Originally released in the fall of 2020, Garmin has finally added a lower price option for the PowerSport focused Garmin Tread – Base Edition GPS device. The original offering included the group radio option, but oddly only was available in the US and not in Canada. This was a head scratcher for a device that is geared for ATV’s, Side by Side and Snowmobile users; it ignored the home country of one of the major PowerSport producers and customers.
With the Garmin Tread – Base Edition, we can finally get our hands on this device and see how it operates and compares to other devices such as the Montana 700.
Out of The Box Overview
Physically speaking, the Tread shares the same hardware as the Garmin Zumo XT but unlike being configured for motorcycle touring, the Tread is focused on navigating from the house to the trailhead and off-road riding.
The box contains the mounting equipment necessary to mount on a ATV or Side by Side, USB cable and coloured accent plates in neon green, red & black (blue comes already on the device).
My unit came completely discharged so I could not get the device booted up to get past the initial setup wizard. The unit also came in forced demo mode where you needed to travel a short distance before you can unlock it. While you can add wifi and pair bluetooth in demo mode, you can’t use wifi or update the device. Don’t expect to get this at the last minute, spend 20 min at home getting it setup before you leave. Expect to spend some time to get past this first time power on.
Also the smartphone pairing was the most painful I’ve ever had to do with a Garmin product. For some reason, the Tread emits two different bluetooth devices and if your phone does not find the right one first, then it messed up the process and you don’t fully realize the mistake until it is too late. Because I do tutorial video, I tend to reset a lot so I need to pair the device to my phone several times. It was very noticeable that this was not working well and expect to take several attempts to get it right.
Once you get past the pairing to the Garmin Tread smartphone app, there are some interesting features on the device. Mainly having Garmin Explore built-in. So no longer you need to have the Garmin Explore app on your phone and try to sync collections.
The Garmin Tread can only send data to another Tread device via bluetooth as it doesn’t have ANT+. This is a bit of a limitation as we have been very used to sharing items between many handheld devices over the years.
Pre-Loaded Maps and POI’s
The Tread comes with several map products: City Navigator North America, Garmin Topo Active PowerSport North & Central America, US Public Lands and several POI files from iOverlander, Ultimate Campgrounds, TripAdvisor, Power Sports Dealerships and Adventure Points.
Updating the maps via the device and wifi is handy but expect it to take a few hours while plugged into the USB power port.
Smartphone Needed For Extra Data
You’ll need your smartphone data in order for weather, traffic, music and notifications to appear on the Garmin Tread.
Garmin Tread Manual
You can download the Garmin Tread manual as a PDF file here.
Garmin Tread How To Videos
You’ll find below a playlist of short how-to videos on topics you’ll need to be familiar with in order to get the max out of the Garmin Forerunner 55.