Few things beat the freedom of the open road. But what happens when you get lost along your weekend adventure through the mountains?
Enter a portable GPS unit for your motorcycle. All of the convenience of an online navigation system with the ability to clip on to your bike, best motorcycle GPS units are available in a wide range of prices and with a variety of options.
Higher-end models will feature better waterproofing or additional options for programming while less expensive models will be budget-friendly and still get you on your way. Check out our top Best motorcycle GPS picks below.
Top 5 Best Motorcycle GPS Reviews
#1. Garmin Zumo 660LM GPS
Garmin is one of the top names in GPS devices and the Zumo 660LM GPS Motorcycle Navigator lives up to the company’s reputation for quality and craftsmanship. Advanced 3-D navigation allows you to receive 3-D images of surrounding buildings for better ability to navigate the city and urban streets.
Bluetooth wireless technology also makes this unit hands free, which is perfect for motorcycle riding. If you do need to touch the display, Garmin has made this rugged model glove-friendly for use in all kinds of weather conditions.
#2. Garmin Zumo 395LM GPS
Another quality addition from Garmin, the Garmin Zumo 395LM features numerous optional upgrades to customize your motorcycle experience. With programmable features like Garmin Adventurous Routing, you can avoid major highways and even find routes with hills, forests, or better scenery.
Hands-free calling adds extra safety while allowing you to communicate with your fellow riders or someone back home. Rider alerts will let you know when sharp curves or other motorcycle-specific obstacles are in the way. The best part of the Zume 395LM is the rugged design, perfect for long days out on the open road.
#3. TomTom Rider 400 GPS
Another strong contender in the GPS market, TomTom makes its motorcycling mark with the TomTom Rider 400 Portable Motorcycle GPS unit. High-end map options allow you to search for the most scenic or hilly roads and also look for altitude changes or popular roadside attractions.
The unit is also fully rotatable to portrait mode, allowing you to see more of the road ahead in difficult conditions. One of our favorite features is that the TomTom Rider 400 GPS comes fully equipped with Lifetime TomTom Traffic and Maps. You can download the newest maps and always ride with real-time accurate traffic information at no extra cost or update fee.
#4. Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT GPS
If you’re a budget-conscious rider but still want the peace of mind that comes with a name brand unit, the Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT Portable GPS unit might be the choice for you. The dual orientation feature allows you to see the road and traffic patterns, all in one screen.
The Garmin Real Directions and Garmin Real Voice features to guide you around recognizable buildings and landmarks, a great feature when you are out exploring unfamiliar areas. Pairing with your iPhone or Android smartphone is easy with the Smartphone Link mobile app. The up ahead displays nearby stops on the road such as restaurants, gas stations, or other popular attractions.
#5. TomTom VIA 1515M GPS
A budget-friendly model, the TomTom VIA 1515M GPS certainly won’t leave you lacking when it comes to options. This fully portable GPS unit features a whopping 5-inch full-color display. The larger display means you can view more of the road up ahead at a time. Advanced Lane Guidance makes navigating roads in unfamiliar surroundings a breeze. Tom Tom’s IQ Maps and Map Share technology allow you to stay up to date with road changes daily.
Tom Tom’s maps cover Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., perfect for your North American road trip. Best of all, TomTom provides free map updates for the lifetime of your device which means no extra fees to stay up to date on your navigation system.
Motorcycle GPS Buying Guide
Important Features for Motorcycle GPS Units
When it comes to choosing your next Motorcycle GPS, there are numerous makes, models, and options to compare. Screen size, resolution, and portability are just some of the features of modern GPS designs. Each rider has an individual way they experience motorcycling adventure. It only makes sense that the accessories on their bikes would be as unique and individual as they are. Before you set out to purchase your next motorcycle GPS unit, check out our handy buyer’s guide for the best features and biggest considerations.
When it comes to navigation, you need a unit that can keep up with you and your motorcycle on those long days on the open road. If bumps and dips will send your navigation stuttering, that could put a serious damper in your experience. A mistimed pause in directions can take you down an unfamiliar path or put you in a potentially dangerous situation.
Cracked screens can render a navigation unit nearly useless. And as much as you aren’t planning on dropping your navigation, mistakes happen, especially when you are clipping on and off in between rides or rests stops. Choose a unit with durability that matches your riding habits and you will be in good company.
