TomTom Rider: GPS for bikers

Dailies, Gear -


01 tomtom rider topshot

TomTom has announced a new version of the Rider GPS system for motorcyclists. With this new model, they took feedback from the motorcyclist community and added a lot of new features. Hell, it’ll even find you good roads.

The Rider features a 4.3-inch touchscreen that is glove-friendly and is engineered to operate in any weather conditions including rain or bright sunlight. Directions can be given to the rider through Bluetooth allowing the motorcyclist to focus on the road. It also comes with a new charging bike dock that will turn on and off with the motorcycle.

Some of the TomTom Rider’s key features are: Winding Road, Free Lifetime Maps, Map Share, Points of Interest, IQ routes. Winding Roads is route feature that selects the most turns to your destination for a more fun ride. With the purchase of the TomTom Rider the owner gets free maps for the life of the product up to four or more updates per year. Rider users can share maps over bluetooth and from the TomTom Map Share community which is updated daily. The Rider is available with Points of Interest which has restaurants, hotels and gas stations. IQ routes is an interesting feature that uses real travel times from millions of users and provides realistic arrival times and routes.

Accessories such as an anti-theft device, charging bike dock and car mounting kit will be available for the Rider. The new TomTom Rider will be available soon and costs $299.

  • Clint Keener

    Why are these better than an enclosed iPhone wired up to the battery?

    • Wes Siler

      Better controls for use while moving/wearing gloves, fully weatherproof, bigger screen, doesn’t need cell reception to work.

      • Chase Ruszas

        I’ll give you the first 3 points, but cell phones don’t need cellular service to use the GPS function.

        • Matthew Farley

          not so, good sir. location works, but maps are downloaded and routes are calculated over data networks.

          • dinoSnake

            Triple bonus points for your reply, good sir. The idea that a smartphone can replace a bike-specific GPS…comes from people who have never used a bike-specific GPS. A-GPS (Assisted GPS, what most cell phones have, requiring cell service to gain first lock and download maps) SUCKS for bike use.

            • Martin Cavassa

              I’ve used both (Garmin GPSmap 60Cx, Garmin Zumo 550, and iPhone 4S with Garmin North America app) and I’ll argue that there are positives an negatives with either. The only significant negative of using a smartphone as a bike GPS is glare washing out the screen (but as long as audio instructions are used it’s not a deal breaker). Frankly, I’m thrilled with the ability to have GPS and music (and phone when I want it) on one device and those functions easily controlled through a common interface – without having to connect one device to the next through BT or hardwire connections.

          • KevinB

            Yes and no, I use an old cell phone (HTC Evo) for GPS on my bike and it works brilliantly for me. The GPS sensor definitely doesn’t require a cell connection and Google Maps allows you to cache maps so you can download the areas you’ll be riding in with a wifi connection at home. If I really need directions (which do require a data connection), I have a charger in my tailbag that I can plug my real cell phone into and create a wifi hotspot for my bike.

            It’s not waterproof, but I generally avoid riding in the rain and it works fine with leather gloves on. The greatest benefit to me is that I can create and plan routes with Google Maps and it transfers seamlessly to the phone over the cloud (accessed via wifi at home). If you’re not planning and researching routes using a computer, you’re doing it wrong.

            I would like a bigger screen, but once my current cell phone (a Galaxy Note II) gets replaced and makes its way to motocycle duty, I can’t imagine needing anything else…and all for the price of a $30 RAM mount and some wiring.

            • Rob

              Whatever is workin’ for ya I guess.. Sounds like quite a bit of hassle to me. Does the second phone/charger not require a cell signal to create a hotspot for the first phone? I use my GPS to tell me where I am, for previewing the road ahead, and for routing on the fly. I don’t use it as a twisty road finder, and I’m skeptical that this one really works for that. But if it did, that would be awesome.

              • KevinB

                It’s really not at all. The old cell phone stays on the bike and to be honest, I rarely use the second’s data connection for directions. I might re-cache the maps every 6 months or so, but it takes 15 minutes to grab a few states and they’re on there as long as you need them to be. The second one does need a signal to create a hotspot, but like I said, I rarely use it and if I’m in an area with no cell service, it’s because I’m on a ride, in which case I already have the route.

                I use GPS more as a digital map than anything. I don’t like turn-by-turn navigation because it doesn’t give me the same high-level perspective.

                I can’t say enough about using Google Maps as a twisty road finder and route creation tool. You can plan some brilliant routes using all the layers and the seamless transition to all your devices is awesome. That’s not to say I never venture off route to explore, but in my experience, looking up great roads with Maps, not to mentions restaurants, sites, etc with other services like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Wikitravel, etc make for a much more interesting ride than “Waffle House 2.6 mi East”

          • Martin Cavassa

            With some smartphone GPS apps this is correct, but is not necessarily the case for all. Full versions (including maps) of TomTom US & Canada ($49.99) and Garmin North America ($59.99) can be purchased for iOS devices in the App Store. I recommend Navigon USA & Canada ($59.99) for Android devices available in the Google Play store. As far as waterproof enclosures, for the iPhone 4/4S I recommend this kit:

          • Shaun9lives

            So, good sir. Some nav apps like Google maps may require a data connection. However, many nav apps like Navigon, Garmin, and TomTom store the maps locally on the phone and work just fine without signal, provided you smartphone has a GPS antenna of course.

