GPS - Safe or distraction? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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GPS - Safe or distraction?

I love GPS, please don't get this wrong. I just wonder if I want to take add another risk to motorcycling. I have only been back into motorcycles a year or so, and never considered GPS until recently. I imagine it would be as safe or
safer than a map pocket on a tank bag or more so as long as one can resist fiddling with the screen while moving. I just know in my case in the car, the thing is soon passed to the wife(my other garmin!) to look at, and I listen only. So, how do you guys use these things anyway. Please excuse my stupid question, but I am thinking about mounting mine.

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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 09:15 PM
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Mine is used for music 90%, GPS instructions 7%, cell phone linking 3%.

It can be a distraction if you let it. I like to use map source and make out all of my routes on the computer then upload them to the unit. This steps saves much time and distraction.

The music is streamed via bluetooth to my helmet speakers at a reasonable level so as not to be distracting from traffic. I actually find the music can help focus, just like having it on in the car versus nothing.

The GPS actually is far less distracting than staring at the tankbag, trying to look for signs, etc. If riding in an unfamiliar area I would say the GPS is more likely to help you focus on riding than cause a distraction.

My set up is a zumo 660, with an xbi2 audio helmet speaker/mic set.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 09:27 PM
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I ride a lot of twisty back roads in WV, frequently without road signs at intersections. The GPS keeps me from getting lost, without pouring over a map. Reduces stress, especially when it's getting dark and cold. I'm not normally looking at it unless I'm stopped and need directions. I can hear the directions even without a head set. All in all, I think it improves safety for me.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Mine is used for music 90%, GPS instructions 7%, cell phone linking 3%.

It can be a distraction if you let it. I like to use map source and make out all of my routes on the computer then upload them to the unit. This steps saves much time and distraction.

The music is streamed via bluetooth to my helmet speakers at a reasonable level so as not to be distracting from traffic. I actually find the music can help focus, just like having it on in the car versus nothing.

The GPS actually is far less distracting than staring at the tankbag, trying to look for signs, etc. If riding in an unfamiliar area I would say the GPS is more likely to help you focus on riding than cause a distraction.

My set up is a zumo 660, with an xbi2 audio helmet speaker/mic set.
Thanks, I will check that system out. Good points, I agree looking at a tank map while moving is asking for trouble!

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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 10:09 PM
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I think looking at the GPS display while riding isn't a good thing.
Using the headphones to hear direction orders while looking in traffic would be better and safer.


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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 03:58 AM
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i find i play with my mp3 player more than the gps if you want to use that as some type of guide. i do look at the gps for the speedometer instead of my actual speedometer as the one on my bike is off by several mph. i guess that really isnt a distraction as much as looking someplace different.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 05:26 AM
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The navigating receiver is established on vehicle (Versys) for the decision of navigating problems. Without GPS (GLONASS-Russia, GALILEO-Europe, or all together) the decision of such problems or is complicated or it is impossible. If you do not "distract" that will not get where it is necessary, at least quickly...
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 06:32 AM
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Whether a device constitutes a distraction is a function of the rider.

GPS can reduce distraction when you're using voice navigation in an unfamiliar area so you can keep your eyes on the road, but it can create all kinds of distraction if you try to input destination information while riding or dial phone numbers or whatever.

Don't let it be a distraction and it won't be.


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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 10:44 AM
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Whether a device constitutes a distraction is a function of the rider.

GPS can reduce distraction when you're using voice navigation in an unfamiliar area so you can keep your eyes on the road, but it can create all kinds of distraction if you try to input destination information while riding or dial phone numbers or whatever.

Don't let it be a distraction and it won't be.
I think Bones makes a very good point - it depends on how you use the device. I often use mine to set up a route and it's pretty easy to follow without being distracted from the task of riding. But I've also used it for picking my way through unfamiliar territory, just looking for the twisty roads. In that situation I've been guilty of paying way too much attention to my toy and not concentrating on the ride. It can certainly be dangerous to use it that way.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:40 AM
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I've had my TomTom Rider since the beginning of O6, on various bikes. It has bluetooth for phone & directions, but I don't use that, just visual. I ride with a 'quick' group in the San Brenardino Mts, very twisty. Having the TT 'read' the sharp corners coming up is a huge help. Most of the other riders ride the roads so often, they have memorized the roads, I'm only down for 3 months each year.

For me its in no way a distraction. Plus with the TT, you only have 4 very limited buttons when on the move, so you can't do much of anything until the GPS sees you are stationery.

Another important thing for me is the position on the bike. Having it just below your line of site in the middle is obviously the best.


