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Discussion Starter #1
When I started shopping for my wing GPS was on my desired list of options but less important to me than year, mileage and overall condition. I have experience with GPS from most major brands and the user interface on the Honda was less than great though the screen positioning was perfect to me. I’m specifically referring to the 2007 generation bikes as I had rented several in years past and had fallen in love with the bikes and now prices are down to where they fit in my budget.

I ended up with a 2007 base model and very happy with the bike. I did want GPS as my trips grew longer so I went the route of handlebar mount and using my phone for navigation. It killed a battery and I couldn’t read it in the sun so I started shopping for the dedicated units. It quickly came down to the Zumo 395, 595 or TomTom Rider 550. I’m sure I wouldn’t have gone wrong with any of them but the 595 dropped off my list quickly due to price and the extra features I just wasn’t interested in. Except that higher resolution screen.

I chose the TomTom Rider 550 based on my good TomTom experience and it was a newer model than the aging 395 series. Not very scientific but I had to pick one or the other. I read all I could prior to receiving mine and set up the MyDrive account and started playing with that. When the device arrived, I had no problem with the initial setup. The touchscreen sensitivity out of the box takes a little getting used to as the screen responds without physical contact but I adjusted that in the settings. The device linked right to my home wi-fi, it asked me to sign in to MyDrive and as soon as I did there were the play routes on my device. It took about 2 hours to update all the software and maps on the device but it was painless.

I took that time to start playing with the mounting hardware. Top quality Ram Mount brand hardware comes with it and a good selection of choices for mounting options. I did not get the Premium kit with the lock and all that but I had more that I needed for a nice left side clutch lever clamp mount.

A surprise to me was the device comes with an internal battery so I went right out for a ride after the setup had finished. I still like the factory GPS screen location, and I may still explore a more centered mounting but for now the Ram Mount is solid and viewing angle is fine. The lower resolution of the screen compared to the Zumo 595 is noticeable but so far has not been unreadable even in bright sun.

I used the Thrill Ride option which gives you a creative route to your destination based on the criteria you set like curves, no toll roads, no interstates etc. That is really neat and I have already found 2 quick round trips around my house that I didn’t know about. I think this was a feature on the Garmin units as well just called something different.

Touchscreen use with gloves is great though the keyboard data entry is a bit cramped as expected on a 4” screen. Function and route buttons are large with lots of inactive white space around them so it’s easy to push what you intend to select.

The web browser MyDrive app is very good and though I’m sure there are other mapping programs that are more robust when I figured out the layout and major buttons the web browser app did everything I needed. After you plan your route there is a button at the bottom that says Send to Device. You click that and as soon as you get back to the device on your bike, assuming you’re connected, what you see on the device is a Let’s Go button which is the route you just sent over.

You can also save routes for later riding and of course you can enter destinations right on the device.The iPhone MyDrive app is fine with similar options to send and save routes. The iPad version is fine though I can’t figure out if there is a way to get it out of portrait mode. Also one other minor annoyance with the iPad I experienced is you can’t seem to send a route directly to your device if your device is paired up with your phone. Ideally, I like the larger map on the iPad but I need the data plan from my phone to stay connected.

I have made it a point to go out to the bike about once a week and check for updates so they would not delay the start of my ride. As soon as I turn on the device it says updates are available and the downloads have completed without error. Impressive, I did have to pick my North America Maps once but never had to resign in or anything like that. I know several of the updates with just a couple minutes long.

Today I tackled switched power and though I didn’t remove the shelter I was able to fish and hide the TomTom power up the handlebars following the same path as the other control wiring and then making sure I got full motion of the handlebars unrestricted. I bought a USB outlet for the left cubby from Show Chrome and it comes with the connector for the factory power plug that is unused on my base model wing. I pigtailed off that connector with a solder splice and everything came out neat and tidy under the cubby. The USB ports will charge my phone and powers my ipod that’s hooked to the audio connector in the same cubby.

I look forward to many great miles with the TomTom and whichever brand you pick good rides to you and yours.
 

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Good write up. I have had the same positive experience with my TT 550. I've recently been using the Mydrive app to upload destinations to the TT 550. The app works well wit the TT 550.
 

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Thanks for starting up this thread. I just recently received my Tomtom Rider 550, purchased at Amazon (in the meantime the price has dropped even more and you can find it now around $250 or so).

