Author Topic: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms  (Read 2509 times)

Up until now I have been quite happy without a gps for cycling. I occasionally use one in the car (mainly for finding addresses for work).
I am now thinking of getting one for audaxing (200's mainly). I don't need one for at least 95% of my riding, a paper map suits me fine. Also in France even audax routes are pretty simple so lots of points are not really necessary. I don't want anything that does "performance" data, connections to power meters, heart meters and that stuff. Nor am I interested in Strava, heat maps, Veloviewer or all that stuff.
I also don't have any intention of blowing my cycling budget, small as it is, on a gadget. If I can get what I want for 200€ or less that's fine. If more it's probably not worth it to me.
I think what I am looking for is turn by turn. I would have liked a map display but looking at the images on Garmin's site I wonder if this is that useful as a tiny map view and limited direction information is probably a waste of time. In that case a "breadcrumb" trace might be more use to me.
I am getting lost in all the information on these things, most of which seem dedicated to a use and a set of features that don't interest me at all.
I should add that anything requiring smartphones and apps to make it work is likely to get chucked out through an open window very quickly!
Can anyone point me in the direction of a or some gps units that do navigation without excess crap, please?

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 11:16:49 am »
I would have liked a map display but looking at the images on Garmin's site I wonder if this is that useful as a tiny map view and limited direction information is probably a waste of time.

It's not a waste of time.  However it probably does fall far short of the expectations of anyone who is used to a car satnav, or using maps on a smartphone.

My recommendation would be a Garmin Etrex 20 or whatever the modern variant number of that is (22x).  Note however that it doesn't come with a handlebar mount or a lanyard.  The mount is readily sourced but is usually described as a 'Oregon' mount. 
It is primarily a basic walkers' GPS but if you look for a cycling-specific GPS you'll get all that fitness stuff you say you don't want, and/or that phone stuff you don't want.

My review of a similar model dating from 2012 Etrex 30 review
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2019, 03:28:06 pm »


I have a wahoo elemnt bolt, it shows a breadcrumb trail on the screen, and you can just follow that. It does support turn by turn, if the file has that info in there. Really easy to use, nice clear display.

On a couple of audaxes now I've picked up navigationally challenged back markers, and guided them round. Often the only working nav devices in the pelaton I've picked up has been the wahoo on my handlebars, and the spare wahoo in my saddle bag.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 03:36:04 pm »
I'd second FF's recommendation of an Etrex 20, or a 30 if you reckon it's worth paying a bit extra to get altimeter and (I think) temperature. But then I chose that model (20) specifically because I wanted a map. If you don't want a map, then it might be worth getting a Wahoo or something. But I do find the map useful for, well, being a map; not so much for planning but for impromptu diversions and seeing instantly how to get back on route if you've deviated either by accident or for food/tube/whatever. The Etrex 20 is about £120 in the UK.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2019, 03:40:56 pm »
I'd second FF's recommendation of an Etrex 20, or a 30 if you reckon it's worth paying a bit extra to get altimeter and (I think) temperature. But then I chose that model (20) specifically because I wanted a map. If you don't want a map, then it might be worth getting a Wahoo or something. But I do find the map useful for, well, being a map; not so much for planning but for impromptu diversions and seeing instantly how to get back on route if you've deviated either by accident or for food/tube/whatever. The Etrex 20 is about £120 in the UK.

Main dowside I find with the etrex line is they take aa batteries, which is a extra faff level to charge, where as the wahoo etc... you just plug into a usb port, and it charges, no need to manage extra sets of batteries or chargers.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2019, 03:43:48 pm »
HK loves her Wahoo but it is used in lockstep with a smartphone. The OP doesn't want to do that.

I use an Etrex 30x and a laptop to put tracks on the Etrex that I just follow as a coloured line on a scrolling map. That is simple and reliable enough for me to cope with. Eneloop Pro batteries last for 400km without a recharge and I can get replacement batteries in petrol stations or supermarkets, if required.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2019, 04:08:06 pm »
I'd second FF's recommendation of an Etrex 20, or a 30 if you reckon it's worth paying a bit extra to get altimeter and (I think) temperature. But then I chose that model (20) specifically because I wanted a map. If you don't want a map, then it might be worth getting a Wahoo or something. But I do find the map useful for, well, being a map; not so much for planning but for impromptu diversions and seeing instantly how to get back on route if you've deviated either by accident or for food/tube/whatever. The Etrex 20 is about £120 in the UK.

Main dowside I find with the etrex line is they take aa batteries, which is a extra faff level to charge, where as the wahoo etc... you just plug into a usb port, and it charges, no need to manage extra sets of batteries or chargers.

