Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => GPS => Topic started by: Bianchi Boy on August 17, 2009, 09:17:39 pm

Title: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Bianchi Boy on August 17, 2009, 09:17:39 pm
Up to now I have managed with route sheets and spare maps torn out of an A-Z Road Atlas. Having ridden the LEL with people who had GPS I think I will swap. The best ones appeared to have a map display and used AAA batteries.  These needed no recharging and spares could be bought at any shop.

Oh wise people who frequent this forum - help me select.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Hot Flatus on August 17, 2009, 09:31:42 pm
Garmin 705... internal battery with about 16 hours life, but can be supplemented with a special plug-in AA powered pack.  Very sleek, big display, good reception. Has a built in HRM and all sorts of training facilities. Highly recommended by me  :thumbsup:

I do have a couple of battery powered units but they drive me mad by switching off when vibrated. Its a known issue and Garmin may have resolved it.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on August 17, 2009, 09:33:09 pm
So far I have not seen anything that, overall, beats the Garmin Etrex HCx for audax or touring purposes. Screen visibility is big issue with these things on a bike and I don't think any of the more recent models have it cracked. Lots of other reasons - durability, easy integration with whatever mapping software you use, and the crucial battery life / easy replaceability of batteries (2 AAs).
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Rob S on August 17, 2009, 09:33:27 pm
Have a look here:

GPS (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=63.0)

The best one with a map display is the Satmap Active 10.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: TimO on August 17, 2009, 09:37:37 pm
Have a look here:

GPS (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=63.0)

The best one with a map display is the Satmap Active 10.  :thumbsup:

...but, and I say this as a Active 10 owner who loves it, the display isn't terribly visible in bright sunlight.

It is currently the only game in town if you want extensive 1:25000 or 1:50000 OS mapping on your GPS however.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: JJ on August 17, 2009, 09:38:18 pm
For my money, it would be one of the etrex legend or vista series, a late-ish colour one, because they have the battery life for a 200 or even a quick 300 on AAs, and you can get them second hand for less than a whole arm and leg.  Mine's a legend Cx.

Edit - The only time I had a problem with switching off, I sorted it by buying a mount that wasn't broken.  It was bloody annoying at the time though.

Edit-edit- Wot e sed about HCx. I can't keep up though.  I'm hitting post next time whatever it says about new replies.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Ivo on August 17, 2009, 09:46:10 pm
So far I have not seen anything that, overall, beats the Garmin Etrex HCx for audax or touring purposes. Screen visibility is big issue with these things on a bike and I don't think any of the more recent models have it cracked. Lots of other reasons - durability, easy integration with whatever mapping software you use, and the crucial battery life / easy replaceability of batteries (2 AAs).

+1

Bought one at the end of winter and completely satisfied. Depending a bit on the battery quality you get 16-24h out of it.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: EdinburghFixed on August 17, 2009, 10:24:58 pm
I have an Edge 705, and it's a really nice piece of kit. Got around the Pitlochry 200km recording at 1s intervals with battery to spare (and in any case you can just link up an external AA battery holder). I've also used it to get me up a few Munros!

However, it is just as much bike computer / training tool as a navigation aid; you can save a packet and get good (perhaps better) navigation from the non-specific Etrex etc.

I really enjoyed not having to use the route sheet yesterday. After 200km I couldn't be bothered worrying about where the scout hut was - luckily I just had to follow the line!
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Greenbank on August 17, 2009, 10:28:35 pm
It all depends on whether I get a PowerTap hub (the wireless versions that work over ANT+).

Yes and I'd get the Edge 705 so that I can have position, speed, time, HR and Power all logged at one second intervals.

No and I'd go for an Etrex Vista/Legend/Summit HCx and just have position, speed, time and HR logged every second.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Bledlow on August 17, 2009, 10:30:15 pm
Have a look here:

GPS (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=63.0)

The best one with a map display is the Satmap Active 10.  :thumbsup:

...but, and I say this as a Active 10 owner who loves it, the display isn't terribly visible in bright sunlight.

It is currently the only game in town if you want extensive 1:25000 or 1:50000 OS mapping on your GPS however.
Seconded. Lovely bit of kit, but in bright sunlight you may have to turn the backlight off, which is a bit of a pain. Also a touch big & heavy - but I suppose that's the price you pay for a big colour screen. Good points are the already mentioned screen, it is supposed to be (& so far appears to be) tough & weatherproof, & it has nice clear OS maps - which I love. It also uses the local equivalent of OS maps for several other W. European countries, in 1:50000 and 1:250000, so is good for touring & off-road in the nearer parts of Europe, & an excellent hiking or ski-touring (well, in the Pyrenees, Norway, & the non-Italian parts of the Alps, for all of which they sell maps) GPS.

