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Hi. I'm a "newbie" to GPS units & wish to avoid costly "errors of choice" that might result in uninformed purchase decisions. Would appreciate feedback from Users who have experience with BOTH GPS models referenced below, and thank any responders in advance for any info assistance you may be able to provide.

I have a 2003 GL1800. From review of postings here, it seems that Garmin Street Pilot III and Garmin 2610 seem to be amongst the most popular & satisfactory models for motorcycle applications.

1. Are the extra features of the 2610 really worth the additional cost? I'm trying to figure out if the 2610's higher-end features are worthwhile trading off the extra convenience seemingly offered by the SP3 re portability and easier multi-vehicle usage since the SP3 can run on batteries without needing a hard-wired 12VDS power supply.

2. I've seen (not many, but some) 2610 owners complaining that the color screen of the 2610 makes it essentially visually "useless" in bright daylight. I'm inclined to lend at least some credence to this, noting that sunshade cowls are available. Would I be better off paying the extra $ for a color display screen or would a 2-tone display be better? The ol' "peepers" ain't getting any younger so good visibility of detail would be an important consideration for me, day or night.

3. I've seen voluminous reams of info re advantages & disadvantages of integrating an audible-capable GPS through the stock audio "AUX" channel as opposed to integrating it through the stock intercom channels. (Microphone wind noise, the lousy noise level of the stock audio system, need for a Mic-Mute addition, etc. I do have the stock factory CD changer on the bike, so I WOULD like to be able to listen to the CD & radio & still be able to hear the GPS audio prompts - so it seems like the intercom integration is the "better way to go". However, the SO has a very "bad back" so seldom accompanies me on long trips. Thus, I seldom have need (or desire) for typical helmet intercom headset, and don't even own one yet. I'm wondering if there's a way I could could hook up an audio-capable GPS via compatible plug-ins to the stock intercom circuitry, but use only a standard set of mini ear-bud headphone speakers to hear the GPS? Or, perhaps, alternatively, use a typical helmet headset and simply detach or somehow disable the (unnecessary) headset microphone to avoid the pickup of wind noise? If the microphone was disabled in such fashion, would there still be excessive conductive noise generated by the motorcycle itself, as I've seen some complain about? Is Mic-Mute the only way to go about remedying excess noise sources? Obviously, I'd like to avoid having to purchase both a driver's helmet intercom headset plus a Mic-Mute, if possible.

4. I've had the happy experience of owning two GL1800s thus far, with many a happy mile on them, inclusive of E-W coast-to-coast X-country trips. Anticipate doing the same in the future. I've seen that the 2610 can apparently accept CF memory cards up to 2-gig capacity. What's the memory capacity of the SP3? Sufficient for a X-country trip?

5. I haven't been too thrilled with many of the mounts I've seen thus far, particularly the handlebar and cross-bar types. Think I'd prefer the much "cleaner" look of an upper cowl or dash-mounted installation. Can anyone recommend some good cowl or dash mounts? How important is rubberized shock & vibration isolation for satisfactory performance of these GPS units?

I'd really appreciate any informed feedback that any experienced product users could provide, and thanks again to anyone taking the time & kindness to share some 1st-hand knowledge & opinions.
 

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First I think it is important to say both the SPIII and the 2610 are great GPS units that will do a fantastic job on a Goldwing, but for the relatively small amount of cost difference (still) you are better off to go for the 2610. Prices are still relatively high for the SPIII so you are likely not going to find any bargains around that make it a better deal that will save you a lot of money.

The SPIII takes Gamin memory chips so their cost is pretty high, whereas the 2610 takes CompactFlash memory cards so their costs are relatively cheap and also available in much larger sizes. The SPIII Deluxe comes with a 128 meg chip and some owners are purchasing up to a 1 or 2 gig memory chip for the 2610.

I'd suggest getting a visor for either GPS unit and you will find that helps considerably in bright daylight viewing, but it also makes a difference where you place or mount the GPS and the angle you have the screen as to how will it can be viewed on bright days. I have a dash mount and so the angle is almost perpendicular to the road and sky so the view is quite good.

