New Garmin zūmo XT GPS offers ruggedized navigation

Garmin’s just announced a new motorcycle navigation system, aimed at the adventure riding market. Called the zūmo XT, it offers some interesting capabilities that could change what you use your GPS for.

Plenty of riders have turned to using their smartphones for GPS duty in the past few years, so Garmin’s wisely decided to build a unit that doesn’t just tell you how to get from A to B. The zūmo XT also tells you the most exciting way to get from A to B, and offers plenty of other information when paired with your smartphone. Smart! Instead of using your phone to replace your GPS, Garmin just wants you to use it to augment your GPS.

Here are the deets. The zūmo XT has a 5.5-inch touchscreen HD display, with lots of brightness so you can use it in the sun. It can be mounted in landscape or portrait mode.

It’s got the new Garmin Adventurous Routing system, which is a clever new way of moving past turn-by-turn street navigation and showing the other options in an area, as in 4×4 roads, public land boundaries, etc.; there’s also birdseye satellite images, which can be downloaded without a subscription. You can plan a route by linking the GPS to your smart device, or computer. The Garmin Drive app not only syncs the GPS to your mobile device for easy file transfers, but it also allows riders to keep on top of real-time traffic updates, weather, gas prices and other useful information.

According to the press release, Garmin also offers “the HISTORY® database of notable sites, iOverlander points of interest, Ultimate Public Campgrounds, a U.S. National Parks directory, TripAdvisor® traveler ratings and Foursquare® content – offering millions of popular places to explore.” So, sightseeing is easier, and the GPS also functions as a safety device. You can pair it to a Garmin inReach Satellite Communicator for two-way texting, critical location sharing, and interactive SOS.

Bluetooth compatibility also means you can use it to set up hands-free calling, or use it as an infotainment system (store MP3 files on the GPS system and stream them to your helmet communicator).

The Garmin zūmo XT GPS is rain-resistant and meets  the military’s 810G drop test. Battery life is 3.5 hours on 100 per cent brightness, or as much as 6 hours if you dim the screen; of course, it can also be hardwired. It’s supposed to be available this month for $499 US. More details and photos at the Garmin website.


  1. I don’t know why I have to keep inventing things but wouldn’t a simple head unit based screen with Apple CarPlay and Android auto built in be much better? Waterproof, bright screen and Bluetooth is all it needs. Download your maps ahead of time on your phone and the system is continuously updated.

  2. It would be nice if these GPS manufacturers sold a “cheap” version. I cannot justify a ~$500 USD motorcycle GPS; nor do I need all the “bells & whistles” other than map navigation.


    • Just get the 396 instead, it’s pretty cheap on Amazon at the moment… Or even cheaper, they sell rugged cellphones, you just need a mount and to download the maps from home.

    • They do make a less expensive version. The automotive units available at Best Buy, Walmart, Canadian Tire among others. They come with lifetime maps but will not have some features found on the expensive motorcycle specific units. Givi makes several models of motorcycle specific holders for GPS or cell phones in multiple sizes dependant on the screen size. They are water resistant and have a water proof cover in case of heavy rain. The link for Givi’s holders is here.

      The Givi GPS cases are less than $100 and come with their own mounting system for handle bar or mirror stalk. The two I have used have been great. I am currently using a Garmin Nuvi 3750 in the case

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