TomTom RIDER 5 Motorcycle GPS Navigator
TomTom RIDER 5 Motorcycle GPS navigator has a long history behind it. The Dutch TomTom was the first to introduce a true motorcycle GPS navigator TomTom RIDER around 2006. Since then TomTom RIDER was the leading motorcycle GPS navigator for years. During the years TomTom has updated the RIDER 5 times, previously early 2013. Today the 5th generation TomTom RIDER 5 has a large 4,3″ touch screen display and the left hand gloves on functionality.
The TomTom RIDER 5 internal memory supports even 10 000 waypoints which is a lot. The RIDER 5 is designed generally for motorcycle navigation and allroad touring requires at least a better mount. The basic TomTom RIDER 5 Motorcycle GPS Navigator features are:
- Rugged waterproof housing
- TFT 4,3″ touch screen display
- Lane assist with junction view
- Speed camera warnings
- Point of interests
- Trip recording
- Route sharing
- Free route management software Tyre® basic
TomTom RIDER 5 GPS Navigator Touch Screen Display
The TomTom RIDER 5 large 4,3″ display offers more room for the map and the navigation status bar in the basic riding view. It also provides room for larger screen buttons which is important when using the screen gloves on. Screen buttons can be placed away from edges as much as possible. Screen buttons in the corners are especially impractical for thicker gloves. Somehow the riding view of RIDER 5 still has small zooming button in the upper left corner, but this has been a TomTom feature from the beginning.
TomTom RIDER 5 Motorcycle Navigation
Navigation with the TomTom RIDER 5 is simple and logical even without the manual. The basic riding view provides a lot of information. TomTom RIDER 5 has an interesting winding roads routing feature which gives more options to avoid the main roads. The routing preference can be adjusted with a simple slider between minor and major road alternatives. The number of alternatives depends on the location and possibilities, but once there are alternatives, this feature becomes very interesting for allroad riders too. This is a useful allroad touring feature. The TomTom RIDER 5 also has a unique trip recording feature. It allows to record your favourite route for sharing and later use.
TomTom RIDER 5 Assists Motorcycle Navigation
On top of graphical directions, the TomTom RIDER 5 assists the rider with few practical features. The bluetooth wireless connection brings the spoken directions into the helmet headset. Spoken directions are practical reminders long after the previous turn and also essential in dense traffic with frequent junctions close to each other. The TomTom RIDER 5 offers a simple mono bluetooth connection without a MP3 player. The lane guidance with junction view is also a practical feature when the traffic is dense and the frequent motorway exits have several lanes etc.
Sharing Routes & TomTom RIDER 5 Motorcycle GPS Navigator
The TomTom RIDER 5 motorcycle GPS navigator has a unique route file converter feature which allows to transform GPX route files into ITN format. The GPX format is used by GARMIN and the ITN by TomTom navigators, but now TomTom RIDER 5 is able to cross that old bridge and unify allroad riders in certain extend. The user can download GPX files from internet and import the files into a specific GPX folder in the navigator. Once the RIDER 5 is restarted, the navigator converts the GPX files automatically into ITN format. Then the user can start navigating those routes. This fine feature would be even better, if the TomTom RIDER 5 would be also able to receive GPX files on the road by using the bluetooth connection since there is no micro SD memory card slot in the RIDER 5. Once those GPX files are converted into ITN, the user can share the routes again with the bluetooth.
Perhaps some day soon, all navigators are able to communicate with each other or through a smart phone since they can be already integrated. The smart phone could read the route files folder and send selected files by using at least e-mail, but rather bluetooth to another brand navigator. It is a matter of will only.
TomTom RIDER 5 GPS Navigator Map Corrections
Those who have experience in GPS navigation know that the junctions and exits some times do not match with the navigator directions. Such situations may be confusing and irritating some times. Therefore TomTom provides map updates from the TomTom Community. The community gathers changed road information which is first stored in individual navigators using the map correction tools. The map correction sounds very nice, but somehow I can not see myself tapping road corrections aside the road.
TomTom RIDER 5 GPS Navigator Package
The TomTom RIDER 5 navigator package is a very compact basic set for general GPS motorcycle navigation. The set is optimised into the most essential parts, leaving rider preferences open for variation. A new 2013 standard TomTom RIDER 5 package includes:
- TomTom RIDER 5 navigator device
- TomTom map with life time updates
- Tyre® route management PC software
- Motorcycle mount with power cable
- USB wall charger with adapter
The standard handlebar mount works easily with one hand and is integrated with a power cable. Touring on urban roads using the standard mount is normally secure enough, but allroad touring can be challenging for mounts. A vigorous hit from a pothole may throw the TomTom RIDER 5 out of the mount. Therefore a robust allroad motorcycle mount bracket by TOURATECH would be in order or at least a security cord. At the moment TOURATECH is not yet offering TomTom RIDER 5 bracket, but probably working on it.
TomTom RIDER 5 GPS Motorcycle Navigator Comparison
From the hardware point of view, comparing GARMIN Zumo 350LM GPS navigator to the TomTom RIDER 5, the RIDER offers a more compact basic motorcycle navigator set with the essential parts only. The GARMIN Zumo 350LM navigator set includes also the car accessory on top. Somehow the RIDER is 30% heavier than the Zumo. The RIDER`s internal memory supports 10 times more waypoints than the standard Zumo 350LM navigator, but offers no SD memory card slot like the Zumo. The battery of TomTom RIDER 5 can not be changed by the user. The housing is closed with screws. After few years when the battery is not able to run the navigator anymore, the rider can not change the navigation settings while having a coffee brake at the gas station etc. Perhaps opening the housing and changing the battery is not difficult for a handyman, but I find the GARMIN 660LM GPS navigator with removable battery better. Otherwise both sets are very much similar and basically require a rugged allroad motorcycle mount bracket.
From the features point of view, these navigators are clearly different, but also pretty equal I think. There is no clear argument which is better. Both are very good options for allroad touring. From the allroad touring navigation point of view both navigators provide also settings to avoid the fastest and shortest route in order to enjoy smaller roads. The GARMIN Zumo 350LM GPS navigator has slightly better screen buttons and basic tapping functionality. For example zooming in the normal riding view with TomTom RIDER 5 requires more finger accuracy and tapping. Some times it is necessary while riding to zoom out for a better overview. On the other hand, the TomTom RIDER 5 provides a personal quick menu (short cuts) feature for few mostly used settings. Such short cuts minimise the amount of tapping.
The TomTom RIDER 5 GPS navigator opens and closes the program along the engine start and stop which is not that ideal when the rider stops beside the road for a short brake in order to check something also in the navigator. When the routing is spontaneous, such brakes may be more frequent. Usually the navigator shows cancel button to exit the shutdown, but I prefer the way GARMIN goes. Anyhow you can go around it by wiring the power differently to the navigator.
Comparing the TomTom RIDER 5 GPS navigator with the iPhone TomTom Navigation app is interesting. Having the smart phone, MP3 and the navigator in the same package, saves some money and trouble. One less device to update and bring along. The iPhone5 provides for example a slightly smaller 4″ Retina display with better resolution and more calculation efficiency. The combination is the most dynamic alternative providing the best offline navigation and online information features, but on the other hand no gloves on features and ruggedized motorcycle mounting accessories such as LIFEPROOF are of course necessary. Fortunately there are today smartphone adapted riding gloves and therefore smartphones are game changers every way.