A lot of media and marketing attention is splashed all over a new motorcycle GPS. However, very little attention is paid to how to mount a motorcycle GPS. This article will give advice on how to mount a motorcycle GPS as well as where to put it.
Most motorcycle GPS devices sold over the past 5 – 10 years supply a mount. Interestingly enough, they practically all include a mount from a company called RAM. This company is based in Seattle, Washington and they have been making high quality mounts for a long time. I have been familiar with their mounts for well over ten years.
The mounts that come with a motorcycle GPS are typically the RAM handlebar mount with an AMPS pattern. The AMPS mounting pattern consists of four holes in a rectangular pattern spaced 1.188 inches by 1.813 inches. Some manufacturers also have 2-hole adapters that support the diagonal measurement of 1.912 inches. Most motorcycle GPS mounts use the 4-hole AMPS pattern.
RAM Mounts are designed with a ball and socket concept. This allows the mount to be swiveled at the base and tip. The RAM Mounts for a Garmin Zumo or TomTom Rider GPS have three components. The adapter (a 4-hole AMPS adapter), a connecting arm, and a mounting base.
All Garmin Zumo and most TomTom Rider models use the four-hole AMPS pattern. The AMPS pattern mount adapter attaches to the back of the Garmin or TomTom cradle using provided bolts and nuts. Some like to put some Lock-Tite on the bolts to keep them tight. Don’t do it. Lock-Tite eats away at plastic as well as the nylon in any locking nuts. It’s a good way to quickly ruin your cradle and mount.
So now that we have the GPS attachment part out of the way, we can discuss how to attach the mount to the motorcycle.
The RAM Handlebar / Clutch Mount with AMPS Adapter is the most common and probably best for most motorcycles. The 4 holes adapter fits the back of most Garmin Zumo or TomTom Rider manufacturer cradles. Constructed of metal with lifetime warranty, the mount includes adjustment points at the top and bottom of the three inch arm. A handlebar and clutch mounting attachment is included so it’s going to fit the majority of motorcycles.
Most will use the handlebar mounting option. Choose a mounting location that will permit safe use of your GPS. A wrench or pliers will be needed to install the u-bolt assembly. Do not try to hand tighten as that will not provide adequate tightness for motorcycle use. You must use a wrench or pliers. Place the u-bolt under the handlebar and place the ends through the holes on the black part with the rubber ball molded to it.
Next, place the tightening nuts over the two threaded ends on the u-bolt. Tighten the ends with your wrench or pliers but do not tighten all the way yet. Place the composite adapter at the bottom of the u-bolt and hold it in place while alternately tightening the two nuts the rest of the way. Place the end caps over the tips of the u-bolt. Your mounting base is now installed. You can now attach the mounting arm and GPS.
Some motorcycle owners cannot or prefer not to attach anything to the handlebar. An example is a Honda Goldwing. No handlebars means no handlebar mount. In those cases, use the clutch option. That’s what is in the photo that accompanies this article. There is a set of bolts and spacers that will replace the ones that came with your motorcycle. This is moderately hard to do, so be sure you are comfortable working on your bike. Otherwise being it to a mechanic. Be sure to follow the directions that came with the mount.
There are other mounting bases to consider beyond what comes in the GPS box.
A popular location is the fork stem. A motorcycle fork stem mount fits the steering stem hole in the top triple clamp assembly. This is a popular location for a smartphone or GPS as it is easy to see and doesn’t take up any handlebar space. The RAM Fork Stem Adapter can be added to the mount that we already discussed.
The next location that is good for a GPS is the mirror stem. The Ram Mount Motorcycle Base with 9mm Hole can replace your current mirror or the mirror stem can be inserted through the 9mm hole of the base. This part has a one inch ball that would fit into the arm from the handlebar mount or you can purchase a RAM arm and X-Grip cradle to add to the mirror stem.
All these RAM parts are interchangeable meaning they share a common connection mechanism which is a 1″ ball. This means you can swap the provided handlebar base for one of the other bases like the mirror or fork stem base.
I’m Mike, the author of all of the articles on this site. MotorcycleGPSHub is written from many years of experience outfitting motorcycles with GPS devices and mounting configurations. I’ve had a chance to use not just the old school Garmin Zumo, but more contemporary GPS apps like Waze and Google Maps. To each their own. There’s a good market for a traditional motorcycle GPS as well as those that want to keep it basic with a smartphone app.