LAST UPDATED: July 7, 2019
Best Motorcycle GPS: Travel Scenic, Winding Roads With These Top Picks
You will never get lost with these top-rated motorcycle GPS devices
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON July 7, 2019
It's hard to use a smartphone when you're riding your bike, and that's why many people opt for navigation systems geared specifically towards motorcyclists. Our buyer's guide will direct you in selecting the best motorcycle GPS device on the market so you can reach your destination safely.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle GPS
- You travel long distances. If you're the type of rider who enjoys extended trips on the open road, a GPS device for motorcycles will be very helpful. It will easily get you where you want to go.
- Your bike lacks built-in navigation. While some touring bikes come equipped with a motorcycle navigation system, many motorbikes do not. Fortunately, it's not hard to find the best motorcycle GPS as an aftermarket accessory.
- You want to track your road trip. The best motorcycle navigation system can output information such as distance traveled, average speed, elevation, and other statistics. You can use this data to check your progress and improve your ride.
- Adventure is your middle name. Motorcycle GPS units can help you plan routes and recommend scenic and winding roads as well as points of interest. The best GPS for adventure riding can make your journey much more engaging with its map data and route options.
- They're easy to use. As technology continues to advance, many electronic devices become increasingly more user-friendly. Motorcycle GPS systems are not too hard to set up and operate.
- You get lost easily. It's not uncommon for motorcyclists to get caught up on the ride and travel on unfamiliar roads. A motorcycle GPS will help you find your way home if you need to get back on track.
- You can find a stolen bike. The best motorcycle GPS will record your bike's movements if it's stolen. This is particularly important if you have an expensive motorcycle that's prone to theft.
- They're versatile. The best motorcycle GPS units can be used on all types of motorcycles, from cruisers to street bikes. You can mount it on your handlebars, gas tank, or windscreen, or even take it with you on a hike.
Types of Motorcycle GPS
Traditional vs. Portable
A traditional motorcycle GPS device includes all the options you need for many years of riding adventures. The best ones are durable and function in all types of weather. They are Bluetooth compatible and have a variety of features that make the riding experience more enjoyable. Portable units contain many of the same features but can be used off the bike as well (on hikes, for example). They tend to be smaller and have smaller screens.
Several engineers founded Garmin in 1989. The company, which is headquartered in Olathe, Kan., produces automotive, aviation, marine, fitness, outdoor recreation, and wireless products and is the global leader in GPS navigation technology. One top product is the Garmin Zumo 595LM.
Dutch company TomTom was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Amsterdam with offices in 30 countries. It concentrates on connected vehicles, smart mobility and, in the near future, autonomous driving. One popular product is the TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device.
Motorcycle GPS Pricing
- Under $300: Some GPS devices fall in this price range. These less expensive models won't have as many functions as better brands and may be difficult to program.
- Above $300: Good-quality motorcycle GPS navigation systems are not cheap. Expect to spend several hundred dollars for a reliable, durable unit. More expensive brands will have advanced features and be more dependable.
Glove-Friendly Touch Screen
The touchscreen display should respond easily to your touch even when you're wearing gloves. This is an essential feature because you don't want to stop the bike and remove your gloves every time you need to interact with the GPS. Worse, you don't want to remove your gloves while riding and create a distraction.
All motorcycle riders know that the weather doesn't always cooperate. Subsequently, a waterproof GPS for motorcycles is your best bet. It should hold up to the elements, even if it rains or snows. The navigation system should also be made of materials that will last a long time and are made of high-quality materials.
The best motorcycle GPS systems will have preloaded maps of the United States, allowing you to use the device immediately upon installation. Many will also enable you to download maps for other countries in North America, including Canada and Mexico. Some have a slot for an SD card so you can add even more maps. Preloaded maps are key because they can provide navigation in places that don't have a good signal. Lifetime map updates are a bonus.
- Interface: The best motorcycle GPS systems are user-friendly. They should be very simple to use and feature intuitive actions. If you struggle to operate the device, you're less likely to use it. Menu items should be clearly labeled, and it shouldn't be difficult to map out your destination.
- Voice Navigation: It's not always easy to look at your navigation system when you're riding. A motorcycle GPS with Bluetooth will enable you to hear the unit's instructions through your helmet. Otherwise, you'll have to try to decipher the instructions in traffic or at high speeds, which can be challenging. Bluetooth connectivity is much more convenient.
- Battery Life: If you're purchasing a GPS for motorcycle use, odds are you're planning at least one fairly long trip. But if the battery dies before you reach your destination, the device hasn't fulfilled its purpose. Choose one that lasts for a decent period of time or comes with a backup. Fortunately, many devices can be wired directly to your bike’s battery, so battery life is less of a concern.
