Touring Tips - GPS
Buy a proper one.
The handheld or mobile phone ones
are okay but not easy to install on your bike.
The GPS unit needs to be in your line of sight.
Best choice is TomTom or Garmin, but there are
Make sure Digital Maps are included
in the purchase price. This alone converts a
cheap purchase into an expensive one. Maps eat
memory so use a 2Gb memory card if you are travelling
Europe. Check processor – 256k is too
slow but 512k will refresh quickly enough through
junctions and roundabouts.
RTFM. You will struggle without
the manual. You’ll need to learn how to
pre-program a complicated route on your PC by
creating WAYPOINTS. Click on the road leaving
the town, rather than the town itself, otherwise
your map will look like purple spaghetti. Make
sure you click on the RIGHT side of the road
for dual carriageways abroad (common mistake).
Which To Buy?
Second hand TomTom units are
cheap because they fall out of the cradle and/or
the electrics do not connect up properly into
the unit on your bike. Some also have only 50
waypoints maximum (not enough...). Map display
and voiceover is arguably better than Garmin.
Garmin Streetpilot 2610 and 2620 are good if
they have a bigger upgrade card BUT the hard
wire can short when you disconnect the unit.
They have no batteries so tricky to run indoors.
I still use a 2620 with a 2Mb card and some
extra Mapsource software. Amazing piece of kit.
Best by far is the Garmin Zumo because it is
a dedicated unit for bikes. Controls are on
the left (right hand = throttle hand –
yes?) and it even has an MP3 player and bluetooth
built in. Bit chunky (it has batteries) but
display is clear although the system takes a
bit of getting used to after a StreetPilot.
What Are The Benefits?
Normal benefits: you are never,
ever lost. You will no longer fight with your
pillion about the route to take – it’s
all done for you. You will always find the Hotel
at the end of a day’s ride. If you take
a wrong turn your GPS will put you back on the
right route without going miles out of your
way. Unexpected benefits: Your GPS will find
fuel stations for you when you are running out
of gas. It talks to you if you have comms on
your bike. The Zumo can even take telephone
calls and fire them up into your
bluetooth helmet – amazing!
How Does It Fit On A
Best way to connect to your bike
is by a customised RAM Mount. Visit telferizer.com
– Bob does an amazing range of very neat
mounts for most bikes. Note that the length
of the mounting arm is variable – if riding
with a tank bag a longer arm is advisable. Also,
hard wire the unit try to connect in such a
the unit is off when the ignition is turned
off and make sure you use a fused connection.
Bye-bye soggy maps – hello GPS! If you
are worried about touring on your own then ride
with MCi tours Escorted tours from only £399
- let us do the work for you or, go MCi Tours
SelfGuided and try out your GPS! Visit mcitours.com.