Scooter Gear - Garmin Nuvi 205 GPSI can read a map as good as... no, much better than the next guy. Many years in the military taught me how to navigate using the simplest of tools, but laziness on my part has led me to test out the modern GPS units. We didn't need a giant unit with all the bells and whistles, just a compact unit that would show us all the streets and roads in the continental United States. After reading various reviews on the myriad of GPS units available, we settled on the Garmin Nuvi 205.
The motorcycle specific units are much more expensive than car units because they are are waterproo..., err water resistant and shock resistant. Being resourceful as I am, I put a Ziploc® bag over mine when it rains and I bought the $29 2-year replacement warranty in case I rattle it to death. I won't go into specs here as there are way to many things to list and it would be easier for you to just click the link below. See, there's the laziness on my part again. :)
We liked the Garmin because it was cheap (we paid $149 + tax), it shows MPH and it had the "where am I?" feature. I can click "where am I?" and it will show me grid coordinates and the nearest fuel, police and hospital. Fuel is our concern since we only have 1.3 gallon tanks.
We tell the GPS where we want to go, and there are tons of ways to do this. By address, points of interest (POI), intersections, cities, etc. Your options here are amazing. We set it to avoid highways (interstates), carpool lanes, unpaved roads and toll roads and to select the shortest distance. Shortest distance works for us on scooters, you would want to choose fastest time. When all that is done, we tell it "go". Here's where the fun starts...
About 85% of the time, it gives us a route we agree is what we like best. Often times it tells us to go up 3 blocks, turn right and go 2 blocks, turn right and go 3 blocks to get to a point we can simply "turn right and go 1 block" to get to it. This is frustrating when you don't know this beforehand. It will also randomly give you some really oddball long distance routes, for example we wanted to go to a town that was 16 miles away and the route there was just one road. The GPS calculated a 276 mile route that took us the OPPOSITE direction for quite a while! Well, we just followed the good old paper map in this instance.
This unit has the 2009 map set but in Jasper, Alabama it told us to go on streets that didn't exist (like across railroad tracks that never had a crossing there) and it didn't know about streets that had obviously been there for years and years.
One thing we do like about this GPS is that it does seem to have all the little known paved backroads in it. We saw some beautiful parts of north Alabama by following little roads through the mountains on our way to Scottsboro. All said and done, the GPS does the job for the most part but the bad directions it gives at times are very annoying. Garmin is generally a quality brand but I can't say I would recommend this unit to anyone unless they improve their maps.
See all the current Garmin GPS units at Amazon.com.
Overall, we give the Garmin Nuvi 205 GPS a 2 out of 5.