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Old 05-23-11, 11:48 AM   #1
iqbal624
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Which first GPS? Garmin 500 705 or 800

Ok guys and gals,
I'm trying to make the best choice. I'm in the market for a bike computer and I think the gps is the way to go. I need to start tracking cadence and doing other exercises that would be better with hr info. Also, I think the ability to track your trip and elevation data is priceless.

Soooooooooooooo... That said, my Bday is coming up and I have a $500ish budget to spend on whatever I'd like. I'm considering one of the three gps's listed.

The 500 seems to be going for about 200 ish new with hr and cad.
The 705 seems to go for about $250-300 used with all accs and sometimes with citymaps.
The 800 would be about 450 new with the hr and cad.

I'm trying to pick the best one. It would be really nice to download rides onto the garmin and have it guide me along the way.

What are your thoughts?

I know there are many other gps threads out there and I've searched and that is how I narrowed it down to the three. A lot of people ask about upgrading etc.

Basically I just want to know which one you think would be the best. Another thing to consider is, whatever money is left over, I/you would get to spend on other bike related toys!!
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Old 05-23-11, 12:30 PM   #2
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I have a 705 and have been happy with it. As to downloading routs and following the GPS, you will want to do a bit of research to find the right settings or you might find yourself fighting the GPS when it wants to send you back home at the start of your trip.
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Old 05-23-11, 12:42 PM   #3
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cheapest. how is the kestrel?
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Old 05-23-11, 01:28 PM   #4
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Do you really need street maps and navigation? If not, the 500 is a lot cheaper and the non-mapping features work well.
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Old 05-24-11, 12:15 PM   #5
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Do you really need street maps and navigation? If not, the 500 is a lot cheaper and the non-mapping features work well.
It doesn't seem that the 500 is MUCH cheaper than the 705 because so many people are upgrading to the 800.
I don't need the maps, but I think it really would be nice as I'm starting to do more rides, and if I could just upload a ride to the Garmin just so that I could see it, that would be awesome.
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Old 05-24-11, 03:25 PM   #6
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I recently bought an 800, and added the maps to it, so the total cost came out a bit over $500. I am a bit of a data junkie, and from that respect, I really like the 800. I do not have the HR monitor, but plan on adding it - this is one of the things that I like about the Garmin products, I can add things like HR, Power, etc relatively easily (albeit not inexpensively).

I was concerned about battery life, but it has proved to not be an issue, even with a slow guy like me doing a century.

There are a couple of things that I don't like about it:
When doing navigation, where you enter an end address and the computer plots a course for you, it selects what would be a good route for an automobile, but seems to not know that it is mounted on a bicycle - I would have thought that for a bike computer, it would be more bike friendly in that manner.

When you have entered a route, and you get off route, it doesn't seem to do a good job of getting you back on route gracefully.

Before purchasing it, I was very concerned about battery life, and had thought that I would be able to build a charger for it and power it from a generator hub or solar cell - but it seems to not be able to function as a cycle computer while charging.
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Old 05-25-11, 12:50 PM   #7
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Depends on how you want to navigate and whether or not you want a touch screen. The 705/800 both have the ability to navigate just like you would use a paper map. They use the GPS but it is referenced to human landmarks like street signs. The 500 navigates with GPS only. That is it doesn't have a human map in it. You just know you have reached a GPS point where it is time to make a turn, etc. Personally, I like the idea of being able to cross check my GPS locations with the streets and roads. Of course the main difference between the 705 and 800 is the touch screen.

I own a 705 and find being able to know my location both by GPS waypoint and geographical streets very useful. For example, I have been somewhere where there was construction so I needed to find my way around it. By using street names I was able to use a local bystander's input to reroute the best way. Without street names that would not have been possible. Plus, if you buy the maps MicroSD card you always know the nearest food, etc. Very useful.

Also, the 705 has a route selection mode where you cann tell it how you want to be routed; pedestrian, bicycle, motor vehicle and what type of roads to use and which to avoid. Very handy when trying to stay off the freeway on the bike but on a different trip wanting to use the freeway.

But, if none of that is valuable to you then by all means use the 500. it is cheaper.

