GPS Basics
Downloading Rides
Learn BaseCamp

New England


GPS Basics


A) Choosing a routing device

Why get a dedicated GPS when smart phones have GPS?

  1. Motorcycle GPS are waterproof, fuel resistant, and shock proof

  2. You can often read a bigger GPS screen better at arms length

  3. GPS screens are glove friendly

  4. GPS can be more accurate, especially lane assist

  5. You do not rack up data roaming charges when you near the border or cross into Canada or Mexico

  6. A GPS is not interrupted by phone calls or texts


B) Garmin or TomTom

Both have good hardware and have their fans. The real difference is the routing software. Garmin uses BaseCamp and TomTom uses Tyre. Tyre will not run on a Mac. https://drivingfast.net/best-motorcycle-sat-navs/


C) BaseCamp or Tyre

BaseCamp is Garmin's dedicated routing software. There are both PC and Mac versions.

  1. PC download: http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=4435

  2. Mac download: http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=4449

        Some loathe BaseCamp's steep learning curve. This tutorial only takes a few hours and makes it pretty easy: http://www.newenglandriders.org/Learn_BaseCamp.htm


Tyre is a Google Maps based route planning program that does not work with Macs. Some feel that Tyre, and other Google Maps based programs like Harley Ride Planner, are easier to use than BaseCamp.

BaseCamp proponents argue:

  1. Tyre and Harley Ride Planner do not differentiate between waypoints, via points, and shaping points. As a result, downloaded routes have numerous waypoints that cause havoc with newer Garmin devices with Ride Planner. Rides are broken into multiple smaller rides divided at each waypoint.

  2. BaseCamp does not need a WiFi signal. If you are on the road without a WiFi signal, you cannot alter your route using Tyre or Harley Ride Planner.

  3. Tyre is limited to 48 waypoints making it more difficult to plan longer, more complicated routes.

  4. You cannot set points to not audibly announce on your GPS using Tyre or Harley Ride Planner. All points will audibly announce during a ride even when no turn is upcoming.

  5. You can only create one route per file using Tyre or Harley Ride Planner. BaseCamp allows users to access all of their rides and favorites. This helps riders to quickly create new routes by simply copying and pasting.

  6. You cannot use start times and layover times to create an itinerary in Tyre or Harley Ride Planner. You also cannot set riding speeds to help predict arrival times.


D) Motorcycle GPS (Zumo/TomTom) or car GPS (nuvi)?

  1. Nuvis are definitely cheaper. If you choose a Nuvi, make sure it can download routes and use BaseCamp. Some riders use Nuvis with success. Popular with riders is the 2589LMT. Waterproofing a Nuvi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2UvIoL78Cg&feature=youtu.be

  2. Zumos are motorcycle specific so they are waterproof and shockproof. The current models are the 590 and the 390. These units have Trip Planner software which some riders dislike. The 660 and 665 are older units that work well and do not have Trip Planner. https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/cOnTheRoad-cMotorcycles-p1.html

  3. The TomTom Rider is a motorcycle specific device: https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/drive/motorcycle/products/index.html


E) Registering a GPS

  1. Garmin - Get a MyGarmin account if you do not have one: https://my.garmin.com/mygarmin/customers/myGarminHome.faces. MyGarmin allows you to register your GPS and to unlock optional maps. MYGarmin is good for keeping your devices updated and for keeping track of service and returns.

  2. TomTom - Use My TomTom to register your TomTom: https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/mytomtom/getstarted/

F) Updating GPS firmware and maps

    1. Garmin - Download Garmin Express to your computer:

o   PC: http://software.garmin.com/en-US/express.html.

o   Mac: http://software.garmin.com/express-download.html#mac

o   Use Garmin Express to update both the map in BaseCamp AND the map in your GPS to the latest version. There is an option under the link "Advanced Options" that allows you to update both maps at the same time. If you do not select this option then only your GPS will be updated. Garmin Express also allows you to update the GPS firmware.

     2. TomTom - Most info is on the TomTom website:   https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/


Update Maps: https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/drive/maps-services/maps/selector/


Update firmware (PC) - http://tinyurl.com/25sxgx


Update firmware (Mac) - http://tinyurl.com/7uk63u

G) Using Phone GPS


General Phone - http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2014/05/md-how-to-using-your-smartphone-as-a-gps/


Android - Nice site by Wayne Orwig (read GPS notes): http://tinyurl.com/m7a7udl


iPhone - Nice site by Bob Woodsom: http://woodsom.blogspot.com/2015/01/navigon-procedure-to-upload-route-from.html


Apps - http://www.motomappers.com/blog/gps-motorcycle-navigation-apps-for-iphone-13-of-the-best-apps-reviewed/


Mounts - Choose a mount that is adjustable and holds the phone securely like a RAM X-Grip: http://www.amazon.com/Cradle-Holder-Universal-X-Grip-Cellphone/dp/B0055PH0XA


Cases - For rain protection you may want to consider a case with a water protection rating of at least IPX4 up to IPX7. Motorcycle GPS are IPX7 for maximum rain protection.


Samsung - http://www.amazon.com/Motorcycle-Handlebar-Waterproof-Samsung-GT-i9500/dp/B00I98XBRY


iPhone - http://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-Tough-iPhone-Motorcycle-Mounts/dp/B00B2JQQA6


Charging - Consider on-bike charging with a weather proof USB connection. https://3brpowersports.com/. Be sure to secure the USB cable to phone connection so that bike vibration does not damage your phone.