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GPS opinions needed.


CharlieAllnut

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CharlieAllnut

I'm an oldster who has always relied on map-and-compass navigation, but may soon take the plunge into GPS. The array of choices out there is mind boggling. Would anyone care to recommend a basic, motorcycle-friendly GPS unit in the low to moderate price range. Thanks.

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You're right; there are literally dozens of GPS manufacturers out there and picking just one can seem mind-numbing. Plus, opinions about "which Gps unit" are about as numerous and varied as there are members of this board so don't be surprised if responses are all over the place.

 

It seems to come down to what features are important to you. For me, they are that the unit be: "weatherproof" (as much as possible), able to get me to the nearest gas, lodging, food etc. as needed, let me work on my home computer to create my own routes and download to the GPS unit and lastly, be reasonably priced.

 

I went with the Garmin Quest 2 . After talking with several folks at the UNRally I almost bought the original Quest but wanted more memory. The Quest 2 comes with all of the US, Canada & Puerto Rico already loaded but didn't have the CD's to load on my computer for doing my own routing. Now, Garmin will send you the CD's for free if you buy the Quest 2.

 

Oh, FYI, a new Garmin Quest unit goes for around $300, the Quest 2 more like $525.

 

Good luck with your search! thumbsup.gif

 

Mike05

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I'm an oldster who has always relied on map-and-compass navigation, but may soon take the plunge into GPS. The array of choices out there is mind boggling. Would anyone care to recommend a basic, motorcycle-friendly GPS unit in the low to moderate price range. Thanks.

 

A couple of notes first:

You're right. The array is mind-boggling. The principal players are Garmin, Magellan, Tom-Tom and Lowrance.

 

BMW-branded units are made by Garmin. Garmin units seem to be as reliable as any, and are the most widely used amongst BMW riders I've seen.

 

"Low to moderate price range" is a little difficult to answer. There are GPS units costing around $100, but are not suitable for use on a vehicle. You need a large, bright screen that is readable with a quick glance.

 

You need buttons that can be operated with a gloved hand, or a touch screen.

 

If you are going to be covering a large portion of the country, you need lots of storage, or a unit with the whole country on an internal hard drive.

 

You want it to be weather-proof, and have battery as well as 12-v power so that you can use the unit OFF the motorcycle for planning enroute at the motel/campsite, etc.

 

I think you should expect to pay $500-$900 for a decent, motorcycle friendly GPS that is actually useable and that you won't be dissappointed with.

 

If I were you, I'd look around for a Garmin 276c. You should be able to get a new one for under $700.00 This unit has been superceded with the 376 which is capable of receiving XM radio and overlaying weather imagery, but that's a lot more expensive.

 

You'll also need mounting systems for the unit, and possibly additional power cabling.

 

Check out Cycoactive.com . They've helped me out in the past. They have an informative website, reasonable prices and are amenable to talking you through your needs over the phone.

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I've got two, by Garmin: a 2610 and a 60CSx. Both work on the bike, both take downloaded waypoints, routes, etc., or build their own rouitngs on the fly (in North America), both do turn by turn routing, but only the 2610 "talks to you" if that's important. (It's not to me.) 2610 is DEFINITELY easier to use on a bike. If I were you, I'd go to a tech daze or some group get together and look and touch a few and try 'em out. I've had good results with tvnav.com; they'r close to the factory geographically, and they seem to know what Garmin's up to.

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Let me put in a vote for the old Garmin Street Pilot III- which you can find on Ebay easily. It is a little larger than the Quest series, but has voice, routes, works with the computer, etc.. In other words, it does most anything you would need on the bike- only downfall is limited memory for detailed mapping. Having said that, I just bought my 2nd one off Ebay for under $275 as a new refurb. It came with a 128 MB memory stick (proprietary unfortunately) which you can upgrade to 256 MB for less than $100.. The 256 can be loaded with enough info for the 7 Western states at one time, or with the states you plan on traveling thru on a CC or otherwise...might not be up to the IB Rally without changing memory sticks, but that is about a 30 second quest. It talks to you also although it doesnt play mp3s or xm radio like some of the new ones....but then again, it doesnt cost $800 +

For the money, this unit is still way up there in reliability and functionality..... IMHO.

