My first long distance adventure riding motorcycle trip took me across the Great Plains to the San Juan mountains of Colorado then down St. George, Utah.
I brought an XM radio, Android phone, and the best adventure motorcycle GPS I could afford to buy. It turned out the GPS wasn’t updated properly and lacked maps for the two states I intended to visit.
I had a handheld motorcycle GPS with XM radio, bluetooth, weather capabilities, and a headphone jack for MP3s. Despite all the features and accessories, the GPS portion, which was the selling point, was useless.
Womp womp womp.
I managed via Google Maps and paper maps. I still longed for a good ADV GPS, which will focus on in this article.
Best-selling motorcycle GPS on Amazon.
- 5.5” ultrabright, glove-friendly display with crisp HD resolution in landscape or portrait mode; rain-resistant and built rugged (passed the military standard 810 drop test)
- Get spoken turn-by-turn directions through your connected helmet or headset plus preloaded off-road topographic maps with public land boundaries, 4x4 roads and more
- Access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery with direct-to-device downloads and no annual subscription
- Garmin Adventurous Routing options find curvy or hilly roads for a fun and exciting riding experience
- Easily manage and review routes, tracks and waypoints across your navigator, smartphone and computer using Garmin Explore
- Motorcycle navigation for the twisty road to adventure
- Rugged, glove friendly, Sunlight readable 4.3 inch display; resistant to fuel vapors, UV Rays and harsh weather
- Pair with a compatible smartphone for hands free calling, smart notifications through the free Smartphone Link app, easily share GPX files for group rides
- Access free Live services for traffic and weather using the smartphone link app
- Garmin Adventurous Routing finds curvy or hilly roads; limits major highways
- Routes with more hills and more thrills: Get all the cornering, hills, and thrills you can handle with TomTom's rider motorcycle GPS: Search, create, or import routes, then start your ride out
- Weatherproof build: Tom-Tom’s rider motorcycle GPS has rugged, ipx7-certified weatherproof design and capacitive touchscreen remain under your control even when you are wearing gloves
- World maps, traffic, and services: Stay safe, stay up-to-date. Get maps, safety camera alerts, and other live service updates quickly and easily via the TomTom rider GPS No computer needed
- Quad-core processor: The TomTom rider GPS’s quad-core processor runs commands simultaneously, doubling your overall processing speed and increasing your GPS's start up speed fivefold
- Smart screen: See more of the road ahead with the TomTom rider motorcycle GPS’s high brightness and sunlight-readable 4.3" display, which switches smoothly between portrait and landscape mode
Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Guide to buying a good GPS for motorcycle touring
The first thing you need to consider when buying a motorcycle GPS is where you like to ride.
The most enjoyable roads are often in remote areas or through forests where it is hard to get a signal.
That is why it is important to look for a GPS with excellent connectivity as well as pre-loaded maps for when there is no signal.
Durable, waterproof GPS for touring bikes
Your off road motorcycle GPS must be durable enough to handle the vibration of the bike.
A waterproof outer case and a shockproof mounting are ideal. In fact, a universal mount will allow you to use the GPS on more than just one motorcycle.
Consider the size of the screen when shopping for your GPS.
It needs to fit comfortably on the bike while being large enough to easily see with a quick glance. Sizes very from one manufacturer to another, so be sure to explore all of your options before making a final decision.
Your sunglasses won’t be enough to prevent glare when using your device. An anti-glare screen will be easy to see on sunny days.
One’s made specifically for motorcycles include easy to see screens while most car GPS systems don’t.
A GPS system that is mounted to your motorcycle’s handlebars will be constantly exposed to the elements.
Buying a weatherproof model is a good investment. Not just rain, but wind, dust, dirt, and other road debris can ruin an unprotected system.
Keep in mind that you will more than likely be wearing gloves while using your ADV motorcycle GPS.
While most systems are advertised as being glove-friendly, not all GPS’s work with all types and sizes of gloves.
Test them with your gloves on before making a final decision, and read customer reviews to see if others are having any difficulties using it.
Battery life, Bluetooth capability
Battery life is another very important consideration. Battery life ranges from only a few hours in the cheaper models to 16 hours in the more expensive, high-end systems.
If you plan to go for longer rides, you will need to invest in the more expensive options or purchase additional batteries to take along.
Bluetooth abilities are a must-have feature for anyone that has to have access to their phone at all times. This is a necessity for many jobs, and it is handy when keeping in touch with family. Even if you don’t feel the need to always be connected, you may enjoy having the ability to do so when want to.
Bluetooth allows you to connect to your phone in order to receive phone calls as well as to connect your headset to the GPS in order to hear important instructions. This connectivity is a safety feature as it allows you to stay focused on the road without any distractions.
As you search for the perfect motorcycle GPS system for your adventure bike, you will discover ones with entertainment features.
This includes satellite radio that can keep you entertained on long rides, and the traffic alerts and weather reports that are available on some systems can be your best friend when traveling.