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-   -   Can anyone recommend a good, basic GPS?? (http://www.bikeforums.net/electronics-lighting-gadgets/868337-can-anyone-recommend-good-basic-gps.html)

vanwormer 01-19-13 03:13 PM

Can anyone recommend a good, basic GPS??
 
I'd like to get a GPS to use on unfamiliar roads, but I have a Node2 system, so I don't need the computer tools that normally come with some of the better Garmins (speed, distance, etc.) Can anyone recommend a decent GPS mapping system to keep me from getting lost? It's embarrassing to start a ride in Northwest Indiana and call home later from Cleveland to say I'll miss supper.

cplager 01-19-13 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanwormer (Post 15175027)
I'd like to get a GPS to use on unfamiliar roads, but I have a Node2 system, so I don't need the computer tools that normally come with some of the better Garmins (speed, distance, etc.) Can anyone recommend a decent GPS mapping system to keep me from getting lost? It's embarrassing to start a ride in Northwest Indiana and call home later from Cleveland to say I'll miss supper.

It turns out that this is more difficult than you might think. Getting a GPS on a bike to tell you where you've been is easy. Getting one with direction on the cheap isn't at all obvious.

The cheapest route I can think of is to get a car GPS and maybe an external battery (some Garmin GPSes get upset when you plug in an external battery, so even this isn't obvious). Next choice is a cheap/used android phone and use Google maps (where you can cache the area before you go) or someother software. You either need to figure out how to mount this, or just look at it occasionally when you get lost (that's what I do).

Hopefully some poster after me will come up with an ideal solution...

Cheers,
Charles

01 CAt Man Do 01-20-13 03:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanwormer (Post 15175027)
I'd like to get a GPS to use on unfamiliar roads, but I have a Node2 system, so I don't need the computer tools that normally come with some of the better Garmins (speed, distance, etc.) Can anyone recommend a decent GPS mapping system to keep me from getting lost? It's embarrassing to start a ride in Northwest Indiana and call home later from Cleveland to say I'll miss supper.

After doing some reading up on the subject I too have ventured into getting a GPS so I could navigate on unfamiliar roads without using a cue sheet.

For me the answer was buying a Garmin 705 off of an ebay seller. Now I am able to map out a complete route ( using the RidewithGPS website ) and down load the route of my choice directly to my Garmin. Before buying the Garmin I could do the same with my Android but the GPS tracking while riding the bike was way too slow for my taste. Not to mention the "Cue Sheet " ap I was using wouldn't give me the prompts to my turns in a timely fashion. All things considered I decided to buy the Garmin.

Today I did my first ride with my 705. With the "City Navigator" maps already loaded in the unit and the route I wanted downloaded from "RidewithGPS", I took off down the road. The Garmin performed magnificently with tone/visual prompts both before the turns and AT the turns. Now I can't wait to hit the streets when the warm weather finally comes back. Oh how I hate winter.

cplager 01-20-13 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do (Post 15176900)
After doing some reading up on the subject I too have ventured into getting a GPS so I could navigate on unfamiliar roads without using a cue sheet.

For me the answer was buying a Garmin 705 off of an ebay seller. Now I am able to map out a complete route ( using the RidewithGPS website ) and down load the route of my choice directly to my Garmin. Before buying the Garmin I could do the same with my Android but the GPS tracking while riding the bike was way too slow for my taste. Not to mention the "Cue Sheet " ap I was using wouldn't give me the prompts to my turns in a timely fashion. All things considered I decided to buy the Garmin.

Today I did my first ride with my 705. With the "City Navigator" maps already loaded in the unit and the route I wanted downloaded from "RidewithGPS", I took off down the road. The Garmin performed magnificently with tone/visual prompts both before the turns and AT the turns. Now I can't wait to hit the streets when the warm weather finally comes back. Oh how I hate winter.

These aren't cheap, but do seem to do a nice job. One note: If you don't have the maps, I've read (a lot) that the open source maps work. This can save quite a bit of money.

Cheers,
Charles

Doug Huffman 01-20-13 10:07 AM

GPS and particularly Garmin's are the ultimate tethered-appliances castigated by Jonathan Zittrain in his The Future of the Internet - And How to Stop It. http://www.amazon.com/The-Future-Int.../dp/0300151241

I have a Garmin GPSMap 76CS and would pitch it but for the money I've put into it. I need a GPS that's still easy to use and useful when I'm bonked at the end of a ultra long day.

vanwormer 01-20-13 02:51 PM

I'm not necessarily looking for cheap - I was just wondering if anyone knows of a GPS unit that doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of speed, cadence, heart rate monitor, etc. I'll check out the Garmin units. I've ridden with a couple of riders who had them, I just never thought to ask for details. Thanks.

cplager 01-20-13 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanwormer (Post 15178523)
I'm not necessarily looking for cheap - I was just wondering if anyone knows of a GPS unit that doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of speed, cadence, heart rate monitor, etc. I'll check out the Garmin units. I've ridden with a couple of riders who had them, I just never thought to ask for details. Thanks.

