Motorcycling With The Garmin Zumo 550 GPS Can be Fun
Man o man I felt like Dr. Jekhl and Mr. Hyde using this
little puppy. One minute I was laughing in my helmet, overjoyed
to be having so much motorcycling fun. The next I was pulled
over and trying to re program the succker swearing like a
It’s a real love/hate relationship for me at the moment.
First you need to understand there will be BIG learing curve
with this toy. It’s not that it’s super difficult to get going
it’s just that the information it gives you is based on the
SETTINGS and depending what you set depends on the info you
will get out. And to me it seems the only way to understand all
these permutations is experience and time. And to an impatient
bastard like me, ugh!
Sounds simple, just set it up right! But what is the right
setting for your expectations????
You see even the basic route settings of fastest,
straightest or dirt will have you in three drastically
different predicaments. And there are a ton of settings like
this which impact on the readout.
As a GS rider I love a bit of dirt thrown in which the
“straightest” setting will show you. As Harley riders my mates
only want the “fastet” route which will keep them on the tar.
And forget the “off road” setting. The garmin is just not an
off road tool in my books.
It’s simply not an exact science yet with instructions to
turn sometimes well before the corner or well after making
strange towns a hazard at times. If all you want is to type in
an address and don’t care how it takes you there, then you’ll
be happy right now.
If like me, you want it to use to program country roads and
routes you’ve never tackled before, because trying to read your
map at every new turn would drive you mad. Then sometimes it
works and does that.
When it does it is like a heaven sent guiding hand and
increases the enjoyment level immensely.
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Tell me what you think!
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I’ve owned my Zumo 550 for about six
months through a bunch of rides and thousands of kilometres.
It’s one of the more expensive units on the market, but
absolutely the best of the current offerings. Yes, there’s a
learning curve, and I agree that it’s not always spot on with
instructions, especially if you don’t have your basic settings
sorted. I’m certainly guilty of being directed to obscure dirt
tracks - not ideal on a cruiser! However, this is no different
to the factory system in my BMW, and frankly, for the money,
the Zumo does a better job.
A big plus is that the unit is easily
transferred from the bike to my wife’s car, and the external
speakers on the supplied car mount make for an excellent in-car
I love that the screen brightness
automatically adjusts for day or night riding. I love the
on-board MP3 player (just add an SD card for an endless music
supply). I also love the custom Points of Interest, which can
be downloaded from the Garmin web site and advise school zones,
red light and speed cameras. Very, very cool.
Although Bluetooth capable, I connect via
cable to stereo ear buds as it produces much higher quality
audio. There’s a range of RAM mounts that mate the Zumo to
pretty much any bike and allow for very easy dismount.
This is a great unit and is designed for
motorcycles. It’s waterproof and easy to operate with gloves
on. If you’re in the market, it’s well worth a look and the