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The simplest way to get your ride data, plus handy navigation help

In a few short years cycling GPS units have opened up a huge range of possibilities in the ways we plan, record and compare our rides. Let’s take a look at what they can do for you and which ones perform best.

GPS stands for Global Positioning System, which if we’re being pedantic refers to the USA’s network of 24 satellites that originally became operational in 1995. This is just one of several positioning systems in which a receiver uses satellite signals to determine its location on the earth’s surface. However, like hoover and aspirin, it’s become the generic term for its category.

An artists's impression of a GPS satellite (US Government).jpg

An artists's impression of a GPS satellite (US Government).jpg

GPS satellites broadcast very high-precision time signals, generated by the atomic clocks they have on board, along with information about their orbits. From the data in the signals from at least four satellites a GPS receiver can calculate its position and determine your latitude, longitude and altitude.

That piece of raw data opens up a huge range of possibilities. A GPS unit can calculate your speed without needing to measure how fast your wheels are turning; it can measure the distance you’ve travelled, and record a series of location points so you can review your route on a map after the ride or in real time if the unit has a map display.

Given a map with the right additional data such as road and junction layouts, a GPS receiver can also help you navigate, and this is the function that’s really driven the proliferation of GPS devices. I can’t imagine trying to drive without one. The ancient AA road atlas that’s in the car ‘just in case’ is really there to roll up and fend off anyone who tries to take my car GPS away from me.

Early GPS receivers were slow to get a positional fix and struggled to pick up the signals from satellites if there was anything in the way, like tree cover or buildings. Advances in electronics have improved performance dramatically. Modern GPS units can get a fix indoors, and some use the Russian GLONASS system as well as the American satellites, improving speed and accuracy.

And where GPS receivers were once wallet-clenchingly expensive, you can now get a non-mapping unit for under £90, thanks to Moore’s Law and economies of scale.

If you have multiple bikes, a big advantage of GPS computers is that you can swap them from one to another without faffing changing set-up.

Manufacturers

Bryton Rider 60E GPS Cycle Computer

Bryton Rider 60E GPS Cycle Computer

Bryton has a big range with a total of 11 units from the simple, non-mapping Rider 20+ to the full-featured Rider 60 and the new Rider 530 — and variations in the included accessories mean the complete range is huge.

Find a Bryton dealer.

Cateye stealth zero.jpg

Cateye stealth zero.jpg

Cycling accessories maker Cateye has long included computers in its range, and has several models with GPS capability.

Cateye’s Stealth models have built-in GPS, but most of its GPS computers use the GPS receiver in your iPhone or Android phoneto determine your location. That makes the £50 Strada Smart one of the cheapest ways of displaying GPS data on your handlebars

Find a Cateye dealer.

Garmin Edge 820 main.png

Garmin Edge 820 main.png

Garmin dominates the cycling GPS scene by dint of having got in early with the Edge 205 and 305 in 2005. The US/Taiwanese company has refined and improved its range and now offers nine models, from the simple, non-mapping Edge 20 which you can find for as little as £80 to the all-singing, all-dancing Edge 1000 which starts from about £300. Garmin recently introduced two new models, the Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820.

Find a Garmin dealer.

Lezyne GPS 96

Lezyne GPS 96

Known for lights and other accessories, Lezyne jumped into the GPS arena in 2016 and now has with a range of five units, the Micro GPS, Micro C GPS, Mini GPS, Macro GPS, and Super GPS. All five are non-mapping devices for riders who just want their ride data. They'll all work with Bluetooth Smart sensors and the Micro, Micro C and Super work with ANT+ too. 

All Lezyne's GPS units connect to the Lezyne GPS Ally smartphone app app which allows for on-the-fly email, text and phone call notifications, and they provide live tracking that displays your current location and metrics to specified email recipients.

Find a Lezyne dealer.

Mio Cyclo 505

Mio Cyclo 505

You might know Taiwanese electronics maker Mio better as the manufacturer of Navman satnav systems for cars. Mio is another brand of parent corporation Mitac.

Mio makes three ranges of GPS units, all with map displays: the wifi-enabled Cyclo 50x series; the Cyclo 31x series, which are virtually identical but without wi-fi; and the large-screen but reasonably-priced Cyclo 20x units.

Find a Mio dealer.

Polar V650 GPS cycling computer - screen 4

Polar V650 GPS cycling computer - screen 4

Polar is best known as a pioneer of heart rate monitors, and has developed probably the most extensive and advanced range of training features in that category. Its two cycling GPS units, the V450 and V650 have a wide range of training-orientated features including fitness tests and assessments of training effect and training load.

The V450 is a non-mapping device while the V650 can download and display 450x450km segments from Open Street Map to guide you on your way. You can find the V650 for as little as £136.50, which is very cheap for a mapping GPS.

Find a Polar dealer.

Wahoo Element GPS Bike Computer - on bars.jpg

Wahoo Element GPS Bike Computer - on bars.jpg

Fitness electronics maker Wahoo Fitness started out with sensors that transmit cycling data to your phone, then expanded with two models of GPS-enabled computers. The Elemnt is a full-featured mapping GPS unit, while the Rflkt uses the GPS receiver in your Apple or Android smartphone to determine your location.

Find a Wahoo Fitness dealer.

Other brands pop up from time to time. For example, you’ll find GPS units on Amazon from Holux, Canmore, i-gotU, Memory Map and others, and cycle computer maker Sigma Sport has one GPS unit in its range, but the ones listed above are brands you’re most likely to find in bike outlets.

GPS types and functions

There are two main types of GPS: mapping and non-mapping. The larger display needed for a mapping GPS requires a larger battery, and that all increases the cost. For the extra money you get navigation and routing functions that can be extremely useful when riding in unfamiliar areas.

