When looking to purchase a motorcycle GPS, there are specific factors to consider that may help you choose one product over another. How well the product holds in hot or cold weather, the desire for a variety of features, and the reliability of navigation are all things to consider depending on the product you choose.
For any electronic device, there is a potential that water and heat can affect the screen and overall functionality. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to consider a GPS that is specifically designed to resist all weather conditions to get the most out of your purchase and have a longer-lasting product life.
Some motorbike GPSs have more features than others. Comparing the Beeline GPS to the Garmin XT shows the difference between the number of features that are available with one product over another.
If the amount of features available is important to you, comparing each product against what they offer will help you buy the product that is right for you, whether that’s a variety of applications or a more simple GPS design and functionality.
Making sure you have a GPS that will reliably and consistently get you from one location to another is important when purchasing a motorcycle GPS. While this may seem like an easy factor to forget, some GPSs do have better navigation features than others. The Garmin XT offers visuals such as satellite imagery and topographic maps that may make your navigation easier.
Having a device that can connect to your headset to navigate you from one location to another is also up for consideration. The TomTom Rider has a headset navigation Bluetooth connection that can be set up using the free app. Different types of navigation from visual maps to auditory directions should be considered before making your GPS purchase.
Ease of Installation
Each GPS device comes unmounted and requires installation for it to be attached to your bike handlebars or wherever you choose to mount the device. To test for ease of installation our team followed each installation manual to correctly mount the device to the bike handlebars.
To test each GPS on the ease of connection to a smartphone device, our team charged each GPS to full battery, downloaded the compatible smartphone apps, and connected via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, using an iPhone 11 for each connection. Our team rated smartphone connectivity by how easily the device paired with a smartphone and how well the navigation directions transferred from our smartphone to each GPS.
Testing the stability of a GPS requires mounting each GPS onto a motorcycle. To do this, we chose to attach each device to the bike handlebars, except for the Beeline GPS because it uses an adhesive. Depending on each product’s mounting system, it will impact the stability and durability of each GPS we tested.
Do You Need a Motorcycle GPS?
Motorcycle riders can easily use a smartphone and a navigation app such as Google Maps or Apple Maps, just as many car drivers do. However, a Motorcycle-specific GPS like those we recommend below can offer different functions that may be useful to some riders.
If you only plan to ride your motorcycle on major roads and highways – anywhere you would typically see cars – a smartphone will work just as well as any Motorcycle GPS. However, for adventure riders who plan to make any part of their journey on back roads, dirt roads, or remote areas, a Motorcycle GPS with this feature is a must-have.
With some motorcycle GPS units, you can drop waypoints and plot out your path along remote areas, creating a customized set of directions that can easily be shared across other motorcycle GPS units.
Another reason to purchase a dedicated motorcycle GPS is if you prefer not to use your phone for navigation. Some riders may prefer a separate, dedicated GPS device to save their phone battery on long trips.