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  1. #1
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Who knows Garman?

    I hesitate to post this because I'm a retro grouch but...

    I'm semi-interested in acquiring a Garman GPS thingie. I'd like one that I can use for driving directions in my car and which has a data base of maps for the US that I can use on the bike. Does such a thing even exist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I hesitate to post this because I'm a retro grouch but...

    I'm semi-interested in acquiring a Garman GPS thingie. I'd like one that I can use for driving directions in my car and which has a data base of maps for the US that I can use on the bike. Does such a thing even exist?
    You'll like the Etrex. Mine is about a year old. It was the Etrex Vista CS. Don't know what iteration of that model is currently being sold. Mine appears to be very similar to the model in the link provided in the previous post.

    The color screen makes reading in the sun very easy. Batteries seem to last forever - four AA's. Regular batteries, lithium AA's, or rechargeable AA's. All seem to work fine.

    No voice with this model, but, it will beep, and the screen changes to show you a close up view of your upcoming turn - handy in freeway type situations, as you can see whether you are supposed to curl around a ramp and in which direction you should expect to curl.

    I had to purchase the bike handlebar mount separately, but it is very stout. I've totalled one bike, and the Garmin didn't come off or otherwise get damaged (I didn't get damaged either, LOL).

    Good luck.

    Caruso

  4. #4
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    The only thing I know in Garman are the cursewords.

    I can tell you this though: Don't buy a GPS at a bike shop. I priced them wholesale in our distributor catalogs and could buy one for less online. Kinda blows it for us carrying them.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  5. #5
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    Ich spreche keine Deutsch. Es tut mir leid.
    Last edited by flameburns623; 09-23-07 at 10:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    I have a
    Garmin Quest
    which I use on my bike; it also works in the car.

    - Wil
    "" - Marcel Marceau

  7. #7
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post
    You'll like the Etrex. Mine is about a year old. It was the Etrex Vista CS. Don't know what iteration of that model is currently being sold. Mine appears to be very similar to the model in the link provided in the previous post.

    The color screen makes reading in the sun very easy. Batteries seem to last forever - four AA's. Regular batteries, lithium AA's, or rechargeable AA's. All seem to work fine.

    No voice with this model, but, it will beep, and the screen changes to show you a close up view of your upcoming turn - handy in freeway type situations, as you can see whether you are supposed to curl around a ramp and in which direction you should expect to curl.

    I had to purchase the bike handlebar mount separately, but it is very stout. I've totalled one bike, and the Garmin didn't come off or otherwise get damaged (I didn't get damaged either, LOL).

    Good luck.

    Caruso
    I have read the Garmin handhelds do not come with detailed maps, but you can use Internet sites to plot your route and download it to the Garmin. What do you do and how do you do it? Thanks.
    Who am I?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    I use a Garmin GPS V. It comes with a solid base map (main roads throughout the US). And using the Map Source software, you can download into it detailed maps for specific areas you plan to visit. The amount of areas you can download into it depend on how densely streeted they are. I can fit most of Western New York into it, but if you start adding New York City, Los Angeles, etc, they chew up memory pretty quick.

    The GPS V also does routing for you, and will tell you how to get from here to there, and give you turn by turn directions. These are usually pretty good, but can occasionally make you want to throw it out the window.

    My other GPS that I use for geocaching is Magellan Map 330. Has base map, and maps that can be downloaded like the Garmin GPS V, but doesn't do routing at all. This model is no longer produced, but Magellan might have something similar.

  9. #9
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    I'm moving this from Bike Mechs to Electronics, Lighting etc.

    In my experience a paper map is easier to read when you're riding. A handheld GPS screen is small and direct sunlight can further make it difficult to read. That said, a GPS will of course do a number of things a paper map won't. I think they add to each other nicely.

    Maps: If you have a mapping GPS you buy the detailed maps you need separately. There may be legal downloadable free maps somewhere in the 'net, too. If you have a non-mapping GPS, you can still watch your route after your ride, but you'll have to download the route data from GPS to your computer and combine it with appropriate map.

    --J, a Forum Mod
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  10. #10
    urban biker
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    A paper map and a GPS map both have the same limitation:they only show routes one would use for a car. Whenever I travel on new roads I have to pull out the city or state issues Bike Map to determine which roads are safe to bike on.
    Until Garmin or someone else includes bike friendly roads in their device, I see very little value in a GPS over the 6" of bike maps sitting on my shelf.

  11. #11
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulrad9 View Post
    A paper map and a GPS map both have the same limitation:they only show routes one would use for a car.
    Sorry to hear that, it's different around here. Sure there are specific national bike routes that are only marked on specific biking maps, but other than that the normal roadmaps provide enough information to figure whether they're safe to bike or not.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  12. #12
    urban biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    Sorry to hear that, it's different around here. Sure there are specific national bike routes that are only marked on specific biking maps, but other than that the normal roadmaps provide enough information to figure whether they're safe to bike or not.