Many riders don’t need a map. If you just want to record data like your route, heart rate and power output (if you have a power meter), a non-mapping unit is all you need.

The massive array of functions offered by even relatively basic GPS units can be daunting, but manufacturers have generally done a good job of designing user interfaces that make it easy to find your way around them.

Let’s take a look at some of the functions you’ll find.

Standard computer functions. Like any conventional non-GPS computer, a GPS unit will tell you your current speed, distance, ride distance, average speed, maximum speed and so on.

Since there’s a fairly powerful little processor sitting in most GPS units, designers tend to include just about every speed/distance/time function you can think of.

For example, some of Garmin’s GPS units have a feature called ‘virtual training partner’ which pits you against an electronic competitor who’s doing a set average speed, or against yourself the last time you rode a course.

Garmin-Edge-820-GPS-Cycle-Computers-010-01626-10-0.jpg

Garmin-Edge-820-GPS-Cycle-Computers-010-01626-10-0.jpg

Heart rate functions. Many GPS units come with a heart rate strap, or will work with one, usually using the ANT+ protocol (see below).

Power functions. If you have a power meter, many GPS units will work with it to record your power data along with your ride and heart rate data, and display a range of measurements and averages so you can confirm that the reason you feel like you’re working your arse off is that you’re working your arse off.

Training functions. With a programmed workout sequence, many GPS units can do the brain work of counting intervals or timing efforts for you, feeing you up to concentrate on the effort itself. Some also have in-built fitness tests or can monitor your training effort and load so you don’t overdo it.

Garmin-Edge-1000-Performance-Bundle-GPS-Cycle-Computers-SS14-010-01161-04-6.jpg

Garmin-Edge-1000-Performance-Bundle-GPS-Cycle-Computers-SS14-010-01161-04-6.jpg

Geographical functions. These include both navigation and route recording, functions that are unique to GPS units. If you simply want to get somewhere, almost all mapping GPS units let you put in a destination as a postcode, name of a village or point of interest and will then give you directions to it, usually with turn-by-turn warnings as you approach junctions. However, even when you use a setting like ‘avoid major roads’ GPS map data often doesn’t differentiate between a quiet minor road and a dual carriageway A road, which can lead to some interesting route choices.

A better idea is to plan your route in advance using either the GPS maker’s own tools, such as Garmin Connect, or one of the many route-planning websites out there. Transfer the route to your GPS and you can then follow it exactly.

Recording a route lets you follow it exactly on a future ride — handy if you’re being guided — and has opened the door to competing against friends and strangers online through Strava.

If you’re following a planned route, then the unit can tell you how far it is to your destination or to the next landmark. It can usually also work out how long you’ll take to get there based on your speed so far.

If you’re happy to really roll the dice on where your ride takes you, some GPS units can generate a random route of a specified length, an entertaining gimmick that can be useful for exploring new areas.

Many non-mapping units will still give you turn-by-turn directions so you can follow a pre-loaded route. The display in these situations is usually a line showing you the upcoming turn.

bryton-rider-60t-gps-cycle-computer-combohrmos-map-3014299-0-1417629820000.jpg

bryton-rider-60t-gps-cycle-computer-combohrmos-map-3014299-0-1417629820000.jpg

Time functions. As well as the obvious — time of day, ride time, stopwatch and so on — GPS units often have extra time functions that depend on satellite data. These include sunset and sunrise times and automatic lap time functions based on detecting the spot where you started.

Altitude functions. GPS units can work out your altitude from satellite data, but this doesn’t tend to be very accurate. Altitude data usually comes from a barometric altimeter, which uses atmospheric pressure to determine your height above sea level.

Barometric altimeters are susceptible to errors caused by changes in the weather, but if you upload your ride data to a ride-sharing site you will often be able to correct the elevation readings.

Having an altimeter lets you see extra information like how fast you’re climbing and the gradient so you can confirm that killer hill really is insanely steep.

Wireless communication functions. It’s common for GPS units to have the ability to communicate wirelessly with other devices or sensors, using low-power wireless communication protocols such as Bluetooth and ANT+. This is usually how GPS units communicate with cadence sensors, heart rate monitor straps, power meters, phones and even other GPS units. Some GPS units are able to use your home wi-fi to upload your ride, and will do so automatically for you.

Eight of the best GPS units

There’s probably no more controversial product category in cycling than GPS units. They all have flaws, but their feature sets are often so large a flaw that’s a deal-breaker for one rider may go unnoticed by another, or at least be tolerable weighed against other features. Here's a selection of our favourites

Mio Cyclo 100 — £34.25

Mio Cyclo 100.jpg

Mio Cyclo 100.jpg

Because it's been replaced by the 105, this compact GPS-enabled computer is available from various sources for £50 or less. It has a monochrome screen with customisable display, allows you to download a record of your ride, and will work with an optional heart rate monitor for a full record of your ride.

Find a Mio dealer

Lezyne Mini GPS — £72.09

Lezyne GPS 2015 07

Lezyne GPS 2015 07

The Lezyne Mini GPS computer is an easy-to-use option that gives you basic ride information on your handlebar along with the ability to upload, store and analyse your rides on Lezyne's GPS Root website. It works with Bluetooth sensors and with the Ally app can give you turn-by-turn directions.

If you're a bit of a technophobe or you just aren't interested in masses of ride measurements, the Lezyne Mini GPS might be a good choice for you because it's very simple to use.

We liked the original Mini GPS, and we expect the 2017 version with mapping to be just as good.

Read our review of the Lezyne Mini GPS
Find a Lezyne dealer

Garmin Edge 25 with heart rate — £125

Garmin Edge 25 3

Garmin Edge 25 3

The Edge 25 is Garmin's smallest ever GPS computer, and along with its diminutive size, Garmin has nailed the user interface, which is a dream to use.

