It’s a well-known fact that real men – especially bikers, don’t stop and ask for directions. subscribe to the philosophy that I’m never really lost, since I always know where I am, I just don’t always know how to get to where I want or need to be.
If your pride won’t allow you to seek directions from a third party and you still need to find your way to a specific destination, and don’t want to trust your passenger in the role of navigator, the ideal solution is here thanks to the good folks at Garmin International, Inc. They’ve developed a motorcycle rider-friendly GPS receiver that allows the rider to select the shortest, fastest or off-road routes available, complete with “avoidance” capability for bypassing toll roads, highways, traffic congestion, U-turns scenarios, etc. and also provides voice instruction guides and on-screen assistance.
The unit is on the costly side – it sells for $799.99, but when one considers its potential and everything that it can do in acting as a guide or personal assistant and navigator , the price seems quite reasonable indeed. It’s appropriate to think of the Garmin z?mo 665 Motorcycle Navigator as the ultimate co-pilot that possesses a complete geographical knowledge of all roads, streets, and addresses and is able to personally guide you to your chosen destination with on-screen and voice prompt instructions. A concierge service that is capable of finding virtually anything else that you might need to reach is also available including: restaurants, gas stations, banks, lodging, shopping malls, parks or whatever, not only in the U.S. but for all developed countries globally.
Okay, a lot of GPS navigation systems perform the same basic functions, but the Garmin z?mo 665 goes further, in that it is motorcycle specific – therein lies the reason behind the designation “Motorcycle Navigator”. It was designed by bikers for bikers, and it comes complete with multiple handlebar mount solutions and hardware for motorcycles and even includes an automobile mount. If you don’t happen to care for the Garmin mounts, there are several other kinds of mounts available from various sources.
The 4.3-inch (diagonally –measured) nav touch-screen is waterproof, impervious to fuel spray and UV rays, is legible in sunlight, and may be operated easily while wearing gloves. If your bike doesn’t have a fuel gauge, the Garmin 665 z?mo features a gauge that may be calibrated for the bike’s tank capacity and average mileage range – it also includes a warning alert for low fuel. Selectable moving screen icons include a motorcycle and either a male or female rider. The screen ratio measures 16:9 like widescreen TVs.
Three different view orientations are available when in navigation mode: North up; track up with the icon headed upwards; as well as a 3D view. Alternate screen displays are also available that display elevation, trip time, trip mileage, compass direction, sunrise, sunset and other data related to your travel. Up to four of the aforementioned items may also be selected to appear in panels on the screen along with your selected route.
Establishing a route or selecting your destination is really easy, simply type in the destination address if you know it and press “GO”. The z?mo 665 calculates the route and provides both verbal and digital image directions enroute. The process is the same for finding major sites or locations already included in the system’s information bank. Once a route has been selected, it’s stored automatically in a “Recently Found” directory, or you may place it into a “Favorites” file. Custom advance routes may be established by tying in Starting and Ending points, which is then stored in a separate directory, and upon returning from your trip, the route may be reviewed in Google Earth.
In the mood for entertainment on your ride? The Garmin z?mo 665 takes care of that too, as it is Bluetooth enabled, linking to your cell phone as well as a Bluetooth in-helmet headset. The receiver features a built-in MP3 player for loading your favorite music and even audio-books. The 665 includes an XM antenna and is XM-ready (subscription required). XM NavTraffic and XM Weather may added for real time information, helping to avoid traffic congestion or severe weather conditions.
The z?mo 665 comes preloaded with a complete current U.S. map, while updates and foreign maps may be downloaded from www.garmin.com. New routes as well as trip-planning options are available from www.connect.garmin.com.
I first experienced Garmin’s z?mo 665 Motorcycle Navigator during a Yamaha Zuma 50F Scooter launch in and about San Francisco, CA. It took my scooter and I throughout the City by the Bay to 10 pre-selected iconic landmarks for a photographic scavenger hunt, locating each location without fail. Without the 665, I wouldn’t have been able to locate each of the destinations successfully. I still wouldn’t have been lost mind you – I always knew that I was in San Francisco.
I’ve attached my personal test unit from Garmin on the handlebars of my modified 2005 Harley-Davidson Softail Springer Classic. A clutch-housing mount was also included along with an automobile mount. The bar-mount seemed to provide a more protected positioning, and since I’m no electrician, I’m having my H-D dealer complete the wiring connection to avoid damage to the unit and to avoid possible battery drain when not in use. The only negative issue that I was able to find with the Garmin 665, is that the receiver doesn’t lock into the mount and must be removed for security when parking the bike unattended. Actually, there is another issue – I can’t make excuses anymore for not being able to find where I want or need to be, and even though it’s not inexpensive, you couldn’t hire a reliable navigator as capable and as knowledgeable as the Garmin z?mo 665 Motorcycle Navigator for a price nearly as reasonable – besides, you’d have to feed him or her and pay for lodging along the way.