Gear: Garmin zumo 390LM Motorcycle Navigation System

Garmin’s new zumo 390LM has been developed to meet the specific needs of motorcyclists. In the past few weeks I’ve taken it all over the state of California. Here's how it held up.

Features:
The zumo 390LM is the newest addition to Garmin’s motorcycle-specific line of GPS units. It’s mounted on the handlebars via a RAM mount, and also comes with an extra attachment that allows you to stick it to the windshield of a car.

The zumo 390LM was designed to be exposed to the elements and operated while wearing safety equipment. It is waterproof and Garmin even claims that it is fuel resistant. The touchscreen is operable with or without gloves, and the buttons are large enough to take into account glove-covered fingers.

The 390LM is the first Garmin to add compatibility with a tire pressure monitoring system, however it requires separately-purchased monitors for the wheels that retail for $69.99 each and you'll need one for each tire.

It is Bluetooth compatible, allowing the voice commands to be delivered through any Bluetooth headset.

A feature for road trip pleasure dubbed the 'curvy roads' setting, is also included. It aims to help you to find the most entertaining route on any given ride.

The Garmin zumo 390LM motorcycle navigation system retails for $699.99 out of the box, before adding the extra Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Garmin zumo 390LM motorcycle navigation system

The Good
The 390LM interface is intuitive and the search functions and settings are all extremely easy to operate and navigate between. Connecting the Bluetooth was also quite seamless, and my personal choice was to silence the turn-by-turn navigation audio as the map was easily visible while riding.

The screen is nice and bright, and both night and day modes are easy to see. The screen has good contrast no matter what color mode you place it on, making information easy to gather with just a quick glance. This Garmin also has a variety of screen information options allowing minimalist to info-centric layouts, giving my busy mind plenty of numbers to crunch along the ride.

It worked as expected and got me where I needed to go.

The Bad
The curvy roads feature is a really cool idea, but I wish it just provided a list of possible options for you to hit on your route. On the way back from Big Sur, I wanted to take the San Marcos Pass to my burger spot in Carpentaria instead of sitting on the 101 and assumed hitting the curvy road setting would find it. Turns out, it finds a way to string every curvy road together with a sort of “all or nothing” process. Not what I expected or wanted.

Entering a specific address can be a little time consuming as Garmin choose to spread the letters across three pages to allow for large "glove sensitive" buttons. Personally, I’d rather just take off my gloves when entering the address and then get going when my route is set.

Verdict
The Garmin zumo 390LM worked flawlessly through a myriad of weather conditions. It is an excellent addition to any trip, whether you’re worried about getting lost, like to keep records of your routes and adventures, or are just a data geek.

If they improve the logic of the curvy road feature and allow for easier address entry, it would be just about perfect.

Additional Product Information: View Garmin zumo 390LM Interface Screens

Related Links:
News: Garmin Zumo 390LM: New GPS Navigator for Motorcyclists
News: TomTom Rider: GPS for Bikers
Comparison Test: 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure vs 2013 Honda CB500X

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