Last edited by HawkOwl; 05-25-11 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 05-26-11, 09:17 AM   #8
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With the Garmin Edge 500 in conjunction with a mapping web site like www.bikeroutetoaster.com (BRT), you can hand plot a ride that will include "course points". Course Points are enunciated through a warning beep and very short text message on the 500. Using BRT, you can have it send a warning first (i.e., a beep at 300ft before the turn or a landmark) followed by a warning beep and text at the turn itself.

GPS tracks with or without course points can be uploaded to the Edge 500. Once the track is in the device, it is displayed as a "bread crumb" map which is just a series of points that follow the contours of the roads in the route you mapped.

If you go off course, the 500 will warn you with a text message. Hit a button and it'll return you to the screen that you were on. If that screen is the "bread crumb" map, it'll show where you are in relation to the mapped route using a dashed line. There's also a distance number in the top left corner of this map that will show you how far away from the course you've strayed or whether you are continuing to go astray or getting closer. These can help you get back on course.

Another screen can be used to see elevation changes. This screen will show when a hill is coming. Once on the hill, it will show you where you are on the hill (i.e., how far from the top of the climb).

Both of the aforementioned screens will show where your "training partner" is in relation to your pace, if you want to use the training partner feature.

I really like the 500 for it's simplicity, yet it has all of the functionality that I'd ever need.

Problems: Mine has locked up when using the heart rate monitor feature on some routes. Also, if your route has too many points in it (i.e., like if you map an entire century in a single route) when you switch from the bread crumb map to the next screen, it turns the device off. To mitigate this issue, I split the route up into smaller sections--usually at planned rest breaks and/or lunch stop. It seems that the 500 can handle a route as long as about 40 to 50 miles, depending on how many turns (course points) are in the route.
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Old 05-26-11, 11:30 AM   #9
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Got my 800 bundle (with city maps cadence and HR) for 525 on ebay free shipping. Go for it.
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Old 05-26-11, 01:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NoRacer View Post
With the Garmin Edge 500 in conjunction with a mapping web site like www.bikeroutetoaster.com (BRT), you can hand plot a ride that will include "course points". Course Points are enunciated through a warning beep and very short text message on the 500. Using BRT, you can have it send a warning first (i.e., a beep at 300ft before the turn or a landmark) followed by a warning beep and text at the turn itself.

GPS tracks with or without course points can be uploaded to the Edge 500. Once the track is in the device, it is displayed as a "bread crumb" map which is just a series of points that follow the contours of the roads in the route you mapped.

If you go off course, the 500 will warn you with a text message. Hit a button and it'll return you to the screen that you were on. If that screen is the "bread crumb" map, it'll show where you are in relation to the mapped route using a dashed line. There's also a distance number in the top left corner of this map that will show you how far away from the course you've strayed or whether you are continuing to go astray or getting closer. These can help you get back on course.

Another screen can be used to see elevation changes. This screen will show when a hill is coming. Once on the hill, it will show you where you are on the hill (i.e., how far from the top of the climb).

Both of the aforementioned screens will show where your "training partner" is in relation to your pace, if you want to use the training partner feature.

I really like the 500 for it's simplicity, yet it has all of the functionality that I'd ever need.

Problems: Mine has locked up when using the heart rate monitor feature on some routes. Also, if your route has too many points in it (i.e., like if you map an entire century in a single route) when you switch from the bread crumb map to the next screen, it turns the device off. To mitigate this issue, I split the route up into smaller sections--usually at planned rest breaks and/or lunch stop. It seems that the 500 can handle a route as long as about 40 to 50 miles, depending on how many turns (course points) are in the route.
Just need to remember that "Course Points" are in reference to the GPS system and not to any human recognizable geographic location. For example: You lay out a course usiing any number of applications. On the Course there is a Course Point we'll call "A" that happens to be at the intersection of Main and Juniper streets. With the 500 all you know you are at "A". With the 705/800 you also know you are at the intersection of Main and Juniper. If you are off course for some reason the 500 will guide you back to the course with you not having a clue where you are. With the 705/800 it will continuously tell you where you are on a human readable map.

