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  1. #1
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    GPS-only: device for navigation

    I've been looking at GPS-based navigation devices for a while. What I want is a GPS-based device where I can load detailed maps that would have all highways, roads, and streets in a given area (e.g., south eastern US). I don't want a bike computer with speed, cadence, distance, etc., because I already have that. I only want the navigation/orientation capability (currently I'm using my iPhone and Google maps).

    What I'm finding is a number of bike computers that also have GPS navigation, for instance, the Garmin Edge 800 and the new 810. But, like I said, that device has much more than I need (speed, cadence, HRM, training routines, etc.).

    I found other devices like the Garmin Nuvi, which seems to have a good size touchscreen, or the (seemingly) bulkier Garmin Dakota. There are also a couple of devices under the generic name of Waterproof GPS (http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Hot-S...676536382.html) and Bike Kit Car GPS Navigator (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Tou...vip=true&rt=nc).

    Any recommendations for a GPS navigation device that has a large screen (at least 4"), has the option of adding detailed maps (providing the equivalent of Google Maps), can be mounted on a bike, and does not include unnecessary (for me) functions such as speed, distance, cadence, HRM, training, intervals, etc?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I think you will find that there's not much call for GPS only... why would you want two devices on your bars? And 4 inch screen? Yikes!

    Btw, the Garmin Edge 800 can be found for just over $300 right now and there's a $100 mail in rebate from Garmin. You can certainly ignore all the bike computer functions.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    I think you will find that there's not much call for GPS only... why would you want two devices on your bars? And 4 inch screen? Yikes!

    Btw, the Garmin Edge 800 can be found for just over $300 right now and there's a $100 mail in rebate from Garmin. You can certainly ignore all the bike computer functions.
    I have a bar extender under the handlebars, so there is plenty of space and my handlebars would remain free. There are several reasons for two devices: a backup system, different mount locations, a GPS with voice directions that can even go into your pocker with a BlueTooth earbug, and also the fact that if I already have a good bicycle computer, why would I pay another $300 to have the same functions plus GPS navigation.

    I was thinking that a GPS that can also be used for trekking, for a motorcycle, and even for your car, would be a better choice in my situation.

    Regarding the screen size, I prefer large font and a large screen. For instance, the Garming 800 has a 2.6" screen, which is barely enough for me. On a couple of trips I took an iPad and used Google Maps with it, and that was extremely effective screen size-wise (not so much weight-wise).

  4. #4
    Senior Member fatguy_ona_bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgpg_99 View Post
    I have a bar extender under the handlebars, so there is plenty of space and my handlebars would remain free. There are several reasons for two devices: a backup system, different mount locations, a GPS with voice directions that can even go into your pocker with a BlueTooth earbug, and also the fact that if I already have a good bicycle computer, why would I pay another $300 to have the same functions plus GPS navigation.

    I was thinking that a GPS that can also be used for trekking, for a motorcycle, and even for your car, would be a better choice in my situation.

    Regarding the screen size, I prefer large font and a large screen. For instance, the Garming 800 has a 2.6" screen, which is barely enough for me. On a couple of trips I took an iPad and used Google Maps with it, and that was extremely effective screen size-wise (not so much weight-wise).

    Have you considered selling off the current computer to fund the GPS based unit? Just a thought. I've also been kicking around the idea of a second device, only so I can remove the GPS unit when I don't need it and I still have my $30 basic computer for all the core info I like to see. No need to have a GPS commuting.

    So, I have to ask, do you have a picture of your iPad mounted to your bike. I MUST see this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rgpg_99 View Post
    I've been looking at GPS-based navigation devices for a while. What I want is a GPS-based device where I can load detailed maps that would have all highways, roads, and streets in a given area (e.g., south eastern US). I don't want a bike computer with speed, cadence, distance, etc., because I already have that. I only want the navigation/orientation capability (currently I'm using my iPhone and Google maps).

    What I'm finding is a number of bike computers that also have GPS navigation, for instance, the Garmin Edge 800 and the new 810. But, like I said, that device has much more than I need (speed, cadence, HRM, training routines, etc.).

