Today, we’re going to explore the Garmin Zumo 595LM in more detail. It may not be the cheapest motorcycle GPS out there, but when it comes to equipment like this, you certainly get what you pay for.
In producing the 595LM, there’s no doubt that Garmin has set the bar high. Through the combination of a glove-friendly 5-inch touchscreen, intuitive route guidance and useful real world features that enhance your riding experience. The Garmin Zumo 595LM is going to be a very tough act to follow. In fact, the 595LM is our top recommendation for all motorcycle riders.
What's in the Box
So, as they say in all good reviews, what’s in the box? A whole lot actually, as it comes with the wiring necessary to link it to your bike's battery and included is a mount and conventional hardware to bolt onto your handlebars.
There’s also an installation kit for your car with one of those suction mounts for your windshield. Because the Garmin doesn’t have an external speaker, the car mounting bracket has one built into it. There’s also a 12V power cable for your automobile.
Obviously, the GPS is in there along with a sizable quick start booklet. A USB to mini-USB cable allows you to charge it from your computer or download updates and new maps. Unlike some navigation devices, the 595LM comes with lifetime maps, which means updates cost nothing. Therefore, dispensing with one of the main gripes of other units.
The small mounting nuts and bolts come bagged separately as does the battery, so don't panic if you think it has been left out, they always seem to hide right at the bottom. Because the battery comes separate, dropping it into the back and plugging it in means, you can boot it straight away, which incidentally takes only moments.
Features of the Garmin Zumo 595LM
If you've read up on the tech spec already for the Garmin Zumo 595LM, the list of available options seems endless and with the ability to download additional apps, it probably is. This means that you can share routes with others in your group via Bluetooth, or do all the route prepping on your computer then download to the GPS unit.
Another nice touch is the additional memory card slot that lives underneath the battery. You can store anything from topographic maps, playlists, audio books or even footage from your Bluetooth enabled camera.
Being specifically designed for use in harsh environments and weather conditions, the unit is sealed and therefore has no onboard speaker. You can, of course, go old school and just watch the screen, or use the audio out cable (supplied) to plug in your headphones.
But the whole purpose of a motorcycle GPS this good is its Bluetooth connectivity, which enables you to access a number of functions without ever taking your hands off the bars. Link it to your Smartphone and helmet mounted Bluetooth headset and all of the phones functions will appear on the 595LM’s screen, allowing you to use voice commands to take a call, control the GPS routing and listen to music. The Garmin also has the ability to stream music from Spotify or Pandora.
Garmin Smartphone Link App
The other thing about linking to your Smartphone is that you can use Garmin’s Smartphone Link app. The app connects you live to weather radar and traffic updates.
The weather updates are probably not something I’d personally bother with. Experiencing whatever the weather throws at you on the road is just part of the journey, although realistically severe weather warnings would be useful.
Notifications of gnarly traffic ahead is not usually a concern for motorcyclists as you can paddle your way through most things, but notice of unplanned road closures from accidents or roadworks is handy.
Remember you can also mount this in your car and in that case, traffic problem alerts are invaluable. One spin off from this app which is useful, especially if you intend to head off into the wild blue yonder alone is the LiveTrack feature which lets friends or family monitor your progress.
Extensive Navigation Tools
On the move, the Garmin reacts quickly updating information, and the 5-inch screen is big enough to cope with less than deft touches from clumsy gloved fingers. Don't bother trying to ‘pinch' the screen to expand the map view, though, because it doesn’t have that facility. But personally, I prefer tapping the plus and minus icons as its more controlled on the move.
The one feature I truly appreciated, was the Lane Assist and Junction View function. If you’ve ever ridden through a major city at rush hour, arrived at a humongous intersection or multi-exit interchange and are desperately looking for a non-existing sign, you’ll love this.
On the approach, you get a belt and braces split screen, one showing a bird's eye view of the junction and the other a 3D version, both with an easy to follow colored arrow pointing the way. Bliss.
Another handy offshoot of this feature is TracBack, which gives the user directions to follow the same route in reverse.
When planning a journey, you can usually get a choice of three routes to select from, and there’s also a seemingly endless supply of add-ons available in this mode to enhance your ride.
Want to visit any points of interest along the route? Just select that option in the menu. There’s even a facility to navigate by landmark giving more user- friendly information like ‘turn left at McDonald's’ which just adds to the Garmin’s intuitive feel.
The 3D map mode is also a standout feature, allowing you to see the nature of the terrain ahead. The facility for an optional wireless tire pressure monitor may also be useful for some riders.
Adventurous Routing Options
Still on the subject of navigation, an exciting addition to the Garmin Zumo 595LM, is the Adventurous Routing option. The feature allows you to set a course that seeks out the more twisty, hilly, terrain-hugging scenic roads. There’s even a set of three sliders, Prefer Curves, Prefer Hills and Avoid Major Highways, that lets you decide just how adventurous you want to be.
Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing, the 595LM’s Bike Alerts may become obtrusive at times. The 595LM gives a visual and audible warning of impending sharp curves ahead, speed changes, railway, animal crossings and school zones, etc. It has the potential of driving you crazy when riding through a built up or inner city area. Thankfully, like all good options, you can de-select.
A Cheaper Alternative
The Garmin Zumo 595LM may not be within your price range, but just remember, you get what you pay for and with the number of bells and whistles they’ve packed inside, you can still consider it value for money.
Still, can’t make the stretch? No problem, a cheaper alternative is the TomTom Rider 400. It doesn’t have the capability to play music, and it has a smaller 4.3-inch screen, but the TomTom Rider 400 includes all the standard features you’ll need on the road in a very user-friendly interface.
Like the Garmin, it has an adventurous routing option to spice up your ride, the facility to plan routes and take hands-free calls via Bluetooth. All of which gives you great bang for your buck.
Motorcycle GPS units have come such a long way since their introduction and today’s feature-packed examples not only help you make the most of your road trip but can also make your journey safer. We all still want to head out on the highway looking for adventure, but there’s nothing wrong with planning your route and discovering some cool places along the way.
If you want the best GPS for your motorcycle, the Garmin Zumo 595LM is the top of the line option.
Garmin Zumo 595LM Review
In my opinion, the Garmin Zumo 595LM is the best motorcycle GPS available today. It is a reliable device packed with all the features a motorcyclist will ever need. The only drawback is the price of the unit. If you're racking up enough miles on the road, then the Zumo 595LM will be a worthy investment.