View Full Version : Time to buy a GPS...But what ????

09-02-2005, 08:27 PM
Give me your two cents worth as to what I should get.....It will be mounted on my XR650R and will get a lot of use...It will also be used by my old eyes so it'll help if I can see what it's telling me...I'm not sure I need XM radio or some of the other whistles now available but the cost is secondary to the function...I use the National Geographic mapping software that goes down to level 5 so it'll be nice if that's compatable...

Any input will be greatly appreciated especially if you let me know what you are currently using...

09-02-2005, 09:12 PM
My short list was the Garmin 76CS and the Garmin Quest.

Both are weatherproof.

I went with the 76CS because it has a compass and an altimeter. I really have no use for either one but I thought they would be cool to have.


Sleepy Weasel
09-02-2005, 10:26 PM
I'll second the Quest... big enough to read easily, small enough to stash in your pocket at stops. Runs off an internal battery, but you can also wire it to your electrical system to keep it topped off (especially useful at night if you want to keep the backlight on). I also like that at night the backlight comes on automatically when directional changes are coming up.

09-02-2005, 11:44 PM
If the 76CS is on Aux. power the back light stays on all the time. It goes out after a preset time if it is running on batteries. Uses 4 AA batteries. I use nmh rechargables which generally will last all day if I turn it off at long stops such as lunch, etc.


09-03-2005, 07:33 PM
For small ones, the Garmin 60c (or cs) or the 76c (or cs) are pretty good. USB interface and plenty of memory, plus they are color and much easier to read than the monochrome.

09-03-2005, 08:30 PM
276C. Large screen and one of the best resolutions.

09-04-2005, 07:35 PM
I bought the Garmin 276c about two weeks ago. I got the City Select v6 ( City Select v 7 came as an upgrade after registration) and Topo US v 3.02 and the 250meg memory card. I can't say I am impressed with the mapping software or the Garmin help desk so far. I found more real answers to my question from a couple independent Internet sites than from the garmin instruction books and their internet help site. For me it is a frustrating learning curve. :oops:

I am sure it is an excellent system once I master the difference between a route, waypoint and track. I like the screen size and ease of button access. I have a ram mount which is excellent. I am still fumbling with the power hookup to the battery but it will happen soon.

There is some buz about the Tom Tom GPS for motorcycles that might be worthwhile.


Here are some web sites I found helpful with Garmin GPS features





Bill :-D

09-05-2005, 08:02 AM
Quest 2 has all the US base maps preloaded + 140 mb memory.

Basically you can go anywhere in the US and find hotels gas stations etc. without having to preload any maps.

09-05-2005, 03:11 PM
If you just want the basics, like knowing your location and heading, compass, clock, basic map, altitude, speed, tripometer, you can save a lot of money by getting one of the budget models.

I recommend the Garmin V which I have. It is waterproof and can be had for around $250 including city select v6. It holds 1-2 urban or a halfdozen backcountry detail maps in memory but the base maps are satisfactory for my purposes (in the western US and western canada anyway). This will not replace paper maps so you still need a good road atlas or state maps. It's a small convenient shape, easy to mount in lots of places on a bike. I use velcro.

If you want to plot detailed routes ahead of time or navigate a lot of unfamiliar urban areas, you will need a more expensive model (mainly for more memory and USB). The one I have seen lots of people use is the 276c, it's got a big bright screen and works great in a car too.

09-06-2005, 12:34 AM
:tab Whichever one you get, make sure it has the USB cables!! The old serial is insanely slow for more than a few MB worth of info. I am talking 40-50 minutes or more versus 45-50 seconds to transfer the info to the unit! That alone makes the extra cost worth it to me.

:tab I have the 60CS and like it. However, it needs a roll cage :-P If I had the bucks, I would get the 276C right now. The screen is large and lets you see more area at a given resolution. This makes finding your way on the little back roads much easier. Dyna Sport used his on the April Big Bend trip and the recent Colorado trip. Worked great even in dirty rough conditions.

Hood Ornament
09-06-2005, 08:26 AM
I like the 2720. Has all the maps pre loaded so memory isn't an issue. The screen is the same size as the 276C. Has the ability to receive traffic reports and give you alternative routing to avoid the jams. The only downside is that it doesn't have a battery.

09-06-2005, 10:11 AM
I like the 2720. Has all the maps pre loaded so memory isn't an issue. The screen is the same size as the 276C. Has the ability to receive traffic reports and give you alternative routing to avoid the jams. The only downside is that it doesn't have a battery.

Isn't that like the 2620 and has a hard drive in it? For the kind of riding Steve does, I'd avoid that. I know the 2620 was somewhat limited in what you could do as far as setting up routes off the unit and transfering track data too. Don't know if the 2720 is the same way. I really like to be able to pull the track logs off and look at them on the computer. Specially Google Earth.