Motorcycling happens in a variety of riding conditions. Navigation won’t come in too handy if it short-circuits in a light morning mist. Or in a downpour for that matter. When it comes to your GPS, versatility for in weather is important for getting the most use. Look for screens and keypads that are designed to keep rain, wind, and cold out. Buttons and screens should be usable with gloves for those cold rides when removing protective wear is not possible. Plastic pieces should have durability and screens should be able to display equally well in bright or dark lighting.
When you are on the road, it can be difficult at times to switch your attention from road conditions to a small screen with even smaller graphics or difficult to read instructions. A readable screen will be an important feature in your motorcycle GPS unit. Having the ability to split screens, or customize the display to your particular eyesight or riding location or habits will also make for a more functional and comfortable riding experience.
Features Designed for Motorcycles
There are multiple portable GPS navigation options out there on the market. The best GPS units will be ones with both design and program options that are customized for motorcycle riders. Program options like windy roads, roadside attractions, rides with altitude changes, or scenic routes are perfect for motorcycle enthusiasts. On the hardware end, clip-on features designed especially for your bike and weatherproofing for use on the road are also big considerations.
Unlike riding in the car, charging options will be limited on your bike. You will want a GPS unit that can go multiple miles without needing to plug in and charge up. Look for units that allow you to adjust screen brightness from day to night to conserve energy, or that feature option back up batteries and easy to use, universal ports for charging in a variety of places.
In our modern world of technological innovation, having devices that can communicate with each other across a variety of platforms is a big bonus. The same goes for your motorcycle GPS unit. The ability of your GPS to connect with your phone via Bluetooth, or to synch up with your favorite maps program, can make a long road trip that much more convenient.
Online and Offline Capabilities
When it comes to motorcycling, some of the best roads aren’t always the most well-traveled. When shopping for a GPS for your motorcycle, consider that at times you may be without internet coverage, or in an area with spotty reception at best. Motorcycle GPS systems that can continue to function offline for stretches of road can mean the difference between getting lost and getting to your destination.
Biggest Considerations Before You Buy
Now that we’ve discussed the most important features in motorcycle GPS systems, let’s talk about your individual needs and riding styles. While many systems may function reliably and well, it’s all about what features work the best for you. Here are a few things to consider about how your motorcycle GPS could be a compliment, or detriment, to your riding style.
Where do You Need to Go?
Before you purchase a new motorcycle GPS, ask yourself where you will be riding. If you are mostly a city commuter, a unit with 3d capabilities that allow you to navigate based on nearby buildings might be a big plus. If you are mostly a road tripper, consider whether you will have altitude programming options. Very bright or hot climates might require a model with more durable plastic. Finally, make sure the unit you are purchasing equips maps for the country you’ll be riding in.
Whether its downloading maps, storing photos, or logging text or voice messages, you will want to make the storage capacity of your device match your particular riding style. If you are on the same routes or have regular access to the internet on your commute, offline storage of detailed maps may not be as big a concern. Cross country riders that face long stretches of isolated roads may want to make sure that they can store larger amounts of map data in case of loss of internet signal.
Types of Traveling
The type of traveling you will be doing on your motorcycle will have a direct impact on the type of motorcycle GPS you choose. If you are a street bike racer, you will want a slim device, sits low near your display, and doesn’t cause a lot of wind turbulence that may distract you or knock the unit around. Riders on big cruisers that sit well back on the bike may need a bigger display to be able to read from longer distances than riders of café racers who are crouched over the handlebars regularly.
How, when, and how much you will have to pay for map updates can be an important consideration when buying a motorcycle GPS. Some lower budget models may make a great initial purchase but may require you to buy updated maps every year. This will work well for someone who doesn’t have a big radius of travel and that doesn’t need regular updates for construction or other changed road conditions.
Another item to consider is whether you have to connect to the internet via a cord or landline to update your device. Some devices will instead allow you to download updates wirelessly through their internal systems. If you don’t plan on removing your unit from your bike very often, this can come in especially handy.
Perhaps the biggest consideration for your motorcycle GPS should be how you plan to use it. If you are the type of person that wants one GPS device they can port back and forth between car and bike, you may want to explore models that come with a variety of mounting options, or a full range of customizable display features.
While it’s nice to have a GPS specifically tailored to the motorcycle if that’s your primary mode of transportation, if you use a car, bicycle, or walk or hike regularly, the versatility of your product will be of the utmost of importance. Many companies will even manufacture special cases designed to allow users to port their GPS units around.
Motorcycle GPS systems are a fantastic accessory for serious riding enthusiasts. They allow riders to explore the open road, and some will even be active assistants in hunting out the very best rides. With a variety of options available on the market, you are sure to find just the right unit that fits your budget and riding style.