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Old 06-18-12, 07:26 AM   #1
DCwom
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Garmin Edge Alternatives, i.e. handheld GPS?

I've been using an original "yellow etrex" for years, its has a 9 pin RS232 interface interface cable! So I'm looking to upgrade. I've checked out the Edge cycle specific GPSs, but besides the cost I'm not sure the feature set really meets my needs. I want to track where I've been, and would like to have a map of where I'm at, turn-by-turn would be nice as well. I've looked at the boatload of different handheld models but they are overwhelming. Can anyone give a recommendation for a handheld GPS instead of a cycle GPS?
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Old 06-18-12, 03:41 PM   #2
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It's too bad nobody responded to this. I'm in the same boat. I like the idea of dumping my route onto the web when I'm done, including vertical gains/losses (altimeter). And every once in a great while it would be nice to have an online navigator when I'm deep in the country/woods. But they all have that other crap like 'cadence' that I have zero interest in. I have a trunk bag on my cycle and I would only use it when I'm taking long bike rides on Saturdays and heading to the outskirts of civilization or lost in some spaghetti neighborhood of roads. Anybody have any suggestions? As far as I'm concerned, a hand held navigator would work or some variant of it.
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Old 06-19-12, 02:09 AM   #3
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Etrex 30 is probably the way to go.
Barometric altimeter, runs off AAs, you can get a bike mount for it and if you want heart rate and cadence its ANT+ compatible.
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Old 06-19-12, 10:43 AM   #4
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9 pin RS232 shouldn't really be an issue as a USB converters are readily available, small, dirt cheap, and straightforward to use.

Not that I'm recommending it, but on my last hiking/camping/hunting trip I used my Edge 705 instead of a Lowrance handheld GPS that I usually use. Worked fine.
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Old 06-20-12, 09:35 AM   #5
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Etrex 30 is probably the way to go.
Barometric altimeter, runs off AAs, you can get a bike mount for it and if you want heart rate and cadence its ANT+ compatible.
Wow that is awesome feedback - this seems like a better fit for people touring than the edge product. Not sure what battery life is like however. It can apparently provide turn-by-turn directions as well.

Why wouldn't this be a better choice than an edge 800?
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Old 06-20-12, 09:43 AM   #6
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Furthermore I see they make a Montana model with a larger touch screen.... way more money, but seems to be money better spent that an 800 for my purposes. It appears the battery life is like 22 hours with AA batteries - wow. They even make a bike mount for the Montana units.... hmmm
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Old 06-22-12, 07:40 AM   #7
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Wow that is awesome feedback - this seems like a better fit for people touring than the edge product. Not sure what battery life is like however. It can apparently provide turn-by-turn directions as well.

Why wouldn't this be a better choice than an edge 800?
The eTrex 30 looks like a viable feature/price alternative to the 800 with its ANT+, but the 800 probably still wins on the feature set. Since I'm not really interested in the ANT+ capability, (at least not for the extra cost), I think I'm settling in on the eTrex 20. Too bad the eTrex 20 doesn't use the old eTrex mount I have for my old "yellow" eTrex GPS.
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Old 06-23-12, 05:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by E_merlin View Post
Wow that is awesome feedback - this seems like a better fit for people touring than the edge product. Not sure what battery life is like however. It can apparently provide turn-by-turn directions as well.

Why wouldn't this be a better choice than an edge 800?
It lasts around 24 hours on one set of batteries.

Edge 500/800 are lighter (by about 2 ounces) and have a number of cycling-specific features which are absent in eTrex 30. These include "Virtual Partner", the ability to display heart rate zones, support of ANT+ wireless power meters, laps, calories burned. Edge models have a large number of different ways of displaying/averaging your heart rate, cadence, and power, eTrex can only display current HR and current cadence.

I don't know about turn-by-turn instructions, I never tried to use them in eTrex. It does allow you to upload a GPX route and follow it on the map screen.
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Old 06-23-12, 06:11 PM   #9
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I cannot help you much but the Edge is amazing. It does everything you have mentioned you wanted from it plus more.
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Old 07-01-12, 12:27 AM   #10
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Tried to measure exactly how long my eTrex 30 lasted on one set of batteries.

From the moment I put in new batteries, to the moment it shut down with the "low battery" warning, it recorded almost exactly 24 hours (24:02), not including time it took me to carry the unit from the bike to the computer, or time spent sitting plugged into the USB port. I don't think that it uses up batteries when it is plugged in, but I'm not 100% sure.
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Old 07-02-12, 07:46 AM   #11
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A follow up to my original post.
My Etrex 20 came in this weekend, after 6 hours downloading the map I finally took it out Sunday for a test ride. I am quite pleased with the dashboard information, there is a lot more info than I had expected and the readability in direct sunlight is good. I still need to master the map navigation buttons, while trying to explore surrounding areas during a rest stop I ended up walking north to get the unit oriented with the "map north" so I could think west=left, east=right, etc. Still more to play with.

I've never used an Edge 800 so I can't compare the Etrex 20 with the 800, but the Etrex 20 has everything and more that I was looking for at a price I could afford. I plan to keep my Cateye on the bike as the standard odometer and use the GPS when I go trekking.
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Old 07-02-12, 03:45 PM   #12
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how about used edge 305 with a good battery? it is cheap and does what you need
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