TomTom Rider - Motorcycle Navigation System

  • Product: Rider Navigation System

    Manufacturer: TomTom

    Website: www.tomtom.com

    MSRP: $399.95

     

    Reviewed By: Lucky

    Overall Rating: Excellent

    Where to Buy: TomTom Website, Amazon.com, Motorcycle Dealers, Motorcycle Accessories Retailers, 

     

    Manufacturer's Description: 

    • 4.3-Inch glove-friendly touchscreen
    • Winding Road Routes allows bikers to select most exciting ride
    • Free Lifetime Map Updates
    • All-weather device
    • Upload Routes and Go - upload preferred routes before your ride

    Specifications:

    • Battery lifetime: Up to 6 hours autonomous operation   
    • USB port and USB cable 2.0
    • Bluetooth® For handsfree calling and data exchange
    • Vehicle mount     Charging bike dock / RAM mounting kit - fits nearly all bikes   
    • Internal memory
    • Screen size: 4.3" (11 cm) multi-touch screen
    • Screen type: 4:3 sunlight readable screen
    • Screen resolution: 480 x 272 pixels
    • Size (W x H x D): 5.1" x 4.0" x 2.1"
    • Weight     12.5 oz.
    • Waterproof (IPX7) - protects against any wet-weather conditions


    Review:

    The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was how rugged the TomTom Rider looked and felt.  Definitely designed to handle the elements as well as the constant removal and installation on its mount and the occassional bump it may have to take when being tucked away in the saddle bags or packed.  Though it may be slightly larger and heavier than some other motorcycle navigation systems, it is still compact enough to fit almost anywhere on the bike.

    One thing noticably missing from the box was a detailed instruction manual, which kind of worried me a bit at first.  All that was included was a foldout sheet with mounting instructions and instructions on how to turn it on. But once I got to using the TomTom Rider, I found the simplicity and on-screen instructions make a manual almost completely unnecessary.  For the few things I did need more info on, there is a complete manual available for download on the TomTom website.

    The kit comes with everything you need for a variety of mounting options, including a RAM Mount swivel system and charging dock.  I chose a handlebar mount.  With the Rider's 6 hour battery life, you can opt to not wire the charging dock to a 12v source, however wiring the dock not only provides continuious power, it also will automatically turn the Rider on and off with the ignition (provided you wired the dock to a switched 12v source).

    Time to run it through the paces and see how easy it is to use and how well it performed. Because the TomTom Rider is so feature packed, I am not going to attempt to cover every one of them in this review (complete list of functions can be found here TomTom Rider Reference Guide) I will cover the features and functions that make the TomTom Rider stand out.

    The first thing I noticed was how simple the device was to use.  Even being a techie, I prefer the devices I use personally to be simple and straight forward - especially if I will be using it while operating a motorcycle.  A simple menu system makes all of the features available with very few on-screen button presses, with the most common features being just one or two touches from the main screen.  A customizable "Quick Menu" lets you see your most used features with just one touch of the screen.  The user interface is designed with large adequately separated buttons making them easy to press even while wearing gloves.  A large sunlight readable screen with a hood makes it very easy to view maps and functions at a glance in almost any condition.  The screen switches automatically from daylight to night time viewing, based on time of day, and can also be manually switched.

    The basic screen includes the main map window and a nicely layed out status bar that is completely customizable to show Current Time, Current Speed Limit, Your Speed (goes red when you are about 7 mph over the limit), Distance and Time Remaining to Destination, Estimated Arrival Time and Navigation Instructions.  The navigation instructions let you know what your next event will be (i.e. Turn, Merge, etc) with the exact distance to the event. 

    Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect to a headset to provide voice navigation.  The Rider also connects to your phone allowing you to use on-screen or voice dialing.

    One of the coolest features I found was the Plan Winding Route Option.  This does exactly what it says... takes you off the main roads and onto the roads you want to be riding.  To make this even better, they have a slider bar that goes from Minor Roads to Major Roads.  Setting this all the way to minor roads will take you as far from the main roads as you can get.

    Other key features include:

    Lane Guidance helps you prepare for exits and turns by indicating the correct lane for your route.

    Route Recording that allows you to record your trips to save them for future reference or share with friends.

    Daily Map updates.  Users can upload map corrections for things such as road blocks, changed speed limits, speed cameras, etc.

    Itineraries can be mapped out on the unit or on the computer using the included Tyre software and even google maps.

    One thing I would have like to have seen on the Rider is the HD Traffic feature available on other TomTom systems.

    Overall the TomTom Rider has the most biker specific features and is the easiest to use of any navigation device I have seen, and I would highly recommend it for all types of riders.


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