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GPS: Samsung S4 versus Garmin Montana versus Monterra ?

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I need a handlebar mounted GPS pretty badly. We ride tight woods. Every turn looks the same and after 15 minutes you don't know north from south. My friend is doing GPS duty for the group and lets just say we've lost confidence in his abilities.

So... I want something mounted on the handlebars with a screen large enough to show something. That pretty much narrows it down to the Montana and the new Android based Monterra. I find these GPSs to be very expensive ($450 and $650), considering that a crash could render them junk.

People complain about the Montana software. The Monterra runs Android which theoretically means I could use on of the seemingly good GPS packages available for it.

My Samsung S4 is expensive too, but I already own it. It runs Android just like the Monterra. It seems to be able to do most of what the Garmins do, with the exception of having poorer GPS resolution.

Is it feasible to use a cell phone as a high end dirt bike GPS ?

Is the Monterra worth the premium over the Montana ?

Is the Montana the logical choice here ?

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What's in the $400+ GPS's that a $150 GPS doesn't have?  Would this be your first dedicated GPS?

 

Screen%20shot%202013-07-17%20at%2022.17.

 

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Maps n' stuff is plenty detailed (CityNav for truck/moto, I switch to topo for snowmobiling)

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Does the whole tracky-tracky thing I can pull into Google Earth (and the other way too, draw lines/waypoints in Earth and squirt them to the GPS)

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Tougher than a smartphone, but not "indestructible".  The 76 should fare a little better than my old 60 did, since the mount wraps around the entire unit.

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And my first GPS ... GPS12.  About 15 years old, sold it on ebay a few weeks ago.  Reason I upgraded to my 60 was for additional track log capacity (this only has 1024 points, which I can fill in about half a day of riding) and detailed maps.

i-Qs9L8Xk-L.jpg

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The smart phones cost just as much as a high end gps, so the only reason to use one is because you already have it. My biggest complaint is if you don't have the maps already on the screen and you go out of cell coverage, you're boned.

 

 

I have a Montana I use for various activities (dirt bike, street bike, and in my truck with a simple profile change) and the screen is nice and big/easy to read. Down side is it is bulky  :lol:  Another plus over a phone is it is waterproof (sure you can stick the phone in something that is, but that seems like it would be a pain)

 

The powered rugged mount is nice too (if your bike has +12v for power, easy to modify the cradle to remove the power wire if not). I keep mine tethered to the bike now because while it is secure, I have had mine come out of the cradle after a well aimed branch snagged the release button.

 

 

Some people have had issues with the firmware on these things. I run an older version just because mine has been rock solid on it and I haven't really seen any reason to upgrade to anything newer.

 

I've had mine since April 2012.

 

GOPR0430_zps7a87891c.jpg

Edited by gots_a_sol

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The smart phones cost just as much as a high end gps, so the only reason to use one is because you already have it. My biggest complaint is if you don't have the maps already on the screen and you go out of cell coverage, you're boned.

its a valid point. However, its very easy to download maps and store them on the phone.

 

I have a Montana I use for various activities (dirt bike, street bike, and in my truck with a simple profile change) and the screen is nice and big/easy to read. Down side is it is bulky  :lol:  Another plus over a phone is it is waterproof (sure you can stick the phone in something that is, but that seems like it would be a pain)

Right.

 

The powered rugged mount is nice too (if your bike has +12v for power, easy to modify the cradle to remove the power wire if not). I keep mine tethered to the bike now because while it is secure, I have had mine come out of the cradle after a well aimed branch snagged the release button.

OK.

 

Some people have had issues with the firmware on these things. I run an older version just because mine has been rock solid on it and I haven't really seen any reason to upgrade to anything newer.

 

I've had mine since April 2012.

So would you buy it again, given what is now on the market for cell phones and GPSes ? Or would you buy a Monterra ?

Its funny how little competition there is in the higher end GPS market.

Thanks for the reply.

Edited by MidlifeCrisisGuy

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I like having a dedicated GPS and don't consider a phone an option for it unless absolutely needed. I wanted a tracking gps and needed a new car gps also, which the Montana fit the bill for both.

 

 

 

The Monterra is interesting, but hard to make a decision on it since it hasn't even been released yet. If I was in the market right now and could wait, I would probably hold off until it was available and people started using them to see if they are stable/reliable/as cool as they seem on paper haha.

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I've been using computer/GPS and standalone GPS  systems for marine navigation since the mid 90s and because of that my first offroad GPS was a marine Garmin 76.  Worked so well that I upgraded to the color 76Csx, next I bought two of the next gen units; a 62S for the bike and an Oregon for hiking.  

These Garmins have really good receivers, I've never lost signal in deep forest canopies or canyons. 

Viewing a GPS screen while riding off road just doesn't work for me so the use is when stopped, usually at an intersection.

Garmin earned their rep and position in the market by building really user friendly units.

The touch screen Oregon is small and easily packed but the buttons on the 60/70 series units make them much easier to use.

