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Old 02-18-10, 09:56 PM   #1
ripegorilla
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Gps

Are there any biking GPS systems that are reasonably priced? My Garmin for my car is $100, and one for a bike is $350! Am I looking in the wrong place? What's your experience with GPS for bikes?
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Old 02-18-10, 10:22 PM   #2
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Are there any biking GPS systems that are reasonably priced? My Garmin for my car is $100, and one for a bike is $350! Am I looking in the wrong place? What's your experience with GPS for bikes?
Then why don't you just bolt the one from your car onto your bike?
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Old 02-18-10, 10:27 PM   #3
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Then why don't you just bolt the one from your car onto your bike?
I'm sure there are features specific for bike gps that aren't on car ones. Think boat gps vs. auto gps.
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Old 02-18-10, 11:33 PM   #4
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Paper maps are really cheap and work just as well...assuming you can read a map.
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Old 02-18-10, 11:54 PM   #5
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I'm sure there are features specific for bike gps that aren't on car ones. Think boat gps vs. auto gps.
There are some such features, such as interfaces to heart monitors and cadence sensors. The question is then whether those features are important to you. I've been using GPS units in lieu of bike cyclometers for over 12 years and none of them were marketed as cycling-specific. My Garmin eMap was bought in '99 and is still my most used GPS for cycling. It's been discontinued but can be found for under $100 and provides speed (current, avg., max.), distance, elevation, detailed road/topo maps, points-of-interest (esp. handy on tours for finding food, lodging, bike shops, etc.), and keeps a detailed tracklog so I can download trip details to my PC to compile data on speeds, elevation gains, and performance comparisons between trips. The tracklog also lets me record where photos were taken and create trip records like:
http://www.everytrail.com/fullscreen.php?trip_id=502372
from yesterday. Personally I have no need for the cycling-specific models, but YMMV.

For that matter I also use the same eMap for boating, hiking, and general travel in addition to cycling. Other GPS units that I've found well suited to cycling include the Quest and GPS V - both of these do automatic routing (you can set preferences for cycling/ped/car so you don't get routed on roads that don't permit cycling) which the eMap does not. All of these have long battery life which is one feature that's lacking in many car-oriented models.
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Old 02-19-10, 12:06 AM   #6
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If you want a fully functioning gps that will still use the Garmin HR and Cadence functions, you are looking at the Oregon 300 or higher series or Dakota 20 series.. You can buy one of these with Garmin NT Navigator for a lot less than a 705.. I use the Oregon 550T and work perfectly as a bike computer..

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145

If you are a data hound then stick to the bike specific Garmins, lots of more useful end of ride data and some of the newer models can be setup with optional power meters..
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Old 02-19-10, 06:12 AM   #7
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Other GPS units that I've found well suited to cycling include the Quest and GPS V - both of these do automatic routing (you can set preferences for cycling/ped/car so you don't get routed on roads that don't permit cycling) which the eMap does not. All of these have long battery life which is one feature that's lacking in many car-oriented models.
The Garmin Quest? That thing is over $600! Just to go cycling with? Seems like an extreme overkill to me. And all that money with no way to add memory via expansion slots or internal hard drive with additional maps thus you have to load and reload maps all the time via a computer. The Quest has only 115mb of internal memory but in a state where you live, California, that map alone is 122mb.

The GPS V also from Garmin has been discontinued but you can still find them at a close out price of over $300. And this is worse then the Quest with only 19mb of memory, you might be able to fit the Bay area of California where you live into it.
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Old 02-19-10, 06:15 AM   #8
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Stick with newer models that support MicroSD Cards.. Here is a good list of GPS's available and vendors..

http://gpsinformation.net/#vendors

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Old 02-19-10, 08:31 AM   #9
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Paper maps are really cheap and work just as well...assuming you can read a map.
,

You just blew my mind. Paper maps don't even come to mind any more, yet this is a great idea. I'll probably just use maps until I save money for a Garmin emap or etrex.
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Old 02-19-10, 08:36 AM   #10
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,

You just blew my mind. Paper maps don't even come to mind any more, yet this is a great idea. I'll probably just use maps until I save money for a Garmin emap or etrex.
Most touring bikers use paper maps. A friend of mine swears by the Adventure Cycling maps...all paper of course, he just folds the section he wants and places it into a clear map holder on his handlebar bag and tallies on.
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Old 02-19-10, 08:39 AM   #11
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,

