Getting a motorcycle satnav can change your whole riding experience for the better, especially over long distances. Sure, there is something almost romantic about taking a roadside break and drawing out your route on a paper map as you go, but this can also totally break your rhythm. Paper maps also halt you from occasionally taking a detour down interesting looking roads as you come across them.
After all, if you commit to a detour while working form old-school maps, it’s always in the back of your mind that you need to be thinking how to find your way back. Inevitably, you will probably end up pulling over somewhere and having to figure out how to get back to your initial route. It’s just a whole load of unnecessary hassle that will stifle your adventurous spirit. But, it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. In this article, we’re going to present a few good arguments for investing in a decent motorcycle satnav. So, if you are considering embarking on a long-distance trip this year and want to enhance that experience, you’ve come to the right place.
Features To Consider
There is something almost magical about roaming foreign lands on your bike, directions for the next few hundred miles sellotaped to your tank. The trouble is, travelling this way almost seems you to force you to constantly ‘stick to the plan’. Getting a motorcycle satnav, though it sounds like just another way to follow directions, can totally free up your mind to choose your own paths. Simply input your destination and your satnav will constantly give you a new route to get home – no matter how many detours you take. No more stopping when you don’t want to. No more roadside debates as to which direction to go.
There are hundreds of decent satnavs to choose from, with companies such as Garmin and Tomtom dominating the market. Naturally, there are alternatives out there, many of which will be much cheaper. But, the whole purpose of the satnav is to make life on the road easier. Reliability and ease of use are king. Because of this, we would recommend forking out a little more and getting something sturdy, trustworthy, and durable. After all, the chances are that you’re going to spend quite a lot of time together. Best to make sure that you ‘get along’. To that effect, here are the three motorcycle best satnavs that money can buy.
1. Tomtom Rider 500
The rider 500 is pretty much the go-to device when it comes to rider experience, allowing you to choose routes to your destination according to how exciting they are! So, if you are bored of motorways and flats, this is the perfect satnav to change it up a bit. More hills, more bends, more thrills! Not only this, but it is also packed full of useful and easy to use features. To sum it up, it’s an excellent device all round. It is well made, durable, waterproof even in the heaviest of storms, and incredible quick to recalculate routes. Updates are really easy to do through Wi-Fi too.
- Comes with an excellent installation kit
- Screen is so good you can read it in the blazing sun
- A great mix of practicality and fun!
- A little bit on the pricey side
2. BW All Terrain Navigator
Though most of the best motorcycle satnavs out there are made by Garmin and Tomtom, this little device is more than worthy of a mention on this list. For starters, it is much cheaper than the market leading brands, a feat it manages to pull off without compromising much on quality. This little device does pretty much everything you need form a basic satnav, and it does it well. It’ll hold up well through adverse weather conditions. The 4.3 Inch touchscreen works perfectly, as does the Bluetooth connectivity. Put simply, this satnav will get you from A to B reliably for very little cash. What’s not to like about that?!
- Incredibly good value for money
- Sturdy and robust build quality
- Smaller screen size is perfect for cruisers and smaller bikes alike
- You have to put in the full address for the All Terrain to find it. A little awkward.
3. Garmin Zumo 595LM
If budget isn’t exactly a big deal for you and you want every conceivable feature known to man, then this is the satnav device for you! The Garmin 595LM Motorcycle navigator is the luxury model in the Garmin range and doesn’t skimp on anything. It’s got the all-important ‘adventurous routing’ feature that makes long rides really fun, but also packs a few features that add a bit of practicality to the mix. The display is large and crystal clear – even in the glaring sun. It also automatically splits the screen on motorway junctions to show you exactly where you need to be. When you are low on fuel, it will direct you toward the nearest station. Super useful stuff! The live traffic updates are also always on point so that you never get caught out. The speed camera alert system also provides you with visual and audio cues so that you can avoid them. The build quality is also so good that it feels indestructible. Overall, a top notch satnav.
- Bluetooth connectivity for audio alerts and/or music as you ride
- Fully customizable and easy to use
- Rider alerts for sharp corners, speed cameras, railway crossings, and more…
- Installing the wiring is a little tricky as it is a bit bulky
When it comes to checking off the boxes on what really makes a motorcycle satnav worth buying, there are only a few basics that it absolutely must have. Firstly, check the build quality. Ideally, your satnav should be able to hold up even during the heaviest of showers.
Likewise, they should also be legible when the sun is splitting the rocks. Our next tip is to make sure that you know how to use your device properly before you set out. There is nothing worse than having to enter into a battle of wits with your satnav as you’re riding. Luckily, all of the satnavs above, even the more complex and intricate ones, are relatively user-friendly. Finally, nothing beats the “adventurous routing” feature. This will ensure that you never accidentally bypass a great route by merely following the map.