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  GPS



















The unit pictured here is the 550 but you get the idea,
where I mount my GPS.  This pic is the RT.



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 I moved to GPS a number of years ago after some reluctance, and now view such units essential.  A Long Rider is never alone with a good GPS.  It will find him gas, food, campgrounds, and motels. 

My current GPS is the Zumo 390 with TPMS, one of the high end units.  I stay with Garmin because its what I know.  I'm good with the BaseCamp software, and the menus on the device.  To fully engage your GPS and derive all its benefits you must first master whatever software that accompanies it.  I create my routes and download them to the unit before each tour.  My first tour with  GPS was Texas in 2006?  Ever since I've come to rely on it to make a great tour happen.  I have specific roads and places I want to see on each ride.  I'm not much of freelance Long Rider, and my style has served me well over the years.

The 390 is slimmer than the 550 it replaced also control buttons are on the top, and the screen is a little bigger.  Style wise it is a definite upgrade

A selling point for me on the 390 was the baked in TPMS.  I have 3 bikes and the Garmin system meant I didn't have to buy THREE TPMS systems.  The sensors are paired to the device, and since the device can be placed on any bike, all I have to do is swap out the tire caps.  I don't always do that but if I'm going out for a long day ride, or a tour I will.  It takes about 10 seconds.  I'd been looking for the right TPMS for awhile and this answered all the things I needed.  Multi bike owners are common, so you will need seperate power cords and mounts for each bike with the 390.  The old 550 only needed power cords, the same back bracket was good on any ram.

I mount my GPS between the handlebars, for no other reason I like to keep my handlebars "clean."   It also vibrates less there.

I don't have much experience outside of Garmin, but it has been my observation Garmin GPS unit software is the best.  Items such as "lane assist" which auto zooms on interstate junctions telling you how many exit lanes coming up, and where to place yourself ahead of time.  It also has a service record menu where I track oil changes, new tires, battery life or anything else I want to track.  Owning 3 bikes, its nice to have all that in one handy place.

Basecamp software does have a learning curve, master it and you are good to go.  In my opinion, no matter what vendor you go with, if you don't know the mapping software you are leaving 50% of your devices ability on the table.

As far as reliablity I don't know.  These units are delicate devices asked to a job in a tough enviroment.  Hot sun, cold, rain, dust, and the biggest enemy?  Vibrations.  The constant shaking and pounding has to do stuff to the innards.  I have no scientific proof other than common sense,but a unit on a GL is going to last longer than said unit on a HD, where the contant shakes at idle and low speeds are brutal.  My units last about 5 years, sometimes a little less, before they just turn to a brick.  Depending on how many miles you ride you might get a little more or little less.  I just call it the price doing business.  

Garmin support and customer service has been execellent.  You call them you get Kansas, not New Dehli.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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