Maps are not a problem; Garmin provides map management SW and also has a big library of maps. Also plenty of third party maps and apps, plus you can convert tracks of unmapped trails to map overlays.

The Garmin units are rugged and waterproof, cell phones aren't.  The 70 series have a larger case than the 60 series so they float.

The best and safest mounts for a motorcycle are RAM Mounts.  The RAM is a system of mounts; I have a base mounted on each bike, and a case for each GPS.  This allows me to plug n play any of my GPS units on any bike.

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The thing for me about the Monterra is that a) the OS should be solid and B) if one doesn't like what Garmin does with their GPS software, any Android GPS software should work on it.

I have several Android devices and I think they are great. And just about anything you can think of is available on Google Play and most of it works pretty well.

But is that worth about $200 over the Montana ? This is starting to get expensive !

My riding buddy uses a Garmin Rhino 650 device mounted to his handlebars. He can't read the screen it doesn't have an e Compass, so as soon as we stop moving he has no idea of the direction. Some of the problem is with the user, but I can't help but think the Montana or Monterra would be a lot nicer to use.

Edited by MidlifeCrisisGuy

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What's in the $400+ GPS's that a $150 GPS doesn't have?  Would this be your first dedicated GPS?

 

Screen%20shot%202013-07-17%20at%2022.17.

 

FILE1009_-L.jpg

 

Maps n' stuff is plenty detailed (CityNav for truck/moto, I switch to topo for snowmobiling)

16%20Zooming%20in%20past%20basemap.gif

 

Does the whole tracky-tracky thing I can pull into Google Earth (and the other way too, draw lines/waypoints in Earth and squirt them to the GPS)

08-09Snowies-L.jpg

 

Tougher than a smartphone, but not "indestructible".  The 76 should fare a little better than my old 60 did, since the mount wraps around the entire unit.

DSC02514-L.jpg

 

And my first GPS ... GPS12.  About 15 years old, sold it on ebay a few weeks ago.  Reason I upgraded to my 60 was for additional track log capacity (this only has 1024 points, which I can fill in about half a day of riding) and detailed maps.

i-Qs9L8Xk-L.jpg

Wow, a real antique! Like your mount location, my 60cs and I sure butt heads so I'm thinking your location choice is the better one.

 

As far as the original question....I have a Samsung s4 and it is my work lifeline. Not to mention the "come and git me" lifeline is something were to go amiss. I ride with a GPS MAP 60cs ($70 used) and it's fine so far. A crash will rattle the GPS, the ones mentioned above are all good but yeah the 76 is a good choice and what I see many fellow riders using.

 

In my opinion....buy a 76 for $150. Plus I don't know what the mount availability for your phone is. RAM makes the best mounts.

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I'd buy the 76Cx.  Color, and µSD card for maps/track backup. 

 

Wanted it mounted low, keep it out of the way when I crash, and keep trees/branches/etc from grabbing it.  Works well.

Kinda need to shim up the 76 though, it doesn't fit quite as nice as the 60 did because it's a little bigger.

 

DSC00266-L.jpg

 

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I bought a very lightly used (new in box ?) GPS 62ST locally this evening for $200. I won't see it until Monday.

Thanks for all the input to my questions.

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Update.

 

I received the 62S and mounted it to my bike.   Went for the first ride with it on the weekend in heavy bush.

 

The group (3 of us) came to a small stream with deep mud on each side.  The most experienced rider was sure there was a better crossing a few hundred yards upstream.  I religiously marked locations on my 62 as we went.  It took us an hour and a half to reach trail again.  We were off trail for about 2 miles.  At one point the other two in the group didn't know what direction we were heading.   Needless to say the 62 saved the day !

 

What was really interesting was a) that the other two would never agree to turn back on the trail we had just made.  We had GPS points along the way as well as we made enough mark to follow our way back and B) a high reluctance to trust the GPS directions and map points, even though they were right there.

 

I'll never ride tight woods again without a GPS.  

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I too have been in looking into a gps.

 

Theoretically  a good compass should be able to guild you back to your start point (last time I got so turned around I had to thank somones god that I took a look at sun position, it wasn't cloudy and I could actually see the sun through the trees to get me back to camp) so essentially much like the orginal poster, want a way to find my way back to camp.

 

With that said, I've been playing around with OruxMaps for the Android on my Samsung Rugby. The maps seem to work OK when you have data/wifi but I've tried downloading some off-line maps (since anytime I'll need the gps I won't have data/wifi) and they really don't work . Anyone here looked at OruxMaps and can offer any tips.

 

Otherwise I'm looking at a flyer with the Garmin etrex20 for $189.00 pre-load with topo Canada.

 

Advrider.com has a dedicated GPS forum. I've seen a number of random GPS threads here but as an idea, maybe the mods could create GPS sub-forum in regional or pin a GPS thread some place where we can collect GPS info, share tracks etc.

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