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Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550

garmin zumo xt vs tomtom 550 review - Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550

TomTom has a new problem on its hands; the new Zumo XT from Garmin.

TomTom and Garmin are heavyweight names on the motorcycle GPS scene and now Garmin have upped the game with the XT but is it better than the 550 from TomTom? This review is designed to help you pick the best motorcycle sat nav for your needs.

It’s worth mentioning, both devices come with their own advantages and drawbacks but if you’re opting for one of these GPS devices you really won’t go far wrong.

Let’s explore their main features and see how they compare, so you can get the best sat nav for your needs.

rider 550 gps nav - Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550

TomTom Rider 550 Premium

TomTom’s range-topping sat-nav

TomTom’s heavyweight motorcycle GPS is feature-packed, including World maps with lifetime free updates, motorcycle POIs, a RAM mount with lockable clasp, an in-car mount and a carry case. With WiFi route uploads, Bluetooth connectivity, live traffic updates, Siri and Google Now compatibility and hands-free calling and the ability to read your messages to you, it’s TomTom’s pièce de résistance.

TomTom Rider 550 Overview

This range-topping sat nav is TomTom’s pièce de résistance. It includes world maps with lifetime free updates, rider’s points of interest, and real-time Wi-Fi route uploads.

Like any last-generation device that respects itself, Rider 550 boasts Bluetooth connectivity, Siri and Google Now compatibility, as well as hands-free calling and text monitoring when paired with your smartphone.

It has a 4.3” glove-friendly rotating touchscreen you can easily use in landscape or portrait mode. As you could expect, the sat-nav is also dust, drop, and water resistant, withstanding even the most challenging road conditions.

The reported battery life of around 6  hours makes this sat-nav a perfect choice for all-day long distance trips.

TomTom Rider 550 also comes with ample journey planning features that will help you design your dream trip around the countryside or on adventurous hilly terrains. Or, if you don’t feel like planning, just pick one of the numerous pre-loaded routes including woodland, coastal, and forest roads.

If you’re organising a biking holiday, the MyDrive feature will let you share your experiences with your mates.

Other features include traffic updates, tail jam warnings, and a wealth of other notifications designed for the safety-conscious riders.

tom tom rider 500 kit review mount 1024x640 - Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550

What’s in the box?

  • TomTom Rider 550
  • Power cable
  • USB cable
  • Motorcycle RAM mount hardware
  • RAM anti-theft solution (Premium version only)
  • Automotive mount (Premium version only)
  • User manual

How is the 550 different to the 500?

Whereas the TomTom 450 and 420 were different units to the top of the range models, with smaller screens and less functionality, the new 500 is exactly the same unit as the 550.

The main differences are that the 500 ‘only’ comes with European maps whereas the 550 comes with World maps.

If you buy the 500 and decide that you do want World maps (if you’re exploring far-Eastern Europe or northern Africa for example, you’ll need world maps), then you can buy the World maps and use them on the 500 but you won’t have the lifetime map updates.

The other main difference is that the 500 doesn’t come with the pre-loaded motorcycle Points Of Interest. You can still add your own POIs or download community-curated ones, so this isn’t a deal breaker.

What is the Premium Pack?

garmin550 premium pack 454x305 - Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550

TomTom currently sells three different set-ups on their website:

The Premium Pack comes with a RAM motorcycle mount, a lockable clasp, an in-car mount and a carry case.

If you’re going for the 550 and you have a car, you’re best off going for the Premium Pack as it works out cheaper than if you bought the Rider 550 and then bought the accessories.

At the moment TomTom don’t offer the Rider 500 with a Premium Pack.

garmin zumo xt motorcycle sat nav - Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550

Garmin’s new range-topping sat-nav

TomTom’s heavyweight motorcycle GPS is feature-packed, including World maps with lifetime free updates, motorcycle POIs, a RAM mount with lockable clasp, an in-car mount and a carry case. With WiFi route uploads, Bluetooth connectivity, live traffic updates, Siri and Google Now compatibility and hands-free calling and the ability to read your messages to you, it’s TomTom’s pièce de résistance.

Garmin Zumo XT Overview

Garmin’s newest motorcycle navigation device: Enter the zūmo XT. This tough, meant-for-adventure, navigation device has some marked improvements, setting it apart from its predecessor, the 595.


The zūmo XT features a large 5.5 inch screen with an Ultrabright Display, making it easy to read, even in harsh sunlight. The glove-friendly HD touchscreen can be viewed in both portrait and landscape modes. Battery life is an impressive 6 hours on a regular setting and up to 3.5 hours on 100% brightness. The device can also be hardwired to constant power. The rugged design of the zūmo XT ensures that it’s able to withstand rain (IPX7) and even the roughest terrain.

