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Old 02-09-08, 03:12 PM   #1
wrk101
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Refurbished Forerunner 301 $95 Is it worth it?

Been thinking about picking up a refurbished Garmin 301. I know it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but at $95 it is enticing. There also is a bicycle mount for not much more. Any feedback on such a move? I will likely use it for other physical activities as well.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:47 AM   #2
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It depends upon who does the refurbishing. I would assume Garmin?

Where do you get a deal like that and are there any more available?
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Old 02-10-08, 07:15 AM   #3
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I was just doing some investigating since I had not ever thought to look for Garmin refurbished. You would still have to purchase a heart rate monitor strap, bike mount, speed and cadence sensors. Otherwise it is just an expensive watch/stopwatch, isn't it? The costs of accessories will all add up quickly.

What is your plan for accessories?
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Old 02-10-08, 07:45 AM   #4
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I have a Forerunner 301. It comes with the heart rate strap and you don't need the bike mount. I find that the polar bike mount works better and easier.

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...:referralID=NA

With the forerunner you don't need a speed sensor, but it can't do cadence.

That's a lot less then I paid for mine a couple of years ago, and I've been happy with it.
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Old 02-10-08, 08:05 AM   #5
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I didn't want this thread to be an ad, but since someone asked, the $95 deal is with www.edgegps.com. thanks for the tip on bar mount.

It comes with a heart rate sensor.

It is factory refurbished. I have bought my last several Garmin's factory refurbished. Savings is always substantial, and I have not seen a difference between new and refurbished. In addition, they usually come with the full standard factory warranty. I bought an eMap, a Streetpilot 2610 and a Streetpilot 2730. I have bought them either from Edge or from www.getfeetwet.com. Recently, Edge has had better pricing. Today only getfeetwet has a code for free shipping that makes theirs a couple of dollars less.

Interesting on the Polar mount, it is about half the cost of the Garmin mount.... Is the polar mount permanent (can I easily remove the 301 from the bicycle?)
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Old 02-10-08, 10:22 AM   #6
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I used the Forerunner 201 (similar to 301, no HRM) for 3 years, and recently upgraded to the 305 a few months back.

I'm NOT an early adopter or must-have-latest and greatest technology person, but I stand by my opinion that the 205/305 series is an order of magnitude superior to the 201/301 series. It's such a big difference that I regret not upgrading years back when the 305 was $350+. I would NOT pay even $50 for the 301, mainly because the 305 is so much better that that $50 would be better spent going toward it. (It sells for about $200 now on Amazon.)

The antenna on the 305 really is an order of magnitude better than the 201/301 series. If you do any sort of mtn biking, you will lose signal with the 201 every time you go under tree cover. The 305 on the other hand, maintains a strong signal. I've never had a tree canopy drop with it.

All the functions are also much smoother and better on the 305. For example the map on the 201/301 is ludicrous on the watch. It's so clunky it's not even worth using. However, on the 305, the crisp tight dots, with the better tracking gives you a very functional overhead bird's eye of where you've been. I could go on and on - the net is that despite the similar sounding functions between the 201/301 versus 305/205, the newer model is more than just a cosmetic upgrade, but a real nuts & bolts upgrade that's well worth the money. At $200, the 305 is a steal, in my opinion. You get a top-rate GPS + HRM + awesome tracking software (either Motionbased, sport-tracks, and Garmin Training Center) all in one.

Save your money and go for the 305. It's awesome.
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Old 02-10-08, 10:48 AM   #7
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I think that it must depend on how you use it. I pretty much only use mine for road biking in the country, and have no problems with dropouts, but if you use it in the woods, or in a big city with tall buildings that might be more of an issue. I agree that the map on the 301 is near useless. OTOH, the 301 works great with sport-tracks and if you want a GPS to track speed, distance, and to be able to upload your route and ride info to a PC it does all that well.

For the mount, the forerunner goes on and off easily (its just velcro) If you want to take the polar mount off, you just cut the zip ties and use 2 new ones for the next time, and zip ties are cheap.
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Old 02-10-08, 03:37 PM   #8
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I do not mountain bike in the woods, and I don't live in a big city, so neither of these two problems are deal breakers. The 201 did not have USB interface, so it makes it dead on arrival. I am looking for something to track fitness, whether I am walking or riding. 2008 is the year for me to get back into shape after too many years behind a desk.

Thanks for all of the clear objective feedback!!! It helps.
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Old 02-10-08, 04:33 PM   #9
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I'm not up to date on whether the 201/301s now have USB interfaces, but the 305 interface is USB, and works extremely well. It even charges fairly rapidly via the USB port, often juicing up while I'm still using the computer an hour or two later.

I wouldn't underestimate the antenna bit. Sure, you may ride on open roads with no cover, but trust me, once a little bit of cloud over kicks in, you'll start losing signal on your 201 as if there were trees overhead. It's not horrible, and somehow, the total distance ends up being 95% accurate anyway, probably due to interpolation, but it's annoying as all getout when it reads "Poor GPS signal" and basically has limited function until it locks on again. I struggled with this for 3 years with the 201, and it was definitely the biggest drawback of the unit. Drops were a given, at some point, even on sunny days, and on cloudy/tree cover days, as much as 10%-50% of the run could be dropped.

When you struggle with this for 2-3 rides, you'll regret every having bought the 201.
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Old 02-10-08, 05:28 PM   #10
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Had a 205 for 16 months. The beeper quit, and the scroll up button froze. I called Garmin to have it repaired since it was out of warranty. Garmin offered to replace it free, which involved sending mine in and getting a refurbished model. The refurb unit I got seemed to be a better unit than the original. Been working great for 7 months. I wouldn't fear the refurb if thats the model you want.
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