Garmin Edge 305 GPS: Is it worth the investment?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by BtonRider, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. BtonRider

    BtonRider New Member

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    I've noticed that several other threads on this forum have mentioned the Garmin Edge 305 GPS for the bike. The Garmin website makes it sound like this is a great training tool but I haven't seen many user evaluations. I'm considering buying an Edge 305 myself, but some of the info on the Garmin website is a little contradictory. Maybe those who have one can answer a few questions for me.

    1) Does it also serve as a classic navigation GPS with location information, so you can mapout your course before you head out on a new route? This could be pretty important for those of us who live out in the country.

    2) Can you have a heart rate monitor and cadence unit on the same unit? The website makes it sound like an either/or situation.

    3) Is it any good at determining elevation changes when you're in a canyon or under a thick tree cover? Most GPS receivers can't but their website says it would have no problem.

    4) Do you have any trouble with the wireless cadence/speed sensors when it gets cold outside?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I don't own one, but I have been seeing more of them on the club rides and have been asking questions as well.

    1. It does not map a route. It will only track a route, but with no street names.

    2. Not sure

    3. According to several riders they have yet to lose a signal, but when we asked about the elevation the reading seemed wrong when compared to the reading on the Garmin etrex Vista.

    4. Not sure

    Most have said they like having them, but if you need streets or location information it may not be the best choice. We got lost last weekend and the rider that had the Edge GPS could see that we were near the starting point, but we were in a maze of streets in an industrial park so it didn't really help us that much.
     
  3. marknovack

    marknovack New Member

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    I have one and for my use it has been great. I also have a Polar i725 with cadence and speed sensors for reference of a similar product without the GPS.

    Goto the forums on www.motionbased.com and you can read lots of comments, the good and bad from users. Motion Based is owned by Garmin and they offer alternative online software to interface with the Egde and Forerunner.

    1. So far I wouldn't say it's anything great for navigation, could help you find you way back from somewhere but not as efficient as other GPS units with maps and roads. Could be used like some of the older classic Garmin units somewhat like a compass to navigate. Maybe firmware updates will improve this or future versions.

    2. You can have both a heart rate monitor and cadence monitor on the same unit. The Edge 205 will NOT work with either, so buy the Edge 305 with either options and you can always add on the sensor for either for about $45-50. It will track and log both for downloading to your computer for later analysis. The cadence sensor mounts at the back wheel and also has a speed sensor if you lose GPS signal (doubtfull) or so it can be used on an indoor trainer. You can use it on any bike, no wheel calibration needed without any of these sensors and you still get speed and distance, etc. I still use a conventional cyclocomputer as well and the speed and distance from GPS are extremely close to my cyclocomputer.

    3. Again, get the Edge 305 model, it uses a barometric sensor and GPS to determine elevation and grade. I have not had any problems with GPS signal yet, I mostly ride on open road, but I have received good signal inside the house and in the car with the unit on the seat out of good view of the sky. The new GPS chip they are using in this unit obtains a fix quicker than any of the Garmin units (12XL GPSIII) or my Magellen (Roadmate 300) units I have used. Never lost a signal that I have seen.

    4. I have used the unit outside in temps of 30-40 degrees here in IL lately and I have had no problems. I have had more problems with my wireless Polar cadence and speed sensors than I have with the Garmin so far. I beleive it uses a difference wireless radio technology than some of the other wireless devices. I had a Cateye wireless and it interfered with the Polar HRM and so far when I've used the Polar and the Garmin in difference combinations together, they have not had any problems.

    I do like the Polar HRM software better than the Garmin software for monitoring Heart Rate data, otherwise I would sell the Polar, but it is also good for non-cycling activities since the Garmin is too big to use for other activities and I wouldn't want to try and wear it on my wrist for these.

    Any other questions, let me know and I can try and answer them, I'm still learning all that this unit can do and how it can improve training.

    MN




     
  4. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    Thanks for the input. I'm close to buying, but still am not completely sold on the value of the 305.

    When you say it can it can help you find your way back - can you describe how that's accomplished? I like the idea -- just going out in the country and being able to follow bread crumbs back is a great idea, but I wonder how well it works.

    Have you downloaded your courses after a ride? What are your impressions? Does it overlay the course on street maps?

    Thanks.

