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    • I first bought a Garmin Montana back in 2012 and have been using one ever since, logging around 350,000km on them.

      I say them because I am now on my second, but its a good lets start with that.

      In 2017 after around 5 years of use my Montana was acting a little weird, a few glitches so i call the head office in Missouri to see if maybe I was missing an update or if the unit had reached the end of its life.

      Thir simple response, send it in and we'll trade it out for a new one, so customer service wise I cannot fault Garmin at all

      The Montana is a very strong and durable unit, made for navigation. Personally I prefer a stand alone unit rather than using a phone for navigation. It is made for one task and made well, where a phone being used is just one of the downloaded or included apps, so not its primary function, my personal opinion, and have seen too many other riders eventually have issues with phones using as a GPS

      The one in the image is my current unit since mid 2017 and has over 160,000km on it.

    • The Montana doesn't come with any mapping, so I use open source maps because i find them better quality than the Garmin equivilent and are updated on a regular basis.

      I download my maps from very easy to use and only pick specific countries or areas with a few clicks

    • Using the Montana is easy and intuitive, and once you understand the various files and folders using it on the road (when stopped of course) is simple. Changing between modes and driving styles etc in in just a couple of clicks is easy either with bare hands or gloves.

      Set in automobile driving it will find the most direct and quickest route using all major roads, freeways, tolls, ferries etc. By clicking on avoidence set up you can adjust to what kind of rds you want to use or not.

      Automobile Diving can also be changed to Motorcycle, bicycle, walking and a few more, these already have certain perimeters set in place, but again can be changed if required

      The majority of time I have it set in motorcycle mode, avoiding interstate and toll roads, this way it find (generally) good scenic routes usually with twisty roads as a precedent.

      Depending on which motorcycle i'm riding, dirt roads is an option that i change as required

    • I have the unit sitting in a proprietary Gamin Rugged Powered Mount, this is linked to my motorcycles 12 volt power on a key circuit,

      So when i turn my switch on the unit powers up and when I turn the motorcycle off it powers down, with a 30 second pause giving you the option to keep it onif I want

      The rugged mount uses the AMPS layout so additional mounts to hold on to handlebars is your choice

      If you are a motorcycle and bicycle rider they do make a non powered mount so you can swap the Montana between your rides

    • As I mentioned in the previous post I run it from a 12 volt source, the Montana comes with a lithium battery but this isn't required if you are using it on a powered mount, which is good if your battery fails, at least its useable

      If you take off your bike to use as a walk around unit then the lithium battery will be your power source.


      A nice option they has designed into the unit is the second option of being able to use the unit with 3x AA batteries to help you extend the life of you navigation

      Inside the sealed area on the back of the unit is also where the mini SD card is stored so you can have all your maps in one place.

      Personally I store about a dozen or so countries on the card at a time, because I am constantly riding from country to country...but for the unit to read them they need to be in a file folder name 'Garmin' and the unit will usually only read one map file, but small countries/ map files I have occasionally got it to be able to access 2 or 3

    • Generating routes and tracks I use a few sources, that i'm sure a lot of cyclist are familiar with is great product if you are online, and a simple download of a gpx file is simple.

      If i'm offline, sitting in my tent for example and no connection then I use Garmin Basecamp, a little clunky until you get used to it then still a little clunky!

      A question i get asked a lot i who i show my already ridden routes when I share them, this is how i do it. I create a folder and store files by year, that way i can go back and refer to them when required. Keep in mind the more files you store in this program the slower it gets, and its performance REALLY slows down and crashes if you have a lot of files loaded into the program

      The screen shot is where I rode this summer, but a good example of how it looks and a screen shot makes it easy to share

    • great review, thanks. I started with a Garmin 2610 and now use a nav 5 wiht my GS.

      Teh 2610 was a powerhorse, so customisable. Sadly Garmin, and other GPS providers, have dumbed down the options in later models.

    • issues...

      As the unit gets older I have found that for some reason it stops recognising the battery, and tell me to use a Garmin supported battery which I am

      Simple removal of the battery stops this of course.

      I had the screen protector on for a while, when this gets old it has a tendency to shrink, when this happens and you are in very hot direct sun the screen protector will 'squeeze' the screen and make it unusable. The easy fix, remove it!

      Besides that with years of use, no real major issues, very happy and will continue using it for the foreseeable future

    • Thank you for this. I too have been using Garmin since GPS V, the venerable 2610, of which I had quite several units, and now my Montana 600 which I've had since 2013. Mine seems to be still going strong except for the power button. Because I used to press it with my glove on, while riding, I used too much pressure and recently I discovered a crack in the little power button. I fixed that with a blob of Sugru and it looks like no water will get in there.

      I keep it fairly up to date (have lifetime maps) as well as the firmware, and really like the "motorcycle" routes it picks for me, most of the times.

