Honda Shadow Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,349 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Before my trip I wanted to get a GPS and after a lot of comparisons decided to buy a Zumo 660 which is a motorcycle friendly model. The reason for going this route was that I wanted a GPS that would give directions to a bluetooth headset (my Scala Rider) and still allow me to connect to my phone. None of the cheaper Nuvi's would do that. I'm not attempting a full review but just some impressions after using it on a 1600+ mile trip.

The 660 ships with a handlebar mount and a bare wire connection for power. It also has connectors for audio out etc. You can download the Zumo 66 manual online for more details., but the mount is a RAM mount.
The Zumo 660 has a user replaceable battery and it will run the GPS for around 5 hours. Running all the Bluetooth connections and making phone calls will shorten the time somewhat. You can charge off the USB computer, car/bike adapter.

The Zumo will hold 20 custom routes on the main board which was enough for my planned trip to Yellowstone and through South Central Utah and will take more on a SD card. It will also hold some quadzillion (1000) number of waypoints. Waypoints would be like a diversion off the main route to say a national park on the way to the motel for the night.

For me, an important feature was ride planning. Although the unit has shortest, fastest type routing, that will not take you to the road less well traveled. The unit comes with it own computer based planning software but IMHO it sucks. For my planning I used the Harley Davidson Ride Planner which worked flawlessly and it will upload routes directly to the Zumo.

The Zumo also has mode of travel function and I've noticed that when you select motorcycle vs car it will make changes to the route. What it is based on I have no idea, nor does looking at the routes give me a clue. Its been a topic of conversation on the Zumo board as well and evidently Garmin isn't saying.

The Zumo map set is pretty good based on what I can tell and the POI file is huge and you can also load custom POI's from other sources. For example I loaded Harley dealers and 2M Ham radio repeaters in mine. One problem though is say you want to know where gas stations are along the route. You can hit menu, hit where I am then select fuel and it will give you a text list, but on the default screen, it doesn't show them until you zoom way in. It will however show you every stinking airport in the world. I guess someone at Garmin is into airports.

I really wish you had a way of selecting say gas stations to display so you could easily plan ahead as you are riding. You can do it but not as safely as I would like when you are riding. As it turned out the Garmin did direct me to a closed gas station one time which the locals say shut down last year. But that can happen to any GPS.

The Garmin paired easily with the Scala and worked without fail the entire trip. My Blackberry was a bit more finicky and would occasionally drop the connection to the GPS. The audio on the directions was excellent while with the phone it ranged from good to not so good and I don't know why it varied. I also noticed an occasional lag using the phone.

Some users have complained that they can't see the screen in bright sunlight. All I can say is I had no issues. My Zumo is mounted on the dash of the fairing and that may well be the reason. If it was lower and tilted upward, that may well cause glare.

I rode one day for 240 some odd miles in drizzle to pouring rain and the Zumo didn't miss a beat. That said, the Zumo has open connectors on the back of the main unit as well as on the face of the mounting bracket. The mounting bracket comes with a watertight cover to protect those connectors from getting wet when the GPS isn't mounted. I've heard that if you lose it, you're SOL because Garmin does not sell them as a separate item. Boo on Garmin for that.

Although the menu items on the main screen are smaller than the Zumo 550 buttons, I really didn't have too many issues getting my gloved fingers on the selection. My main beef is the number of soft buttons you have to push to find things like gas or food etc.

The phone feature works by touching menu, then a phone icon, then it has a default button for home, poi's, call history, voice dial and a phone book. With my Blackberry, once it paired and I made a call, the GPS evidently downloaded all the numbers on my phone which was pretty slick.

The voice directions provided are pretty good although in most cases it gives about a mile warning for upcoming turns which normally is fine but in heavy metro traffic on a slab at 60-70 mph, I would prefer a bit longer time to get set up to make lane changes. It does however show the next turn immediately after the last turn made.

One minor complaint is that the road detail is lacking unless you zoom in. It typically doesn't show cross streets or road names unless you are zoomed in quite a bit.

The Zumo 660 also has traffic advisories which I haven't used. Like most high end units it has an mp3 player and will hold pictures on the mini mem card. I think 4GB is the largest card it will take.

The main difference between the Zumo 660 and 665 is that the 665 has in addition to traffic, XM radio and weather. The weather would be neat since it overlays radar on the map, but to me that wasn't worth $150 plus the subscription price.

Have any other questions, feel free and I'll try to answer them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,420 Posts
Excellent report.
I was wondering how good the Zumo was. Heard good reviews about it but nothing beats first hand experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
I have found that it's best not to pair my phone with my helmet, but to pair only the Garmin with the helmet, then pair the phone only with the Garmin.
There is a setting for automatic zooming. When you slow down the GPS will zoom in and show you all the detail and all the street names. When you are going fast it zooms out automatically.

