Garmin or Strava for routes abroad ?

by hill_climb   April 12, 2014  

Hello all, new forum member here.

I have been looking into the merits of Garmin v Strava. My aim is for building person stats on routes and also to record recording routes on events this year. I am registered for a 170km route in Ontario Canada next month and want to have something that can rely on to work without issue. With this in mind, I am guessing that Garmin will be the way to go (I have the Edge200 in mind since it is not relying on the mobile/cell network. Can anyone shed some experiences here.

I have also read a bit about the GPS technology on mobiles and gather that they are not full-time GPS trackers, replying on cell towers from time to time. Again, I may have this wrong.

Any assistance would be welcome. By the way, I only use a simple PAYG mobile so would have to either buy a new mobile or enter into a new contract.

11 user comments

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I'd say go Garmin if you want it to be reliable - you can then put all the stats onto Strava too if you like.
I used Strava on my phone a couple times last summer here in France and it was wildly inaccurate with altitude gains etc. Plus it kills your battery so don't expect to be able to use your phone to call anyone after having it recording your ride for a few hours!

posted by Ali Gibb [8 posts]
13th April 2014 - 10:05

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all I want is a record of training and routes, time, distance, elevation, route.

My Edge 200 does all of that, and you can save regular routes back to it, it then paces you behind/ ahead.

It's a great wee gadget, it just works.

I upload using garmin connect, plus I have an iPad app called connect stats that shows alternative views and automatically uploads to Strava ( if you want)

It's only a few quid more than a decent wheel sensor computer if you shop around, and a lot more accurate.

Garmin will last all day, I've never been near a flat battery even after 10 hours use, keep your phone charge for emergencies!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [451 posts]
13th April 2014 - 10:42

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As I was writing the original post, I had more or less made my mind up that a Garmin was going to be the way to go, so thank you for your comments. I now have an Edge200 and am getting familiar with it.

Quick question about that. I have generates some courses on Garmin Connect and loaded them to the 200. If I go for a ride that also includes on of these courses, will the 200 automatically detect that it is covering a course and make a record of speed, time etc. for it, in addition to the overall stats for the ride?

Other than that, two rides in and its looking pretty accurate to me with no glitches at all.

posted by hill_climb [7 posts]
13th April 2014 - 19:52

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I think you bought the wrong Garmin - as far as I remember the 200 doesn't do maps, though it might do directional arrows - but without a map I'm not sure I would trust it.

The data usage on using Strava (via a mobile) would be very expensive on battery life and you mobile bill. Using a conventional GPS like a Garmin is the way ahead, but I would advise the 800, 810 or 1,000.....they're sort of future proofed in that once you upload the maps you all good to go.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1076 posts]
13th April 2014 - 20:48

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
I think you bought the wrong Garmin - as far as I remember the 200 doesn't do maps, though it might do directional arrows

Nope, like the poster, I only want to record routes, not follow them.

It does, like the 500 do a route ' trail of breadcrumbs' map but that's not very good, and it's not what I bought it for, it's a GPS tracking computer, not a route guidance tool.

My loaded routes I use are not for navigation, just for performance monitoring.

If you want maps, 800 series or higher does the job.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [451 posts]
13th April 2014 - 21:18

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Flying Scot wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
I think you bought the wrong Garmin - as far as I remember the 200 doesn't do maps, though it might do directional arrows

Nope, like the poster, I only want to record routes, not follow them.

It does, like the 500 do a route ' trail of breadcrumbs' map but that's not very good, and it's not what I bought it for, it's a GPS tracking computer, not a route guidance tool.

My loaded routes I use are not for navigation, just for performance monitoring.

If you want maps, 800 series or higher does the job.


I like the simplicity of the 200 - recording is great, never had a problem, then upload into endomondo, strava, garmin connect, whatever you use.

For a route, i also like the 'on the route, off the route' setup. I dont want to have a car style GPS on my bars, but just enough to point me in the right direction. And it chirps if you go off route. I think they are great VFM.

posted by edster99 [147 posts]
14th April 2014 - 12:42

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The data usage on using Strava (via a mobile) would be very expensive on battery life and you mobile bill. Using a conventional GPS like a Garmin is the way ahead, but I would advise the 800, 810 or 1,000.....they're sort of future proofed in that once you upload the maps you all good to go.

Let's kill us some Zombie Facts regarding mobile use shall we?.....

1. Using Strava does not require a mobile internet connection, at all. You sync the recorded file later on using WiFi. A Garmin needs to do the same thing, but via your laptop (which probably also needs WiFi). The smartphone I most use mobile mapping/routefinding on doesn't even have a SIM card in it, and I've done several 12hr+ rides in unknown places with it no problems.

2. Recording using Strava only minimally impacts battery life - you can get 12hrs+ with a few minor settings - and as you've mentioned the fear of a mobile bill, you sure won't have mobile data enabled - the biggest battery killer after a bright screen.

and: using an app like Viewranger over free WiFi, you can download massive swathes of foreign countries using OpenStreetMap or OpenCycleMap for nothing, and use them offline. If you change your route, you don't need to go back to purchase more maps for Garmin et al and have a laptop with you to plan a route. Find some free WiFi and do it all from your phone.

See? all better now. Balance in The Force restored.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
14th April 2014 - 12:55

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I've used the very basic map functionality on the Edge 500 to guide me around some new routes (created in Strava) where I was completely unfamiliar with the area and it worked fine. It's not much to look at, but that's not a problem at all if all you need to know is if you're going in the right direction. I usually keep my iPhone in my back pocket as a backup and for emergencies, but I don't track my rides with it after having a couple of rides not record data for the whole ride.

posted by LinusLarrabee [31 posts]
14th April 2014 - 14:01

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So if I'm using my phone app of Strava how does it detect where I am? I am confused because I thought that it did this on data roaming. I'll use the app for a run, but not for a cycle.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1076 posts]
15th April 2014 - 4:40

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
So if I'm using my phone app of Strava how does it detect where I am? I am confused because I thought that it did this on data roaming. I'll use the app for a run, but not for a cycle.

Your phone has a GPS chip that works independent of WiFi or mobile data. Having an internet connection might help your phone get a GPS fix quicker, especially if it's been off for a while and/or you've flown somewhere far away. Once you have a fix you can turn everything else off. Note: some mobiles *might* turn off GPS when in 'airplane mode' - pays to try it first.

* Note for new-ish iPhone users: you might have to turn on background app refresh - Settings > General > Background App Refresh and check the switch for Strava is green. Turn off anything you don't want using battery when it's not being looked at.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
15th April 2014 - 8:55

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Agreeing with the phone supporters here. Garmin's do look pretty good but I have to say, Strava and Viewranger on an IPhone just 'does the job'. Strava logs the ride and Viewranger allows you to check where you are and modify your route accordingly. Followed some of the tips on battery saving and haven't managed to flatten it (yet!). An iPhone on the stem perhaps doesn't look as sexy as a Garmin but then, so what. I have a host of gadgets at home made redundant by a Smartphone; hence the reluctance to shell out on a Garmin.

Shades

posted by Shades [172 posts]
15th April 2014 - 10:35

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