Uses AAs (disposable or rechargeable) or a proprietary rechargeable battery pack.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: simonp on August 17, 2009, 10:31:13 pm
For my money, it would be one of the etrex legend or vista series, a late-ish colour one, because they have the battery life for a 200 or even a quick 300 on AAs, and you can get them second hand for less than a whole arm and leg.  Mine's a legend Cx.

Edit - The only time I had a problem with switching off, I sorted it by buying a mount that wasn't broken.  It was bloody annoying at the time though.

Edit-edit- Wot e sed about HCx. I can't keep up though.  I'm hitting post next time whatever it says about new replies.

The newer HCx models have even better battery life - my Etrex Vista HCx just about manages a 400k on a pair of 2700mAh AA rechargeables.  Of course I'd always advise carrying spares (not just one set either: sometimes you discover batteries are duff when you try to use them on an event).

Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Panoramix on August 17, 2009, 10:35:14 pm

No and I'd go for an Etrex Vista/Legend/Summit HCx and just have position, speed, time and HR logged every second.

Hi Alex, How do you log HR with an etrex?
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Charlotte on August 17, 2009, 11:25:35 pm
Just replaced my lost Legend HCx with... another Legend HCx.  They're that good.  You don't need the software either - just download Andy Gates's OSM build and you're away.

Better news still is that they are £130 on Amazon.  Srsly  :thumbsup:

If you don't want a compass and a barometric altimiter built in (they shorten the battery life), then you don't need to pay the extra for a Vista.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: gonzo on August 18, 2009, 12:07:23 am
I'd say that the Garmin 705 was unbeatable as a bike computer. For mapping, that's not the case.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: mattc on August 18, 2009, 08:54:48 am
Odd topic - I read about more problems with GPS devices than with the routesheet.

Perhaps the device would help you find the GPS forum.

;)
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Greenbank on August 18, 2009, 10:46:52 am
Hi Alex, How do you log HR with an etrex?

Sorry, I'd meant Edge 305. The eTrex series doesn't log Heart Rate.

I'd say that the Garmin 705 was unbeatable as a bike computer. For mapping, that's not the case.

I wouldn't be using it for the mapping. I prefer sparse routes with one routepoint per instruction. Gets me round all Audaxes (including LEL) with relatively few problems. I'd certainly never pay for the mapping, I'd just install the free OSM stuff and be done with it.

If you don't want a compass and a barometric altimiter built in (they shorten the battery life), then you don't need to pay the extra for a Vista.

I do like the Profile page that you only get on the Vista, but it's a lot of extra money to pay for that one simple feature (the altimeter and electronic compass are nigh on useless).
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: chris n on August 18, 2009, 10:51:34 am
If you don't want a compass and a barometric altimiter built in (they shorten the battery life), then you don't need to pay the extra for a Vista.

I do like the Profile page that you only get on the Vista, but it's a lot of extra money to pay for that one simple feature (the altimeter and electronic compass are nigh on useless).

It depends.  For on-road use, then they probably are.  But my next GPS will be used for MTBing and walking as well - so a compass that works when you're not moving and (possibly) more accurate height measurements would be invaluable.

The newer HCx models have even better battery life - my Etrex Vista HCx just about manages a 400k on a pair of 2700mAh AA rechargeables.

One set of Energizer Lithiums in my Etrex H got me from Cheshunt to Dalkeith (700-odd km) - though I did switch it off at the controls.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: DaveJ on August 18, 2009, 11:31:54 am
The Vista HCx runs a bit more than 40 hours on a Lithiums.  Does a 600 easy enough even for slow people like me.  Changed batteries twice on LEL, changing them before they ran out so I made sure I did it in the dry/light. 

It was recommended to me on here and I've been really pleased with it.  The mapping works great.  Its not OS, so the maps look different to the OS paper maps everyone knows, but for audax its at least as good.  Being vector stuff, the maps are really accurate at high zoom levels.

Setting up the routes/tracks on a GPS can take a while.  However this pays back big time when you reach a junction that isn't clear from the routesheet on the top of a hill in a deserted part of Wales in the middle of the night.

