Garmin Zumo 590LM Motorcycle GPS Review

Garmin Zumo 590LM on BMW MotorcycleGarmin has been making a GPS specific to the motorcycle market for roughly ten years.  The Garmin Zumo 590LM is their first GPS with a screen size greater than 4.3 inches and naturally includes a lot of new features unavailable in their older Zumo products.

The photo that accompanies this article is of a Garmin Zumo 590LM on a BMW motorcycle.

A good question to address is if you need a motorcycle GPS or can one that’s made for car use be sufficient.  As you will see from the remainder of this article, the Zumo 590LM has features that are specific to a motorcycle rider and not available in a GPS made for the car.  The Zumo is also constructed with a more rugged design versus a car GPS and will hold up better to motorcycle vibrations.  The unit is resistant to road sprays and harsh weather.  To no surprise, it comes at a cost.

As already mentioned, the Garmin Zumo 590LM features a 5” diagonally measured screen.  This is one of the few GPS units I have seen that allows use in portrait or landscape mode.  Unlike a car GPS, the display is sunlight-readable and this means you should not require a glare shield.  The display is glove-friendly versus other GPS units that require a bare hand to operate the unit.  These are all features that are unique to the Zumo 590LM and aren’t readily available in most of the other GPS units that are out there.

The Garmin Zumo 590LM comes with a lifetime map subscription which is appreciated.  A USB cable is included with this unit to allow attachment to a PC and the ability to download map updates free of charge.  This is a lifetime map subscription so you are guaranteed updates for the life of the GPS.  When you think about it, this GPS may last longer than your motorcycle.  Outdated maps is a major reason why GPS units are replaced.  No worries with a lifetime map subscription.

Bluetooth is an integral feature if you have any hope of hearing GPS commands.  The Zumo 590LM has a Bluetooth interface to your phone or Bluetooth enabled helmet.  You can use this feature to hear the directions and street names.  The feature also supports interfacing with your smartphone.  You can also use the Bluetooth feature to ask for points of interest, like gas or food.

The Garmin Zumo 590LM includes an MP3 player which is compatible to all popular Apple products as well as Pandora.  You can then control music through the GPS touch screen display.  Nice to do when you are pulled over.  Don’t do it while riding.

The included mounts are excellent.  The motorcycle mount is a RAM handlebar and clutch attachment and made of metal.  It will attach to the custom Garmin Zumo 590LM cradle using included nuts and bolts.  A hardwire cable is included to attach to your motorcycle battery.   No reason why this device can’t double as a car GPS too.  Garmin  includes a car suction cup mount and car charger for auto use.

The Garmin Zumo 590LM can also provide tire pressure through the GPS display.  This feature is called TPMS and is enabled by adding the optional Garmin Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor.  This accessory uses ANT technology to connect with  the GPS.  This is WiFi for motorcycles.  You can establish custom tire pressure alerts.  For example, you may wish to tolerate lower tire pressure caused by the cold.  If the tire pressure exceeds your threshold, an alert is generated. You can even monitor tire pressure trends over time so that you can potentially catch a slow leak.  This is a nice feature that isn’t typically available on any motorcycle.  Heck, I don’t think it’s available on a car.

Here are a few more interesting features.  There is a built-in trip computer with compass and speed limit display. There is also a digital fuel gauge that will let the rider know when it’s approaching the time to fuel up.  Then you have a is a feature called Smarphone Link that interfaces with your phone to provide weather and traffic alerts (this is the only feature that isn’t free with the GPS, there is a subscription fee for Smartphone Link).

The Garmin Zumo 590LM is a very feature rich GPS device and worthy of consideration.

Specifications Summary:

Glove FriendlyDisplayBattery LifeBluetoothSmartphone SupportMP3
Yes5"Up to 3 HoursYesYesYes

Manufacturer Link:  Garmin