Best GPS for Motorcycle Riding

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Best GPS for Motorcycle Riding

Post by 4Strokes » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:43 am

Topic: GPS units best bang for the buck???
Author: bardracing
Posted: 11/28/2004 10:49:44 PM

Anyone have pros and cons on GPS units, I`m looking but figured for my mountain riding I`d check w/Motorcycle riders first, any to avoid?,any recommended appreciate it.

Reply by ThumperTDC on 11/29/2004 09:37:15 AM
If you are going to be riding in the woods like on the Coast range here in the NW, stay away from the Garmin eTrex vista or any of the etrex's for that matter. We have these in our fire rigs at the forestry and once you get in the trees they can't pick up a signal. I am wanting to get a Magellan sporTrak color. Got my one of these, but it wasn't the color and was able to track every single trail we went on. The only two things I like about the Garmin is that it is small, and it has a feature on it which we use for figuring out the size of a fire. Other than that I don't care for it.

Reply by bardracing on 11/29/2004 10:13:07 AM
ThumperTDC, thanks I appreciate your info, I will be riding in T-mmok and Hood etc. I will look for the Magellon sportrak, thanks; bardracing

Reply by damone on 12/07/2004 4:22:23 PM
I have a Magellan Meridian. I got it the charger, topo of us, streets of us, dashboard mount, all for $250 last x-mas at Costco. Ride in the NorCal woods with it in my backpack and no problem getting a number of satellites.

Reply by Gearman on 12/07/2004 6:21:15 PM
My vote goes to the Garmin GPS V, I have the GPS III+, and if I were to get another it would be the V. The Garmin GPS has a base map in it which is also helpful on the road. I have used it for motorcycle riding, hiking, boating and traveling in the car. Yes it works much better than the etrex models, and from what I have been told the Garmin software is much easier to navigate vs. Magellan. To compare both brands and prices go to

Reply by bluestragler on 12/08/2004 07:00:30 AM
I've got a Garmin Legend and love it. Very portable and easy to use. Purchased for $130.

Reply by Brian10 on 12/12/2004 7:37:19 PM
I have been riding with the Garmin Legend mounted on my bars for two years and probably close to 8000 miles of off road abuse. So far, it has worked perfectly. The only reason I am not sure of my total mileage is because I can't remember my last years mileage on my Honda. I know that I put over 4700 miles on my KTM this year and used the Garmin to navigate Baja last spring. That trip alone was over 1200 miles of desert using GPS navigation the entire way. I used Kasey Smith's book on Baja to load the waypoints into this unit before I left home and navigated for a solid week using that book and the pre-plugged waypoints. There was only one SNAFU in the entire trip it was a slight mistake in navigation that added 40 miles to our trip and that was just bad navigation on my part.

The only problem I've ever had with tis unit is very minor. Once in a while, the unit will start shutting itself down in rough terrain. This has happened around three times in two years. Every time, it is the little spring/contact point for the battery losing tension. Considering all of the off highway miles this unit has endured mounted to my handlebars, this is very minor. To cure the problem, I just take out the battery and re-bend the spring/contact. That cures the problem for several months.

Another thing about this Gps is that it is simple, easy to use, has a self explanatory menu, is waterproof and shock resistant (obviously), and it is very compact. Plus, if you shop around, you can find the Legend for around $100.

As far as losing signals, I don't know what was happening there with Thumper? Mine has never had this problem, and the Legend is just the base model E-Trex? I can usually get a signal sitting in my living room, and have never had a problem in the trees.

RAM Mounts makes a nice and very sanitary mount for the bars that fits this unit. The mount has vibration isolation technology, and because of the compact size of the Legend is great mounted beside the right grip. I have mine mounted beside my right grip and then laid down where the crossbar would be if my bars had a crossbar. In that position, it sits right beside my Trail Tech Speedometer and is completely visible while riding. Another feature that I like is that after dark, the GPS can be illuminated and will provide speed readings. The Trail Tech Speedo is not lighted. Plus, the Garmin has built in trip mileage if you choose to use it. Oh yeah, one final thing. I have not hard wired the GPS to my bike's electrical system. What this means is that the Legend uses two AA bateries approximately every 12-15 hours.

That is all I can give you on the GPS. I hope you like whatever you choose.

Reply by 250R on 12/14/2004 12:06:08 PM
I am a gps virgin. I am looking at the Garmin Legend.
  1. The question I have is can I record say a 100 mile dual-sport loop, save it and down load it to print out later?
  2. 8 mb? how big is that? How many maps can I store? How many trips/trail loops can I store? for lack of a better term.

