Road Test: TomTom Rider
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: