Author Topic: Yet another suggest a GPS thread  (Read 1694 times)

Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« on: April 01, 2011, 06:59:35 pm »
Requirements

Has maps. Maps can be updated or new ones uploaded.

Will record route.

Can have route uploaded from computer.

Must use AAs or similar.

Has backlight

Moderately weatherproof

That's about it, really.

I have a bit of money, and a marine GPS that should fetch about £60 on ebay.

Suggestions?  Would the Garmin Etrex do the job, or should I look to Vista HCx?
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Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 09:53:20 pm »
Etrex Legend HcX does all of the above. I'm very happy with mine.
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Martin

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Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 09:59:08 pm »
a clubmate who has resisted GPS (on the basis that he has the very first etrex which is now well obsolete with no maps or even a USB so wants to wait until the time is right) was asking about this last night;

can someone explain just why the Edge series are not best choice for Audax? AIUI it's to do with the course vs route issue

Oh and Mrcharly; what julesh said; the Vista offers climbing and altitude as well but other than that a Legend does all you need and you are never far from a spare set of batteries. Make sure you buy the maps on DVD not SD card as you can send the former to the latter but not vice versa AIUI

( a happy Vista HCx owner)

Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 10:27:45 pm »
can someone explain just why the Edge series are not best choice for Audax? AIUI it's to do with the course vs route issue

No, IMO it's more to do with the fact that the Edge series has an internal battery rather than taking replaceable AA batteries. With an Edge you're limited to ~12 hours unless you use a separate power pack that can provide USB power.

If you overcome that with an external battery pack then, if anything, the later Edge series (605, 705, 800) are easier for use on Audax as the GPXX format they accept removes many of the waypoint limitations that other GPSes have.

But, for the OP's requirements I'd definitely recommend an eTrex Legend or Vista rather than the Edge series.
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andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2011, 11:15:37 pm »
Aye, that AA battery requirement -- carry a spare, get more at a garage -- really pushes the fancy-pants kit out of the game.  I get about 14 hours for a set of AAs and the units are all well-behaved if you swap batteries.  You could get an AA-to-USB charger but the fancy units are, so far, mostly not compelling enough to be worth the faff.  Triathletes will differ as they like the training stuff that comes in the Edge models.

The Etrexes all take AA's and have good battery life; weatherproofing is good (I kayak with mine!); basically any of the HCx's will do what you want.

x = expandable, ie, has a memory card. 

C = colour, no reason not to.

H = high sensitivity. All the new models are H, but there is venerable non-H kit in second-hand circulation.  H models have better-performing GPS at a slight drain to battery.

Other than that, the different models' features are pretty darn similar.  The Garmin Vista HCx's ubiquity in long-haul cycling is because it really is bloody good.
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Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2011, 08:35:18 am »
I've used the Map 60 series but I've never used the Etrex / Vista size/model. How do they perform as to the bike mount? Do they have any issues with brackets breaking or units bouncing off over rough ground? I've had such problems with my Map 60 units, but these models are bigger and a bit heavier than the Etrex size. I have noticed that some Etrex users employ what I think are RAM mounts - are they advisable?

Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 08:40:39 am »
I've had an Etrex Vista for 6 or 7 years   still functions perfectly, always been on bar mounts, and have them on three different bikes. Never had any of the reported issues.  I do mount mine with a rubber strip between bar and mount just to take a bit of vibration or shock out of the equation.

Great bits of kit though, would buy another tomorrow if this one died

frankly frankie

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Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2011, 10:44:14 am »
C = colour, no reason not to.

It's a bit counter-intuitive but the colour models have (much) better battery runtime than the (older) monochrome models.  Some people may find the mono screens more contrasty though, the colour ones are very flat.

Quote
H = high sensitivity. All the new models are H, but there is venerable non-H kit in second-hand circulation.  H models have better-performing GPS at a slight drain to battery.