Reply by Brian10 on 12/14/2004 5:00:14 PM
The Legend does store maps that I know of. To do the Map overlay, i believe you have to use the E-Trex. I could be wrong here, because I have not tried to use that function on my GPS. That is the next step in my GPS Learning Curve. Sorry, I guess that I'm no help there.

Now, about the loop thing. Yes, it will store approximately one 100 mile loop before it runs out of memory. With the computer interface cord, you can download the loop and store it on your computer then load or un-load as necesary. Also, something tha i do not do with mine. I have only done this type of route one time.

What I do is mark waypoints along my route, then I catalog the waypoints into rides. Then, when I want to do a certain ride, I will enter the waypoints and do a route function using those waypoints. This GPS will hold a ton of waypoints. So far, I've not filled the waypoints memory up, and I probably have 200+ waypoints entered in my GPS.

Reply by ThumperTDC on 12/26/2004 6:27:47 PM
Well for Christmas I got the Magellan Meridian Color. Got an extra 32Mb memory card for downloading maps. I cant wait to get out on the trail to try it out.

Reply by FreeMe on 02/17/2005 12:26:52 PM
What you must realize about GPS is that there are two different kinds of antennae on the consumer market. some units use a "patch" antenna and others use a "helix". Units with patch antennae must be held horizontally (face up) for the best reception. Those with the helix generally do best held vertically. Given the weak signal strength of the GPS system, it is critical to know how you will need to carry the unit for the best results.

As one poster already noted, vibration can be a problem with the GPS receivers. Battery contacts sometimes work loose. This isn't a huge problem, unless you want a continuous log of your backtrail or record of your distance covered. Since it is a good thing to use those features though, and to keep the unit high enough for consistent reception, I have found that the best way to carry a GPS is in a dedicated pouch that fastens snugly to the shoulder strap of my Camelback style hydration pack. For this reason, I prefer a unit with the helix antenna.

Models that use this style of antenna include the Magellan Sport Track series, Garmin 60c, and Garmin RINO series. Other than these considerations, all of the popular GPS brand models (Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance) performance is similar. The big difference between various models though, is in features.

I chose a Garmin RINO, because of it's robust construction and weather-resistance, and because it also functions as an FRS/GMRS transceiver. Since I like to have two-way communication along when group-riding in the hills, the RINO covers two jobs in one piece of equipment. This translates to "biggest bang for the buck" and also one less thing to carry.

I've been using this now for over two years, and if you can't tell by now - I am a believer in the use of GPS on the trails. For serious back-country trail riders, there is almost no excuse for *not* having a GPS.

Recently, a new activity has grown around consumer personal GPS units. It's called "geocaching" and involves the use of co-ordinates with GPS to search for hidden containers with trade items and a logbook. The folks who participate in this "sport" are THE personal GPS experts, as they use their GPS units on an almost daily basis and over widely varying terrain. For more info about the various models of GPS receivers, check out the geocaching website at and look in the forums under the subject of "GPS units and software".

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Best GPS for dualsport rides?

Post by 4Strokes » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:55 am

Topic: best GPS for dualsport rides?
Author: splat
Posted: 06/22/2005 8:57:59 PM

I'm going to get a GPS soon and would like to know what the other DS riders are using. Most of my local club rides seem to have downloadable maps so that is a consideration.

Reply by roadcam on 06/24/2005 09:32:16 AM
the "GARMIN E-Trex Legend" is the best place to get started .. the 8MB of available memory for downloads doesn't sound like much compared to the high dollar models, but 8MB will enable you to load up detailed maps of a huge area (mine has northern CA and NV loaded, with room to spare) .. last time I looked, WALMART online had them for about $130, if memory serves me right ... add a "RAM handlebar mount", I think it was about $25, online purchase ... my eyes are too shot to read it while moving ... hell, I have to stop, put my 'readin glasses' on, and study it awhile ... sucks gettin old

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GPS Recommendations

Post by 4Strokes » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:32 am

Topic: GPS Recommendations
Author: midlothianjoe
Posted: 05/05/2006 08:37:14 AM

I am currently looking into getting a GPS for my bike to be used for riding trails. I am curious as to what other riders are using. I ride a DRZ400S, 10-percent street 90 dirt/trails. Any input would be appreciated.

