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Looking for some direction, literally.

NEBoston

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I have a new (to me) 2020 NC 750x DCT with no add ons with the exception of some GIVI Crash Bars. I wear a Shoei GT Air 2 Helmet without the Bluetooth Comm system ($299 with some not so great reviews on sound quality). I would like to use some type of GPS, either on my phone and pushed through the BT Comm system or go the route of getting a dedicated GPS with a mount and hardwired, or older phone to use instead. I saw the BeeLine moto that links to your phone as well but at about $200, it's an expensive arrow. I am just looking for different options for some kind of guided audio or visual for my weekend rides. I would love to hear about other people's setups and any other ideas I have not thought of yet. I am not worried about the money aspect of it, just more trying to find alternatives.

Thank you for all the responses,
Lost, somewhere north of Boston
 

melensdad

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I have a new (to me) 2020 NC 750x DCT with no add ons with the exception of some GIVI Crash Bars. I wear a Shoei GT Air 2 Helmet without the Bluetooth Comm system ($299 with some not so great reviews on sound quality). I would like to use some type of GPS, either on my phone and pushed through the BT Comm system or go the route of getting a dedicated GPS with a mount and hardwired, or older phone to use instead. I saw the BeeLine moto that links to your phone as well but at about $200, it's an expensive arrow. I am just looking for different options for some kind of guided audio or visual for my weekend rides. I would love to hear about other people's setups and any other ideas I have not thought of yet. I am not worried about the money aspect of it, just more trying to find alternatives.

Thank you for all the responses,
Lost, somewhere north of Boston
I had a Beeline and absolutely hated it. It is probably fine for rural Scotland or other such places, but in rural Indiana it tried to turn me into cornfields (actually several times). In suburban Chicagoland it wanted me to turn into people's yards. At highway speeds on 6+ lane interstates it is totally worthless for getting your to the correct exit when multiple exits occur in short order. It also has no audio cues.

On my iPhone I use SCENIC and it gives me Turn By Turn directions, it works with downloaded maps so it does not require an internet or phone/data connection (which to me is critical in rural areas). For those with Android phones the SCENIC app is not an option. However I hear some good stuff about REVER, which works on Android phones, gives T-B-T directions, and I believe also might use downloadable maps.
 

mooseonbass

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I'm in the Boston area and love my beeline, different strokes for different folks I guess. Yes, it is an expensive arrow. My problem is I spend too much time looking at phone apps but that may just be the "ooh-shiny!" aspect of my very easily distracted persona. My newest bad habit is using the compass on my smart watch. I figure I can always just head east until I run into an ocean, then I'll know where I am.
 

melensdad

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I'm in the Boston area and love my beeline, different strokes for different folks I guess. Yes, it is an expensive arrow. My problem is I spend too much time looking at phone apps but that may just be the "ooh-shiny!" aspect of my very easily distracted persona. My newest bad habit is using the compass on my smart watch. I figure I can always just head east until I run into an ocean, then I'll know where I am.
I'm quite the opposite.

To use the Beeline device you actually have to LOOK at it. It is literally designed for you to look at it. So you take your eyes off the road. You take your eyes off the traffic.

To use the SCENIC App all you just have to LISTEN to the Turn By Turn prompts through the headset while watching the road.

Honestly I believe the Beeline is a dangerous device on a motorcycle, especially in heavy and fast traffic. It takes too much attention away from what & where you should place your attention.
 

denstl

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I have been getting along with Google Maps on my iPhone. I don't look at the map at all while riding mainly because my eyes are crap when reading. Just listen to the turn by turn directions over my Cardo Freecom headset. Haven't really ventured too far yet on the bike but for local rides it works fine. Have used Google Maps when travelling long distances in my car and it has worked well. Sometimes use Waze which gives police and accidents alerts. But since I don't look at it when on the bike, not as helpful. I do listen to music on the Cardo and the sound quality is brilliant. And I really like the fact I can just speak and the Cardo responds. Mainly turn volume up or down. And I use the Hey Siri command to get text messages while riding as well.
 

vcsehi

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I use my Beeline for 2 years now in London, and I have ridden across central Europe with it, so I can say I have a few miles in that device.
To me its a far less of a distraction than a phone on my bar as it only gives the necessary minimalistic rout info... when and what direction to turn to. Enough for me. I use it in the city of London just as much as on multi lane highways and roundabouts, apart of a few minor cases I never got lost with it, but obviously it worth checking out the offered route before take off..
I have to say I am not looking at this thing more than I would look at my speedo, so I would not consider it as an extreme danger, in fact it is mounted a lot higher position as I could mount my phone on the bar so for me its a lot easier to look at..
It works very well for me but I do understand if it does not for others.

