Author Topic: Which GPS for cycling?  (Read 8162 times)

Riggers

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Which GPS for cycling?
« on: March 21, 2012, 11:40:07 am »
Given that there now appears to be a huge choice of GPS units for cycling, do peeps on here (in general) consider that there is really only one choice: Garmin.

I ask this because, not actually owning one (and find drooling over maps a secret pleasure) but often look at these things in Reviews, and thinking "Your life would be much more complete with one." But would it? They're jolly expensive, and with some you then have to pay an arm and a leg to download maps.

Just been looking at Memorymaps, which appears to do the job, and a lot more cheaply than  a Garmin 705 for example.

Is it because Garmin can find a satellite link far more quickly? I dunno.

I remain yours, a complete and utter GPS virgin.
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Biggsy

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 11:47:41 am »
Memorymaps is a phone app, right?  You need to think about battery run time, and ease of mounting the phone on the bike, and waterproofing the phone.

Having a proper small and neat bike-specific bracket, as well as the device itself being relatively small and light, attracted me to the Garmin Edge 605.

Free OSM maps work with Garmin, though I like to have Garmin's City Navgator maps as well.
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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 12:03:34 pm »
Personally I wouldn't let the map cost put you off a Garmin, I've ridden (and not got lost) all over the UK and France on mine with only the free downloaded Open Street Map on it  :thumbsup:

Biggsy

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 12:11:30 pm »
There are one or two YACF fans of TomTom.  Search the GPS board for "tomtom" via http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?action=search
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Aushiker

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 12:32:12 pm »
Bryton Rider GPS units seem to be gaining popularity in my neighboured. I haven't used one so cannot add much in the way of comment but maybe another option to consider?



Andrew

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2012, 01:10:13 pm »
Memory Map do make their own brand GPS devices - the Adventurer 2800 and Adventurer 3500. http://www.memory-map.co.uk/adventurergps/
Though I don't know if they are any good. They seem to be something like a Pocket PC in a rugged case. So fairly short battery life, and maybe not actually very rugged/waterproof - the 2800 is just described as "weatherproof"
They are quite reasonably priced if you want OS maps for the whole of GB. But not sure useful they are for (on-road) cycling, I don't think they can do autorouting.

Euan Uzami

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 02:40:45 pm »
Memory Map do make their own brand GPS devices - the Adventurer 2800 and Adventurer 3500. http://www.memory-map.co.uk/adventurergps/
Though I don't know if they are any good. They seem to be something like a Pocket PC in a rugged case. So fairly short battery life, and maybe not actually very rugged/waterproof - the 2800 is just described as "weatherproof"
They are quite reasonably priced if you want OS maps for the whole of GB. But not sure useful they are for (on-road) cycling, I don't think they can do autorouting.

No, they can't do autorouting and I wouldn't say they are suitable for on-road cycling at all. The battery life isn't anywhere near long enough, and the default mode is for the screen to be almost off. It's actually also quite bulky as well.
They are basically just a windows pda in a weatherproof housing. Very agricultural, not refined at all. But I think that's quite nice in a way.
I've got a 3500, although I don't use it that much.
I bought it for non-trail centre mtbing, but I don't seem to find myself doing that much of that. It is probably really good for that though.
Its main USP is that it does display full colour, full featured OS maps on its screen. Its rendering and colour is really good.

I can see it being really good for walking as well, in fact that's what I think its main intended use might be.

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2012, 02:46:13 pm »
Personally I wouldn't let the map cost put you off a Garmin, I've ridden (and not got lost) all over the UK and France on mine with only the free downloaded Open Street Map on it  :thumbsup:

I'd second that. Plus battery life is a huge factor. I have an Extrex Legend which works great.
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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2012, 03:59:51 pm »
The eTrex range is basic, but does the job.  Because it is being replaced by newer models there are some bargains around, eg the Vista HCx for around £90* at Amazon if they've got any left.  Francis has commented on the relative merits of the old and new styles.  Lots of threads here.

*Don't forget you'll need maps too, but as others have said OSM is adequate for most purposes.

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2012, 04:05:04 pm »
I bought a second-hand garmin HCX legend.

£100, runs off two AA batteries - I get nearly 24hours use even with the backlight turned up a tad.

