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  1. #1
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Electronic Head unit

    I have been riding since the end of last year and am in the process of getting into shape, losing weight and working towards a Century ride.
    I have a couple of rides that I do because I am familiar with the road and recently started using Strava and MMR for route planning. I see there are rides on Strava that other locals do. Is there a way that I can download rides and input into a head unit that will then direct me which way to go. I have created routes in MMR but that is a very manual process.
    What head unit would I need. I use my cellphone currently.

    Thanks
    Allan

  2. #2
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    The old Garmin Edge 310 did this, although it wasn't so easy.

    I believe the newer Edge 800 & 810 do the same, too, and purportedly easier.

    Currently I use Edge 500, which has no navigational ability.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  3. #3
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    On Strava, you can use the wrench icon on an activity and do a "create route". Then after saving the route you can export it as a GPX file.

    Then, personally I'd just use a smartphone. Cycling GPS with nav are just so expensive, and they still require you to look down at the screen, no voice prompts. I like with the smartphone I can just use an earpiece and have the GPS lady tell me "in 200 feet turn right on x street" etc. On Android I use OSMAnd, use the latest version 1.8 downloaded directly from OSMAnd releases , it's not released in Google store yet, it has improved a lot in that it now creates a route (so you get street name announcements) from a track rather than just following the track bends and not calculating the actual roads involved. Hopefully now it doesn't get confused when when a route loops over itself also, haven't tested that out yet.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    I do have a Cell phone with apps but I hate the mount on the bike and it's not waterproof. I have an HTC one and the mount rattles so I was thinking about something more bike specific.
    going to take a look at reviews of the 800 and 810.
    Allan

  5. #5
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    FWIW...

    Differences between bike-specific vs. smartPhones that I've found:

    Bike-specific has better battery (but phones have come a looong way!).
    Bike specific records better data with very few gaps.
    Bike specific smaller footprint.

    That said, I actually use both on rides. The smartphone I have an app (Garmin Fit) that live-streams my location & data. Wifey can watch and see if I'm still moving & safe (or not ).

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  6. #6
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    I just keep the phone in my jersey or jacket pocket so mounting isn't an issue; I don't ride in the rain but if I did I'd just keep it in a plastic ziplock bag. I really like the voice guidance, don't have to look at a map since the phone redirects you if you ever get off course. I just use a normal bike computer on the bars. Battery life on the phone is a lot better when you are using it with display off and not using it for bike computer functions, just nav. Improves even more if you use it in airplane mode and not needing to live stream your position to someone.

    Just feels hard for me to justify shelling out hundreds for a Garmin when the navigation itself arguably works better on a device I already have. The Garmin would have a nicer bigger on-bike display for bike metrics than my current computer, but to me not $300+ better. Without having a bike-specific computer already I guess it's easier to justify, though I'd still consider getting a cheaper say Garmin 500 model without the mapping (can still follow a course breadcrumb style, but no map display) and using the phone for the actual nav.

  7. #7
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    As others have said, the Garmin Edge 800 or 810 will do this. I've had an Edge 800 for about three years now, and I quite like it. A cell phone will work, but the advantages to me of the Edge are significant:

    - The unit is waterproof, as long as you properly close the USB and microSD slot covers. I've ridden in torrential downpours on bike tours with my Edge 800 guiding the way.
    - It has bike metrics that I find useful, and a HRM which I use for training.
    - Battery life is good.
    - I ride in some pretty remote areas, so I like to save my cell phone battery for use in an emergency.

    The waterproof part is probably most important to me (when thinking about the Garmin as a navigational device). You can get a waterproof case for your phone, but then it's pretty big. I don't like riding with earphones, so stephtu's solution, which otherwise seems pretty good, is out for me.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
    As others have said, the Garmin Edge 800 or 810 will do this. I've had an Edge 800 for about three years now, and I quite like it. A cell phone will work, but the advantages to me of the Edge are significant:

    - The unit is waterproof, as long as you properly close the USB and microSD slot covers. I've ridden in torrential downpours on bike tours with my Edge 800 guiding the way.
    - It has bike metrics that I find useful, and a HRM which I use for training.
    - Battery life is good.
    - I ride in some pretty remote areas, so I like to save my cell phone battery for use in an emergency.

    The waterproof part is probably most important to me (when thinking about the Garmin as a navigational device). You can get a waterproof case for your phone, but then it's pretty big. I don't like riding with earphones, so stephtu's solution, which otherwise seems pretty good, is out for me.
    Here is an article that shows 15 waterproof cases for the iPhone of which many are not bulky at all. Handlebar/stem mounts that work really well are the ones from quad lock case. Who, incidentally, also have a very trim weatherproof case.

    I use Cyclemeter on my iPhone that has an audio alert feature that is easily heard from the phone's own speaker. Cyclemeter has just about all the cycling specific metrics you could want. I think it might even have more than my Garmin 700 series.

    A phone with a low power Bluetooth capability (BT LE or BT 4.0) found on iPhones from 4S on and now starting to show up on Android phones, can talk to cadence/speed, HRM blue tooth sensors. Wahoo fitness has several and there are others.

    Phone displays are better.

