Mounting a Garmin 2610 on a BMW R1100RT

Garmin 2610 GPS / R1100RT Mounting Solution(?)

I tried various solutions for mounting my Garmin Street Pilot 2610 on my BMW R1100RT motorcycle. Criteria for the mount were security, stability, and visibility. I wanted the GPS to be as close to my line of sight as possible, to minimize looking away from the road, which meant mounting it on the RCU shelf that the radar detector was already sitting on. It had to be secure, so the GPS wouldn’t end up bouncing down the road. And it had to be stable, so the GPS wouldn’t shake and be unreadable.

I had many failures. I tried the Garmin mount, but it struck me as terribly insecure – the GPS is held in by a tiny finger of plastic. Since I was setting up the bike for the 2005 Iron Butt Rally, I expected to be riding down some terrible, terrible roads that would beat up on everything on the bike, and the Garmin mount just didn’t look secure enough.

I tried a RAM Mount. RAM mounts are great and rock solid. Unfortunately, my bike isn’t as solid. The RAM mount has a base, an arm, and a bracket. Even with the shortest arm, the GPS ended up high enough and far enough from the center line of the RCU shelf that it acted as a lever, and the whole shelf and the dashboard it’s attached to would flex and bounce going over every bump. Moving down the road I couldn’t read the bouncing GPS, and I knew there was no way the setup would last 10,000 miles.

I tried a Touratech mount. It’s a work of art. It’s rock solid. I could bolt it to the shelf. But I couldn’t figure out any way to bolt it to the shelf and position it so that the windshield would go all the way down.

So I ended up making my own, with lots of trial and error. The starting point for  the mount was the “Clam Shell Mount with T-Knobs without Universal Cradle” from Signal Measurement Corp.:

SMC bracket

The cradle for the mount was the RAM Mount 2610 cradle. It holds the GPS securely (with a little shimming), and it’s easy to snap the unit in and out if you need to remove it:

RAM cradle

I removed the thumb screws from the SMC bracket and replaced them with regular screws. I also ground down the little nubbins that made the mount stay at certain fixed angles, as the angle I wanted was none of the ones it offered. I bolted the SMC mount to the RCU shelf. I took some 2″ wide by 1/8″ thick aluminum stock and made a adapter piece that would bolt onto the bracket, and the cradle would bolt onto that.

The first adapter I made worked well, but put the GPS in the wrong place on the shelf. (The shelf on my bike would probably be less flexy if I hadn’t drilled so many wrongly-placed holes into it.)  Rather than move the bracket on the shelf and drill more holes, I added a second piece of aluminum stock to move the cradle over to port a bit. For extra stability, I attached a bit of metal strap between the adapter plate and the screw that mounts the shelf and dashboard to the
nose fairing.

This mount is rock solid. With the bit of metal strap, it may actually make the dash and shelf assembly a bit more stable. The GPS is mounted far enough astern so that the windshield goes all the way down. The base bracket is rotated just a bit counterclockwise on the shelf so that the viewing angle for the GPS screen is correct with the GPS being off the center line of the bike. (It’s not quite horizontal, though – enough to be slightly annoying, but not annoying enough to take apart
and re-do.)

Here’s the view from the front of the bike looking back at the rear of the GPS. The two Phillips screws are the ones that hold the RAM cradle onto the adapter plate. The four screws with nuts hold the adapter plate onto the base bracket. Then the allen head bolts hold the bracket onto the shelf.

Also visible is the excess cable to the GPS antenna, the GPS power/audio cable tied down to the RCU shelf, the Touratech visor, some superfluous Dual-Lok, and a really filthy bike.

Back of mount

And again the nicer view from the front:

Picture of bike cockpit