The freedom that motorcycle riding grants you is pretty much unparalleled, but motorcycle riders don’t have to be totally detached from the trappings of civilization. Whether that’s Bluetooth headsets or action cameras, there are a lot of gadgets that can enhance the riding experience without taking away that sense of liberation. One great piece of tech is a GPS. GPS systems for cars have been around for a long time, and all smartphones have navigation capabilities built-in. But buying a specialized motorcycle GPS is still a better bet than using a phone mount for your motorcycle.
The good thing about motorcycle GPSs is that they’re typically rugged and weatherproofed, so you won’t have to worry about a little mud and moisture ruining your brand new device. Plus, motorcycle GPS units do basically one thing: navigate. The good thing about that is that you can’t be tempted by push notifications from Tinder or The New York Times while riding. The screens are also typically larger and easier to read than a phone’s screen. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite motorcycle GPS devices to get you where you’re going on time and distraction-free.
1. Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S, Motorcycle GPS
This option from Garmin is specifically made for use with motorcycles. It has a ruggedized design, and there are free services built-in to provide traffic and weather updates. It’s also designed to be usable with gloves, and the 4.3-inch display is large enough to get important information with a quick glance.
Pros: Built-in features to alert riders of weather and traffic updates. Ruggedized frame to withstand the elements.
Cons: Software is less intuitive than smartphone operating systems.
2. Garmin Zumo 595LM
A more advanced option from the same Garmin line is the Zumo 595LM. It boasts an even larger 5-inch screen, and it makes several improvements over the basic Garmin motorcycle model. One of the most impressive features is tire pressure monitoring. It also comes with Bluetooth and WiFi for connecting to your smartphone’s music apps. Also, you can access realistic-looking terrain maps for easier navigation.
Pros: Can pair with your phone for hands-free music and phone controls, provides rider alerts of gas stations, sharp turns, etc.
Cons: Substantially more expensive than the 396 model.
3. TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS
TomTom knew what they were doing when they whipped up the 550 Motorcycle GPS. At 4.3 inches wide, it has a screen that’s big enough to see at a glance, but not so big it’s distracting or unruly. Furthermore, the device can pair with your smartphone to enable actions like reading texts allowed, so you’ll never need to take your eyes off the road. We love that it allows you to target more interesting roads and avoid boring straightaways, if desired.
Pros: Can be used in both portrait or landscape mode.
Cons: User manual and instructions are pretty extensive but worth a read if you want to get the full benefits of the device.