Good GPS unit for first timer

Looking to get a GPS unit to, preferably mount to my handlebars, but worst case at least have on me. Although not sure how well they work in your bag and not in the open. I have started to venture further and further into the middle of nowhere, although i dont ride alone, it would be nice to have something on me in the event i make one to many turns. Really don't need anything extravagant and have a budget of around $300-$400 included in that some type of mount for my handlebars. 

 

Let me add here that i havent really researched ALL of the features possible with these GPS units and really dont know all of the key words and definitions. Basically what i want is a device that i can set waypoints from A to B and i then can get back to A. If i venture off course, i will know and it will get me back to that set course. Of course i know there is more to it then that and i can learn. I know that you can download pre set maps and such and i would like that. Also like the idea that when you just go out riding, it will save the course you took and you can use it at a later time. Although the idea for me is to have something pre set before i go out. 

 

This is where im not sure how this works. For instance, in a couple weeks i want to do this 65 mile round trip ride and it is in the middle of nowhere. i can see on google maps and earth that there are what i am guessing are fire roads (they are marked with numbers on the map). Will i be able to somehow use those roads with the GPS unit and mark a path? what about marked forestry roads? I realize that i wont be able to have any pre set paths if i am just using random unmarked trails but thats when the feature of the GPS unit saving your paths comes in handy. I have looked at a lot of the garmin units like the Oregon and Montana, although i think the Montana is a bit out of my price range.

 

Anyway sorry about the babbling. Any ideas for me? BTW i have a 2014 KTM 450 XCW if anyone has a good mount idea for this bike. Thanks!

Funny, I just loaded the entire state of Arizona into my GPS last night. I was always riding off the counties I had.

 

I use a DeLorme PN20 with a Ram mount, and am happy. This unit is older and has been replaced with the PN40 I think. DeLorme makes those paper state atlas' you see everywhere.

 

I don't do routes, you can, but I do track myself for those "where the hell is I" moments. I think paper maps are necessary to bring along also.

 

Mike

With whatever unit you get, you'll most likely use a RAM mount like this. http://www.thegpsstore.com/RAM-Rail-Mount-for-Garmin-GPSMAP-62-64-Series-P3125.aspx

 

2 weeks is not much time to educate yourself about the functions and uses of a gps unit or the Mapsource / Basecamp software for your computer that you use to plan your trips / routes, then upload those to the unit. For your price range, which has to get the unit itself, map software and bike mounting, you're looking at a unit with a small screen, like an Garmin Etrex or maybe a gpsmap 62-64 series. Between those I'd probably go with the 64 for the slightly bigger screen, the front controls and GLONASS accuracy.

 

Sounds like, for now you want something that will lay a breadcrumb trail to show the track you've ridden and that you can follow to back track if you have to and that you can save for later, plus ability to drop a waypoint, like from where you started or where you'd like to go. Most, if not all units will do that. To have something preset before you go out means you'll need to learn how to use the Mapsource / Basecamp mapping software that you download from Garmin for free, install it on your computer and you plan / set up routes, tracks and waypoints in that at home, upload them to the unit, then put the unit on the bike, call up the route/track you want to ride and follow the line on the screen.

 

Topo maps, IMO, clutter a small screen to the point of becoming hard to read. City Navigator usually has most city, county, and forest and back country roads on it, so it would be the first Mapset I would buy. Unless you want to try some of the free ware out there, that may or may not be routable. http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/state/all

 

Here's a comparison chart. http://gpstracklog.com/compare/garmin-handheld-gps-comparison-chart

I've been using GPS systems for marine navigation since the mid 90s and then for backcountry navigation and IMO Garmin is the best for backcountry.  But IMO not all Garmin units  are well suited to motorcycle use.

