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  1. #1
    Cyclists B&B in Italy
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    Help please in selecting GPS for bike tourists

    Hello everyone, we own a B&B in Italy and over the years have seen an increase in bicycle tourists. So much so that next year we are launching a complete bicycle touring package for groups and couples. We are located in the heart of one of Italy's best wine areas - the Piedmont hills - and with the help of our cycling guests have compiled a number of varied routes from moderate to very hard and we have marked them out on various maps.

    However it has occurred to me that it may be more convenient to have a clip-on GPS available instead of having to stop at each cross-road and consult the map (although maybe some might like the rest stop ), which begs the question which GPS?

    I have been checking out the specs for the Garmin Edge 605 and 705, and although these do look great for dedicated cyclists with all the monitoring and recording functions, I wonder if these are too much over the top for a simple rental model? My thought is that if you are into all the bike computer functions then you will probably have your own model already?

    So maybe just a simple hand-held model with a big screen which I can program in a variety of routes maybe better? Any opinions? I would favour either a late model Garmin or a TomTom, with the edge on TomTom as I think their European maps are better and I like the 3-D road view.

    And then there is the question of mounting to a bike as they are designed for cars, and waterproofing?

    I have also be looking on-line at the TomTom Rider, which although designed for motor bikes is waterproof and has a handlebar mount, plus it has touch screen navigation which sounds like a benefit, and a blue-tooth headset for receiving directions and making hands-free mobile phone calls (useful for motor-cyclists, but maybe not so for bicyclists).

    Looking forward to reading opinions

    Ciao

  2. #2
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    Garmin's hiking GPS computers (like the Etrex) have mapping capability and are much cheaper than the 605/705. They are made for hiking and mountaineering, so they are somewhat weather resistant. The official Garmin Etrex bicycle mounts kind of suck, though. Anyone know of a sturdy, but not bulky, 3rd party mount?

    GPS units designed for car or motorcycle use are usually intended to be plugged in all the time and have poor battery life.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    Garmin's hiking GPS computers (like the Etrex) have mapping capability and are much cheaper than the 605/705. They are made for hiking and mountaineering, so they are somewhat weather resistant. The official Garmin Etrex bicycle mounts kind of suck, though. Anyone know of a sturdy, but not bulky, 3rd party mount?
    RAM (http://www.ram-mount.com/) makes a variety of good quality handlebar mounts for Garmin and other GPS devices. They are bulkier than the Garmin ones but much sturdier and they also absorb some of the shock so the GPS should hold up better.

  4. #4
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    I agree about the etrex. I have a LEgend Hcx and am ver happy with it. It navigation cues are much better than the Edge. RAM mount is very sturdy. Not so compact, but allows for rotation to almost any position.

  5. #5
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    I have the legend HCx myself also, I haven't had an issue with the garmin mount, it seems fine to me, been there for quite a few miles now.

  6. #6
    urban biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by enine View Post
    I have the legend HCx myself also, I haven't had an issue with the garmin mount, it seems fine to me, been there for quite a few miles now.

    1 on all the above. Also, the HCx uses standard batteries, so easier to swap if voltage gets low.

    I had a 705 and sold it because the HCx has a lot more flexibility and features. Also, after nearly three years of use on the bike, the standard Garmin mount works fine. However, it did start to rattle after about six months so I put two small pieces of electrical tape inside the mounting position where the GPS slides in and the added pressure prevents the GPS from rattling against the mount

  7. #7
    urban biker
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    I just re-read the OP's post and would suggest going with maps. Learning how to use a GPS does take some time and riders will need either a quick session or a good handbook how to use before they depend upon it for navigation. They may also break or lose the device; maps are cheap and dependable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Skyler_WA's Avatar
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    I had a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx and I liked using it on my bike very much.

    However, I recently upgraded to the new Garmin Dakota 20 and I like it much better. It has all the good features of the eTrex units and several improvements which make it better for your situation:
    - touch screen interface is much easier for people to learn and use
    - bigger screen
    Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Rodriguez Classic Tandem. . . . My First Tour: Circling The Olympic Peninsula (2nd, 3rd, and 4th Tours still need to be published)

  9. #9
    Cyclists B&B in Italy
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    In reply to Paulrad, my thought is to pre-program the unit with a number of popular routes, I have had several guests (motorists) who arrive with a GPS, borrowed or brand new and want me to help program the thing, its no fun, I have a lot of maps and give good directions, but I thought a simple GPS could be useful to cyclists not to have to stop and check a map every junction.

    I checked out Garmin site and their etrax series seems to have been discontinued in favour of the "state" series, look good I will have to check them. Tomtom's rider 2 looks good to for its big size and apparently long battery life, but it is not cheap. http://www.tomtom.com/products/category.php?ID=1&Lid=4

  10. #10
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    A bit expensive, bit will do the job, hope it will help you:
    http://www.falcom.de/products/personal-tracker/mambo2/

  11. #11
    Senior Member swwhite's Avatar
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    I wonder if a cleverly folded and laminated map could be made in a way that would reduce the need to unfold and refold a map. You could invent/provide some sort of map clip to attach to the handlebars of any bike.

    "The proof is left as an exercise for the reader."
    Riding in search of the simple life.

  12. #12
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    I agree with PaulRad. You at a vary minimum should provide them with a basic map if for no other reason than for backup. I use a GPS on both bikes and backcountry and I always pack a map.

    I am not sure that using a map requires you to stop at every intersection. Yes, it is a nice break - you are touring, not racing.

  13. #13
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    Please more responses. I am in the same boat. I travel to cities with my old commuter and want excaclty what you are looking for. (Just explore)

    I know of at least 6 other people that are looking for the same thing.

    We just want to hop on the bike in a unfamiliar place and let gps guide us. (We will map the night before)

    To much of our time is used up looking at maps and cross streets. We just want to be care free riders

    This is a clear case of the technology being there but no one coming up with a simple user interface for people to use.

  14. #14
    My Next 30 Years tacomadm18's Avatar
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    wouldn't the garmin dakota 20 be an option,,,,,,
    Hybrids, Man's Best Friend,,,, Dogs Too,,,,,,

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by VillaSampaguita View Post
    I checked out Garmin site and their etrax series seems to have been discontinued in favour of the "state" series
    Scroll down (eTreks at the botton).
    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145

    Quote Originally Posted by lebronx View Post
    A bit expensive, bit will do the job, hope it will help you:
    http://www.falcom.de/products/personal-tracker/mambo2/
    No maps.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-03-09 at 10:19 AM.

  16. #16
    Cyclists B&B in Italy
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    Actually after comments on this forum and other GPS forums I was swinging towards a Garmin Nuvi 550 as being the most ideal for my purpose, (with a spare battery), its an outdoor model has text to speech, and the ability to download route maps. But I decided in favour of a good set of maps for each route with step by step directions and a good map holder to start with.

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