The TomTom Rider 400 GPS has a host of new functions that not only make motorcycle touring easier, but also more fun.
We’ve been testing the new $A599 TomTom Rider 400 and can report it is a hassle-free unit, the screen diagrams provide foolproof guides and it is very simple to use.
Among the many new features, our favourite is the new 360-degree rotating mount that allows you to change from landscape with a wider view of the surrounding environment to portrait for a long view ahead so you can see the approaching bends.
It rotates very easily yet it doesn’t rattle around, even on rough terrain, thanks to the solid RAM handlebar mount.
Another great feature is that it works very much like a map on your phone or tablet so you can zoom in and out by using two fingers, or swipe one finger to move the map around and see where you want to go.
There are also plus and minus signs for zooming, but we seem to be more touch-oriented these days, so it’s a very intuitive and simple function.
The only problem is that the screen isn’t particular friendly to winter gloves. It works ok with thin summer gloves, but not thick winter gloves.
While the visuals are clear and the photos of upcoming major turns such as highway off ramps is brilliant and foolproof, the road names are a little small for my long-sighted eyes.
However, you can Bluetooth the directions into your helmet intercom so you don’t need to read the road names on the screen.
While the screen is very clear, it does suffer a little from glare, so when the sun is over your shoulder you have to move your head to block it.
A fun feature for riders is the option to choose the most exciting route to your destination. You can choose low, medium or high-level winding roads as well as three levels of hilly terrain.
Around town, I found this will include excursions into cul-de-sacs just for the sake of a few more turns. While it’s not such a great feature in the city, out in the country it’s great fun although it does take you down a lot of dead ends, but at least it’s taken me on a few surprising excursions down roads I’d never thought to take.
I also love the round-trip function which allows you to plot a Sunday ride that takes you to interesting destinations and back to home. All you have to do is tap the area you want to explore. Each tap becomes a waypoint. How easy is that!
When you plan your route, it comes up with a side “thermometer” showing your position along the route and provides a fuel bowser icon for fuel stops so you know how far you are from a top-up at any time.
Like most modern GPS units, you can plan your trip on your computer and download it as well as share it with your friends. You can also record your trip at any stage by hitting the record button. That lets you ride the route again or share it with your riding mates.
While the unit will record all data from your trip – including incriminating information – you can choose not to record or to quickly delete it for privacy.
Owners are invited to join an online community of TomTom users and share locations of speed and red light cameras. TomTom offers all users lifetime speed camera and traffic updates.
It comes fitted with Whereis maps of Australia, New Zealand and Asia, but you can also buy maps for other continents.
A free Tyre Pro app allows you to edit and share routes by exporting in GPX format on to a micro SD card.
The unit slips easily into its cradle, but it can also be removed just as easily, so TomTom has an anti-theft accessory to lock it on to your bike. There is also a car-mounting kit available so you can use it in your car.