By Andrew Liszewski
What is this, unofficial ‘biker day’ here at OhGizmo? Last week Garmin revealed their new zumo 550 GPS unit and the announcement was timed to coincide with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which makes sense given the new device is specifically designed for use on bikes. As a result the zumo 550 is not only vibration tested, UV-resistant, waterproof and built with fuel-resistant plastics, but also features a glove-friendly touchscreen display which is readable even in direct sunlight. Other biker-friendly features include a motorcycle console screen which includes easy-to-read trip information and a fuel gauge that will warn you when it’s time to fill up, as well as custom ‘caps’ that come in a variety of colors allowing you to match the color of the zumo to your ride.
It includes Garmin’s City Navigator NT street maps software with a “hefty” POI database including motels, restaurants, gas stations and ATMs. You can also add your own custom POIs for things like school zones and “safety cameras” as the Garmin website puts it. (cough, speed traps, cough) An optional XM radio antenna gives you weather, traffic and of course satellite radio, while built-in bluetooth allows you to make calls via the zumo or hear turn-by-turn directions delivered directly to a BT headset or helmet. Compared to other GPS devices on the market, the zumo 550’s $964.27 price tag is a bit steep, but you have to remember that this thing is specifically built to survive the elements.