Did a set up of the unit (no problems) and downloaded MyDrive app in my phone and laptop. So far it looks quite user friendly. Planned one ride on the laptop so far - home to work. But, once it calculated the fastest route, I rerouted it onto some back roads by click-and-drag the roads. Wanted to see is it going to copy it to the unit exactly like I planned, rather than recalculating it again based on start and stop points.

Checked on the unit and it looks like it copied exactly like I planned. Didn't have time to ride that ride to confirm it but it looks promising.

More to follow....just as soon as I ride with it.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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Thank you for the extensive review. I’m fence sitting right now b/t the TomTom and Garmin units, and your comments are helpful. The lower res screen sound a bit worrisome but if I went with the smaller Garmin I’m guessing it would be the same issue. Good to know the ‘adventure’ mode worked well for you...is there a way to make it avoid all gravel roads? That is the only thing that concerns me about blind route planning: Getting put on a terrible road that’s hard to turn around on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the extensive review. I’m fence sitting right now b/t the TomTom and Garmin units, and your comments are helpful. The lower res screen sound a bit worrisome but if I went with the smaller Garmin I’m guessing it would be the same issue. Good to know the ‘adventure’ mode worked well for you...is there a way to make it avoid all gravel roads? That is the only thing that concerns me about blind route planning: Getting put on a terrible road that’s hard to turn around on.
Hello Drair,

Yes the 395 and the TomTom have the same low resolution. If you look at it and study it for a minute it looks like an old smartphone screen and you know how much better little screens like this have become with our smartphones but for me it's mad no difference on the road when actually using the device. I suspect there are some things that drive that low res. Price for the screen the refreshes are less taxing on the microprocessor so they can save some money in that area as well. The new Zumo XT looks promising but at $499 still almost double the price of the TomTom, no thanks.

I went out and looked and no gravel road option but I did encounter a closed road due to some tree trimming go on and I ask TomTom for a reroute and that was painless to get around.

Whichever one you end up with I'm sure it will be a good choice. Hope you use it to ride longer and farther!
 

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Garmin does have a setting choice for no gravel roads but it’s not what I would call reliable .
it has actually taken me down a couple of gravel roads where the map showed the road going where I wanted to go but the road was actually a dead end because of a river with no bridge and trees and brush blocking any possible crossing.
 

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I'm currently running both a Garmin 396 LMT and a TomTom 550. I started with the TomTom and it has three main things that I didn't like . They are small fonts, the stupid route bar and it does not show the name of the next street or upcoming street unless you are in so called guidance mode that is being guided to a destination. Here in northern NJ there are lots of cheap towns without street signs and all of my Garmins always showed the name of the upcoming street or road.

So I said f it and bought the garmin. This past Feb I went to Fla and back running both and the main difference was the night display. The Garmin was much harder to make out where as the TomTom night display was excellent. Also, in sunlight the TomTom again was better but not by such a difference as in the night.

For guidance I used the TomTom because I installed it on the right handlebar which I favor. Also, the Garmin has an electrical box of some sort in the wireing that makes it more difficult to install on the right as I just connected them to the same accessory outlet in the fuse box.

The biggest adjustment that a Garmin user has to make when moving to the TomTom apart from the interface is the search tool. The Garmin has all of those icons where the TomTom search is more like a google search box. I'm starting to prefer the TomTom in this regard.

The bottom line: If I could only have one it would be the Garmin. The small fonts and the lack of the next street name when not in guidance mode are deal breakers for me.

One last thing, I'm a destination oriented rider. I won't take a longer route to smell some stinkin roses. I decide to go somewhere and I go. So all of that route shaping stuff is out of my box so I know nothing about that aspect of either of the units
 

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Thanks for the comments. It made me wonder...if you don’t want the ‘route shaping stuff’ why not just buy a car unit? I was thinking the only reason to get a MC focused GPS of any brand is for the route planning/software interface features. Otherwise, I can make a car unit mostly water proof, mount it securely, etc.
 

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Thanks for the comments. It made me wonder...if you don’t want the ‘route shaping stuff’ why not just buy a car unit? I was thinking the only reason to get a MC focused GPS of any brand is for the route planning/software interface features. Otherwise, I can make a car unit mostly water proof, mount it securely, etc.
rain and visability in the sun.
 

