The Garmin Montana 700 review for trail riding, dualsport and adventure motorcycling
For many years now GPS Training has been selling and training Trail Riders who are wanting a GPS for their off-road trail bike. We have led many courses for TRF (Trail Riders Federation) members wanting to get to grips with their GPS units mounted on their trail bikes.
Often, they get miscalled motorbike Satnav’s, but fundamentally a Satnav will navigate you along a road whilst a GPS unit, with Ordnance Survey Maps is the tool to aid you to navigate you off road, or on the trail.
On one of our many telephone calls to a trail rider they flagged up this truly great video created by Greg Villalobos, looking at the Garmin Montana range of GPS units from a trail riders’ perspective.
In our experience Greg is reviewing the best GPS for trail riding and off-road use, and as he is actually using the GPS on a motorbike who better to answer some of the key questions for you the trail rider of adventure rider looking to find out moor about a GPS to meet your needs.
You can jump to the answer for each of the questions below, alternatively you can read the answers to each of the questions underneath the links to the varies GPS units and mounts under the video.
00:54 – How much does it cost?
03:14 – How to mount a Garmin Montana 700 series onto a motorbike?
05:00 - Which maps work on a Garmin Montana 700 series for trail riding?
09:43 – How to load Ordnance Survey maps on a Garmin Montana 700 series for trail riding?
12:12 – Can you amend your routes when out on the trail?
12:54 – How do profiles work when using a Garmin GPS on a motorbike?
15:26 – What info can you custom on the GPS screen to make it more friendly for the off-road motorcyclist?
16:18 – How fast is the map on the Garmin Montana GPS? Will it keep up as I ride my motorbike?
17:37 – How bright is the screen on the Garmin Montana? Can I see it whilst out trail riding?
18:16 – Does the Garmin Montana work with gloves on?
19:59 – Does the Garmin Montana 700 series work with my motorcycle gloves on?
22:01 – Can you use your phone to control your Montana GPS unit whilst out on the trail?
22:39 – Why not use a smartphone or tablet on my motorcycle instead when off-road trail riding?
30:13 – How does the inReach work on the Garmin Montana 700i whilst trail riding?
35:41 – How does the Garmin Montana 700i compare to past Garmin Montana GPS unit for trail riding?
36:09 – Is the Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit suitable for roadbook rallies?
37:08 – What is wrong with the Garmin Montana 700 series for the off-road trail rider and adventure travel?
41:58 – Should I buy a Garmin Montana GPS for trail riding on my motorbike?
More information about the Montana 700 range for trail riding can be found here -
Montana 700 range of GPS units for Trail Riding.
Garmin Montana 700 - more here
Garmin Montana 700i - more here
Garmin Montana 750i - more here
Brackets and mounts to attach Montana 700 range to motorcycle
Complete fitting kit for motorcycle - more here
Amps Kit (if you already have RAM mount) - more here
Bicycle Mount (if you are just using for day rides and don't want to wire it into your motorbike) - more here
Now on with Greg telling you all about the Garmin Montana 700i from a trail riders perspective.
How much does it cost?
Garmin Montana 700 - £529.99
Garmin Montana 700i - £599.99
Garmin Montana 750i - £699.99
Both the Garmin Montana 700i and 750 have the two-way satellite communication, to use this you must sign up to a contact. Compete pricing for all the Garmin inReach contracts can be found here.
How to mount a Garmin Montana 700 series on a motorbike?
The Garmin Montana 700 range is mounted onto a motorcycle with one of a number of brackets –
- Powered cradle – AMPS Kit - this you will need to put on an existing mount
- Bike Mount - more commonly called a bicycle mount, used for those who day ride and are just going to use the internal battery in the Garmin Montana GPS unit.
- Complete Garmin Montana 700 series mounting kit for a motorbike, which includes RAM mount - If you have never had a Garmin GPS on your motorbike before this is the one to go for.
Which maps work on a Garmin Montana 700 series for trail riding?
The GPS comes pre-loaded with the Topo Active but this shows very little detail of the off road trails.
Therefore, you need to load Ordnance Survey Maps onto the Garmin Montana, then it will show the green lanes (Byways open to all traffic). If you are wanting to know what each of the map types (Topo Active, 1:50k and 1:25k) look like on a Garmin Montana GPS unit there is a video review looking at these mapping options for a Garmin GPS unit.
The older Ordnance Survey map card (Discoverer map card) does not work on the new Garmin Montana 700, 700i and 750i.
Therefore you need to put in a newer Topo Pro Map card into the Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit.
Talkie Toaster maps are a cheaper alternative, but you can’t beat the Ordnance Survey Maps.
How to load pre planned routes on a Garmin Montana 700 series for trail riding?
You can still plan routes in Garmin BaseCamp but now with this new unit you can wirelessly transfer your routes from your mobile phone onto your Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit.
So, for example, you could download the TET (Trans European trail) onto your smartphone and wirelessly transfer it onto your Garmin GPS device.