You just blew my mind. Paper maps don't even come to mind any more, yet this is a great idea. I'll probably just use maps until I save money for a Garmin emap or etrex.
Most touring bikers use paper maps. A friend of mine swears by the Adventure Cycling maps...all paper of course, he just folds the section he wants and places it into a clear map holder on his handlebar bag and tallies on. Of course those Adventure Cycling maps do cost money but not as nearly as much as a GPS and no need to worry about dead batteries or loss of memory-except your own but you can't prevent that. And GPS maps are not specifically for cyclists as the Adventure series are. But you can get very good maps for free either at state facilities or AAA if your a member.
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Old 02-19-10, 09:52 AM   #12
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The Garmin Quest? That thing is over $600! Just to go cycling with? Seems like an extreme overkill to me. And all that money with no way to add memory via expansion slots or internal hard drive with additional maps thus you have to load and reload maps all the time via a computer. The Quest has only 115mb of internal memory but in a state where you live, California, that map alone is 122mb.
The prices of the older models vary considerably and the Quest was available for $125 at the time (and the V was similar). The memory is more limited than for the ones that take the microSD and similar cards so it requires a little pre-trip planning to load the relevant set of maps. Yes, covering every square inch of California does fill the memory (and even leaves a bit uncovered), but I can also choose to load just the maps along the corridor for a cross-country tour from the SF Bay to the North Carolina coast and they all fit in the available memory. And unplanned deviations outside that corridor aren't that much of a problem since I'd still have all the normal cyclometer functions as well as the basemap level of road data that's similar to paper state highway maps. It's similar to the situation with using the Adventure Cycling maps which also only cover the preplanned corridor of the route.
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Old 02-19-10, 10:09 AM   #13
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It's similar to the situation with using the Adventure Cycling maps which also only cover the preplanned corridor of the route.
Not really, because even though they may cover the preplanned corridor, the Quest still wouldn't be able to fit all the routes for a cross country tour. For a local tour your speaking of...why in the world do you even need a map? I rode all over the mountains of Southern California and the cities like Los Angeles and surrounding areas and never used a map or gps...but in all honesty, I carried a county map when riding the mountains, but I rarely used it, and only if I wanted to venture off the main road onto some small side road to make sure it went somewhere so I could get back to a main road again. But usually I just rode a main road for example to Wrightwood out of Palmdale CA; I could make a huge loop up the Largo Vista rd to Big Pines Hwy to the 2 go E thru Wrightwood down Angeles Crest (2) to Antelope hwy (138) back to Palmdale; no need to read maps for this kind of stuff. Only one time in over 30 years of riding did I get lost and I just asked someone where and how.
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Old 02-19-10, 10:35 AM   #14
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Not really, because even though they may cover the preplanned corridor, the Quest still wouldn't be able to fit all the routes for a cross country tour. For a local tour your speaking of...why in the world do you even need a map?
As I stated above, I can (and have) loaded all the maps and routes needed for a coast-coast tour. And as for needing maps on more local tours, I've found the POIs to be particularly useful. Even in my own county I might not know where the nearest bike shop, grocery store, ATM, or restaurant is when I want to find one - the GPS lets me know my nearest options and how to get there. That's particularly true when touring when you're gone for a longer period of time and have more need to find useful businesses. Having the GPS along also encourages me to be more adventuresome. If I pass a road that looks interesting I can quickly glance at the map and see if taking it will still let me get back to my planned destination or if it'll lead me to a deadend or in the wrong direction. So I'm more likely to explore unfamiliar paths than if I didn't have it.
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Old 02-19-10, 11:21 AM   #15
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I once used my car's Tom Tom GPS with my bike (before I found out it had a bicycling feature) and I found it useful but I was nervous about killing the battery with an all day ride. so I only used it in conjunction with maps and only when I needed to verify where I was. so, of and on and off and on. PIA ... for a while I rode with it on and it was fun listening to verbal queues just like in my car. so it was perfectly adequate helping me rack up big miles on an all-day ride. now that I know it has a cycling mode - I may be safer using it next time. I should figure out a better way to mount/carry it though. it was in my rear rack trunk but I got tired of in and outs of that methods so I used the top bungees of the trunk bag and just kept it tied to the top outside of the bag. mounting it somehow on the bars would be better.

