How to Protect an Empty Motorcycle GPS Cradle

Empty Motorcycle GPS CradleAfter coming in from a ride, everyone is faced with the question of what should they leave attached to the bike.  I suppose if the motorcycle is stored in a locked garage, the answer to that question is probably to leave everything as is.  However, if your motorcycle is stored outdoors, the answer might not be that simple.  This article is for those that bring their device indoors but leave the motorcycle GPS cradle on the bike.

If you’re thinking about leaving the GPS attached outdoors, think again.  These are expensive devices and easy to steal.  Don’t leave it to good luck.  At least take the device inside.  If still inclined to leave it outdoors, read our article called How to Deter Theft of a Motorcycle GPS.  There are some good ideas to improve security.

What About the Cradle?

Assuming you aren’t leaving things to chance, you are left with a cradle and mount.  The cradle is often bolted to a metal plate which is attached to the mount.  The cradle with most Garmin Zumo and TomTom Rider GPS models is powered.  This means it is hardwired onto the motorcycle.  Most of these cradles have the cable wired directly into the cradle itself.  That means the cradle isn’t easily removed without disconnecting the power.  Do this multiple times and it’s likely the cable will wear out long before the GPS does.

Leaving the cradle on the motorcycle leaves the connection ports exposed.  Consider protecting these connections from the elements to prevent any potential issues.

Weatherproof the Cradle

Shielding the empty motorcycle GPS cradle isn’t all that difficult.  There are custom solutions and home grown.

For those looking for a professional finish, Garmin already thought of this.  The Garmin Cradle Weather Cover fits the Zumo 590LM and 595LM.  The weather cover is custom made for an empty motorcycle GPS cradle.  This is not a cover for the GPS itself, it’s for the motorcycle GPS cradle when the GPS has been removed.  This cover helps to shield the empty motorcycle GPS cradle from the weather elements.

Ironically, the lower priced Garmin Zumo 390LM and Zumo 395LM has a cradle with a totally different design.  The design integrates a weather cap into the cradle.  The weather cap is located just above the power contacts.  Just flip it downwards and the contacts are protected.

The older generation Garmin Zumo 660 and Zumo 665 uses a similar design to the 595LM in that there is no built in weather cap.  Fortunately the Garmin Weather Cap for Zumo 665 and Zumo 660 will do the trick.  Like the prior weather cap for the 595LM, this fits over the empty motorcycle GPS cradle to protect from the elements.

Are there homegrown remedies to this?  Haven’t tried them but have read of people using a zip lock bag.  I suppose it might work, but recommend securing it with a rubber band or similar to prevent it from blowing off.  Be sure to not let condensation within as that could result in problems.

As of today, TomTom does not offer a weather cap for their empty motorcycle GPS cradle.

Car GPS Devices on a Motorcycle

For those using a GPS made for a car on a motorcycle, the problem isn’t as complex.  Unlike a Garmin Zumo or TomTom Rider, the cradles aren’t powered.  For instance, the new Garmin Drive series uses a round plastic adapter on the back with the cable plugging directly into the GPS.  Easy to remove the GPS.  If using a hardwire USB with a car GPS on a motorcycle, consider tucking the unplugged USB cable into a saddle bag.