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New GPS from TOMTOM specifically for Riders | Bike Tests | Latest Tests

Remember the choose your own adventure novels? They were books that allowed you to choose varying outcomes at the end of each chapter.

Ultimately the ending of the book would always be the same, but it was up to you how you got there.

There’s a new GPS set to hit the Australian market in June, it’s built specifically for motorcyclists and it’s very much like those books. It’s from TomTom, and it’s been two years in development and it’s called Rider.

Despite its rather straightforward name, the device and its capabilities are far from it. Using the glove-enabled touch screen you can hit the icon which reads: Plan a thrill (really, it does) which allows you to choose not only your destination but to also chose varying levels of both the windiness of the roads as well as the level of elevation you want to get there.

You have three levels of twisty roads as well as three levels of hilly roads, which works really well in Europe where I am now trying out the new device, but it will be interesting to see just how well the device copes in the sometimes flat and unvaried landscapes in some parts of Oz.

Apart from these two innovative features for motorcyclists, there’s a few other cool things about the Rider, too. Like the real-time traffic functionality. You need to be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, but handy to have.

Like your smart phone, swing the device around to the portrait position and the display will swing around immediately also. But by doing so it will allow you to see more of the road (and the twisties) ahead, which is a cool feature.

You can plan your routes at home on your PC, save them to the device’s SD card then insert into Rider ready to go. You can record your routes when you’re on the bike and share them with friends via your PC later, but possibly my favourite feature is not only will it give you alerts for fixed speed camera locations, but it claims to alert you to mobile speed camera locations, too.
TomTom says it gathers user-generated data from other TomTom users (car and bike devices) through its ‘report a speed camera’ icon. TomTom will verify the information and update the software. So there’s a few variables for it to be completely accurate, but the technology is there and that’s a good start.

I’ve never been a big fan of the GPS, I’ve rarely used one and I’ve certainly never owned one. The ones I have used have been the manufacturer-supplied ones from BMW and Ducati and, being bike specific, I’ve found them to be okay. But I’ve never seen one so bike specific and I’m really looking forward to spending a bit of time with it in Aussie conditions and seeing if it can convert this old-fashioned paper-map-preferring rider!

Keep an eye out in an upcoming issue of Australian Motorcycle News for just how well the new features handle the Australian environment, my guess is it will do it pretty well, and it might just teach me a road or two I didn’t know about.