I think a bicycling specific GPS would be marvelous!
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Old 02-19-10, 11:31 AM   #16
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This all depends on what your specific needs are. Do you just want something that can plot a route on roads to get you from point A to point B? If so go with a car system mounted to your handlebars as many now have a "bike" mode. If you just want a map to see where you have been and you can find your own way around, you can use a lower priced handheld for these tasks. If you want to preplan routes based on a site like mapmyride or you want to use HR and cad, you will need to look at the more expensive units.

I personally love my 705. I preplan rides and this has let me get out onto more routes than I think I would have without it. You can use a paper map, but just following the line is a really nice feature.
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Old 02-19-10, 11:26 PM   #17
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Are there any biking GPS systems that are reasonably priced? My Garmin for my car is $100, and one for a bike is $350! Am I looking in the wrong place? What's your experience with GPS for bikes?
I've gotten a lot better using GPS units over the years. This may come as a surprise to many but you really don't need an expensive unit at all! My first unit was the old Garmin Legend in monochrome, no color or maps! I had an old copy of Microsoft Streets and Trips that I could use to create "WayPoints" and I would enter these manually into the GPS. This whole setup will cost about $100.00 dollars used and it works very well.

I was able to go from Trenton New Jesery all the way to Newark New Jersey with dozens of turns and didn't get lost. I did many 50-70 mile routes and it was scary how I was able to do all of this without needing a map of any kind.

Today, I have an older Garmin Legend Cx and it meets all my needs. However, I still don't use the built in maps and I don't need them! It's a myth you need to have those expensive maps built into the GPS. Here's how to get around without them.

1. Buy Streets and Trips or the GARMIN software --- Learn how to create routes and store them on your PC for uploading to your GPS. It's possible the latest version of Streets and Trips may actually save you some money by being able to do this. I think there are even FREE internet maps that will you to upload routes. Being able to upload the routes will save you lots of time from having to actually enter the routes by hand.

I consider not having to buy expensive paper maps or having to locate street signs or highway numbers a luxury.

2. Create a Route around your town and practice using only the 'ARROW' screen ---- The picture below is all I see when traveling and never even look at a map. Once the route is selected, the arrow will take you home or to where you want to go. It's so simple and no expensive maps are needed. I still prefer this method over looking at a very small map on my handlebar. You will only be using the Route to guide you and no maps.

3. Prepare for turn at .25 Mile ---- After the GPS passes a WayPoint, it counts down to the next one. Once it reaches .25 mile mark, slow down for the turn as the GPS will take a moment before it tells you straight, left or right. This is actually important to understand and practice or you'll end up missing many turns and backtracking.

Where the maps do come in handy is if you get lost. This sometimes happens when you don't select a good route and need to change the one you have. The maps also come with Points of Interest and this only came in handy ONCE when I needed to find an Amtrak station.

Today, I have dozens of routes stored on my computer and I create more each year. None of my routes are destroyed and I change them to visit different towns or cities each year. Trains and Grayhound are good for dropping you off in far distant locations.

I'm thinking of getting one of these inexpensive NET PCS for the simply luxury of having the ability to create routes on the road.
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File Type: jpg Garmin-arrow.jpg (15.3 KB, 14 views)

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Old 02-24-10, 01:57 PM   #18
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I got my Garmin Edge 305 off of craigslist for $150. It is the full bundle with heart rate monitor and speed/ cadence monitor. I love it. Check craigslist and ebay. These have been discontinued and can be found pretty cheap. It is more convenient than I ever imagined. I can throw it in my pocket and use it snowboarding, you can take it in the car to preview a route/course and upload that data, etc.
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Old 02-24-10, 08:41 PM   #19
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I use my car's Garmin Nuvi 350 with a handlebar mount I found on ebay. I reset the log at the beginning of my ride and it gives me current/avg/max speed, total mileage for the day etc, it's perfect for biking. I downloaded a bike icon so I see handlebars running around on the map. I turn my handlebars left, the gps handlebars turn left, kinda cool Last season I was messing around with creating POIs through the Cleveland Metroparks system of paved trails, that was fun. It never died out on me but I'm going to look into a solar charger for it anyway. That would be useful on an all day ride if it actually keeps it charged but I don't know how well they work. Probably not well enough to keep a gps with the screen always on powered. Anybody ever use solar chargers on their rides?
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Old 02-26-10, 03:30 AM   #20
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There's been discussion on solar charging while riding, and it seems in many cases it's not possible to keep the panel properly oriented towards sun for really effective charging. If you want guaranteed charging, look into some of the dynohub based systems that are available. If you search this site, you'll also find a DIY solution by member n4zou for such system. Often it's easier to just ask for a permission to charge batteries while having a break at a cafe/restaurant, for example.