Before the Beeline I used to have a 2nd phone, possibly a rugged one (I had a Samsung Xcover 4) for gps use only, and I mainly used Sygic navigation app as I found its layout the best for the eyes, and its voice navigation was awesome too when I was only listening..
 

halfSpinDoctor

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The Beeline looks awesome and I have always thought about getting one, but I just can't justify it at that cost considering 99% of trips I take I don't need navigation, and I have a perfectly good phone mount (two, actually) when I do need directions.

I always thought about getting an old used Apple Watch or similar device to mount on the handlebars for navigation, but then there are issues with power (how do you mount it with the charge cable attached? Does it function while charging or does it go into "charge mode"), weatherproofing, theft, etc. to deal with.
 

bigbird

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Garmin Zumo 396's are in abundance since the XT came out.
I had both, and sold the XT.
A dedicated GPS is more reliable than a cell phone in terms of vibration, water, and impact resistance.
Because eventually a GPS or cell phone will slip out of your hands when mounting or removing it from a mount, and it will hit the ground.
Pretty much guaranteed a GPS will survive a fall, and a cell phone won't be so lucky.
 

Aiwa

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I 100% agree with bigbird. Go with a dedicated, purpose built GPS. Pair it with a Sena (or Cardo if that's what your tribe uses) and you'll be all set.
Something like a Garmin 396 (which I believe comes with a motorcycle mount) paired with a simple u-bolt and a ram ball and you're all set. You can wire the mount cable directly to the battery if you like. Just be sure to take the unit out of the mount when you park the bike for the day.
 

Griff

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I have always been a fan of a dedicated GPS. Currently I use a 2007 Zumo 550 paired to a Cardo packtalk Bold. Works perfectly.
 

GregC

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@bigbird is spot on. I've tried probably every type of nav solution: Garmin Zumo's, iPhone, iPad. I ended up back to a Zumo after trying all that. While the iphone and ipad seem like good solutions, in practice they are quite limited: they are not glove friendly (big negative for me) and even with "iPhone friendly gloves" it's difficult, the screens are not bright enough in direct sun, they have limited foul weather resistance (without a bulky case), you need to be careful what mount you use to avoid it falling out (unless you carry it in your pocket, which eliminates any visual help), and of course for iPhones the Apple warning about vibration.

As @bigbird mentioned, the Zumo 396 is sub-$300 (some down to $200-230 on eBay) now that the XT is out. I have the 396 and it's a great little device. In addition to all the customary benefits of a dedicated moto GPS, Garmin has "adventurous routing" that finds the "best" curvy roads along your route. It also has a "round trip" app where it will pick a round trip route based on time or distance (your choice) - this is great for weekends rides.

Edited to add: it depends to a large degree what you want the GPS for. If it's just to provide traffic updates for commuting, a phone or other smart device in your pocket may be very good since you're really not looking for directions. If you want it to use for trips where you just need to get from A to B, again the smart device may be fine with Google Maps or other app. If you want something to guide you on random trips, taking the backroads, or "adventures," then I think it's worth the investment in a dedicated moto GPS.
 

NEBoston

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I have seen the mounts that go in between your wind screen and sets a bar above your cluster, it seems the most logical to me given my field of view. Does anyone use this particular setup and if so, any suggestions? I’d like to replace the stock windscreen with the higher stock version as well.
 

2wheels4me

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@bigbird is spot on. I've tried probably every type of nav solution: Garmin Zumo's, iPhone, iPad. I ended up back to a Zumo after trying all that. While the iphone and ipad seem like good solutions, in practice they are quite limited: they are not glove friendly (big negative for me) and even with "iPhone friendly gloves" it's difficult, the screens are not bright enough in direct sun, they have limited foul weather resistance (without a bulky case), you need to be careful what mount you use to avoid it falling out (unless you carry it in your pocket, which eliminates any visual help), and of course for iPhones the Apple warning about vibration.