If you don't need route mapping and navigation and just want to track all the important metrics like speed, distance and elevation, the Edge 25 does everything you need.

It's light, just 25g, and takes up very little space on the stem using the supplied quarter-turn mount that Garmin has been using for years. The 128x160 pixel display is small and grayscale, but it's pin sharp and the new lighter font makes it easy to see at a glance how fast you're riding.

The Edge 25 is available without a heart rate strap for £94.99.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 25
Find a Garmin dealer

Polar V650 with HRM — £163

Polar V650 GPS cycling computer - screen 1

Polar V650 GPS cycling computer - screen 1

Polar’s V650 is extremely reasonably priced for a mapping GPS with a heart rate monitor strap included in the box. It’s an easy-to-use GPS bike computer with some neat features, including a large colour touchscreen and a small white front LED for visibility if you get caught out after dark.

In keeping with Polar’s fitness orientation, there are several fitness tests and training load functions here that you’d need training software to replicate with other GPS units.

However, the V650 can use only Bluetooth Smart to communicate with sensors, not ANT+, so the range of accessories you can use with it is limited, and the only power meters that will work with the V650 are those made by Look, PowerTap, Stages and the Wahoo Kickr.

Peculiarly, the V650 doesn't work with the cheapest power meter we're aware of, the £350 4iii Precision, but its cheaper kid brother, the M450 (£114.08 with a heart rate strap) does. That means the cost of entry of training with power is now under £500.

You can get the V650 without a heart rate monitor strap for £127.25.

Read our review of the Polar V650.

Mio Cyclo 315 — £170

Cyclo315-angled-surprise.png

Cyclo315-angled-surprise.png

A mapping, touchscreen-equipped GPS for about the same price as Garmin’s non-mapping 520, the Cyclo 315 HC is well-liked by people who own one. We haven’t tested it, but we’ve liked other Mio units we’ve used.

Find a Mio dealer.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt — £200

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS bike computer.jpg

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS bike computer.jpg

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a compact and aero GPS bike computer that offers a vast amount of useable information, navigational capability and an excellent battery life at a reasonable price.

Read our review of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt
Find a Wahoo dealer

Garmin Edge 520 with heart rate & cadence — £280

Garmin Edge 520 GPS Bike Computer

Garmin Edge 520 GPS Bike Computer

Garmin brought its Edge rage into the Strava Age with the 520, which automatically updates its internal database of segments in your area and warns you as you approach them.

It’s one very impressive piece of kit. It works smoothly, with a nicely redesigned control interface and display, and is bang up to date with all the features (barring full mapping) you could want from a cutting edge performance monitoring tool. The Strava Live Segments work well during 'non-course' rides, and provide that little bit of optional motivation should you want it (subject to subscribing to Strava Premium).

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 520
Find a Garmin dealer

Garmin Edge 810 — £NA

Garmin Edge 810 - data screen - crop.jpg

Garmin Edge 810 - data screen - crop.jpg

Remember what we said above about GPS units and controversy? The Garmin Edge 810 has it in spades. Some people love their 810s for their ease of use and ability to, for example, automatically upload a ride via your phone or let loved ones track where you are if you’re out on your own.

Others however, find the routing algorithms inconsistent and are driven to distraction by some units' tendency to crash randomly, corrupting your ride data in the process.

With the Edge 820 now on sale, the Edge 810 has just about vanished from the channel and we only mention it here in case you stumble across a good deal on one or are considering picking one up second hand. Dave Atkinson’s extensive review of the Edge 810, linked below, should help you decide if you can live with its limitations.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 810
Find a Garmin dealer

Garmin Edge 820 with maps, cadence and heart rate — £341

Garmin-Edge-820-GPS-Cycle-Computers-010-01626-10-0.jpg

Garmin-Edge-820-GPS-Cycle-Computers-010-01626-10-0.jpg

The Garmin Edge 820 is a features-packed, compact and neat cycle computer that is a decent update to the popular 810. Perhaps the screen could be a little more responsive and the GroupTrack could be more accessible, but overall it's an impressive piece of kit.

All in, it is probably the best performance and navigation computer I have used and that Garmin has been able to pack it all into such a small unit is astounding.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 820
Find a Garmin dealer

Garmin Edge 1000 with heart rate and cadence — £440

Garmin Edge 1000

Garmin Edge 1000

The Edge 1000 is Garmin’s beefiest GPS, and a big improvement over its predecessors. The screen is big and easier to read, the base mapping and routing are much improved and the connectivity with other devices makes keeping track of your data a simple job. The resistive touch screen, hardware buttons and simple interface mean it's easy to use in poor conditions and when wearing gloves.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 1000
Find a Garmin dealer

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

54 comments

Avatar
Ush [926 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Why would you not use a smartphone if you have one?  Is there some advantage to a dedicated GPS unit?

Avatar
vonhelmet [843 posts] 11 months ago
10 likes
Ush wrote:

Why would you not use a smartphone if you have one?  Is there some advantage to a dedicated GPS unit?

My Garmin has better battery life, it's waterproof, it's smaller, it's not going to break into a thousand pieces if it hits the deck, it can use ant+ sensors with no difficulty... Probably more reasons besides.

Avatar
fukawitribe [1928 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Ush wrote:

Why would you not use a smartphone if you have one?  Is there some advantage to a dedicated GPS unit?

I presume you mean something other than a unit that only acts as a dedicated GPS unit - in which case, yes there is - allbeit with a cost implication.  This site, and others, has any number of discussions about the trade-offs... worth looking for. Some points revolve around battery life, ANT+/BT compatibility, weather-proofing, mount compatibility, size, fragility, consequences over relying on your communications device, functionality limitations - some of which are more or less relevant since they were discussed.

