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theirishscion 06-19-2006 06:43 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
Well, I've been using the original Garmin Quest for about 9 months now. Found it online for

Two nice things about the Quest, it is water resistant (certainly sufficient for motorcycle use) and it has rather a good lithium battery built in so plumbing into the bike electrics can be considered optional (battery life between 4 and 16-ish hours, depending on backlight usage.)

Bad things are, in the case of the original Quest, map memory limited to about 115 Megs and no card slot to expand it. It also uses the older, less memory efficient maps, so that 115 Megs doesn't go as far as it does in the newer machines. On the plus side though, the maps that come with the unit are nice and granular so you can be very selective in what you add for any given trip (unlike the newer units/maps, which tend to cover huge chunks of a state, if not the whole thing, in a single map segment). For context, I can fit all of Texas and bits of a couple surrounding states into the memory at once. My g/f's Garmin i3 can fit Texas and all the sourrounding states into 128 megs.

My other dislike of the unit is the button size/feel. They're tiny little things, the 4-way rocker is actually 8-way, though which of the three possible options you get when you try a diagonal is anyone's guess. They're rubbery and horrid and close to impossible to hit predictably with gloves on. There's no tactile feedback. Furthermore, even if you plumb the audio output from the unit into your headphones, there still isn't any audio button feedback. Ick! On the upside, I suppose it discourages me from trying to play with it while I'm riding. Indeed, if I'd bothered to plumb it into the bike's electrics and my etymotics, I could get voice directions and wouldn't need to look at it at all.

Other points:
<ul>[*]It's small, meaning it's screen is small, and it's graphics are much less 'pretty' than newer units. Limited I think to 256 colours as well.[*]It's not that tough. The fold out antennas are known to be a bit of a weak point.[*]If you don't like the idea of ever having to download map data for a trip out of your normal home area, there's the Quest II which costs a couple hundred more, but comes with the entire continental US in memory, with space to spare. Same physical device (albeit with more Flash storage) but using the newer type maps. Evidently it's pretty much identical in use, but much much slower for certain types of search (understandably)[*]The user interface is logical though it follows Garmin's own internal logic more than it is innately intuitive. I've found it to be pleasant and simple to use, but then it's my 3rd Garmin GPS unit so I'm familiar with their ideas about user interface design.[*]The GPS receiver hardware itself seems very adequate. It gets initial locks plenty quick for most purposes and it's sensitive enough to navigate fine through all but the most built up city streets. (Downtown Houston is a pain in the arse if the unit hasn't got a really good lock on all the birds in the sky before you get in between the skyscrapers) Of course, it's nowhere near as sensitive as the new SiRF based units (like the Garmin Nuvi) but then it's much more rugged than them as well. Swings & Roundabouts really[/list]
Anyway, back to work for me. Those are the most salient points I can think of. Since the original Quest is nearing end-of-life, you can find it online for really really good prices and I for one would consider it to be a total bargain. I love it and I have come to depend on it (or at least I've come to forget to pack my maps for most trips)
If I've left anything out, reply this thread with a question and I'll check it later.


Klay 06-19-2006 06:44 AM

Re: Garmin GPS

A GPS is great because it gives me more freedom, and that's what it's all about. I'm more free to get lost and more free to roam further and experience more. I never plot out a route or follow some kind of waypoint timetable. The GPS is used purely as an additional tool for wandering.

I use my GPS's like glorified compasses for the most part. GPS maps are awful...a GPS will never take the place of a paper map for me. I'll always have paper maps along. They're just superior.

Therefore, I think the simple GPS's are the best, like the basic Garmin Etrex. It's so fun to have accurate speed, heading, altitude, and local sunrise/sunset info handy.

I'm not familiar with the bluetooth stuff, so I don't have any advice if you want to integrate that kind of technology into your setup. I'm skeptical of having any kind of sound devices in my ear when I'm riding.

seruzawa 06-19-2006 07:07 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
Yeah, but maps still work after you drop them or forget to change the battery.

BrowningBAR 06-19-2006 07:18 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
Well, yeah. I don't know why you wouldn't bring a map as a backup...

sarnali 06-19-2006 07:41 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
I use a very advanced computing system for traveling, it's called a "memory"....I look at this peice of paper called a "map" and commit my route and any turns to "memory" then I just look at "road signs" till one of them matches the number or name I have in "memory" and I take that road.

If I get lost, I use the map to figure out where I am and which roads I need to take to get where I'm going and re-align my memory with the new information and go from there...

works every time.

cigarbuf 06-19-2006 07:56 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
Garmin Quest is best.

It's small, but when mounted just above the front of my tank bag on a Ram(tm) mount, it's perfectly visible, especially with the great color display. It's waterproof. It uses buttons instead of touch screen, so the controls can be manipulated with gloves on. I paid $300 for the unit which includes home charger, car charger (with speaker) and mapsource software.

With respect to paper maps and GPS, I always carry a full size map for planning and visualizing a trip, but the gps can't be beat for detail. I often set the visible range to 800' which gives me a clear picture of what corners I'm about to encounter.

mii54ws 06-19-2006 08:41 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
Take a look at the Lowrance iWay 500c;

I have used Garmin's Street Pilot 2620 on my Nomad and switched to the iWay for visibility issues.

Klay 06-19-2006 10:00 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
I've always been disappointed by the digital maps contained in the GPS units. My USGS Survey maps and Delorme's atlases have the very good detail along with the big picture at the same time. It seems so awkward to be changing the map scale on the GPS.

I don't want to look closely at the GPS while moving anyway, so I am stopping anyway to look at a map.

I used to keep a map in my tankbag but discontinued the practice as I found myself looking at it too long too often.

I keep the map off on the GPS and just display heading, time, speed, and altitude...information obtained with a brief glance at the unit, and then I'm not tempted to stare at it.

seruzawa 06-19-2006 10:27 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
Why not connect the GPS device to some servo motors and then let it steer the bike for you? Add a cruise control for your throttle. Now you can be hands free and mount a DVD player and plasma screen.........

seruzawa 06-19-2006 11:29 AM

Re: Garmin GPS
I'm just an old GPTB member. I only trust paper maps, revolvers and rotating-bolt gas operation.

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