Good luck- many great deals out there....

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Does the Quest 2 have all the little bitty county roads programmed in?? That's where I do a lot of my riding. Nope, I don't know much about GPS either. tongue.gif

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Does the Quest 2 have all the little bitty county roads programmed in?? That's where I do a lot of my riding. Nope, I don't know much about GPS either. tongue.gif

 

Give us an example and we can check it out for you. thumbsup.gif

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Does the Quest 2 have all the little bitty county roads programmed in?? That's where I do a lot of my riding. Nope, I don't know much about GPS either. tongue.gif

 

Give us an example and we can check it out for you. thumbsup.gif

 

County Road 33 out of Hytop, Alabama. Check it out on your GPS but especially on a motorcycle. It can get wicked. eek.gif

 

Also, CR 8 out of Woodville, Alabama to the town of Pleasant Grove.

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Let me put in a vote for the old Garmin Street Pilot III- which you can find on Ebay easily.

Ditto that recommendation. Picked up a new in box StreetPilot III for less than $250 on eBay. It's hardly cutting edge but, it being my first GPS, it's been perfect.

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I have had about 7 GPS units. I now use a 2720 on my BMW, and I take it off to use in my car and truck. The screen is easy to see and it is easy to use even with gloves on. It comes with all of North America loaded. It is also waterproof. It is a bit expensive, but after you use it, you will always want to have one in any vehicle you are driving. It is flexible. TVNAV is a good place to buy and learn about GPS.

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I also have the SPIII. Good unit. Weatherproof. RUNS ON BATTERIES if necessary, but I have mine hot all the time so I can shut the bike off when bonus hunting during rallies, and so it can do the routing for the next location while I am otherwise busy. Bad point is the 'FIND' function...you have to use the cursor keys to scroll through all the letters/numbers and that can be time consuming and really frustrating at times (especially when wearing gloves). Only 256 meg, but I put most of GA, some of NC, half of AL, some of MS, North FL, all of SC on that card.

The 2610 is a favorite of a lot of folks, especially among rallyists. Also weatherproof, but does NOT have internal batteries, so it has to be wired so it is always hot. Takes standard memory card, and most people put a 2 GB card in it with the entire US. Has touch screen, which is real nice when wearing gloves. Much faster than the SPIII, but not too bad. Otherwise, it is functionally the same as the SPIII. Can frequently be found for $475 through Amazon.

I have to buy a 2610 before I go on vacation again (in the cage) so my wife will stop complaining about the 'find' grin.gifbuttons...

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Global_Rider
Would anyone care to recommend a basic, motorcycle-friendly GPS unit in the low to moderate price range. Thanks.

 

Garmin 60 CX!

 

Because:

- it fits in pockets and fanny packs as would the Quest (same sized screen),

- powered by AA batteries (Alkaline or NiMH) and runs a very long time on them - 18 hours claimed - sounds right,

- powered by USB cable while hooked up to PC,

- powered by cigarette lighter cord - 8 to 36 V,

- takes cheap microSD cards that you load the latest maps onto,

- this model enables you to save your tracks to the microSD card,

- ultra sensitive and quick to capture receiver,

- it is waterproof to IPX 7.

 

Got one. No regrets!

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County Road 33 out of Hytop, Alabama. Check it out on your GPS but especially on a motorcycle. It can get wicked. eek.gif

 

Also, CR 8 out of Woodville, Alabama to the town of Pleasant Grove.

 

Yes, the quest (or other systems that use the NAVTEQ maps) show these road. You can preview the latest Garmin North American mapset via their MapSource Map Viewer, upper righthand portion of the web page.

 

Additionally, maps.google.com uses NAVTEQ data.

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County Road 33 out of Hytop, Alabama. Check it out on your GPS but especially on a motorcycle. It can get wicked. eek.gif

 

Also, CR 8 out of Woodville, Alabama to the town of Pleasant Grove.

