I plan to buy a GPS unit and map a pretty exstensive riding area where I live and was looking for input from experienced users on what unit to buy or which unit they have had that has held up well.

Also on the techie side if anyone knows of a unit which will work well with AutoCad and some sort of mapping software, any information on this would be appreciated.

thanks in advance for any information.

Ah yes,

Too many choices here for sure. For map making get a GPS with huge tracklog memory capacity. That leaves only the Garmin Etrek Vista or GPSMAP76. Both units will record 10,000 tracklog points.

As for map making with Autocad data tranfer capability things get sketchy.

I assume you're talking about full tilt GIS in ESRI format.

I know of only one 3rd party GPS software supporting ESRI shape files for import and export. That's OziExplorer. There maybe more out there but this what I've been using.

Consider the low tech approach and publish in Garmin Mapsource format. For a good example check out this link.

Web page for Sneakers

Check out

Excellent resource for buying/using/mounting GPS units on motorcycles!

I use a Garmin Legend on my bike and my sled. If I had to buy one now I'd get the Garmin Vista for the extra memory and features. The're very compact and can easily fit in your pocket. I know guys with slightly bigger magellan units and now that the noveltie's worn off, they leave 'em home. Both of the Garmin units come with maps of North America installed and there are fairly regular software updates online for both. You can also buy software to up and download to computer. Both units can track while you ride. If you loose your bearings you can use the backtrack feature to retrace your footsteps and get back home. You can also program in routes and upload tracks from other users. Let's say you had a particularly great ride in the desert one day. You could email the saved track to a bud with a Garmin and he could use it to almost ride in your tire track the entire route. You can also print your routes and tracks with the Garmin map software. I had mine mounted on the bars but it used to shut down at high RPM. I thought the batteries might be buzzing inside and loosing contact so I stretched the coil springs a bit and this cured it for a while, but I had to restretch the springs now and then. Now I have it mounted to my front numberplate, tucked just below the top. Since it's not such a solid mount, the vibration doesn't seem to bother it. It's a lot easier to see on a roll now too. When it was mounted to the bars I had to look down to see it and now I don't have to take my eyes off the trail. For the sled I use the cig adapter for power and a handlebar heating element to keep it warm. The screen starts to freeze around -20C. The unit is still working and tracking but you loose the display. Stick it in your coat for a minute and you're back in business. The Garmin maps are pretty good but don't have relief so you can't tell hill from dale. There is map software called Fugawi that's very sophisticated and S&R here use it, but as far as I know it isn't compatible with the Garmins. If you're interested I can email you a print of a ride so you can see what you're getting.

Garmin Etrex Vista with a RAM-Mount hard-wired to

the battery is the ONLY way to go! :D

Surface-mount technology makes these things very

durable against vibration. They're waterproof

and dust proof...I simply hose mine off after the

ride and call it good.

On a side note, most of the screens can get scratched

when you wipe off the dust to view the image. I use clear,

packing tape on the screen and it peels right off after

the ride. The screen stays clean and scratch free. :)

The shutting down at high rpm thing can be resolved by placing four, small, dab's of silicone--two on each side of the battery cover, directly over each battery. This places enough pressure and grip on the batteries to keep them from jumping around in the battery compartment. However, the BEST way to go is what N7SLC suggested: hard-wired to the battery (he built me a custom unit with on/off switch, power led and water-resistant.) :):D

thanks for the replies, you can always count on TT members for good info. My next question is what features should I be looking for if I am wishing to produce maps and such. I guess the amount of memory would be a good one but anything else? It seems everyone likes the Garmin models as choice of GPS.

I have a magellan sporttrac topo. After much discussion at this board I hard wired it to sealed 12 volt 1.5ah battery that I rigged just above my headlight. I installed charging cables for my battery tender to charge the battery. The gps unit itself is mounted to the bars and dit works great.

Just my 2 cents


Lowrance iFinder Pro can record and display 100 trails by 1 0 000 track poins each. It has the bigges memoty on the market. It uses MMC/SD cards to store data, so the storage of this GPS unit is more that you can use! It is under $200!

You can make maps using tracklogs, as I did not found any other way.

Limitations are:

1. tracklogs are not 3D

2. Not 100% water resistant

It is a little bigger than Garmin etrex vista, but it has bigger display and it has much better batery life...

I too have gone the Garmin route (Etrex Legend) and found it great value for the money. I'm also a satisfied cycoactive customer.

On my VFR streetbike (very little vibration) I simply use a RAM mount with the two AA batteries and a little bit of diaelectric grease on the terminals to prevent the "sparking" which can shut the GPS off.

I too have found the big WR creates too much vibration at high RPM's and as a result have purchased cycoactive's external battery pack which is designed to take two C batteries - and provide way longer battery life. I've got the GPS mounted on the handlebar (using a second RAM ball mount) and have the batteries in a small cycoactive number plate pouch. The pouch is also perfect for carrying a power bar and first aid supplies!

Overall the set up works great.

Good luck!


I think if you stick with a Garmin GPS you will be able to trade data with most other off-roaders. Some of the other models may have bigger screens and more features, but I've been perfectly happy with my Legend and TTer's have been able to give me GPS data for rides I've never done before (MOAB!) Just my .02 worth!

Dera Frostbite, I read your post. Maybe you can help me. Which color cable on the WR450F is the one (behind the lamp-unit) that I can use for connecting a 12V DC unit like (GPS or Board Computer)


If you are interested I have a Garmin Venture for sale. I use the Magellan Platinum now, but for USD100.00 I'll sell you the Garmin Venture. I still have everything for it.

If you are interested I have a Garmin Venture for sale. I use the Magellan Platinum now, but for USD100.00 I'll sell you the Garmin Venture. I still have everything for it.

Hey PEDMAN, you gonna try out that Magellan with us in Moab next month??



Use the brown wire that comes from the ignition button. Sitting on the bike looking forward from the top, it's the 2nd white plug left of the odometer behind the headlight. I know that this applies to the 03 WR450F. 04 WR450F :) but probably the same. Just be sure to use the proper size fuse inline with the positive wire.

After looking at some units my local dealer had that were for map making with correctable GPS points,Im thinking I will go with a Garmin unit probably the map76s series. the $5,000 price tag scared me away. :)

sure, what are the dates? :)

sure, what are the dates? :D

Pedman...we've gotta hook up!! Skip the February trip and come in March (especially with all the snow Utah has received.)

Read this thread for all the info... :):D


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