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First Impressions – BMW Nav 5

First Impressions – BMW Nav 5

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I’ve always resisted rider aids, none of my previous rides have had ABS, I’ve never fitted any additional electronic doo dads like sat nav, or needed a heated seat because to date I’ve been just happy riding, and using my phone if I get lost.


But when I was ticking the boxes for specs for my new BMW R1200GSA I opted for the Navigator V in a heart beat for one reason only. The bike is already kitted out to run the Navigator V and I didn’t want to spend the next 100,000km looking at a blanking plate or touching a scroll wheel I can’t use.


The real surprise has been just how useful this thing has been.


Firstly the best part: The scroll wheel. It’s like a mouse scroll wheel that allows you to control whats on the screen via both horizontal menus like compass, navigation, HUD and also vertical menus via the scrolling action like zooming on a map or switching HUD between 1, 2, 4 or 16 pieces of information.


For those living in the dark ages HUD stands for Head Up Display. When the Nav V is in HUD mode you can customise what information you have in a simple easy to read dashboard.


Whether its Speed, Speed and Engine Temp, Speed, engine Temp and tyre pressure or much much more. Up to 16 pieces of information can be viewed on one screen. I used the NAV V as a alternative to the speedometer in either HUD or navigation modes purely because I know it’s accurate and it’s easier to read.


The navigation function is also very easy to use. I’ll admit I’m not using the Nav V to the fullest because I don’t have it paired to a Bluetooth headset.


This only really prevents me from speaking the destination I want to go to or hearing the directions from the Nav V but this is ok as simply going of the visual cues works well for me. It is slightly difficult keying in addresses because the keyboard splits A-Z across 3 sub menus but you get the hang of it quickly. Dan has convinced me that I need to run the same in helmet Bluetooth setup he’s running.


Once moving, you never need to touch the screen however should the need arise it works really well with gloved fingers.


I really like some of the ‘off the bike’ functionality the Nav V brings also like trip data including number of gear changes, f/r brake use, average throttle position and even lowest temp, fastest speed etc.


When paired with the Garmin Base Camp app on my MAC, I can also access all my trip data, and plot new trips for the future. When I’m lost i can simply click ‘take me home’ and the Nav V gets me en route quickly.


There are added functions that allow me to take screen captures of map views while riding, I can also customise the dashboard displayed under the Sat Nav view. I can also change the map pointer from a simple arrow to a GS or an S1000R complete with rider. I can also scale down the map details or have it displaying in colorful 3d. I can also zoom out to state and even country view and see where I am in the world.


Off the bike the Nav V is well and truly overbuilt. It feels rugged and I happily leave it on the bike when its getting a wash. A concerned GS owner at work commented on the fact that i was leaving my Nav V attached to the bike when parked and that it could be potentially stolen with ease using the right tools, so I now remove it when parked in the city and keep it in its nifty hard shell case.


I have no issues viewing the screen, I have noted that in certain light I do get a line across the screen that is the reflection of the silver handle bars but it’s minor and doesn’t interfere. Sometimes the screen flickers as the auto brightness adjusts but this can be switched off if its a distraction for you.


All in all the Nav V is money well spent, would I get it fitted to a BMW that doesn’t come with all the mounting kit as standard? Well now that I’ve used it most definitely. Now that I have one i can also swap it between BMW motorcycles making it money well and truly well spent.

daily biker author
Jim D. Smith
Biker and content writer at Daily Bikers Blog. Addicted to Bikes, aviation, fragrances, sushi and tacos.
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