Garmin Motorcycle GPS – Zumo Series

Garmin Zumo motorcycle navigator

While car drivers have plenty of choices when it comes to GPS navigators for their vehicles, motorcyclists may find it quite difficult to get the perfect satellite navigation systems for their bikes. Roads and highways in most cities are designed with cars, trucks, and buses in mind, instead of motorcycles. In some countries, bikes are not the most widely used vehicles for transportation; when the traffic is basically dominated by cars, almost all traffic regulations and road signs are designed for the drivers. Garmin, one of the most reputable makers of GPS devices, offers a solution with its zumo series. Unlike the nuvi series for cars, zumo only has several devices in its line.

The zumo Series

The main idea behind satellite navigation either for car or motorcycle is basically the same. GPS devices make it easier for you to find places and travel through the proper streets or roads. The navigational system is more or less the same, but there are major differences especially in terms of user interface. Garmin’s zumo is optimized for motorcycle, meaning the navigational features are intended for that particular type of vehicle. Most features in any of zumo devices should not be used for cars and other means of transportation. Some of the latest Garmin zumo series devices are as follows:

Motorcycle-optimized Navigational System

At a glance, zumo is not very different from nuvi or other series by Garmin. The design is basically the same with the front part of it is dominated by touchscreen display. In zumo, however, the screen is sunlight-readable. This is very important since the device will be mounted mostly on motorcycle’s handlebar and often exposed to direct sunlight. Motorcyclists have to be able to see the screen clearly to understand the navigation or read the map. Another good thing is that the screen is glove-friendly. The screen is more touch-sensitive, allowing motorcyclists to access all functions by touching the screen without having to take off their gloves. Every Garmin zumo mentioned above is also IPX7-rated. When used for motorcycle, it is expected that the device is occasionally exposed to splashes of water, snow, or even fuel. Thanks to the rugged design, zumo will withstand unfriendly weather condition such as rain.

Map Updates

With the exception of the 220, at the end of every device’s name, there is an “LM” which indicates Lifetime Map updates from Garmin. The updates are available for free without subscription or any membership fee. All data including POIs, navigation information, and roads will be updated too. Especially for zumo 665LM, the package includes GXM 40 antenna. It allows users to extend the functions of the GPS device by adding traffic and weather update as well as subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. These additional functions, however, require subscriptions).

Navigational Features

The zumo series has similar navigational features to those of nuvi including pre-loaded street maps, voice-prompts, spoken-street names, lane assist, junction view, route planning, and more. All those features are available in all zumo series devices. Voice-prompts and spoken-street names help to keep motorcyclist concentrate on the road rather than taking a glance at the screen too often to get the navigational information. The device can speak out street names or tell users to make left or right turn before reaching the corner. Junction view and lane assist are quite popular Garmin’s navigational tools as they are available in almost all series. Both features will basically show pictures of interchanges on the route and indicate the proper lane to take based on user’s position. With zumo, it is also possible to plan route and include multiple stops along the way. The device can sort the multiple stops and automatically determine the most direct route available, or user can setup custom sorting such as faster time, avoid tolls, off road, etc. Other common features in all zumo devices are the possibility to add custom POIs, speed limit indicator, and Where Am I?

Bluetooth Connectivity

Every zumo is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. Users can connect the GPS device to any compatible cell phone and have hands-free conversation (some models only) through a Bluetooth-enabled headset or helmet. Bluetooth connectivity even allows users to hear the spoken-directions via the headset or helmet.

Extra Features

Certain models (660LM and 665LM) can also function as MP3 or audio book player, but only the more technologically advanced 595LM that allows user to control Pandora and iPod directly from the GPS device’s screen. It is also the biggest zumo featuring 5.0-inch display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels; excluding the 590LM, every zumo has 4.3-inch screen display with 480 x 272 pixels resolution.

4 Comments

  • Michael Manning says:

    None of the Garmin motorcycle units can provide names of either motorcycle dealerships or repair/service facilities. However, they doing provide listings for Auto dealerships and repair shops.
    Really, designed for the motorcyclist by motorcyclists? NOT!!!

    • Arvind says:

      Hi Michael,

      You are absolutely right even though i have been ridding for many years
      and using TOM TOM which i use while traveling in Car, Truck and Harley
      never paid attention to “motorcycle dealerships or repair/service facilities” as my GPS sort of a generic
      I am in the market to by a ZUMO a dedicated motorcycle GPS But know after reading your post It is a real shame that they do not have the information most important to us. I am not spending my $800.00 i will do what i have been doing Google it on my Phone

      Best

  • Frank says:

    This especially sucks because motorcycle dealerships/repair don’t have consistent names to search for — the names of Honda motorcycles dealers/repair shops include “GP Sports,” “The Motor Cafe,” “East Bay Motorsports,” “SF Moto,” “Kent Powersports,” “El Campo Cycle Center,” “Southern Outdoor Sport,” “Sportsman’s Corner,” and even “Dale’s Fun Center.”

  • Ethan says:

    Agreed.It is a big fat fail that Garmin does not have motorcylce dealerships / reapir /service facilties in thier database.

    That being said I have been using my 550 Zumo for 10yrs! The first yrs Put over 100,000 (s)miles on the 550 riding is very hot & humid GA summers, heavy rains (I’m not afraid to ride in heavy downpours) and very cold – down to the teens winters in north GA, NC, VA etc. winters.

    After all these miles the touch display stopped working. I called Garmin and they said to send it in. The sent out a new/factory refurb and I’m still using it 5 yrs later and it works like new!

    The main thing with me is being able to make my own routes on the computer and send to gps so I’m very happy.

    Yeah I’d like the larger screen like I have with the Nuvi’s in my vehicles and the lane change and speed limit indicators but I do fine w/o them.

    I’ll keep my trusty 550 until it dies and spend my $$ on other farkles like my new Radenso Pro SE motorcycle gps (It rocks)!

    So yeah Garmin makes great GPS(r) devices but could & should do better with the Zumo line and the prices are way too overpriced for the Zumo’s ($800+? not this guy). A new Zumo with large screen, bright display etc. should be no more than $400-$500.

    FWIW the Nuvi line and my 60CSx are top notch!

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