 

The GPS60 and 70 series are the best for MC use because of they are waterproof, have buttons that you can operate with gloves, have sensitive antenna that work in canyons and under a forest canopy.  The 70 series have a slightly larger case that will float and some have voltage regulation/filter on the power inlet. If you follow the previously posted chart you will see the early 60 were had little memory and B/W screens.  The 62 is the next gen and uses a more conventional file system plus a bunch of other improvements in the screen and user interface. 

 

The 60/76 have the same guts and operating system with improvements thru the years for screens, memory, etc.

The 62/78/Oregon/Montana are the latest gen.

 

I prefer the 62/78 because of its larger memory to hold maps and tracks.

 

RAM mounts are the only mount to use on an offroad motorcycle.

Looking to get a GPS unit to, preferably mount to my handlebars, but worst case at least have on me. Although not sure how well they work in your bag and not in the open. I have started to venture further and further into the middle of nowhere, although i dont ride alone, it would be nice to have something on me in the event i make one to many turns. Really don't need anything extravagant and have a budget of around $300-$400 included in that some type of mount for my handlebars.

Let me add here that i havent really researched ALL of the features possible with these GPS units and really dont know all of the key words and definitions. Basically what i want is a device that i can set waypoints from A to B and i then can get back to A. If i venture off course, i will know and it will get me back to that set course. Of course i know there is more to it then that and i can learn. I know that you can download pre set maps and such and i would like that. Also like the idea that when you just go out riding, it will save the course you took and you can use it at a later time. Although the idea for me is to have something pre set before i go out.

This is where im not sure how this works. For instance, in a couple weeks i want to do this 65 mile round trip ride and it is in the middle of nowhere. i can see on google maps and earth that there are what i am guessing are fire roads (they are marked with numbers on the map). Will i be able to somehow use those roads with the GPS unit and mark a path? what about marked forestry roads? I realize that i wont be able to have any pre set paths if i am just using random unmarked trails but thats when the feature of the GPS unit saving your paths comes in handy. I have looked at a lot of the garmin units like the Oregon and Montana, although i think the Montana is a bit out of my price range.

Anyway sorry about the babbling. Any ideas for me? BTW i have a 2014 KTM 450 XCW if anyone has a good mount idea for this bike. Thanks!

I use a nokia lumia 521 now which litterally cost me $25 on ebay beleive it or not and its a good phone too! But if you got a lil extra money i suggest getting one of the newer nokia lumia models which are nicer like the lumia 1020 or lumia 1520.

You dont need to activate the phone or pay ANYTHING, all Nokia phones come with free turn by turn GPS navigation and it works phenomenally! I ride in northern michigan and find myself deep in the boondocks and lost all too often, best $25 i EVER spent. Haha

The phone has GPS navigation and also shows your current speed and how far youv traveled that day.

Plus it doubles as a camera if you see something cool or browse the net when you stop somewhere with wifi. Its incredibly useful, you can get a waterproof handlebar case on ebay for under $10 too.

I will  try to find my post about using my Samsung Rugby, Oruxmaps (free) and a GOOD off-line base map. Only thing I have yet to do is find a mount i'm comfortable using. otherwise I keep it in my pack.

 

I ride very remote area's with no cell service and this set-up has got me back to my truck more than a few times.

 

Here's a pic from my phone and the same route load into google earth

 

I still think we need a pinned gps topic or a sub forum.

 

 

Screenshot_2014-10-06-17-57-04.jpg

Epic.jpg

I will  try to find my post about using my Samsung Rugby, Oruxmaps (free) and a GOOD off-line base map. Only thing I have yet to do is find a mount i'm comfortable using. otherwise I keep it in my pack.

 

I ride very remote area's with no cell service and this set-up has got me back to my truck more than a few times.

 

Here's a pic from my phone and the same route load into google earth

 

I still think we need a pinned gps topic or a sub forum.

 

I agree with everything in your post, and I also use the GPS and maps on my smart phone but the OP wanted quick n easy which my phone solution isn't.

