March 08, 2021 1 Comment
In 2021, the variety of navigation and motorcycle focused apps available on the market is massive. From custom navigation to trip planning to onboard communication, there is something for every rider. Here is our rundown of some of our favourites to help you get started this year.
Navigation apps have come a long way in the last few years, and there are now some truly comprehensive and powerful options out there on the market. The app you choose will depend on the type of riding you do and where you are, but we will give you a run down of a few of our favourites:
#1 Calimoto – Calimoto has the great advantage of being designed specifically for motorcyclists. It caters to the pleasure rider with a variety of settings that help you to find the curviest and most scenic roads if you are out for a day of riding. The app has several settings that let you choose the level of curviness you want in your roads and has a very robust trip planner where users can save and upload their favourite routes for other motorcyclists to use. If you are just out to have fun, you cannot do much better! Excellent for motorcycle touring.
#2 Viewranger – Viewranger is increasingly becoming an extremely popular app for adventure sports. If you are an off-road addict, then this is probably the app for you. The onboards GPS navigation can be downloaded, allowing you to access maps even if you are going far out into the unknown. Based on OS maps, the mapping data you get is highly detailed and suitable for even the most hardcore adventures. Many search and rescue teams in Europe and the US make use of the app which is a good demonstration of how robust and reliable it is. You can plan routes in a great deal of detail, looking at elevation and land features. This is the perfect app for an extended adventure motorcycle trip where you plan to get deep into the roads less travelled. (##March 2021 UPDATE## - Viewranger has been purchased by Outdoor Active. It's still to be seen how this will impact the app)
#3 Waze – Waze used to be a very US centric satnav app, but with the user base growing in the UK its crowd sourced data model is starting to gather enough information to be useful wherever you are. The app collects data from users to inform everyone on the network about traffic speeds and potential slowdowns, letting the app reroute automatically to speed up your journey. It’s a great idea which works well when it works but requires a very consistent phone signal and works much better in densely populated areas. This is one for the urban rider.
#4 BBC Weather – An oldie but a vital one. Its important to know what conditions you will be facing on your day of riding, and the BBC weather app is hard to beat for accurate information that will help you to plan out your day. There is not too much else to say here, but every motorcyclist knows how important it is to know in advance if you are riding out into a monsoon beyond the horizon. An essential.
#5 Best Biking Roads – Best biking roads is an interesting app/site designed to allow users to share routes and give them ratings based on their experiences. The app has a huge selection of popular routes to be viewed and users can leave reviews to highlight their recent visits. Routes can be rated on the type of roads (straights or corners), the scenery, the road surface, the visibility, and even the level of police presence experienced. If you’ve done all the most popular routes this is a great app to discover some new locations.
While many still find a wired intercom system the best method on onboard
#1 Zello – Zello is a push to talk intercom app which makes use of a Bluetooth headset, it can have up to 15 users connected at the same time with no issues and is therefore a good alternative to traditional intercom systems if you are willing to set it up. You must have a Bluetooth headset connected and it relies on internet connection, so its not the best option if you are going anywhere rural.
#2 Intercom for Android – Intercom for android is a similar proposition to Zello although many users find it finicky to use or encounter several troubleshooting and tech issues when setting up. The basic app is free however so it may be worth experimenting with to see if it is a viable option for your set up.
Motorcycle Theory Test– One for the junior bikers or those with their CBT. This is a great app to help you pass your motorcycle test, it includes hazard tests and has a huge amount of practice questions. It costs about £5.99 and if you are the kind of person that stresses about exams it’s a good value way to feel a bit more confident and get some practice in.
With the wealth of apps available in 2021, its easy to see how phones are quickly replacing onboard GPS units for both navigation and ease of use. Its a great time for riders and a great opportunity to find more ways to get the most out of your expensive smartphone device. Where are you headed this year, and what is your favourite app that we have missed out?
Thanks for reading and have a great riding season in 2021 and beyond!
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