09-06-2005, 03:09 PM
A year ago, I bought a Garmin Quest for a trip to Canada during the Christmas holidays. I planned on using secondary roads once in Canada to save time. Once the Quest got me to Port Huron, MI, I left the main hiways and set out on Ontario’s Concessions, Side Roads and other rural roads to Proton Station (you know where that is, right?). Inasmuch as the post card sized secondary road signs were snow covered by the plows, I was fortunate to have the Quest. I never made a wrong turn. It provides clear voice prompts and plenty of advanced warning for upcoming turns and route information. At night when it was snowing or road signs were otherwise illegible, the Quest kept me on route. Oh, and I easily found gas, etc. without having to explore dark towns at night. One day, I needed some work on the car (heater went dead…Brrrr). My Quest routed me to the nearest Ford dealer.

When on the bike, I merely put it in the tank bag and leave it on. If I come to a point where I need some help with directions, I snatch the Quest out of the bag, hit the display button and I have everything I need to keep me on route.

The Quest does have compass and elevation capabilities as evidenced during recent travel on a commercial aircraft. The elevation was within a few hundred feet and the compass was right on track.

I am a bit near sighted and use glasses for reading only. Therefore, when driving, I rarely refer to the visual display but rely more on the upcoming turn information which zooms in to large, legible detail on the Quest display as a turn or way-point is approached.

But, if you rely on visuals, you may want a bigger display.

Battery life on the Quest is adequate for a couple days of use. Memory on the new Quest II is excellent and substantially better than mine. However, I have found my older model adequate for travel anywhere on this continent.

Also, I have found Garmin’s tech support to be very good.

If you want a feature packed GPS that is small, compact and high performance, the Quest II is a good choice. If you want a large display along with plenty of performance and features, then the 276C is the choice. I would look at available space in your bike’s cockpit before choosing.

As for mapping and routing, you can make a new route on either unit or use your PC and download to the GPS. To my knowledge, Garmin’s software is not compatible with other mapping programs.

The backlight is programmable to go to dark (user selectable time) when running on batteries to conserve battery power on either unit. However, the unit keeps navigating and maintaining all the route details even when the backlight is extinguished.

There are a plethora of features on these GPS units. I would go to the Garmin sight and download the operator’s manual for the units of interest and determine what features you need, then make your choice.

You’ll never need a paper map again.

09-06-2005, 04:04 PM
You’ll never need a paper map again.

Unless your bike lands on top of your GPS... :oops: Or your battery dies... or... On paved roads, I have no problem doing the GPS only. In places like the backroads in the mountains of Colorado, a backup to the GPS is essential.

Tx Rider
09-06-2005, 04:12 PM
I haven't played with a quest 2 yet, but it sounds pretty good if ya don't need a lot of topo mapping. I understand it has no expandable memory.

I use the 276C and it's been great so far, dunked in creeks, snowed on and fried on my dashboard in parking lot sun and has about 3000 miles on my paint shaker KTM's, even fell off a few times and dangled by the cord going up a few mountain passes.

Best screen size/resolution/sunlight performance, most saveable waypoints, and the largest track saving ability.

Only shortcoming is maximum 256MB memory cards, proprietary garmin at that.

I would love ability to use standard SD cards. 256mb is enough for both street and topo maps for 2-3 states, or about 1/2 of the country if just using street maps. A 4GB SD card would rock.

09-06-2005, 08:18 PM
Thanks to all for the great input.....After defining how, where and why I'll be wanting to use my GPS I've ordered a 76CS with a RAM mount.

For my first "on bike" unit I think it's a great place to start...

Just waiting for it to arrive....

Thanks again...

09-06-2005, 10:59 PM
We look forward to your review ;-)

09-07-2005, 02:14 AM
Isn't that like the 2620 and has a hard drive in it?

No ... the 2720 uses solid state memory, not the microdrive like the 2620. There are no moving parts in the 2720.

Tx Rider
09-07-2005, 10:44 AM
The other recommendation I would make is to get some PDA screen protectors from an office supply store to protect the GPS screen.

It's not a big deal on the street, but offroad you'll be wanting to wipe dust off the screen so you can see, they get real dusty real fast if anyone is in front of you.

I didn't and my screen has suffered.

A 76C isn't a abd choice, a lot of folks use em and they take up a lot less room on the bike.

Zugg Zugg
11-05-2005, 07:30 PM
I have a Garmin 176 which I just replaced with a Garmin 276c. They are both awesome! I will be putting the 176 up for sale very, very soon.

11-06-2005, 12:32 PM
+ 1 for the Quest. I like mine but I am by no means an expert on GPS.