 

My phone does have a much better display so I can run aerial photo maps which IMO provides a much better display than a GPS.

My phone is short many functions and ease of use compared to my Garmin 62 so I use both.

Phone has limited battery life and doesn't have power conditioning so should only be charged from a stable supply, which few dirt bikes have.

The Trail Tech Voyager is pretty damn cool imo. Built for dirt bike riders.

I agree with everything in your post, and I also use the GPS and maps on my smart phone but the OP wanted quick n easy which my phone solution isn't.

 

My phone does have a much better display so I can run aerial photo maps which IMO provides a much better display than a GPS.

My phone is short many functions and ease of use compared to my Garmin 62 so I use both.

Phone has limited battery life and doesn't have power conditioning so should only be charged from a stable supply, which few dirt bikes have.

I was really close to getting a dedicated gps and would have been a Garmin for sure and i've read lots of your GPS posts and respect your advice.

 

I've been using computers since 1982 and Loren for sailing back on the 80's as well but for some reason could not get my head around what i wanted or need in a GPS. I've turned into a bit of a Luddite and only got my Samsung phone last year.

 

So further to my post - I was not looking for real time navigation nor do I want to follow someone else or my own route/track (this route/track thing can be confusing http://gpstracklog.com/2010/03/handheld-gps-101-routes-vs-tracks.html)since I like to ride, get kind of lost but I want to be able to record where I started then find my way back to my truck/camp. Since my phone has GPS and looks like a Montana, i was sure I could find something. I tried and gave up on Oruxmaps at least 3 times. Then download the manual, took some time to read it and got the OFF-LINE Garmin topo map for British Columbia. Recorded my first route/track and AHHHHHHHHH that was so simple.

 

I am sorting out a mount/location so I can get to my phone with stopping to take off my pack.

 

Since I'm not using the phone for real time navigation and in locations with no cell service, I turn off WIFI, and everything else except GPS, fully charge my phone before the ride, then i let it go asleep and carry a couple of fully charged cheap battery banks as back ups. The GPS route/track in my post was 6.5 hours and still had 20% charge on my power.

 

Most of the posts I have read on GPS's end up getting really technical and complicated....

 

IMO - Regardless of what device you have..

Are you using it for real time navigation or return to camp?

This will determine location and battery life.

You need a GOOD topo base map for your location.

You need to set a start point and start recording your route/track (again see http://gpstracklog.com/2010/03/handheld-gps-101-routes-vs-tracks.html)

Set any way points you want or need for reference.

Save your route/track. Reuse it later if you want to follow it, share it or bring into Google Earth or edit in another app.

 

So to find my way back to my truck/camp, I'm 100% sold on using my Phone etc.

I just bought a Garmin Oregon with the off-roads maps chip.  Quite liking it so far.

To add to what filterx posted; I recommend also having paper maps as they provide the big view.  Also the USFS requires that you carry a copy of the travel management plan for the area you ride, it lists trails/routes that permit motorized use.

 

I do not use a GPS for following a planned route, I use them to show my location on the ground relative to trails/roads.  If you only want bread crumbs to help with backtracking to your staging area then IMO any of the GPS units I mentioned will do that. I transfer all of my tracks after a ride to my PC for future reference.  I can also plan routs on my PC and transfer waypoints to the GPS unit. 

 

The display on my smart phone is so good I probably could stop carrying paper but there is the reliability issue.

 

I have a RAM Aqua Box for my smart phone, but I'm limited for bar space so I usually carry it and paper maps in my chest pack.

Edited by Chuck.

Garmin's pretty much "the best"... service/support, maps, aftermarket products.

 

I ride with a 76Cx.  No-nonsense GPS that does what I need it to in the backcountry (Snowmobiling, DS moto).

 

The 60/76 are functionally identical with a different form factor.

The 62/78 are upgrades from that.

62 dropped the 4-pin round connector, 78 still had that.  That's a more durable connector that can take automotive voltage without any adapters.

