Garmin is a brand that, together with TomTom, has dominated the motorcycle satnav market over the recent years. And there’s a good reason for that: this is a serious bit of kit.
The zūmo XT is packed with features, which makes it useful for numerous different purposes, but that multitude of possibilities also leads to some complexity. The Garmin can do almost anything you want from a satnav, but using it requires a bit more experience and patience than other satnavs. There are a lot of menus to go through to set things up, and the logic the system follows is not always the most intuitive. But stick with it, and you are rewarded with meticulously detailed navigation, with clear and comprehensive instructions.
The zūmo XT is sold with all the mounting and power cables needed to connect it to your bike, as well as the bits to make use of it in your car too. If you choose not to wire it in, the battery life is a claimed six hour maximum — not too bad, given it has a big 5.5” TFT touch screen.
With European maps preloaded in the device, and the rest of the world available to buy, you don’t need a constant data connection for the satnav. However, there is a dedicated app, and linking to the satnav through the app, and using your phone’s data, you can get traffic alerts to give you up-to-date info about your route. Connecting your phone to the zūmo XT will also make it possible to use the satnav to control your calls and music on your phone.
There are plenty of interesting ‘extras’ built into the device, such as the topographic maps and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery that make it possible to plan off-road routes. There are also alerts for hazards like sharp bends, Tripadvisor ratings and iOverlander POIs to explore. You can even enable an alarm function, so that if an incident occurs, a text message with your location information is automatically sent to a predetermined contact.
But let’s stick to basic satnav stuff for a moment… Setting the parameters for your ride, you can choose the standard ‘fastest’ route from A to B, or you can take the (sometimes) scenic option by choosing the ‘adventurous’ route. For instance, my commute is a 40-minute ride on the A1, but if I select the adventurous route, the device takes me on a meandering ride down smaller roads and takes 1.5 hours.
You have the option to record your ride. You can then share the gpx file of the route with others via the app. You can also use other people’s routes by transferring them to the satnav.
Like most smart gadgets these days, the zūmo XT doesn’t need plugging in to keep your maps and software up to date; its built-in Wi-Fi connectivity does that wirelessly.
You can link the satnav to your phone and a headset in your helmet so you can see on the satnav screen what’s happening on your phone, and hear it all through your headset. However, this needs to be done in the right order for it to work seamlessly. I ended up with my phone using the satnav rather than my headset as speakers until I reconnected everything. It only takes a little while to sort out, but it’s best done before you head out in a hurry.
Overall, the Garmin is a powerful navigating tool. The graphics and touch control are very good, and there is a huge amount of stuff you can do with this device. The only problem is that it takes a long time to figure out just how to get the most out it.
Price: RRP £369.99, but check online for offers
Display: 5.5-inch (13.9 cm) TFT touch screen (glove friendly)
Waterproofing: IPX7, rated
Battery life: Up to six hours (up to 3.5 hours at 100% backlight)
Maps: Europe preloaded, updates included, more available to buy
Storage: Internal 32GB, plus up to 256GB microSD (not included)
What’s in the box:
- zūmo XT
- Motorcycle mount and hardware
- Motorcycle power cable
- Automotive mount
- Automotive power cable
- Charging/data cable