Reply by Gearman on 05/07/2006 06:11:42 AM
I currently have a older Garmin GPS III+, I really like it. I also use it in the car on road trips, Jeep in Moab, boat a Lake Powell, and hiking! What Garmin has now that is a much upgraded unit from the III+ is the V, I highly recommend it! Very versatile, and user friendly. If you don't like the style of the Garmin GPS V, you can't go wrong with there E-trex line either, but the E-trex with the internal antenna just doesn't perform as well when not perfect view of satellites.

With mine, I found out that you must buy one with a "hardened" board. Vibration from being mounted on the handle bars has had ill effects with mine. If I remember right I-loop sells the GPS with hardened boards or you can send yours to them to fix it up.

I know many are happy with Magellan GPS's, so really goto REI or outdoor sporting goods store and check out which style suits you. Also checkout 4X4 books. I bought mine there, they have a good site and explain features quite well.

Reply by bekind on 05/08/2006 11:10:49 AM
I have been running a Garmin eTrex Vista color on my handle bars for about 200 miles and it is great! The color display is easy to see at a glance while riding. It does everything I need it to and it hasn't let me down. Also even in dense forest I never seem to loose a signal.

Reply by ThumperTDC on 05/08/2006 12:35:47 PM
I have a Magellan (how ever you spell it) with a color display and has the ability to insert a SD memory card to store different maps on. I have used it out riding, but I strap the case to my backpack instead of mounting it on my bike (dont want to risk breaking it). I have used the Garmin etrex in the woods before and it stinks, loses the signal fast. My Magellan has yet to lose its signal in the woods.

Reply by Gearman on 05/08/2006 1:47:29 PM
I should have noted in my last post, I have also used the e-trex, they are a ok economical little unit. Thats why I have an opinion of units with an external antennas. I do now carry my GPS inside my back pack. I really don't need it mounted on the handle bars. A GPS is a must have, I really like them just for seeing how far from camp/truck you are.

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GPS Recommendations II

Post by 4Strokes » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:17 am

Topic: GPS (recommendations)
Author: atyrrell
Posted: 08/17/2006 10:25:28 PM

We just got into dirt biking and i was curious if many people use Gps's when they go someplace that is big. If so whats a good Gps that isn't gonna break the bank?

Reply by FreeMe on 09/07/2006 01:04:39 AM
I've been using GPS mounted on the handlebar for about a year now, and carried in a shoulder-mounted pouch for a couple years before that. If you don't want mapping, you can get a good basic GPS for under $75. I recommend a Garmin 72. You can find one used on ebay for $50-$60 if you have some patience. For that money, it should be in perfect condition. I have bought 3 GPSers on ebay with no problems. The handheld units tend to be durable and reliable if they have not been abused. Garmin makes an excellent handlebar mount for these units and it doesn't cost much. The 72 is also waterproof, BTW.

If you want mapping capabilities, you might be able to get a good deal on a Garmin Map76. Should be able to pick one up for $150 or less. It should be much less actually - because the color screen Garmin 76c (with maps) is now going for around $230 or less on ebay - if you are patient.

A mapping GPS is nice, but not necessary. If you carry good printed trail maps, you can compare the tracklog on a non-mapping GPS with the trails on the printed map to see where you are and where you need to turn. This save you the expense and bother of loading the maps onto a GPS.

BTW - the reason I reccommend these particular units is because I have used them and found them to be trouble-free - and they are plentiful on ebay. The Garmin 72/76 series GPSrs all use the same accessories and are some of the easiest, if not the easiest, GPS units to operate with gloved hands. They also are waterproof, without resorting to the rubber-covered buttons that are on other units, which tend to wear out over long use with gloved hands (I know this is an issue, because of other units I've tried).

Of course - it you are in the habit of looping-out or endoing, you will probably smash your handlebar-mounted GPS at some point. So you should take that into account when deciding how much you are willing to spend.

Reply by 250f canuck on 12/28/2006 4:49:00 PM
My Dad bought a Magellan Sportrak Color for about 300 CND. It has held up his abuse quite well despite being mounted on his accident-prone bike. It will to just about anything a GPS should, it's pretty good on batteries too. He hasn't bought any of the software yet, he's waiting for a friend to hook him up, but it maps very accurately. It's waterproof and all that good stuff. If your bike has a battery it can be wired into your bike to save on batteries. Magellan sells kits to do this. You can do it yourself, but you better have a voltage regulator otherwise you risk blowing up the GPS when you rev the bike. Hope you find something that suits you, we've just had really good luck with the Magellan.

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