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Just returning to dirt bikes after a 25 year lay-off.  I'm directionally challenged and Michigan has something like 3,900 miles of trails.   So my question has two parts.  What resources do you use for planning your trips (maps, etc)?  And then how do you navigate while on the bike?

 

I know in Michigan we have all sorts of different trails.  ORV trails, U.S. Forest roads, MCCC trails, etc.  I believe it's common to connect all these things together.  But I also know there are some odd ball rules like that ORVs are not allowed on some U.S. Forest roads although I'm not sure how that works with my bike since it's plated.  Anyway, is there any single maps that cover all these different types of trails?  Or do I need to look at the Michigan DNR site for the ORV trails and then join the MCCC to get maps of all their trails, etc?

 

 

Then once you know the route you are planning to ride, how do you navigate on the bike?  Do you bring paper maps?  Do you run a GPS?  If you run a GPS does anyone make dirt bike specific models?  I checked out Garmin and didn't see anything.  I was surprised because as a mountain biker, they make units specific for cycling that do mapping, timing, show you your heart rate and power output (if you have a power meter on your bike).   So I was really surprised they didn't seem to have anything specific for enduro/trail riding.

 

Thanks!

Doc

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I use a Garmin Oregon 600 with the addition of an offroad map package.  The Garmin software allows you to plan out rides ahead of time and print out maps.  So far have been very impressed with this setup as it has really helped when we get off into the gnarly stuff.  It is also comforting to know exactly where you are and where you have been.

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I use a Garmin Oregon 600 with the addition of an offroad map package.  The Garmin software allows you to plan out rides ahead of time and print out maps.  So far have been very impressed with this setup as it has really helped when we get off into the gnarly stuff.  It is also comforting to know exactly where you are and where you have been.

I have used a lot of Garmins, best there is for outdoor navigation.  Currently using a GPS 62 with topo maps and trail maps, both free in my WA and AZ riding areas.

The Garmin will record tracks so you have a history of your rides, or need to backtrack to staging.

Garmin has free SW packages for PC and Mac that manage maps, tracks, waypoint, and routes on the GPS.

 

Best device for situational awareness when riding is a smart phone with a navigation app and maps.  I use Avenza with a geo reference jpeg map free from the land manager for one area, and Backcountry Navigator with hybrid topo maps based on aerial photos and overlay trails, small subscription fee from Critter Maps.

 

And always carry paper maps. Outfitter stores often have a good selection.

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76Cx on my bars. 

Almost always using CityNavigator.  Only time I switch to topo is on the snowmobile.

 

Usually just drop a few waypoints, "I want to go here" sort of thing.  I'll figure out a way to it. ;)

Some sections I'll plug in a short track, if it's not a well-developed trail (or if it's a section I want to avoid).  I do that more on the snow than on the moto.

 

Most of the time it's just logging tracks, which I archive along with my photos.  Then 7 years later when I go ride some place again, I'll take those tracks/waypoints and squirt them back into my GPS. 

 

157-FILE0821_-L.jpg

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At some point we may get a sub GPS forum - hint hint but in the mean time...

 

If you search GPS you will find lots of good posts and topics but here's what I've come up with after getting lost a few times and luckily never having to spend a night in the bush.

 

I do not use maps or a GPS to find trails, I want to be able to mark where I started then find my way back.

 

I also did not want to buy a dedicated GPS but I need to be able to find my way back my truck or camp without WIFI or Cell/Data Service.

 

So I struggled with this but I am now extremely happy with using my android running Oruxmaps and a Garmin Off Line topo base map for my area.

 

When I am riding an area I have never been to before and there is any chance I'm going to get lost, I start air plane mode to save the battery and the GPS on my phone (most every else is turned off) start the Oruxmaps app, start recording (this sets the first way point) and put the in my pack. Ride for a bit. stop and make sure the app is recording my track. Go riding and exploring. I may stop and check the app and set way points as needed but at this point the app is basically a compass that shows you where you started and which way you need to go to get back.

 

I always check where the sun is in relation to where I started. i carry a fully charged back up battery bank for the phone. I don't ride alone. and will take maps if I can actually find them for the areas I ride which can get VERY remote VERY fast.

 

Anyway I've post these pictures before. This was my first time here but I was with people who had done this before and they actually used my phone to get us back to camp. There first is the app on my phone showing starting way point and the 2nd is the same track imported into Google Earth. This was about a 50km trail that took 6 hours and EPIC.