You can buy a Garmin Edge 800 without the cadence/heart rate monitors for a little less money. You can still get them after the fact (and I do actually recommend both of them).

If you just want maps, you can consider non-biking units (e.g., what hikers use). I don't know if these display speed at all or if they can output GPX (or other format) tracks of where you've been.

Cheers,
Charles

rebel1916 01-20-13 03:41 PM

Any android phone will have google maps, which is capable of giving turn by turn directions to where ever you want to go. Extra batteries on Amazon are cheap and good insurance against running out of juice.

01 CAt Man Do 01-20-13 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug Huffman (Post 15177484)
GPS and particularly Garmin's are the ultimate tethered-appliances castigated by Jonathan Zittrain in his The Future of the Internet - And How to Stop It. http://www.amazon.com/The-Future-Int.../dp/0300151241

I have a Garmin GPSMap 76CS and would pitch it but for the money I've put into it. I need a GPS that's still easy to use and useful when I'm bonked at the end of a ultra long day.

"Tethered appliance"?...:wtf:...So like we really need a book plug on internet usage?.....whatever...The Garmins work and work better than the free stuff currently available for my smart phone. Now when that changes I'll no longer need the Garmin...However, the Garmin 705 is supposed to run for 13 hrs on one charge. I'm pretty sure my Android won't be doing that any day soon even if there was a navigation Ap that ran route segments real well and was free.

I also own a Garmin for the car that I bought years ago. Works great but now I use the Google Navigator on my Android which works even better and is more useful with the verbal navigate function it has. Too bad the free "Cue Sheet" Ap didn't work so great for navigating routes but Hey, what can you do. Eventually someone will upgrade the "Cue Sheet " Ap so it is better at prompting when approaching a turn. When that happens you won't need a Garmin any longer unless you want training aids.

There are still many things my smart phone can do that the Garmin can't but I bring the Android on every ride anyway so I always have all the bases covered.

@Vanwormer > If you want good turn by turn navigation with advance prompts ( tone and visual ) for the turns ) you want either the 705, the 800 or the new 810. Like you I really didn't need the "Bells and whistles" I just wanted good navigation for planned routes. On the up side if I want "Bells and Whistles" the 705 offers a good array of those if I choose to use them. I couldn't afford a new one so for less than a couple hundred I scored a 705 on ebay. I got lucky, mine came with the maps.

vanwormer 01-20-13 08:23 PM

I think I may have solved my puzzle. Some years ago, we bought a Magellan for use in a VW we had. I hadn't thought about using it with my bike, but I searched the web and found a bar-mount for the Magellan for $19 on Amazon (where else?). From the pics and the description, it should work pretty well. We'll see . . . . Next question is how long the battery will last. Thanks for the suggestions. If this doesn't work, I'll look into a Garmin.

cplager 01-20-13 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanwormer (Post 15179641)
I think I may have solved my puzzle. Some years ago, we bought a Magellan for use in a VW we had. I hadn't thought about using it with my bike, but I searched the web and found a bar-mount for the Magellan for $19 on Amazon (where else?). From the pics and the description, it should work pretty well. We'll see . . . . Next question is how long the battery will last. Thanks for the suggestions. If this doesn't work, I'll look into a Garmin.

You can buy external batteries that should extend usage. Many garmin get confused and think that they are plugged into a computer, but hopefully your Magellan won't have that problem.

My bar mount for an auto GPS did not fair very well as the GPS fell of within the first 15 minutes. Hopefully yours does better... :)

dougmc 01-21-13 11:34 AM

If money isn't a big object, get one of the Garmin Edge units. I know you said you don't need all the bike features, but they're mighty convenient and come with good solid mounting options. This will cost at least several hundred dollars, though you can save money by picking up a used 605 or 705 on Craigslist from somebody upgrading to the newer models.

If money is an object, get a cheap auto GPS with a built in battery. Problem is, the battery is likely only good for a few hours, so you'll need to extend it somehow with an external battery unless a few hours is sufficient. You can find GPSs that'll fit the bill for around $50 if you wait for a sale, and perhaps $30 more for an external battery?

Another option is a hand held GPS with maps. You'll also need a mount for it, or you can just keep it in your bag until needed. They generally have decent battery life and bringing spare batteries is easy. Not sure about cost.

contango 01-21-13 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanwormer (Post 15175027)
I'd like to get a GPS to use on unfamiliar roads, but I have a Node2 system, so I don't need the computer tools that normally come with some of the better Garmins (speed, distance, etc.) Can anyone recommend a decent GPS mapping system to keep me from getting lost? It's embarrassing to start a ride in Northwest Indiana and call home later from Cleveland to say I'll miss supper.