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I've also noticed with my TT that it is faster than Gamins' I've had in the past when the TT needs to recalculate my route.
 

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Thank you for the extensive review. I’m fence sitting right now b/t the TomTom and Garmin units, and your comments are helpful. The lower res screen sound a bit worrisome but if I went with the smaller Garmin I’m guessing it would be the same issue. Good to know the ‘adventure’ mode worked well for you...is there a way to make it avoid all gravel roads? That is the only thing that concerns me about blind route planning: Getting put on a terrible road that’s hard to turn around on.
As Bobmcc81 states, the TomTom screen resolution is not an issue. Viewing a screen of this size mounted out on the handlebars looks really good. The added resolution of the more expense Garmin is somewhat of a waste at this viewing distance.

TomTom does have an optional setting to avoid gravel roads. Only once in 4 years has it directed me towards a gravel road.
 

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I've been using the TomTom 550 for a couple years now. I remember when I first got the unit I tried using the free TomTom MyDrive online route planner and thought at that time it did not meet my needs. I happened upon the cloud based MyRouteApp at that time and have been using it since.

That was two years ago so I spent a couple hours this morning with the TomTom online route planner to see what has changed. No matter how hard I tried, I was not able to plan a Route online and download it to my 550 GPS as a Route (an .ITN file). I could build a Route in the route planner and save it online (as an .ITN file) but the planner would only let me download it via WiFi to my 550 as a Track (a .GPX file).

Tracks (.GPX files) are like a "trail of bread crumbs", multiple waypoints closely spaced. Tracks are used by adventure riders where roads don't exist. For on road purposes, using tracks produces the exact same routing independent to the GPS make and or algorithm because there hundreds of waypoints closely spaced.

Problem with Tracks however is the TomTom won't re-route you automatically for road closures or construction detours. The GPS according to TomTom adheres strictly to the "trail of crumbs" in the track. There is no way to edit a Track on the fly via the GPS screen. Traffic updates via Bluetooth to your phone are not available either.

Routes (.ITN files) consist of up to 255 waypoints. Waypoints are typically further apart in routes (compared to Tracks) so the GPS uses it's internal algorithm to calculate the route between waypoints (different GPS units may calculate the route differently). When navigating via a route, the TomTom will give you traffic updates via Bluetooth and automatic re-routing if you miss a turn. Editing a Route on the fly via the GPS screen is easy.

So I have no idea why the TomTom online route planner is not capable of downloading Routes to the TomTom 550?? You can plan and save a Route online, but not download it as a Route to your GPS, only as a Track ?? For me this is a fatal flaw not of the GPS but the route planner and makes no sense. I really like the TomTom online route planner otherwise.

So this is why I use the MyRouteApp superscription based route planner. I can plan routes in Google Maps, convert them to TomTom Routes (.ITN files) and download them to my TomTom 550. Only kicker here is I have to connect via a usb cable to load them to my 550.

If I'm missing something obvious, please let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Doug

I got the Tom Tom specifically to avoid all that GPX and ITN files stuff so I'm afraid I can't help you. I use my desktop computer to plan a full day ride with everywhere I want to go on the trip and coach Tom Tom routing a little bit by putting in fake stops along the way to make Tom Tom take me that way. Though I admit that never totals 225. After I finish my route on the computer or even a short route on my phone I save it to MyDrive and when I go to the Tom Tom, as long as it's connected to wifi, it pops up on the screen that I have a new ride and do I want to ride it now. Sorry I just don't know if those are GPX or ITN files or what.
 

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Doug

I got the Tom Tom specifically to avoid all that GPX and ITN files stuff so I'm afraid I can't help you. I use my desktop computer to plan a full day ride with everywhere I want to go on the trip and coach Tom Tom routing a little bit by putting in fake stops along the way to make Tom Tom take me that way. Though I admit that never totals 225. After I finish my route on the computer or even a short route on my phone I save it to MyDrive and when I go to the Tom Tom, as long as it's connected to wifi, it pops up on the screen that I have a new ride and do I want to ride it now. Sorry I just don't know if those are GPX or ITN files or what.
Bob, Thanks for your input. MyDrive online has an option to "sync this route as a track on my devices" and when turned ON this works great. You can create multiple routes online and they will automatically sync via wifi with your GPS as tracks.