J

I use an Etrex 30. Rechargeable batteries last at least 2 full days (6-8 hours) of walking or cycling with the backlight timer set at around 1 minute. Obviously depends on battery age and quality but I don't find much faff. I have run it with an external power pack plugged in to prove you can more than actually using it in that way. When touring it's usually plugged into the USB output of the Luxos U light fitted to the touring bike. The only downside with this option is that if you stop at a junction for more than 30 seconds it notices the external power has stopped and it shuts down.
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2019, 04:27:10 pm »
As usual, I would recommend a smartphone and locus maps.  I've just replaced my 3 year old Honor Note 8 with a Xiaomi Mi Max 3 for £195.0. First ride on the bike today. 15% battery used after a 2 hour ride with the screen on for the whole ride.  The note 8 was replaced because over the last week the battery performance has degraded significantly.  The significance of the phones is that they have large 6.9 inch screens and it is the screen which draws over 90% of the power.

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2019, 04:37:02 pm »


I have a wahoo elemnt bolt, it shows a breadcrumb trail on the screen, and you can just follow that. It does support turn by turn, if the file has that info in there. Really easy to use, nice clear display.

On a couple of audaxes now I've picked up navigationally challenged back markers, and guided them round. Often the only working nav devices in the pelaton I've picked up has been the wahoo on my handlebars, and the spare wahoo in my saddle bag.

J
Does the Bolt need a paired smartphone ?
Rust never sleeps

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2019, 04:55:01 pm »
Does the Bolt need a paired smartphone ?

Need, no. Certainly makes it easier to use tho. It can be used to load on routes, sync to strava etc... But you can turn your phone off while you ride.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2019, 04:57:39 pm »
I'd second FF's recommendation of an Etrex 20, or a 30 if you reckon it's worth paying a bit extra to get altimeter and (I think) temperature. But then I chose that model (20) specifically because I wanted a map. If you don't want a map, then it might be worth getting a Wahoo or something. But I do find the map useful for, well, being a map; not so much for planning but for impromptu diversions and seeing instantly how to get back on route if you've deviated either by accident or for food/tube/whatever. The Etrex 20 is about £120 in the UK.

Main dowside I find with the etrex line is they take aa batteries, which is a extra faff level to charge, where as the wahoo etc... you just plug into a usb port, and it charges, no need to manage extra sets of batteries or chargers.

J

I use an Etrex 30. Rechargeable batteries last at least 2 full days (6-8 hours) of walking or cycling with the backlight timer set at around 1 minute. Obviously depends on battery age and quality but I don't find much faff. I have run it with an external power pack plugged in to prove you can more than actually using it in that way. When touring it's usually plugged into the USB output of the Luxos U light fitted to the touring bike. The only downside with this option is that if you stop at a junction for more than 30 seconds it notices the external power has stopped and it shuts down.
Horses for courses; depends on what track (forgive the pun) conditions you prefer. For me, replaceable batteries mean I can charge them up beforehand and they'll last around 12 hours, maybe more, and if they need replacing mid-ride I can carry spares with me or buy new ones at any 24hr garage. OTOH if you're in the habit of carrying a power pack with you, that probably makes usb charging easier. As long as that doesn't get depleted of course. On a 200 or 300km audax, you're unlikely to need to recharge anyway, so not high criteria for the OP.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Pingu

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Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2019, 05:54:59 pm »
Get an eTrex and use frankly frankie's guides.

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2019, 06:11:26 pm »
Main dowside I find with the etrex line is they take aa batteries, which is a extra faff level to charge, where as the wahoo etc... you just plug into a usb port, and it charges, no need to manage extra sets of batteries or chargers.

J

My latest AA rechargeables, bought last year, will cover a 600km Audax.  So up to 1000km I'm only carrying one extra pair of batteries.  If I find the batteries run down quicker than expected I can just get some from a newsagents / supermarket / 24hr garage etc. No extra faff over charging a battery pack really. The eTrex has weaknesses but I'd say running on AAs isn't one of them.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2019, 10:56:12 pm »
Agreed. It's one of my great regrets in changing from an HCx to an Edge Touring Plus. Carrying spare AAs if necessary is also easy. Some GPSs won't even recharge and run at the same time, and you have to rig up a way of doing that on the move if they do. Swapping AAs at a cafe stop is easy.

And the AAs tend to last longer than any built-in battery. And the shop can't look pityingly at you when, a few years on, you want to find a way to change the worn-out battery.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2019, 11:05:42 pm »
AAs mean more faff at home when you charge the batteries at the end of the week or before the big event.  Internal non-replaceable batteries mean more faff sorting out USB power during your long bike ride or tour.  Both are eminently manageable, though I note the relative faff-factor of AAs has gone up for me as less of my other kit uses them.  In general, I prefer to do my faffing when I'm not tired and stupid and/or being rained on, which is a win for AAs.

One note on breadcrumb trails:  Ideally, you still want a map for the trail to be displayed over, rather than simply a line on a blank screen (as you'd get on a traditional hiking GPS like the eTrex 10).  Otherwise roundabouts and similar complex junctions get reduced to educated guesswork.

The main difference between the eTrex 20 and the 30 is the barometric altimeter (for more accurate recording of elevation, particularly in mountainous areas where GPS performs poorly) and the ANT+ communications (for heartrate, temperature and some cadence sensors, directly exchanging data with similarly equipped Garmins.[1]).



