Bike Sat Nav advice

Need to get a sat nav to use on motorcycle in work.

I ride different bikes every day so it needs to be easy to move from one bike to another or thin enough to put in a tank bag. Needs to be recharged from a plug as the bikes have no power supply.

What you recon?

The Garmin Zumo seems to be the standard bike-specific GPS, though I had several disagreements with mine. The mounting is made by Ram-Mount[1], and is very easy to switch between bikes (if you’re not wiring it in, ~2 mins), but Ram do cradles and boxes for all sorts of GPSs.
Big plus with the Garmin is that it’s already completely waterproof. You can waterproof any other satnav, but, again from Ram, you’re looking at ~£40 for the aquabox and another ~£20 for the mounting hardware (if you don’t ride in the rain, you can get the cradle and fitting kit for ~£20). That said, my TomTom One and an aquabox and fitting kit was still substantially cheaper than either the Zumo or TomTom Rider.

Really, I’d suggest borrowing a satnav from each of the major brands for a bit before deciding. I really didn’t get along with the way the Garmin worked, and the TomTom is faaar more suited to my idea of logic.

In terms of sticking in a tank bag, the Zumo’s not narrow, but it’s narrower than a lot of the higher-end car-specific satnavs. My One fits much better in the map pocket of a tankbag than the Zumo did.


Each to his/her own to be fair mate.

I can’t get to grips with TomTom, but I’m ‘in tune’ with Garmin’s. The Zumo, also comes with a suction pad craddle. Although I’d have prefered a magnetic mount, but hey hoe.

Oh yeah, I know several people who prefer the Garmin. I was just surprised to find how different the interfaces were, and that there was such scope for difference of opinion.

I didn’t realise you could use car satnavs with mods. Do you know where I could get a aquabox and mounting kit for a TomTom One?

Ram suggest GPSW[1] and they’re all I’ve used. Next-day delivery’s the only option, and to have it delivered to an address that isn’t your billing address you need to email them after the order (though they’ve never got this bit wrong). I’ve not found anywhere that stocks the bike kit as a physical shop, though I understand RAM are quite big in marine, so you might find some of the stuff in boat shops.

I’ve got the cradle for my One, which is really good when it’s not raining. The smallest Aquabox that fits the One is the medium one, but it’s a fair bit bigger than the box, I’ll see if I can get you a photo.

The screens on the boxes are easy to fit wrong, but work really well when done right, and the box comes with plenty of packing foam to hold devices up against the screen.


How much battery life do you need? With no bike power, this is going to be the deciding factor. Probably a car one. Or try a garmin hand held that uses AA batteries, what city maps do you need?After that, you either RAM mount it (what bikes? Handlebars = 5 minute switch job, yokes = 5 minutes, switchgear = 20 minutes) or chuck it in tank bag (again, car satnavs are thinner). Check out the people who do tank bras (bagster?), they do a tank bag with a raised area for viewing satnavs.

Ride a Honda Pan, i’m going down the tank bag option as I have to stop and leave the bike frequently so will need to take sat nav with me. Was looking at the Snooper S270 in halfords or the Garmin Nuvi 255. Anybody use those? I will be running it on battery so need a few hours without charge. Also my previous sat nav was so slow at finding where it was it was pretty useless - are there big differences in speed of finding where you are?

The Zumo is easy to take off the mount (takes about 2 seconds). I usually remove the mount too and take that with me (about 1 minute) as that costs 50 quid to replace.

As far as interfaces go it’s the same as getting a new mobile phone from a different brand to what you are used to. It’s difficult to use and then you learn where everything as and your fine.

The Zumo is a very good model because it’s designed specifically for bikes, so when you dock it in the bike mount the touch screen adjusts so that it is easier to use with gloves, it also has Bluetooth for phone, plays mp3 music from the onboard memory or an SD card (for Madonna) and works in Monsoon conditions.

