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Old 04-02-12, 12:44 PM   #1
chefisaac
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Garmin Edge 800....Anyone have one?

Anyone have a Garmin edge 800? Thinknig of getting one (have a inside connection that can get it cheaper).

What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? And would you buy it if you knew what you liked and didnt like about it.

Thanks.
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Old 04-02-12, 01:24 PM   #2
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I've used the 705 for years and my good friend has an 800. If having the GPS Map and turn by turn is what you need then yes get it. The 800 is a big improvement over the older 705. Even without the touchscreen, his 800 is easier to use than my 705. It has more set up options and they solved the mount issue so no more mysterious launching of the computer off the stem (as you witnessed in NJ).

The only thing I like better on the 705 than the 800 is being able to directly put the tcx and gpx files in the correct folders(course,workout,etc) versus the way that the 800 uses. Which is to put them into a downloads type folder with a file ext name of what it is. When you turn the 800 on, it then converts the file and moves them depending on the file ext name. I'm sure there was a valid reason for this change and to be honest it's not terribly complicated once you figure it out, but it does add a few steps compared to the old drag and drop method of the 705.
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Old 04-02-12, 03:37 PM   #3
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Thanks paisan.

I emailed you info on a ride I am doing on Friday. I know you are busy but let me know if you want to go. Could be too much of a drive for ya.
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Old 04-02-12, 04:00 PM   #4
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I like my Edge 800. Having the data after a ride is very nice, and having maps available during a ride is great, at least when you take your bike somewhere you don't normally ride it. I'm not sure what sort of deal you're getting, but if you're looking at one that doesn't come with maps, you can put the OSM ones on it for free.
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Old 04-02-12, 04:04 PM   #5
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Thanks paisan.

I emailed you info on a ride I am doing on Friday. I know you are busy but let me know if you want to go. Could be too much of a drive for ya.
I got it. I'm probably going to go because I'm off on Friday, just have to see how well my work trip on Thursday goes and what time I get back.
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Old 04-02-12, 04:21 PM   #6
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Paisan: Let me know when you know. Not sure what ride we are doing yet. Both look good and both I have never been on. Thinking the Tandem East trip because I wanted to see that place for a while.
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Old 04-02-12, 06:50 PM   #7
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I have been using an e-trex for years and really like it
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Old 04-02-12, 08:22 PM   #8
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Paisan: Let me know when you know. Not sure what ride we are doing yet. Both look good and both I have never been on. Thinking the Tandem East trip because I wanted to see that place for a while.
So where are you guys riding? lol
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Old 04-02-12, 08:33 PM   #9
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So where are you guys riding? lol
No clue, I didn't actually look at the maps he sent. For me it's going to depend on what time I get back Thursday night from my trip to Muncy. If it's too late I'm not going to get up early and hit the road to meet for a ride. I'd like to say that I would, but reality is I won't. I'll fwd Isaac's email.
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Old 04-03-12, 02:42 AM   #10
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Paisan: I know what you are saying. I did that last Friday and got home really late from Arizona on Thursday.

Will: You are more then welcome to come. We will be doing the Tandem East ride, 42 miles. Will be leaving at 9 am I believe. Shoot me your email address and I can keep you up to date. Just let me know if you are planning on coming and we will make sure we roll out at 9 am. If not we might leave earlier.
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Old 04-03-12, 05:10 AM   #11
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Isaac, sent you a message on facebook.
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Old 04-03-12, 08:07 PM   #12
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I picked up a Garmin 800 last summer from Nashbar. They had a deal on the whole combo set up, with two discounts applied -- it was REALLY a great deal.

Not sure how I got by without it before. I've extended my range with the map feature, and I get much better metrics on my overall performance than what I had previously. It has helped make me a better rider.

Highly recommend.
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Old 04-03-12, 08:33 PM   #13
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Had my 800 for over a year. Love it. Really like to be able to download rides and then get turn by turn directions. (Works well on routes I have never ridden but picked up off the Internet, like while on vacation riding the routes of the natives.)

