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5/2/2009
Well here is the TomTom Rider 2 review that I mentioned was coming. I bought the device from Amazon for $318 shipped. A little background to begin things. I already have 2 GPS units: a Garmin eTrex I use for geocaching and a Garmin Edge 705 that I use for bicycling. For those who don’t know, the Edge 705 is a top of the line GPS for cycling. I am what you call a data whore- I love to collect numbers and pour over them in spreadsheets.

So with owning 2 Garmins already, I definitely wanted to go with the Zumo 550. It was very hard to justify spending $655 for it when I could get the Rider for half the cost. From initial reviews I couldn’t see that much difference to justify the increase in spending.

But, there is one feature I knew the Zumo 550 did and the Rider did not which I would have liked. The Zumo has a Bread Crumb Trail feature that allows you to easily get lost and back track. This definitely fits my nature, because I like to explore when the spontaneous moment arrives. But I had to ask- Really, how often am I going to use that feature?

And that brings us to why I want a GPS for a motorcycle. I bought my motorcycle (Suzuki M50) for recreation. I doubt I will ever use it to commute to work. My style of riding is touring the back country roads. And going long distances. I found the website sundaymorningrides and thought this was the greatest idea. Routes had already been mapped and planned and all I had to do was download them. At first I printed one up to take with me, but there were so many curving and intersecting roads that I had to constantly stop and double check to make sure I didn’t pass my turn off. So I wanted a GPS. I knew I would be taking the bike from Memphis to Lexington KY. There is also a trip planned from Memphis to The Dragon’s Tail. So I wanted a GPS. A feature that is critical for my needs is building an itinerary from software on the computer. I imagine that trying to do this from the GPS unit for a 450 mile trip would try my patience. Besides avoiding major highways, which Garmin and TomTom allow this option in planning, I wanted the quick ability to possibly switch the chosen rural highway for another parallel one. Some of these points will be covered again.

The GPS unit arrived and I took pictures but decided not to post them because they really didn’t offer much information. Nothing unusual here. What I noticed initially was the lack of instructions and/or documentation for the Cardo Scala speaker/microphone. After pouring through everything, there was absolutely no documentation for powering this device up. I went to the manufacturer’s website and downloaded the owner’s manual.

I first plugged the GPS into its charger and gave it about 6 hours. I also installed the memory Maps card in the appropriate slot. In the meantime, I installed TomTom Home onto the desktop (Windows Vista.) After the charging of the GPS, I plugged it into the UBS and the computer installed the appropriate drivers. TomTom Home software noticed the device and suggested I update the maps and/or firmware. I allowed it to do this. There were about 3 new updates which were downloaded and installed. The Rider turned itself off and restarted. The opening screens were intro screens that asked info for Country, Language, Time and choice of Miles or KM. Once this was complete, it asked me to Pair the GPS with a Bluetooth device. I cancelled this option at this time due to the Bluetooth receiver not having been charged yet. So the GPS unit went to the next screen which said “No Maps Loaded”. Hmmm . . . This was puzzling. I restarted the unit and had to go through the questions about Country, Language & Time again. Same message appeared with “No Maps Loaded”. I thought maybe because I was sitting inside at my desk, that the device couldn’t see the satellites, so I took it outside. Once again I had to repeat the steps above with the same outcome. I carried it back inside and synced it back to the computer. I also plugged the Scala into its charger and waited 2 hours. TomTom Home informed me that there were new updates for the device. Again? It had only been a few hours since the previous updates. I downloaded and installed them. Fired up the device and this time I went ahead and paired the Scala with the GPS. The onscreen instructions were simple and easy to follow for doing this. It picked up the device with no problem. And lo and behold- I had maps! It showed the streets around my house with no problem. This was while I was sitting indoors in my bedroom.
The gem of the review for TomTom owners: Tyre software for Google maps. In my searching for reviews for this GPS I came across a piece of software called Tyre that links TomTom Home to Google Maps. Basically, TomTom Home isn’t that great for actually planning the itinerary. This software allows easy planning with Google Maps and sends it to the device. The software is free.

Mounting to the bike. I installed the RAM mount to the handlebars with the U-bolt and bracket. No problems here. The manual was very limited on how to do this. The interesting aspect was that the manual showed other ways to mount it to the bike with hardware that didn’t come with the GPS. Something tells me that this was the previous mounting method with Rider 1 (not Rider 2).
My plan is to run the power cord to an auxiliary power outlet in the bucket of my headlamp (Suzuki M50). The wiring is currently setup with a bladed female plug in a white housing. The blades are set 90 degrees to each other. I soldered the stripped wires of the power cord to two separate male blades that fit the female auxiliary housing and then applied electrical tape. After plugging in the cord to the outlet on the GPS bracket with the GPS mounted, I next turned the key and the unit powered up immediately.

After 12 days of raining, I finally got to test the GPS. I made an itinerary through the Tyre software but knew I wouldn’t have time to run this route of 120 miles. So I quickly typed in the address of a friend that lived 10 miles away- and off I went! The device initially chose a road that I wouldn’t have turned down to go to his house, so I ignored it. It quickly rerouted based on the choice I made. Also the speaker at my left ear had slightly moved; I could still hear the directions, but I knew it could be better.
Before leaving I had told the buddy to call me in 15 minutes. Sure enough, I heard the ringing of the phone in the speaker and hit the Accept “button” on the screen. The call didn’t last long because I couldn’t hear him that well. He also stated that he couldn’t hear me that well. I believe the microphone was too far from my mouth. Next ride I will readjust the microphone and speaker.
Tomorrow is the first sunny free full day I have had in many weeks. I have loaded the previous mentioned itinerary and will post the results. Rather than wait for the finished review, I wanted to go ahead and post this part since it is running long.

I hope it has been helpful.
 

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There seems to be lots of happy Tom Tom owners out there, I'm sure you will be happy with your new toy, it's good to hear that the antenna will still pick up a signal even when your inside, I think you will find (as I did) that you use it inside quite a bit whenever you are traveling.
 

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Use the Edge on your motorcycle?

I was planning on using my Edge instead of buying YET ANOTHER FRIGIN' GPS.

I'm going to run a power cable to it in order to keep it charged.

Your thoughts?

Thanks,
SG
 

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Cookie Monstress.
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I know it is not the same.....probably cannot download routes, etc....

but Frank just got an Iphone and the Tom Tom software app and dashboard mount kit for it.

We used it in our car to take a couple thousand mile backroads trip to Albuquerque and LA and few other destimations. It works wonderfully.... much better than our dashboard mount basic car Tom tom ever did.

with it bluetoothed to our Cardo wireless comm set, that Iphone Tom Tom would do a great job I think even while riding. Stopping occasionally to check the route maps for the visuals.
 
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