64's are the upgrades to the 62.  Not sure the differences.

 

I had a 78 for a while... it was kind of a piece of shit.  Complicated UI, more keypresses/menus to do simple tasks.  Didn't like the way it managed data on the device, pulling tracks/waypoints from a day's adventure came in as separate files rather than being able to pull all that info in one shot like I can with the 60/76.

 

Features... touch-screen, wireless data sharing, I/O (USB, serial, bluetooth), map overlays, power requirements (replaceable vs. rechargeable batteries, external connections (12v 4-pin round, USB)), cameras, two-way radio... there's a lot out there.  Figure out what you need (which IMO isn't all that much, all the extra crap's just to sell you a higher-priced unit).  I strongly recommend a receiver with external memory card (usually micro-SD) and color display.  Everything else is just fluff.

 

Budget for maps as well as the receiver.  I use topo on the sled, everywhere else I prefer CityNavigator.  Ther'es some free stuff available, but consistency and quality varies.  If you find something you like in the areas you ride, free is a good price. 

 

Mounts, Ram-mount, hands down the best out there.  $75 will get you well set up with all the parts/pieces and a couple extra bases if you swap between vehicles.

 

Biggest point though ... learn how to use it, and its limitations.  GPS's are navigation aids, not replacements for common sense.

 

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I have gone to an organized dual sport ride called "Ride or Die". I was following a buddie for 8 hours because I didn't have a GPS. The ride was a download of over 500 points that were in a figure 8 shape going down every dirt and gravel road for 160 miles. It was furstration watching him struggle with his Garmin 660 and double back on 100 missed turns.  I told him that until they make a GPS that will take at least 1000 points and play them in order and have Milla Jovovich's voice telling me when to turn on blue tooth,  I was not going to buy a GPS.  So I don't care if it is $1000 bucks. I'll buy it if it will do this. But they all suck right now.

The Garmin 60 series are the standard for hand held GPS and a  Garmin 62/78/Oregon/Montana would have solved that problem.

A 62st has:

5000 way points

200 tracks

10,000 track points

200 routes

16 hour battery life

waterproof

8GB internal memory (4GB for 62s)

microSD card slot

 

But as Snowmule posted for most trail work a 60/76 color is all you need. I used a 76C for years and liked its user interface better than the 62/78/Oregon etc. For trail work you don't need a camera and for most areas aftermarket maps are better, that'l help keep the cost down.

 

I use switcbacks.com maps and trails on my Garmins.

 

The Garmin website has feature comparisons to help you decide. 

Garmin's pretty much "the best"... service/support, maps, aftermarket products.

I ride with a 76Cx. No-nonsense GPS that does what I need it to in the backcountry (Snowmobiling, DS moto).

The 60/76 are functionally identical with a different form factor.

The 62/78 are upgrades from that.

62 dropped the 4-pin round connector, 78 still had that. That's a more durable connector that can take automotive voltage without any adapters.

64's are the upgrades to the 62. Not sure the differences.

I had a 78 for a while... it was kind of a piece of shit. Complicated UI, more keypresses/menus to do simple tasks. Didn't like the way it managed data on the device, pulling tracks/waypoints from a day's adventure came in as separate files rather than being able to pull all that info in one shot like I can with the 60/76.

Features... touch-screen, wireless data sharing, I/O (USB, serial, bluetooth), map overlays, power requirements (replaceable vs. rechargeable batteries, external connections (12v 4-pin round, USB)), cameras, two-way radio... there's a lot out there. Figure out what you need (which IMO isn't all that much, all the extra crap's just to sell you a higher-priced unit). I strongly recommend a receiver with external memory card (usually micro-SD) and color display. Everything else is just fluff.

Budget for maps as well as the receiver. I use topo on the sled, everywhere else I prefer CityNavigator. Ther'es some free stuff available, but consistency and quality varies. If you find something you like in the areas you ride, free is a good price.

