Hey all you tech GPS heads...
Posted June 25, 2001 - 08:30 AM
I see that the Garmin Etrix Vista has a handlebar mount and has TONS more memory for downloading maps and data.
Has anyone on this forum used the Etrix Vista on a motorcycle with a handlebar mount? Can this unit withstand the rigors of offroad motorcycle riding (unlike my GPS III+)? Can you download the Mapsource topo data to the Vista like you can the GPS III+?
Posted June 25, 2001 - 10:02 AM
You talkin to me??? (I guess I'm a tech GPS head.)
If you haven't already, check out this link: www2.garmin.com/outdoor/compare.jsp to compare the features. The eTrex Vista definitely has some plusses-larger display, lighter, more memory, barometric altimeter, magnetic compass, etc.
BUT, there also seems to be drawbacks to that model that apply specifically to motorcycles. The controls are on the side of the unit--great if you're holding it in your hand, but bad if you want to mount it on the handlebars and use it while moving. The screen can't be oriented horizontally. The voltage is only 2.5V. That would make it very difficult to use external power. With the battery life of only 12 hours, compared to 36 for the III+ (2 AA vs 4 AA is 6 hrs/batt vs 9 hrs/batt, respectively) it would be more expensive to run. They also cost more than the III+.
Finally, I'm on my third GPS (Lowrance Globalnav 12), which I have mounted to my handlebars using a RAM mount. My first 2 vibrated themselves into oblivion while still under warranty. The one I'm using now somehow lasted past the warranty period, so I opened it up and used hot glue to "harden" it. Aloop sells vibration-hardened GPS III+ units for $329. If you already have one, the hardening costs $44. Since I hardened mine, it hasn't had any problems. I know several people who use a hardened GPS III+ and haven't had any problems.
All in all, I'd stick with the III+ if I were you. And take the time to hard wire it to your bike. It's well worth the effort!
Posted June 25, 2001 - 10:19 AM
Aloop told me the main difference between the GPS III+ and the EMAP was that the GPS III+ could be dismantled and hardened and the EMAP was welded shut. Also, the III+ is waterproof and the EMAP is not. III+ has a horizontal layout and can be changed to vertical layout. EMAP is only vertical and won't fit the "cockpit" of a bike as well.
I went with the III+ on major recommendation from Aloop. I hope it was a good call!
Posted June 25, 2001 - 01:28 PM
Posted June 25, 2001 - 02:05 PM
Good luck buddy!
Posted June 25, 2001 - 05:50 PM
I have over 3000 miles on my Garmin GPS III+ mounted on my WR 400. You have to wire the unit for external power to get around the vibrating battery problem. External power cables are available from a company called Blue Hills Innovations. You can find a link on the best GPS site on the web. http://joe.mehaffey.com/
The most useful advice about GPS and bikes I got was from Victor Johnson. His home page is
Old guy and GPS geek
Posted June 29, 2001 - 12:32 AM
I started doing research after my trip to Michigan and getting lost a few times, then some guy rode up with a GPS and showed me the route out.
Except for an external antenae hookup (which you wouldn't use on the dirt bike anyway) the vista has tons of features that would be useful for me.
-Trip Computer (check against my topeak in an enduro)
-Both tracks and routes
-24 MB ram
-no external antenae to break-off
While the GPSIII+ is marketed for mobile usage, I am not sure they had dirt bikes in mind. The Vista is for outdoor use and specifically list motorcycles and ATV's as applications.
To wrap this up.....the Vista does take maps, the Topo from the III+ and others. As far as the buttons on the sides comment...true but, there is actually a mini joy stick on the top face of the Vista that can perform all of the functions that the side buttons do. It is very slick.
Finally, you have a pretty good unit already...I'm not sure I would upgrade unless yours craps out or you sell it to someone else.