Which navigation tool
is the right one for you?

In the world of motorcycling, it’s important to have the right navigation tool with you, especially on longer trips.

There are many ways to plan and navigate your motorbike routes, but which is the best option? Should you opt for a traditional motorbike navigation device or install a modern motorbike navigation app on your smartphone?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both options to help you make the right choice for your needs and preferences. We’ll also compare the key features such as road maps, voice control and comprehensive route planning on motorbike sat navs and motorbike navigation apps.

Read on to find out which GPS system is the best for your motorbike tours!

Motorbike sat navs

Motorbike sat navs are stand-alone GPS systems that have been specially developed for motorbikes.

They have a GPS sensor to determine your position and a screen with a touch-sensitive interface to display the map and navigation instructions. In addition, almost all models are also Bluetooth-enabled to receive voice navigation directly via a connected microphone in the helmet.

Motorbike sat navs are an extra accessory that is not normally included with the purchase of a motorbike. With functions such as road maps and route planning, motorbike sat navs have been one of the most popular accessories for motorcyclists on longer tours for years.


Motorbike sat nav devices have been specially developed for the needs of motorcyclists and therefore offer a few important advantages:

  • Robustness: Motorbike navigation devices are built to be robust and durable to withstand the rigours of motorcycling. They are often waterproof or water-repellent themselves or fitted with a waterproof cover to withstand rain and moisture.
  • Compatibility: Motorbike navigation devices are equipped with mounts for motorbikes and can be conveniently attached to the handlebars. They are also often equipped with the option of voice control, which facilitates operation while riding.
  • Accuracy: Motorcycle navigation devices use a GPS receiver that is specially optimised for use on motorbikes. This means that they usually have better GPS signal quality and accuracy than smartphones.
  • Battery life: Compared to smartphones, motorbike navigation devices often have a longer battery life or are connected directly to the motorbike’s power circuit, which can be an advantage on longer journeys.
  • Usability: As motorbike sat navs have been specially developed for use on motorbikes, they often use larger buttons and sensitive touchscreens that can be used without problems even when wearing gloves. In addition, motorbike navigation devices have a very bright and easy-to-read screen.


Although motorbike sat nav devices offer many advantages, there are also some clear disadvantages that should be considered when deciding for or against such a device:

  • Cost: Motorbike navigation devices are significantly more expensive than smartphone apps. These costs mainly relate to the cost of the device itself.
  • Update costs: The road maps on motorbike navigation devices need to be updated regularly, which can incur additional costs.
  • Limited functionality: Compared to smartphone apps, motorbike navigation devices often offer limited functionality, for example in terms of the use of POIs (points of interest) or the ability to use online services such as weather or traffic information.
  • Updates: The functions of motorbike sat navs are not updated as often as smartphone apps. In order to use new functions, it is often necessary to buy a new model, which can be very expensive in the long run.

Which motorbike sat navs are popular among motorcyclists?

  • TomTom Rider 550 – This motorbike sat nav offers excellent road maps, easy route planning and a long battery life. It also has a waterproof and drop-proof design that makes it an excellent choice for motorcyclists.
  • Garmin Zumo XT – This motorbike sat nav has an intuitive user interface and a wide range of route options. It is also equipped with voice control, allowing you to keep your hands on the handlebars while riding.
  • BMW Navigator VI – This motorbike sat nav has been specially developed for BMW motorbikes and offers excellent map quality, simple route planning and easy integration with other BMW systems. It is also very robust and durable, so it works reliably even in tough conditions. However, it also has its price.

Motorbike apps

In addition to motorbike sat nav devices, there are also special motorbike apps that are optimised for use on motorbikes. These apps are installed on the smartphone and use the smartphone’s sensors, such as GPS, to determine your position and calculate the route.


Here are some advantages of motorbike apps:

  • Cost: Compared to motorbike sat nav devices, most motorbike apps are free or cost only a fraction of standalone motorbike navigation devices.
  • Flexibility: As motorbike apps run on a smartphone, they can also be used for other purposes, for example as a navigation device in the car or as an all-rounder device for everyday use.
  • Up-to-dateness: Motorbike apps are regularly updated and therefore always offer the latest road maps and functions.
  • Functionality: Compared to motorbike navigation devices, motorbike apps often offer greater functionality, for example in terms of the use of POIs or the ability to use online services such as weather or traffic information.
  • Updates: Motorbike apps are usually constantly updated and you can use new functions without having to buy a new device.