Mounts, Ram-mount, hands down the best out there. $75 will get you well set up with all the parts/pieces and a couple extra bases if you swap between vehicles.

Biggest point though ... learn how to use it, and its limitations. GPS's are navigation aids, not replacements for common sense.

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Canyon%20view-L.jpg

First, thanks for all the comments.

Question for you. I am leaning towards a Garmin Oregon 600t. I saw that I will need to get the ram mount cradle for it. But what do I need to mount it like yours? Lower to the handlebar? I saw another ram mount but it had a long arm that extended out and I don't want it 8inches above the bar, smacking my head on it. I've seen many who have it like yours and I like it that way.

And as Chuck and SnowMule posted, having common sense, hard copy maps/compass and knowing how to use everything is invaluable.

 

I sure like a lot of us, we can get into some remote locations pretty quick. Last thing you want is to have to spend the night in the bush. If your lucky you might even have a friend snuggle with to keep you warm.

 

Here's a few places I seen for mounts etc.

 

http://www.techmounts.com/products/

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=972004

http://www.gpscentral.ca/

http://www.mountguys.com/

Some info on RAM mounts;

They have several different types mostly based on the size of connecting ball, the common size for MC is the 1" ball.

They make many different bar clamps, most fit 7/8 + bars.

Special cradles for each model gps/smart phone etc.

And 3 different length arms to connect the cradle to the bar clamp. 

Most of the kits include a medium length arm, I usually use a short arm so the GPS is closer to the bar and I turn the bar clamp so the ball is in front of the bar to further lower the GPS. On my XR I removed the cross bar to make the cockpit bigger for climbing steep hills and I  would like system without an arm so the GPS would be closer to the bars.   YMMV

 

So your kit will have 4 parts:

A device cradle

A ball plate (usually with the cradle)

An Arm

A bar clamp w/ ball

 

So you can buy a kit or individual pieces for a custom kit. go to

 

http://www.rammount.com/products/motorcycle/gps

 

Select gps brand, and gps model

 

If you are in Seattle Metro you can will call your kit/parts and pick them up at the warehouse in South Park.

Edited by Chuck.

Mine's a broken handlebar mount.  Filed it down, cleaned it up, rattlecan'd it, and it's been kickin ass ever since.

DSC00266-L.jpg

 

Short arm underneath and the base+mount.

DSC00262-L.jpg

I use a nokia lumia 521 now which litterally cost me $25 on ebay beleive it or not and its a good phone too! But if you got a lil extra money i suggest getting one of the newer nokia lumia models which are nicer like the lumia 1020 or lumia 1520.

You dont need to activate the phone or pay ANYTHING, all Nokia phones come with free turn by turn GPS navigation and it works phenomenally! I ride in northern michigan and find myself deep in the boondocks and lost all too often, best $25 i EVER spent. Haha

The phone has GPS navigation and also shows your current speed and how far youv traveled that day.

Plus it doubles as a camera if you see something cool or browse the net when you stop somewhere with wifi. Its incredibly useful, you can get a waterproof handlebar case on ebay for under $10 too.

 

Damn that's cheep. Question:

 

Will it work when you are not in cell phone range?

Can you use it to "find your way back" i.e lay down a track and use it to get you back to where you need to be?

Can you post some pictures of the mount and how it works?

 

My boyfriend has a terrible sense of direction and easily gets turned around in the woods. He spent 2 hours last weekend trying to get back to the truck after getting lost and ended up miles away.

He's never used a GPS before so I'm a little wary of spending big bucks on something that he'll get frustrated trying to use. He doesn't need fancy, he just needs to have a screen he can see and understand when he gets turned around so he can get back to the truck.

If you want reliable GPS when in a rural area get a real GPS, not a smart phone. 

I have a smart phone with GPS mapping SW but my primary get back home is a Garmin 62, it is just more reliable and easier to use for navigating.

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