As @bigbird mentioned, the Zumo 396 is sub-$300 (some down to $200-230 on eBay) now that the XT is out. I have the 396 and it's a great little device. In addition to all the customary benefits of a dedicated moto GPS, Garmin has "adventurous routing" that finds the "best" curvy roads along your route. It also has a "round trip" app where it will pick a round trip route based on time or distance (your choice) - this is great for weekends rides.

Edited to add: it depends to a large degree what you want the GPS for. If it's just to provide traffic updates for commuting, a phone or other smart device in your pocket may be very good since you're really not looking for directions. If you want it to use for trips where you just need to get from A to B, again the smart device may be fine with Google Maps or other app. If you want something to guide you on random trips, taking the backroads, or "adventures," then I think it's worth the investment in a dedicated moto GPS.

Those garmin trip routing options sound great. Just a little bit outside of what I’d be willing to spend right now. Might have to start saving.
 

2wheels4me

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I have seen the mounts that go in between your wind screen and sets a bar above your cluster, it seems the most logical to me given my field of view. Does anyone use this particular setup and if so, any suggestions? I’d like to replace the stock windscreen with the higher stock version as well.

The windshield my bike came with has a small diameter bar I was able to attach a phone mount to. Was tricky to find one that would work with that small of a bar though. I do like the windshield though. It’s a V stream touring shield
 

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GregC

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I have seen the mounts that go in between your wind screen and sets a bar above your cluster, it seems the most logical to me given my field of view. Does anyone use this particular setup and if so, any suggestions? I’d like to replace the stock windscreen with the higher stock version as well.
I had mine there for a while but with the CalSci screen I had at the time the GPS disrupted the airflow behind the screen (that keeps buffeting down), so it created a lot of helmet buffeting and noise. I couldn’t figure it out until I saw an Aussie do a YouTube on the effect. Since then it’s mounted on the handlebar tree.
 

Floowid

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I have been getting along with Google Maps on my iPhone. I don't look at the map at all while riding mainly because my eyes are crap when reading. Just listen to the turn by turn directions over my Cardo Freecom headset. Haven't really ventured too far yet on the bike but for local rides it works fine. Have used Google Maps when travelling long distances in my car and it has worked well. Sometimes use Waze which gives police and accidents alerts. But since I don't look at it when on the bike, not as helpful. I do listen to music on the Cardo and the sound quality is brilliant. And I really like the fact I can just speak and the Cardo responds. Mainly turn volume up or down. And I use the Hey Siri command to get text messages while riding as well.
I've been doing just about the same. I got a Freecom 4+ for Christmas but just got around to installing it. I have been using a $30 bluetooth helmet headset and Google maps up until now. That combo works great for what I do. I have an old cheap phone without service that I mount on the bars and connect it to the hotspot on the good phone in my pocket. The nice thing about the Freecom is I can connect to both, so I can use the crappy phone on the bars for navigation and even playing music because it is tethered to my good phone, but I can also "hands free" answer and make calls with the phone in my pocket.
 

http404

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We use the inexpensive Freedconn TCOM Bluetooth headsets (Amazon about $120 for two) for intercom on the bike and Spotify when we aren't talking. They're pretty good for little money. Phone call quality is surprisingly good. Nice benefit is built-in FM radio. But they won't connect with Sena or Cardo units so they're really just for on-bike comms...and of course Bluetooth phone and music. I rigged up a Ram Mounts ball to the top of my Madstad brackets and use a Garmin in a waterproof case with sunshade above the Speedo and more in natural line of sight than with the ball down on the handlebar. Tried it both ways and for me it's far superior in the upper position.

Edit: I meant to add that I've been going back and forth on the phone vs GPS unit and as much as I like G Maps/Waze, they burp too often and it seems the offline maps are not entirely dependable, plus of course the gloves not working well with a phone screen. And biggest "con" with Google Maps is that you can't use a custom map you create and import to the app. All the work you do on the custom route and the app shows the route but only lets you select one of the suggested Google routes for navigation and no search of the internet brings an answer...and I got the the very last page. But you CAN download custom G Maps navigation into a Garmin. Garmin wins.
 
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