Today, we answer the question of why is a motorcycle GPS so expensive.
There are a lot of types of GPS devices. Most common are the ones that are made for a car. These models are well known and some examples include the Garmin Nuvi, Garmin Drive and TomTom Go series of GPS devices. A car GPS has a few things in common. Most notable is the maps and hardware are made for use within a vehicle. The other notable commonality among GPS devices made for car use is the lower price.
A motorcycle GPS is different from a car GPS. One of the things that makes a motorcycle GPS so expensive is the hardware. It’s weatherproof. In some cases, it’s waterproof. This means that you can use a motorcycle GPS in the rain. Try that with a car GPS and you will soon be buying a new GPS. Making a GPS waterproof involves a different set of materials and a higher quality of build. In cases where the unit is waterproof, there cannot be any compromises in the casing. This comes at a price.
The next reasons as to what makes a motorcycle GPS so expensive is the display. A common everyday car GPS needs human touch to interface with the display interface. Try it with a glove. It won’t work. A motorcycle GPS uses a special type of display that reacts to a glove as well as one without a glove. This adds to the price of the build of a motorcycle GPS.
A relatively new feature on motorcycle displays is an anti-glare feature. It’s difficult to see a GPS display when the sun is at your back. Many of the latest motorcycle GPS devices now utilize any-glare technology on their units. This is above and beyond what is furnished with a typical GPS device.
The next contributor to what makes a motorcycle GPS so expensive are the maps. Most motorcycle GPS units have maps loaded that are specific to riding a motorcycle. Unlike a car GPS, a motorcycle GPS allows selection of routes based upon unusual criteria such as how windy a road might be. The creators of these maps charge additional fees for this type of information.
Take a look at the mount that is included with a motorcycle GPS. That is not your typical plastic suction cup. A motorcycle mount is typically made of metal and uses bolts to attach to the back of a powered cradle. The mount is substantial, weighs a pound, and is made of non corrosive powder coated aluminum. The mounts usually attach to your handlebar or clutch using metal u-bolts or straight heavy-duty bolts. This is well above and beyond what is in the box with a car GPS.
The power cable included with a motorcycle GPS is normally a hardwire with a built-in fuse along with an audio port for connecting a headset. The motorcycle GPS such as the Garmin Zumo 595LM also may have additional Bluetooth capabilities for a helmet speaker or accessories such as the Garmin Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor (TPMS). Again, these all come at an additional price and adds to the cost of manufacturing a motorcycle GPS.
That’s a lot of features that are unique to a motorcycle GPS. Hopefully, this article brings about a better understanding as to what contributes to making a motorcycle GPS so expensive.
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.