- Mount: The best motorcycle GPS should be easy to install and come with all the necessary mounting hardware. Many have a universal mount that fits on most bikes. Some are designed to be mounted on the handlebars. They are very secure and are set in place with mounting screws. Other devices are mounted on the gas tank. You must look down to see the screen, and they require a tether strap so they don't fall off.
- Size: Bigger isn't always better. A bulky GPS unit may get in the way, and it's easier to accidentally bump into it. Even a slight rattle can inadvertently damage the device. A small motorcycle GPS system may be difficult to read when you're riding. Choose one that is just the right dimensions for your bike.
Best Motorcycle GPS Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This device has a 5-inch, dual-orientation touchscreen display and a rugged design for harsh weather. It can be used with gloves and includes a feature to navigate winding and hilly roads. The device displays alert for sharp curves, speed cameras, state helmet laws, etc. Hands free-calling is available via Bluetooth with a compatible helmet or headset. Also, you can control music from an MP3 player or your smartphone.
It's accurate and solidly built. The display is nice and large, and it's simple to pair with a Bluetooth-compatible device. The screen is easy to read at highway speeds, and it's water-resistant, so it holds up well in heavy downpours. The display and verbal instructions are easy to follow, and the unit operates in either car or motorcycle mode. You can make a custom route, factor in automatic fuel stops based on how far you can get on a tank, and monitor your tire pressure.
One problem is the display may be difficult to read in bright sunshine. Also, the Bluetooth audio may be scratchy and not very loud, and it doesn't have very long battery life. There have also been some complaints that the maps are difficult to update. In addition, the apps are not free and can eat up your smartphone data.
This glove-friendly device has a sunlight-readable 4.3-inch display. It's resistant to fuel vapors, UV rays, and harsh weather. It allows hands-free calling, smart notifications, and GPX file sharing for group rides. You can control music from your cell phone, access free live services for traffic and weather, and use its adventure riding feature to find curvy or hilly roads.
It's easy to install, user-friendly, and it comes with everything you need, including two different mounts. It's simple to change settings and navigate the display while wearing gloves. It has good visibility, the touchscreen works well for a waterproof model, and it's slim and light yet feels sturdy. It also recalculates routes quickly and has plenty of internal storage.
There have been some complaints about the software, Basecamp, which can be confusing at times. Also, the display may be difficult to read in direct sunlight. In addition, it's not as intuitive as some smartphone GPS apps, and connectivity with other devices is inconsistent.
This GPS device plots winding roads and climbs and other interesting routes. It offers updates via Wi-Fi for the latest maps and software, so no computer is needed. It's compatible with Siri and Google to access music, calling, and messaging. It also syncs with your smartphone so messages can be relayed out loud on your headset.
The unit is easy to access and use while riding, and the screen responds well with gloves on. It has good search and routing capabilities, and it quickly responds to rerouting. You can personalize trips with hills and curves, the screen is easy to read even in bright sunlight, and the directions are quite accurate. In addition, it's a very solid unit that can withstand jiggling, and it's easy to program.
One downside is the unit does not come with an instruction manual. It may take some trial and error to figure out how to use it, and some complain it's less intuitive than competitor brands. Also, it may route you along dirt routes even if you disable the off-road routes. In addition, the updates can be slow over Wi-Fi, and the audio quality may not be very good.
Mount this GPS on your motorcycle and enjoy easy-to-follow, turn-by-turn directions on the 5-inch dual-orientation display. The unit comes pre-loaded with detailed maps of the lower 49 states. It has a powerful suction cup that’s meant for use on a motorcycle. The screen uses WQVGA color TFT and white backlight.
Riders will appreciate the assistance of the numerous alerts. This awareness assistance will alert you to upcoming changing road conditions such as sharp turns, changing speed limits, or school zones. You’ll also love the Real Directions feature that guides you as a friend would. That way, you can look for easily-spotted landmarks and traffic lights instead of hard-to-see street signs.
Unfortunately, you may find the user interface of this GPS to be disappointing and frustrating. You’ll need the exact address of the destination you’re trying to reach. It also doesn’t accept verbal commands, so you’re stuck typing everything in. As a rider, you may be less than impressed with its ability to choose the best route for an enjoyable motorcycle ride.
The Garmin DriveSmart GPS comes with everything you need to navigate while on your motorcycle. It has a bright and large 6.95 inch capacitive touch display. The images are crisp with a screen resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It comes with detailed maps of the United States and lifetime updates. The rechargeable lithium battery lasts for up to an hour.
One feature you’ll love while riding is the live traffic and parking updates. This lets you know exactly what the driving conditions are like while out on your bike. This GPS also can Bluetooth-connect to your smartphone. This gives you full phone functionality while riding.
The biggest problem with this GPS is that the battery only lasts for about an hour. If you don't have a way of plugging the unit into your bike, this is nowhere near long enough for a decent day’s ride. It can also be frustrating when trying to get a route somewhere, as it will take you through weird loops and turn arounds that are totally unnecessary.