Avatar
Looper35uk [20 posts] 11 months ago
5 likes

My Garmin 810 is a bug ridden peice of crap.

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JonD [464 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Worth adding that you don't have to be stuck with the limitations of a fixed battery in the Garmin Edge range - some of the more general outdoor units -Etrex, Oregon, etc will run for 20-24hrs on AAs, and will accept/log Ant+ hrm and cadence data. Downsided are you don't get some of the edge training functions, and you have to use the combined garmin cadence/speed sensor, standalone cadence sensors aren't supported  7

Avatar
Ush [926 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Thanks for the answers.  Have been searching road.cc for further discussions and noticed that the (very expensive) Garmin eTrex 30 is what Josh Ibbett used. It bears out JonD's point about being able to run off AA batteries which strikes me as useful.   I then started wondering about:

 

1) the proprietary nature of maps available.  Are there any using Free/Open formats?

2) the availability of drivers for linux... do they just mount as USB mass storage devices?

3) the structure of the data that can be saved off them:  simple, non-proprietary formats or do you need to dick around with some manufacturer's own-brand programs?

4) availability of upgrades to these devices:  if bugs are found is it easy to reflash them to a later firmware?  Do any of the manufacturers have a proven track record of delivering such updates?

 

 http://road.cc/content/tech-news/198941-transcontinental-bike-race-josh-...

Avatar
unconstituted [2354 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Wahoo updated the Elemnt with Strava Live Segments this week. I reckon that rounds it off as the only genuine competitor to Garmin in terms of 2016 feature sets. 

Avatar
Stephan Matthiesen [63 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

Ush: I have a Garmin eTrex 30 and Linux on my laptop. So for your questions

1. yes,  there are free maps based on OpenStreetMap. I use the ones from www.freizeitkarte-osm.de which are designed for leisure/touring (I. E. Have footpaths etc included). On the OpenStreetMap wiki there is a page with links to others, including an online tool that allows you to create your own maps. In addition to maps you can also extract points of interest (POI) from OSM, I have a POI file for bicycle racks for example so that I can find the nearest parking (see http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=16029 for details)

2. Yes, USB mass storage under Linux.

3. Tracks are saved as gpx files. Convert them into anything with gpsbabel.

4. Updates are very rare, but I don't notice any bugs. Sometimes it hangs when calculating routes but that might be a map issue (E. G.  I knew a location where a footpath wasn't linked up in OSM)

 

Avatar
jimt [22 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

The Wahoo Element has allways been a mapping GPS and has had turn by turn navigaion added a month or so ago.

Avatar
marche [95 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes
Looper35uk wrote:

My Garmin 810 is a bug ridden peice of crap.

The technological gap between a Garmin unit and e.g. an iPhone is huge. Garmin's GPS are low tech at best. 

Using a Garmin Edge is like using a Casio Watch "G-Shock" compared to the common "smart" phones we are used to.

Nevertheless there are some advantages using a dedicated unit:
- phone mounts are not handy and remain ugly
- phone batteries drain too quickly when tracking
- phones do not connect to ant sensors (adaptor needed)
- GPS units have dedicated buttons and are waterproof
- GPS units are cheaper than a iPhone, and less fragile
- no need to have internet with a GPS unit (important when abroad)
- GPS units can be paired with phones (live tracking)

Above all, I wish the screen quality would be better. The rendering of maps is still very old school on my Edge 810 – still ofering a limited color range and big pixels…

 

Avatar
Mr. Sheep [60 posts] 11 months ago
4 likes

The Wahoo Elemnt, as of the last couple of firmware updates, is utterly excellent. It works flawlessly and delivers on every feature it promises. If you plan your routes beforehand using Ride With GPS or Strava, it provides a very easy-to-use interface for following them (with turn-by-turn if using RWGPS - I prefer just following the little arrows though). It has full (OpenStreetMap-based, highly-detailed) maps of most of the world included on the unit (Japan and a couple of other countries need to be downloaded through the app, Europe & the Americas are all in there).

It doesn't do routing to a chosen point on the fly - doesn't bother me as I always hand-create my routes (too many scary roads to let a cycling computer decide) - but if you want that it's perhaps not the unit for you.

The battery life seems very good to me - I've had 12+ hours of use without it running out, it does go down a bit quicker if you connect your phone to it while riding though (for live tracking). The screen is a joy to look at in any lighting conditions (that's what really differentiates it from a phone for me - and the lack of random crashes), and it's very easy to customise all the screens using the companion app on your phone - even during a ride!

It connects to any sensors I've tried to throw at it, all without any data drop-outs that I've experienced elsewhere.

I cannot recommend it highly enough; it is without doubt the best technology purchase I have made in many years.

Now if someone could just persuade Wahoo to make a running watch too I'd be a very, very happy bunny.

/happycustomer

Avatar
DaveE128 [868 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

Agree on the mounts, the screen / map rendering and fragility. However, 

- Many Samsung and Sony mobile phones work with ANT+ sensors without any additional hardware. Strava android app and IPBike support these nicely.

- battery life on my Samsung S5 is better than my Edge 800 when I put the S5 in battery saver mode. Albeit with the screen off. I got a big extended battery for my S3, and that lasted forever. You can get them for the S5 but you loose the waterproofing, so I just bought a spare battery to swap out if I need it.

- My Edge 800 seems to crash after about 14-15 hours (battery life extended with external portable charger), losing the ride data, and others report the same. I don't do rides this long often, but they're the ones it's most annoying to lose the data from. My phone kept logging just fine to the end of 15hr 10min ride. (also boosted battery with external portable charger).

- My S5 is apparently waterproof, though I'm not as comfortable getting it drenched as the Edge 800

- The routing available by mobile phone apps (eg cyclestreets) is far better than on my Garmin for cycling.

