GPS, global positioning system, is the new wave of navigating, and motorcycle GPS is no exception. It works by receiving radio signals from a series of satellites that are positioned in orbit around the globe. For GPS to work you need to be in a position where you can pick up radio signals from different satellites. Early GPS had limited capability because they could only give positions in latitude and longitude. The modern GPS systems have been advanced to become a total motorcycle navigation solution. They have been combined with a modern mapping which gives a visual display of your location. A good GPS is preloaded with maps and points of interest such as nearest fuel stop, accommodation or food stop. With the right extras, it will even tell you in real time where the traffic jams are and how to ride around them. Basically, the position plotted by the GPS can be overlaid onto a digital map to show the GPS user.
There are different factors to consider when finding the best motorcycle GPS.
Mounting position: The system can be mounted to your bike’s brake or clutch bracket. It should have mounting options such as longer bolts or handlebar.
Sound: You should be able to hear your system if you can’t see the screen. Advanced GPS come with Bluetooth headset which works with Bluetooth enabled helmet, so the rider doesn’t need to take his eyes off the road.
Ruggedness: Motorcycle GPS should be tougher. It should survive a drop off of your bike, water resistant and handle bike’s vibration.
Usability and Lighting: Look for a system that is easy to use and operable by the right or left hand with gloves on. Avoid system that uses outdated software. For optimum viewing, it should have some shield for the screen.
You can also consider the quality of the units in your price range and the features you need. Customer reviews are also important to check.
Different motorcycle GPS are readily available in the market. TomTom, Magellan, and Garmin all make good units. TomTom is the cheapest with few drawbacks. Its routes are less accurate and tend to be less intuitive. Magellan is an accurate unit with a modern receiver. Recently some of its units were pulled off the market due to persistent bugs. Garmin is the best overall. However, its price is high compared to Magellan and TomTom. It is well made, dependable and easy menus to figure out. Its only drawback is the price but if you can afford extra cash, you will probably go for a Garmin.