What Is Your Favourite Navigation And Tracking Gps/phone Solution?


New Member
Mar 22, 2015
It's the time of the 24 months period again, where I'm due a phone upgrade. I currently have a Windows Phone and feel it's not great for tracking and uploading to Strava. With the lack of a Strava app I use Endomondo, then I upload the files to Strava.

I'd like to find a solution that gives me tracking in Strava and navigation for predefined gpx routes. I don't need a new phone, so I'd consider any option between a bike specific garmin device, an Android phone or an iPhone.

So to get an idea what to buy, what is your favourite solution to track your rides and have navigation assistance?
I used to use Runkeeper to track where I was going. It does contain a setting to change to cycling and it was pretty good the times that I used it. Most of the time though I just use Google Maps to keep track of where I am and where I've been.

As for new phones, I'd go for Android. The iPhones are nice and easy to use but the customisation ability of Android puts it on top for me.
I use an old phone, Sony Xperia Active (ST17a), and run IpBike. That phone is my dedicated bike computer and does everything a Garmin can do and then some but the only downside is the short battery life, good for only four hours or so. I run a battery pack if I'm doing rides over four. Nice thing with the Active is that I have Ant+, Bluetooth (not using it), and access to 911 if needed. It works with OSM and you can preload your routes; no turn by turn but I don't really need that (routes are highlight against map image tiles kind of like Google maps). After my rides, I upload to Strava within the app and Google Drive (via file manager to analyze with Golden Cheetah) when wifi is available (no sim). If you don't have sensors, the app can be set to GPS only.
My personal choices are a Zerolemon 10,000 Mah while touring and the stock battery for around town. On tour the stock battery is kept charged as a backup.

To plan a given route I use Google. I'll list the start/end addresses and activate the tracking app. Select the best route in choices given. Sometimes I'll take the most direct route unless it's it's got 8,000 ft of climbing in 15 miles. Then I'll take a longer option with a more reasonable terrain. Once the choice is made I press 'Start Navigation' and I'm gtg.

The Zerolemon is so thick and heavy as to be virtually unusable in normal, everyday circumstances. Unless one is OK using an android/iPhone w/a 1/2 inch thick battery/case combo. lol My phone of choice is a Samsung Note 3. Also, I've a handlebar mount inexpensive, zippered holder w/a clear face for phone visibility. Kinda cheap material. Will upgrade soon.
I use Google Maps on an iPhone but I'm not terribly happy with it. It will give you bicycle directions. The last time I used them, Google Maps didn't "see" that a portion of the bike route it suggested was closed for construction, and it kept re-routing me around and around to the same barricaded bike path entrance. In other words, the software was much too stupid to offer me alternate routes to my destination. So the end result was I had to find my own way by trial and error. What I'd really like is an open source mapping software application that anyone can contribute to, not a closed-source, sealed software package with a lot of warts and an unacceptably high price tag. Any time you are miles from your destination and have no alternate route -- that is the unacceptably high price tag.
So after some deliberation I decided to get the Garmin Edge 500. Key reasons:

  • It's small and I get some stats on my ride without taking up too much handlebar space.
  • I don't have to worry about battery life on longer rides
  • It has heartbeat and cadence sensors, so I can use it on a stationary trainer
  • It lacks map function, but the ability to plot a rout is pretty much sufficient to track a pre-planned course.
I've not regretted the decision and at the price of less than 1/3 of a phone it does not come too dear.
I use a Topeak iphone 6 holder on the stem, it works well, and when the speakers are turned up all the way, I can clearly hear the kms and speed updates without needing earphones. Just be sure to set the screen to never switch off.
I also use RunKeeper. For the most part, any new flagship device on both the iOS side and Android side will give you a built-in GPS which is what the app requires to work properly. Other than that, it's a matter of iOS vs Android. I personally prefer iOS since I feel the App Store gives you a better variety of apps compared to the Play Store, but it's all personal opinion.
I use a simple "dumb" phone, and paper maps. If and when I do a tour across the US I will probably use both paper maps and a Garmin which will probably be a different model than either the Edge Touring Plus or ETrex 35 in a couple of years.
I cannot relate to that tracking by phone. All I know is the street guide that we have here - an app called Waze. It gives a map of the streets and the condition of the traffic. It's quite good and it is particularly useful to me when I am driving my car. But I also use Waze when I am riding outside the village so I would know the road condition in the main road. But usually in the morning ride, the road is smooth so my phone is just in my small backpack.
BobCochran said:
Vendor lock-in in action.
I'm not sure why the Garmin has much vendor lock. Services like Strava support it pretty well and all the files are accessible via USB. Certainly I cannot install different software, but the form factor and battery life is impressive compared to any mobile phone and there is not really any feature I'm missing.

Additional accessories simply need to be ANT+ compatible which limits the available options, but is not locking you to a vendor and is justified through a much longer battery life compared to Bluetooth.

If I really need to see the map, I've got a phone as backup and I'm sure it's battery won't be drained by tracking or the phone be damaged as easily by an accident as it would be if it was mounted on the handlebars. So when I really need the phone, it's there.
I use Runtastic. They make app for mountain bike, road bike, running, even abs app for it. It is also on Apple. I use it on my Note 4.

This app got % of your exercise on uphill/downhill/flat land. You dont do exercise when going downhill.

I like to post my exercise on FB so thats why I use it.

In fact, all GPS app are almost the same.
I use a Garmin 810 which is great for uploading to Strava - but the navigation is sketchy if your route features a loop or crosses paths at some point. I went this route because I wanted something with navigation features for riding through the night on some brevets and also an ANT+ device capable of reading power meter data

iPhone and the Strava app works well for basic route and data uploading.