     
  5. marknovack

    marknovack New Member

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    I have not used it as a navigation tool yet. It appears it would work as an older unit using waypoints which means it assumes a straight line between points so you have to use it as a guide based on terrain and roads. I know that is how navigation worked with my older 12XL. I wouldn't expect it to be as intuitive as some with map to have roads as a reference. Based on what I have seen and read, I would feel secure in knowing it could get me back home if I got lost somewhere unfamiliar, maybe just not as efficiently as one with a map as well.

    I have downloaded a number of rides and the Garmin software has only major roads built in, although I recall reading about the ability to use a Mapsource CD, maybe.

    You can upload the ride to Motion Based (free for basic service that allows store of up to 10 rides) and replay the ride or overlay it on various map types or satellite images. You can also import this into Google Earth software (free) and review the route from Satellite images and do a virtual flyover of the route ridden (some area of the USA are better than others depending on the mapping done and how recently).

    I have found the review of the rides to be interesting and a nice feature independent of the Garmin unit.

    You can find the 305 units on ebay for $50-100 less at times which for the price offers more than my Polar set-up with more features.

    Hope this helps.

     
  6. vascdoc

    vascdoc New Member

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    I believe most of your questions have already been addressed. However, you may find this link to a discussion of the Edge 305 useful.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=173587&page=1

    I own the Edge 305 but have not used it on the open road yet. I am convienced that it is far superior to the HAC 4.
     
  7. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    As I was posting yesterday the UPS driver delivered my Garmin etrex Vista and handle bar mount so I hope to put it to use tomorrow. The ride leader is handing out maps, but now I will not have to pull out a piece of paper that is drenched in sweat and figure out where I am at. That is what happen to me last week and the week before and most of the time the maps that we are given are not always very clear (not good copies).

    The Vista is a little larger and a little heavier, but I only intend to use it for group rides that are no picking up lost riders. I purchased one from www.tigergps.com for $193.

    The things that I like about the Edge 305 are:

    The ability to back track as a worse case scenerio if one does get lost.
    The smaller size
    The mount is on the stem (Vista is on the handle bar)
    Consolidating tracking, computer and heartrate monitor into one device.
     
  8. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    Mark,

    One more question. Since you've used Polar HRMs, how do they compare to the Edge HRM? The HR function is at least half the reason I'm going with the Edge. My hope is that it will be as good as the Polar units I've read about.
     
  9. marknovack

    marknovack New Member

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    I have not used the HRM function of the Egde enough to say for sure. The basics seem to work as well as the Polar, but on the surface, the traning software for the Polar is better than the software for the Edge. You can get more details and do more analysis with the Polar software, so it depends on how you will use it and how much HRM information you want. For most, I would think it would be sufficent and the integration of all features into one device is a definate plus. I could use the Edge on any bike I ride with the HRM without the need for a speed sensor on each bike.



     
  10. vascdoc

    vascdoc New Member

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    It can also be used with other sports - like skiing. It worked great! :cool:
     
  11. stefanmann

    stefanmann New Member

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    Hi there

    The best thing about the Edge 305 has not been mentioned yet (I think): It has a "Ghost"-option, which actually was the reason why I switched from my Polar 710 to the Edge. And it works just as I want it to!

    I save all my routes onto my computer. Let us say I want to take the Skottvangs-tour this afternoon, I would download my last trainingtour on that specific route to the Egde, start the Ghost-mode and actually "compete" to myself! All of you who have ever tried the "Ghost"-feature on Playstation or X-box etc, know what I mean!

    It is so more fun to get out there now, even if it´s, as it is right now here in Mid-Sweden, rainy and windy at the moment! I used it on my roadbike and on my MTB, and I have not once had any misfunction regarding GPS-signal.

    Stefan
     
  12. jamesdemien

    jamesdemien New Member

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    I have the old one and it's awsome...If I had the cash laying around and could get a decent price on ebay for the old one I'd deffinantly get the 305. I may in fact sell some other stuff on ebay just so I can afford one. I've been practicing for the chicago marathon and borrowed my buddies while he was out of town. Maybe it's because I'm a techno-goof but I love seeing where I went, how fast and how hard my heart was beating...

    go for it.
     
  13. BtonRider

    BtonRider New Member

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    This definately sounds like a good system. Does anyone know if you can load your waypoints and routes from your PC or do you have to do it manually?
     
  14. trek2000

    trek2000 New Member

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    let me start by say any elevation problems could be due to a problem in early models. send it back to garmin and they'll send you a new one. you can create a route using a number of online and retail software packages. save them as a gpx file and convert them to a course file "crs" using gpx2crs converter. then import it into your edge 305. there is a problem with going from your edge to outside mapping software. something to do with the formating of the gpx file that garmin creates i think. once the crs file is in your edge it work great. tells you how far to the next turn, tells you when your off course etc.
     