If you go to Garmin's site they do have a comparison feature that will provide a comparison on the two units or others.
http://www.garmin.com/products/comparison.jsp

Another great place that has a wealth of information on GPS units is:
http://gpsinformation.net/

The auto routing, audio and color screens, plus memory capabilities make these great GPS units, but the 2610 with the touch screen and enhanced memory flexibility and newer technology just make this a better way to go for the relatively small difference in costs.

Good Luck,

DaleC
 

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Welcome to the board Mcrider!

I asked a similar question a while back. Check out this thread for all the responses I received.

http://www.gl1800riders.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=11922&highlight=#11922

I did get the 2610. Do not have it mounted on the bike yet. I have been practicing with it in the cage, it is great!

The mounting hardware for the bike is just now becoming available. Jon, from this board, is working on a dash mount using the Tourtech device. Jon does great work and I'm sure his end product will be classy.

I received great service from http://www.gpsdiscount.com.

No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.
 

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yep..all are good points. I like the portability that the street pilot 111 offers over the 2610. Color screen has not been a problem for me. True, the screen can fade out some in bright sunlight but it is always readable. I have used my sp 111 in all sun conditions and not once was it ever unreadable. Portability is key with me...if my buddy wants to use it...he can..or I can easily move it from vehicle to vehicle..orrrrrrrr...use it outside of a vehicle with self contained batterys. Two data cards got me from los angeles to madison wisconsin and back...direct routing to madison from los angeles...and home was via yellowstone. had plenty of room on the two data cards for the necessary map sets...could have fit more if I had wanted to....is the memory feature on the 2610 a nice feature?...yes it is..however, not many will ever use that feature unless you are touring the whole united states..just my humble opinion after using the street pilot 111 for 18 months.
 

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I've traveled to the 4 corners of this country, Nova Scotia and PEI using paper road maps. Never got lost, maybe took a couple "alternate routes" which has been very interesting. Last summer I did a 2 week trip with 2 other friends The 1 had a GPS so we let him lead the way and I stowed my paper maps in the trunk. Never made so many wrong turns. Maybe not the GPS fault but rather operators inattentivness.
 

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Robert - I certainly don't disagree with you and I'm very happy with my SPIII and will be for quite a while whatever vehicle I drive. Wouldn't you still have the same portability with the 2610 as the SPIII? I have each of my vehicles rigged with the mounts and power/audio connections so all I have to do is snap it in, but couldn't that same level of mobility be achieved with the 2610?

The cost of a new SPIII Deluxe is approx. $589. and for a 2610 is $739. I guess for $150. I wouldn't mind seeing the 2610 on my dash. It also might be easier to program when I wear my Gerbing gloves.

All in all you still can not loose with either.

DaleC
 

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Here is a very thorough review of the 2610 http://gpsinformation.net/sp26xx/sp2610rev.html. It's pretty lengthy, but informative.

I've got the 2610 mounted using a touratech mount from CycoActive, on the left handlebar. I've got it hardwired to the bike battery through a fuse and have the GPS audio integrated into the bike audio with a Kennedy CellSet.

All in all, I am quite satisfied with the setup and am using a 1 gig Compact Flash, which gets me the West, Canada and Alaska.
 

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Hawk - I don't know what GPS unit your friend was using, but I'd have to say the problems were more likely do to poor planning of routes and/or a lack of abilities of either the GPS or the operator (or both). If you have a capable GPS such as the SPIII or 2610, and have done a good job of planning your routing they would be both extremely beneficial and at times almost indepensible for such a trip. Especially when you need to find an address, a particular business or restaurant or even an ATM or gas station or an attraction you're trying to find.

You couldn't pry my SPIII away from me on a trip!

