What satnavs do people use?

As I hope to do a bit of U.K. touring next year I was looking at bike sat navs - Garmin and TomTom.

I thought I’d also look into navigation phone apps as an alternative and this is what I found….

Google Maps -
Looks almost ideal. The navigation instructions are really clear and gives all the information I need. It has the added benefit of live traffic and you can download off-line maps. However it has one major drawback - I can’t enter waypoints. I can enter “Stops” but they mean just that; I have to click confirm on the map when I reach that point for the navigation to continue, which on the bike literally means stopping. If I could figure out how to overcome this I would just use Google maps for navigation.

This has everything I need apart from live traffic. Waypoints (up to three) that can be selected by clicking a point on the map, off-line maps that can be downloaded, plus very detailed mapping which includes petrol stations, hotels, pubs etc, etc and if you click on a hotel or pub etc it will give you the option to go to their website or booking.com so you can check availability - very handy. The lack of live traffic is a bit odd as there is a traffic icon but it’s greyed out on the app, so I don’t know whether this is a future option or just not available in my area. This app is also free and there doesn’t appear to be a paid version which I thought might include the live traffic.

Waze -
There’s no option to download off-line maps which is a bit of a deal killer for me. You also don’t appear to be able to set destinations or waypoints by clicking on the map - you have to enter places. On the plus side it has live traffic and it’s also free.

Detecht -
Again, no off-line maps and destinations/waypoints can’t be selected by clicking the map - place names only.

Calimoto -
This one isn’t free. You have to pay £43 per year or a one-off £85 to download all the maps. It also doesn’t have live traffic. It doesn’t appear to do anything that MAPS.ME won’t do for free.

I think I’ll end up using a combination of Google Maps and MAPS.ME depending on the circumstances.

Are there any others that people use that they would recommend?

If you’re on Apple their maps app is much improved from the early days. I use it when I haven’t got the Tom Tom on the bike, just with the audio, particularly when I’m out on the MV as the satnav they provide for turn-by-turn directions on the dash is terrible.

Another option is MyRouteApp. There’s an extensive web interface that’s free for the basic funtions, and a navigation app to go with it. Can’t remember the cost of the app.


Myrouteapp had an offer on the nav. 60 quid, dont know if its still on. My preference is tomtom for a few reasons

I like my Tom Tom. Some people prefer the Garmin but I think it’s mainly swings and roundabouts with those devices. One thing the premium MyRouteApp provides is the ability to use Tom Tom, Garmin and other maps, which means they can be loaded up on those devices. I use the Tom Tom map for planning in MRA.


Another vote for Tomtom. I had a Garmin once and hated it. As @Andyc1 said, combine it with Myroute and you’ll be fine. Toured UK and Europe without problem, and use it daily in the car too. That way it doesn’t feel so expensive :smile:

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Honestly my iphone does it right. I won’t bother to carry an other unit than my iphone.
I have a SW Motech Shelter to put the phone in. Perfect

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I use MapFactor Navigator on android and have done for years. It has offline maps and waypoints. I’ve tried maps.me and google but because I’ve used mapfactor for so long I struggled to get used to them and returned to mapfactor. The traffic updates is a feature I don’t use, it costs money plus I don’t use data on my phone. In fact, I use an old phone with no sim card as my navigation system. I also have a garmin zumo 346 that I bought last year and it’s good just to get from a to b using their routes but trying to set your own using route shaping is just too unfathomable to me… When I toured Spain and France this year I left the garmin at home and used mapfactor and when I needed extra info i.e. petrol stations I just brought up google maps. Plus when it rained I switched over to the enfield navagation app which displays on a device very similar to beeline but gets my phone off the handlebar as it isn’t waterproof unlike the garmin.

Tomtom for me! Never tried the garmin though but I know that others who have tried waze/google maps always get frustrated with it on trips out most of the time.
Also, with the tomtom (probably garmin too) you can add a twisty route to a destination.


