Trail Tech Voyager Pro GPS: No Rider Left Behind

Jun 06, 2019 View Comments by

Trail Tech Voyager Pro GPS device for motorcycle riders.

Trail Tech is a West Coast-based manufacturer of GPS devices and gauges for motorcycles, ATVs, and UTVs. They have recently introduced a new GPS unit, the Voyager Pro, a successor to and evolution of their Voyager product line. The biggest feature that was added is Buddy Tracking: real-time group visibility achieved by broadcasting current GPS coordinates to other members of a riding group, receiving other members’ GPS coordinates, and dynamically displaying them as moving points on the map. Up to 20 members can be defined in a group and each buddy is able to personalize their icon color and name. There is even a “stress” beacon. If a rider in the group needs assistance, they can broadcast an emergency status and the rest of the group will see their position flashing in red on the map. It’s important to note that this is not a real emergency tool, such as offered by the SPOT 3 GPS, therefore no rescue team will be notified. Buddy tracking uses local radio transmission, which is limited to a few miles, depending on the terrain. This cool and innovative idea differentiates the Voyager Pro from other products on the market today.

The unit is robust and even somewhat bulky, clearly designed for hardcore off-road usage. A bright and colorful four-inch LCD touch screen works well with gloves. Four raised tactile rubber buttons on the sides of the screen are easy to operate and have a military spec-like feel which lets you know this is no toy. Underlying maps are topographical with many terrain details, contour lines, and shading. There are free downloadable maps for different regions of the world.

Menus are very easy to navigate and there aren’t too many options, which is arguably a good thing as it keeps the configuration functional and simple. The Voyager Pro comes packaged with a RAM B-Ball adapter that attaches to a sturdy and powered quick disconnect mount. There is an optional external GPS antenna and another antenna for Buddy Tracking.

The only way to power and charge the GPS is with 12V. No USB port exists, and this design limitation also prohibits direct data connectivity with a computer. GPX recording allows tracks to be saved, but the only way to transfer GPX tracks (upload or download) is using an SD card, which reminded me of using a floppy drive back in the 1980s. Dual Bluetooth modules support music and phone interaction for both rider and passenger. There’s also a built-in media player that plays music from the SD card.

The Voyager Pro was designed with off-road usage in mind. The maps show street names correctly, but there is no POI (points of interest) lookup, no ability to search for exact addresses, or even cities. GPX tracks, with thousands of waypoints, will be displayed properly on, or off-road, but there is no road navigation, or turn-by-turn directions. GPX routes, with few points, are connected in direct aerial lines. The unit doesn’t plan and plot points that use the road. It seems a bit of a miss since this is clearly a software limitation that can be resolved with better firmware. Everything else is there, in terms of hardware, maps, and operating system, including a virtual keyboard. If road navigation were supported, at this price point and with its numerous other features, the Voyager Pro could have become a top contender for motorcycle navigation for any kind of touring.

It is very responsive, intuitive to use, and easy to mount. If you’re looking to ride mostly off-road, plan to ride around the world and work solely with tracks, or just want a detailed digital topo map, then this might be a perfect solution for you.



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