Best GPS Apps for Dirt Bike Trail Riding + Tips for Using Your Smartphone.


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Summary

#1 – Get yourself the right GPS app. Google maps just doesn’t cut it for riding in remote areas. I recommend the following –

 GPSKitIPhone 

 Locus Map ProAndroid

 OsmandIPhone/Android

 MotionXIPhone

 Gaia GPS IPhone

 BikeGPXIPhone/Android

#2 – Get yourself a solid phone case that is water and dirt proof.

#3 – Download some trails that have been discovered by other riders into your GPS unit or app.

#4 – Mount your phone properly on your dirt bike. I recommend a strong mounting bracket or a handlebar pad that holds the phone firmly in place even over the roughest of terrain.

#5 – Be mindful of the battery as GPS apps chew through the battery power fast.


#1 Get the Right Dirt Bike GPS App.

First I recommend getting the right app for your phone that easily performs the mapping functions you require.

 I recommend GPS Kit (IPhone Only). For only ten bucks, you get complete topographical mapping that’s super-fast and is full of great features.

This app will let you track your riding buddies if they also have the app, create thousands of way-points and import all kinds of map files via simple email. GPS Kit is my favorite.

Here is a quick tutorial for GPS Kit –

Here are some other really good dirt bike GPS apps for your smartphone that I have tested and recommend  –

 BikeGPXIPhone/Android

 OsmandIPhone/Android

 MotionXIPhone

 Gaia GPS IPhone

 Locus Map ProAndroid


#2 Download Some Trails for your Location.

A lot of dirt bike riders that use GPS, save their rides into their GPS units and make them available for download for other riders.

By using this knowledge, you can tap into some awesome trails that you may not have even known existed.

I’ve discovered some awesome trails by doing it this way and I highly recommend you giving it a go.

 Here is my list of available websites that offer GPS trails for download.

These are all in .GPX format which can be uploaded into any GPS unit or smartphone app.


#3 Get a Solid Phone Case.

My third tip is to get a decent case for your phone that is highly water resistant and shockproof because your phone is about to cop a beating.

 I use OTBBA for IPhone. Completely waterproof, slimline and will take a 6 foot drop without any damage. Perfect for dirt bike riding.

dirt bike gps apps. OTBBA iphone case

IPhone 6 & 6s             IPhone 7          IPhone 7+ & 8           Iphone X          


#4 Mount your Phone on the Handlebars.

Also, don’t just leave your phone in your pocket as it will snap if you ever come off your bike. Instead, get yourself a decent holding device for your phone.

It gets really bumpy on a dirt bike and so you don’t want the phone to rattle off while you are riding hard through the rough patches.

A standard road motorbike phone bracket just won’t cut it.

 I recommend the Holeshot Smartpad!

dirt bike gps app. holeshot smartpad

This cool device is a simple dirt bike handlebar pad that you can embed your phone inside of. You can even control the phone through window!

The phone is fully protected from water and dirt and won’t get squashed if you crash.  Very cool!

Check out the demo video here –

If you prefer a phone bracket to mount your phone on your handlebars…

 I recommend the Ram Tough-Claw Phone Holder.

This bracket is as tough as hell and holds your phone solid over the toughest vibration and bumps. I’ve never had an issue with it and it has received many 5 star reviews on the internet.

dirt bike gps apps. Ram Tough-Claw with X-Grip Phone Holder


#5 Be Mindful of the Battery.

GPS apps use a shitload of battery power because they have to interface with 3 or 4 satellites that are flying at ridiculous speed about 13,000 miles above your head!

So don’t rely on your standard battery usage times because your smartphone GPS app will cut that in half at least.

The last thing you want to do is stuck in the middle of nowhere because your phone ran out of battery power.

 If you are going to use your smartphone, plan your dirt bike adventure into unknown territory for no more than 2-3 hours including the return trip otherwise you might wind up in trouble.

Have you seen?

Sick of using your phone? You need to check out the Trail Tech Voyager Pro GPS! It is custom built especially for dirt bike riding and its packed with amazing features. Check out my Voyager Pro review here.

best dirt bike gps. Trail tech voyager pro


The Problem with Using Smartphones on Dirt Bike Trails.

Well it sure is a viable option but there are a few things that you have to know first before considering using your IPhone or Android out on a bumpy trail on your dirt bike.

 #A They Overheat.

We all know how hot it gets out there on a dirt bike, especially in the summer.

The problem with using a smartphone on your dirt bike is that they don’t like heat much and they are designed to shut off after reaching extreme temperatures. You may have received a message like this before?

dirtbike gps app

Well that is your smartphone telling you that it’s too hot and if it doesn’t shut down, sensitive parts inside the phone will start to break down. Not good.

#B The Screens aren’t Bright Enough.

Smartphones emit just enough power to give you full visibility under normal usage conditions.

But when was the last time you used your phone under direct sunlight? I bet you would have found yourself trying to make some shade with your hand so you can see your messages?

If you were to attach your smartphone to the handlebars of your dirt bike and go riding you will soon find out that the screen is really hard to read.

You will find yourself pulling the phone off its mount and finding a place out of the sun so you can try to read what the GPS is displaying. Not too convenient.

#C Touchscreens Don’t Work when you are Wearing Gloves.

The touchscreens on smartphones were designed specifically to be activated by human fingers.

But try using your phone when you are wearing a pair of gloves and it becomes as useless.

So this means then that if you want to interface with your screen you will need to take a glove off every time, which is a bit of a pain in the ass.

#D They don’t like Impact, Dirt and Water.

Smartphones are very sensitive devices and they don’t like to be dropped and they aren’t really resistant to water, dust and dirt.

They also aren’t very big fans of excessive vibration.

Dirt bike riding provides these things by the bucket load and you have to expect that your phone will get damaged.

 

Conclusion

Always use the right gps app to suit your riding style and always protect your phone the right way so you don’t break it while riding. IF your are tired of using your phone, consider upgrading to a dedicated gps unit such as the Voyager Pro.

Happy riding !

 

Title photo courtesy of Malcolm Smith Adventures.

 

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