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Navigation - Maps, Compass, GPS How to find your way - traditional map, compass and road signs, or GPS and more
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  #1  
Old 29 Jun 2012
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Which Sat Nav should I buy?

Simple question I know but I guess not a simple answer.

I've never had a GPS for my bike but our car one has died so I thought I might get one for my bike which we can also use in the car. I've done a little research and Garmin Zumo seems popular but expensive. And I think I'm right in saying the 550 used to be the one to have but the new one is the 660???

I have no idea what I'm talking about - I LIKE maps! But perhaps I should join the 21st century. I did a lot of traveling last year and I was the only rider I ever met without a GPS.

I live in the UK by the way. I'm going to Ripley next week so if anyone is going and doesn't want their Sat Nav anymore let me know!




RIP Lonesome George-the Galapagos Tortoise.
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  #2  
Old 29 Jun 2012
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I chose the Tomtom Rider Pro Europe for £267 from Handtec, I'm a total novice with these things but am getting along OK with it. A mate of mine has just brought a Mappy unit, they're French and fairly new on the market but seem to do everthing Tomtom and Garmin do for just £190. I've not seen it yet but it looks well worth investigating, has anyone got any experience of Mappy products?
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  #3  
Old 29 Jun 2012
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I just bought a BMW Navigator IV, which is basically a Garmin 660, but with a 3 yr warranty rather than 1 yr and it comes with lifetime updates. But I'm in the states so that may not be available to you.

The 550 is what I have had for several years until it died recently. Good unit. Used it almost everyday whether in my truck or on the bike. But they are expensive.

The 660 seems like an okay unit so far. Not sure I would recommend the Nav IV version as it appears to only work with stereo bluetooth, which I Have not purchased yet.

Garmin uses Navteq maps, which I'm told are the best maps for gps units. So Whatever you buy, that might be something to confirm.

Good luck. But don't throw away your maps.
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  #4  
Old 29 Jun 2012
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I bought a 550 several years ago, wired and mounted it on my bike.....and decided to leave it at home for several trips spanning five continents and about 100k miles. Paper maps mostly work fine, and just about every time I followed someone using a GPS we ended up circling endlessly, riding the wrong way up on-way streets, taking direct routes through traffic-clogged cities instead of bypassing, looking for closed or imaginary highways, and in other respects making life difficult for ourselves.

Throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America you might notice that it's only the Euro-American-Australian riders who use GPS. Locals, including locals riding long distances on all sorts of funky machinery, seldom bother. That might be significant.

On occasion, a GPS might have been really handy. On occasion, GPS's carried by other riders WERE really handy. This had mostly to do with tracks and waypoints downloaded from other travelers. If you're willing to do this part, a GPS might save your butt from time to time. If not, maybe you don't need it.

Of course, all also depends on where you go. Navigating European cities after dark in search of a specific hostel or hotel seems to me the highest and best use of an expensive GPS, and it's sometimes almost impossible with paper maps and verbal directions from passers by. I had some ridiculously inefficient experiences in Italian cities during rush hours, and even worse during a trucker's strike--those would have been perfect times to have been using a GPS.

I'd add only that people who start using GPS rarely seem to switch back to paper maps. They then sometimes spend much of their time dealing with failures of processors, connectors, mounts, etc., and in my experience they get very resistant to ever asking local people for directions....which seems to me a real loss.

This point of view worth precisely what you paid me for it. Ride your own ride.

Mark
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  #5  
Old 30 Jun 2012
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I think the money these days are on the Garmin Montana's - only issue is that they do not come with any maps, but as a device it looks to be a winner.

I've had the 2610, Zumo 500, and now the 660, and by far the best was the 2610, as it did was it was supposed to do. The Zumo's are plagued by sub-standard software (firmware) which causes it them to do very strange things which it somes to navigating a route, but in general they work.

I have to agree with Mark, when people get a GPS they forget that maps still exist. I always carry maps for the areas I travel in, and use them to get an overview of which way to go - but many people tend to forget about the all that when they get "new" tech in their hands.

The neat thing is that one can use a GPS as a "smart" map; meaning using it as an auto turning/moving map - just zoom far enough out to be able to see a large enough area, works like a treat. But nothing have yet been invented which can beat a map....


Casper
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Old 30 Jun 2012
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Thanks for the advice. You're saying what I'm pretty much thinking. Two years ago is pent 6 months getting from Alaska to Panama. No GPS, just my maps. I negotiated my way through big cities (including Mexico City) by map, pen and apper and talkign to people.

