Author Topic: Which GPS bike unit?  (Read 8000 times)

Which GPS bike unit?
« on: February 25, 2013, 02:16:24 pm »
Sorry this is another 'first' question, but I don't possess either a smart phone or a GPS bike computer, and was thinking about getting something.  So GPS or smart phone?  Are the maps/performance comparable?  Any good deals out there for say GPS bike computer units?
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Andrew

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 02:24:44 pm »
So GPS or smart phone?

This is one of the few areas where I could be quite emphatic - GPS.

Whilst a smartphone will work, for my money they have too many caveats and limitations - most notably battery life. I feel they're a compromise solution.

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 02:25:13 pm »
Depends on what you want to do with it.

 Any smartphone will be fine with something like strava, endomondo or MMR.  However, battery life is 3-4 hours max so if you need if for longer rides then GPS units will be much better.

So what useage do you intend to put it to?
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 02:43:44 pm »
Thanks.  I guess I'd want something that would cover 'day' rides, so looks like a GPS bike unit then... 

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 08:36:23 pm »
There is a GPS section on this forum
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 09:09:49 pm »
There is a GPS section on this forum

<moved> Thanks.  I've never been here.   :)

So just to ask...  What's a good (minimum?) spec, type of mapping, to aim for in a GPS unit?
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 09:34:16 pm »
Depends on your budget and the use you want to put it to.
If you are wanting performance data off it - then the Edge models
If primary intersest is in navigation, then Etrex is more appropriate
.... but the functional boundaries get blurred when you go up the model range.

Mapping: I've been quite satisfied with OSM (free!) - others less so.
Garmin mapping is expensive (until you compare it with the cost of equivalent papaer maps)
Personal opinion is that OS Landranger style mapping, whilst familiar, is not the best for a tiny screen.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 09:49:09 pm »
The best maps I have seen, by far, are Openfietsmaplite. The detail and clarity are head and shoulders above any other map I've used on my Etrex.

http://www.openfietsmap.nl/downloads/other-countries/uk-ireland to download the gmapsupp.img file of the UK and Ireland.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 09:50:32 pm »
I am rapidly learning that not all bike gpses are as easy to use as Garmins. I recently bought a Magellan eXplorer 710.To say the interface is counter-intuitive is an understatement! It also deas not play well with the method I use of putting routes onto the sd card, it keeps seeing them as tracks, not routes. It also has a great loathing of circular routes.

Guess I will stick with my Edge until I either work this out or throw it out of the window!
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 12:04:19 am »
Thanks all.

The best maps I have seen, by far, are Openfietsmaplite. The detail and clarity are head and shoulders above any other map I've used on my Etrex.

http://www.openfietsmap.nl/downloads/other-countries/uk-ireland to download the gmapsupp.img file of the UK and Ireland.

Could this mapping software be put on any unit?  Any problems with units running 3rd party software?
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 12:58:12 am »
It's not executable software, just map data.  Those .img files are a standard format shared by the current and previous generation of mapping Garmin GPSes.  Various people have created Garmin map images from the free (as in freedom, not beer)  Openstreetmap data, with their own tweaks of what's shown and how it's rendered to suit different purposes.

Other than size limitaitons, compatibility isn't usually a problem - the maps should work equally well in all units (though some may be faster to render/route than others).  The main drawback of OSM derived maps is that coverage can be inconsistent - typically *extremely good* in urban areas (down to marking the silly gates on Sustrans paths, and showing where the steps are on my local university campus), but for example country lanes that haven't been explored by an OSM geek may be absent.  There can be subtle flaws in the routing data that mean a Garmin set to automatically find a route from A to B will go via point D because someone forgot to 'connect' the two roads at junction C.  This is academic if you intend to follow a track 'manually' with the map as a backdrop (a preferred method on many audaxers).

Garimin's City Navigator maps are more consistent, and tend to route more reliably, but only really cover proper roads and may be more out of date than Openstreetmap.  Their Ordnance Survey derived topo maps can be nice for walking, but less useful for road navigation - too much of the wrong kind of clutter makes for a crowded display.


I think it's fair to say that Openstreetmap is now "good enough" for most purposes, unless you're somewhere with really patchy coverage, or intend to mainly use the unit in idiot satnav mode.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 08:16:39 am »
Agree with what has been said about openstreetmaps. I have used a few and have settled with velomap as it seems to give the best routes suitable for me on my Etrex 20 though openfietsmap is better looking.

I have done a comparison of the 2 using Basecamp here http://medialoft.co.uk/basecamp.html

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 08:20:47 am »
Nobody has yet answered my queerie about Bryton Rider 50T using OpenCycleMaps, so I guess if you don't buy a Garmin, you'll be excommunicated.

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 08:24:47 am »
I have a Bryton as well as a Garmin but haven't seen your question.

