Late to the GPS Game with Zumo 550? - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2008, 5:49 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Posts: 1,397
Late to the GPS Game with Zumo 550?

OK. I've made up my mind. After 28 years of riding around town and with paper maps, I am going to buy a GPS.

Based on everything I can find, the Garmin Zumo 550 seems to be the best choice. There are several sites selling it for between $630 and $650.

I've waited this long. I can wait a little longer. Here are a couple of questions:

New Model??
1. The Zumo 550 has been out at least 18 months. What is the typical interval between model releases? Should I hold onto my money and wait for the next Garmin Zumo product?

(I searched the web, but couldn't find any speculation or rumors about a new model. That surprises me, considering all the interest in the product itself.)

Price OK??
2. Many auto-oriented small GPS systems are selling for far less. I realize that the Zumo 550 is motorcycle-friendly, and the market is smaller. Is $630 a reasonable price? Are there any special deals I should know about?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2008, 6:21 pm
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Location: Long Island, New York, USA
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I have the zumo550 about one year now, and I love it. It's rugged enough on the bike to handle weather. I like the fact you can operate it with gloves on no problem. I use it with a Nolan NCOM-102 bluetooth helmet which allows me to listen to the built in MP3 Player, and hear the turn by turn directions, and yes answer my cell phone. I know who wants to talk on the phone while riding right. Well last July I went with a group of 8 other BMW enthusiasts on a one week trip from Long Island New York to St. Anthony Newfoundland camping off the bikes. On more than one occassion we got separated, and I was instantly able to answer the phone. Not only were we separated but both groups were on unmarked streets. The zumo was great, no need to know what street your on, if one member of the other group has a GPS. I just asked what there coordinates were punched it into my Zumo saw we were 8 miles apart, and just told them to stay put. The zumo brought us right to the rest of the group. I have heard complaints about the zumo regarding breadcrumb features, but I never really full understood the issue. When I plug the zumo into my computer it downloads my entire route stops, and all exactly as we rode it. Visibility is excellent even in full sun, and I have ridden through some torrential rainstorms with no effect on the zumo. All in all I don't know how I did without it. The prices you listed are about right .I bought mine from GPSCITY.COM fast delivery good service. Hope you take the plunge I'm sure you won't regret it. As you point out automotive GPS is much cheaper, but they are not weather proof, nor would they hold up under the vibrations a typical motorcycle creates. In short the Zumo is not motorcycle friendly, it's a motorcycle GPS which also goes right into your car with a suction cup adapter included.

MOA Member #106320
2003 R1150RT Titan Silver
2008 K1200GT Dark Graphite
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2008, 7:53 pm
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Location: Outside New Braunfels, TX, USA
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Tis a quality thang indeed. I've had the original monochrome Streetpilot, the 276C and have a Nuvi 350 in my pickup. The Zumo is just awesome, I don't regret asking for it for Christmas. Funny how that works. I buy and she says, "Merry Christmas"!

I won't be getting anything for my birthday for the next five years. Make that six if I win this auction I'm bidding on.

What was that middle thang?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2008, 9:19 pm Thread Starter
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OK Zumo 550 it is.

Does anyone have any idea whether an updated model (say, Zumo 600?) is due out soon?

Yes. I know that you can't time the market. But this isn't the market. I don't know anything about how often Garmin updates products like the Zumo and can't seem to find anything on the web.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2008, 9:49 pm
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No, and I haven't the slightest idea what they would do with it. One thing Garmin is doing now that is really cool is you can update your maps by download. No more having to wait for the cd to show up.

What was that middle thang?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2008, 10:55 pm
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Location: Bonney Lake, WA, USA
Posts: 19
I have the zumo and purchased the Autocom unit too, both units are worth it. I have bike to communications without any batteries, GPS no batteries, radio, music and cell phone and even on a long all day trip I never have to worry about batteries, like others do. Its been tested too, high heat in the desert, below freezing in the high hills, mountains to some of you, speed tested at 150 and no problems. The unit to buy for motorcycles.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 2008, 8:22 am
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Location: New Rochelle , NY, USA
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I started with the Nuvi 350 and then the 360. I "upgraded" to the Zumo 6 months ago and it is so far superior to the Nuvi, that i now use the Nuvi exclusively in one of my cars. I use the Zumo in both my personal car and on the bike. I love the breadcrumb feature and it's ability to gt back on a route when you wander off.

I can plan a route in mapsource and travel better. I like the bluetooth for the phone. I use earbuds and love the stereo MP3 player.=I may get the Sirius option next Spring.

BTW, it was a snap literally to mount it on the bike using the OEM BMW mount.

Go for it !!

Deep Blue 2009 K1300GT
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 2008, 7:31 am Thread Starter
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Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
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Okay, it's done. I ordered a Zumo 550 last night from for 631.27 with no tax, free shipping. That's the best deal I could find from a vendor I trust.

There were several lower price deals on the search sites - but my research showed that they are not reliable. Most employ "call us confirm your order" tactics for the hard sell of accessories (and if you refuse, your order is lost, or an open-box or refurb is sent, etc.).

Now I have to figure out how I am going to mount it and give it power. I will add audio someday, but I just want basic visual maps and directions first. I want a mount that keeps it centered, doesn't block the view of my K1200GT displays, and is visible when my Engage tank bag is mounted.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 2008, 7:48 am
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Location: Concord, NC, USA
Posts: 372
Go to and buy his Zumo mounting kit. It's expensive but first-rate and very secure.

'03 K1200GT

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 10th, 2008, 9:05 am
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Check out this thread - Zumo mounting , post number 2. I ordered that mounting plate (about $30) for my K1200GT. The motorcycle mount that comes with the Zumo will bolt right on (the piece that says Garmin in the pic, you can barely see the plate underneath), though you'll have to source yourself some slightly longer bolts (any hardware store will work). I didn't bring the mount with me so I had to guess on the length, ended up taking a Dremel to the bolts to get the length right.

I wired mine direct to the wiring harness under the handlebars instead of direct to the battery. It's switched power too. You'll need a wire harness from BMW that has the plug you'll need (anyone got pics/part number, can't find it). Cut the ends off the stock Zumo wires and wire this bad boy to them, then it plugs right into the harness on the bike. Like I said, it IS switched power but will take a few cycles for the Canbus to "learn" there is something there. So don't be dismayed if the GPS doesn't turn off right away, you might have to do it manual a few times before Canbus gets the hang of it.
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