The standard mounts that come with the GPS's are typically crap, so you could make your own as I did. Or get a good one from www.motowerk.com.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 12:42 PM
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I don't find my GPS a distraction at all when I ride.
Though it is a little annoying that when I text at the same time, the movies that I play are in such a small window, I often have to squint and bend forward to see all the detail, especially dark scenes and wide angle shots.

Seriously, I think Bones summarized it nicely, it is about how wisely you use the tool whether it becomes a distraction or not.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 03:53 AM
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If you're worried about being distracted and taking your eyes off the road then try finding street signs on unfamiliar roads.

I think the gps would be safer then trying to find directions by memory and looking around for signs.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 01:36 PM
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If the GPS is well mounted, I dont think it will be a distraction, no more than looking at Speedometer, RPM, time of Fuel level.

Unless your GPS as been modified to display pics on naked girls instead of the regular maps

That been said operating while driving the GPS can be dangerous but I am doing it on a regular basis (mostly changing zoom factor).

I installed my GPS (Magellan Crossover GPS AKA Roadmate 2500) one year ago and I am very pleased with the result. I am using the Motowerk mount

I was travelling with a friend last summer and we stopped at a restaurant picked up the phone book and looked over for the name of a college buddy. I punched the address on my GPS and we drove there. It was fairly big city that I never visited before but be got there easily.

For me that moment alone was worth the price of the GPS (80$ on Ebay )

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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 02:02 PM
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I generally just put my destination in the GPS before I leave and then turn it off. I turn it back on if I need a little help further down the road and then turn it off.
It does keep me from having to look at street signs at intersections which had resulted in some close calls in the past.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 06:16 PM
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I feel much more at ease with my GPS. I am not worried about getting lost or making a wrong turn. Also, I am not near as apprehensive about taking another interesting looking road when I see one come up. I know the GPS will keep my headed the right way. I was going to get me a permanent gps mount, but tried just using the suction cup mount on the windshield. 1000k miles later even on dirt and different temps my mount is still "stuck".
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 02:02 AM
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I find the GPS a need for tour riders as its alway there to assist/guide in case you miss the way and also I personally find it useful as it gives clear warning on sharp corner and crossings. That gives you some sight and warning when you are riding. You actually dont need to see the GPS all the time and when in trouble over which way to turn , just pull aside and get your direction right before moving. Dont get direction from the GPS while you are riding, that means you are asking for trouble and the GPS clearly warns you about it when you switch it on.

i can drop a gear/brake/slow down as the GPS warns me of turns/crossing/traffic light and the best part is I get a rough picture of the road ahead and you get constant information over your bluetooth devise in your helmet.
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 04:11 AM
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if you want to fiddle with it whilst on the move.. its a distraction, so no setting routes on the go, no answering phone calls, playing music and so on

its been a godsend sometimes when low of fuel trying to work out the nearest fuel not to far away, ideally on the same road.

I'd agree that the GPS should be mounted just under your field of vision. Using a Garmin Zumo 550 I find the screen flash alerts me to an update.. it just appears in my peripheral vision and is sufficient to alert me to something. its a godsend in this speed camera obsessed country I ride in

the only thign I have against a GPS is that its hard to see the whole picture of the country you are in, so its difficutl to say put in a route and then have a look either side of that route for a better loking road or touristy feature that may be worth stopping for. its great for point to point routes, but I fear extended use may reduce the amount of 'discoveries' yu make on the trip
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 05:46 AM
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I agree with healdem about not being about to see enough of the map. It makes a GPS hard to use to make a route, but I really like mine most of the time. It has lead me astray a few times. Not knowing the difference between pavement and dirt (not really the fault of the GPS, but the cartographer).

Mounting it above the gauges makes it really easy to see without having to completely take your eyes off of the road. I use mine as a speedometer, for music, directions and phone (but I almost never answer the phone). If you pair your phone with the GPS then you can see who is calling and if you want to stop and answer the call. Listening to music is probably less safe in some ways, but without it I find that my mind wanders more from the constant drone of the engine and wind noise.

The other main use I have aside from basic navigation is that I will go ride and explore (no particular route in mind) and when I am ready to head home I can just press the home button and let the GPS tell me how to get back. I generally don't like the routes it creates when I am out to enjoy a route...it just gets me there the most direct way. I do like being able to see what street is coming up as I am riding. Just takes a quick glance.

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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 08:24 PM
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Element, try e bay might get one for a fair price or can consider refurbished with Garmin warranty.

http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=Garmin+zumo+550
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