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Old 05-27-2010, 06:49 AM   #1
jeff10236
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Default GPS- is a motorcycle specific unit worth the extra cost

So, one of the things I had in mind when I bought a motorcycle was interstate travel. I am a teacher and I'm off during the summer. By next year I may take a long camping trip touring much of the country. I may go on a short trip as early as this summer.

So, I am thinking about GPS units. My Garmin NUVI has been terrific in the car when on trips or going to an address for the first time. I don't use it regularly however.

So, for occasional use I was thinking about possibly just getting a motorcycle mount for my existing car/portable GPS and using that. I know that the motorcycle specific GPS units are made to handle the weather and the vibrations of a motorcycle, but for occasional use (trips and occasionally when going to a new address) I'm wondering if my existing GPS may be OK or do I really need to spend the $500+ for a GPS made to withstand the abuse that it will take on a motorcycle.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:00 AM   #2
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I'm in the market for a GPS myself and been debating getting a motorcycle model and use for bike trips and daily work in my work truck, but feel the bike models are overrated. If you're worried about the vibration just put it in your jacket pocket or in a tank bag and use headphones, but I'd think most bikes wouldn't vibrate enough to hurt them.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:28 AM   #3
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The main differences between the bike models and the car models is that the bike models are weatherproof and more accessible to gloved fingers (bigger screen buttons).
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:43 AM   #4
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Small buttons & gloves are a pain in the ass, not to mention touch screens don't work with a glove at all I don't think.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:47 AM   #5
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I've been using a TomTom ONE (car version) for several years. The only mod to the unit was that I sealed the 'traffic' antenna socket with RTV silicone. I can't hear it, but that isn't a problem for me.

I have it mounted to the top left tree with a RAM mount.

All that, you might consider the new smart phones, like the Droids or iPhone, and use them for Nav. You can buy mounts and weather covers for them, and they have BlueTooth so you can use wireless earphones. They may be hard to use with gloves, though.

However, the phones use towers (not satellites) for their location. If you lose a signal, you lose yourself.

If you plan on any off-road travels, bear in mind that the automotive/bike GPSs (and the phones, I think) cover only roads.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:51 AM   #6
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If you can mount it in a way that will damp excess vibration then you should be fine. Maybe carry a plastic bag to put on it when it's wet or you're not using it. No need to pay the exorbitant recreational vehicle tax.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:20 AM   #7
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I used a cheap GPS for a couple of years and just covered it with a baggie. Works fine, within it's limitations.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:44 AM   #8
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I figured a standard Ziploc style bag (upside down) would keep it dry, but having it in pocket and headphones would be reasonable too.
I couldn't imagine rain riding unfamiliar territory and taking much time to look at it, through a rain sprinkled bag and goggles to boot, the audio should suffice.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:29 AM   #9
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Do you guys use the battery or wire a plug into your bike? I've never relied just on the battery when using it in my car so I have no idea how long it would last, though backup power lasts a long time (I've gone a month or two without using it and when I next use it, I first power it up in my apartment when I enter the address, and it usually is registering a full charge). How much trouble is wiring things up for your bike to have the power connection? If I didn't do it myself, about how much time should it take (most of the mechanics around here seem to charge something like $85-95 an hour)?
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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My TomTom is powered from the battery, through a highly customized $8 car charger. The TT runs off 5 volts through a mini-USB plug, y'see. Since there is a bit of a voltage leak (if nothing else, the little red LED), I disconnect the hot lead if I'm not going to use the TT for a while.

I took the cigarette lighter bit off, and soldered two leads for the battery connections. I beefed up the innzee and outzee connections with strain reliefs, and ziptied the thing to the top of the left forkleg.

If you go that route (pun not intended), make sure the charger works with your PND (Personal Navigation Device) before you tear it apart. Not all USB connections are the same, and apparently some devices use some sort of handshake. For instance, the charger for the TT would not charge my RAZR. The RAZR charger worked with th TT.

Check out triumphrat.net, and try a search for GPS. There are several threads on the subject.
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