As a general response, the Bryton was a bargain but it's connectivity limitations and restricted map options can be irritating.

Andrew

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 08:30:24 am »
I guess if you don't buy a Garmin, you'll be excommunicated.

It can happen if you buy a Garmin too. Some questions just seem to capture the imagination and some don't.

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2013, 08:30:56 am »
Nobody has yet answered my queerie about Bryton Rider 50T using OpenCycleMaps, so I guess if you don't buy a Garmin, you'll be excommunicated.

Not quite, and as far as I know there are a few Bryton users on here.

Quite simply put, though, the Garmins just work.  To give an example, I went to Catalonia last year, had the routes all loaded into my Garmin Edge.  One day I decided to change the route and looked how to do it on a paper map (1:200000 scale).  I found the rough route and then went to the Garmin.  I simply went through the menu, found the town I was heading for and hit "Route to here".  Off I went.

I have tried doing something similar with my Magellan and ended up pulling my hair out!
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2013, 08:34:19 am »
I guess if you don't buy a Garmin, you'll be excommunicated.

It can happen if you buy a Garmin too. Some questions just seem to capture the imagination and some don't.

Or, some questions are answerable and some aren't ;)

Andrew

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2013, 08:57:05 am »
Or, some questions are answerable and some aren't ;)

OT, I know but.... questions needn't necessarily be answered, they can invite discussion too! :)

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2013, 09:36:52 am »
What I liked about the eTrex was the ability to construct a route by marking waypoints. This could be done standing on a grass triangle. Not so the Edge ??

What I disliked about all of my Garmins was:-
‘Avoids’ set on Mapsource weren’t carried over to the handset when the map section was loaded.
Routing between waypoints on the unit wasn’t the same as routing on Mapsource.

Finally, a stretch of motorway near where I live was NOT designated ‘Highway’ and even when the handset was configured ‘By bicycle’, the routing took me on it.

My eTrex Legend went into the river Avon at Stratford, and my Edge 605 was sold.

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2013, 09:51:06 am »
My eTrex Legend went into the river Avon at Stratford

By design or misadventure?

I ask because I managed to launch an iphone over the Severn Bridge at Chepstow in the New Year.  :facepalm:
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2013, 10:44:38 am »
I've had a bit of a poke about in what's available.  What's the upgrade diffs between the G. eTrex20 & 30?
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2013, 11:18:36 am »
My eTrex Legend went into the river Avon at Stratford

By design or misadventure?

I ask because I managed to launch an iphone over the Severn Bridge at Chepstow in the New Year.  :facepalm:

It had Stow on the Wold to Stratford upon Avon route programmed, which I thought was a suitable epitaph to the Midlands Mesh.

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2013, 12:08:57 pm »
Ah right- not just a cold-fingered clutzy moment like mine then, a funeral at sea  :thumbsup:

My effort was supposed to be a landmark moment for me - my first 100 mile ride, my first trip across from Wales to England on my bike.  So I stopped at the bridge to take a photo.  But it was cold and wet, my fingers fumbled the phone as I removed it from my pocket.  On instinct I tried to catch it as it fell only bat it instead and watch helplessly as it sailed over the barrier and into oblivion. :-\

Still, at least the insurance payed out  ::-)
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2013, 12:53:53 pm »
I've had a bit of a poke about in what's available.  What's the upgrade diffs between the G. eTrex20 & 30?

There's nothing vital missing on the E20.
The E30 has altimeter (which has some utility, but arguable how much) and electronic compass (which has almost no utility at all) and can communicate with a limited set of wireless accessories (heart rate, cadence - but if that sort of thing is of interest the Edge types do it better).
I did think the E30 had a mSD card slot whereas the E20 didn't, but I've been corrected on that one in another thread, apparently they both do.

I'd get an E30 for the altimeter and the related functions that go with it - but to be quite clear, the E20 will log 'elevation' just the same, but using GPS fixes.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Which GPS bike unit?
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 02:03:02 pm »
I've had a bit of a poke about in what's available.  What's the upgrade diffs between the G. eTrex20 & 30?

There's nothing vital missing on the E20.
The E30 has altimeter (which has some utility, but arguable how much) and electronic compass (which has almost no utility at all)

Disagree.  The compass works well for orienting the display quickly and correctly when you're on foot (where GPS derived direction of travel is unreliable).  How useful this is depends on whether you're going to use the Garmin on foot, and whether you have a brain with built in rotating-maps-to-fit-what-you-see functionality.

It doesn't achieve much on a bike, though.


As for wireless gadgets, I can see the appeal of an eTrex 30 with heartrate or cadence if you're into that sort of thing but don't want to faff about with trying to power an Edge.  The wireless chipset allegedly allows you to transmit routes waypoints etc. between units, too.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...