American technology company Garmin specialise in manufacturing outdoor navigation systems. They cut their teeth in the military sector and supplied the US Army as one of their first customers. Garmin make navigation systems for land, sea and air along with wearable fitness technology. Today we are reviewing the Garmin Zumo 395LM, tested in real world conditions for the last two months.
The Garmin Zumo is a satnav designed for everyday rides as well as the more adventurous routes for those who prefer getting off the beaten track. The system runs off the bikes battery and took about 10 minutes to fit. No tools are provided so a 10mm spanner and screw driver are required and even the non-mechanically minded should see the satnav fitted in 20 minutes. It comes with a handlebar mount which has a ball and clamp fixing system. This means you can get the screen into an almost infinite number of positions to suit different types of bike. You get an in-car charger and holder should you wish to use the system on four wheels and a cable for connecting to your PC for map updates. The system we have includes lifetime European map updates which is a fantastic feature, one that some other manufacturers might charge a fortune for - TomTom’s Western Europe map update is £44.95!
Using the Zumo is extremely simple, the unit seems poised to switch on all the time. As soon as you place the system in the handlebar mount it turns itself on and boots up ready for your ride. The historical journey feature is the best way to select a route you have previously taken – you can save routes but moving around the menus with gloves on is a bit fiddly – a couple of presses on the touch screen and the system is ready to guide you on your way. You can search with street address, post code, even local bike dealers and all menus are clear and simple to use.
I really like the bike specific features of the Zumo, you can specify whether you want hills, dual carriage ways or twisty B-roads included in your route. You mix the ride up to suit by using sliders on the screen and I was surprised to see how well it works. If you ask it for curves and bends that is what you get!
Another handy feature is the round-trip option, you tell the Zumo how far you want to go, not forgetting to include twisties and hills of course, then you are off on a magical mystery tour. I used this function a couple of times and enjoyed that it didn’t take me on the same route twice. I also felt secure knowing I would always end up back at home.
I have been riding through some horrible weather with the Zumo and must say it has held up well. The case is a bit dirty but at no point has the system had any kind of problem. One slight niggle is that the system proclaims to have a usable speaker for use on the bike – this is not true. With a helmet on and the bike simply ticking over you cannot hear the system. It’s not huge problem as a set of earbud headphones is easy to plug into the unit and it’s Bluetooth-ready should you have a compatible helmet.
The Zumo also includes a feature I am yet to use but could be handy if you use the system on every ride. You can store the details of the bikes service information meaning it can highlight when your next service or oil and filter change is due. As I said, a nice touch but only for the rider who never removes the satnav from the bike.
To sum up then, the Garmin Zumo 395LM is a great bit of kit. It has some neat touches that make it a true motorcycle navigation system first and foremost, not a car satnav that has been adapted. I really like that Garmin have gone to the extra effort and look forward to many more trips with it.
|Waterproof||Yes - 1 metre / 30 min|
|Touchscreen||Full colour - 4.3inch|
|Media Controller||Yes - iPhone4S onwards|
|Safety Camera Warning||Yes - audio & visual|
|Lifetime Maps||Yes - full EU|
|Internal Battery||Yes & bike powered|
The Garmin Zumo is available for around £300 from your local Garmin dealer - For more information, click here