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OK, I can't afford $800 for a Garmin..

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by rc36, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. ...but I do want a GPS that I can use now and, more importantly later in the year when I set out on my big adventure. So, I'd appreciate some advice.

    I want.

    * Upgradable memory (SD or micro-SD card)
    * .mp3 capability
    * 3.5mm socket so that I can use earphones to listen to music/instructions
    * It would be good if it WAS waterproof, although that's not essential as I'll probably keep it in the top of my tank bag most of the time.

    Those are my major concerns; I'm happy to take suggestions about other issues that should be important using the GPS in a motorcycle scenario.

    So, what do people reckon? What should I buy and is there a unit that will do the job but not cost me an arm and a leg?
  2. thought about a nokia navigator 6210 that is available from vodafone on a 12 month plan for 79 a month includes $500 calls ?
  3. I got a little garmin nuvi 310 for under $200. not waterproof but glad wrap is. used it in the tank bag for a while then got a ram mount and attached a cigarette lighter thingy to the bike to power it. biggest problem was the battery life was less than a good ride.
  4. Thanks for both of those suggestions. I want to avoid using a phone if I can because I want to avoid having to recharge all the time, so powering the device off the bike battery is preferable. Does the Nuvi have a headphone socket or do you have to use bluetooth? I'd much prefer to use headphones if I could.
  5. its got a socket and bluetooth receiver but not transmitter. there are a few gps in that price range at jb hifi and dick smith. set mine up for bluetooth with a transmitter from jaycar and have bluetooth earphones
  6. I'd suggest the Aldi GPS with the Tom Tom "upgrade" as pricewise it meets one of your criteria. However, it lacks all the other features, most importantly, no BT.

    I'd say that you may have to bite the bullet and go with something like the Tom Tom Rider. Dunno how much they are these days, but they aren't as cheap as say, a Tom Tom One or similar Navman or Garmin.
  7. Lack of BT is not a concern, in fact I don't care about BT at all. As long as I can lsiten to music/spoken instructions through the headphones (as you can with the Garmin and the TTR, I'll be happy).

    TTR's are about the same price as the Garmins. Specialised product for a small market, premium price.
  8. The zumo 500 has been reduced because the 660 has been released.
    I should upgrade mine and sell you the 550 ;)
  9. Well, obviously, the 550 WOULD be my pick, but, on ebay and the other auction sites they're still going for 6-700 dollars, a considerable way out of my price range.

    My problem is that, I really need to get one soon so that I can use it to PLAN my trip. Hence the questions. Thanks for the replies, greatly appreciated.
  10. Buy the Aldi one (from memory, it has Audio out)

    Then find a copy of the latest maps to put on there & the Igo software. These can be acquired easily, shoot me a PM if you need any help.

    Igo is much better software than the stuff it comes with, & from what I have heard, the Aldi GPS is up to the task.
  11. The Aldi's is "FM out" and relies on some sort of radio receiver to pick it up. It has an MP3 player but it only works when the nav software isn't running.

    The FM TX is a bit dodgy though, as I can't get the supplied headset to work properly without a lot of interference. Same for a couple of friends who also have them. I haven't tried any other receivers yet.
  12. The 550 is $700 brand new.
    You are looking at the wrong auction sites ;)

    Good luck with the hunt
  13. My apologies, I thought it had 3.5mm out.
  14. Well I'm probably a bit biased and out of date, because I have a 550 now, but . . .

    If you are going on a big trip and want to keep a detailed record of where you went, automatically, a Garmin that keeps track logs is hard to beat. The Zumo 550 keeps very good track logs, archiving tracks to files once a certain number of points are recorded. I have months, probably years, of tracks on my Zumo. Garmin also provide Mapsource, which is a pretty good application for planning trips, though it takes a while to get used to, and Google Maps seems better in some respects. If I was going on a long (more than a week) trip these days, I would think about taking a netbook along with Mapsource on it plan sections of the trip if plans change. Planning directly on any GPS is slow and painful.

    If you can find the budget, a Zumo 550 would be a good choice. Not perfect, but good.

    Make Vic an offer for his old one. He loves to buy new gadgets! Current new Zumo 550 pricing at GPSoz is $799. http://www.gpsoz.com.au/garmin/index.htm Suggested Retail Price is still AU$999. The Zumo comes with a range of mounting gear, saving money you may need to spend on other solutions.

