Good GPS for cycling on a new lond distance route?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by donrhummy, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    I'm looking for a good GPS handheld that is:

    1. Relatively cheap (under $200 if possible)
    2. Allows me to map out a route
    3. Can show me where on the route I am (via a map)
    4. Tell me when to turn (audio)
    5. Will recalculate if I go wrong way (this not as important as other features)
    6. Is small enough to strap to handlebars
    7. Batteries last at least 12-15 hours
    8. Is accurate with good coverage by satellite

    Anyone here using one right now that's great?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Nobody's using GPS with their bike?:confused:
     
  3. allenpg

    allenpg New Member

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    I use the Garmin eTrex Vista for mapping routes. The downside is that the batteries last only a few hours. That's why I take spares. In the end, I simply merge the tracks together. It's not a fancy GPS and not bike specific, but it works for me and was cheap (on eBay).
     
  4. hd reynolds

    hd reynolds New Member

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    I beg to disagree. Garmin makes cycling specific GPS devices.
     
  5. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    On our group ride this past Saturday, two guys were using the new Garmin Edge bike computers and say they love them, but they do not map like a typical GPS. My friend that also rides in the group carried his Garmin E-trex Vista in his jersey pocket.

    I asked all three if the signal was ever dropped and none had any problems.
    As mentioned the batteries were beginning to run low toward the end of a 50 mile ride.

    I believe that I may opt for the E-trex Vista because it is cheaper, you can load detailed street maps, you still get speed, altitude and distance. I have been thinking about it since I sometimes find myself almost lost because the group begins to break apart and the ride leader is either in the front or going to the back to find stragglers leaving some of us who don't know the route wondering if we will ever find our way back to the parking lot.
     
  6. hd reynolds

    hd reynolds New Member

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    Seems you already made up your mind. I was going to suggest to look into the Garmin Edge 205/305. It has training features you may find useful.
     
  7. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I was really interested in the 305 when I saw the first ads, but then seeing the actual abilities between the 305 and Vista I realized that for me it is more important that I don't get lost on the back roads that the ride leaders create. Since I have been riding with the club we have never followed the same route and I have been in break aways where we ended up lost and wandering how do we find the group or even our way back home.

    Otherwise I would pick the 305 for the training purposes. The two guys that were using the 305 really had good things to say about them.
     
  8. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Does the e-trex vista actually "warn" you that your turn is coming up?

    I know the Geko does and I think there was one other Garmin handheld that did as well, but I know a number of them do not (so they're not that good for navigating on a route you've never been on before). That's the number one feature I'm looking for since it'll allow me to start going on new routes without the fear of getting completely lost (50-100 miles from home :D ).
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    The e-trex will not warn you about a turn coming.

    That would be a nice feature in your case.


    For me it wouldn't help because the ride leader does not reveal the ride until we show up in the parking lot and sometimes we don't even know at that point. We are very dependent on the leader through out the ride, but sometimes it is easy to get lost as the group breaks apart during the ride.
     
  10. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Thanks. It's weird that this feature is missing on 95% of all the GPS units made for the bike. I constantly want to try new routes (that I map out before hand) to ride in new, cool areas, but I frequently get lost as many signs are missing, behind trees, etc.

    The two main features I really need are a long lasting battery (12+ hours) and the "upcoming-turn" feature. The Gekos and one other Garmin GPS seem to have the turn feature and both claim the long-lasting part, but many reviews on amazon say they only last about 5+ hours - not too useful on 100+ mile rides.
     
  11. BtonRider

    BtonRider New Member

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    The Garmin Edge 305 and 205 are specifically designed for the bike. You can load in several waypoints indicating when to turn. The display will usually tell you the distance to the next waypoint. The only GPS units I know of that make an audible alert before a turn, are designed for use in a car. If you're looking for a long battery life I suggest you only look at GPS units that run on AA batteries. You can always carry a spare set of batteries to pop in if you lose power, but you usually can't replace a Lithium ion battery on the fly.

    You might also consider the Magellan Exploris 300. It isn't specifically for the cyclist but it satisfies most of my needs (such as stored routes, waypoints, and altitude details).
     
  12. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I will try to remember to take a picture of the Garmin E-trex mounted on the bar. It is not much bigger than the 305 and because it has 2 AA batteries it weighs a little more, but the nice thing is the detailed map program that you can buy to use in conjunction with the GPS. You can map a route, know the distance on the program, set waypoints, upload to the GPS and go out for a new adventure. You will still have accurate speed and elevation to chart your progress if desired.

    I don't use mine all the time or keep it mounted to the bike, but on those days when you are unsure of the route it really gives a peace of mind.
     
  13. chn68b

    chn68b New Member

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    I use the Garmin Etrex Legend C with the City Select software installed which does allow turn by turn direction. The batteries last 36 hours too, its waterproof and is extremely tough. Be aware though that the software is quite pricey. I purchased an Etrex Legend C for £200, but I think they're now down to about £140 in some places.
     
  14. Jim R

    Jim R New Member

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  15. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    No maps in my older Etrex, but using Delorme Topo 5.0 and interface cable on the home PC, it's easy to upload the waypoints and create a GPS route before you leave. Due to the low battery life, normally will leave the unit off when riding, only switching it on to check distance and bearings to the next waypoint or check bearings when returning. Used in this way, along with the Topo map printout, have found the basic GPS is a great aide to have on new routes.
     
  16. leebm

    leebm New Member

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    I think the Garmin Vista C or Legend C are excellent choices. I used my Vista C last fall on a bike tour. Unfortunately, it doesn't meet your price point. Garmin just introduced the "x" series which has expandable memory, so you may be able to get a good deal on a Vista C since the Cx is now available.

    As stated before, you'll have to buy the Garmin software to do route mapping on the device. Garmin just introduced the Venture Cx which is cheaper and may fit your cost requirement better.

    I wish the Vista Cx was available when I purchased. The 24 MB of memory in the Vista C will only allow you to load half of a state (population density dependent).

    www.gpsinformation.net is a great resource
     
  17. dannomyte

    dannomyte New Member

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    I have used a Garming Etrex for mapping my routes, more specifically when I am mountain biking in the back woods. I don't seem to get lost on my road bike as I know the country and city very well.

    Some other info I will add;

    Garmin Etrex has an optional handlebar mount kit. I have purchased and it works very well.

    My Garmin and wireless cycle computer did not like each other at all. The Garmin seemed okay, but the cycle computer went bezerk when the two were side by side.

    I would consider one with ability to upload road/ city maps next go around.
     
  18. li rider

    li rider New Member

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    has anybody tried the Garmin 305 (with heart rate monitor and cadence)?



     
  19. woodchuck

    woodchuck New Member

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    Warning on the Garmin eTrex - My Vista turns off unexpectedly when I hit big bumps. I contacted Garmin about it and they said that is was the batteries disconnecting causing loss of power. Their solution was to put something in the battery compartment secure them (e.g. small peice of foam). It helps but just makes the problem less frequent. After searching on the web I found this is a common problem in the ATV users of Garmin. B.T.W. I have been using mine handlebar mounted while x-country mountain biking. When my Vista works it does a nice job of mapping the tracks.
     
  20. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for all the great responses! I think at this point there are no "perfect" choices. It seems that GPS for cycling hasn't evolved well enough to the point where there are durable, long-lasting-battery systems that offer directions for a pre-set route. I think it might partially be due to the fact that most bikers ride on routes near where they live, in short enough distances that there's little chance of ever getting lost.

    I'll check out all the garmin choices though. Does anyone know of a store (not online) where you can try out most of the garmin GPS'?
     
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