        • Arthur Aronsen

          not so…just get out of cell phone range and your GPS disappears….My wife tried going from Phoenix to LA and it was gone about 50 miles outside of Phoenix while my Garmin kept on working….

      • Clint Keener

        Can I get a bluetooth headset and listen to directions from this, and music at the same time?

        • Martin Cavassa

          The simple answer is “highly likely”, though it’ll depend on TomTom’s BT implementation. If it’s like Garmin, you’ll need to link your music and/or phone to the GPS unit and your BT headset to the GPS unit.

    • Scott Jameson

      Because its gear, man!
      : )

  • Aaron Berg

    I like the fact they used Triumphs in the ad, not so sure about the Sprint GT on the side of the road low on oil…kinda stupid.

    • Clint Keener

      Shoulda had a nail in the tire, the other guy could have a plug kit.

  • Jim Priest

    Look forward to an in depth review. My old 2610 is showing it’s age, and with the Garmins running $600+ that’s simply out of my range.

    • dinoSnake

      Dig up a 2820. I’m still using mine, and it’ll fit right into the mount you currently have for your 2620. You’ll step up to full color display, Bluetooth, XM Radio and XM Traffic compatibility, ebook reading over Bluetooth, etc…and they are cheap on eBay.

  • dinoSnake

    Mere words could not express how much I ended up hating the original TomTom Rider’s design. The display bezel was so thick that a gloved hand could not activate the buttons nearest to said bezel, the rear power connectors actually wore completely away in a single 5,000 mile trip (o.O) and on said trip it took me to a non-direct route that put me 50 miles out of the way.

    If *one* good thing could be said about my TomTom Rider experience, is that it showed me I truly did like having a GPS on the bike. But one that actually *worked*…so I got a Garmin. The 2820 to be exact, as per another rider’s recommendations for great affordable Garmin bike-compatible units. Never looked back.

    Well, actually, I did look back at TomTom ONCE – I’m using the TomTom mirror mount base for the Garmin!!

    The TomTom units have always been sexy and sleek, but rotten user experience. This new one looks great and I hope that they fixed the many flaws of the original design – if so, I just might give them another shot.

  • Joshua Tessier

    The problem is that this GPS is really only good for a road bike. If you have an adventure bike or dirt bike there useless when you get off the beaten path. You need something with a wheel sensor such as the trail tech voyager, but if you want something with maps the trail tech doesn’t work. So then your into a Garmin Montana which doesn’t use a wheel sensor so you can’t use it for accurate mileage. Either way there just isn’t a good solution for a offroad oriented motorcycle GPS just yet. Mustn’t be a big enough market yet.

    • Tyler 250

      Why do you need the wheel sensor? If you’re using a GPS, you’ve got your routes right there. You don’t need a roll chart and the odometer minding that comes with it.

  • Kr Tong

    I just use tomtom on my iphone and a topeak bar mounted drybag, then routed a usb cable down the triples, between the radiator and the frame (wrapped some high-temp electrical tape on this part to be safe), under the airbox and to the battery so I can charge without some cable flapping in the wind. Stiched some conductive thread to the middle finger on my glove and bought a blinc M1. Now I’m wired in wayyy more than I wish I was.

    Tomtom app’s $50, drybag’s $20, conductive thread’s $5, or you can use conductive glove pins which are like 4 for $10. TomTom app has all the features and updates.

  • Speedo007

    Finally a decently priced motorcycle GPS. Wish I hadnt bought my Garmin Nuvi last summer, wasnt too expensive, but the touchscreen is one of the worst I’ve ever experience. Actually I might sell it to buy this TomTom…

  • Dig Dig

    From Engadget, “The Rider is currently listed at £329.99 ($511) for pre-order.” I wish it was $299.

  • Bill Buchanan

    Is this for North America too? Or only Europe?

    • Wes Siler

      TomTom is a Dutch company, so it’ll launch there first, then be imported to the US at a later date.

  • nightscout13

    So since Garmin has failed selling these paper weights to car owners, now they want to do a last chance crap shoot to bike owners? Pffff…..

  • Bill

    Putting the “CELLPHONE NEEDS DATA FOR GPS TO WORK” to REST once and for all…In a word “NO” it definitely does NOT NEED A DATA CONNECTION..PERIOD..

    READ ME;

    You have a choice of many different smartphone solutions 1) Mapdroyd 2) Asmond 3) Google with CACHED maps although I have never tried this my self b/c the other 2 are so easy) .. So you can be on the moon and get your smartphone’s GPS to work perfectly. There are some other solutions that range from limited map availability to No TURN BY TURN DIRECTIONS but the fact is THE GPS AND MAPS work easily with most of the options available. There are charges for some of the software, but to repeat ..A DATA CONNECTION IS NOT REQUIRED ..PERIOD

    I often use my outdated and not activated DROID X for this purpose due to the possibility of a surprise rain shower etc… NO DATA REQUIRED !!! ANd turn by turn detailed maps on the run..Doesn’t get any better ..( the screen brightness in direct sunlight is a problem for almost every phone I have ever looked at so be prepared for it to be almost useless at times due to that issue.)

  • Strafer

    still don’t see it for sale in the US – paper launch