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WastedMind3500

GPS, Garmin vs Tomtom

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I started with motorcycle GPS 7 years ago.  Now I need to buy a new one, my 7 years old GPS has reached its end of life.

First I tried a Garmin motorcycle GPS (can't remember the model number).  The problem with that unit was that I was unable to plan a route on the stupid software that came with it, upload it to the GPS and have it follow that route.  Lets say I had 50 way points for a specific route I wanted.  So I start, get me to way point 1.  Ok, the GPS did that.  Reach way point 1, I now expect it to get me to way point 2.  No!  I had to navigate through the menus and select the next way point.  It would not move on by itself...  No problem, select waypoint 50, it will go through the ones before it to get there.  NOPE!  It would calculate a new route directly to point 50.  I even called Garmin, they said their software would not do that...  My only option was to select the final destination, and let the GPS decide the entire route to get there.  No way, I want to see the twisty road, not the boulevard with traffic!

So I got a Tomtom Rider (first generation).  The software was a bit better, and once uploaded to the GPS, it would follow way points and move to the next one when I reached one.  I was able to "force" the GPS to take a specific route from departure to destination.

My requirements are:

  • weather compatible.  On long trips I cannot always sit out rainy days, so I have to ride anyway.
  • has a mount with recharge connectors, or some recharging cable connector available while on the mount.  I try to avoid it, but sometimes I have 10 or 12 hours days on the bike.
  • I have a Madstad windshield with RAM mount, so that is pretty standard I think.
  • can follow a route without requiring that I baby sit it through.

Questions:

  • from your recent experience, do the current Garmin GPS still have the route / waypoint limitation? 
  • Did the software improve at all?  Google maps used to allow downloading GPS files from routes, it does not anymore so the GPS software is more important!
  • Other brands than Garmin or Tomtom exist?  I rented a BMW GS in Europe, it had the integrated BMW GPS, which worked ok.  These are re-branded from some other manufacturer, you know which one?

Thanks for any insight!

 

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Just received the Garmin Zumo XT.  Doing all the updates now via wifi (that's cool) powered off my AC/DC converter.  Car kit is enroute.

Have to figure where to mount and power it, so it'll be a while until I road test it and offer initial comments. 

$400 shipped no tax.

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11 minutes ago, 2and3cylinders said:

Just received the Garmin Zumo XT.  Doing all the updates now via wifi (that's cool)

My Garmin Drivesmart 55 has that feature but it is S L O W.  I tried updating my GPS via wi-fi while it was mounted on my bike and the unit said it would complete the update in 3.5 hours, so I removed the unit from my bike and plugged it into my PC and was finished in 9 minutes.


***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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I have a full Tom Tom Rider package available for sale - it's just not needed on the bike any longer. I will make someone on the forum a KILLER deal on it. It's about 3 years old, not used very often, it's like new.  PM me if there is any interest. 👍

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But how do you get the Waze speed trap info without using a smart phone?

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Posted (edited)

@WastedMind3500 I gave up on Garmin several iterations ago as Basecamp was too cumbersome to use (it may have improved no end by now, but I have no experience of it).

I have had two TomTom units (origional Rider and the 450, which is the unit I use now) and both perform well, however, I find it is the supporting software which makes the difference.

I use the Take Your Route Everwhere (TYRE) software for planning routes which is super simple to use, packed full of features and free (I choose to pay because it is a great bit of kit and I support Jan the develpoer, now if I pay for something you KNOW it's gotta be good! 🙂 )

The advantage of using TYRE is that it doesn't force you into using gpx. format (although you can if you wish) it allows the use of TomTom .itn format which for me has useful advatntages. The main one being able to set multiple destinations in one trip which show up on the TomTom in the navigation pane, so I can see time distance to next destination as well as whole trip. (i,e, Cafes, lunchstops etc) The other big advantage is that the TomTom tells you when you reach these destinations rather than just letting you ride on by without notification. (Essential for geting to Land Marks on the Round Britain Rally). When using itn. you have to transfer the route to the TomTom via SD card rather than bluetooth, but that doesn't bother me, but TomTom accepts it as a route rather than a Track which has lots of advantages for me.