I get more data than I need, but it is interesting. Like the multiple screens, the virtual partner (as I ride a lot alone), and that I can use it on multiple bikes. Only negative is the screen is harder to read than most computers.
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Old 04-04-12, 06:00 AM   #14
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Ok, looks like it is time to buy one!
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Old 04-04-12, 09:07 AM   #15
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I get more data than I need, but it is interesting. Like the multiple screens, the virtual partner (as I ride a lot alone), and that I can use it on multiple bikes. Only negative is the screen is harder to read than most computers.
How do you use the virtual training partner? About 99 % of my rides are solo, but I've never used this feature, or even understood how it could be useful. But it sounds like I could be missing out. Clue me in?
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Old 04-04-12, 12:39 PM   #16
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I use the 705 so there might be some differences but when you save a course you can rerun it later against the virtual partner which means you are basically racing yourself from the time you saved the course(at least on the 705). The only caveat to the training partner is if at any time you beat yourself you'll need to resave that as a course to race against it. Because you can't race the virtual partner against a performance only a course.

The one thing I haven't really sorted out is if the virtual partner is just paced at what your average speed was or if it is actually following the speed's you did on the course(slow uphill, fast downhill). I think it's more average speed because I lose ground going uphill but gain it back big time going downhill but haven't really done anything to prove it.

I haven't found it useful to use all the time. You can't possibly go for a max effort everytime you ride, which is what you would be doing if you saved a course at every personal best. But I have found recently that using it against the courses I saved in the fall is somewhat useful to get a good idea of how much I have improved but then again I have other metrics that tell me that.

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Old 04-04-12, 09:33 PM   #17
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How do you use the virtual training partner? About 99 % of my rides are solo, but I've never used this feature, or even understood how it could be useful. But it sounds like I could be missing out. Clue me in?
You program in how fast you believe you will (or should) do a course, then your virtual partner rides that speed. The screen then shows you ahead or behind your partner. It keeps me from loafing for a period.
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Old 04-04-12, 09:41 PM   #18
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You know, the 500 also does turn by turn navigation, but it's rudimentary. Good enough for me at any rate, and better than a cue sheet flapping in the wind at me.

As for virtual training partner, I have (I don't use the virtual piece) my garmin set up to record 5 mile laps and it alerts me to my lap time every 5 miles. I find that I can get a good feel for how I'm doing with just that little piece of info, particularly if it's a ride I do reasonably often.
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Old 04-04-12, 09:57 PM   #19
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You program in how fast you believe you will (or should) do a course, then your virtual partner rides that speed. The screen then shows you ahead or behind your partner. It keeps me from loafing for a period.
Does the 800 actually let you set the speed of the virtual partner? I wish the 705 did that. It will only move based on the performance that is saved as a course. If there's a way to do in the 705 like you describe in the 800 I would really like to know.

Edit: I just looked at my owners manual and the edge 705 is able to do as Cychologist describes. you just have to set it up as a simple workout in the workout menu. Thanks

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Old 04-05-12, 08:39 AM   #20
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How is the battery? How much time do you get on one charge?
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Old 04-05-12, 09:24 AM   #21
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Does the 800 actually let you set the speed of the virtual partner?
I think there are + and - buttons to make your virtual training partner go faster or slower.

I still don't understand how it's useful, though. If my best time on a certain route is X, how is this different from just knowing that, and having a watch...?

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How is the battery? How much time do you get on one charge?
Maybe somewhere in the ballpark of 15 - 20 hours to a charge, depending on how you have it set up. (Does the backlight come on every time you touch the screen or stop or start? How bright is it?) I get a few long rides in before I need to plug it in. And I stop more often than other people, to enjoy the scenery.
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Old 04-07-12, 06:31 AM   #22
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This is maybe more data than you want, but I wrote a long comment on the Edge 800 for the iBOB group last November, after someone asked about the Edge 500 (which is similar but has no mapping). You'll also want to check out DC Rainmaker's in-depth review of the 800.