If my Edge 800 dies, I'm not sure whether I'll buy another dedicated GPS or see if I can find a decent phone mount.

marche wrote:
Looper35uk wrote:

My Garmin 810 is a bug ridden peice of crap.

The technological gap between a Garmin unit and e.g. an iPhone is huge. Garmin's GPS are low tech at best. 

Using a Garmin Edge is like using a Casio Watch "G-Shock" compared to the common "smart" phones we are used to.

Nevertheless there are some advantages using a dedicated unit:
- phone mounts are not handy and remain ugly
- phone batteries drain too quickly when tracking
- phones do not connect to ant sensors (adaptor needed)
- GPS units have dedicated buttons and are waterproof
- GPS units are cheaper than a iPhone, and less fragile
- no need to have internet with a GPS unit (important when abroad)
- GPS units can be paired with phones (live tracking)

Above all, I wish the screen quality would be better. The rendering of maps is still very old school on my Edge 810 – still ofering a limited color range and big pixels…

 

Avatar
potter.away [10 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Can anyone let me know if the Edge 25 has any navigation capabilities? I understood it had turn-by-turn but it nevers seems to be made completely clear. Or, what is a good, cheap, device that offers basic turn-by-turn on a pre loaded route? 

Avatar
Jeffmcguinness [36 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
potter.away wrote:

Can anyone let me know if the Edge 25 has any navigation capabilities? I understood it had turn-by-turn but it nevers seems to be made completely clear. Or, what is a good, cheap, device that offers basic turn-by-turn on a pre loaded route? 

 

It has.  DC Rainmaker does a good review.  http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/06/garmin-edge-20-25.html

 

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1625 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

I've had a Garmin Edge 200 for quite a few years now.  Still does everything I need - accurate distance, time, speed, and will even do breadcrumb navigation for pre-defined routes: it shows you a line of where your intended route goes, you need to apply this to the junction choices you cross as you ride.  If the line takes a 90-degree right, so should you.  

//velogps.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Edge-200-TBT-101.jpg)

 

If I got a power or HR meter I'd upgrade to a 500/520 but otherwise ... why bother?

Avatar
guyrwood [894 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I had an Edge 200 and loved it until it died at around 4,500 miles. I replaced it with an Edge 20 which is even cooler. I also own an Edge Touring Plus which is the biggest pile of electronic wank I've ever wasted money on!

Avatar
PaulBox [658 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
Looper35uk wrote:

My Garmin 810 is a bug ridden peice of crap.

Mine is as good as gold (touch wood!).

It turned itself off on a ride once, about a year and a half ago, and I haven't had a problem with it since (touches wood again...).

Avatar
binsted [2 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Can truthfully say I have bought 3 Garmins, a 705, 800 and 810 and I have a 100% failure rate, absolute crap, all replaced under warranty where you get a refurbished unit and only the remainder of your original guarentee period. 

Company based on mass sales throw away culture banking on the majority just using occasionally until they are out of guarentee period, customer service woeful.

Avatar
vonhelmet [843 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes
binsted wrote:

Can truthfully say I have bought 3 Garmins, a 705, 800 and 810 and I have a 100% failure rate, absolute crap, all replaced under warranty where you get a refurbished unit and only the remainder of your original guarentee period. 

Company based on mass sales throw away culture banking on the majority just using occasionally until they are out of guarentee period, customer service woeful.

Meh, I have a 500 that I bought second hand and it's been going strong for years. I lose maybe 1 ride in 100.

Avatar
thereverent [443 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

I've had the Garmin Edge 200, 500 and 1000 and had no trouble with them.

The 1000 with its mapping function is particually good.

Avatar
hsiaolc [348 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
marche wrote:
Looper35uk wrote:

My Garmin 810 is a bug ridden peice of crap.

The technological gap between a Garmin unit and e.g. an iPhone is huge. Garmin's GPS are low tech at best. 

Using a Garmin Edge is like using a Casio Watch "G-Shock" compared to the common "smart" phones we are used to.

Nevertheless there are some advantages using a dedicated unit:
- phone mounts are not handy and remain ugly
- phone batteries drain too quickly when tracking
- phones do not connect to ant sensors (adaptor needed)
- GPS units have dedicated buttons and are waterproof
- GPS units are cheaper than a iPhone, and less fragile
- no need to have internet with a GPS unit (important when abroad)
- GPS units can be paired with phones (live tracking)

Above all, I wish the screen quality would be better. The rendering of maps is still very old school on my Edge 810 – still ofering a limited color range and big pixels…

 

  • Quadlock Universal Mount - excellent mount. Not only you can mount on your bike in style and secure but you can add extras to mount your phone in your car and around your house.  I love it so far. 
  • I use my Samsung Galaxy S7 with IPBIke and one journey trip takes only 10% of the batter and plenty for commute. Maybe not for long distance but for commuting is plenty. So unless you daily rids go over 10 hours I don't see battery is an issue. 
  • Phones don't need to connect to ant sonsors they are already built in. I can connect to both cadence and speed sensor.  On my bike I am connected to garmin temp sensor as well plus my whaoo heart rate sensor.  It can also connect to power sensors which I don't have currently. 
  • My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is waterpoor (I think better waterpoof than the Garmin) and I can assign dedicated buttons to IPBike (6 bottons). I don't think you get that many didicated buttons on a garmin or any other specific cycle computer. 
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the phone of my choice so saved me £300 plus from buying a dedicated specific cycle computer. 
  • Add in some super proector cover for your phone and it can be industructable. 
  • when I am aboard I useually get a temp sim but the gps is build in to the phone so I don't see the problem aboard. 
  • I am using the phone so I don't need to pair it with anything. On top of that I can type and message with convenience instead of just receiving messages. 
  • Other plus of using the phone as your cycle computer:
  1. Much bigger and beaitufl screen. 
  2. You carry your phone all the time anyway so  you saved yourself over 60g for a dedicated cycle computer (CC)
  3. Super customisable using IPBike app (hopefully it will be even better in the future)
  4. Can use Google Map on your phone as your guide (much better than any didcated map on CC).
  5. Can speak and use the phone all the time instead of being in the bag and dont have anxity if your device is not connecting to your phone at all times. 