Good points?
I wanted a cycle computer with a backlight - the garmin gives me that for about the same cost as a dedicated backlite cycle computer.
I can record tracks, load them - so no probs navigating even when I'm somewhere unfamiliar. This meant I could ride as the 'sweeper' for Deano's Tan Hill ride and not worry about losing my way.
It's fairly robust - you could drop it while riding and it would bounce. Rain isn't a problem either.

Bad points?
It is slow to zoom and pan around the map. I wouldn't want to use it for planning routes.
The screen is small - its fine for most uses, particularly when following a track. But I find it irritating at times.
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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2012, 04:10:12 pm »
+1 on the eTrex (newer and older models).  Bear in mind that apart from lovely free OSM data, it's surprisingly easy to locate an offsite backup copy of the Garmin City Navgator map sets...
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Riggers

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2012, 04:54:31 pm »
This is fascinating stuff chaps! Thank you.
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2012, 06:49:45 pm »
Dunno if it helps but I chose a Garmin (Oregon 450T) for its verstility: walking, cycling, driving and haven't been disappointed.

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 07:14:03 pm »
Really please with my etrex vista hcx £95 new with OSMapping now installed.
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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2012, 08:54:07 am »
Is it because Garmin can find a satellite link far more quickly? I dunno.

On that specific point, I doubt if any of the leisure makes differ significantly, in terms of 'sensitivity' or 'accuracy'.
I'm not saying differences don't exist - for example future new models will have access to many more satellites than the existing models - but it doesn't really make any difference, 'good enough' is 'good enough'.

The advantage of Garmin is the huge user base and knowledge base.
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Riggers

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2012, 12:42:18 pm »
This is jolly good stuff, and one can easily be persuaded by so many options. I wonder what the least one needs to spend, to get one that has (or I suppose purchase separately) OS maps, so you have a little pointer that travels along, mirroring your journey on the road*.

Is that possible? Or am I holding the wrong end of the stick (again!)?

I can see the allure of a top-end Garmin, as they have large viewfinders but, crikey, they are expensive aren't they, and on top of that it costs (what I consider) a considerable amount of decent beer tokens to buy OS maps.


*Or off-road, for that matter.
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2012, 12:59:54 pm »
Under £100


The OSM maps can be downloaded with contours overlaid.

Track recording and automatically showing the current position are very basic features.

Something not mentioned so far; do get something with a colour screen. 

A colour screen means you can show the planned route in a different colour, makes it much easier to follow.
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Biggsy

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2012, 01:06:16 pm »
I think Riggers was asking about Ordnance Survey maps, not Open Street Maps.
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Riggers

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2012, 01:14:27 pm »
Ahem, yes  :-[ I was. Well done Biggers.
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2012, 04:53:19 pm »
Not all devices can handle OS maps - that would restrict your choice considerably.  And in my experience OS maps are far from cheap.  For cycling the consensus seems to be that OS maps give too much detail, but there is a difference between following a route (as in audax, for instance) and touring.  With the latter the detail shown on OS maps can be useful.  In many areas OSM is almost as good.

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2012, 09:23:35 pm »
I would be very cautious about the benefit of OS on a GPS. OK, I've never had them (I have the base euro "topo" maps with contours). I don't think GPS do away with maps, and I still buy them. I started off thinking I wanted OS mapping but I've not missed it at all. Of course YMMV.

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2012, 10:00:12 pm »
The thing is that if you use bikehike.co.uk to plan routes beforehand you have all the advantages of using an OS map at the planning stage, with no real need to have the thing on the device. I suppose if you were touring and wanted to do impromptu routes not planned by computer in advance there would be plus points though.

Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2012, 10:07:48 pm »
Off-road.
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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2012, 12:48:55 am »
I would be very cautious about the benefit of OS on a GPS. OK, I've never had them (I have the base euro "topo" maps with contours). I don't think GPS do away with maps, and I still buy them. I started off thinking I wanted OS mapping but I've not missed it at all. Of course YMMV.

I'm off walking in N Wales (nr Bedgelert) on sat - had a look on the OSM site earlier (and on my Etrex just now) and whilst the contours are all there, there's a fair bit missing I think - but no great surprise. Still, my mate's got an Oregon with - I think OS - so it'll be interesting to see how that compares..tho' a larger touch screen probably helps in that instance...

Biggsy

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Re: Which GPS for cycling?
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2012, 01:02:57 am »
Do the all GPSs with touch screens work when you're wearing gloves?
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