I can, should I so wish, use the TomeTom MyDrive app for planning and transfer or tracks to my TomTom, but that just produces a route (with waypoints) but the waypoints do not 'show up' on the TomTom (you could just ride by that cafe witjout noticing). Similarly .gpx files can be handled in this way and both can be transfered to the TomTom by bluetooth using this method.

So for me at least TomTom is the winner because it is so easy to use with the TYRE software which lets me use either/ both TomTom tracks or routes as I choose.

BUT it is the TYRE software that makes it really do what I want (i.e. forcing specific routes between destinations, multiple trip destinations with 'notifications', time and distance to next destinatione etc.)

Hioe that helps

Cheers

Steve

Edited by bowlin01

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6 hours ago, bowlin01 said:

@WastedMind3500 I gave up on Garmin several iterations ago as Basecamp was too cumbersome to use (it may have improved no end by now, but I have no experience of it).

I use the Take Your Route Everwhere (TYRE) software for planning routes which is super simple to use, packed full of features and free (I choose to pay because it is a great bit of kit and I support Jan the develpoer, now if I pay for something you KNOW it's gotta be good! 🙂 )

I can, should I so wish, use the TomeTom MyDrive app for planning and transfer or tracks to my TomTom, but that just produces a route (with waypoints) but the waypoints do not 'show up' on the TomTom (you could just ride by that cafe witjout noticing). Similarly .gpx files can be handled in this way and both can be transfered to the TomTom by bluetooth using this method.

So for me at least TomTom is the winner because it is so easy to use with the TYRE software which lets me use either/ both TomTom tracks or routes as I choose.

BUT it is the TYRE software that makes it really do what I want (i.e. forcing specific routes between destinations, multiple trip destinations with 'notifications', time and distance to next destinatione etc.)

 

I have never used Base Camp but the Garmin's have trip planning built in and on my newest model their Drive app makes it a no brainer to plan a trip (I just used it on a 2-day route yesterday which had 14-15 waypoints).  You type in a destination into the app and watch it update on the unit, then type the next stop and the unit updates again (you could also type it manually into the unit itself, OR use voice control).  If you want to alter the route, like to avoid riding through a major city, you just touch the screen and 'shape' the route.

Of course they also integrate to your smart phone for traffic, weather and call/text alerts.


***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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1 hour ago, betoney said:

I have never used Base Camp but the Garmin's have trip planning built in and on my newest model their Drive app makes it a no brainer to plan a trip (I just used it on a 2-day route yesterday which had 14-15 waypoints).  You type in a destination into the app and watch it update on the unit, then type the next stop and the unit updates again (you could also type it manually into the unit itself, OR use voice control).  If you want to alter the route, like to avoid riding through a major city, you just touch the screen and 'shape' the route.

Of course they also integrate to your smart phone for traffic, weather and call/text alerts.

 Which unit do you have?

 I'm just getting into figuring out how to use my new XT

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1 hour ago, 2and3cylinders said:

 Which unit do you have?

 I'm just getting into figuring out how to use my new XT

My newest is the Drivesmart 55.  If you have used Garmin's in the past, I find the interface to be almost identical but with more features.  Mine is not technically 'waterproof' but I have been in rain storms  with all of my Garmin's (Nuvi 50/55, Drive 51 and Drivesmart 55 - all automotive models) and have never had any issues.  Your Zumo XT should be the cream of the crop for motorcycling.  Like I mentioned, you can use the "Drive" app and it makes programming a route a breeze or if you prefer voice commands "OK Garmin, take me to Denver, Colorado".


***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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I LOVED my Lowrance GPS, but it died years ago.  I've used some cheap Chinavasion units, Sygic on Android, Osmand+ on a Kyrocera Duro Pro Android (my current "backup") and my current primary is a Garmin 590 (upgraded to 595),

Basecamp is "quirky" to use, at best.  Some say it's not user friendly, others would say it's picky about who its friends are!  

Many MSTA events have routes done in GPX, and a member, Norm Kern, has developed some videos on how to configure your GPS for use with these routes, along with tips to make your own. Has helped me out lots!  See this page for info: 

 Hope this helps!

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I set up a route for tomorrow using the drive app and then tweaked it on the device will see how works

 I am also going to track the route

 And saved it by simply turning off the device

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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2021 at 9:00 PM, betoney said:

My Garmin Drivesmart 55 has that feature but it is S L O W.  I tried updating my GPS via wi-fi while it was mounted on my bike and the unit said it would complete the update in 3.5 hours, so I removed the unit from my bike and plugged it into my PC and was finished in 9 minutes.

