GET YOUR KICKS ON ANY ROUTE YOU FANCY WITH THE ZUMO XT

HOW OFTEN have you been enjoying your smartphone navigation app to guide you to your destination, and the battery has failed at the precise moment when you least expect it? Stranded and frustrated, it has probably happened to many of us at one time or another… including me!

ZUMO XT
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I have a GPS sat-nav in my car, which plugs into the cigarette lighter socket, so charging is no problem. As to the bike, it was time for a rethink. I have been fortunate of late to be handed the keys to a new Honda Rebel 1100 CMX on long-term loan. With the intention of covering overnight reviews of country inns around the country, a dedicated GPS was the best way forward. Garmin has an excellent reputation in this field, and as a result I managed to get hold of the latest Zumo XT unit.

zumoXT
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It boasts an ultra-bright, 5.5-inch all-terrain motorcycle navigator which, according to Garmin, has been built for adventure. Having mentioned that, I am not an off-roader/green laner by any means, although I do love riding as far away as possible from major A roads and motorways when I possibly can. The sat-nav comes pre-loaded with on-road and off-road maps across Europe and there is no subscription required, so that’s a bonus to start with. It also includes turn-by-turn directions with an option to switch between on-road maps, topographic maps and Birdseye satellite imagery with direct-to-device downloads. No need to worry about approaching hazards and the weather either, because you will be receiving regular hazard alerts alongside live traffic and weather updates.

It gets better. The 1280 x 720p HD resolution display is glove-friendly and rain-resistant. From a safety aspect, included is Bluetooth hands-free calling, the previously mentioned rider alerts, automatic incident notifications and pairing with a compatible inReach satellite communicator (the latter is sold separately). I was recently discussing the unit with a fellow biker who was wanting a new sat-nav for his bike, and he said he liked to be able to record his routes. I told him it was possible with the Zumo XT by using the track recorder, which he could then save and/or share for future trips.

zumoXT
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Inside the box you will find a set of instructions; a rubberised ball-mount system which is compatible with RAM; electrical power cable; and mini-USB cable. The included mount allows the user to hardwire the unit to the bike’s electrical system. The only item I purchased separately to complete the fitment was a traditional RAM handlebar mounting kit. (The unit also comes with an automotive suction cup mount and power cable.) The only stage I sought help for was hardwiring the unit for constant power, and for that I popped along to my local bike mechanic to execute his wiring wizardry. From the mounting bracket on the handlebar, Carl fed the cable under the tank and wired it directly to the battery (the parts include a crimp-style ring terminal for connecting the wiring harness directly to the battery terminal). Wiring directly to the battery is the easiest option as it offers a continuous powered solution, so it was then simply a case of pushing in the rear power button to activate the device. I am happy with the cable management, but I do wonder whether the hot shoe connector is waterproof! I am surprised there is no type of cover in the box to protect the pins when the satnav is not in situ, and neither is there a protective carry case for the latter, both of which I ended up purchasing separately.

In terms of security, it is an easy enough operation to remove the XT when parked up by pressing the release button on the top of the mount and lifting out the device. Once back in the saddle, it simply pops back in again by fitting the bottom of the unit into the cradle and pushing the top forward until it snaps into place. Note that the latch on the mount stays up after you have inserted the unit.

Garmin Zumo XT
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As a robust navigation unit with a superb, easily visible screen, I have no doubt the Zumo XT’s basic functions will become fairly intuitive, and with so many more features to be enjoyed over and above what I have mentioned here, will ultimately prove to be my perfect go-to travelling companion. Yes, it is expensive, but you get what you pay for, and with so many adventure bikers out there ready to hit the green lanes and rough terrain, and others planning on returning to multi-day trips across Europe now the dreaded pandemic has started to ease,  there is nothing better than sitting in your armchair and browsing maps, planning a route, and uploading it into your satnav. What are you waiting for…

zumoXT
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More to come as I enjoy further adventures on the Rebel.

GARMIN ZUMO XT | £429.99 | WWW.GARMIN.COM