going. This is where a GPS comes in.
It’s important to note, though, that choosing a GPS for your motorcycle is different from choosing one for a car. There are additional considerations you’ll want to take into account such as exposure to the elements. Here, we are going to look at what features you should consider when choosing a motorcycle GPS.
Types of GPS Models You Might Choose
There are a few different model types you might run into when you are shopping around for a motorcycle GPS. These include specialized motorcycle GPS systems, GPS systems made for hiking, and hybrids of GPS and PDAs.
Specialized GPS systems for motorcycles are built to last through anything a rider throws at it. These are typically durable, waterproof, and use anti-glare screens. The main goal of these systems is that they will provide safety to motorcyclists in particular. These also often link to Bluetooth devices, so it’s easier to hear GPS instructions. These are a popular choice among motorcycle owners for their specialization.
An outdoor hiking unit is portable and strong as it’s meant to be carried around if needed. These are a great all-in-one option. If this is what you go with, you’ll want to make sure you have a universal mounting system to make sure it fits wherever you need it to go.
GPS/PDA hybrids have a large screen, making it easy to see while riding. These offer additional features you’d expect from a PDA such as compatibility with Microsoft Office, photo storage, or even games.
Durability is an important feature to look for when purchasing a motorcycle GPS. Unlike cars, motorcycles are not shielded from the elements by a roof and doors, so any weather you encounter is going to make contact with your GPS. You’ll want to find a product that’s suited to handle getting wet. This will help keep it in working order in an event such as being on your bike and the weather is working against you.
Another aspect of durability is shock resistance. This is a term that you often hear referring to products such as watches. Thermal shock resistance basically means that your GPS will be able to handle shifts in weather – even if they’re sudden changes. This means it will withstand the factors that usually cause malfunctions in the internal workings of the GPS.
Because, as noted, motorcycles are exposed to the environment, the probability that your GPS will get knocked around if fairly high. While the worst case scenario is an accident, you’ll want a durable GPS for any situation in which it might get knocked around. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this aspect to avoid having to replace a broken or damaged GPS.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the connection of the GPS you are buying. If you’re exclusively riding around in the city, the connection may not be as concerning. If you’re going to be exploring backroads at any point, you’ll want a strong connection to compete with areas that typically have poor GPS connection.
For these situations, you might also want to consider a GPS that can use preloaded maps, so you don’t have to worry about losing signal while you’re on the road.
Another difference between cars and motorcycles is the amount of noise that you encounter when traveling. Because cars are enclosed, road noise is minimal and doesn’t affect your ability to hear the GPS giving you directions. On a motorcycle, however, you’re going to encounter a significant amount of road noise. You’ll want to find a product that can be adjusted to a volume that can still be heard when riding. To make this easier, some systems are Bluetooth enabled.
Battery life is an important factor to take into consideration when looking at products. While most of your trips will be local, there will likely be a few times that you’ll want to hit the road and ride for awhile. Whether your trip lasts for a day or a week, you’ll want to have a GPS with a long battery life. There are even some tips you can use to extend the battery of life that you can look at here.
When it comes to screen size, there’s a balance you’ll want to strive for. On one hand, you’ll want a screen large enough to easily see while you’re riding. However, some bikers don’t like GPS systems that are too bulky. You’ll have to consider your personal taste and motorcycle size in balancing these aspects.
On the topic of screens, you’ll want to consider an anti-glare feature for the screen. Even if you’re wearing the best sunglasses money can buy, you may still struggle with seeing your GPS in direct sunlight. With anti-glare screens, you won’t struggle nearly as much with this problem.
Once your necessary bases are covered, you can look into extra features that some models offer. While none of these are features that you need, they can make your experience with the GPS much easier.
One feature that is often beneficial is the ability to use the GPS touch screen while wearing gloves. Many riders wear gloves while on the road, and taking a glove off while driving isn’t an option. Rather than having to pull over every time you want to adjust your GPS, you may want to opt for a model that allows for touch screen use while wearing gloves.
Last but definitely not least, you’ll want to consider your budget. There are plenty of GPS systems that can offer value without costing you an arm and a leg.
When you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect GPS system that will take you wherever you want to go.