 

I have since switched to the phone since this June (I have the Garmin 800 which I used for over 4 years) and I am so glad I took the plundge and I really don't undersatnd why some app company doesn't follow suit to build the ultimate cycle computer app for the phone and use the phone as  a dedicated cycle computer. 

If you think that Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is too expenisve there are plenty of other phones thats fits the same bill and much cheaper such as the Sony Xperia Z3 which around June was only £130 at UKhotdeals. 

Downside to all this is there is a big learning curve with IPBike and Iam still learning.  

 

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hsiaolc [348 posts] 11 months ago
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Mr. Sheep wrote:

The Wahoo Elemnt, as of the last couple of firmware updates, is utterly excellent. It works flawlessly and delivers on every feature it promises. If you plan your routes beforehand using Ride With GPS or Strava, it provides a very easy-to-use interface for following them (with turn-by-turn if using RWGPS - I prefer just following the little arrows though). It has full (OpenStreetMap-based, highly-detailed) maps of most of the world included on the unit (Japan and a couple of other countries need to be downloaded through the app, Europe & the Americas are all in there).

It doesn't do routing to a chosen point on the fly - doesn't bother me as I always hand-create my routes (too many scary roads to let a cycling computer decide) - but if you want that it's perhaps not the unit for you.

The battery life seems very good to me - I've had 12+ hours of use without it running out, it does go down a bit quicker if you connect your phone to it while riding though (for live tracking). The screen is a joy to look at in any lighting conditions (that's what really differentiates it from a phone for me - and the lack of random crashes), and it's very easy to customise all the screens using the companion app on your phone - even during a ride!

It connects to any sensors I've tried to throw at it, all without any data drop-outs that I've experienced elsewhere.

I cannot recommend it highly enough; it is without doubt the best technology purchase I have made in many years.

Now if someone could just persuade Wahoo to make a running watch too I'd be a very, very happy bunny.

/happycustomer

 

One flaw. Way to bulky. Looks huge compared to Garmin. 

Was going to get one just for fun and try it out but the size really put me off.  Its like carring a uggly black brick. 

I just now use my beautiful Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge using IpBike app paired with Garmin Cadence and Speed Sensor, Whaoo Heart Sensor and Garmin tempreture sensor. 

Avatar
Mr. Sheep [60 posts] 11 months ago
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hsiaolc wrote:
Mr. Sheep wrote:

The Wahoo Elemnt, as of the last couple of firmware updates, is utterly excellent.

...

One flaw. Way to bulky. Looks huge compared to Garmin. 

Was going to get one just for fun and try it out but the size really put me off.  Its like carring a uggly black brick. 

I just now use my beautiful Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge using IpBike app paired with Garmin Cadence and Speed Sensor, Whaoo Heart Sensor and Garmin tempreture sensor. 

One person's flaw is another person's functional. It could be a little thinner, sure, but the screen and button sizes are very welcome for, you know, seeing the information it displays and controlling the thing  1 I'll take bomb-proof construction and functionality any day...

And you don't see the thickness while you're riding the bike.

I have used my phone for years as my primary bike computer, with an awkward huge extended battery wired to it via a long USB cable from a saddle bag for any ride longer than ~1.5hrs. It worked, but the screen was very hard to see in bright sunlight which made following routes very difficult. And having a cable constantly connected to the charging socket on the phone while bouncing about cycling has caused problems with the socket on my phone becoming very finickity for charging.

The alternative to using an extended battery is not to have the screen on, but that makes following a route impossible and means you can't see your speed / distance etc etc etc.

So overall, for me, I'm vastly happier with my elemnt. It sounds like you're happy with your phone solution, so that's great too!

Avatar
hsiaolc [348 posts] 11 months ago
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Mr. Sheep wrote:
hsiaolc wrote:
Mr. Sheep wrote:

The Wahoo Elemnt, as of the last couple of firmware updates, is utterly excellent.

...

One flaw. Way to bulky. Looks huge compared to Garmin. 

Was going to get one just for fun and try it out but the size really put me off.  Its like carring a uggly black brick. 

I just now use my beautiful Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge using IpBike app paired with Garmin Cadence and Speed Sensor, Whaoo Heart Sensor and Garmin tempreture sensor. 

One person's flaw is another person's functional. It could be a little thinner, sure, but the screen and button sizes are very welcome for, you know, seeing the information it displays and controlling the thing  1 I'll take bomb-proof construction and functionality any day...

And you don't see the thickness while you're riding the bike.

I have used my phone for years as my primary bike computer, with an awkward huge extended battery wired to it via a long USB cable from a saddle bag for any ride longer than ~1.5hrs. It worked, but the screen was very hard to see in bright sunlight which made following routes very difficult. And having a cable constantly connected to the charging socket on the phone while bouncing about cycling has caused problems with the socket on my phone becoming very finickity for charging.

The alternative to using an extended battery is not to have the screen on, but that makes following a route impossible and means you can't see your speed / distance etc etc etc.

So overall, for me, I'm vastly happier with my elemnt. It sounds like you're happy with your phone solution, so that's great too!

I might consider the second generation. 

I was or am thinking about the Garmin 820 just purely for live tracking with mates (unfortunately I don't have any cycling mates) but it is a novelty feature that I don't need.  

