Sat-Navs Sat-Navs: Any Recommendations?


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All technophobes look away now...

As I am planning to ride to Greece this summer
I want to use a garmin 660 GPS system because I can download way points from google
I want to use a rider passenger intercom
I would like it to communicate with my phone
I have seen some bad press about bluetooth intercoms
I wonder what others have used
is there an honest broker in the home counties who can sell AND set it all up

Comet Rider

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Hi Tim,
Get in touch with Starcom in St Ives (Just up the road from you) and get one of their intercom systems.

This gives you rider to passenger
Bluetooth the phone to the GPS (can also put music onto SD card and put this into the GPS)
Plus you can then expand the system for bike to bike

This is similarto my setup (I've got the older Garmin Zumo 550)


Graham Smith

My mother very kindly bought Joshua (my eldest son) and I a Starcom Advance kit for Christmas.

As Neil quite rightly points out, you buy the 'basic' kit, then add all the extras like bike to bike, rider to pillion, bluetooth, iPod connection, iPhone connection, GPS connection. You name it, they can pretty much add it I think.

Looks a great bit of kit, but unfortunately haven't had the chance of trying it out yet!

Will let you know what it's like and how it performs once the salt's gone.

Tom Gaynor

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I bought an Autocom for bike to bike, as used by F1 teams. One can plug in music (I don't) or one's mobile (I did to see if it worked, which it did, with amazing clarity, but haven't since). But it has the huge advantage of a 1 km range, and a voice-activated microphone. This latter I consider a major safety advantage: it means that involuntary heart-stopping screams of "look-out" with no information on what the perceived threat might be, are effectively blanked. I may be giving too much away here, and remember we're talking bike to bike, but I consider this a MAJOR stress reducing feature. The procedure has to be "Hello Graham (at which point the mic is activated) there's a pothole coming up. "Graham" hears "there's a pothole coming up".
"Look out Graham", which would raise the editoral heartbeat to 200, and start the sweat on the back of the editorial hands, serves merely to switch on the mic: the editor doesn't hear it, and isn't frightened sh*tless. He only hears the message.
Don't knock this until you've tried it.

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I fitted a Starcom unit to my modern touring bike, which accepts inputs from GPS, MP3 player, Bike-to-bike radio, telephone, intercom etc. I debated with myself about a bluetooth helmet set-up, so that I did not have to remember to plug myself into and out of the bike when getting on and off, but after researching available options decided that they all would need recharging every day. That would mean carrying a charger unit, multiple adaptors to suit different countries sockets, and would be probably impossible when camping anyway. I've been very happy with the resulting wired set-up.
I use a Garmin Zumo 550, with which I have been very satisfied. The ability to load hours of music is very nice for long boring motorway journeys, but, whilst it is audible at unmentionable speeds on the H----a, I can't hear it at all on a Vin above 65!

stumpy lord

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HI ,
try a pair of
duocom ear plugs with built in speackers in them, works a treat on our twins.

just remembered, starcom do their own ear plugs with built in speakers, they are of course cheaper than duocom, which are as far as i know the best available. How ever if the starcom ones fit you they are more than adequate.
cheers norm.


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I´ve spent about 6 months researching the various options and trying most of them.
If music is important to you then steer clear of Cardo & Midland (i haven´t tested the G9, but if the Q2 pro is anything to go by, then i won´t either)
The main problem with these systems is stereo/mono uncompatibility. The A2DP streaming works O.K (Stereo) until the nav gives a direction instruction (Mono) and the whole plot freezes. This then requires a restart of the bluetooth module every time.
I also have reports of this happening with the intercom on both Midland and Cardo systems.
The american service hotline from Cardo were very helpfull, but advised me to live with it or try the G9. On being asked if the G9 could have the same problems, the line went very quite for a moment. something to do with the priority settings for tel and nav being on the same level?
This paired with coded beep tones instead of clear spoken instruction when pairing, turning on/off and setting up, and intermittant pairing/de-pairing faults (i had to factory reset my Tom Tom a dozen times untill it recognised the Scardo again) drove me to mental collapse!! :)