This Garmin comes with a 5-inch dual orientation touchscreen display. It’s ready to use out of the box with maps for the lower 49 states pre-loaded. To use the GPS, you’ll input your query into the search field. It can quickly locate both addresses and points of interest. Once you choose a destination, a voice prompt will give you turn-by-turn directions.
If you plan to travel all over the country, this unit is perfect because it’s unaffected by cell phone dead zones. This is because it doesn’t rely on cell signals to work. You’ll like the smaller features that make this unit more helpful, such as the audible and visual alerts when approaching a school zone.
Unfortunately, the touchscreen isn’t very responsive. This can result in having to make several touches to achieve recognition of your selection. You may also find updating the maps to be a disappointment. While this unit comes with lifetime updated map downloads, the maps themselves are slow to update. This means you’re working with outdated information, even if you update your unit consistently.
When you buy this GPS, it comes pre-installed with maps and over 10 million points of interest. You’ll have maps for several countries, including the United States, Mexico, and many South American countries. You can also download more if needed. A large 7-inch screen displays the directions and map, while a sunshade ensures you’ll always be able to see it. Other useful information displayed includes the speed limit, tolls, and low bridges.
Driving with this GPS is easier, thanks to real voice navigation. Choose from several voices that give you turn-by-turn directions. The advanced lane guidance is also a nice feature that shows you exactly what lane you need to be in. This makes riding safer when you’re on unfamiliar roads.
One downside to this GPS is that it isn’t specifically meant for motorcycle use. While this shouldn’t be a problem most of the time, it can cause some problems on certain roads that aren’t great for motorcycles. The entire unit uses a suction cup to mount, which may not perform well since it’s meant for use in a vehicle and not on a motorcycle windshield.
The Trail Tech GPS is your guide when going off-road. It features a 4-inch full color touchscreen display. The map display will show you routes, tracks, waypoints, topography, and hillshading. The entire unit is rated IP67 for both anti-water and dust intrusion. The unit will track your speed with a paired wheel sensor and internal GPS. The display also includes your distance traveled, elevation, voltage, and running temperature.
If you plan to ride with other people, this unit is ideal because it pairs and tracks up to 20 other riders. This is a necessity both for convenience and safety. You’ll be able to see the location of everyone displayed on the map. There’s also Bluetooth capabilities, so you can use your phone for calls, messages, media, and intercom communications.
A big complaint about this unit is the size of the screen. At 4 inches, it’s quite small and can be hard to read while riding. You’ll also need to commit to hardwiring the mounting unit into your motorcycle. Finally, this unit is for off-roading, so it isn’t meant for those riders who are looking to stay on the pavement.
- GPS units have lots of features, and you should take advantage of them. You can set rider alerts for things such as traffic, bad weather, railroad crossings, and speed cameras. You can also receive information about your motorcycle, such as tire pressure and fuel level.
- Before taking your bike on the road, make sure to update your the navigation system's maps and software either through Wi-Fi or your computer. This will give you the most accurate routes possible.
- Be particularly vigilant when entering an address. Make sure to put in the correct information, including the right state, or you may not receive the proper directions, and you will not end up where you want to be.
- Keep in mind that some devices require smartphone connectivity or a special cable in order to use the real-time traffic features. While this is a helpful option, it may use some of your iPhone or Android data.
- Do not leave the device in the sun during hot summer months. Electronic devices with a battery or screen can overheat. Also, the battery could lose capacity or explode, and someone may steal it off of your bike.
Q: How does a motorcycle GPS work?
A: Both car and motorcycle GPS systems use earth orbiting global-positioning satellites to transmit your location and route. The satellites share data to pinpoint your position.
Q: Can I use my smartphone instead of a motorcycle GPS?
A: Yes, but there are some caveats. Unless your smartphone is weatherproof and has a 100-percent waterproof case, it will get exposed to the elements and various weather conditions, which can damage it. Also, if it falls at a high speed a smartphone is likely to break, which can be costly.
Q: Does the motorcycle GPS charge while I’m riding?
A: Many motorcycle GPS units include a wire that you can connect to the bike's battery, and the power received from the bike will allow the device to function.
Q: When should I update my GPS device?
A: Most GPS units should be ready to use right out of the box. However, even if they’re relatively current, there will likely be updates available.
Q: Can you use a motorcycle GPS as an odometer and speedometer?
A: A GPS device should be used as a navigational aid and should not be expected to provide exact measurements of speed or distance. These factors can vary, depending on the accuracy of the GPS position at the time of use.
Our pick for the best motorcycle GPS is the Garmin Zumo 595LM. It has a large, easy-to-read touchscreen you can use with gloves, and it can be programmed to find the best curvy and hilly routes. It's water-resistant, and it pairs easily with Bluetooth-compatible devices. It also monitors tire pressure and alerts you about upcoming speed cameras and sharp curves.
For a less expensive option, consider the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S, Motorcycle GPS.