My only issue with Tracks is once on your GPS you can't edit them. So if you have a long day planned, you can't modify the track. As an example, if I have an 8 hour day of twisties planned and get behind on time, I cant just modify the Track on the fly to jump on the Interstate.

So it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that TomTom gives us the ability to plan editable Routes onlinw but not the ability to download the same from their online route planner ???
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My only issue with Tracks is once on your GPS you can't edit them. So if you have a long day planned, you can't modify the track. As an example, if I have an 8 hour day of twisties planned and get behind on time, I cant just modify the Track on the fly to jump on the Interstate.
I see your point, I guess I'm still in the honeymoon faze and haven't discovered these nuances yet. I'm a planner before I leave for a trip but I see what you're saying if I was to get tired and had to get home quicker for some other reason. I'll keep it in mind.

Thanks again for the contribution
 

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I see your point, I guess I'm still in the honeymoon faze and haven't discovered these nuances yet. I'm a planner before I leave for a trip but I see what you're saying if I was to get tired and had to get home quicker for some other reason. I'll keep it in mind.

Thanks again for the contribution
The TomTom route planner works really nice. If it doesn't route exactly as you would like it's easy to drag the route, put in a few extra waypoints and have the route just like you want it. At that point there is no reason for the route planner to convert it to a track.

Just seems like TomTom would have given the user a choice to sync the Route or Track to your device from the route planner. I've been on the TomTom Rider Forum quite a bit today and seems this has been a user complaint for a few years.

Everyone says use MyRouteApp to solve the issue.
 

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Doug

I got the Tom Tom specifically to avoid all that GPX and ITN files stuff so I'm afraid I can't help you. I use my desktop computer to plan a full day ride with everywhere I want to go on the trip and coach Tom Tom routing a little bit by putting in fake stops along the way to make Tom Tom take me that way. Though I admit that never totals 225. After I finish my route on the computer or even a short route on my phone I save it to MyDrive and when I go to the Tom Tom, as long as it's connected to wifi, it pops up on the screen that I have a new ride and do I want to ride it now. Sorry I just don't know if those are GPX or ITN files or what.
On your 550 if you hit "Menu" + "My Routes" this will display a list of any routes you have downloaded from TomTom Route Planner online and or planned directly on the GPS and saved as a Route. There will be an arrow tilted at 45 degrees to the left of each named route. If the tail of the arrow is a dashed-line then this is a Track (a series of bread crumbs, .GPX file). If the tail of the arrow is a solid-line then this is a Route (a series of user defined waypoints, .ITN file).

My understanding of Tracks: They can't be edited, If you miss a turn the GPS does not automatically re-route to get you back on the Track, GPS does not display distance to next turn.

My understanding of Routes: They can be edited if plans change, If you miss a turn the GPS quickly recalculates best way to rejoin the Route, GPS displays distance to next turn.

To help understand how the GPS handles Tracks (.GPX files) compared to Routes (.ITN files) try planning a Route online and the same route from the GPS screen and save it as a Route. If you hit "Menu" + "My Routes" you should see both (one with a dashed-arrow (Track) and one with a solid-arrow (Route)).

Select the one with the dashed-arrow (Track). Hit "Menu" + "Current Track" + "Play Track Preview". The GPS will simulate an actual ride on the Track. You will see there are no Edit functions available for tracks and no "Distance to next Turn".
 

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I see your point, I guess I'm still in the honeymoon faze and haven't discovered these nuances yet. I'm a planner before I leave for a trip but I see what you're saying if I was to get tired and had to get home quicker for some other reason. I'll keep it in mind.

Thanks again for the contribution
Apologies if I'm out in left field here, I've only been paying half-awake attention to this thread. But in the case you decide to abandon the route or the track to head home quickly, why can't the "HOME" function just be used?
 

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The TomTom route planner works really nice. If it doesn't route exactly as you would like it's easy to drag the route, put in a few extra waypoints and have the route just like you want it. At that point there is no reason for the route planner to convert it to a track.

Just seems like TomTom would have given the user a choice to sync the Route or Track to your device from the route planner. I've been on the TomTom Rider Forum quite a bit today and seems this has been a user complaint for a few years.

Everyone says use MyRouteApp to solve the issue.
Can you please share with us the name of the Tomtom Rider forum? What should I search for on Tapatalk?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 
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