Long-term Review: Garmin Zumo 220 GPS

I have ridden my 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650 with a Garmin Zumo 220 GPS several thousand miles, through all kinds of weather, over the past year and have a follow-up long-term review.

This unit has been up into Canada with me and around Washington, Oregon, and California. In that amount of time a few issues have cropped up, one of which has proven to be very inconvenient.

Because the unit doesn’t snap into a connected docking station, I have to plug a mini-USB cable into the back of it before mounting it into its cradle. This doesn’t take very long, maybe 15 seconds more than it should, but that’s not a big deal. The problem is that when I’m stopped, even if I turn the unit off using it’s power button, it still draws power as long as it’s plugged in. I forgot to do so on two different occasions and both times it completely drained my battery within 36 hours. Fortunately both times occurred when it was parked in my garage at home. If this had happened when on a big trip the inconvenience would have had me tossing the confounded thing into a ditch or against a brick wall.

I had my local motorcycle shop rewire the power cable so that it was integrated into the ignition switch circuit. Theoretically this should have disconnected power to the unit whenever the ignition switch was off. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Regardless of how I wired the unit, if I power it off with its own power button, it should halt the current draw and protect my battery charge.

On a recent trip to Canada, I also noticed the unit would spontaneously reboot itself while I was traveling down the road. There was no obvious cause or trigger for this behavior. Fortunately it came back up after a few minutes and it maintained the route I had programmed in it at the time. However, this is an unnecessary distraction and a potential inconvenience. It also makes me lose faith in the unit’s reliability.

I am currently researching a new GPS unit for my bike that uses a docking cradle rather than a cable. I will also verify the power cable is in fact disconnected when the ignition to the bike is in the OFF position. If anyone knows of a unit that meets my requirements, please post the make and model in the comments section.

Ride Report: Day 1: Sandy, OR to Osoyoos, BC

My itinerary was aggressive from the start. I crossed the state of Washington from south to north and didn’t end my day until I’d crossed the border into Canada and finished at the Super 8 hotel in sunny Osoyoos, BC. The weather for this leg was very pleasant and didn’t get hot until I reached Wenatchee.
I went around Mt. Hood via Government Camp, then over to The Dalles via NF44. I crossed the Columbia River via highway 197, then took SR14 to Goldendale for my first stop of the day. I gassed up, ate a snack and had a bio break, then followed highway 97 all the way north into Canada.
My Garmin Zumo 220 GPS was set to ‘shortest distance’ and it took me on surface streets through Yakima and Ellensburg. A benefit of this was it routed me onto SR 821 along the Yakima River. This is a fantastic road, winding along the river valley through rugged eastern slope topography. It was the highlight of the day.
I stopped at a gas station near Wenatchee and got chatted up by four local guys, each on a different bike. They were on their way to a rally in nearby Waterville, and were interested to hear about my trip.
My border crossing was uneventful and efficient. When I checked into the Super 8 in Osoyoos, the very friendly gal at the front desk (Cindy) remembered my wallet from when I visited two years prior. It’s a topographical map made out of Tyvek, the stuff you put on the side of your house, and is sold by MightyWallet.com. It gets comments everywhere I go.
It started sprinkling shortly after I got unloaded, but I was allowed to park my bike under the front overhang, so it was a dry process. Dinner was at the A&W across the street. That’s the only problem with that particular motel — you have to walk a bit, or across a busy street, to eat anywhere when staying at the Super 8 in Osoyoos. Otherwise it’s a great hotel. (On my way back I stayed at the Best Western in Osoyoos and now prefer it. See notes later in this series.)

 

I got chatted up by another V-Strom owner, a guy from Calgary, Alberta, as I was loading up the next morning. He also owns a Yamaha FJR1300, a bike I considered buying before I chose the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R750 instead.

Ride to Hyder, Alaska

I just got back from a ride to Hyder, Alaska via central Washington and British Columbia. I’ll post a detailed ride report, but I’ll summarize here.

1. I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like, and this trip proved them to be very friendly people.

2. I didn’t see a single piece of litter or graffiti in B.C. anywhere.

3. I saw three different bears, one of which was brick red — the rare Cinnamon Bear! — but saw no moose.

4. My Garmin Zumo 220 GPS randomly resets itself; I’m unsure why.

5. The dual towns of Stewart, BC and Hyder, AK provide amazing scenery and are very much worth the trip.

6. I’m tired; that was a long trip.