Dave
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: JJ on August 18, 2009, 12:42:30 pm
I think I see the split here.  Sandals prefer the etrex, but racing shoes go for the Edge series.  They probably never meet  ;D
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Panoramix on August 18, 2009, 01:15:58 pm
Hi Alex, How do you log HR with an etrex?

Sorry, I'd meant Edge 305. The eTrex series doesn't log Heart Rate.


Good that is one less reason for me to upgrade!



I'd say that the Garmin 705 was unbeatable as a bike computer. For mapping, that's not the case.

I wouldn't be using it for the mapping. I prefer sparse routes with one routepoint per instruction. Gets me round all Audaxes (including LEL) with relatively few problems. I'd certainly never pay for the mapping, I'd just install the free OSM stuff and be done with it.


I call it the greenbank method  ;).
I had read one of your posts, about a year ago and i have done all my audaxes like this. I have spent a day preparing the LEL route, but it really paid I think that I have done less than 5km extra during the whole journey (a staggering 0.35%). I would like to upgrade to an gps with maps but the truth is that I don't really need one for audaxing. I can also see the ability to know easily where nearby hotels/railway stations are as an incentive to pack!

Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Polar Bear on August 18, 2009, 01:25:16 pm
To be a tad different:

I have a Garmin GPS 60CSx.   The colour screen I find very legible and I'm partially-sighted.   I can mount it on the bike, clip it to my belt or rucksack, and with Andy Gates' maps (full UK) loaded I can troll off almost anywhere.

I've now got Fujicell 2800mah batteries which I charge with a Technoline BL700.  I have become rather lazy and don't carry a spare set of batteries now as they easily last a full day on hoof or wheel.   I did carry 4 spare sets when we toured Orkney for three weeks in June.   They just lasted the distance.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: simonp on August 18, 2009, 01:31:06 pm
Hi Alex, How do you log HR with an etrex?

Sorry, I'd meant Edge 305. The eTrex series doesn't log Heart Rate.


Good that is one less reason for me to upgrade!



I'd say that the Garmin 705 was unbeatable as a bike computer. For mapping, that's not the case.

I wouldn't be using it for the mapping. I prefer sparse routes with one routepoint per instruction. Gets me round all Audaxes (including LEL) with relatively few problems. I'd certainly never pay for the mapping, I'd just install the free OSM stuff and be done with it.


I call it the greenbank method  ;).
I had read one of your posts, about a year ago and i have done all my audaxes like this. I have spent a day preparing the LEL route, but it really paid I think that I have done less than 5km extra during the whole journey (a staggering 0.35%). I would like to upgrade to an gps with maps but the truth is that I don't really need one for audaxing. I can also see the ability to know easily where nearby hotels/railway stations are as an incentive to pack!



If I call it anything, I call it the jwo method since it was his Brevet Cymru 2007 route that showed me the way (you may now groan).
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: EdinburghFixed on August 18, 2009, 01:40:49 pm
I forgot to say I'm using OpenStreetMap on my 705 and it's pretty good. Not exhaustive, but it does have pretty much complete coverage in central areas and universal contour lines (so I've been up some Munros with it, and it did fine).

The barometric altimeter is a funny one. It is more or less spot over time, but sometimes when you switch it on it is blatantly off (like, a hundred feet or more) and there's no way to manually calibrate it! So when I got back to the hut in Forfar I still had some way to descend!
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: andrew_s on August 18, 2009, 01:46:03 pm
To be a tad different:

I have a Garmin GPS 60CSx.   The colour screen I find very legible and I'm partially-sighted.   I can mount it on the bike, clip it to my belt or rucksack, and with Andy Gates' maps (full UK) loaded I can troll off almost anywhere.
I've got one of those too.
Functionally, it's much the same as an Etrex Vista HCx.
Bigger, slightly bigger screen, shorter battery life. It does have extra GPS stuff, but that's of the type that's not of much interest for cycling.

[edit]
The 60CSx has an easy manual altimeter calibrate - I normally do so at home as it's quicker than letting the auto-calibrate do its stuff.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Greenbank on August 18, 2009, 05:03:47 pm
I call it the jwo method

Indeed, that's where I first got the idea.

For routes that I don't have a routesheet for (my own DIYs or riding to/from events) I'm getting quite good at looking at the google maps rendering of road layout and guessing where I need to put an instruction, usually erring on the side of caution.

If in doubt look at the satellite imagery and if still in doubt put in a point. I usually name them (KL or KR for keep left/right to distinguish them from real genuine instructions).

Up North they get very sparse. My route between Alston and Dalkeith on LEL was a mere 27 points which included the not necessary detour via Canonbie/Claygate and about 6 summit points.