I then went to Southern Africa, again with maps. I met up with other bikers who all had GPS units. It was useful when we were in cities but I felt they were slaves to there computers and didn't actually always know where they were.

So, it's a balance isn't it. Use a GPS when you haev to but for God's sake take maps and talk to people. But as I said, our car GPS has died and my wife needs one for work as she drives all over the UK and needs to find places easily. So perhaps it makes sense to get a bike one that can double up.

I'm off to HUBB UK this week so I'll nose around at all the bikes.

Thnaks again for your thoughts I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think.
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Old 30 Jun 2012
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+ 1 for Montana
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  #8  
Old 1 Jul 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I bought a 550 several years ago, wired and mounted it on my bike.....and decided to leave it at home for several trips spanning five continents and about 100k miles. Paper maps mostly work fine, and just about every time I followed someone using a GPS we ended up circling endlessly, riding the wrong way up on-way streets, taking direct routes through traffic-clogged cities instead of bypassing, looking for closed or imaginary highways, and in other respects making life difficult for ourselves.

Throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America you might notice that it's only the Euro-American-Australian riders who use GPS. Locals, including locals riding long distances on all sorts of funky machinery, seldom bother. That might be significant.

On occasion, a GPS might have been really handy. On occasion, GPS's carried by other riders WERE really handy. This had mostly to do with tracks and waypoints downloaded from other travelers. If you're willing to do this part, a GPS might save your butt from time to time. If not, maybe you don't need it.

Of course, all also depends on where you go. Navigating European cities after dark in search of a specific hostel or hotel seems to me the highest and best use of an expensive GPS, and it's sometimes almost impossible with paper maps and verbal directions from passers by. I had some ridiculously inefficient experiences in Italian cities during rush hours, and even worse during a trucker's strike--those would have been perfect times to have been using a GPS.

I'd add only that people who start using GPS rarely seem to switch back to paper maps. They then sometimes spend much of their time dealing with failures of processors, connectors, mounts, etc., and in my experience they get very resistant to ever asking local people for directions....which seems to me a real loss.

This point of view worth precisely what you paid me for it. Ride your own ride.

Mark
Having spent quite a bit of time reading into the subject of GPS, I am inclined toward Mark's view, expressed so well above, and similar opinion shown below - no matter if I did have a GPS I can't help wanting to look at maps and navigate in the way I have done for so many years.
Apart from Marks' examples of situations in which GPS comes into its own there are the cases of navigation in featureless conditions, such as at sea (especially out of sight of land) and in deserts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonesome George View Post
Thanks for the advice. You're saying what I'm pretty much thinking. Two years ago is pent 6 months getting from Alaska to Panama. No GPS, just my maps. I negotiated my way through big cities (including Mexico City) by map, pen and apper and talkign to people.

I then went to Southern Africa, again with maps. I met up with other bikers who all had GPS units. It was useful when we were in cities but I felt they were slaves to there computers and didn't actually always know where they were.

So, it's a balance isn't it. Use a GPS when you haev to but for God's sake take maps and talk to people. But as I said, our car GPS has died and my wife needs one for work as she drives all over the UK and needs to find places easily. So perhaps it makes sense to get a bike one that can double up.

I'm off to HUBB UK this week so I'll nose around at all the bikes.

Thnaks again for your thoughts I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think.
Regarding a replacement Sat Nav unit, post number 28 in here http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...in-gps-62780-2 has one solution that worked out well and it cost "not a lot".
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  #9  
Old 2 Jul 2012
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I have a Zumo 660 on the bike and have also used it in a hired motor home in Norway. It's very good there, when trying to decide on the permutations of navigating round or across fjords.

The Garmin Nuvi series would be OK for the car, a lot cheaper, but are not waterproof like the Zumo.

I have not used the Montana, but there have been good reviews, better screen, etc. Not sure it has blue tooth for in helmet voice commands and possibly no MP3 player if that is of any importance.

What ever you decide to buy, make sure it can take a micro SDHC storage card. The Zumo units from a couple of years back are already too small in internal memory to store the whole of Europe on them. Not a problem if you learn how to store the rest of the mapping software onto the SD card. However, the Garmin updating software could be improved to help painless map updating. Mapping, particularly eastern Europe (Balkans) is improving and as a result becoming much bigger.

Grey Beard
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