Garmin Zumo 390LM: New GPS Navigator For Motorcyclists

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In addition to the basic navigation function combined with motorcyclists-friendly features like Bluetooth connectivity for headsets and big buttons that work with gloved hands, this new Garmin Zumo 390LM adds compatibility with tire pressure monitoring systems, service history tracking and the ability to plot routes via “curvy roads.”

The Zumo 390LM is a high end, aftermarket navigation unit aimed at providing motorcyclists with rider aids beyond simple directions. “It’s light-weight and easy to mount, includes lifetime map updates¹, and can handle the toughest weather conditions,” states Garmin.

A sold-separately tire pressure monitor is required for each wheel, but the system is capable of logging and tracking your motorcycle’s service history as stock, alerting you when it’s time to lube your chain and or change your oil.

It delivers guidance via its large, color screen, obviously, but also over Bluetooth audio to a compatible headset, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road.

The “Curvy Roads” feature allows riders to enter a destination, then allow the unit to take them there via enjoyable roads, rather than highways or stretches of long straight. And, if you’re out riding a discover a good road, “Track Back” allows you to record its location and navigate to it in the future.

MSRP is a staggering $700 before TPMS and a Bluetooth headset though.

  • justusz

    Do you guys have plans to test this?

    • Wes Siler

      I hope so.

      • contender

        I hope it is a comparison against a run-of-the-mill smartphone. Garmin should hurry and die.

        • el_jefe

          Try making a long distance custom map with a smart phone navigation app. Then try adjusting that route on the fly,while riding, in the rain, with riding gloves on. Good luck. We need companies like Garmin to stick around and keep making dedicated products. The idea of convergent technology and an “app” for everything is what needs to die. Sometimes a specialized product is the right solution.

          • contender

            Not at this price.

            • el_jefe

              Cell phone = touch screen LCD + misc circuit boards + Li-Ion battery + radios + casing = $500+600. Now subsidize that over a 2 year carrier contract….

              Same basic components here. People just think their cell phones are so cheap because they don’t admit to the fact they are financed. Add to that the fact this is a specialized (and therefore relatively low volume product) and there’s the reason for the high price.

              So put it on your Visa and pay $20 a month. Or quit complaining :)

              • TheBoatDude

                Your reality-based argument is reasonable and well thought out. You have no business here on the internet, sir!

          • Stuki

            I’d rather see a waterproof smartphone (or smartphone case) with glove friendly touch screen, than a separate device for absolutely every conceivable thing out there. Lots of the cost of all these devices, are their power supply, screen, processor and memory. The rest is generally just software.

            Even Garmin is obviously in on the integration part, with them integrating tire pressure monitors and service minders in the GPS, instead of selling each as a separate box with a separate power supply, processor and screen.

            Another advantage of smartphone based nav is, you’ll take it with you, helping prevent theft.

            Even much more advanced built in car navs is better replaced by an ipad, as long as the requisite sensors are installed and communicates with the mother app.

            • Rejkelie

              Quote: The rest is generally just software.

              Yep. But that is the key (and the main development cost). If you have ever seriously taken a ride for more than a week at a time you will realize that even todays high end smartphone with the latest Google maps stand small compared to a dedicated device.

              Just try to enter a street adress in google (on your phone of choice) with your summer gloves on and compare that to a garmin or adjust the routing to find a nice curvy road, or perhaps the closest gas-station (or hospital for that matter). The easy with how you do that on a dedicated device beats all phones hands down. In addition things like speed cameras, current road speed etc. etc. comes in handy at times.

              Zumo might not be perfect (for once the screen resolution is fairly low – and I would like a litte bit longer battery time) but the fact is that it does what it is supposed to do very well in rugged case. Yes they include useless application to have something to write in the prospects but the core mapping and routing is all I care about and that works really well.

  • Braden

    I understand that we must have a price difference between these units and regular old car GPS units, due to the fact that the unit needs to be ruggedized and all the nifty motorcycle specific features. Why though, is it such a huge jump to $500+ with these types?

    • Eric Shay

      From viewing the advertisement, it is being marketed to the people who don’t want to spend 1500 dollars for the built in GPS offered, but rather a cheaper portable unit.

      • Braden

        Ahh, you’re right. I forgot about the relative cost of built in GPS. Puts it in perspective.

    • Lourens Smak

      The biggest difference (besides the weatherproofing) is that you can ride a certain route with GPS’es like this Garmin, as opposed to navigating to somewhere. With the Garmin Basecamp software you can create a trip that isn’t neccessarily the shortest route to somewhere, or even a curvy route to somewhere, but it’s an exact route over roads you specify. The route might even end at the same place it starts… Of course you can also download thousands of routes that will work on this GPS, or just ride a bit and trace your route, and cut & paste the good bits into a route for later use. Overhere in Europe these Garmins are very popular despite their pricetag, because these routing-functions are basically unique.

      The only thing that might be comparable for creating routes is the Tripy II, but I think it’s probably more “different” than “better”, it’s more of an electronic rallye-roadbook. I don’t think it’s available with US map. (even though you can have the company digitize ANY map for you)

      For simple navigation to somewhere, indeed an old car GPS will work fine.