I have finally settled for the Sena SMH 10. This is the only system i have found to deliver everything that it says on the box (plus more), along with good stereo sound (the helmet speakers are twice the size of Cardo and Midland) along with very easy use (one dial to to control volume, speach instructions, A2DP (forwards/rewind/skip/pause & play), intercom (if VOX deactivated), telephone (recieve/reject/last number redial), and easy pairing of devices.
Long term test gives 18 hours of non stop A2DP music from my mobile phone with a charge time from flat to full of 3 hours.
Intercom talk time of 12 hours can also be expected in warmer climates.
Bike to passenger communication is very clear well above legal speeds.
Bike to bike with up to 4 participants and a communication distance of 500M on clear roads
Pairs with all mobiles and navs i have tried (i use mine with a Samsung paired for phone audio to my Urban rider (phonebook, incoming calls, recieve/decline etc over the Tom Tom display) and phone A2DP directly to the Sena.
Clearly spoken instructions and settings (even battery status)
Fully VOX compliant for rider to pillion and rider to rider intercom and phone
Updateable (over a windows or MAC based programm that also allows option settings while connected to the computer) with the promise of staying that way (Last update was March 2013 with multi language menu prompts and increased volume (as if it needed that :)
Options for cable microphones and earbud speakers are available (they even have a headphone version for the old "Puddin Basin" type helmets) :)
External 3.5mm plug for connecting an audio device /(or whatever else you want) directly (this one gives the music quality 1 to 1 to the speakers, unlike the Cardo system)
On turning the system on or coming back into range (i.e after paying for your fuel) it takes about 5 secs to re-pair with my nav and phone, and even tells me (in clear speech) that its done it!
Individual volume settings for all channels and devices that are attached. these stay set on turning on/off or going out and coming back into range.
Oh, and the sytem is really LOUD on max volume, without distortion.

I´m writing this mainly because i am very pleased to of finally found a system that does what i want it to, no matter what order i pair things, and even talks to me to tell me i´ve accomplished the setting :)
I just thought i´d share it with those considering buying bluetooth intercom systems in the future.

I have nothing to do with Sena except as a very impressed and happy customer

I paid €290.00 (from Germany) for the double set containg 2 x combined helmet speaker /microphone clamping sets, 2 x mini usb cables for charging/computer connection, 2 x 12 volt vehicle chargers, extension pads (in case the speakers are to far away from your ears when mounted in the helmet), 2 x helmet sticking pads (in case the clamps aren´t compatible with your helmet) 2 x bluetooth modules, lifelong update, instructions etc

Did i mention that the system is LOUD?


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Its spooky to see your requests years later
I still haven't beaten pen and paper in my tank bag but needs change
my main problem is I want to go byways by MY route
although I thought I could upload one from Goggle maps I have yet to find one that does
I have looked again at garmin with their product 'Base camp'
you can download it onto a PC but my attemps seem to ignore roads and go way point to way point and the maps are crude
yes passenger rider intercom and music is OK but loading your own route and not depending on the internet is more important what use is GPS when its a machine route not yours whoever found a car driver who knew what roads a biker likes....


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The Tom Tom Urban rider works for me.
The home program has a route planner or you can use one of the online services (google over Tyre ( and download to your nav.
The Urban rider has an option "curvy route" especially for bikes, with 3 settings: 1.) down to farm lanes, 2.) average mix, 3.) open A & B roads. I´ve used this a couple of times on the finest setting, and it really takes you down every farm lane. I´ve been on roads that weren´t shown on the maps.
You can also record a route on the road during the ride and share this later with other Tom Tom rider users (bluetooth connection between 2 units or online over the computer).
The accuracy for reaching waypoints has also been reduced so no need to hit them exactly.
I´´m not sure if the new Urban rider still has all of these functions?