Customer Review

192 of 194 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Zumo is a great motorcycle GPS but it does have its flaws, April 18, 2010
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This review is from: Garmin zumo 220 3.5-Inch Bluetooth Motorcycle GPS Navigator (Electronics)
The Zumo is a great motorcycle GPS but it does have its flaws.

The first thing you'll notice is that the Zumo doesn't come with a printed users guide. Garmin expects you to download the PDF version. It was easy to find on-line and this approach is fine since we're all supposed to be going green. What ships in box is a quick start guide. The web site says "installation instructions" are included but this is not accurate. The only installation information is contained in the quick start guide. It's pretty basic but more than adequate unless you want to attempt installing the wiring harness. If you plan on using the wiring harness you need to know how to tap into the electrical on your bike and handle all of the cable routing yourself or take it to a pro for assistance. (One note on the wiring harness: the cable doesn't include anything to cover the USB/power connector so if you install the harness and don't have the GPS unit plugged in the end of the power adapter is fully exposed to the elements.)

The second thing you'll notice is the device doesn't come with a wall charger. There is the permanent wiring harness and a car charger but they didn't include a wall charger. With a battery life of almost 8 hours I planned on just charging the unit at night and skipping the wiring harness since nearly all of my rides are under 8 hours. For the cost of the unit I was disappointed that I had to scavenge to find a power charger.

The battery life provided on Garmin's website states "up to 8 hours". I think this is a bit of a stretch. If you turn the volume off, turn the screen brightness down to under 50% (the default), and turn off Bluetooth you can get close to 8 hours. When riding with voice prompts, screen brightness at 80 to 90 (on a sunny day) and Bluetooth enabled I was able to get just over 5 hours of battery life. Still very respectable and more than most motorcyclists need for a single day.

One of the nicest features of the Zumo 220 is the ability to plan your routes on your PC and load them on to the GPS unit using Garmin City Navigator. It's easy to install but the unlock code, which is needed to use the maps, comes on a non descript yellow sheet that looks like something you should simply ignore or throw away. You need this special yellow sheet so be careful or you'll be explaining to your wife why you're digging through the garbage! Once installed and unlocked City Navigator is great. It's easy to use and simple to transfer routes to and from the GPS unit.

The GPS unit itself is a nice size but a little thick. If you're thinking you'll just throw this unit into your back pocket you can but there are two issues. First the unit is thicker than you expect and you will be aware of the bulge in your back pocket - it's not a petite unit. Second there is no power lock and it's very easy to turn the unit on when inserting the unit into your pocket or when moving around. It would have been better to have some sort of power button lock. I've resorted to removing the battery from its waterproof compartment, which is easy and quick to do.

The user interface is very intuitive and most of the data fields presented on main page can be customized, even when in motion. The keyboard is easy to use and has two modes that basically change the size of the buttons on the screen to make it easier to use when wearing gloves.

One nice feature is the fuel tank alert. Just enter the total mileage you expect to get from a tank of fuel and how many miles before empty that you want warnings and the unit keeps track of everything. Interesting note: the unit has multiple modes like driving, motorcycling, scooter etc. The only mode that fuel tank alerts work is when in motorcycle mode.

Another solid feature of the unit is if you do switch between a motorcycle and a car the Zumo 220 remembers your preferences for the route types of each mode. This makes it nice not having to reprogram anything when going between modes.

I have encountered a few issues with custom voices downloaded from the Garmin Garage. On at least one of the custom voices the unit seems to get confused and reboots on occasion. Changing back to the preinstalled voices seems to have fixed this quirky problem.

I have a big v-twin and my bike has a healthy dose of vibrations, especially when accelerating or using engine braking. The Zumo 220 is rugged enough to handle the vibrations with ease and the RAM mounts that came with the unit work great. One note on the u-bar attachment for the handlebar: If you have larger handlebars than 1 inch you're going to need to run out to your local hardware store to get a larger u-bar. If you've got a 7/8" - 1", like most people, you'll be fine.