Depends what you mean by performance.  Higher sensitivity does not equal greater accuracy, just the opposite is my belief.  
H does give slightly quicker start-up times, and much better ability to find a fix in difficult situations. Urban cyclists would certainly see an advantage.  
In normal cycling conditions in reasonably open country, comparing tracks made by my H and pre-H models side by side, the H shows more of a drunkard's walk and the older model lays down the smoother track.  (Not a huge difference, but clearly discernable when you look for it.)  I don't do much urban cycling and at cycling speeds I don't find dense forests pose any problem at all, with the older model.  Steep cliffs and gorges are more problematic - but generally you only have the one road to go at anyway, in these situations.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

corshamjim

Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2011, 01:53:13 pm »
I'm very happy with my Dakota 20.  It takes AA batteries.  The basemap it comes with is nearly useless, but it has a MicroSD slot so you can have plenty of space to add other maps.  I recently bought the Garmin UK City Navigator map for it (about £36 if I recall) as it allows search for postcode which is especially useful (dare I say) when driving.  For cycling, one of the (free) maps built from OpenStreetMap is arguably better because they tend to include cycle-specific paths which the City Navigator maps don't.

My only real gripe with this unit is the touch screen doesn't work great with gloved fingers.

The best deal at the time I bought it was from HandTec
Buy Garmin Dakota 20 Reviews

The handlebar mount is simple but effective - can be mounted on (vertical) stem or (horizontal) handlebar simply with a couple of zip ties.

Buy Garmin Colorado/Oregon/Dakota Handlebar Mount Reviews

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 02:37:20 pm »
I've used the Map 60 series but I've never used the Etrex / Vista size/model. How do they perform as to the bike mount?

I've been using the eTrex bike mount for years, both on an original yellow eTrex and original Legend (with the replacement battery cover) and a Vista HCx (with the screw-on clip) - they both clip onto the same bracket.  In that time I've done a not-inconsiderable amount of Sustrans' finest mild off-roading; small amounts of less-mild off-roading; had maybe half a dozen offs of varying severity; various people have accidentally kicked the eTrex while mounting/dismounting my recumbent, and I've bashed it a couple of times while accidentally folding my folding bike with it still attached.  In that time it's ejected from the mount exactly once, when the recumbent fell out from under me and I landed on the Garmin.  The clip and mount were undamaged.  The mount had rotated some 30 degrees around the bar it was clamped too (to give you an idea of how much force that involved: it was done up too tightly for me to shift it by hand), and the eTrex landed face-down in a muddy puddle (it's designed to cope with that sort of thing).  I've also dropped various eTrexes without damage (they bounce surprisingly well on concrete).

I did manage to tear the waterproof coating on the Vista's battery cover in one of the kicking incidents, compromising the waterproofing.  I emailed Garmin, and they sent me a new battery compartment cover and clip free of charge.

So yeah, I'd say they were pretty sturdy, and certainly not prone to random ejection.  I recommend a layer or two of insulating tape on the handlebar mount to eliminate annoying rattle.  I don't believe the RAM mount is necessary, though may be desirable for extra piece of mind if you're fitting it to an off-road bike, or want to mount it somewhere the standard bar mount won't work (stem?).

The screw in the screw-on clip is a single point of failure, though, so I do recommend using a lanyard wrapped around the bar in case something does happen.  It'd probably take a proper crash to make it come off, but bruising, road rash and wrecked shorts are still better than bruising, road rash, wrecked shorts and your GPS run over by oncoming traffic.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Panoramix

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Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2011, 02:59:32 pm »
I'm very happy with my Dakota 20. 

+1

The vista was too quirky for me...

Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2011, 03:10:41 pm »
Every time I think I've decided on a GPS I read a thread on here that makes me seriously consider another model!

I've now extended my shortlist to the Vista, legend (most guises), Edge 605, Dakota 10 & Dakota 20

Doh!!

Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2011, 05:22:37 pm »
Sold my 72 for £50 (! it's ancient, needs special rs232 lead, has no maps - yet still people want them), so will start shopping for a legend HxC I think.
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Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2011, 07:47:32 am »
A vote for the Oregon here, I love mine!
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Alouicious

Re: Yet another suggest a GPS thread
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2011, 07:30:39 pm »
Used an eTrex Legend C ( no card slot ) for years.

IIRC, when I installed fresh batteries, there was no worry 'cus when all the tracks are uploaded to mapsource, there is a 'join tracks' right click option.

When I bought an Edge, I paniked and bought a PowerMonkey when I saw "12 hours battery life".
A PowerChimp would have been better 'cus these use AA size batteries just like the Garmin eTrex series.

The most annoying thing about the eTrex was the rubber bumper band swelled in the summer heat and never returned to its original tightness.