You mentioned about phone battery.  I don't carry any extended battery.  My commute one way is 13.1 - 13.5 miles each way and it drains only 10% of my battery so by the time I get to work I have plenty and then recharge at work (or not).  So it will last definitly over 6-7 hours on the bike with everything on. 

As for seeing screen in the sun, with Ipbike you can customise everything (any colour you like for any lable, fonts, units etc etc) so you can tune it to the best that suit your needs. 

Now that I have my phone as my main CC any other CC is just a novelty and a toy. 

The only downside to IpBike (as with anything has downside) is the developer can't get Shimano ant code so we can't get DI2 shifting information on the phone unlike both Garmin and Whaoo Element.  Shame but hopefully it can be something added in the future (hopefully)

 

 

Avatar
Mr. Sheep [60 posts] 11 months ago
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hsiaolc wrote:

You mentioned about phone battery.  I don't carry any extended battery.  My commute one way is 13.1 - 13.5 miles each way and it drains only 10% of my battery so by the time I get to work I have plenty and then recharge at work (or not).  So it will last definitly over 6-7 hours on the bike with everything on. 

With the screen on? That's phenomenal. I've yet to see any smart phone that can do more than 3-4 hours screen on time to use all the battery up, and that's without GPS running too. I'm glad that works for you but there's no chance that would work for me. My phone (Sony) discharges 10%/hour when running GPS with the screen off, and I consider that pretty good performance. With the screen on, I get 2.5-3hrs total at very best.

hsiaolc wrote:

As for seeing screen in the sun, with Ipbike you can customise everything (any colour you like for any lable, fonts, units etc etc) so you can tune it to the best that suit your needs. 

Yes, but a backlit LCD screen will always struggle in daylight irrespective of the fonts and colours - only at the very brightest settings of the very best phone screens can you see them in direct sunlight - and at those brightness levels the battery will be hammered. Whereas the "traditional" LCD screen on the ELEMNT is completely clear in the brightest daylight (like an e-Ink screen would be), and has a backlight if needed for night use. It's a different beast...

Horses for courses - we're both happy with what we're using, the joy of choice  1

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alansmurphy [448 posts] 11 months ago
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 - battery life on my Samsung S5 is better than my Edge 800 when I put the S5 in battery saver mode. Albeit with the screen off. I got a big extended battery for my S3, and that lasted forever. You can get them for the S5 but you loose the waterproofing, so I just bought a spare battery to swap out if I need it.

- My Edge 800 seems to crash after about 14-15 hours (battery life extended with external portable charger), losing the ride data, and others report the same. I don't do rides this long often, but they're the ones it's most annoying to lose the data from. My phone kept logging just fine to the end of 15hr 10min ride. (also boosted battery with external portable charger).

 

So you are comparing using a cycling computer that is displaying all the information for you and helping you to navigate with a recording device - and one that in battery save mode will often prevent its primary function, to be a phone.

 

Oh and that portable charger, that can be connected to your bike computer too!

Avatar
hsiaolc [348 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Mr. Sheep wrote:
hsiaolc wrote:

You mentioned about phone battery.  I don't carry any extended battery.  My commute one way is 13.1 - 13.5 miles each way and it drains only 10% of my battery so by the time I get to work I have plenty and then recharge at work (or not).  So it will last definitly over 6-7 hours on the bike with everything on. 

With the screen on? That's phenomenal. I've yet to see any smart phone that can do more than 3-4 hours screen on time to use all the battery up, and that's without GPS running too. I'm glad that works for you but there's no chance that would work for me. My phone (Sony) discharges 10%/hour when running GPS with the screen off, and I consider that pretty good performance. With the screen on, I get 2.5-3hrs total at very best.

hsiaolc wrote:

As for seeing screen in the sun, with Ipbike you can customise everything (any colour you like for any lable, fonts, units etc etc) so you can tune it to the best that suit your needs. 

Yes, but a backlit LCD screen will always struggle in daylight irrespective of the fonts and colours - only at the very brightest settings of the very best phone screens can you see them in direct sunlight - and at those brightness levels the battery will be hammered. Whereas the "traditional" LCD screen on the ELEMNT is completely clear in the brightest daylight (like an e-Ink screen would be), and has a backlight if needed for night use. It's a different beast...

Horses for courses - we're both happy with what we're using, the joy of choice  1

 

Yes horse for courses.  

Initially I also thought it might be a problem but actually it reads just fine under the Sun so much so that it never came to my mind it is a problem until you brought it up. 

Thinking back I think I never had once had problem legibiity if anytihng I think I read the phone so much better (maybe because it is also very big fonts) but it is extremely eye catching (black background with bright green unit font.  Also I have adapative screen brightness so which means outdoors it is probably at max but it works fine and I think it is better than fine. 

Of course I am also trying to infrom the others that the phone is more than capable to be CC than any dedicated CC.  It always puzzles me why a garmin can cost so much more than most very powerful phones with amazing display and once I was directed to the right track I find it extremely hard to switch back because I just can't see any physical advantages of a dedicted CC over a modern phone. 

Its almost like dedicated Garmin car satnav.  I had the most expensive one but now I just my phone's google map all the time instead of my lexus dedicated satnav.  I personally think the phone should be able to perform much and better than any dedicated CC out there simply because of the much more powerful computing power and other more advanced components.  Only thing it needs is one kick ass App and it will just render any dedicated CC obsolete. 

As I have mentioned a Sony experia z3 at £130 has far far suprior hardware than any dedicated CC that cost over £200. Sometimes you got to wonder. 

 

 

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Mr. Sheep [60 posts] 11 months ago
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hsiaolc wrote:

As I have mentioned a Sony experia z3 at £130 has far far suprior hardware than any dedicated CC that cost over £200. Sometimes you got to wonder. 

