TomTom Rider 400 GPS Review

TomTom Rider 400 GPS
TomTom Rider 400 GPS

Smartphones have given dedicated motorcycle GPS devices serious competition. To stay one step ahead, TomTom’s new Rider 400 GPS incorporates smartphone-like functionality with features that motorcyclists will appreciate. The fully waterproof unit has a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen that allows swiping and pinch-to-zoom even when wearing gloves. It has crisp screen resolution and appealing graphics, but when viewed at a glance details can be hard to read and the reflective screen is sensitive to glare and bright sunlight. The Rider 400’s menus are easy to navigate, with shortcuts for Ride Home, Ride to Work, Parking, Gas Stations and more. Pairing it with a Bluetooth communicator allows you to listen to spoken navigation commands. And route navigation provides lane-assist information, upcoming gas stations, current speed, posted speed limit and more.

To get the most out of the Rider 400, you need to download the free MyDrive app and pair the device with your smartphone via Bluetooth. MyDrive provides access to real-time traffic information that’s displayed on the Rider 400 (using cellular data), and routes can be created on MyDrive and sent wirelessly to the GPS. You can also upload and export routes using a microSD card (sold separately) or the provided USB cable, and the unit has 16GB of internal memory. Connecting the Rider 400 to your PC provides firmware and map updates.

A standout feature is the “Plan a Thrill” menu, which allows you to tap on the screen to create waypoints and create a round-trip or one-way route. It will plot the fastest or shortest route, or it will create a custom route based on your preference for “Winding Roads” (low, medium or high) and “Hilly Roads” (low, medium or high), the latter taking advantage of elevation data embedded in GPS maps. I had the TomTom plot multiple round-trip routes between our office in Camarillo and a destination in Santa Monica, knowing there’s a fast, mostly freeway route, a flat, mostly coastal route and many twisty options through the canyons of Malibu. Its algorithms did a good job of creating interesting routes with different outbound and return roads. It even took me on a fantastic, lightly traveled, one-way road that, despite my years of riding all over the Malibu hills, I had never ridden.

The Rider 400 comes with a quick-release cradle that attaches to the handlebar via RAM mount, which includes a power cable to connect to the motorcycle’s battery (it will run on its own battery power for up to 6 hours) and allows the GPS to be rotated 90 degrees for either landscape or portrait view. All in all, the TomTom Rider 400 is a feature-packed, easy-to-use GPS that’s reasonably priced at $499.99, which includes free shipping, lifetime maps (for U.S., Canada and Mexico), traffic and safety cameras, as well as the mounts, cables and a user guide. Optional accessories include an anti-theft lock ($59.99), a protective carrying case ($24.99) and a car mount ($39.99).

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