DaleC

P.S. I also enjoy viewing the screen as I drive along to see what is on either side of me just over a hill or hidden from my view and often that's led to a whole new discovery I would never have known otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
DaleC, Robert, Hawk & Neil-In-Seattle: Thanks much to all for your sage advice, helpful opinions & the informative links. I had pretty much narrowed down selection of GPS to either one of these 2 units, but hearing 1st-hand from owners of both that they're quite happy certainly helps. I never mind spending the $ for a quality product as long as it lives up to expectations, and it seems that either model would, so I'm appreciative of the feedback.
 

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Get the 2610

I have owned and used both the SP III and the 2610. I am completely satisfied with the 2610, but could have been just as happy with the sp III, had I not been able to upgrade. I was able to get a good price for my SP III, so let it go, about the time that the 2610 came out. I have a 512mb card in my 2610, and have most of the central US loaded on it. We are planning a trip from Missouri to Colorado and South Dakota in June, and I am planning a trip to Ohio in September, so have all those areas and everything in between loaded. I can very quickly find any address, attraction, road, or anything else in between.

Nobody has mentioned the speed of the 2610. It is noticeably faster at routing, drawing maps, and everything than the SP III. True, it cannot work without an external 12v power source, but that has not presented any problem to me yet. I have hardwired connections for my 1800, my SUV, and have the factory cable intact for use in my wife's car.

With the new software update that Garmin has posted, it is not WAAS enabled, which improves its accuracy. I like the built-in antenna, makes the whole unit a bit more compact. The touch screen is especially nice. I leave the remote in my SUV, and have not yet found anything that I cannot accomplish on it using just the touch screen.

Another option - if portability, anywhere-usage, and battery capability are high on your list of characteristics, look at the Garmin iQue 3600. Seems to have comparable functionality to the 2610, voice capability, uses industry standard SD cards for memory expansion, will work anywhere as long as the battery is charged, and has a vehicle mount already designed. Added plus - built-in PDA. Cost - less than I paid for my PDA, and quite a bit less than the 2610. Just to confuse the issue further!

My only real gripe with the SP III was the limited memory expansion, and the fact that one had to use proprietary cards - which drove the cost up considerably. With the 2610, I can buy CF cards at any Best Buy, the cost is quite reasonable, and if I really wanted to have the entire detail mapset for North America loaded at one time, it would be possible by using a 2 GB card.

Bottom line - if you go with the 2610, I seriously doubt that you will be disappointed. I certainly have not been.
 

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I vote for the SP3,I have heard several guys on this board complaining about the 2610 jumping to a scroll mode on their bikes without warning,I have never heard anyone have any complaints about their SP3. I have tried really hard without any success to find an advantage the 2610 has over the SP3. frankly all I have found are the disadvantages of 2610 over SP3.
 

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I recently looked into the 2610 and the SPIII and decided I'd buy the remanufactured SPIII and spend the difference on the RAM handlebar mount and Kennedy CellSet. You can get the remanufactured SPIII Deluxe for $490 plus $10 for shipping from TVNav.com. The new MapSource v5.0 was free from Garmin and includes the unlock code so I have that loaded on my PC. I looked at EBay for several weeks but the used prices were usually over $500 and you wouldn't be able to get the software upgrade unlock code with a used one. New SPIIIs were even higher.

So far I'm very happy with the SPIII, although, sometimes when I haven't done my own routing, the routes it chooses are ridiculous and I resort to a map. I travel from coast to coast (N-S-E-W), but I really don't see the need to buy any more data cards, the 128meg card that came with it will hold what I need on any given trip. Before I go on a trip I load detail maps for areas I plan to go through, this erases the maps for the state of FL I normally have loaded. I carry my Gold Book, good old paper maps and a cell phone if I need info that isn't available on the GPS. When I come home I reload the FL maps, only takes a few minutes. I worked in the bits and bytes arena for 37 years and found that the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method worked best, don't need maps for CA, NM, MT, etc when I am not going west of Missouri.