    Also, there are a couple of other "motorcycle friendly" Garmins available these days. Units based on the NUVI. I'll let you do a search to find them, but you may want to search or as at www.zumoforums.com since it has definitely been discussed there.

    I find the GPS is best for getting from point A to B, rather than a touring trip. A GPS can't give you the overview you need to plan even a day, let alone multiple days. A map, or Mapsource can do that. Of course if you can plan the whole trip in advance and put it onto the GPS, and then stick to the plan, a GPS is brilliant. I use my Zumo mostly to find places and estimate times to get there, and as a record of where I have been. (As well as how fast I was going, when I was there, exactly, and to match times to photo times, to confirm photo locations. This is a big advantage on a long trip.)

    Make sure you can use it to plan on a PC, then upload to the GPS. Also that you can download track logs to a PC to view on a map. Naturally, you must be able to connect it to a PC to be able to do this!

    Otherwise, maps and a tank bag are still a very good, cheap option.

    Good luck in finding something suitable.
  15. Thanks for the comprehensive reply, Roderick. I'll have a look at this in detail. I was planning on taking one of those tiny computers with me so that I could document my trip and update my web site as I went so that would fit in well with what you are suggesting.
  16. No problem.

    I just read that Garmin are about to introduce a new GPS, the Zumo 220. I think it is positioned to replace the Zumo 450, which has less functionality and was never available in Australia. Engadget's comment: http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/20/garmin-introduces-zumo-220-600-navigation-for-vaguely-budget-c/

    Hmm, no MP3 player in it though. Oh well, back to the 550.

    Regardless, when evaluating any GPS take particular note of how many Waypoint, Routes, and Track Points it will store in internal memory, or add on memory such as an SD card. These issues make or break the usability of a GPS for touring.
  17. Roderick, I have the TomTom software installed on an Aldi GPS. It is OK, but it's a basic package. However, it does allow me to program in a route with waypoints or whatever they're called in the software. And I can also plan an itinerary, which is different to a route, but I forget exactly how, as I've yet to use it in that mode.

    For the casual user it will do a long tour fine, but it has no ancillary functions such as a trip computer (distance travelled, average speed, max speed and so on) or as an MP3 player, nor does it generate logs that I can access as a user.

    Maybe the TT Rider does more, but when I read the manual online it didn't seem to have these extra features other than bluetooth for headsets.

    So, if money isn't an issue then it appears that the Garmin one is the way to go.
  18. That was my decision, although I did wait for the price to come down from the ridiculous intial value of AU$1599 to a slightly more palitable AU$1299 (or something like that, from memory) before I purchased.

    Don't get me wrong about planning on the GPS by the way. It can be done, but with the small screen and using your finger to drag the route to prefered roads from those it selects, it isn't much fun. There are also some useability issues like the view on the screen jumps back to the first Waypoint in a Route each time you add a Waypoint, so you have to scroll back to the end of the current Route to add the next one. Mind you, it has some good function around reordering Waypoints, and even optimises the Route so that you go to all Waypoints by the most efficient Route.

    The Zumo also has something like an itinerary, where you can import a Route with Waypoints along the way, with photos included and note. This functionality is used by commercial providers, for tourists visiting an area and such. Still, it is good stuff. Some of that functionality is also used for Proximity Points, and example of which is speed cameras, where a specific sound file is played when you get near to a location. For speed cameras you get a warning, while tourists might get told they are passing the best pub in the world.

    Anyway, most of the time I just use simple routing and the track logs. Everyone needs to make a value judgement on the money they are willing to spend on a GPS.
  19. The most annoying thing that I have found is that when you plan a trip using Google Earth, once complete, you upload it via the garmin plug in, it only gives you the destination waypoint not the whole route.

    It's too time consuming to try and figure out why so I haven't bothered.
  20. I use Mapsource, and have only had a quick look at creating a route in Google Earth and uploading to the Zumo. I had similar problems. It used to take multiple steps to get all the Waypoints, or shaping points to appear on the GPS. If it takes more than three steps, I'm not interested in doing it. I haven't checked if it has improved recently though.