Road Test: TomTom Rider

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE - Si­mon Din­gle

Mo­tor­cy­clists spend a lot of time on the road with­out go­ing any­where. I’m told that’s part of the point of own­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle by my friends who do. It makes sense, then, that you’d need a dif­fer­ent kind of GPS for a mo­tor­cy­cle, and TomTom has tack­led the niche with its Rider de­vice which is de­signed to cater for two-wheel en­thu­si­asts.

It should be ob­vi­ous from the above that I do not fall into that cat­e­gory, due to my gen­eral en­thu­si­asm for be­ing alive and hav­ing legs. This did make test­ing the TomTom Rider a bit of a chal­lenge, but I took to the task in my big safe car, try­ing to imag­ine my­self on a bike as I went about this re­view.

So what makes the Rider a bike­spe­cific GPS? Well, for one it’s been de­signed to be rugged and more weather- proof than other nav­i­ga­tion de­vices that live on air-con­di­tioned dash­boards. It also comes with mount­ing equip­ment for bars or to clamp it to ex­ist­ing bolt holes on the reser­voir of a bike. The touch­screen also sup­ports big, chunky gloves with nice big icons to stab at. It also in­cludes a lead for op­tion­ally con­nect­ing the de­vice straight to a mo­tor­cy­cle bat­tery for power.

TomTom has also in­cluded some spe­cific fea­tures for mo­tor­cy­clists, such as the op­tion to ‘Plan wind­ing route’ that will take the most in­ter­est­ing route to your des­ti­na­tion as op­posed to the most straight­for­ward one.

What the ‘wind­ing route’ fea­ture re­ally seems to do is just avoid high­ways and I’d be wor­ried about end­ing up in some dodgy ar­eas with it, but my lim- ited id test­ing i yielded i ld d what h I would ld i imag­ine i to be pos­i­tive re­sults for mo­tor­cy­clists. It cer­tainly did a good job of avoid­ing the M3 in Cape Town and in­stead took me to the city cen­tre via a scenic route through Con­stan­tia on Rhodes Drive, known for its cam­ber that makes for thrilling bike rides. This may have been the work of luck or ge­nius. I’m not sure.

The TomTom Rider also in­cludes free map up­dates for life, but does not con­nect to TomTom’s live traf­fic ser­vice. Then again, mo­tor­cy­clists don’t seem to be too wor­ried about traf­fic any­way, given their propen­sity to cut through the mid­dle of it.

The big ques­tion I was left with, how­ever, was why buy this when you prob­a­bly al­ready own a very good GPS in the form of your smart­phone? There are some great mounts for putting your smart­phone front and cen­tre on your bike and the few spe­cial fea­tures of the Rider don’t seem quite worth the ex­pense. Sure, you can’t touch your smart­phone with gloves on – but you shouldn’t be do­ing this while mov­ing any­way. Your smart­phone also has the ad­van­tage of be­ing con­nected to ththe In­ter­net for live traf­fic and other featu tures that the Rider can’t match.

Value for money:

Price:

Also con­sider:

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