We tested the best adventure motorcycle GPS to help you get around and paired it with a Sena Momentum helmet review for stylish and fully integrated navigation.
Best Adventure Motorcycle GPS: Beeline Moto navigation
If you occasionally wish you had turn-by-turn guidance system on your motorcycle but don’t want to mount a smartphone or GPS unit on your classic bike, there’s another option. It’s called Beeline Moto, and although it relies on a smartphone to operate, the phone stays in your pocket while the tiny Beeline unit is on your handlebars.
The device communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth and a free Beeline app is used to plan routes and send routing instructions to the Beeline device. The Google Maps-based app is versatile and provides options to avoid highways, gravel roads and tolls, if desired. You can also select between planning a motorcycle route or a bicycle route. Once completed, rides can be named and stored on the phone. You can also import GPX routes and view the map as several types (satellite, hybrid, route, etc.).
The included mounting system is very simple and attaches the device to the handlebar via a simple twist-and-lock plastic docking unit held in place by a couple of rubber bands making it extremely easy to move the device from one bike to another. There is also a semi-permanent ball-mount type fitting that can be attached to any flat surface with an included sticky pad. The device is easy to remove from the mount and slip in your pocket once you get where you’re going.
The device shows the distance to the next turn, and what direction you’ll need to turn. A large chevron is displayed on the unit that indicates the direction of travel and a white dot that roams around the perimeter of the device indicates what type of turn is coming next (hard left, slight left, hard right, etc.).
There is also a graduated scale shown at the top of the device that indicates route progress. No numbers are visible, but you can quickly see if you’re 1/3 of the way to your destination, or halfway or almost there. No roads or street names are shown. Imagine you’re driving a rally car with your navigator in the passenger seat telling you things like “right turn in 0.1 miles, veer left in 5.8 miles, etc.”
The main advantage is that it’s easy to quickly glance down and know how soon you need to make a turn. There are side buttons that can be pushed to reveal other information such as: battery level of your phone and the device, your current speed, how many miles you’ve traveled to your destination and how many are left, the current time and how long you’ve been on your trip.
The device is small — only 1/2-inch thick and 1-3/4-inches in diameter — and it weighs just under 3 ounces for the metal-cased version. There is also a slightly less expensive plastic version (originally intended for bicycle use) that weighs only one ounce. The internal battery will power the unit for about 30 hours and can be recharged by the USB powered recharging station included with the device. The plastic device costs about $200 and the metal ones (recommended for motorcycles due to superior water resistance) cost about $250.
I’ve been using the Beeline device for several months now and I really like the simplicity. It takes a little getting used to at first, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. I’ve mostly used it on country roads although it worked fine for me on city streets as well. Like all GPS devices, if you miss a turn, it quickly recalculates and re-routes you. It’s the best adventure motorcycle gps in either setting.
It’s so small and unobtrusive, it doesn’t look out of place on the handlebar of a vintage motorcycle, and it’s easy to move from one bike to another. Your phone stays in your pocket where it’s not subjected to weather or vibration and its battery doesn’t run down rapidly updating the map on the screen.
I’m impressed with how clever and simple the Beeline device is. Most of the time, I’m riding on roads I know well but there are times when I need to go into unknown territory. The little Beeline device is the best adventure motorcycle gps because it provides just the right amount of information.
There are several vendors of the device in the U.S. For more about the device, including video tutorials, see: Beeline.
— by Corey Levenson
Sena Momentum helmet review
A generation ago, cellphone technology was in its infancy, and onboard music or CB radio communications were more likely enjoyed through a set of fairing-mounted speakers on a Gold Wing or Voyager than inside a helmet. But like the Monkees sang, “That was then, this is now.” In 2010, Sena proved a disruptive force in bike-to-bike communication with its well-regarded Bluetooth intercom systems. This capability now extends to a range of mobile communication products for motorcyclists, bicyclists, skiers, skydivers — you name it.
A key product in Sena’s motorcycling line is the Momentum EVO helmet, which retails for $399. Now in its second generation, the DOT- and ECE-certified lid is upgraded with a new “oval” fit, an integrated “Mesh 2.0” intercom system for easy connectivity with up to 25 similarly equipped riders over a 5-mile possible range, and evolved ventilation. Available in matte black only in three sizes — medium, large and extra large — it’s the base model in a four-helmet Momentum lineup that also includes the Momentum INC ($549) with electronic noise cancellation, the Momentum PRO ($599) with an integrated 2K camera system, and the Momentum INC PRO ($699) with both.
We found the fit quite pleasant, with the removable and washable liner soft and comfortable. The visor (the helmet comes with an “anti-scratch” clear shield and a tinted visor is available optionally) indexes decisively in four positions: Closed; 3/8- and 1 3/8-inch open for defogging and ventilation; and fully open. The center-positioned visor tab may have seemed like a good idea on paper, but why? The clutch (left) hand is clearly the right choice for operating a visor, and this is surely why Sena thankfully placed the primary electronic controls on the left side of the helmet, including on/off, volume up/down, and phone pairing.
The Sena Momentum EVO can pair with up to two personal mobile devices, such as a phone and a GPS unit. After several attempts, I finally got my own smartphone and the Sena Momentum EVO paired, and was able to place calls and listen to Spotify. The sound quality is more treble than midrange and bass, although the signals are crisp and clear, with excellent stereo imaging. Adjusting the volume up or down produces (at times unwelcome) confirmation beeps, and the volume range is limited. Lacking a method of measuring in-helmet sound pressure while riding, I’d subjectively call the helmet’s noise attenuation “reasonable.”
The overall summary of this Sena Momentum helmet review: for its modest price, the Momentum EVO provides connectivity and infotainment features that were nearly unimaginable a generation ago. We can’t wait to try the Momentum INC Pro and discover Sena’s broader motorcycle technology suite.
— by John L. Stein