    --J
    I really need to move to Finland...

  13. #13
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulrad9 View Post
    A paper map and a GPS map both have the same limitation:they only show routes one would use for a car. Whenever I travel on new roads I have to pull out the city or state issues Bike Map to determine which roads are safe to bike on.
    Until Garmin or someone else includes bike friendly roads in their device, I see very little value in a GPS over the 6" of bike maps sitting on my shelf.
    I mildly disagree. I use a Garmin GPSMap 60Cs on the bike and have nearly converted the "paper" folks on our annual WI trip. My autonavigate option includes numerous categories for road types including "bicycle friendly". It may not perfectly coincide with state bicycle maps, but I don't always agree with those maps either. And in "fastest route" mode it can do a great job getting you to a destination or POI (although the interface in car units is usually much easier to use)

    For advanced planning and pre-trip route loading, this solution is spectacular (when combined with the Garmin City Navigator detailed maps). Our pre-planned (Wisconsin trip) routes are often complex and the "paper" folks frequently get confused and miss turns. The GPS beeps and switches to "detail display" for every turn you approach on a preloaded route. And when you miss a turn it is clear that you are no longer on the highlighted route. For bike trips I set mine to NOT recalculate when you leave the route because I want to see the original route and find my way back to it.

    And whoever said the screens are hard to see in sunlight hasn't used these Garmin handhelds. Their transreflective screens are better in sunlight than dim light (where you have to turn on the backlight, which sucks battery)

    I'm not sure there's one perfect device for both car windshield and bike handlebars but the etrex or GPSMap is workable. I think they lean toward handheld/bike use. But I don't think typical car units (I own a TomTom and absolutely love it) would work as well for bike or handheld use as does the handheld work for car use. And car units would be difficult to pre-program a complex route (such as you would do for a planned bike trip where you might need to define several hundred "via points")

    For a recent business trip I took along the Garmin instead of my TOMTOM and mildly regretted it. The display is better for sunlight and was often hard to see in the car going under tunnels and bridges. And I missed the voice prompts.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  14. #14
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    forgot to include the picture.
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  15. #15
    urban biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg View Post
    My autonavigate option includes numerous categories for road types including "bicycle friendly".
    THAT I didn't read in any of the manuals I've collected and I may now be sold on the item.
    Which disk did you buy for that level of map?

  16. #16
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    If you look at the eTrex series make sure it's a model with the high sensistivity chip (HC or HCx models). They are the newest versions and they hold much better satellite lock even in heavy tree cover. They are smaller than the 60CSx with similar performance (smaller screen too). They will take a microSD card to load maps in addition to the base map. I have the Vista HCx but I don't use it for the car much. forums.groundspeak.com has a lot of info from the geocachers.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Always learn how to use a map first before using a GPS. Like someone in the army once say "If you use GPS and batteries die then what you do? Then you f---ed" from the ringish because the instructor was asian teaching the class. The guy does have a very good point and when you're handed that 'then you f---ed' in that comical comment you have to take note.

    I've owned the following Garmin products: Etrex Yellow (AKA basic), Etrex Legend, Etrex Legend C, and RINO 120.

    If you're looking for a good long lasting good value right now look for the Etrex Legend C model. All Etrex models run off 2xAA. The Legend C has color, sun readable display, 5-100% backlight in 5% increments for best battery saving mode), Rated at 36hrs (which I suspect using BATTERY SAVE mode and lithium batteries), I've personally tested the unit in -20C temps with lithium batteries in a combo of ~70% day and 30% night use on a single set of lithium (forgot which brand) batteries and I got ~20hrs while in battery save mode settings, fixed non-expandable 24mb memory, easy data entry in the field via the joystick (well some may claim difficult but if you're trying to enter the phone book of data in the field then yah it'll be hard), and very customizable data fields. I think the model is something like $100 less then the Etrex Legend Cx model.

    Good deal for a starting GPS. 24mb is a lot of space. While it's not a lot of space if you're trying to pack all of California in there but for local areas and such you should be suffice. I think someone said before to pack all of California on one card would take something like a 2gb card and that's just California. The Legend Cx model from what I recall from the email to Garmin if I recall right (can't find the email right now) Garmin said the max memory card the unit will support is 512mb. I would have thought they'd have thier GPS's at 2gb given the current memory cards out but I was shocked at the low max.
    Zero_Enigma

  18. #18
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Get it through REI. While you may pay a premium you can take sollace in the fact that if it ever breaks at any time, if you decide it wasn't the right model, you don't like the color, whatever you can return it for a full refund. REI puts GPS on sale at least twice a year. FWIW, I've had excellent results with Garmin and their customer service. I also have had several units by Magellan and liked those as well.
    One Less Car
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  19. #19
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma View Post
    Always learn how to use a map first before using a GPS. Like someone in the army once say "If you use GPS and batteries die then what you do? Then you f---ed" from the ringish because the instructor was asian teaching the class. The guy does have a very good point and when you're handed that 'then you f---ed' in that comical comment you have to take note.