  15. mysrh

    mysrh New Member

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    From the lots of materials I read about garmin edge 305, it's very realiable gadget, except the 3 most complaints I always read are the inability to track the road, the software provided is weak and the elevation.

    I also put lots of interest in this computer, but feeling there might be new version coming out soon, that's why I get myself basic computer for now and wait for the new version to come out.
     
  16. trek2000

    trek2000 New Member

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    Garmin is awhere of the issues and their support group is trying to get the programmers to fix the software. the elevation problem has been fixed. they sent me a new 305 last week and the elevation and grade works perfect. From my experience the hardware works fine now. its the software that the problem. but there are ways to work around that.
     
  17. CWN Racing

    CWN Racing New Member

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    I've had the 305 for about 6 months, I got it off ebay for 270 shipped so I figured if I wasn't happy with it I could always flip it. I was tired of having seperate HRM and constantly having to look at my wrist for time and whatever and the screen on my cateye is sometimes retarded to read because of the size and glare. The 305's biggest downfall is it loses signal if your in an area thats covered by trees, like deep in the woods or if it's a really cloudy/rainy day. The HRM kills batteries as I'm on my 3rd in 6 months. I don't know if my unit just stays on by itself when I stop or what. The 305 is nice because you can set up your own screen configuration, so you can have up to 8 different things at anytime and the screen is very easy to read. I was pissed when I bought it because I thought it would have maps and whatever like some of the other units. I emailed garmin a couple months ago and they didn't say anything about a new unit, they just said they will be updating software for the existing 305. Hopefully they come out with something by next season. I might end up unloading mine and getting a powermeter though.
     
  18. Phil Stone

    Phil Stone New Member

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    There are other products out there much the same, The Dutch MTB team use these http://www.frwd.fi/ Its bluetooth so if you have a smartphone you can use some map software like TomTom if you get lost!
     
  19. carbonguru

    carbonguru New Member

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    This is a great GPS device. For those of us who are Tri-Athletes I suggest the Forerunner 305. It is so versatile when training and racing. You'll love it. It's worth every penny. :rolleyes:



     
  20. RussG

    RussG New Member

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    I investigated the Edge this past summer. Nice unit and it has features available that other gps units do not. I already a polar but without the cadence feature. I also like to backpack and find some of today's gps units finally worth spending money on for actual navigation.

    The Edge seems to combine the benefits of the Geko 301 with HR monitor and cadence functions. It also uses the new sirfire chip so that the software is more effective and the reception is better. It does not use the best antenna but that's a given for the size. Nevertheless it should get the best reception of any of the non-mapping gps units. It does not map or allow you to navigate except through the bread crumb view. It has no maps and cannot tell you where you are or show you how to get to where you want to go unless you've mapped out the route in advance and downloaded it onto the unit.

    I ended up passing on the edge for now. Technology is still moving fast. Instead I opted for a real gps unit (Garmin 60 csx) that handles nearly everything the edge has plus a lot more including true navigation and mapping. It's larger but very light, and I enjoyed using it when simply taking off one morning to explore a new area. It costs more but there are less costly units. I use it in the car, backpacking and on the bike. I've loaded topo as well city navagator for street use. the mapping software is extra but the topo shows all of the forest service roads that I need when traveling on some of the roads through the state and national forests.

    I already have cycle computers. Astralle 8 on one bike and the flight deck on another. If I was looking for one to move from bike to bike I might have just sprung for the Edge. I would have purchased the 60 csx eventually anyway because I like the navigation feature and the mapping features especially for road biking. If I'd picked up a gps unit primarily for road work (bicycle, car etc) then I'd have likely selected the garmin legend or vista (alot cheaper than the 60 csx) but I backpack, hike and bicycle on roads in heavy forest cover from time to time and without the quad helix antenna (not on the edge, vista or legend) and the sirfire chip (available on all three x models) reception is problematic. there is no unit yet that does everything that the edge does with mapping and true navigation in a unit that has excellent reception (acquisition) in all conditions. I know the routes I like to "train" on so I can get everything I need from both of the cycle computers referenced above and the Polar 725i. I don't need a breadcrumb trail or navigation to help me around those routes. I just need to know how long I'm stopped during the route if I have to stop. If I want to recall a long route that's new, or one that I just explored on, I can take the garmin and record the route just like the edge.
     
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