Nav VI and TFT?


Author Steve Moxey

Navigation with the New BMW Motorrad TFT for GS/GSA

The new TFT dashboard on the 2018 GS and GSA, known as the connectivity option, presents some interesting options for owners, in particular the ability to navigate with your smartphone instead of the BMW Nav V, VI.

Whilst my RT was having its annual service I was lucky enough to have a ride on a 2018 GSA Rallye with the connectivity option using my Nav VI and iPhone so a chance to explore the options, of which there are many!

Just considering the new TFT dashboard it is quite a step forward over the old analog dials and readouts. The display is very bright, although it can be obscured by direct sunlight this is unlikely to be a problem. The TFT has a mode called ‘PURE Ride’ by BMW, which has the large central speedo display and tachometer wrapping around the edge, see photo. You can also change the display units from MPH to KPH in settings (hurrah!) making this a very handy option for overseas trips.

The red-line is adjusted depending on engine temperature, very clever. From the PURE mode you just press down once on the toggle switch to access the extra modes, My Motorcycle, Navigation, Phone, Media, Settings (whilst stationary). These detailed menus do mostly what you would expect. If you want to get back to PURE mode you just press up twice and to get back to the detailed menu (the TFT remembers where you are) just down twice – you get used to this very quickly. You click the thumbwheel left and right to move around the menus and right click to select. Anyone using a modern BMW with a thumbwheel will adapt to this very quickly.

Although the TFT is a Bosch unit, so available to other manufacturers, the BMW design, ergonomics and integration with the bike are very good; rather like the iDrive in BMW cars this will probably become the standard others aspire to.

Probably the most important question when using the Nav VI with the TFT is very simple, will I be able to see it or will the bottom of the Nav obscure the top of the dials as it does on the current GS/GSA. This is something you will have to test for yourself as it depends on your size and seat setting but for me on the low seat setting there was no overlap at all even it I moved my body forwards and backwards the TFT and Nav were always clearly visible. Another useful point is that the two devices are mounted at different angles so if you really can’t see the speed display on the TFT in sunlight you should still be able to see it on the Nav and vice-versa.

To navigate you first install the BMW Connected app and pair your smartphone to the motorcycle, next you choose your destination on the BMW Connected App and you are away. The Connected App allows you to download maps to your phone, see photo. Navigation can be started and stopped on the bike and the display shows the basic information you need:

The navigation program is basic compared to the Nav VI and would not be your first choice for a long trip, being designed more for point to point navigation, or as an emergency alternative. I did find it helpful to have the map display of the Nav above the TFT. I tried deviating from the route and both Nav and TFT spotted this and re-routed.

Another example of the clever BMW ergonomics is that the TFT recognises if there is a Nav installed and flashes up a message. After that you move the ‘focus’ between Nav and TFT by pressing the rocker switch: so if you are on the TFT press and hold ‘up’ takes you to the Nav and once there you can come back ‘down’ to the TFT by pressing the rocker switch ‘down’. There is a bright orange indicator on the TFT to tell you which area has focus. It takes a few minutes to get used to but after a ride is very natural.

My overall impressions of the TFT on a 20 mile ride to Winchester were very positive, the information is much clearer than the old analog display and the ergonomics are very good, its also nice being able to see everything when using the Nav VI. The extra functions of music, phone and navigation are potentially very useful and the navigation would be ideal for simple trips perhaps commuting when you want to know the estimated time of arrival. By the end of my short ride I had completely adapted to the new display and if I were in the market for a new bike I would certainly select the ‘Connectivity’ option.

A final postscript: some more testing of the Nav VI and TFT Bluetooth with James McMinn revealed that the Nav VI and TFT will both try to pair with your helmet. You will have to manually PAIR the helmet with each device if you wish to change devices! Unfortunately the TFT does not relay the Nav audio instructions. James is discussing this with BMW Motorrad as clearly this is not satisfactory.

Originally posted 2017-11-01 20:00:25.


Author: bobmack70