    I've owned the following Garmin products: Etrex Yellow (AKA basic), Etrex Legend, Etrex Legend C, and RINO 120.

    If you're looking for a good long lasting good value right now look for the Etrex Legend C model. All Etrex models run off 2xAA. The Legend C has color, sun readable display, 5-100% backlight in 5% increments for best battery saving mode), Rated at 36hrs (which I suspect using BATTERY SAVE mode and lithium batteries), I've personally tested the unit in -20C temps with lithium batteries in a combo of ~70% day and 30% night use on a single set of lithium (forgot which brand) batteries and I got ~20hrs while in battery save mode settings, fixed non-expandable 24mb memory, easy data entry in the field via the joystick (well some may claim difficult but if you're trying to enter the phone book of data in the field then yah it'll be hard), and very customizable data fields. I think the model is something like $100 less then the Etrex Legend Cx model.

    Good deal for a starting GPS. 24mb is a lot of space. While it's not a lot of space if you're trying to pack all of California in there but for local areas and such you should be suffice. I think someone said before to pack all of California on one card would take something like a 2gb card and that's just California. The Legend Cx model from what I recall from the email to Garmin if I recall right (can't find the email right now) Garmin said the max memory card the unit will support is 512mb. I would have thought they'd have thier GPS's at 2gb given the current memory cards out but I was shocked at the low max.
    I wouldn't consider any device that doesn't support memory cards. I currently have a 1G card and can fit all detail from east coast to the continental divide. I suspect 2G could hold all of north america.

    And I agree you still need to understand maps. And you need to know where you are in case the GPS tell you to do something stupid. YOU are always in charge.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  20. #20
    GeoBiker / Mapper gps_dr's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Maps don't know where you are, a GPS does.
    Paper maps often are at scales that make them barely useful for trail use.
    All maps lie ... most lies are for readability.

    Depending on where you travel, you may be able to download tracklogs of trails.
    Using them, you can easily tell where to turn etc.
    Many government or local bike groups.

    Garmin color models & DeLorme PN20 currently have the most sunlight readable color GPS receivers.
    (Maps on grayscale units are a lot more difficult to read!)
    http://Geobiking.org Network >2,000 miles Colorado Front Range GPS enabled bicycle trails. GPS map overlays & data, pics, info etc.

  21. #21
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg View Post
    I wouldn't consider any device that doesn't support memory cards.
    I was about to say this too. I have an old Magellan Meridian Color, and one of the truly good features of that unit is the SD card slot. It's inconveniently located under the batteries, but still.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  22. #22
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    My Garmin etrex venture CX has a memory card. The moving map on the screen is readable in sunlight and is just big enough for me to read it without my reading glasses; but its' still small enough for bicycling.

  23. #23
    Senior Member mattyknacks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg View Post
    I mildly disagree. I use a Garmin GPSMap 60Cs on the bike and have nearly converted the "paper" folks on our annual WI trip. My autonavigate option includes numerous categories for road types including "bicycle friendly". It may not perfectly coincide with state bicycle maps, but I don't always agree with those maps either. And in "fastest route" mode it can do a great job getting you to a destination or POI (although the interface in car units is usually much easier to use)

    For advanced planning and pre-trip route loading, this solution is spectacular (when combined with the Garmin City Navigator detailed maps). Our pre-planned (Wisconsin trip) routes are often complex and the "paper" folks frequently get confused and miss turns. The GPS beeps and switches to "detail display" for every turn you approach on a preloaded route. And when you miss a turn it is clear that you are no longer on the highlighted route. For bike trips I set mine to NOT recalculate when you leave the route because I want to see the original route and find my way back to it.

    And whoever said the screens are hard to see in sunlight hasn't used these Garmin handhelds. Their transreflective screens are better in sunlight than dim light (where you have to turn on the backlight, which sucks battery)

    I'm not sure there's one perfect device for both car windshield and bike handlebars but the etrex or GPSMap is workable. I think they lean toward handheld/bike use. But I don't think typical car units (I own a TomTom and absolutely love it) would work as well for bike or handheld use as does the handheld work for car use. And car units would be difficult to pre-program a complex route (such as you would do for a planned bike trip where you might need to define several hundred "via points")

    For a recent business trip I took along the Garmin instead of my TOMTOM and mildly regretted it.
    The display is better for sunlight and was often hard to see in the car going under tunnels and bridges. And I missed the voice prompts.
    I totally agree with your review, but one point: If you plug in your GPS to the cigarette lighter for power, you can leave the backlighting on for the whole trip and the dark tunnels are not a problem. And I like the beeps instead of the annoying voice prompts, but that is a personal preference.
    Matty in Brooklyn

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