Bicycle Path - LE3 at Bikely.com (http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/261896)
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on August 18, 2009, 06:49:26 pm
I think I see the split here.  Sandals prefer the etrex, but racing shoes go for the Edge series.  They probably never meet  ;D

 ;D ;D
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Panoramix on August 18, 2009, 07:04:58 pm
I call it the jwo method

Indeed, that's where I first got the idea.


I will now have to call it the Jwo method to give credit to the right person!
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: red marley on August 18, 2009, 07:14:20 pm
I call it the jwo method

Indeed, that's where I first got the idea.

And me. For the record, and surely there needs to be one when TomTom approach me to buy the idea for £several million, I have been using GPS with this method on every single Audax since I first started in July 2004 (e.g see my GPS instructions for the Suburban Breakout, 2005 (http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/maps/suburbanBreakout.html)).

More to the point in this thread, the GPS I used then is the same one I use now - the Garmin Geko 201 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garmin-010-00318-40-Geko-201-GPS/dp/B00007MMNS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1250618438&sr=8-1). It is Garmin's cheapest, but still in my view the best for Audaxing using the non-mapping jwo method. I also have access to various Legend, Vista and Edge models, but still prefer the Geko over all of them for Audaxing. The only thing that needs improving with the Geko in my view would be a mount that allowed you to attach it to the stem (as the Edge series) rather than bars.

Battery technology has improved significantly over the 5 years I have been using the Geko. I can now do a 400 on a single pair of AAAs. I only got through 3 sets of NiMH AAA 1000s for the LEL.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: MercuryKev on August 18, 2009, 09:01:59 pm
I call it the jwo method

Indeed, that's where I first got the idea.

And me. For the record, and surely there needs to be one when TomTom approach me to buy the idea for £several million, I have been using GPS with this method on every single Audax since I first started in July 2004 (e.g see my GPS instructions for the Suburban Breakout, 2005 (http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/maps/suburbanBreakout.html)).

More to the point in this thread, the GPS I used then is the same one I use now - the Garmin Geko 201 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garmin-010-00318-40-Geko-201-GPS/dp/B00007MMNS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1250618438&sr=8-1). It is Garmin's cheapest, but still in my view the best for Audaxing using the non-mapping jwo method. I also have access to various Legend, Vista and Edge models, but still prefer the Geko over all of them for Audaxing. The only thing that needs improving with the Geko in my view would be a mount that allowed you to attach it to the stem (as the Edge series) rather than bars.

Battery technology has improved significantly over the 5 years I have been using the Geko. I can now do a 400 on a single pair of AAAs. I only got through 3 sets of NiMH AAA 1000s for the LEL.

Another happy Geko 201 user here.  It's compact and doesn't take up much handlebar space.  The battery life pretty good and AAAs don't weight much, so carrying spares isn't an issue.  I've been using mine for 2 years no and have not wandered off route (further than about 100 metres) since I started using it.  Great bit of kit.  In fact the only drawback, in my opinion, is that fact that it relies on a serial rather than USB interface.

These kind of threads do tempt me to trade up, but when I think about it, theGeko has never let me down and still does everything I need it to.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Greenbank on August 18, 2009, 11:19:01 pm
The Geko....

Great bit of kit.  In fact the only drawback, in my opinion, is that fact that it relies on a serial rather than USB interface.

I have a bog standard eTrex which uses a similar block type connector to the Geko (I think).

I bought an eBay USB cable that has an inbuilt USB to serial connector. Had to find the right drivers to make it work on the Mac (easy since it's Prolific PL-1203 based USB/Serial jobby) and it works on my Windows XP laptop with no problems at all.

Something like eBay item: 330350795524.

But yes, a bog standard mini-USB connector would have made it a lot lot simpler.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: frankly frankie on August 19, 2009, 09:34:32 am
I call it the jwo method
Indeed, that's where I first got the idea.

jwo he da man!  Yeh.

I gave my Geko away.  It has many good points, no serious drawbacks, and does the job perfectly well.

Small, light, minimalist, good contrasty screen - all these are positives compared with the Etrex C types.
However there was an accumulation of small niggles - worst by far is the difficult battery access, once the bike mount is in place.  But the serial interface, nasty bright colour casing, limited display options, rather clunky navigation through the menus - were all annoyances for me.

And the Etrex C with map is just better 'company' on the bike.  Though the display is very dim behind a highly-reflective screen cover - marginal for my shot-to-pieces old eyes - if the map were given a white background instead of a dull beige, even that would help quite a bit.

