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Tomtom Rider - The Saga

My first satnav was a Tomtom Rider and I won't bore readers with the long list of faults with it, suffice it to say it proved a poor system for the bike so it was relegated to my wife's car and I bought a Garmin. That was OK until my wife passed her bike test and wanted to use the Rider on her 650CS.

Then followed many problems with getting the original Rider repaired or replaced, which from postings on forums is not an unusual experience. Eventually "I went to the top" and contacted Tomtom's CEO who arranged for a Rider Mark II to be sent to me complete with car kit. Great result you would think, Not really.

The Rider Mark II

I will be generous and admit the Mark II is a big improvement on the Mark I. It does not fall off the bike mount any more and the electrical contact between the satnav and bracket is better. The RAM mounting hardware is an improvement on the crap that was supplied with the Mark I and the car mount has an audio output so it is no longer necessary to use a Bluetooth headset when using the system in a car. I thought the Scala headset would be better thatn the original Bluetooth dongle but found it to be worse (but that's another story). So would I recommend the Mark II? NOT IN THIS LIFETIME. The gloss on the new system wore off pretty rapidly.

Poor Routing

I continued to use my faithful Garmin and the Tomtom had occasional use on my wife's bike and seemed OK. At the time I was truck driving and using my Garmin every day - until it was stolen and I had to use the Tomtom. I then realised how bad the Tomtom routing was in comparison to the Garmin. I was frequently sent the wrong way along one way steets and asked to turn right where it was illegal. Something that was rare with Garmin. In fact the Tomtom was so bad that I very quickly spent £450 on a new Garmin Zumo.

Crap Car Bracket

The Tomtom went back to the wife's bike with occasional car use and it was there that the second snag with the Mark II came to light. The car bracket is not strong enough to hold the satnav so it keeps tilting down. The only solution was to fix the bracket so it rested on the top of the dash - but that did not work either. On any normal car the bracket is too short to allow the satnav to be lifted off without hitting the windscreen. The answer is to tilt the bracket down but can't do that now as it is resting on the dash already. The only answer is to undo the fiddly suction cup lock and remove the whole thing. Maybe Tomtom could sell this as an anti-theft feature!!! How hard can it be to design a useable windscreen bracket??

Will Not Turn Off

The problems continue. The horrible ON/OFF button has been commented on in many reviews and forums so when the satnav will not turn, on one assumes it's the button problem. It turned out to be a totally flat battery. The reason it was flat was that the satnav had started to turn on by itself a few seconds after being turned off. As by that time it was stored in its case this was not noticed. The only answer seemed to be recharge it for a few minutes before every use which put enough power back to turn it on.

Final Failure - May 2009

Now it will not work at all and investigation showed that one of the files on the SD card was corrupt. Contacted Tomtom who have replied that both the turning on/off and corrupt file problems are all my fault as I do not have a back-up of the software on my computer so I can (1) send it to them and pay for repairs or (2) Buy new maps to replace those I already have a licence for but don't work.

My Solution.

During all the Tomtom problems my Garmin has operated faultlessly.

Unlike Tomtom Garmin provide all the mapping on DVD and allow simple downloads of unit software without the horrible Tomtom Home PC interface so I am protected against corrupt files.

Unlike Tomtom the Garmin car bracket works flawlessly.

Unlike Tomtom the Garmin has audio input and output sockets on both car and bike brackets so I can use my Autocom on the bike and avoid having to recharge the poor Scala Bluetooth headset.

Unlike Tomtom the aftersales service offered by Garmin is among the best I have ever experienced.


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