      • Tyler 250

        Most of the automotive models support custom routes, too. That’s not a Zumo-specific feature.

        • Lourens Smak

          You are correct and incorrect… ;-) Usually you set points (up to 50 seems common) and the car-GPS *navigates* from point to point. These Garmins don’t *navigate* from point to point, they follow the route (you made) exactly, from point to point… This is an absolutely essential difference. (Of course they can also navigate to an address and so on, that is indeed exactly the same as with a car gps)

          • Strafer

            google maps on my desktop computer can make custom routes and does it efficiently
            Unfortunately google navigation on my smartphone does not have this feature and there is no way to import the route from the computer to the phone

            • KeithB

              And there is the reason I still use a Garmin dedicated GPS unit.
              Picked it up used on Kijiji for $150 and it works just fine in the car and on the bike…even with gloves on.
              Waterproof, you ask? Ziploc :)

            • Braden

              There are several free downloadable apps that you can import custom routes from google maps into and then get turn by turn directions. MotionX is one of many if I recall correctly.

            • jonoabq

              Try the GPSDrive (motionX) phone app, works very well for point to point. Very effective voice over in congested city traffic.

          • Tyler 250

            No, that’s not how it works. Or, the zumo (660 and 350, anyway) work like you say a car does, I guess. They all navigate between the waypoints according to the options you have set in the device. I’ve got a friend with a nuvi and I have a zumo. I create a route in BaseCamp and load it on to both devices and they work exactly the same. All the way across the country.

            Also, the waypoint limit is 30 on the zumo 350. An older nuvi actually does what you want it to do better than a new zumo.

            It does sound like this new model finally uses the same routing algorithm that the Motorcycle option does in BaseCamp, so that would make things easier, for sure.

  • Robert Glover

    Gee I wonder if they finally addressed the #1 complaint about previous Zumos — the pixel-doubled maps! What’s the point of a 480×272 display when the maps appear as if they were rendered on a 240×136 display? That’s why I sold my Zumo 665 and got a Montana 600 instead. It’s not quite as ideal for motorcycle use as the Zumo, but it works MUCH better.

    • John

      That was the least of my complaints I have with my 560, which is sitting in a draw doing absolutely nothing.

      • Robert Glover

        Would love to hear your complaints! My other complaints included way too much to list here, but included slow operation, frequent crashes/freezes, and a stupid UI in many ways.

        • John

          I couldn’t get over the horrible software (what, like 12 programs you need?) and updating procedure. Then when I complained that they forgot that Mexico was in North America, they refused to give me Mexican maps and told me I’d have to pay $150 or something like that more. They were totally arrogant about it, refused to see that the stuff was hard to use, hard to update, and wasn’t what was advertised, so I just ate it. Mine didn’t crash much, because I didn’t use it very much. Didn’t do much of anything my Android and iPhone didn’t do better. Tried to use it, but gave up. And simple things, like, it saw that I was driving on streets that didn’t exist, so……why wouldn’t a smart system automatically at those to the maps?!? Not exactly high tech, advanced stuff.

        • John

          Oh, yeah, and the constant freaking out because the road wasn’t where it said it was, so the map kept jumping around and it wanted to tell me to get back on the road and it is just a dumb piece of gear and they really should just go out of business and stop ripping people off. But, you know, I’m not upset about it or anything…..

  • Mark Vizcarra

    you know if a regular gps works as well also. With an aquabox fitted with a rammount x grip. But you know I usually stop when I need to fiddle with my gps. Or buy some capacitive gloves. But somehow my deerskin glove happens to work with any touchscreen. Most riders will not have the need for a waterproof/resistant GPS anyways when out riding

    • Stuki

      Those riders that do have a “need” for a GPS at all, are fairly likely to “need” one that is somewhat water resistant.

      • el_jefe

        Yeah, where is this land with no rain and dust? I’d like to plan a ride there sometime…

  • Dan

    I don’t understand what is “high end” about this product. Compare it to just about any modern smart phone (you know, the products that ruined the market for automotive GPS), and all I see is a bulky, low-end phone with a crappy screen and crappy proprietary mapping software. These are $150 (maybe) commodity items, not $700 “innovations.”

    • el_jefe

      Use a Zumo and you’ll understand*. There are lots of comments below about the ability of a good dedicated gps to do things like custom routing (not simply navigating from point to point). Making a touch screen product that works well with gloves on, in all lighting situations and weather is no simple design task. Add that to the lower demand for the motorcycle units and you get a high price.

      I’ve owned a Zumo 450 for years and it could in no way be replaced by a smart phone. I tried when I thought my Zumo was broken. Good thing it wasn’t, cause I’m back to loving using it.

      Yes, it’s got issues. Base camp is pretty much the worst software ever, but if you fight through it you are rewarded with a great experience when on the bike, which is what it’s all about.

      *sort of. they are still somewhat over-priced, but they are high end products.