The zūmo XT comes pre-loaded with both on- and off-road maps. Download BirdsEye Satellite Imagery via Wi-Fi with no subscription fee and easily switch between street, topography and satellite maps. Garmin Adventurous Routing allows you to fully customise your route by choosing your ride preferences, be it winding roads or rough terrain. Track, save and share these routes with Track Recorder. Use the Garmin Explore app to review and manage these routes, either directly on the device or via your smartphone or computer.

Rider safety is enhanced with hands-free calling via your Bluetooth-connected helmet or headset. Rider Alerts warn you about any potential upcoming hazards, like speed limit changes or sharp curves. Incident Notifications send a text to a preselected contact with your location in case of emergency.

Further features include Garmin Real Directions, which give you spoken directions via your Bluetooth-connected helmet or headset, making sure you know exactly where to go. Explore the area you’re in using iOverlander points of interest, TripAdvisor and Foursquare. Listen to music stored on the zūmo XT or use it to stream music from your smartphone to your connected headset or helmet. Get live traffic and weather updates via the Garmin Drive app. If paired with a compatible inReach satellite communicator (sold separately), the zūmo XT allows for two-way messaging and location sharing, as well as an SOS capability. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity ensures your zūmo XT has the most up-to-date software and maps available.

The Garmin zūmo XT motorcycle navigator RRP is £429.99.

The zūmo XT replaces the zūmo 595.

What’s in the box?

  • Garmin zūmo XT
  • Motorcycle mount and hardware
  • Motorcycle power cable
  • Automotive suction cup mount
  • Automotive power cable
  • Charging/data cable

Rider 550 vs. Zumo XT

I have no evidence to back this up but my feeling is that if you asked the average biker to name a motorcycle sat nav brand, Garmin would be mentioned more than TomTom.

Garmin’s software, Basecamp, is a serious bit of kit and I think over the years that’s helped cement the brand as the ‘go-to’ navigation device.

However, as more and more of us use smartphones, I don’t think a hardcore, powerful and complex route-planner is what people want.

So with that in mind, I think the operating system for TomTom is better for most people than the Garmin. Sure, you can still bang a postcode or location into either device, hit go and it’ll get you there with no fuss.

However, if you check out the TomTom online route planner, it’s so easy to use, you can’t go wrong with it when it comes to setting up your own custom routes.

On our Best motorcycle sat nav review I picked the TomTom as the best option when comparing the 550 against the Garmin Zumo 595. However with the XT, things have changed.

There is little to argue about the capacities of both sat navs. The XT’s main point of difference is its screen, which is 5.5″ as opposed to the TomTom’s 4.3″ offering. I honestly think the screen size alone will seal it for most people.

Where the 595 was slightly behind in terms of weight, connectivity and battery life, the XT now matches the TomTom 550 and there’s nothing in it in terms of RRP. However, it’s worth mentioning that the ‘older’ TomTom can be had for far less than it’s RRP. We’ve found it online for £337 which is a significant saving over the RRP.

Rider 550 vs. Zumo XT Comparison Table

The best in their range, Rider 550 and Zumo XT share a lot of features, but also have some important differences. If your priority is access to as many maps as possible and you aren’t too bothered about a smaller screen, the Rider 550 could be your best bet.

If you don’t plan to ride outside Europe but would rather have a bigger, clearer display, the Zumo XT is probably the one for you.

Check out the table below for a quick side-by-side comparison of the two major players in the motorcycle sat-nav industry.

 TomTom Rider 550Garmin Zumo XT
Screen size4.3”5.5”
Weight280 grams262 grams
MapsWorldFull Europe
Custom mapsYesYes
Lifetime updatesYesYes
Battery life6 hours6 hours
ConnectivityBluetooth; Wi-FiBluetooth, Wi-Fi
Smartphone notificationsYesYes
Water resistanceIPX7IPX7
Traffic alertsYes (when connected to smartphone)Yes (when connected to smartphone)
 Check the price hereCheck the price here

The Best Motorcycle Sav Nav

If you’re still not sure which dedicated GPS device to go for, then check out our guide on the best motorcycle sat nav. We’ve pitched the two industry titans together and our detailed review shows you what to look out for, so you can get the best sat nav for your needs.

Motorcycle Sat Nav FAQs

Is it legal to use a Sat Nav in France?
It’s perfectly legal to use a dedicated Sat Nav device or a sat nav app on your phone while in France. However French law dictates that motorists cannot use a device which actively deters the effectiveness of speed cameras.

While this rule is fairly ambiguous and was introduced with the main aim of making it illegal to use radar jammers (which stop laser-based mobile speed cameras from working), if your sat nav warns you of an impending speed trap, in theory, the police could hand you a fine.

The reality is unless you’re caught at a silly speed or just plain unlucky, you’ll have no problems.


Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this Tom Tom vs Garmin motorcycle GPS guide.


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