[1] I've owned mine for years, and finally got to use this feature at the YACF camping weekend in September.  Astoundingly, it Just Worked™.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2019, 11:20:53 pm »
AAs mean more faff at home when you charge the batteries at the end of the week or before the big event. 
I think that's a case of What You're Used ToTM. I don't find it any harder to put batteries in a battery charger at home than to plug a device into a wall wart. In fact, it's the very same action!
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2019, 11:23:03 pm »
AAs mean more faff at home when you charge the batteries at the end of the week or before the big event. 
I think that's a case of What You're Used ToTM. I don't find it any harder to put batteries in a battery charger at home than to plug a device into a wall wart. In fact, it's the very same action!

Quite possibly true.  I have a sufficiency of USB power sources in all sorts of places, but only the one decent AA charger.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2019, 09:14:44 am »
+1 for eTrex 20 or 30.  A decent set of rechargeables and you can get around 24 hours out of it, though it's less if you keep the display backlight on.

I usually stick to my eTrex 30x but I tried MrsT's Oregon 600 recently. It's snazzier and has a bigger screen, but the GPX it gives you at the end of the ride doesn't include cardio data; I have to take the .FIT file it offers and put it through a converter before my log program will accept it. Boring.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2019, 09:35:58 am »
directly exchanging data with similarly equipped Garmins.[1]).
[1] I've owned mine for years, and finally got to use this feature at the YACF camping weekend in September.  Astoundingly, it Just Worked™.
Ha, I remember doing this at PBP 2015 and being equally amazed that it worked, having used it just the once in the best part of 6 years I'd have to class it as a pretty niche feature (most people I know use Edges or Wahoos)

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2019, 11:22:19 am »
i've used etrex for years (7-8..) and it does the simple job of "showing the route and being reliable" very well. what made me change to the edge series is that it lacked bluetooth for on the go route planning. one of the most recent uses of that feature was before the pbp when they changed the last leg due to roadworks. just uploaded the file to garmin app on the phone and sent it to the head unit.

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2019, 12:07:58 pm »
I have an Etrex Legend HCX, which is perfect for me. Coupled with the free maps from Garmin nl, it just does what I want, shows me the line on the map display of where to go. I don't want turn by turn or other cadence data or whatever.
Taking AA batteries is a big bonus for me.
I note there are a couple on eBay for around £60. Bargainous.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven.

S2L

Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2019, 12:27:22 pm »
Garmin Edge 530 is the best navigation unit on the market today and with a battery life of around 30 hours (if you cut down a bit on display brightness and switch off bluetooth) it's comparable to the bulky and frankly outdated Etrex.
It can be had for around 200 pounds with a bit of wise online shopping and looking out for deals.

I haven't paired mine to my phone and only use the cable to transfer data... no bugs or issues whatsoever. Problems typically come from Bluetooth



Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2019, 01:27:10 pm »
I meant to add, my Legend is used for walking aswell, the free maps have 99% of the footpaths I've used, many in out of the way places. The map detail (contours, lakes and other stuff) has also helped me on the odd occasion I've got a bit lost.
It's also ten years old and has performed faultlessly in all conditions in that time. 
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2019, 02:21:55 pm »
I meant to add, my Legend is used for walking aswell, the free maps have 99% of the footpaths I've used, many in out of the way places. The map detail (contours, lakes and other stuff) has also helped me on the odd occasion I've got a bit lost.
It's also ten years old and has performed faultlessly in all conditions in that time. 

My old eTrex Venture CX (or summat) used the same casing as the Legend.  The glue holding the rubber band round the edge came unstuck after ~4 years and appeared to have stretched, since it wouldn't snug down all the way round any more.  I read at the time that this was common, though it was maybe just in warm countries so you might be OK.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wanted a simple gps for following pre-enregistered routes, max 300kms
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2019, 02:24:51 pm »
I meant to add, my Legend is used for walking aswell, the free maps have 99% of the footpaths I've used, many in out of the way places. The map detail (contours, lakes and other stuff) has also helped me on the odd occasion I've got a bit lost.
It's also ten years old and has performed faultlessly in all conditions in that time. 

My old eTrex Venture CX (or summat) used the same casing as the Legend.  The glue holding the rubber band round the edge came unstuck after ~4 years and appeared to have stretched, since it wouldn't snug down all the way round any more.  I read at the time that this was common, though it was maybe just in warm countries so you might be OK.

My Vista HCx failed that way.  My older Legend still has its rubber band intact, though it perhaps spent fewer hours in direct sunlight, as it got more use for walking.

The newer eTrex models have a different design that appears to avoid this problem.  They have infuriating[1] software instead.


[1] All Garmin GPS receivers have infuriating software.  The further back you go, the more your expectations align with a complicated 1990s tool for use by a skilled navigator in conjunction with a paper map and compass.  The more modern units have built on that heritage by attempting to tweak the design towards something more familiar to those who came to GPS through TomTom-inspired car satnavs.  Ultimately, this means removal of some useful features, addition of some less-useful ones, and a confusing user interface that is simultaneously both modern and dated.  The hardware's pretty decent though.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...