  • John

    I bought a Garmin for my bike. It was a piece of highly recommended crap. They said it came with North American maps, which, oh, BTW, Garmin, the map making company, doesn’t know that MEXICO is in NORTH AMERICA. So then I had to pay $hundreds more for additional maps. But it’s not just that. It is non intuitive, needed a dozen different software pieces to operate it properly, required really nonintuitive downloads to upgrade, etc, etc, etc. Just get an Android or iPad, this thing is Flintstones technology.

  • w0lfatncsu

    $700? I’ll continue using my phone, a ram mount, and a zip lock bag for when it rains.

  • Justin McClintock

    I’ll stick with my Garmin Nuvi 500. Cost me $300 5 years ago, still works great, it’s waterproof, and it works fine with my gloves on. I don’t see what this thing has over the Nuvi 500 that some free software off the internet can’t make up for.

  • joe handy

    Did the latest TomTom Rider ever come out? That was supposed to be way cheaper, but have a lot of good similar features. Any chance at a comparison?

  • jaspertuddies

    blah….soooooo expensive and if my zumo that i bought a few years back is any indication, it will not last. after 1 year it died on me and it NEVER saw rain or rough handling. what a piece of disposable garbage

  • John

    It’s always the parents fault ;^)

    They seriously need to get a grip on things called “software” and “internet”.

  • Boredinmin

    That’s worth $250-$300 tops. Garmin has serious pricing issues going on. Just look at the upcoming Monterra.

  • Benjamin Reynolds

    I dont understand the cost, while I understand theres extra features and the device is more rugged I don’t see the price difference. Software shouldn’t cost that much.

    • Rejkelie

      Quote: Software shouldn’t cost that much

      Sorry but you are wrong (although I should tell you that I’m biased since I work as a senior SW engineer) High quality software normally takes years to develop for a mid-sized team. All in all I’m quite sure that in a modern garmin device (not to speak of a phone) there is easily 100 man years of effort in designing/constructing/verifying/testing the software in everythign from the GPS stack, the OS with all its device interfaces and the application layer (and that is excluding the actual collection of the mapping data).

      There is even software in modern batteries (for those who didn’t know). From that you can calculate the break-even point just to recoup the salay and other development cost in the life-span of the product.

      Many people fail to realize that the absolute highest cost in modern electronics is easily the software. HW is a commodity but we still haven’t been able to “commoditize” software – hence the high cost. That is one of the reason trying to reduce the BOM (bill-of-materials) cost per device since you cannot really afford expensive HW on top of the already expensive development cost.

      Whatever you might think SW is not (and never will be) cheap as long as people have to do the work and get paid for it.

      • Benjamin Reynolds

        Agreed. After writing that comment I came to realize the points you just made. I also came to realize I spent over $400 of my little black and white screened Garmin Cycling GPS. Put in that perspective $700 for this guy isn’t so bad.

  • Piglet2010

    I use paper maps kept in the glove-box of my Dullsville. :)

    • jonoabq

      …paper maps on a tank bag. If I get really lost I can pull my phone out and do a quick look see, save the $700 for something else.

  • Randy S

    Anybody know much about this?

    Looks to me like a promising alternative to using smartphones which, in my experience, can’t handle the dust, bright light, water, and vibration of a long tour. And yet their software is MILES beyond anything Garmin offers so I’m still stuck using my phone ….

  • Kelly Corey

    I thought the point was to just get out and ride? Explore new roads? I have two uses for my GPS (three really) – it gets me home when I get lost on purpose, and when I plan for a long ride to someplace I’ve never been (- and it lets me know how fast I’m really going, Officer, as my speedo is off). Unless you tour every weekend, or get lost a LOT, save your money. I mounted my cheap car GPS (Nuvi 265T) on my SV1KS and it’s perfect for that extra feeling of security.

  • raitchison

    Unless I’m reading the info on this wrong it seems to have rather limited Bluetooth compared to even previous Zumo models. I don’t need the device to play music but if your bluetooth headset can only connect to one device at a time it seems you have to choose whether to listen to music or to voice guidance, you can’t have both.

    As I understand it the Zumo 660 allows you to pair your phone with the Zumo and the Bluetooth headset with the Zumo and you can have your music (from your phone) as well as voice guidance.

    • Rejkelie

      If your bluetooth headet supports multipoint (e.g. connecting to two devices at the same time) you can listen to music from your phone (say) and still have the voice guiding from the Garmin

  • GaryCulb

    The Zumo 390Lm has a great screen and the exceptional Garmin features. However, the programers forgot to add the TOOL to Adjust the Volume applications to the device on the Volume Screen. Though listed in both the Garmin Quick Reference & Owners Manuals this feature was left off the 390LM. What does this mean. Your Zumo 390LM will beep every time you press it unless you place it on Mute. If you use the Bluetooth feature this will interupt all other attached Bluetooth devices again unless the device is muted. The Navigation Voice Blares out at you even on the lowest volume settings. Very Rider unfriendly device.

    Per Garmin Automotive Support they have no intention of updating this device & plan to change the Manuals.