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2013 TomTom Rider Review

By: | Published 06 October 2013, 20:57 | Views: 6,759 | tags: tomtom, satnav, satellite navigation, motorcycles, gps, rider, products, accessories, gadgets, route planning, adventures, windy roads, postcode, searching, 2013 version
It's been 3 years since I reviewed the Rider Pro unit for LB and now we have the current incarnation which drops the 'PRO' tag - in fact there is now only one version available and you can buy it in basic form or with extra accessories like a car kit (the Premium package). This version now packs a wider screen - 4.3 inches, and has all the 'extras' such as lifetime maps and the routing options for your PC, included in the price now. Which would appear to make a great unit even better.


This time I gave the TomTom to PJ, our lead moderator, part time racer and Le Mans fan knowing that he was a happy user of a Garmin unit to see what he made of it. SatNavs are a very difficult gadget to swap brands with as you operate them under pressure hence differences in operation are magnified. 


Over to him.  


I’m not the most experienced at touring the country or Europe but I do like a gadget. Having used a Garmin Zumo 660 for a few years when I was asked if I would like to try the new Satnav system from TomTom I thought: sure thing.


The waterproof Rider weighs in at 353-grams so is nice and light. It features Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and data-exchange, USB 2.0 for connectivity to a computer, and though it has internal memory there is no SD slot so unlike the Garmin you are not able to download music tracks to listen to.

The glove-friendly 4.3" screen is of the multi-touch variety, and has an option to brighten, making it easier to read on sunny days, plus a small rim which occasionally acts as the screen's sun visor or rain shield.The unit comes loaded with free 'Lifetime' maps for 45 countries, and can be updated throughout the year with the latest road network changes, addresses and so on.

It also has all the UK Speed Camera fixed and mobile sites included, which can be updated daily via the Map Share community.

You are able to plan your route on computer before uploading them to the device; you can also record your trip in entirety and then share it too.On the hardware side, this standard version comes with a fitting kit that works on 'most' bikes, a bike charging dock and a USB 2.0 cable.



Fitted to my Ducati Panigale I started with a basic tour of routes locally to get an idea of how it performs. It performs well! 

The easy to control touch screen works great with your gloves on and the simple layout meant it was a breeze to set destinations and organise a suitable route. An address can be inputted via a full or partial address, or by postcode. You can also peruse the map and place your own destination marker, if for whatever reason it can't find exactly where you want to go. As for places of interest, petrol stations, food and fuel points they will appear on the screen if nearby, but can also be found in the Rider's database.

Ok, so the initial trial was a success. Now to try what is touted as a major selling point: the Twisty Route option. Once selected it plans your route using roads with more corners than it would do otherwise. Hopefully without resorting to ‘B’ roads and taking me forever to get anywhere!

I was a little apprehensive initially but I actually enjoyed the winding roads it chose to lead me on. The feature was outstanding when used in France/Europe where really I had little idea where it was actually going, so I had to trust it explicitly.

If you take a wrong route according to the directions and map shown it recalibrates quickly and allows you to enjoy the journey without stressing out.

I had the system “hard wired” into the bike which on the Ducati took a little while but nothing too difficult even for a non-mechanical person like me. You can run the Rider from its battery and that should be good for most routes you choose to take but on full days riding you may need to plug in the charger that evening for the return leg the following day. The unit did take up most of the space available behind the screen, something I hadn’t experienced with the Garmin, because that unit is a little thinner overall. As you can see by the image of it mounted, it isn’t a big problem to see the clocks and the unit.




I enjoyed using it and the ease of use definitely helped in this.

The lack of SD card however did disappoint as I do like to listen to music while I ride and allows me to take less devices when I head out for a long ride. Besides I don’t listen to the directions spoken to me I like to view them direct from the map.

There is no car charger or mount included (on this £350 stock version) unlike the Garmin 660 making this a bike only device. The £430 Premium version does have a car mount and other bits and pieces.

The TomTom Rider is a good sat-nav unit for a motorcyclist. It works terrifically well and should be on your list if you're in the market for one.



  • Competitively priced
  • Top brand
  • Ease of use
  • Excellent route-finding


  • Bulky
  • Lack of SD memory


 Check out their product pages here



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