TomTom sat nav is still a ‘must-have’ for bikers with a sense of adventure and a love of touring

TomTom sat nav is still a 'must-have' for bikers

LAST summer my friend Steve and I ventured beyond the UK’s shores on two wheels for the first time, on a week-long trip to tour the D-Day Beaches and soak up the history and nostalgia that can be found everywhere you look along the Normandy coast.

The sandy beaches where today family’s play among the remains of the Mulberry Harbour was the scene, 75 years ago, of the greatest seaborne invasion the world has ever seen, an invasion which was years in the planning, and marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

Dave and Steve - ready for their next two-wheeled adventure.
Dave and Steve – ready for their next two-wheeled adventure.

Our motorcycle trip didn’t take quite so long to plan, but it was fabulous, and included the inevitable quips about invading France! Any niggling worries about riding a bike in France were soon dispelled. However, my ageing TomTom Rider sat nav was displaying its advancing years as I appeared to be travelling across fields (which I wasn’t) while Steve, with a new version of the bike-specific navigation device which came with his new Z1000SX, guided us perfectly to our various destinations. An upgrade was clearly called for, although it was still useful where the roads hadn’t changed for years, and also for watching your actual speed, rather than what the bike’s speedo claimed you were doing.

Along with many others, I had looked at alternatives, and seriously considered just sticking to using my phone and Google maps, but having now had the chance to try the latest TomTom Rider 500 Device for myself, I’m glad I’ve got it, not le ast because you can ask it to “Plan a Thrill”, which on a bike is a virtual necessity! You can also pick from three levels of twistiness and elevation.

It’s also well built, and unlike your mobile has an anti-glare screen and is drop proof – within reason! You can also use it with your gloves on and don’t have to worry about it getting wet, so all things considered, it starts to make sense, despite its premium asking price.

Kawasaki bikes pictured in Amsterdam.
Dave and Steve’s Kawasaki bikes pictured in Amsterdam having arrived in the pouring rain and negotiated wet tram lines and cobbles!

The Rider 500 costs £380, while the 550 costs £400, while the 550 Premium Pack, which adds a car mounting kit and protective case, costs £500.

Open the box and it includes everything you need to get you out on your next adventure. It comes with a Ram Bolt system to mount the TomTom on your bike’s handlebars. The charging unit which the head unit attaches to can be hard-wired into the bike’s electrics, ideal if you go for an optional bracket.

The Rider comes with European mapping with free updates for as long as TomTom supports the device, free updates of speed cameras and it can all be done over wi-fi, which is brilliant. You can connect it to your smartphone for texts, calls and Siri and can even read text messages.

Another useful feature that bikers will love is the when it comes to the all-too-regular fuel stops – the sidebar on the screen shows how far away the next two fuel stops are, so you can judge whether you need to stop at the next filling station or carry on to the next one.

The sidebar also shows you speed cameras and changes to hellow if you slightly over the limit, or red if you’re pressing on a little more. It also displays your average speed since passing the first camera in an average speed zone, so it helps you to keep your licence too!

There is little doubt that the TomTom Rider is a worthwhile investment if you use your bike for anything more than a Sunday morning blast. It’s robust, looks great and is packed with excellent features.

All that remains is to plan my next road trip – and throw in a few “thrills” for good measure.

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Kawasaki bikes on tour
Ready for our next adventure – with better guidance from the latest TomTom Rider sat navs.