Motorcycle navi Garmin Zumo 590lm tested

Anyone who goes on tour by bike needs the right support. Garmin offers motorcyclists, among other things, the Garmin zumo 590LM that directly covers all of Europe with the maps. A short test report on the motorcycle navigation system for 649 euros.

At 375 grams, the machine’s power-to-weight ratio is only slightly worse due to the Garmin zumo 590LM. But that’s just the device itself, plus the battery and the necessary parts for fastening. Overall, it’s not enough to imbalance the handlebars. The 5-inch diagonal of the easy-to-read display, which can be operated with gloves, can be used both vertically and horizontally. Depending on the space in the motorcycle cockpit or personal preference. Operation is clear and simple. The large icons are easy to hit with the glove and are self-explanatory.

If you don’t want to meander through the traffic jams, but rather bypass it, you have to connect your smartphone to the zumo in order to be able to access the latest information. Unfortunately, this alone cannot reliably access current traffic jam data. In addition, SmartLink (connection with the smartphone) also provides information about the current weather and additional POIs on the 5-inch outdoor navigation system.

Recently, navigation is no longer based solely on street names, but rather, as it is known in marketing as “Garmin RealDirections”, using lenses such as traffic lights or petrol stations. Anyone who travels away from such objects with their machine can use the integrated digital compass and orientate themselves using GPS data.


As usual with other devices, the Garmin zumo can also be used in the car. To do this, you simply put the device on the holder, which is then connected to the suction cup and that’s it. The assembly on the bike, however, is a little more complex. As is known from Ikea furniture, it is helpful to spread the many sachets in front of you. That helps a lot. A part can also be prepared without a motorcycle. For example, the mount of the zumo must be connected to a component similar to a trailer coupling using four screws.

For everything else, you have to approach the bike. It starts with attaching the appropriate bracket to the frame, depending on the pipe diameter. We recommend a small rubber pad so that no permanent damage to the handlebars can be seen later. In the case of the Ducati, it is sufficient to carry out the smaller (simpler) assembly.

If the basic bracket is on the handlebars and if the zumo bracket has already been prepared, all you have to do is join the two parts together. This can be done relatively easily with a bridge that clamps both balls. Now the optimal angle can also be selected so that everything works when viewed. However, now comes the much trickier part that I couldn’t do on the test bike. The cabling, because the mount of the zumo carries a thick cable strand with it. This supports the power supply, but also carries the audio output and the mic input (for voice control) with it. There is also a USB port. A protective cap is also included to protect the contacts when it is removed.

If you want, you can of course attach it to the handlebar of a mountain bike, that should also work. If your thigh can cope with the additional grams of strain, you don’t have to carry a map with you if you want to get out of the woods again. Whoever connects the cables of the bracket e.g. does not want to connect directly to the motorcycle battery, you can simply replace the battery. The lithium-ion battery should last up to four hours, but if it gives up before then it can easily be changed.


The action camera Virb can also be controlled via the ANT + interface. The operation for this is as simple as it can be. Start / stop a recording or take a picture. No matter where the camera is attached to the motorcycle, this function works at any speed.

The housing is protected against splash water according to the IPX7 standard. If you are exposed to long rides in the rain, you should pack your Garmin waterproof instead. If you want, you can also order the matching valve caps for the wheels, then the zumo 590LM also continuously monitors the tire pressure. Much more important for long biker tours, however, is the function of the “winding roads”. These can be selected in the route options and are an absolute must for this navigation category. If you want to set a route beforehand, you are only limited to 1,000 waypoints. They then have to be set by hand, so it’s only worthwhile for long tours.


A steep price for the Garmin zumo 590LM is to be deposited with 649 euros (RRP). But the general biker already knows that, every accessory is expensive. However, a simple car navigation system really doesn’t do it, because it is neither protected from splash water, nor is it so extensive in route planning. So if you plan and drive extensive tours more often, you will have a reliable support in your hands with the Garmin zumo 590LM.

You can find a test report from me on the Garmin Virb Elite on

Text / Photos: Fabian Meßner