 

I see neither of these on Mapsource, but both of them on Microsoft Streets & Trips. Not sure about the GPS since I have the 2720 and it's on the bike in the garage right now.

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John Dickens
Let me put in a vote for the old Garmin Street Pilot III- which you can find on Ebay easily.

Ditto that recommendation. Picked up a new in box StreetPilot III for less than $250 on eBay. It's hardly cutting edge but, it being my first GPS, it's been perfect.

 

Sorry but I can't agree. I've just returned my second boxed re-con by Garmin Streetpilot III for a full refund. It has taken about 7 weeks to get absolutely nowhere with Garmin during which time I had a working unit for about 12 hours.

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ChrisA, I don't know what version of which of Garmin's databases you are using with Mapsource, but CitySelect V7 clearly shows both CR33 in Hytop and CR8 in Woodville. According to the Garmin website, the only difference between the CitySelect V7 that would ship with the Quest and CitySelect NT that would be loaded on the Quest2 is the compression technique.

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Let me put in a vote for the Garmin 276 (or newer models 376 or 378). Lots of people use the 2610 and like them, but they have no battery. One of the things I like about the 276 is taking it into a restaurant with me and planning where I will ride next while I'm waiting for the meal (or discussing where we just were). You can't do that with any model that doesn't have a battery. Also, the 276 is rugged and waterproof, since it's specifically designed for motorcycles and boats. They are a little more money, but worth it. And used models are showing up on ebay and other sites. Unless you want an MP3 player you don't need the added expense of the 376. The 378 has all the maps preloaded. Uses the same Mapsource software as other Garmins. Get at least a 256 size card. Good luck.

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ChrisA, I don't know what version of which of Garmin's databases you are using with Mapsource, but CitySelect V7 clearly shows both CR33 in Hytop and CR8 in Woodville. According to the Garmin website, the only difference between the CitySelect V7 that would ship with the Quest and CitySelect NT that would be loaded on the Quest2 is the compression technique.

 

Thanks. Turns out I didn't have the map detail turned on. Now I can see all those little roads, I'm jealous. At least I'm headed to VT tomorrow for the MOA rally so I can experience some good riding. clap.gif

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County Road 33 out of Hytop, Alabama. Check it out on your GPS but especially on a motorcycle. It can get wicked. eek.gif

 

Also, CR 8 out of Woodville, Alabama to the town of Pleasant Grove.

 

Yes, the quest (or other systems that use the NAVTEQ maps) show these road. You can preview the latest Garmin North American mapset via their MapSource Map Viewer, upper righthand portion of the web page.

 

Additionally, maps.google.com uses NAVTEQ data.

 

Nope, the link doesn't show these roads.

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I have had a Garmin 276C since they first were offered by Garmin a couple of years ago. The first unit has a random shutdown problem and I called the Garmin tech folks who said send it in. I did; they sent me a new one. I had a problem later with a power plug pulling apart--they sent me a new one. My experience with Garmin has been they stand behind the product, and their tech folks answer the phone.

 

I've used the 276 in cars, boats, airplanes and on motorcycles in the USA, England, and New Zealand--subjecting the unit to abuse, high heat, and heavy rain. I've even dropped it a couple of times. It's a great unit, one that you just select a place and say go there, or if you understand how to get the most out of a GPS (most folks are do not take the time to learn) the 276 will do about anything you want for navigation. I have Mapsource North America City Select V7 on my desktop and usually program and download routes and waypoints before a trip. I also like the ability to program the unit during a coffee break using the battery. I find that the 276C screen is bright and a size that can be easily seen on a motorcycle. Finally, the unit, while not the smallest, does tuck in a pocket. Oh, Garmin offers a power/audio connection so that you can get voice commands to your helmet speakers.

 

The first time you lead your buddies through a complex of neat back roads without getting lost, expect them to ask; "How the hell did you do that?". The main drawback of GPS is, if you know how to use it, you become the full-time group leader on trips.

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