Essential Features of a Motorcycle GPS

Mobile GPS units have become virtually mandatory for many drivers. Gone are the days of trying to hold maps unfolded over the steering wheel or reading hastily written directions while watching for signs and landmarks. Today's drivers rely on GPS units that give them spoken directions every step of the way, often while displaying real-time maps marked with the vehicle's location.

Motorcycle riders can benefit from this same technology. The GPS unit for a motorcycle, however, needs some features and capabilities that may not be found in standard GPS systems.

Glove-Friendly Operation

Motorcycle riders often wear gloves. This may be for protection in a crash, for comfort in cold weather or for a better grip on the handlebars. This means that they must be able to operate their GPS unit with gloved fingers. Touch screens need to have large, well separated icons that will respond to the touch of a finger covered in leather or cloth. Controls such as on/off switches and function buttons also need to be large and easy to find.

Easy to Read Screen

Large, glove-friendly icons would have the added benefit of making the screen easy to read when the rider glances quickly at it while riding. Another readability issue for motorcycle riders is the sun. If the unit is mounted where it can be seen while riding, it will also often be in direct sunlight. A screen that has filtering or shading to make it visible would be essential for a motorcycle GPS unit.

Bluetooth Connectivity

A conventional speaker would be difficult if not impossible to hear on a motorcycle. A motorcycle satnav system would need to have Bluetooth capability to allow the rider to listen to the directions through an earphone. This might be accomplished via a separate earpiece, with a helmet that has a built-in Bluetooth capability, or via one of the popular in-helmet communication systems that allow riders to talk to each other while riding.

Protection from the Elements

A motorcycle navigation system will be exposed to harsh conditions. Vibrations, rain and wind can damage sensitive electronics. A GPS for a motorcycle would need to have a rugged construction that could stand up to the elements.

Just like their car and truck driving counterparts, motorcycle riders want the convenience and safer driving that can come with a GPS system. Riders need to be aware of the extra challenges that such a gadget faces, and look for a unit that has the features and capabilities they need. This will ensure that their navigation units will be long-lasting, safe and easy to use.