GPS devices in general are made for navigation so you can theoretically use any GPS device you see fit whether you are walking, driving or hiking. But it is better to get a device that is more focused on a certain means of transportation. For instance, automotive GPS devices have fairly larger displays than handheld devices since automotive GPS models are designed to be mounted on the windshield. But you can’t exactly mount the very same device on a motorcycle because the device isn’t designed to be mounted that way. Garmin is one of the companies that offers some products that are specifically designed for motorcyclists. These devices don’t come cheap especially if you want a motorcycle GPS device with lifetime maps. The Garmin zumo 350LM is the cheapest you can get at $700 and the features barely justifies the price.
If you are thinking about mounting a standard car GPS device to your motorcycle, the one thing that you have to be concerned about is the weather. Once it starts raining, your GPS device can be ruined unless you stop somewhere and put it away quickly. You won’t have to do such a thing with the Garmin zumo 350LM because it has a rugged waterproof design meeting IPX-7 standards. In addition to that, the Garmin zumo 350LM has also been specially made to resist any UV rays or fuel spills.
Another fantastic thing about this motorcycle GPS device is the size of the display. GPS devices with 4.3-inch screens are fairly common although more people are starting to get into the 5-inch category. Since people like the idea of seeing more of the map on a single screen, Garmin decided to give devices like the zumo 350LM the 4.3-inch treatment too. It still manages to look compact for bike mounting and the touch display can still respond to touch inputs even if you are wearing gloves. The screen is sunlight-readable as well which is an important feature for non-cloudy days. While a special mount is included to make this GPS device ready for just about any type of motorcycle, the 350LM also comes with a standard car mount which could be useful during those instances where you suddenly have to drive a car and need navigational assistance.
The features of the Garmin zumo 350LM are fairly basic but that is to be expected since the350LM is marketed as an entry-level GPS device after all. Lifetime maps has to be the highlight feature here because it significantly increases the value of the zumo 350LM. Garmin will continue to support this particular device and any device with the LM suffix by supplying new and updated maps. Right out of the box, the Garmin zumo 350LM already comes with maps that pretty much covers all the major areas in North America leaving you with plenty of travel possibilities. You can essentially buy this device and keep using it knowing that the map details will never be obsolete and you won’t have to pay for new maps either.
Because of the 4.3-inch display, the zumo 350LM successfully carries the Garmin nuvi experience so motorcyclists can enjoy the ease of actually using this device. The Garmin zumo 350LM is very simple to use thanks to its basic interface and the standard display size allows the map graphics to pop out.
The Service History is one of the newest features that the zumo series of devices brings. It is more of an organizer feature that lets you keep track of the times you performed maintenance on your bike. You can add information such as the exact date you tuned your motorcycle along with the tire mileage, tire pressure, tire changes, oil changes and other things.
The Garmin zumo 350LM is also one of the Garmin products that support the BaseCamp software which helps you plan routes using your Windows or Mac system. Since motorcyclists have to deal with an exposed GPS device, Garmin encourages you to plan your route in advance using the software and send the data right to the device so drivers can really benefit from Garmin’s highly accurate GPS technologies. The zumo 350LM simply does a great job in locking into multiple satellites very quality for good position tracking.
Creating the Garmin zumo 350LM is like taking an entry-level Garmin nuvi device and stripping the features down to the barebones and give the exterior a more compact but waterproof treatment. Throw in some motorcycle exclusive features and you get the zumo 350LM. There is clearly a price to pay if you are looking for a quality motorcycle GPS device that works well and can stand the test of time but at least you can use it as an ordinary GPS device and the lifetime maps certainly gives this device more leverage than something very basic like the zumo 220.
Update: There is a newer model > Garmin zumo 390LM