Note: long post! Summary: The Edge 800 is a good GPS-enabled cycle computer. Its navigation is OK but sometimes buggy. If you are mainly interested in navigation and basic speed, distance, elapsed time, etc., you might consider the new eTrex 30, which is cheaper and runs on AA batteries, but weighs somewhat more.

[My original iBOB message from November 2011 follows.]

Pros: Easy to switch between bikes, since there are no sensors to install or move. The quarter-turn mount lets you attach and remove the computer quickly, but it also holds the computer securely to the bike. The screen offers large numbers, with customizable display of the fields that most interest you. You can set it to auto-start when you take off, and auto-stop when you stop moving, or if you're doing randonneuring you can set it so that its averages include stops. The deluxe heart rate monitor strap is quite comfortable (it's elastic cloth with a couple of small plastic patches; the transmitter snaps off so that the strap can be hand washed).

Cons: Accuracy varies depending on location. Garmin's GPS receivers are now accurate to within about 10 feet in ideal conditions. If you are in a city or a forest, accuracy drops somewhat. That means that the speed displayed on the computer will fluctuate. Under open skies, my 800 fluctuates about 1.5 mph up and down. In heavily wooded areas, the fluctuation can be more like 5-6 mph, depending on density of trees, the nature of the terrain, and cloud cover. The speedometer tends to read low in those conditions: I can be going along at about 15 mph and the speedometer might read 8 or 9 mph.

Since I rarely care about my immediate speed, it doesn't bother me. If that bothers you, you can get an optional speed and cadence sensor from Garmin, or one of the ANT+ speed sensors from Bontrager or another company. Obviously you'd need one of the sensors for every bike you wanted it on. You then use the Edge's GPS features to calibrate the sensor (no rollouts necessary!); the Edge then uses the sensor to give you your speed, but it still uses GPS to track your ride. Note: you can't use both the speed and cadence features of the Garmin sensor on a Friday, because the cranks are too far forward of the rear wheel; it's possible to modify the sensor if you don't mind cutting it in two and soldering an extra length of wire. Or you can buy a separate ANT+ cadence sensor; the 500 and 800 work with multiple sensors. I've seen multiple complaints on bike forums that the Garmin sensor's reed switch for the speed function is prone to breaking, but it seems that Garmin USA does a good job of honoring the warranty if that happens.

Other things (not necessarily cons, but they might be for you): Garmin's GPS sensor locks on fairly quickly, usually within 20 seconds of being turned on, unless you're inside. If you travel, though, it can take up to a couple minutes to find your location because it has to do a more thorough search to find the satellites. I usually turn my Edge on before loading water bottles and verifying tire pressure and chain condition; by the time I've done that it's ready to roll.

Because GPS and backlighting use a lot more power than a simple cyclocomputer, battery life is measured in tens of hours (Garmin claims up to 18 for the 500; they claim up to 15 for the 800, but I find that 12-14 hours is more realistic). That means you need to remember to recharge your computer regularly. It's not like a cyclocomputer where you change batteries once or twice each season. You can buy a cheap USB battery as a backup power source. And it will charge from your computer when you connect it to download your route data; if I've been out for a short ride (under 2 hours), half an hour of being connected to the computer will recharge it fully.

I like my 800 and feel like I have gotten my money's worth from it. I use the mapping feature while touring or following unfamiliar routes. It's not quite a full-fledged GPS unit, though: for example, it doesn't have a real digital compass in it. If you don't need the mapping features, the 500 would be a good choice. I haven't used the Polar unit you mention, though, so I can't compare them.

[Since writing the above, I have started to use the course navigation features. They work, but they are buggy. Here are my concluding comments from the Randon list last month:]

Following up on my previous Garmin Edge report, I've determined the following, by following a couple of GPX-track-based courses and a TCX-based course over the last few days.