.. Sue
 

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Dale..I suppose you may be correct on portability..however, ever try using a 2610 outside of a car or vehicle?..or take inside a restaurant to go over your routes..or look at trip information?...only the sp 111 will allow to do that...at least thats my understanding..no internal batteries on the 2610 like there is on a sp111. sp111 has a little bigger screen than the 2610 also.
 

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i cant tell you first hand about either choice. however i can further confuse your decision.

i have the garmin ique 3600, pda -gps unit. i paid $ 446 shipped to the house with the map software. it has a larger color screen than the 2810. also orients the map the other direction, and has an internal battery thats good for about 3 hours with the backlight on .the item has the advantage of being able to swap from vehicle to bike to brief case in seconds. and also store all your important info, which you can download from your home computer. alos nice is that when you do a food stop, you can take it inside and do your next routes while you wait for the grub. no need to fiddle with it while on the bike with your heavy gloves on.

the only negative is that its not waterproof.

ram makes a perfect mount for it.

loren
 
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Re: Get the 2610

RetAF said:
With the new software update that Garmin has posted, it is not WAAS enabled, which improves its accuracy.
I'm sure you meant it is WAAS enabled, since version 2.95 Beta added this and a ton of other features and improvements.
 

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owen..I just went to that website you posted to upgrade the data cards. according to his home page...no upgrade from 128 to 256 is offered. is it hidden somewhere on his site?
 

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I have sent an inquiry (that's how they would say over there, I believe) to the company regarding the aforementioned 256 mb conversion and will post an answer when I receive it.

Cheerio
 

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I have been using Garmin GPS units since about 1997. I started with the basic GPSIII+ and later bought an Emap, which I still own and use. I then upgraded to the GPSV, which I didn't really like because the font size was too small. I sold the GPSV and now have a GPS176, which I love.

I have looked at the Streetpilot models and the 2610, but after using the GPSV and GPS176, I found them severly lacking in several key features. Track logs are an especially usefull feature, as you can later download them and see where you have been. Like this:



Other features like being able to read system voltage, is especially usefull, as now your GPS gives you your bikes voltage when plugged in and can act like a voltmeter. Sunrise/set and moon and tide data can also be useful but is left out on many models.

I guess everyone has their own preferences, but after using the GPSIII+ and V and 176, I have grown used to the many features they have, and using a StreetPilot or 2610 seemed like a step backwards. Had I never used all these features, I might not have ever missed them.

The big drawback I see to the 2610 is the lack of being able to use it on battery power. This would be a big disadvantage for me, because many times I program the next days route while sitting in the hotel room watching the weather channel, so I can aviod any nasty weather. Having to be plugged into the bike all the time for power would be a big problem for me. The other thing that concerns me is the brightness of the screen. I fear it would wash out like the StreetPilot does in sunlight. The gray scal screens don't do this, and Garmin has some new color screen technology that will be incorporated into the upcoming 276 that works even in direct sunlight, without the need for a shade.

One thing that the StreetPilot, GPSV and 2610 do that is useful, is AutoRouting. This is a good feature and can be very helpful. The upcoming GPS276 color, is going to include autorouting, and voice. It also will have tracklogging, celestial data, tide data, and all the other features I like. It also will run on an internal rechargable Lithiom Ion battery. This means when you plug it into the bike, it will charge itself and when you take it inside at night, it will run on the battery.

Personally, I think the new Garmin 276 Color, is going to be the Cats Meow as far as GPS units go. The ONLY downside I can see to it is that it uses the old Garmin propietary chips. But the base map is good enough that you can do 90% of your auto-routing off it alone anyway. Oh, and did I mention it is waterproof? Submersible to 10 ft for 30 seconds. I don't think the 2610 and StreePilots are waterproof like this model is.

The 276 should be out in April and will cost around $600. I plan on getting one as soon as they are available.
 

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Hi Robert,

I spoke to him on the telephone last week and he said that he could upgrade a 129 data card to a 256 data card. It is not on the website although he did say that he has done a few upgrades for the Belgian bikers.

Owen
 
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