As an owner of a Sony Xperia (albeit a generation older than that), I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone buy it for any reason whatsoever, let alone as a dedicated cycle computer  1 Hardware specs aren't the most important thing, the end-user experience is what matters. For me, the end-user experience of the elemnt is substantially superior to that of using a phone for the same ends (but, let's be fair with what you're comparing here, an S7 Edge is a £629 piece of hardware, which is vastly more expensive than an Elemnt, or most Garmins, and is in a different league to a three-year-old Xperia in terms of hardware - particularly the screen which is indeed beautiful on the S7 Edge - I've not tried to use one in bright daylight but I can imagine of all the phones out there it would probably do the best job of it).

For me, a dedicated cycle computer that *just works*, that I don't have to spend ages farting about getting maps cached and displays set up, is perfect. I push go and ride, spending 2 seconds to choose a route if I'm following one.

I've just come back from a week cycle touring in the Netherlands, and I spent precisely 0 minutes getting the elemnt set up for the 250 miles of routes I planned to follow. It had already background-synced all my routes from RideWithGPS when it connected itself to my WiFi at home before leaving, and it already has all of the maps for everywhere on the unit so no need to ensure everything is cached or worry about the cached maps disappearing or expiring or anything like that - all of which have been problems for me in the past on my phone (and I've used my phone for a week's cycle touring in the Netherlands before, so I am fully comparing like-with-like here  1 ).

If you're using it for commuting an hour or so each way, a phone can be a fine choice. If you're going out and riding 6+ hours a day for multiple consecutive days, it's a different matter.

Avatar
hsiaolc [348 posts] 11 months ago
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Mr. Sheep wrote:
hsiaolc wrote:

As I have mentioned a Sony experia z3 at £130 has far far suprior hardware than any dedicated CC that cost over £200. Sometimes you got to wonder. 

As an owner of a Sony Xperia (albeit a generation older than that), I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone buy it for any reason whatsoever, let alone as a dedicated cycle computer  1 Hardware specs aren't the most important thing, the end-user experience is what matters. For me, the end-user experience of the elemnt is substantially superior to that of using a phone for the same ends (but, let's be fair with what you're comparing here, an S7 Edge is a £629 piece of hardware, which is vastly more expensive than an Elemnt, or most Garmins, and is in a different league to a three-year-old Xperia in terms of hardware - particularly the screen which is indeed beautiful on the S7 Edge - I've not tried to use one in bright daylight but I can imagine of all the phones out there it would probably do the best job of it).

For me, a dedicated cycle computer that *just works*, that I don't have to spend ages farting about getting maps cached and displays set up, is perfect. I push go and ride, spending 2 seconds to choose a route if I'm following one.

I've just come back from a week cycle touring in the Netherlands, and I spent precisely 0 minutes getting the elemnt set up for the 250 miles of routes I planned to follow. It had already background-synced all my routes from RideWithGPS when it connected itself to my WiFi at home before leaving, and it already has all of the maps for everywhere on the unit so no need to ensure everything is cached or worry about the cached maps disappearing or expiring or anything like that - all of which have been problems for me in the past on my phone (and I've used my phone for a week's cycle touring in the Netherlands before, so I am fully comparing like-with-like here  1 ).

If you're using it for commuting an hour or so each way, a phone can be a fine choice. If you're going out and riding 6+ hours a day for multiple consecutive days, it's a different matter.

I can see you might think I am comparing a dedicated CC to a phone as a CC. I am not. 

I am just point out since I already have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (I paid £500) then all I am saying is that probably you don't need to splash out an extra £200 Plus for a dedicated CC and it will save you £200.  

I already mentioned it will definitly do more than 7 hours on the phone (at least on the Galaxy S7 Edge) and so it should be good for long days. 

WIth regards to map you don't need anything but just have Google Map and then you are set.  Even simpler. 

Most of the dedicated CC now trends on doing all the settings on your phone in an App, which is one of the main points they are flauting on. Another is how they use bluetooth to connect to your phone to recieve messages.  You then wonder why you need that when you can use that phone? Funny? It just shows the phone is just a much better medium to use as a dedicated CC.

Have you ever used a turn by turn based dedicated CC?(actually you have as you've mentioend but from my expeereince it is  Really bad. Small screen and very hard to nevigate or change course.  You did most of the course work and uploading prior to your ride as you've mentioned. With google map it is so easy and much pleasing to the eye and most important I trust it because I use it as my main sat nav even for driving.  I can search where I want to go easily and can even see pictures of surroundings.  No dedicated CC maps has that. 

Not to mention google maps is world wide you can use around the world and don't have to rely on map uploads. 

I am just canting my experieice on the other side and I am sold. 

Yes but you are right you need to fiddle around a lot of settings with IpBike and can take a lot of time before you get to heaven, where as a dedicated you just turn it on and it is mostly there.  But I remember taking time setting up the garin too and choose what to have on the main page etc.  

I did mention if any company make a kick ass dedicated CC app for the phone then it will render garmin and wahoo obsolete. I will definitly pay for the app. 

Avatar
hsiaolc [348 posts] 11 months ago
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potter.away wrote:

Can anyone let me know if the Edge 25 has any navigation capabilities? I understood it had turn-by-turn but it nevers seems to be made completely clear. Or, what is a good, cheap, device that offers basic turn-by-turn on a pre loaded route? 

I bought one and I returned it the day after next. 

Go garmin edge 25 forum and see some post. It is really bad.

One of the main function is to tell speed right?  Guess what it can't when you pair it with speed sensor and GPS turned on.  So you have to turn to indoor setting to use the speed sensor.  I think they sorted this out after half a year and only recently and still problems with other things. 

I wouldn't recommended at all. 

You've been warned.

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