Overall the Zumo 220 is a high quality unit that's easy to use, rugged and ready to hit the road. Just plan on doing a little extra shopping for things that Garmin should have included, especially given the high price point of this unit.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 22, 2010 1:59:35 PM PDT
Andy Madone says:
Other then the bluetooth, I am trying to find a reason to buy this unit over the Nuvi 500/550 that is nearly 1/3 the cost. Can you provide any feedback on that question?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2010 10:07:53 AM PDT
Pudge says:
Can you use a Nuvi on a motorcycle? I thought that was the point of the Zumo line.

Posted on Apr 24, 2010 10:17:05 AM PDT
Pudge says:
A great write-up. Just what you look for when you're on the fence. If the 220 were $100 cheaper, I'd buy it. For now, I'll troll for a refurbed 450 near the $200 mark.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2010 10:18:50 AM PDT
Andy Madone says:
Absolutely. The nuvi 550 specifically is motorcycle friendly and waterproof. A RAM mount system can be had for around $30 depending on how you mount it so I can't really understand the huge price difference for the ZUMO.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2010 6:04:42 PM PDT
Pudge says:
The information I've found on the Nuvi 550 is ambiguous on the motorcycle friendly aspect. (Probably intentionally so -- to avoid undercutting the Zumo line.) Is the Zumo more vibration resistant or glove friendly than the Nuvi, maybe? Thanks for the tip, Andy.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2010 6:22:45 PM PDT
Andy Madone says:
The Garmin website clearly states motorcycle friendly. Check out reviews from motorcyclists on GPScity.com. They have a side by side model comparison chart that will open your eyes. I will be trying my new 550 out this weekend.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2010 5:17:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2010 5:17:28 PM PDT
TBear says:
Here's what I think makes the Zumo "motorcycle friendly" versus the Nuvi.

1) It's waterproof. Decent seals all over add to the width of the unit but it will survive a rain storm.
2) It has an option to not automatically reroute your path if you go off track. This is a very nice feature if you're trying to follow certain roads that you've downloaded to the unit. With most of the Nuvi's once you go off course it's going to start changing your route and follow default logic (faster time, shortest distance) to the next way point. Okay if you're in the car going someplace fast but not so good if you're trying to hit the scenic roads since they are almost never the fastest nor the shortest. The Zumo gives you the option to get yourself back on to the route you want and picks right back up navigating from there.
3) It has a keyboard option that increases the size of the buttons, but only when keying in destinations. They consider this "glove friendly" however I find it to be a bit annoying. if forces you to go from screen to screen to find the right letters because not many fit on a screen when they're made larger. It's way faster, and safer, to just stop remove your glove and type on the normal keyboard that fits on one single page.
4) It has a trip computer with built in fuel tracker.
5) It comes with a decent set of RAM mounts in the box.
6) They claim it's more vibration resistant. I have no way to validate this but I will tell you that these units do vibrate a lot when on a motorcycle. That said I have to imagine all that's inside is a couple of circuit boards, a screen and a few connectors between them. How much can really go wrong?

That's about it folks. Not much more to the "motorcycle friendly" story in my opinion. It's a fair question to ask if it makes sense to spend half as much on a Nuvi 550. I would take that risk. If the Nuvi breaks or gets wet you just buy another one and you're still money ahead.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2010 4:57:43 AM PDT
Having purchased the Nuvi 550 for use on my motorcycle the bluetooth is the reason to purchase the Zumo 220.
While riding I was unable to hear anything from the Nuvi. Trying to look at the screen while riding is not the safest thing to do....

KAM

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2010 5:00:59 AM PDT
Having purchased the Nuvi 550 for use on my motorcycle the bluetooth is the reason to purchase the Zumo 220.
While riding I was unable to hear anything from the Nuvi. Trying to look at the screen while riding is not the safest thing to do....

KAM

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2010 9:31:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2010 9:33:42 AM PST
B. Phillips says:
Regarding the vibration issue, I have used a Garmin GPSmap 60CS on my motorcycle for years. I have had occasional instances of lockups which I attributed to vibration induced failures though it is hard to know for sure. (I only get these on my motorcycle, not my bicycle.) I just switched from a Honda VTX to a Harley (more vibration) and I am thinking I probably need to think more "motorcycle friendly" this time. The note from TBear regarding how the 220 won't change the route logic on you catches my interest. I preplan my routes with my 60CS and always take secondary highways when I can. This feature would be a big one in my opinion.
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