If buying a GPS now, and especially as a new adopter - I think you'd have to consider the new Garmin Dakota as well.  In terms of size, styling and function (and battery life) it sorta sits between the Etrex and the Edge series.  There's a lot going for it, but the screen is even dimmer than the Etrex, so you'd definitely have to see it action before shelling out.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Tewdric on August 19, 2009, 03:28:09 pm
Better news still is that they are £130 on Amazon.  Srsly  :thumbsup:

I bit!  It arrives on Friday.  

What's the score with the OSM maps?  Are they easy to download and install?  I got a bit overwhelmed when I googled it.

Edit:  I mean I can see how to get them on the Etrex, but how do you plan a  route on your computer screen to put into the GPS?
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: simonp on August 19, 2009, 03:31:12 pm
I actually combine methods; I have a jwo route, a track (in green) and I have the maps installed.  This is comforting at 1am somewhere between Villaines and Mortange, when brain is starting to malfunction, you start to think you're in Yorkshire, you are struggling to read the GPS screen, and for some inexplicable reason you can't at the moment see any other cyclists (a rare occurence on PBP).  Being able to see you are still on the track is reassuring.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Charlotte on August 19, 2009, 04:43:41 pm
Edit:  I mean I can see how to get them on the Etrex, but how do you plan a  route on your computer screen to put into the GPS?

I use something like Gmaps pedometer or Bikely to plan my routes.   Then I save them off to a .gpx file and open it up in the software that comes with the Garmin.  Once I've checked it in there, I use it to transfer straight across to the unit.  Although you can just write the .gpx file to your memory card if you like and check it in the unit.

Even easier is to download other people's files  :)
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: nic on August 19, 2009, 04:49:28 pm
Garmin 705 + AA batteries sounds rather super. There used to be some really good deals for unit, HR, cadence and maps on a mini-SD card but I didn't bookmark the site. Anybody here remember?
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: frankly frankie on August 19, 2009, 05:40:50 pm
I use something like Gmaps pedometer or Bikely to plan my routes.   Then I save them off to a .gpx file and open it up in the software that comes with the Garmin.  Once I've checked it in there, I use it to transfer straight across to the unit.  Although you can just write the .gpx file to your memory card if you like and check it in the unit.


Mmm - no. 
The Etrex can't navigate using a gpx on the memory card, AFAIK.  It can see the file, but it can't open it.  All waypoints routes & trax need to be stored in 'user' memory and not on the SD card, and the easiest way to get them there is as you say, to use the software supplied with the unit.

+1 for planning using Google Maps or some derivative though - if that isn't a contradiction when using OSM maps ...
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Panoramix on August 19, 2009, 05:45:59 pm


+1 for planning using Google Maps or some derivative though - if that isn't a contradiction when using OSM maps ...

I seem to be the only one but I find that using SourceForge.net: viking (http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/viking/index.php?title=Main_Page) is much more productive, especially if like LEL, a gpx track has been produced. It works with layers which effectively permits to add your turning points while seeing the track and the map at the same time.
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: Tewdric on August 19, 2009, 06:30:52 pm
Edit:  I mean I can see how to get them on the Etrex, but how do you plan a  route on your computer screen to put into the GPS?

I use something like Gmaps pedometer or Bikely to plan my routes.   Then I save them off to a .gpx file and open it up in the software that comes with the Garmin.  Once I've checked it in there, I use it to transfer straight across to the unit.  Although you can just write the .gpx file to your memory card if you like and check it in the unit.

Even easier is to download other people's files  :)

Thanks Charlotte - I'm looking forward to some quality ned time trying it all out!  :)
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: border-rider on August 19, 2009, 06:50:53 pm


I bit!  It arrives on Friday.

Does it cover Pontypool ?

;)
Title: Re: Which GPS. LEL convinced me to get one
Post by: simonp on August 19, 2009, 06:57:00 pm
Edit:  I mean I can see how to get them on the Etrex, but how do you plan a  route on your computer screen to put into the GPS?

I use something like Gmaps pedometer or Bikely to plan my routes.   Then I save them off to a .gpx file and open it up in the software that comes with the Garmin.  Once I've checked it in there, I use it to transfer straight across to the unit.  Although you can just write the .gpx file to your memory card if you like and check it in the unit.

Even easier is to download other people's files  :)

Thanks Charlotte - I'm looking forward to some quality ned time trying it all out!  :)

You planning a ride around Glasgow?