Thanks for the great review and good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,541 Posts
:shock: Sounds like too much sh*t going on while I'm trying to ride. :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
It can be a great distraction indeed, especially if you use it visually. When going somewhere new with complicated directions, having the GPS tell you where to turn is great. When I take a long ride and wind up somewhere unfamilar and need to get home, it's good to have the GPS. The only time I will look at the screen is when coming to a detour in an unfamilar place, the GPS is right there to help. For routine and other familar trips, I don't turn it on. I usually turn off my phone while riding too unless I am expecting an important call.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
802 Posts
Nice review, thanks.

Been thinking about the Zumo for the cycle. I have a Nuvi 750 that I can mount on it when I go exploring though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Nice review. I'm still tossing up on whether to get the 660 or the 665. I'll have to see what my price difference is.

One thing I may have missed. It looks like overall, you like it. Are you happy with that purchase? Would you recommend it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,785 Posts
I've had several car GPS from Garmin and have investigated getting a Zumo. The price is my big deterrent. I find that the Garmin Nuvi 550 has maps of North America, is water proof, and has a removeable battery. It's also approx $269. Much cheaper and that's the route I think I'm going to take. Thanks for the info on the Zumo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,349 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Overall I like it. The main reason I went with a Zumo over a Nuvi was simply the fact that the Zumo's are the only units that will link both phone and a headset to give directions to the headset. The Nuvi's will not do that and I wanted those verbal instructions so I wouldn't be needing to look at the unit while in heavy traffic. Plus to me just being able to plan gas stops makes the trip a whole lot more enjoyable.

I do a fair bit of traveling on my bike and to me when you get into a larger city and don't know where you are going for sure, that is a recipe for trouble. In Minneapolis it was a life saver.
 

·
Registered
1999 VT1100C2 A. C. E.
Joined
·
9,229 Posts
Good write up. After about 18 months with a 660, I've got a few points to add:

o In motorcycle mode, you can set (with an inordinately high number of "button" pushes) a low-fuel warning for a given distance. Do that, reset it at each fill up, and when you reach that mileage a fuel-pump icon will appear on the display. You can press the icon and get a list of nearby stations. (Some may be behind you; I haven't figured out an easy way to determine that.)

o Best I can determine, the FM traffic updates are only available if you by a special antenna that does NOT mount to the motorcycle setup.

o The FM traffic reports are only moderately reliable but you can have the GPS route around reported backups -- handy when traveling but you'll probably know better alternate sources when you're around home. Again, this ONLY works with the auxiliary antenna that doesn't connect to the motorcycle mount.

o Garmin's formula for "quickest" route is wacky -- it seeks to get you the highest average speed so it will run you miles out of your way to get you onto an expressway. It also assumes a speed limit of zero for roads with no speed limit in the database so it does everything it can to keep you off them.

o Garmin's formula for shortest distance might be reliable but it will put you on cow paths as long as they have names.

o Australian Karen has the best voice.

o The 660 has a scooter setting that supposedly avoids e-ways in routing. I haven't tried it yet.

o If you like to keep your track logs from trips, keep a sharp eye on them -- old ones get deleted pretty quickly. I've found that the 660 only holds about 800 miles/two days worth before it starts automatically deleting.

o Using waypoints and routes uploaded from Mapsource is a pain -- you have to import them first. Why, Garmin? Downloading to a PC is suck a piece of cake.

o Connection to my Scala Rider Q2 is inconsistent. I don't know which device causes the problem but the connection gets dropped occasionally. Reconnecting never seems to be much hassle.

o The 660 makes a lousy hands-free speaker/microphone in any car/truck mounting location that works for navigating at speeds much above 30 MPH. I think that's because the speaker is in the back so everything "bounces" off the windshield.

o Audio quality with bluetooth earpieces can vary wildly. Add in all the variables that come with cell phone communication and you get pretty unpredictable results.

As much as the above sounds negative, I LOVE my 660. It is the best GPS I've had so far.
 

·
Registered
1999 VT1100C2 A. C. E.
Joined
·
9,229 Posts
Addendum -- Found the fast path to resetting the fuel gauge:

o From the map screen, press on the small display in the lower left. (Mine is set to show compass direction when I'm not navigating and ETA when I am. I forget the defaults.)

o This brings up the trip log screen. On the bottom, press "RESET". One of the choices is fuel gauge.

Oh, I've only had mine about 12 months, not 18. Dumb keyboard puts in what I type rather than what I think.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top