I don't trust the GPS alone when touring, I always bring paper maps as well. Most often the GPS is in the handlebar bag, as a backup and data logger for trip diaries after the tour. For trip planning, I cannot get by with the small screen alone, so I use paper maps for that too. My other hobby is sea kayak touring, there the GPS gives me speed, distance, heading and location info. Still, it's an electronic gizmo and many things can go wrong, so I make sure I know my location on the sea chart as well. GPS fail has quickly become one of the most common reasons for recreational boaters' distress calls around here.

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Old 02-28-10, 09:39 PM   #21
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What are you trying to do with a GPS? Navigate? Follow a pre-determined route? Substitute for a cyclometer? Serve as a cycling log? Many of the "cycling" GPSs don't actually navigate that well- at least in the manner you might expect. They do of course have HRM, cadence etc but are a very expensive option just for that info. I personally use a cheapo Garmin Etrex ($75 used) with city navigator (navigation) software on it. This allows me to get back home if I'm lost and also serves as a cycling computer via it's dashboard. I don't much care about HRM, cadence etc since I'm too cheap to get an SRM and they are the only decent training too.

Couple of choices- others have mentioned the Garmin etrex- I use this with City Navigator and it works fine except for planning out turn by turn routes. You can do this with GPX files but I've not found an easy way to do so. Generally I just ride with it running as a cyclometer (there's a dashboard screen you can configure to show whatever you want) and upload the data track files afterward.

If it's just navigation you want, then several smartphones such as Nokias and Android also have google or native maps available. Nokia has a sports tracker (free from Nokia) and the Android has similar programs. These generally don't feature tracking or GPX output but it depends on your needs.

There's also an Open Source android application with mapping that would be a great basis for a custom tailored cycling application. http://www.andnav.org/ I use this on my HTC G1 and it's very, very good. There are no cycling specific features.

battery life for either of these choices is not really an issue. The etrex lasts (literally) all day on a set of AAs. It's easy to carry some extras too. Same with cell phones- just a few grams for an extra battery.

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Old 02-28-10, 10:03 PM   #22
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Have an iPhone? How about MotionX sport for biking, hiking, boating etc. or MotionX Drive that is more in line with traditional GPS with voice guidance. Both of the apps are full featured, easy and fun to use at a very reasonable 2.99 per app. MotionX sport is on my top fav five list of app's I use.
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Old 03-05-10, 09:22 AM   #23
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Have an iPhone?
I just got an Android phone, and that has GPS built in as well. The free "My Tracks" app in the market tracks speed, distance, time, elevation, min/max grade, and can graph speed and elevation profile. It is tied into Google Maps as well, and reportedly works well for running and cycling.

http://mytracks.appspot.com/
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Old 03-05-10, 02:43 PM   #24
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I can tell you ahead of time, I'm a Garmin fanboy, so read the following with full disclosure of that-

I LOVE the 705. Routing, POI's, color screen, 18 hour battery life, farily fast full charge (3 hours), waterproof, durable. I can't say enough good things about it. I now run with it as well, although there is no setting in the gps for "running" I convert it in the software and it adjusts well enough to show me my performance.

Went on a group ride with a "paper map" guy who was making fun, saying he only uses paper, I told him we were passing the road he was looking for (watching it come up on the nice color screen on the GPS) he insisted it was further ahead, and even joked that this was proof the GPS wasn't fool proof. 5 min later we were turning around, and I was giving him some good natured ribbing about "paper maps"

Unelss you're going to be riding for more than 15 hours or so without getting near a power outlet, I'd trust the 705 with the maps over anything. That's just me, but I love mine.

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Old 03-05-10, 03:31 PM   #25
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Any place where there are roads, I would never bother with a GPS. I only use one when I'm in the woods and it's possible to get lost.
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