Although motorbike apps have the advantage that they are usually free and easily accessible, they also have a few disadvantages compared to a dedicated motorbike sat nav:

Internet connection: Motorbike apps are often dependent on an active internet connection. A poor or no internet connection can affect navigation or make it impossible. Many apps often also offer offline maps for a small additional charge to enable navigation even without an active internet connection.
Battery life: Motorbike apps can also be limited by the smartphone’s battery. For longer journeys, it may be necessary to charge the battery during the journey or, even better, to use a smartphone holder with a charging function. This ensures that the smartphone has enough “juice” for a longer journey.

Screen brightness: Not all screens of modern mobile phones reach the same brightness as that of a motorbike navigation system. It can therefore sometimes be difficult to read the navigation instructions and the map of motorbike apps while riding. Many modern smartphones already have very bright screens that are suitable for use on a motorbike, so this disadvantage does not necessarily apply to a suitable smartphone.
Operation: As the screen of smartphones was developed to be used without gloves, it can be difficult to use motorbike apps with gloves. Modern gloves with integrated, conductive elements to enable the operation of a display provide a remedy.

Popular motorbike apps

  • Motobit – Motobit is a free app that can offer you everything you need for your motorcycle tours. Different routing algorithms ensure that you always find the perfect route for your needs. You can also record your tours with Motobit and receive numerous analyses, such as the number of bends or how you mastered each bend. Classic motorcycle sat nav systems do not offer the recording of the tour alone, which can be very useful later in the motorcycle season.
  • Scenic – This app offers user-friendly route planning and navigation, including road maps designed specifically for motorcyclists. The app is also able to record the tour and can give tips to make the next tour even better.
  • Waze – This free app from the Google universe offers real-time traffic information and collaborative route planning. The app also offers voice control so you can keep your hands on the handlebars of your bike while riding.


Motorcycle sat nav devices and motorcycle apps have clear advantages and disadvantages and there is no clear answer to the question of which is the perfect navigation tool. It very much depends on the personal preferences and requirements of the motorcyclist.

If you are looking for a very robust solution and are on the road a lot, you should consider a motorcycle sat nav device. However, those looking for flexibility, new exciting features and more comprehensive functionality can opt for special motorcycle apps, which are also cheaper than motorcycle sat navs.

If you don’t want to spend a fortune right away, we recommend trying out motorcycle apps. There is a wider choice and most of them can be downloaded for free. It’s very likely that you’re already fully satisfied with a motorcycle app and don’t need a standalone motorcycle sat nav.

Try Motobit: you can use the app to plan amazing motorcycle tours, get navigation instructions specifically for motorcyclists, be warned about road hazards while riding and get lots of information about your motorcycle tours.

Don’t forget that it’s important to always focus on the road and ride safely when using navigation devices on your motorcycle!

Frequently asked questions on the topic of "Motorbike sat nav or motorbike app"

What is the difference between a motorcycle sat nav device and a motorcycle app?

A motorcycle sat nav is a special navigation device designed for use on a motorcycle, while a motorcycle app is a navigation app on your smartphone that you can use on your motorcycle.

Do you need an internet connection for a motorcycle app?

Yes and no, an active internet connection is usually required to use a motorcycle app. This is required, for example, to update current traffic and map information. Numerous apps also offer downloadable offline maps for navigation, which can be used to navigate “offline”, i.e. without an active internet connection.

Can you also operate a motorcycle sat nav system with voice control?

Yes, many modern motorcycle sat nav devices offer the option to operate the navigation via voice control. This can be particularly useful if you want to keep both hands on the handlebars – some motorcycle apps also have a voice control function.

Can I plan my tours with a motorcycle app?

Yes, of course. There are many motorcycle apps that help you plan your motorcycle tours, for example Motobit.

Should I pay attention to compatibility with my motorcycle when choosing a motorcycle sat nav device?

Yes, it is very important that the chosen motorcycle sat nav device is compatible with the motorcycle to ensure optimal use. Some devices require special mounts or other accessories that are not compatible with every motorcycle.

How important is it to update the road maps for my motorcycle sat nav device or motorcycle app?

It is advisable to regularly update road maps for the motorcycle navigation device or the motorcycle app. This ensures that the navigation always works reliably and that the navigation instructions are up-to-date. With motorcycle apps, maps are often updated constantly and in the background so that you always receive the latest information. With motorcycle navigation systems, updates must always be carried out manually by the rider, which can be somewhat cumbersome in many cases.

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