1. With turn instructions activated, a GPX-track-based course will give turn by turn instructions. However, it is buggy (as Hamish noted). In particular, there are two regular bugs and two intermittent bugs:

a. If the end point is too close to the start point, as in a loop course, the Edge will try to navigate you on a straight line from the start to the end, instead of following the course. If you're following a course in a familiar area, you can simply ignore the straight line and follow the course (which will appear on the map page). After a while, the unit will recalculate (if you have recalculation activated--I suggest setting it to "Prompted," so you can decide whether to permit it) and you'll be OK. In an unfamiliar area, you might want to break up a loop course into two courses to avoid this bug. On the Garmin forums, one poster claims that this bug was introduced with the 2.4 firmware, or possibly the previous version.

b. Even if it's not a loop course, sometimes the unit will direct you on a straight line for the first mile or so (the length seems to vary), before then giving turn-by-turn directions. This may be a different manifestation of the previous bug.

c. An intermittent bug I discovered, which may be related to the limits of OpenStreetMap-based maps, is that sometimes the navigation system will get confused about where you are. The unit knows, but navigation instructions get weird, as in the instructions I got yesterday to make a U-turn as soon as possible, in 1.9 miles.... I think it's because I was on a road which didn't exist on the map, so the navigation system tried to direct me from the closest road on the map. Interestingly, the distance to next turn was correct, it was only the kind of turn that was weird.

d. Another intermittent bug, the one Hamish noted, that after a while it won't prompt one for turns. I found that going off course until I got an off-course warning, then going back on course, resulted in the prompts returning.

2. Given those bugs, I've decided that the best kind of course to use is a TCX course with course points added, and navigation turned on. Both RideWithGPS and BikeRouteToaster allow you to create prompts at a specified distance before the turn (I like 100m). These prompts are very simple (right, left, straight, and a few other choices) and, like other coursepoints, appear if you are following the course and cross them. If navigation is working, they are superfluous, but if it's not, and you are following the course "manually," they're useful, as reaching them will make the Edge beep to notify you. If the Edge's navigation were reliable (which it should be, given how much the thing costs), they wouldn't be needed.

[Whew!]

Last edited by brianogilvie; 04-07-12 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Added summary.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:11 AM   #23
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Being that this review is 4 months old, have any of the software bugs been addressed? I am seriously considering buying one of these, but if the routing is that buggy, that would deter me.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:55 AM   #24
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I still don't understand how it's useful, though. If my best time on a certain route is X, how is this different from just knowing that, and having a watch...?
It's really not different and that's why I mostly do the same as you. The only difference is that you get a visual representation of how far ahead(time and distance) of your desired pace you are so it cuts down slightly on the constant checking/computing/comparing allowing you to concentrate just a hair bit more on turning the pedals over. So far I've only found it useful in re-doing courses that I set as benchmarks before I crawled down to the basement for the winter. But like you mentioned the same thing can be done with a stopwatch since the previous times are already known,.
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Old 04-08-12, 01:33 AM   #25
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Being that this review is 4 months old, have any of the software bugs been addressed? I am seriously considering buying one of these, but if the routing is that buggy, that would deter me.
Unfortunately, some of the routing bugs appear to have been introduced in the most recent firmware, version 2.4. That's according to the Garmin Edge 800 forum (on forums.garmin.com); I only started using course routing in the last month.

The serious bugs I have encountered are only for course navigation, though: i.e., if you design a course on your computer, using Garmin's software or a website such as RideWithGPS or BikeRouteToaster; transfer the course to the Edge; turn on navigation prompts; and then follow the course. In that case, the unit works through the course, figuring out the correct turns as it goes along, and then prompts you to follow them, though your course may not be the shortest actual route between the start and the end.

If you have a routable map, the unit works well to figure out its own route when you enter an end point (as long as it's not too far away--15-20 miles seems OK) and tell it to calculate a route. I haven't encountered any serious bugs there.
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