I tried using Garmin Express and it only did the software update but it was off the fully charged battery.  For the 3rd time I trying to update the map using wifi but it said 12 hours even connected to my AC/DC 12V power supply!

So I've connected it connected to my PC via USB and now the time is down to 7:15 at only 330 ~ 530 kb/s but we are believe it or not limited to DSL plus in my office going through a range extender, so I bet on a fast connection it'd be a 9 minutes.

Oh well.

Edit:  Retried now 1:30 at 230mb/s, then it increased again.  Shutting down Chrome for now to see if it jumps back down.

Edit 2:  Took it to the kidz and on their very fast wifi it only took maybe 40 minutes to update the maps...

Now working on the install...

Edited by 2and3cylinders
progress
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I have a Garmin Zumo XT which I generally like.  I gave up on using Basecamp and routing last summer when I spent over an hour trying to configure a route.  I finally just added the endpoints on the XT and then swapped it with my finger which worked OK.  It did get scared up once coming by near KC in a road construction area - can't really blame the XT for that.  

I really like the features like towns and cities ahead and the way it shows if food or gas is available.  That was a huge help on my last trip.  Most of my frustrations are due to me not bothering to spend the time fiddling with it to learn how to make it work.  I have not been able to get it and my iPhone to sync to my bluetooth headset.  It seems to want my phone to sync to it and then it sync to my bluetooth headset.  I have a Cardio 1+ headset.  When I first used it had problems with the mount not connecting the power.  They sent a new mount and it has worked perfectly since then.

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Last summer my Garmin 595LM departed my bike, so I needed a new GPS.  After looking at the Garmin 396, Zumo XT and the TomTom Rider 550, I bought the TomTom.  I've always liked the way TomTom uses the available screen real estate.  There's no wasted space.  You really get about the equivalent of the Garmin 595's 5-inch screen in a 4.3-inch body.

But within 30 days, I returned it and bought the Garmin Zumo XT.  I highly recommend it.  The screen is incredibly bright.  The processing is fast.  The maps on it are great, and you even get a topographical map you can use that gives you a 3D view.

If you're interested in a long explanation of why I returned the TomTom, read the rest. 

 

I really wanted to like the TomTom.  The screen brightness was good.  I like the information bar on the right side that shows you where the next gas station is, and what the traffic situation is ahead.  It takes up little room, and gives a lot of info.  But I noticed the POIs weren't up-to-date on the TT.  I'd ride by gas stations that looked like they had been there for ten years or more...and they didn't show up.  For me, that's important.  I will often plan my waypoints, and use gas stations along the way.  If they aren't in the POI list, I can work around that by using my phone, but that's really inconvenient.  

I noticed also that the screen detail was non-existent in places.  There would just be a bland green screen like I was looking at a pool table.  Not a deal breaker, but disappointing.

But the deal breaker was the "apps" or lack of them.  Garmin and TomTom pair with your smartphone to give you some extra capabilities like being able to listen to music or make a phone call.  The way they implement that is totally different.

TomTom uses your voice recognition software on the phone to get what you want.  Having an Android, it uses Google Assistant.  This caused me some concerns because I really didn't want Google listening to everything I said.  But even when I got past that, it still didn't work well.  I suspect I don't enunciate well.  I'd tell it "Call Carol", my wife.  I kept getting some lawyer's office instead that I'd never heard of.  What?!?!?  So I changed my wife's nickname in the phone to stop that.  On long lonely straight stretches of road, I'll often play some music.  So I'd tell Google to "Play Hillsong".  Well, it didn't want to use the Google Music app on the phone, and instead used the Google owned YouTube to play some Christian music instead.  Not exactly what I wanted.  Where it got ridiculous was when it kept ignoring my commands to use the phone's app to play music on it, and kept trying to connect me to a streaming service (which generates $$ for Google)...when I'm in the middle of nowhere without any data connection.

Between not being able to easily make a phone call or make the music work, I said nuts and sent it back.

Garmin on the other hand, has apps built in that give you an interface you can use.  It just makes it far simpler.

Chris

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I am still learning how to use my XT but I agree it's the way to go I have a friend has the Tom Tom in it's like day-and-night in terms of interface speed and usability

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