GPS = expensive Maps = annoying

Morrissey

Active Member
#1
Hey all. I'm debating GPS vs Maps. I'd love a GPS for my new ST and was looking at the Garmin Zumo 595LM. It looks like a stellar unit and the life time updates seem great, but it costs $900+tax (CAN)!!! I don't know if I can justify that kind of money, especially when I only have time for 1 or maybe 2 IBA rides a year and most of my riding is day rides in areas I'm familiar with.

So, the other option is maps. I've used a traditional magnet+strap map holder on my tank in the past but find that eventually it causes some marks on the paint. I have yet to meet anyone who uses a tank bag that mounts on a ring that is supposed to not touch anything. Do they work as advertised? If I go that route, can anyone recommend a set of maps that are designed for motorcycles? Preferably tank bag sized ones so I don't have to fold a big map into crazy configurations to see the part I want. It should also have the twisty/fun routes highlighted. I'm specifically looking for such a map for Ontario CAN, Quebec CAN, NY, VT, NH, MN, MI, PA,TN and NC as those are the areas I'm most likely to be able to reach in the next few years.

RoadRunner has maps like this: http://shop.roadrunner.travel/product/new-york-vermont-roadmaps I was thinking I could get these maps and possibly photocopy them section by section and print them in tank bag sized sections and laminate them.

Thanks
 

Morrissey

Active Member
#3
I'd never thought to use the Google Maps Navigator actually. I did downloaded an app called WAZE today that I'm going to test in my car over the winter. It is a GPS app too that a friend recommended. Seeing as I ride with ear plugs and don't have a COMM unit, the audio portion is useless to me in either app. My one concern about using my smartphone is battery life and data usage on long rides. Also, not sure if cell service would be optimal here. There are a few areas I ride where you don't get a signal at all or only with a very specific provider.

I will give it a try in the car and if I like it will buy a mount for the bike and a waterproof case and trial it on the bike. A mount and case are a whole lot cheaper than a GPS!
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
#4
You should be able to pick up a zumo 660 or 665 pretty cheap, and they had lifetime maps too. There are advantages to dedicated GPS units, especially motorcycle specific units.

I will readily admit that if I were just getting into LD riding now, I would probably start by using phone navigation. As it is, I still like the separate unit, and the tools that come with it, like Basecamp. I use a Garmin z590.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#5
Hey all. I'm debating GPS vs Maps. <...deleted...>

So, the other option is maps. I've used a traditional magnet+strap map holder on my tank in the past but find that eventually it causes some marks on the paint. I have yet to meet anyone who uses a tank bag that mounts on a ring that is supposed to not touch anything. Do they work as advertised? If I go that route, can anyone recommend a set of maps that are designed for motorcycles? Preferably tank bag sized ones so I don't have to fold a big map into crazy configurations to see the part I want. It should also have the twisty/fun routes highlighted.
You might not have heard of these folks:

http://www.butlermaps.com/

Note: Never purchased these, but have read these are decent maps for motorcycle touring/adventure riding purposes. These folks don't have a Canadian version, but did find this in a quick search of the Google:

https://www.reddit.com/r/motorcycles/comments/4atiob/looking_for_a_canadian_version_of_butler/

Hope this helps!
 

RFlagg42

IBR Finisher
#6
To the original poster, if one wants a GPS, they do not have to buy a $1,000 Zumo designed for motorcycles. There are much cheaper GPSs out there, and some regular members of this forum (Greg Rice for one) have written up blog posts on how to make them useful for LD riding.

http://www.gregrice.com/2012v2/2797/garmin2797.html

Regarding cell signal, there are several cell phone apps that will allow you to load offline maps and still be able to navigate without a signal. Some will allow you to have maps for the entire country, some like Google Maps will allow a smaller number of offline maps but enough to cover your riding area.

Regarding Butler maps, they are amazing and the ideal map for a vacation--I have about 10 of them for different parts of the country. I would NEVER bother pulling one out if I was trying to make good time getting from point A to B.
 

marcham

Premier Member
#7
I held off for several years, using paper maps, google maps, furkot, waze and other apps on my phone. I tried my phone in the jacket hooked up to the Bluetooth headset and the smartphone mounted in a cradle. Also tried the phone slipped into a clear pouch on the tankbag.

Nothing worked particularly well. I wanted something with a glove compatible touchscreen, waterproof, mp3 player and well integrated with my smartphone and Bluetooth headset. Sadly, only the zumo series does this well. I got a 395lm on sale gor CAD 500 and other than the strong rebuttal by my wife, it's been great.

Well, almost great. I did loose it on my 1st trip when it fell off the mount. But that wouldn't of happened if I had read the owner's manual first. Luckily I noticed after 5km turned back and found it unharmed in the middle of the highway.

I now use it when driving in the cage in the city and for cross country trips towing the travel trailer.
 
#9
The reason I bought a GPS was battery life on my phone. The navigation function really drains the phone and if your USB power connection has too little current you will only slow the drain and not charge the phone. I ran Nuvi65LM on my SS1k. It is not water proof nor motorcycle specific but it is much cheaper. The only problem I had was after 800 miles the cigarette power connection kept working loose. I did bring a clear baggie to put over the GPS if I encountered rain.
 
#10
I did downloaded an app called WAZE today that I'm going to test in my car over the winter
WAZE is not a GPS in the sense that it brings you from YOUR current location to your destination. No multi-waypoints. No route creating beforehand. No route saving for later. No offline maps downloading.

not sure if cell service would be optimal here. There are a few areas I ride where you don't get a signal at all or only with a very specific provider
You can download your trip maps from Google Maps for offline use.