Speed and distance are about the most basic features a GPS will give you, aside from the coordinates of where you are. Any GPS that gives you a map will give you those things as well.

I suppose obvious questions to ask would be what sort of money you want and whether you'd rather have a big bulky unit that comes with a big screen or a sleeker more aero unit that doesn't show as much map at once.

For what it's worth the free maps you can get for Garmins are great for seeing where you are but sometimes the routing on them can be a bit unpredictable. When I want to cycle any great distance, especially through areas I don't know well, I prepare a route in advance and save it as a track log. It means I have to watch where I am relative to the nice purple line but also means I get the route I wanted rather than the route it thought I might want.

redcon1 01-22-13 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dougmc (Post 15181615)

Another option is a hand held GPS with maps. You'll also need a mount for it, or you can just keep it in your bag until needed. They generally have decent battery life and bringing spare batteries is easy. Not sure about cost.

For years I rode with a Garmin eTrex Vista mounted to my handlebar with a Garmin mount. The eTrex range can have a very basic LCD B/W screen or a color screen. The Vista I had was a mid-range model, a very basic map is preloaded but detailed maps were extra. I purchased a Garmin CD and would download the map I needed. Routing on mine could only be done by waypoints, but it definitely fit the bill for knowing where you started from and where you were at any given time. Mine eventually succumbed to loose battery connections, which would make the unit go dead at the most inopportune times.

I've seen used eTrex models like mine for less than $50 on eBay; but buying used you would be taking a chance, for sure.

dougmc 01-23-13 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redcon1 (Post 15185957)
The Vista I had was a mid-range model, a very basic map is preloaded but detailed maps were extra.

I believe you can now load OpenStreetMaps onto them for free. I've never tried, however.

Quote:

Mine eventually succumbed to loose battery connections, which would make the unit go dead at the most inopportune times.
That's generally not too difficult to repair.

Quote:

I've seen used eTrex models like mine for less than $50 on eBay; but buying used you would be taking a chance, for sure.
If you get it in person on Craigslist, you can verify that it works. If you can see that it gets a signal and tells you where you are on a map, you've pretty well verified that it works.

mibike 01-24-13 12:37 PM

I bought a Garmin eTrex 20 and the map chip after sending an email to Garmin Tech Support asking if it would upload and download from Garmin connect. I received an email back stating it would. I was looking for this functionality as a lot of the rides I do are on Garmin Connect. If I try “Send to Device” on Garmin Connect I get a message “No device found that supports Courses”. I called Garmin Tech Support this morning and now they say it won’t work with Garmin Connect. Also the mileage is way off on the Trip Computer screen. It reports anywhere from about 2 to 3.5 times the mileage that it should. Tech Support had me do a reset we will see if that helps next time I get a chance to use it.

BenVoiles 02-02-13 08:40 AM

I have a couple of Garmin car models and a mount for the handlebars. The problem is the batteries don't stay charged long enough. Has anybody had a similar problem? If so what is the solution? I saw somebody post about using an external battery, what kind of battery do you use? I could use a power pack jump starter but they weigh about 20 pounds.

cplager 02-02-13 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BenVoiles (Post 15227524)
I have a couple of Garmin car models and a mount for the handlebars. The problem is the batteries don't stay charged long enough. Has anybody had a similar problem? If so what is the solution? I saw somebody post about using an external battery, what kind of battery do you use? I could use a power pack jump starter but they weigh about 20 pounds.

I have an old Garmin 275 and a 5000 mA external rechargeable battery. A lot of Garmin (mine included) get confused when you plug in an external battery and think that they are connected to a computer and therefore will not work as a GPS. You can sometimes trick them into starting up, but it can be somewhere between slightly annoying to simply-will-not-work. Garmin should really be ashamed of themselves for this problem.

The other problem I had is that with the extra battery in the mount for the handlebar mount is that it is quite a bit heavier and in my case, it flew off of the handlebars and fell onto the road. I'm sure that with the right mount, this problem could be avoided.

christo930 02-02-13 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanwormer (Post 15175027)
I'd like to get a GPS to use on unfamiliar roads, but I have a Node2 system, so I don't need the computer tools that normally come with some of the better Garmins (speed, distance, etc.) Can anyone recommend a decent GPS mapping system to keep me from getting lost? It's embarrassing to start a ride in Northwest Indiana and call home later from Cleveland to say I'll miss supper.

You can get a Compaq Ipaq 3000 (series) off of ebay for $10 or less. Garmin made a "sleeve" that had a GPS in it along with an extra battery (and the batteries are still available) and an SD slot. These things have a gorgeous reflective TFT color front lit screen that works in any light condition including bright sunlight. You can put this system together for <$50 and it can play MP3s, games, even movies. Old technology is great because it's cheap, but still useful.

Chris


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