Can you amend your routes when out on the trail?
You can amend your routes directly on the unit, but it is easier doing it using Garmin BaseCamp.
Garmin BaseCamp is free route planning software that you can use alongside any Garmin GPS unit.
How do profiles work when using a Garmin GPS on a motorbike?
Profiles let you switch quickly between different types of motorbike riding i.e. trail riding and road riding.
When trail riding you will view the OS maps but when road riding you could utilise the city navigator maps and then you could search for a location e.g. petrol station, and navigate to it like a traditional SatNav on a motorbike.
When using the city navigator maps (on road navigation) you also get the turn by turn instructions via your Bluetooth intercom in your helmet. City Navigator maps comes pre loaded on the Garmin Montana 700i and 750i GPS units. There is a video unboxing the Garmin Montana 700, 700i and 750i looking at the key differences between each of these GPS units.
What info can you custom on the GPS screen to make it more friendly for the off-road motorcyclist?
You can change what you see on the screen whilst you are on your motorbike.
For example, you could add your speed and time of day.
The Garmin Montana GPS unit also notifies you on the speedo when you are exceeding the speed limit. A handy little feature when using the Garmin Montana on a motorcycle.
How fast is the map on the Garmin Montana GPS? Will it keep up as I ride my motorbike?
The Garmin Montana 600 was slow to load the maps and slow to move around the maps.
With the Garmin Montana 700 series is much faster to load and move around the Ordnance Survey map.
How bright is the screen on the Garmin Montana? Can I see it whilst out trail riding?
The screen on the Montana 700 series is considerably larger and it is brighter.
You can alter the brightness by adjusting the backlight when you are out on the trail.
Does the Garmin Montana 700 series work with my motorcycle gloves on?
Yes, it does work with motorcycle gloves on.
This is the big difference than a smartphone which does not work with your gloves on.
This is one of the key difference about choosing a purpose made trail riding GPS unit for your motorbike.
Can you pair the Montana 700 GPS unit with your smartphone?
Yes, with the Garmin Explore App on your phone you can pair and control your Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit and download routes etc.
Also it gives you smart notifications from your mobile phone on your Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit.
Can you use your phone to control your Montana GPS unit whilst out on the trail?
No, you cannot on the Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit.
Why not use a smartphone or tablet on my motorcycle instead when off-road?
This is the big question ….
After using the Android interface when you are an Apple user is hard to get to grips with.
But saying that Drive Mode dashboard is a great app for Android users – great Trail Riding app.
The Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit is rugged and bullet proof, it will never fail on you. That instils a lot of confidence in the user.
How does the inReach work on the Garmin Montana 700i whilst trail riding?
The inReach is a new feature which is a satellite communication system. It enables you to send text messages or email messages when you do not have a mobile phone signal.
You can also do live tracking and you have a SOS button, if you really get in trouble.
How does the Garmin Montana 700i compare to past Garmin Montana GPS unit for trail riding?
As I have not used the Garmin Zumo it is hard to compare it to the Garmin Montana 750i.
Is the Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit suitable for roadbook rallies?
The device does not show and roadbook info, it does tell you the distance you have travelled etc.
What is wrong with the Garmin Montana 700 series for the off-road trail rider?
It’s all about expectation.
It does one thing, and it does one thing well.
It is a progression on from the Garmin Montana 610.
The postcode search is awful, it is a navigational device, why, in the UK, can I not just put a postcode into a Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit and it not navigate me to that address?
You can’t put your files into folders on the Garmin Montana 700 series, we wish you could.
Should I buy a Garmin Montana GPS for trail riding on my motorbike?
I am happy with the device and I like it.
The reliability you get with a Garmin means you know it will be working in 5 years’ time.
For trail riding the Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit is fantastic.
Related articles that you may find helpful
1. Watch my interview with Greg Villalobos, in which we don't just talk about this video he made but his whole trail riding and media career.
2. Garmin Montana 700 series launch page - On this page we look at the different product models (700, 700i and 750i), we unbox each of them and the differences between each of these models.
We also compare the Montana 700 series GPS unit to the older Montana 610 and 680 models and give you our first impressions.
3. Garmin Montana 700 series review - Here we review the Garmin Montana 700, 700i and 750i. We look at the key features including menus, batteries, the two way satellite communication.
4. Best Selling GPS Units - in this video review we discuss the best selling GPS units for the end of 2020. In this review the Garmin Montana 700 came third, which is impressive for a large screen GPS unit.
5. Best Outdoor GPS Unit - This relates less to you the trail rider, but on this page we look at the best budget, top end and large screen GPS units on the market.
Products discussed in this in-depth review on the Garmin Montana GPS for trail riding.
1. Garmin Montana 700 - base unit for trail riding.
2. Garmin Montana 700i - same as Garmin Montana 700 built it has the two way satellite communication built in.
3. Garmin Montana 750i - same as the Garmin Montana 700i but it also has a 8mp camera built in.
If you have any questions about any of the units or brackets please do get in touch.