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GPS One More (last) Time



I know you all love your 2610s and your Street Pilots.   What I'm saying is
that, for a new person to GPS who wants something that will last them, the
Zumo 450 is the ticket.  For a tech-oriented person, the 376C is very cool
and comes with the satellite antenna, but there are things it cannot do as
well as the Zumo when actually operating a motorcycle..  These other ones
you mention aren't even in the same ball park as Zumo in the ease of use
category.   If I were a newbie, I'd want something simple to use with easy
controls.   That's why I said what I said.  


In addition to the better for motorcycle controls, it has a built in battery
for walking around or messing with in your motel room.  It also has a faster
processor and more screen features that you can access while on the bike.
It has big letters for typing when it's mounted to the bike, but normal size
when it's hand held or mounted to the car mount.   It uses the latest Garmin
software which offers new releases every year with updated maps and points
of interest including motels and gas stations.   


I ride with people who have the units you describe and they're not able to
manipulate their GPSs on the fly like I can.  This is a huge advantage.  I
end up leading most of the time because I can always find good roads without
route planning.   It's not perfect, but it's a very nice design and it's
head and shoulders above the old school.


For non-waterproof use, I like the Nuvi.  It's also got huge capabilities
and the new software.  It also recalculates very quickly.  It has internal
battery so you can walk around with it.  It even comes with a cool leather
case that slips into a big pocket or a purse or computer bag.   Some Nuvis
come with MP3 capability which might be nice for business travel.   


I put these things into 3 categories:


1.       Early units with slow processors, perhaps, but not necessarily
black and white screens, no points of interest capabilities.  These units
are clearly of limited use.  If you are a salesman on a budget in a car, you
can punch in addresses and find the place but that's about it.  You get used
to working with them after a while and don't know what you're not getting
with the new ones. 

2.       Mid-era units.  This is the Street Pilot and 2610 and the like.
They have points of interest, but the processors are a little slow.  They
use the non-NT software, which has some shortcomings compared to the newer
stuff, which is still not perfect.   The memories need to be supplemented
with external chips (admittedly, the chip thing isn't much of a
disadvantage, once in, they work as well as internal memory).  These are
fully functional on a motorcycle and a lot of people are using them, but
when I tell you they're not as good as Zumo, you just gotta believe me.  

3.       Current era GPS:   These include Zumo and Nuvi.  They have huge
points of interest databases and the map functions are better.   The screens
are easy to read.  The touch-screens are fairly intuitive and the maps are
updatable every year.   

I'm obviously of the mind that category 3 is worth the extra dough.  The
Zumo is specifically designed for motorcycle use and it really works well at
that.  The little extra features it has are not truly appreciated until you
live with the thing for a while, but it's pretty amazing what can be done
with it.   I actually like some features of the Nuvi better than the Zumo,
especially the compact size of the Nuvi, but it's not waterproof and it
doesn't have the big type feature which is really nice.   


The 376C is a very nice unit too, but again, it's made for a boat, not for a
bike.  It's extremely capable, but it's not really made to be manipulated
while riding a bike and the controls are a little bit small as is the
screen.   It's easy to read because this small screen has very good
resolution.   I'm not sure if it has an internal battery or not.  I just
don't need the complexity of this thing and I find the battery feature very


There are Nuvi's with smaller screens that can be found on the internet in
the $200 range.  They are great for walking around and OK for car use.  They
use the new software and lack for very little as far as capability.  They
even have the slot for chips.  For a European vacation, one of these would
be ideal.  


For a motorcycle, I still like the Zumo best.   Quality is remembered long
after price is forgotten.    Remember this recommendation is for someone new
to the whole thing who doesn't necessarily want to buy used or a close out.
I'm not saying you should all go out and buy a Zumo although several of my
friends have since they've seen me use mine.   I'm saying if I was looking
for something to buy for someone who didn't know everything about them, I
wouldn't want to risk buying a used or close-out, I'd buy them something
with a warranty and a high likelihood of satisfaction.   The Zumo 450 is
that unit given all the possibilities out there.   


I have no experience with Tom-Tom, who also makes a motorcycle GPS.   That
would be the only other possibility I'd consider.  I don't know how their
software and features are so I can't really recommend them.