It’s been awhile since seeing a new motorcycle GPS from Garmin. The recently released Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S introduces some new features and a redesigned exterior to differentiate it from older models and hopefully induces customers to consider replacing their older Zumo.
Many of the features that make a good motorcycle GPS worthwhile remain including a glove friendly display, weatherproof design and rider friendly maps. Free live services are included with the Garmin Smartphone Link app. They have also (finally) included a WiFi map update. This is a welcome addition in a world where USB connectivity is being phased out (aka Chromebooks).
But with every new model comes a few disappointments. The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S no longer includes a car mount in the box. The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S car mount is now an option accessory that must be additionally purchased. The automotive kit includes a GPS cradle, suction mount and a charger. The mounting cradle features a 17mm socket which aligns with the Garmin automotive mount principle from the past decade.
This all means you can add a mount designed for a Garmin Nuvi or Garmin Drive and it will fit fine. Those looking for an alternative mounting location can consider adding the Garmin Nuvi Car Air Vent Mount. The air vent is a great place to mount the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S because it keeps it somewhat hidden from bad guys, yet maintains a good location for viewing while driving. The mount requires the cradle from the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S Automotive Kit and features the 17mm ball needed to pair with the car cradle.
The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S shares the same motorcycle cradle and mount as the older Garmin Zumo 390LM and Garmin Zumo 395LM. That’s a good thing. Those devices used a solid mounting system sourced from RAM Mounts. It features a metal design ball and socket which attaches to the back of the Garmin cradles via four holes forming an AMPS mounting pattern. These four holes align with the mounting adapter on the metal mount and attach using included screws and nuts.
Those upgrading from an existing Garmin Zumo can likely reuse the mount (not necessarily the cradle) that came with your GPS. You can use the additional one in the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S box as a spare.
However, those in need of a second mount can consider the RAM Mounts U-Bolt with Arm and Adapter for Garmin Zumo. This is very similar to the one received with a Garmin Zumo. It includes mounting options for a handlebar and clutch. The handlebar option utilizes a u-bolt that surrounds handlebar up to 1.25 inches in diameter. The clutch option includes replacement bolts for the clutch or brake attachments. The handlebar mounting location is perfect for those that like to install it themselves. The clutch or brake attachment requires more skill and if uncomfortable with taking your bike apart, ask your motorcycle mechanic to do it. A lifetime warranty is included with this mount.
Other mounting options are available that can use components from the included motorcycle mount. A popular option is the RAM Mirror Base. That’s what is included in the photo that accompanies this article. This base is popular on BMW models and features an 11mm hole that your mirror post can fit through or in some case, you can replace the mirror post with your GPS. The arm and AMPS plate will fit this base. Just loosen the flywheel on the side of the arm and attach it to this mirror adapter.
Another popular option is to the RAM Fork Stem Base. This mount will attach to the stem hole on many motorcycles. The mounting kit includes a bolt and a plastic cone that you can cut to fit the stem hole. The plastic cone can be cut from 12 -20mm and 28mm or .5” – 1.10”. You can replace the handlebar base with this fork stem base. Use the arm and mounting plate from Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S. No need to purchase anything more. Be sure to follow the instructions on this one as you can one shot to cut the cone down to the right diameter.
If you notice some glare while using the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S, there are some interesting solutions available to shield your unit from glare and we have reviewed the Glarestomper line of products which will help a lot.