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Head Out on the Highway (With Motorcycle GPS)


It's just as important to know where you're going while you're on a motorcycle as when you are in a car. In fact, motorcyclists may have even more use for a GPS than the typical car-driving GPS user, because bikers are more likely to explore unfamiliar back roads and to look for good touring terrain. The big two GPS makers, Garmin and TomTom, are the only companies that make GPS specifically for motorcycles, but fortunately they offer a range of models, with some truly useful features for bikers.

1. Garmin Zumo 550

Garmin Zumo 550
Photo © Garmin

The Zumo 550 ($700 - $800) is at the top of Garmin's four-model Zumo motorcycling line. All four of the Zumo models have the same, color, 3.5-inch diagonal touchscreen, and the same durable, waterproof, made-for-biking metal body. The main feature setting the 550 apart from the other models is its text-to-speech directions capability. You may hear the directions via the unit's speaker, or via your helmet-mounted, Bluetooth-enabled mike/speaker (not included). The Zumo 550 will also sync with a compatible, Bluetooth-enabled cell phone to permit hands-free calling and touchscreen phone control and dialing. The 550 comes with special bike mounting hardware.

"With optional XM® subscriptions and an XM antenna, you can check the weather, move ahead of traffic and listen to the radio when you travel with zūmo in the U.S. As an alternative, zūmo can receive optional TMC traffic alerts (in select cities) when used with a compatible traffic receiver. Simply press a button on the screen, and zūmo recalculates your route to avoid traffic tie-ups," states Garmin.

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2. TomTom Rider 2nd Edition

TomTom Rider 2nd Edition
Photo © TomTom
The TomTom Rider 2nd Edition ($590 - $650) comes with a Cardo brand "Scala-Rider" Bluetooth-enabled wireless, helmet-mounted headset that allows you to hear the Rider 2nd Edition's text-to-speech directions. The headset also enables hands-free calling when the Rider is paired with a compatible cell phone. The TomTom Rider blocks outgoing calls when the bike is moving for "safety reasons" but allows incoming calls, automatically routed to your earpiece. The Rider also features a simplified, "ride mode" four-icon menu system that helps you focus on the road while you're moving. The Rider has a 3.5-inch (diagonal) screen, is sturdily built, waterproof, and may be mounted in a car with an accessory mounting kit.
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3. Accessory: Garmin Travel Guide, Fodor's North America (SD Card)

Find the best places to stay, eat, and shop on your next bike tour. Search base on many criteria, and let the Zumo show you the way.
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4. Accessory: Scala Rider Bluetooth Headset

Scala Rider Bluetooth helmet headset, for motorcycle GPS units that are Bluetooth-compatible, but don't come with a headset/mike.
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