      I am very interested in learning your way of planning routes. Because it's built in search is so poorly designed, I find myself too often when on the go - using Google maps on the smartphone only to later try and get all the way points into the Montana, which I use primarily for my motorcycle navigation.

      But in some cases I am not very happy at all with it's auto routing. Because if there aren't sufficient way-points in my route it gets too creative for my taste and departs the roads I actually wanted to ride. Most of the time that is not a problem, but if I really want a precise route I find that I need to spend allot of time and input plenty way-points so that the unit has no choice but to route me the way I want. But sometimes that's not so easy, either because I'm on the road side, ad-hoc changing the routes, or other reasons. Trying to use coordinates I haven't really gotten that quite to a skill I can use, but again it's mostly because planning or even aiming for a destination change is most of the time best done using either a paper map, a smartphone, a computer, but not the unit itself.

    • for routing, if i know the destination I let the Montana do a suggested motorcycle route then look at it and zoom in to see there's any interesting looking roads, twisty/ curvy ones.

      There is an option in basecamp to do this btw

      If i want more detailed routes I just make them as I go on the unit, and divide the ride into sections, then sub sections if that makes sense.

      If i'm using routes I already own then they usually at prioritised already for my kind of riding, to give you an idea I have all this on my BaseCamp, and probably double that on hard drives to fill in a lot of the blank usually i'm good before I even head anywhere

    • Your world map looks like there aren't too many places left not visited, at least in North America, and Europe! 👍

      I wonder if you find it boring to ride again there anymore. (sorry for the diversion - couldn't help it)

      I will start playing more with base camp and see if that helps me with map creation, I have to admit am not a fan of this program. The old Garmin software - Mapsource - was so much better, I don't know why they had to ruin it with an "upgrade", but I digress. So far, using web sites that allow planning and exporting to GPX has been hit and miss, exactly because of how each of these services produce the way points, how many. What I have been using is a Google maps "Your Places - Maps" or the site below. I will try your suggestion, the "ridewithgps" site.

    • The thing i like with ride GPS is the multiple map formats to assist in plotting, then if for some reason NONE of them work you can actually draw a line to make a connection where the road works again with the maps.

      I tend to make my tracks on ridewithgps around 100 miles max otherwise the whole route won't work. Double check it on your GPS before you make the next segment is a good rule of thumb

      The other thing I do is if I'm looking at google, there is always that multiple location link I shared for more than ten locations,did you see that?

      Next option is to look for roads that google hasn't been to, this is easy way to find roads/ tracks that are more than their camera cars can handle, so basically rough roads or dirt tracks.

      To do this open maps and on the left click on street view and it will highlight all the roads/ tracks they've captured. If you look at the map you see the blue lines at the bottom, but they end and the track continues...that's what I look for, too much of a challenge for google is usually when the fun begins

      As for places I've ridden and returning, it's a mix of returning to places i previously enjoyed riding or looking for another option, in the US i'm kinda running out, especially in the southwest

      As for Europe and other areas, so much more to explore, and i'll be doing that starting March

    • Thank you for the information on the Montana. I have been using a Garmin Street Pilot 2610 for many years and have been resistant to use something new since my 2610 still works. I bought a Montana and will be using it this next season. Wish me luck with the change.

    • As the unit gets older I have found that for some reason it stops recognising the battery, and tell me to use a Garmin supported battery which I am

      I have found that a bit of gum wrapper folded several times and put between the battery and cover tends to fix this for good :) (my initial, and apparently correct reasoning was that there's no way unit can get "tired" of the battery, but that the vibration tends to kill the tolerances and the force with which cover(s) press onto the battery and battery to the contacts)

      Thanks for the review, I am also a very happy user of the Montana since 2012, though I didn't cover as much miles as you with it. On the other hand, while I was still living in Russia, it doubled as my GPS off-bike when I worked my volunteer forest SAR team shifts :) (a bit heavy, but unparalleled battery life with the possibility to swap in AAs as well)

    • did that start out as a Kickstarter campaign? It looks really familiar, great simple set up when you don't need the big picture in front of you.

      but at around $270 usd for the unit and the mount, do you think the price is fair, I only paid $289 for my Montana on sale, but saying that as small as it is using a completely different set up than the Garmin, it could be a very good back up unit.

      I am intrigued how you like it and how accurately it works

    • Yep - It was on Kickstarter and has been retailing for a while now. And yep, not cheap - for what is essentially just a monitor for an app, but it's my motorcycle and ah be stylin' now.

      I bought the metal handlbar mount for the Beeline, but I like the way I'll be able to put it on test bikes with the neoprene band mount too.

      If it was for my KLR - I wouldn't bother but Tigger gets some love. It just got a new solo seat rebuild (riding position is moved way back) and new mirrors.

      No ADV bike, but it's a good urban brawler now. Motard for a big boy.