Out With The Old And In With The New

Our BMW K1200LT was originally delivered with a GPS unit on it.  Don’t snicker too loud because in 2002 that was a big deal for a motorcycle.  It’s an old Garmin Street Pilot III and Garmin no longer supports it or issues map updates for it.  It’s also showing its age and limited abilities.   It does get you from point A to point B just fine.  But make one wrong turn or a detour and it takes quite a while to recalculate your route.

Today I installed our new Garmin Zumo 220 motorcycle GPS unit.  I was actually able to tap right into the wiring for the old GPS so installation was a snap.  Garmin ships this unit with everything you need to mount it on a motorcycle.  It comes with a motorcycle mount and a wiring harness to tap into the bike’s electrical system.  It also comes with a windshield mount for cars and cigarette lighter adapter.  If you’ll be mounting it on your handlebars or to your clutch or brake housing clamp, you won’t need anymore parts.  If like me you are mounting to a dash, gas tank or shelf you need to buy a RAM mounting ball and that’s it.  I was lucky and had one from an aviation GPS unit.  The unit also accepts Micro SD cards to store more routes, waypoints and pictures (you can transfer pictures to it).  I got our Micro SD card for free because I had recycled 3 of our old cell phones through Verizon Wireless and in return got a gift card for each phone based upon its value.  I used 2 of the cards to buy the card and still have a balance on one of them.  Thank you Verizon.

The new unit retails for 1/3 of what the old one cost when new way back when!  The difference is literally like night & day.  Yesterday we tried the unit out in the car while running errands.  Today, after I installed it, I went to fill the bike up with gas for a ride tomorrow and had it route me back home so I could try it out through the intercom too.

BMW Motorcycles Navigator


Garmin Zumo 220


Advantages of the Zumo 220:

  • Boots up and locates satellites much quicker
  • Calculates routes much quicker
  • Re-calculates routes much quicker
  • Glove friendly touch screen
  • Has navigation modes for motorcycle, car, bicycle  & walking (with different features for each one)
  • Easy to mount and install
  • Using wireless Bluetooth technology, instructions can be broadcast right into the Bluetooth Scala Rider intercom in the helmets.
  • It has the ability to read out streets names as opposed to merely “Turn left in 1 mile.” it’s now “Turn left on Main Street in 1 mile.”
  • Mount is more adjustable.

Disadvantages of the Zumo 220:

  • There is no special Garmin security screw to secure it in the mount to slow down or prevent theft.  (But it is easy to take out of the mount and lock in the motorcycle or put in jacket pocket)
  • The method Garmin has you to use to “unlock” the computer based mapping software is a bit confusing.
Categories: Accessories | Tags: | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Out With The Old And In With The New

  1. Looking forward to learn of your experiences using the new gps unit. I am in a similar situation with using the Garmin 2620 which needs serious upgrading. Have been enjoying your blog….thx.


  2. When I use it more, I’ll post about it. In about 2 weeks we’ll be heading up to the Blue Ridge Parkway mile marker “0” and coming back down on it. The new GPS will get a workout on the way up!


  3. I went to pick the old GPS up off the shelf the other day and the mount broke in two pieces as I did! Talk about timing. The next bump would’ve broken it and had it bounce off the bike.


  4. I have had a Zumo 550 for a couple of years now and have found it great when getting through cities. other then that it is good for stats. I have it wired through the intercom also.
    Mind you I always carry a road atlas.


    • I considered it, but even from Garmin, the Zumo 220 was compact and came with everything I needed right out of the box. There was no way to connect it to the intercom thought (no audio out). But we knew that and switched from the wired BMW headsets to the Scala Bluetooth system.


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