 

Screenshot_2014-10-06-17-57-04_zpsq1pbrt

 

Epic_zpst0fgizrm.jpg

 

This info  might help you

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Look on eBay for a small motorcycle gps

Thing is, there really isn't a "motorcycle" GPS for offroad bikes.*

 

There's options for bigger bikes (Zumo line), but they're *really* expensive and it's way more than you need for trails.  Don't need to stream music and voice navigation while connecting to your phone over bluetooth to a headset, for example. 

 

The trail/handheld units work well, because they're tough/waterproof, RAM-Mounts offers a host of mounting options for them, and they're capable enough for backcountry navigation without all the additional fluff of the vehicle-oriented GPS receivers.

The ones with the big chunky 4-pin connector can be wired directly to vehicle power, too (60, 76, 78 have the 4-pin round, I believe the eTrex line has similar I/O in a different connector style).

 

* The Trail Tech Voyager, I don't really consider a "GPS"... it *has* a GPS receiver, but it's really not a functional GPS navigator.  Needs a lot more features to be a viable option.  You'll be better off and money ahead by buying a TrailTech Vapor or similar non-GPS gauge set and an additional trail GPS like the 60/76, 62/78, 64, eTrex, Rino, Oregon/Montana, etc. 

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Well I have a Garmin Edge 800 which is designed for cycling that I could use. It's been bulletproof for mountain biking and has survived through years of tough conditions, hours of rain, mud, snow and plenty of crashes. It has 8+ hours of battery life. My only concern is that it's a pretty small screen.

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I navigate with a map and compass and only use GPS as a backup. Never been lost so far, do most of my riding in the Owyhee area  in Idaho/Oregon area. Very remote. I am an older guy, ex military and have got along fine without all the GPS crap.

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I am also ex military with experience in land navigation, forward fire control, and surveying. But I still carry a GPS because technology makes things easier.  

 

By SnowMule

Thing is, there really isn't a "motorcycle" GPS for offroad bikes.*

There's options for bigger bikes (Zumo line), but they're *really* expensive and it's way more than you need for trails.  Don't need to stream music and voice navigation while connecting to your phone over bluetooth to a headset, for example.


The trail/handheld units work well, because they're tough/waterproof, RAM-Mounts offers a host of mounting options for them, and they're capable enough for backcountry navigation without all the additional fluff of the vehicle-oriented GPS receivers.

The ones with the big chunky 4-pin connector can be wired directly to vehicle power, too (60, 76, 78 have the 4-pin round, I believe the eTrex line has similar I/O in a different connector style).

* The Trail Tech Voyager, I don't really consider a "GPS"... it *has* a GPS receiver, but it's really not a functional GPS navigator.  Needs a lot more features to be a viable option.  You'll be better off and money ahead by buying a TrailTech Vapor or similar non-GPS gauge set and an additional trail GPS like the 60/76, 62/78, 64, eTrex, Rino, Oregon/Montana, etc.

 

 

Well said and my experience.

Backtracking is a function of a GPS recording your current track and displaying "bread crumbs" so you can back track. The Garmin trail/handheld units do that plus maps, compass, altimeter, etc. The recorded tracks also include speed between points.


Not getting lost is a bit more involved and requires situational awareness which is very difficult to do in an unfamiliar area while riding. So you need a GPS that will show your location relative to some reference like a trail map, road map, or topo map. To avoid clutter on the small screen of my Garmin I use trail map, but the Garmin allows you to select which maps to display so I can switch to topo.

Because of its  high resolution color screen I find my smart phone much better for showing location relative to topo maps. As previously noted I turn on Airplane Mode to reduce battery use when distant from towers, and turn on GPS. I run Backcountry Navigator with a hybrid version of USFS Aerail topos with overlays of trails and roads by Critter Maps.

My issue with packing phones is their cost and fragility so I have a protective case on mine and pack it in my MSR Roost Pack.

Also carry paper maps and spare batteries for the GPS.

Edited by Chuck.
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How did anyone get around before GPS?

Well originally by the sun and stars.

 

We then got to the point where figured out maps and the sextant and I'm glad we do not have to use one of these today but it might look somewhat cool mounted on my handle bars :)

 

Then the compass and I guess a telescope Sextant1.jpg

 

History lesson done for the day :lol: .

 

But seriously, when I plan on going some place REMOTE and new to me and IF I can see the sun, I take a few minutes before i leave my truck or camp to get my bearings using the sun. Then what ever else I need to do to avoid spending the night in the bush

Edited by filterx

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