    The only downside is the battery life which is improving. I can ride for about two hours on my iPhone battery alone. For longer rides, I carry a cylindrical usb battery that is strapped to the frame with a Speedsleeve. Also you can use a battery case - I use the one from iBattz with a the stick on mount from QuadLock on the back. That has interchangeable batteries (uses Samsung Galaxy extra batteries) and I could go for days without charging.


    J.

  9. #9
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    The only downside is the battery life which is improving. I can ride for about two hours on my iPhone battery alone. For longer rides, I carry a cylindrical usb battery that is strapped to the frame with a Speedsleeve. Also you can use a battery case - I use the one from iBattz with a the stick on mount from QuadLock on the back. That has interchangeable batteries (uses Samsung Galaxy extra batteries) and I could go for days without charging.
    How waterproof is the phone+USB battery combo, though? I would worry about that. I'd also worry about the phone being smashed in a crash, or the mount breaking off, and losing the way to call for help. I get at least 15 hours of battery life out of the Edge. The resistive touch screen on the Edge works with full-finger gloves, which are great in cold weather (especially cold rain), whereas the capacitive touch screens on a phone require special gloves.

    As for size, it's a personal preference. I think the new Garmin Edge 1000 is already too big for a cycle computer, and wouldn't mind if a unit with a screen the size of the 800 could be made more compact, e.g. by putting the start/stop and lap buttons on the side. I'm sure there are cyclists who look at my 800 and think that it's huge and ungainly!
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  10. #10
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    I keep looking at this mount by Scosche. It is pretty simple and inexpensive. Weatherproof Bike Mount for iPhone | iPod | Android | Smartphone | handleIT pro | by Scosche
    sharon
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  11. #11
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Android phones

    Some newer phones are splashproof, with some allowing a half hour in 3 feet of water. That should be fine in rider's back pocket, or on a bike mount.

    There are navigation apps that use downloaded maps, so they only need a GPS signal, no data connection. For instance, osmand. I rode with someone who had osmand running in his back pocket, with voice prompts on the turns.

    I've never used a phone on a bike. How good is the screen visibility in sunlight? The Garmin bike GPS computers are very good in bright sunlight, and they have backlights for night riding.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
    How waterproof is the phone+USB battery combo, though? I would worry about that. I'd also worry about the phone being smashed in a crash, or the mount breaking off, and losing the way to call for help. I get at least 15 hours of battery life out of the Edge. The resistive touch screen on the Edge works with full-finger gloves, which are great in cold weather (especially cold rain), whereas the capacitive touch screens on a phone require special gloves.

    As for size, it's a personal preference. I think the new Garmin Edge 1000 is already too big for a cycle computer, and wouldn't mind if a unit with a screen the size of the 800 could be made more compact, e.g. by putting the start/stop and lap buttons on the side. I'm sure there are cyclists who look at my 800 and think that it's huge and ungainly!
    Are you going to swim with it it or just ride? There are waterproof USB batteries - Bike2Power offers one. It's not necessary to have it on the phone all the time, just the time you wanted to charge it.

    I think most of us carry a phone for safety. I would tell you that it's not a whole lot safer (if at all) on your body than it is on the bike. I speak from experience from ski-racing kids who have destroyed many phones that they have kept in a jacket pocket while training. Usually what happens is that the display gets broken but the phone is still functional. But at any rate, if you keep your phone in a jersey pocket (i.e. using an external GPS) or you keep it on your bike stem, I don't think there is much difference in durability to the phone and the ability to call for help. Furthermore, there are any number of protective cases you can get (see link above) that are trim and do an excellent job of protecting the phone while it's on the bike (Wahoo makes one - they show it being dragged behind a car on a string, for instance).

    If either of these two issues worry you, then there is the option of the RFLKT/RFLKT+ which is a display unit that mounts on your handlebars and you keep your phone in your jersey pocket in a zip lock (with or without a USB battery).

    I guess the thing is that as long as you are carrying your phone anyhow, then it might as well do something and be used to avoid having yet another thing that one has to bring along. I would think that we are probably looking at the beginning of the end for discrete GPS based bike computers after being hit by a disruptive technology in the form of the smartphones. It's going to be very interesting to see what the new phone introduction cycle as well as the upcoming introduction of the iWatch style products. These things are supposed to be sensor rich for fitness types of applications.

    J.

  13. #13
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I'm not sure you can download routes that others created on Strava. From your original post, it seemed like that is what you wanted to do. Read up!

    I found my Garmin 800 enhanced my cycling fun, I tried using a phone app for a bit but like most things on a phone it seems like it's always a compromise.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Phone displays are better.
    Better than what? A sharp stick in the eye? I own an iPhone 5 and a Garmin Edge 800. The Edge gets mounted to my stem and used on every ride. The iPhone stays in an under-seat bag and only gets used if I need to make an emergency phone call. Why? Because the iPhone's battery doesn't last as long as the Edge and the screen is nearly impossible to read in bright sunlight.

  15. #15
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Are you going to swim with it it or just ride? There are waterproof USB batteries - Bike2Power offers one. It's not necessary to have it on the phone all the time, just the time you wanted to charge it.
    On some of the tours I've done, the difference between riding and swimming was pretty minimal.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    The old Garmin Edge 310 did this, although it wasn't so easy.

    I believe the newer Edge 800 & 810 do the same, too, and purportedly easier.

    Currently I use Edge 500, which has no navigational ability.

    500's can do routes. Not maps, but routes.

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