My one concern about using my smartphone is battery life
Good charger is tricky to find, so I buy many and put them to tough tests: REVER, BUBBLER, Music APP, Phone, WAZE, Google Maps - all working simultaneously in the background, to see how they hang in there. The best charger I've found to date is THIS ONE.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#11
The reason I bought a GPS was battery life on my phone. The navigation function really drains the phone and if your USB power connection has too little current you will only slow the drain and not charge the phone. I ran Nuvi65LM on my SS1k. It is not water proof nor motorcycle specific but it is much cheaper. The only problem I had was after 800 miles the cigarette power connection kept working loose. I did bring a clear baggie to put over the GPS if I encountered rain.
I bought this inexpensive +12V to +5V converter that has a USB output and use that to charge my phone.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-Conv...960089&hash=item35e3f9e06b:g:iV4AAOxyOlhS9Dyk

Switched input, and output leads to an armored USB cable that goes to phone on handlebar. HINT: Don't go cheap on the input power cable, you'd be surprised at how much of a loss certain cables will have!

I previously used a Motorola X Pure that was really, really bad on battery drain. Using the phone for both routing and tracking purposes...yeah, about 14 hours or so, and it just can't keep up. Recent Moto phones do notoriously have batteries that start giving up the ghost at about the 18 month period of life.

I'm looking for an opportunity to put my new phone (Google Pixel) through an Iron Butt ride...
 

Scott Parish

Premier Member
#12
As previously stated - you don't need to start off with a top of the line GPS unit. I'm adding a second back-up GPS (Garmin Etrex 20X) for a North - South ride of the CDT purchased for under $150 on Amazon. Running two units at the same time will allow me to have one zoomed in on my location to ensure I stay on the trail I should be on while the other will be zoomed out further for overall perspective.
 

Clive Rand

Active Member
#13
I have used a cheap GPS to navigate my way through Australia, from Darwin to Mount Gambier, and it was even good in the cities, and has been a great tool when you have to detour for roadworks and other setbacks as it re routes in a few seconds, the down side to them is some of our newer motorways don't appear on them and they get lost until you get back on an older road, I have just used a cheaper Tom tom, not motorcycle specific, not waterproof, and it has done me for almost 3 years now. I am about to make the challenge to myself and do a ride against the clock, as I have never done it before almost all of my travels were at leasure.
 
#14
The main reason for considering the more expensive Zumo GPS units is that they have TWO radios within, and can therefore communicate with your cell phone AND your helmet headset via Bluetooth. The cheaper Garmin units are for automobiles (cages) and can make/take phone calls but who uses a helmet in their car?

Not so important is that the Zumos use a plastic that is more resistant to damage from UV rays and gasoline
(not that I've ever spilled gasoline up onto my windshield mount Zumo!)
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#15
The main reason for a GPS on a certification ride is simply to (a) guide your route (b) collect trip data on the fly while the ride is in progress.

Again, we seem to forget - the old-timers didn't need all this fancy stuff to execute these rides.
 
#16
So, if I have a GPS to use, I need to send the logs of the ride, as well as all fuel reciepts, and pictures showing our bike mileage. I am very new here, and I am planning a group ride, and none of us have done this before, so we want to make sure we get it right.
 

Texas Tom

Premier Member
#17
So, if I have a GPS to use, I need to send the logs of the ride, as well as all fuel reciepts, and pictures showing our bike mileage. I am very new here, and I am planning a group ride, and none of us have done this before, so we want to make sure we get it right.
To Ken's thought......I use my GPS for route guidance and cell service but I don't use the tracking data for anything connected to documentation for the ride. I already have those via receipts. I'm not really old school but not a techie either. If one was to use tracking data I'd send my SPOT tracking, but again, not needed for cert requirements. GPS tracking data is NOT required for ride cert documentation.
 

marcham

Premier Member
#18
So, if I have a GPS to use, I need to send the logs of the ride, as well as all fuel reciepts, and pictures showing our bike mileage. I am very new here, and I am planning a group ride, and none of us have done this before, so we want to make sure we get it right.
There's no need to send a GPS Log.

An easy way to backup your ride progress, whether it's for your own future record or to support your submission is the Bubler App (Android) which records your position and date/time stamp every few minutes on the Spotwalla website. Your friends and family can follow your progress and you can save your trip log for posterity! http://bubblergps.com/index.html. If you are going to use it, practice with the app and the spotwalla website before your big day.

Here's an example:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=15e5a599b968178783&hoursPast=0&showAll=yes
 

Ira

Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
IBR Staff
#19
So, if I have a GPS to use, I need to send the logs of the ride, as well as all fuel reciepts, and pictures showing our bike mileage. I am very new here, and I am planning a group ride, and none of us have done this before, so we want to make sure we get it right.
GPS logs are excellent additional documentation, but do not replace the required documentation. Spotwalla is recommended.

As far as a group ride is concerned, if it is sponsored by an organized motorcycle club, dealership, or charity and you have ten or more riders, please contact me for a special set of rule for such rides that reduces somewhat the documentation requirements and fees. If it is just a bunch of riding buddies going on the ride, each rider needs to maintain their own documentation as though they were riding solo.

Ira Agins
Iron Butt Association
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#20
What Ira said...naturally.

No, by "additional data", I'm using the capability of the GPS to monitor pace and things like that. Example:



The two biggies I use are the overall average, and the moving average.