You can use a standard sat nav and put it in a tank bag map pocket and wire it to the battery using a cigarette lighter socket (which you can get from Maplin). If all that sounds like hassle though just get a Zumo.

Except when that diddy screw-that’s-not-actually-undoable-with-a-screwdriver that holds the flappy bit down has vibrated itself tight (which I gather it’s designed to do), in which case you’ve got to faff about with that, first.

Yeah, I should probably have noted above that I’m very picky with user interfaces.

These are very good points, though.
Worried though I was about the rain, it took 3hrs of stupid rain quite happily, and takes just being chucked in a bag quite happily. The big touchscreen buttons are a real boon, too, makes adjustments on the move sooo much easier, and the screen seems incredibly resistant to scratching.
If you leave the charger plugged into an always-on power source (or just ignition switched), the two power pins on the dock oxidise quite rapidly. Doesn’t seem to affect the performance, though.

I find the hassle with the aquabox and plugging the lead into it about the same as that with the screw on the flappy bit of the Zumo. Though if I’d bothered I could’ve just glued a more sensible knob onto that screwhead, and there’s no realistic way of making the Aquabox more straightforward.

You can buy a replacement security thumb screw from this Dutch chap

Then it takes 2 seconds. The security screw and screw driver are a pain in the arse.

There’s a comparison feature on Zumo & Tom-Tom in the latest RiDE, you may find that useful.

Zumo for me: love that it comes with all the mounting bits for both car and bike (I also got a Telferizer mount, recommended), plays MP3s, doesn’t mind being dropped from a fairly great height…

Also got that replacement security screw as shown in the previous reply. Thoroughly recommended, the original is way too fiddly.

My preference is simplicity. Don’t like the idea of having a separate box and all that entails, so I installed Garmin XT on my smartphone. Works brilliantly; I just stick it in my pocket and it gives me directions via a pair of Sony in-ear earphones. Power isn’t an issue as I have a 12V car socket and phone charger under the seat.

A bit cheaper than spending £400 on a Zumo 550, and as far as I’m concerned, a lot less hassle :cool:

Only downside is the occasional crash - software, not motorcycle :crazy:

For what it’s worth, I took a couple of photos of my Aquabox/One:
How it normally is, with the box portrait This is a bit triky, the satnav’s just a bit too wide to do this ideally, but works with softer backing foam (or that of a more accurate thickness), else the pressure on the back of where the screen sits in the box tends to slowly push it out of it’s waterproof-ness.
It fits much better landscape, but doesn’t go so well on my bike.

for me, I just use my Tytn2 smartphone in my tankbag. wedge it in with paper/foam or whatever and just glance down at each junction.

one day I didn’t have the bag, stuck it in my chest pocket on loud and could just about hear it below 30mph

I would suggest the GIVI S850 sat nav bag.

I havent used it so cannot comment on functinoality, but in theory is looks perfect. You can use any car satnav and dont have to worry about mounts.

I plan to get one, but at the moment they are nowhere to be found…



Yeah, I just saw that in the TomTom Rider thread, and was just over here to suggest either that or the So Easy Rider also linked to in there.
That looks like it’s more compact than the Givi to me, but that might be just the lack of context with the Givi one. Either’s probably more practicable than using the boxes.

Tom Tom Rider 2 comes with universal mount- easy to detach. Waterproof (well it still works and I’ve used it in downpours). Never tried any other sat nav so can’t comment on Zumo etc. but the Tom Tom works well for me (most of the time).:cool:

I’ve a Tomtom rider 1; great piece of kit from a motorbike sat nav perspective - a mate who had a Zumo changed it to get the TTR 2 as thought it much better. That said, TTR 1 has a rather naff mounting bracket which after a while stops taking charge from the battery. If you’re not worried about plumbing the electrics then maybe look for a TTR1 on ebay that the mount’s stopped charging? Should be cheap. Waterproof etc.

or the So Easy Rider Sat Nav case.