On the bike, I use Myrouteapp premium and Tom Tom Rider. For A-B in the car, Googlemaps.

Sat nav wise, Garmin every time. I have two. One Zumo 660 for the bike and a Camper 760 for the motorhome. I’ve tried Tom Tom but they don’t have route, trip planning software. Basecamp is brilliant for plotting routes etc.
When they need replacing however I might look at using my phone and something like calimoto. The main problem with using the phone is rain. Also the touch screen doesn’t work whilst wearing gloves.

I wanted a dedicated bike satnav for the water resistance so 4 years ago I bought a TomTom Rider 550 Premium (which has bike and car mount). The main selling point was that it had WiFi so didn’t need any app on phone or PC to use or update it. I can just directly directly create routes on the satnav, or for tour planning, sometimes I use free web version of MyRouteApp and export the route to a file and copy that to satnav from my PC via USB.

If I want real-time traffic and speed camera info when on the road I can turn on the WiFi hotspot on my phone for satnav to connect to internet.

I should add that I didn’t even consider a Garmin satnav due to previous frustrating experience with car satnav which resulted in me throwing it out of the car window. (Don’t get me wrong, the TomTom still has lots of annoyances about it).

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I’ve been out and about testing the MAPS.ME app this afternoon. It seems fine as a basic sat nav. It lacks the live traffic and doesn’t tell you speed limits, but other than that works adequately getting from a to b while allowing a bit of route customisation.

Waze is perfect for me virtually no issues always up to date. It got me out of trouble during my Arctic trip when the Garmin through a wobbly.
On the Forza I’ve got a phone holder so I’ll be using Waze again. On the VStrom either Waze or Garmin.
I never make routes, always going from point A to point B so route planning is not required. Waze gives up to date traffic information and speed limits

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Frustrating experience with Garmin… Yep I recognise that feeling, I nearly broke my finger hitting the screen so hard because of frustration. Turns out route shaping feature says ‘tap the screen’ but it doesn’t respond to the tap if it doesn’t have a gps signal… sitting indoors trying to learn the feature with no GPS signal showed me that I am a long long way off gaining enlightenment!

I use a garmin 396 which I prefer it to Tom Tom which I have in my car. I use MyRoute-app for route planning which provides Wi-Fi download from my phone to my garmin 396 unit.

Base camp is ok, but not as flexible as MyRoute-app, imo.

The music player on the garmin is excellent and the garmin smart link app on my phone provides real time traffic information, full phone functionality and lots more other goodies.

The best thing about Waze is the crowdsourcing, which means you get good warning for cameras, both fixed and mobile, and parked up traffic police. Around here it’s quite handy for finding out if there are sheep on the road, too. If you have CarPlay (which I don’t) it’s a reasonable alternative, especially if your licence has a few points already.Owned by Google now, I believe, which is the downside. I don’t log in to it any more.

Always used Garmin since my first Tom Tom sat nav which broke. My Garmin links well with my bluetooth headset and my Oppo phone. Easy to make calls and play music stored on my Garmin in which i’ve got an extra sd card.

One of these, requires, A4 paper, Sharpie pen, Sellotape (other brands are available) Map. Sit down for half an hour with a map, write down the directions, waypoints, maybe road numbers and stick it to your tank. Costs £2 max and if you get lost, all the better for it. If I can manage 4000 mile trips using this, anyone can.


You can do that wirelessly with the tomtom. One of the reasons I prefer it. I’m not sure if you need gold membership or not. But you can directly export from myrouteapp to tomtom mydrive, turn on your tomtom and the route is there. Best thing is its a track, no waypoints which IMO is a superior way to do you route.

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I have the opposite preference, I want waypoints not a track as I don’t want to turn around to get back on the track, just back to the general route. In MyRouteApp web interface your can export as either, so the choice is yours :slight_smile:

P.S. Waywpoints are also good when there’s closed roads or you miss a turn, satnav will just reroute. (And in my experience about half the time there’s a close road somewhere when I got for a ride.)