Installation Basics for a Motorcycle GPS

Installation Basics for a Motorcycle GPSSo today we’re going to cover installation basics for a motorcycle GPS.  This is a good article worth reading before and just after purchasing a motorcycle GPS.  It’s going to be a lot easier to know where you’re going to put it, how you’re going to put it there, and the plan for power to the unit.

Now let’s look at each topic in some depth.

Location, Location, Location

There are a several places popular with most motorcycle owners when it comes to their GPS.  Look at your motorcycle and figure out where it’s going to be most accessible and comfortable for you.

The most popular installation location is the handlebar.  That’s likely because it’s the easiest place to attach it, especially for a do it yourself install.  Most handlebar diameters are 1 or 1.25 inches.  Be sure to cover your handlebar beneath the mount so it doesn’t mark the chrome handlebar.  It’s easy to attach one of these mounts.  A u-bolt attaches to the handlebar and is fastened with a pair of nuts.  Avoid using a thread locking solution on these nuts as it can corrode them and potentially ruin the finish of any chrome components.

Second most popular installation location is the clutch.  This location is especially popular on models that don’t have a traditional handlebar.  Think models like a Honda Goldwing.  This location typically involves removal of the current pair of bolts holding the clutch in place and using replacement bolts from the new mount.

The RAM Handlebar / Clutch Mount with AMPS Adapter is the most common and is often included in the box with many motorcycle GPS models.  The 4 holes adapter fits the back of most Garmin Zumo or TomTom Rider manufacturer cradles.  Constructed of metal and with a lifetime warranty, this accessory includes adjustment points at the top and bottom of the mount.  A handlebar and clutch mounting attachment is included so it’s perfect for both of the locations just mentioned.

Other popular locations include the mirror and fork stem.  We cover motorcycle GPS mounting options in more detail elsewhere on our site.

GPS Power Installation

Most motorcycle GPS units come with a battery sufficient to power your device for several hours.  That’s usually enough for a short trip.  The problem with relying on the battery is you will need to continuously remember to remove the GPS from the motorcycle, take it inside and recharge it.  It also means that trips must be limited to a few hours in duration.

Fortunately most motorcycle GPS devices come with wiring to power your GPS.  Installation of the included power option usually entails a hardwire option.  Generally, it’s not too hard.  There are two cables that get wired to the battery.  Just need to make sure you don’t mix the wires up.  The hot wire has to be attached to the proper terminal.

Put some thought into stowing the wire.  Don’t want this dangling in the wind or getting caught up during your ride.

Be sure you know what you are doing on the power option.  If feeling unsure, have your mechanic take care of this.  It won’t take long.

A second, perhaps easier option is to use a D/C adapter.  Some higher end motorcycles already have one, and if your motorcycle GPS comes with a D/C adapter, then this is the preferable option, for ease of use, if nothing else.

You can install a D/C adapter on your motorcycle if desired.  The Eklipes Cobra Chrome Ultimate Motorcycle USB Charging System is an excellent addition for most motorcycles. It includes everything needed to enable  a power outlet onto your bike.  There are two outlets, a cigarette lighter type of adapter and a USB port.

A Little Planning Can Save a Lot of Time

Figuring all these installation details out prior to purchase will help ensure the right GPS and accessories will be purchased.  It can also help to avoid a lot of frustration as there’s nothing worse than having to do this installation twice or more.