If you initimately know the area not having a map is no big deal. If in a strange area having that map can be invaluable.
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Old 05-26-11, 08:18 PM   #11
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just picked up the Edge 500 and I LOVE it. Best present I ever gave to myself... ... Anyway, the data logging is insanely cool... next step is the HR monitor... and when the wife is not looking a power hub... haha ( no way ). Realize that if I need a map for road rides... I have bigger problems.
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Old 05-27-11, 06:21 AM   #12
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Just need to remember that "Course Points" are in reference to the GPS system and not to any human recognizable geographic location. For example: You lay out a course usiing any number of applications. On the Course there is a Course Point we'll call "A" that happens to be at the intersection of Main and Juniper streets. With the 500 all you know you are at "A". With the 705/800 you also know you are at the intersection of Main and Juniper. If you are off course for some reason the 500 will guide you back to the course with you not having a clue where you are. With the 705/800 it will continuously tell you where you are on a human readable map.

If you initimately know the area not having a map is no big deal. If in a strange area having that map can be invaluable.
If I need a map, I use the turn-by-turn GPS in my cell phone (as long as there's cell phone coverage). I've ridden with the 500's bread crumb map and haven't ever missed not having a street map even when in an area that I'm not familiar with--but that's just my preference.
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Old 05-27-11, 11:42 PM   #13
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If I need a map, I use the turn-by-turn GPS in my cell phone (as long as there's cell phone coverage). I've ridden with the 500's bread crumb map and haven't ever missed not having a street map even when in an area that I'm not familiar with--but that's just my preference.
You are correct that is your choice. Also, you rely on having cell coverage. It is constantly amazing to me how many places don't have good cell coverage. For example in an area about 150 miles south of Chicago there is next to none or no cell coverage for quite a large area.

But the big reason for me is that I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket where I'm in a strange area and failure of one device costs me navigation, communication and internet all at the same time. Then, I've discovered it is almost impossible to buy a paper map under that circumstance.

Still, lots of technology available. What you buy and what you use is very much a matter of preference and money available.
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Old 05-28-11, 10:23 AM   #14
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Many smartphones can display a detailed street map and your location even if you do not have a cell signal. You may need to pre-load your maps when you do have a signal, but if you're starting from your house, you probably already did that.
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Old 05-28-11, 09:54 PM   #15
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My issue with smart phones is the run time. My rides usually go for 5 hr or so and I don't want to depend on a apt that is energy hungry.
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Old 05-29-11, 05:12 PM   #16
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Many smartphones can display a detailed street map and your location even if you do not have a cell signal. You may need to pre-load your maps when you do have a signal, but if you're starting from your house, you probably already did that.
Experience is that for familiar routes, like starting from home, you don't need maps. I navigate over areas of literally hundreds of square miles with no map, no gps, nor any other navigation machine. I know the area. Where maps come in handy is navigating in unfamiliar areas. Plus, the battery has to have enough life to last for a day's use, most smartphones don't.
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Old 06-10-11, 08:49 AM   #17
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I have used previous generation Magellan Explorist and a Garmin (which failed to meet my needs). It sounds and looks about the same as a garmin 500. I would be hesitant to buy anything for over $100 at this point.

I need color, speedometer, ETA. I need to be able to plan a route. I would like more battery life, larger screen, more colors, easier use (touchscreen?). The things could be faster. Easier to map out with. IF it could just take a set of points and compute a street based navigation route that would probably be ideal.

I don't want to loose a bank roll.

It sound like the the 500 hasn't evolved much. It may have a faster processor than before.

The programming basis for my old device is sort of, well, proprietary. I've lost my "OS" once and had to send it back to be re-installed.


I have been thinking about my replacement. If I had internet capability, routes could be calculated for me (I used map sites back before you could drag the google route points around). I could download files, upload files, save unlimited amounts of info. There is a mozilla javascript bookmark that will make a gpx out of a regular old google map.

I used to be able to map out a route, convert the file type and upload it with in about 2 hours. The points based system is nice because you can have a beep before potential hazards.....of course your always looking down.
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Old 06-10-11, 04:50 PM   #18
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I ended up buying the Garmin 705. It seemed to be at a great price and came with the hr strap, cadence, and maps...
It was not much more than the 500 and allows some features that I think will be priceless.
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Old 06-10-11, 04:56 PM   #19
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However,
I have not taken it on it's maiden voyage yet. Soon...
I will report back.
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