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Old 06-08-10, 05:52 PM   #1
jayvo86
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Training or GPS???

I am torn between a high end polar cycling computer and a garmin edge 705. I like the Polar stuff for it's better training side and software, but like the navigation features of the 705. Both are on the top end of my budget. Bottom line, should I fork out the money or just getting something budget. I am currently using a basic bike computer and my Droid Eris phone with sports tracker pro installed. I can track my stats and upload to my group online. I enjoy all the stats and like the online community. I also like the fact that I can see my improvements. Any ideas
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Old 06-09-10, 09:23 AM   #2
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What features are you seeing in the Polar that the 705 does not have? In addition to being a GPS the 705 also supports courses for use with the virtual training partner and can also be paired with a Ant+ power meter like a Power Tap.
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Old 06-09-10, 09:36 AM   #3
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As someone who does try to train seriously for part of the year to get better - I have to admit that as cool as the GPS functions are, the mapping features are nearly useless for me.

A bike computer that measured speed, distance, and HR captures all of the critical values I need for serious training. (A Powermeter would trump this, but that's $$$$, and I don't need it yet to keep improving.)

There are two main benefits I've gained from the GPS mapping features:

One is elevation measurements, but even that is rendered pretty much useless as I can tell how hard I've worked on any course by seeing the amount time I've spent in zone 3-4-5 HRs. I think that my zone 3-5 HR data is the best measure of how hard I've worked out there short of using a PM. I can even tell if it's a sprint day by seeing how much time I've spent in the red-zone 5 (usually a lot.)

Second is getting a sense of my current fitness. If I repeat a typical nondrafting 50 mile course, I can see what my HRM/speed correlations are on certain areas (thanks to GPS) and tell how fit I am. I don't do this frequently, though, and I can easily live without it.

If I were short on cash, I'd definitely forego the GPS features and just get a regular bike computer + HRM. I'm actually finding that the time I spend in HR 3-5 is the single biggest indicator of my training, to the point that I could probably just ditch the computer and jsut go with a HRM. But it's nice to see how fast you're going.

The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a big watch that does HRM+GPS+computer downloads, without any additional hardware, for $150. They have newer versions, but I think this is the best bang for buck, and is what I use. It's awesome.

Last edited by agarose2000; 06-09-10 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 06-09-10, 09:54 AM   #4
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What features are you seeing in the Polar that the 705 does not have? In addition to being a GPS the 705 also supports courses for use with the virtual training partner and can also be paired with a Ant+ power meter like a Power Tap.
The biggest thing I want is accuracy and the ability to track data. I like the fact that the Polar gear has thier training center software which seems great. However, the Garmin gear has Garmin connect and I think I might use the GPS when I just want to go ride somewhere without worrying about getting back. Right now I am steering towards the Garmin units. The Edge 500 seems great and it has uploadable routes, but the screen readablility has not has good reveiws. I don't mind paying for the 705 as long as it is accurate. I've read some reveiws and for the money I would expect it to be 5 stars, but a lot of the reveiws are mixed.

Right now I am using my HTC Droid Eris phone with Sports Track Live Pro and really like all of the features and I get from it. Elevation, distance, route mapping, online community, etc..but I have been frustrated with little inaccuracies like GPS speed spikes and questionalbe calorie usage amounts etc...
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Old 06-09-10, 10:12 AM   #5
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I have the 500 now and had the 705 previously.

Garmin does have Garmin Connect which is online. They also have Garmin Training Center for PC's. There are however other programs that you can use. One of the more popular ones is Sport Tracks by Zone 5. So tracking data is not an issue.

Accuracy in my experience is not an issue either. Both the 500 and 705 will have accurate speed and distance measurements provided you have the speed/cadence sensor. Otherwise you will get the same speed spikes.

The 500 screen is not a problem for me. I have read the some posts by people that had issues but they were very few.

The 500 is still early in its firmware life cycle. Garmin is working out some of the bugs in it and people are getting corrupt data files at this time. Garmin has a good track record of getting it right but can take some time. The 705 firmware is fairly stable at this time due to the age of the unit.

It really comes down to what you really want it to do. The 705 has two main differences over the 500. Detailed street maps (if you buy them) and a larger screen. Garmin units are notorios for bad calorie calculations unless you have a power meter.
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Old 06-11-10, 04:17 PM   #6
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If you watch the sales a 705 Deluxe package can be had for nearly the same price as the combo you mention and does as lot more. But, when buying toys it doesn't pay to do very much agonizing once you decide you can afford something.
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Old 06-11-10, 04:21 PM   #7
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The Garmin 305 I mentioned interfaces beautifully with SportTracks.

You get full mapping, paces, even power if you have a Powermeter.

Download the "elevation correction" plugin, and you'll also get great, repeatable elevation data for your GPS-mapped routes.

The 305+Sportracks for me gives nearly everything I can ask for detailed training info. With the speed/cadence sensor, it makes my otherwise boring trainer rides very interesting, as I get very reproducible data on my fitness level based on speed/HR.
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Old 06-11-10, 08:46 PM   #8
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If you watch the sales a 705 Deluxe package can be had for nearly the same price as the combo you mention and does as lot more. But, when buying toys it doesn't pay to do very much agonizing once you decide you can afford something.
I think I am pretty much going to go with the 705. Being able to travel places and then just go ride would be really nice. I think I would enjoy be able to ride places with out having to really focus on where in the world I am at. I also have ambitions of doing a 200 mile ride. I would be nice to go ride somewhere instead going back and forth on the bike trail.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:16 PM   #9
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Hey - Chris from Polar here. Just wanted to give you a quick heads up that I'm on the site in case you had any specific questions or anything to help make an educated decision. Let me know if I can help.

Chris
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