Riding out into the unknown is great fun, especially when you come across tracks that let you forget about everything else, apart from twisting that throttle and sticking the rear out. But we do use our own navigation systems in order to find such places and sometimes, to head back to where we came from, unfortunately. Work ties, family ties, friends - they all do a pretty damn good job of pulling us back into civilisation!
Navigation comes into picture most of the times and is an important aspect of motorcycling, especially if motorcycle touring and adventure are your things. Heading out in search of a place your friends just posted pictures of, or when guiding yourself through a rally course. It’s interesting to see the kind of methods people use for navigation though, there are so many different kinds of them for various purposes, each one having its advantages and disadvantages. What suits your style of riding?
Satellite GPS systems
The global positioning system is made up of at least 24 satellites that work round the clock in any weather conditions. They travel at approximately 7000 miles an hour, transmitting 2 radio signals that travel through the sky and other objects to the receivers mounted in the GPS devices.
The devices then use these signals and trilateration to determine their precise location. Modern GPS devices are equipped with not only guiding the riders through unknown paths but they also display current traffic conditions, connects with smartphones to display calls and messages. In other words, they function in a similar manner as smartphones.
But, what really differentiates a true navigation device for the motorcycle is a robust GPS device built to withstand vibrations and hits from a motorcycle ride. Many of the GPS devices meant for motorcycle navigation are mounted on the handlebar. So, imagine heading out on a trail with a basic non- robust device/ phone! Dedicated GPS Navigation devices come with anti- vibration or dampening brackets to prevent vibration damage and their build is not what I could call ‘flimsy’. So no matter how hard the knocks are, it won’t let you down.
Speaking of trails, ADV riders are prepared for stream, water crossings and other water bodies which motorcycles can wade through. GPS Navigation devices for motorcycles are built to deal with such wet situations as well and as a result, they’re either waterproof or come with an optional waterproof case.
Other points that you need to consider if you intend to use a GPS navigation device is a large, anti-glare screen to ensure good visibility, glove- friendly touch screen interface that can be used with motorcycle gloves on and whether or not in plugs into your 12 volt DC socket.