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Motorcycling With The Garmin Zumo 550 GPS Can be Fun and


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 trooper.

It’s a real love/hate relationship for me at the moment.

Garmin Zumo 550

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.

Click below for the Audio Review:


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Tell me what you think!

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Geoff Hickin

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 system.

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 extra dollars.