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Deacon Blues
The Imaginary Director

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Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 2946
   Posted 10/5/2011 7:45 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I just purchased one of these units, and so far, I'm rather impressed.

The unit came with quite a lot of mounting hardware, including an extra windshield mount for an automobile and a cig-lighter power adapter. The assumption is that you could thus switch between using it on your bike, or in your car. I would not recommend using the suction-mount windshield adapter on the bike's fairing or flyscreen, as bike vibration would most likely cause the mount to fall off and possibly foul your forks while in transit. Instead, use the included handlebar RAM mount, which is very secure and also very adjustable.

For power, you've two choices - the aforementioned cig lighter adapter, useful if your ride has a power socket installed, or the fused battery hookup. Since the K75RT has a power tap to the right of the gauges, I just used a size adapter to plug in the Garmin.

Both power cables are quite long, so you can route them however you like. Two zip-ties are included to securely fasten the wires to existing wire looms, to keep them from fouling anything while moving.

The zumo comes with a heavy-duty plastic bracket with a locking tab at the top, so it can be securely fastened to the RAM mount. The back is cutout where the power supply plugs into the unit. I would have preferred a design where docking the unit engaged some kind of power tap automatically, but this way is a bit more weatherproof. To add to this, the bracket has a small slot cut into the plastic, that allows you to stow and thus protect the power tap when the unit is undocked.

The unit itself is rather beefy, with a large bevel surrounding the screen. This is a big contrast to the minimalist iPhone-like designs of Garmin's automobile models.

Operating the zumo is strictly by touch-screen - there is no voice command mode. The icons are large, as are the on-screen buttons - this makes using the unit while wearing gloves an annoying task instead of an impossible one. A power button at the top corner allows you to shut the unit off, or turn it on when undocked, or a quick press allows you to adjust screen brightness and volume. The unit powers up automatically when it receives external power. The standard startup warning screen about "not operating while in motion" can be disabled, but I'm leaving it on for now.

The map modes are simple, yet straightforward. The default icon of a bike and rider can be changed to suit the owner's preference, as can the text-to-speech voices. Otherwise, you can either view the map as a 3d perspective view, or a top-down map view. Touching the "next Turn" indicator at the top of the screen shows a "Turn List" with verbal directions, which is good for getting an overall idea of where you're going but not all that useful when riding.

Riding around Dallas, I was impressed with the amount of data Garmin has managed to fit into the screen. Upcoming turns also indicate appropriate lane choices, and the local speed limit is posted in the bottom right corner, next to your calculated speed. Sadly the speed limits aren't all that accurate - Royal Lane in Irving / Farmer's Branch / Dallas is indicated at 40mph, where the local signs show 35! So, always verify the local speed limit by what's posted on the signs, not what the GPS tells you.

Overall, I'm liking this unit. Haven't yet had a chance to test the Bluetooth integration, but that'll happen when I receive the Scala Rider intercom system later this week.


The Bluetooth integration is fairly simple - pipe audio / speech to your preferred device (car speakerphone, handsfree earbud, or in my case, helmet-mounted intercom.)

There is a secondary stats page where you can see all sorts of data - lat/long coords, miles traveled, altitude, times to destination or next waypoint, heading, top speed recorded, sunrise and sunset times, etc. There is also a fuel gauge - once calibrated to your bike's range and your preferred "miles to empty" reserve point, it will remind you when you get close to "bingo fuel". Sadly, there is no place to put your fuel capacity in, so that it could compute miles per gallon. And lastly there is a large compass on the secondary display, showing your current heading.

If you should deviate from the recommended course, the unit will happily recalculate for you, without nagging you (too much) about it, and can be configured to avoid map maneuvers that are awkward on a bike, U-turns for example. Each turn is announced three times, once when you've completed the previous turn, once when you're approaching the turn, and once when you should perform the turn. Sadly, the unit doesn't deal well with destinations that aren't on a marked street, so if you're going anywhere that involves an unnamed route (such as a long driveway, a parking lot, or a fire trail) you may only get 'close' and then have to figure out the last bit on your own.

"Lane splitting will never be accepted in those areas where driving is considered a martial art."

Current Ride: 1992 BMW K75RT "Sif"
Past Rides:
1985 Yamaha FZ750 "Diablesse"
1987 Yamaha FZ700 "Pandora"
1979 Yamaha XS750 "Cerberus"

Post Edited (Deacon Blues) : 10/8/2011 7:36:43 PM GMT

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