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7 Things You Should Consider Before Purchasing a Motorcycle GPS System

Jul 21, 2008
Whether you enjoy those afternoon cruises or that extended road trip on your bike, adding a GPS system to the ride will increase your adventurous spirit and will result in a lot more enjoyment. It opens up a brand new world for exploring some great places and you can download information and start planning your trip before you ever leave home. But before you invest in a motorcycle GPS system, here are seven things you need to consider before you tell that salesperson "I'll take it."

#1 - Decide which GPS unit is the right one for your bike. GPS units come three different ways:

- GPS/PDA hybrids
- portable outdoor units
- units designed specifically for your bike

So you see, the first consideration already involves three others. But for all practical purposes, if you also enjoy camping, mountain biking, or just exploring the outdoors, then the portable option is the best choice.

#2 - Find a motorcycle GPS unit that will meet your reception needs. When it comes to pinpointing your position, how accurate do you want the satellite signals to be? There are models available that come with WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation Systems) technology and can accurately pinpoint your position down to between 3 to 4 meters, but most will be accurate to within 6 to 8 meters.

#3 - Does the life of the battery in that GPS system meet your needs? Most GPS units use 2, 4, or 6 "AA" batteries and will usually function for about 6 hours. However, there are units available that can use rechargeable batteries instead, which in the long run usually proves to be more cost-effective.

#4 - Make sure the motorcycle GPS unit that you buy is durable. GPS units on bikes can take a beating on rougher roads and surfaces, so you want to make sure that the unit you purchase can withstand that kind of punishment.

#5 - Is 2-way communication an issue? Some of the more recently GPS systems on the market have elevated the concept of 2-way communication to a new level. The wireless internet for Bluetooth enabled phones can now interact with some of the newer motorcycle GPS systems on the market.

#6 - Find a GPS unit that is easy to update. Truer words for computers and related technology have never been spoken. Updates can be the life (or death) of numerous electronic devices that are computer operational and oriented. GPS units all get updated differently, so you need to pick a unit that doesn't give you a lot of grief when you need to download updates for it.

#7 - How much money should I budget towards the purchase of a motorcycle GPS system? The rule of thumb is to purchase the most expensive model you can afford that will also meet all of your demands and navigational needs. GPS units are as varied in price as they are in design and function, and only you will know the one that works the best for you and what your budget will tolerate.
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