    I found other devices like the Garmin Nuvi, which seems to have a good size touchscreen, or the (seemingly) bulkier Garmin Dakota. There are also a couple of devices under the generic name of Waterproof GPS (http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Hot-S...676536382.html) and Bike Kit Car GPS Navigator (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Tou...vip=true&rt=nc).

    Any recommendations for a GPS navigation device that has a large screen (at least 4"), has the option of adding detailed maps (providing the equivalent of Google Maps), can be mounted on a bike, and does not include unnecessary (for me) functions such as speed, distance, cadence, HRM, training, intervals, etc?

    Thanks in advance.
    Why not just use your phone? You can get an external battery pack that would extend how long it would last. There are lots of apps that let you download maps.

    Some one I ride with uses a motorcycle GPS that uses AA batteries (he swaps the batteries in the middle of the ride).

    Note that routing might be an issue: the car-focused units might not provide routes that you'd want to bicycle on.

    The random Chinese units certainly are cheap but you won't get much information about how well they work (you won't be able to get any service if you have problems with one) and you have no idea how long the battery lasts.

    I suspect that many of the car/motorcycle units really don't have enough battery capacity to last for a long bicycle ride (you'd have to either be able to swap batteries or use an external pack). Given that, I don't think that would work better on a bike than a phone would.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-29-13 at 07:26 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Roosterbird's Avatar
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    I have the Dakota and really like it for my rides. I used it prior for our hikes and when I got in to biking it works great. If you use the turn by turn mode it should work for you. There are several maps available that you want, either from places like garmin or there are some free sites. I also have a newer nuvi(3490) and its about the size of an iphone 5. The dakota is ANT capable if you decide you need that. I would add that I think the nuvi is bulkier than the Dakota. The edge is a great product but the dakota is very versitle and bike friendly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roosterbird View Post
    I have the Dakota and really like it for my rides. I used it prior for our hikes and when I got in to biking it works great. If you use the turn by turn mode it should work for you. There are several maps available that you want, either from places like garmin or there are some free sites. I also have a newer nuvi(3490) and its about the size of an iphone 5. The dakota is ANT capable if you decide you need that. I would add that I think the nuvi is bulkier than the Dakota. The edge is a great product but the dakota is very versitle and bike friendly.
    Please explain in more detail how the turn by turn functions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatguy_ona_bike View Post
    So, I have to ask, do you have a picture of your iPad mounted to your bike. I MUST see this.
    Sorry to disappoint you, I carried the iPad in my pannier. I only took it out when I couldn't find a turn or a street, or when I wanted to know how far I was from the next turn. Google Maps gave me my exact position on a satellite map, much better than any paper map.

    But if you want a picture, someone else set up their iPad on the handlebars the same way I would have done:

    ipad_case_horizontal.jpg



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Why not just use your phone? You can get an external battery pack that would extend how long it would last. There are lots of apps that let you download maps.
    That's what I've been doing, using my iPhone and MapMyRide. Still with a phone you need reliable cell service to connect to either Google Maps or MapMyRide, so I was looking for the next level up, something that would work independently (no data plans, no dependency on cell towers, etc.).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roosterbird View Post
    I have the Dakota and really like it for my rides. I used it prior for our hikes and when I got in to biking it works great. If you use the turn by turn mode it should work for you. There are several maps available that you want, either from places like garmin or there are some free sites. I also have a newer nuvi(3490) and its about the size of an iphone 5. The dakota is ANT capable if you decide you need that. I would add that I think the nuvi is bulkier than the Dakota. The edge is a great product but the dakota is very versitle and bike friendly.
    How good do you think battery life is in the Dakota and your model of Nuvi? The specs for your Nuvi say around 4 hours depending on used. Cheaper Nuvi models have about 2 hours of battery life. The Nuvis do have a 4.3" screen, which I like.

    In terms of price, your model (Nuvi 3490LMT) is around $250, while a Nuvi 2455LMT is around $140. I just browsed the specs and I did not notice any critical differences between them (e.g., SD card slot, screen size, etc.), except extra features, and weight/size.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgpg_99 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Why not just use your phone? You can get an external battery pack that would extend how long it would last. There are lots of apps that let you download maps.
    That's what I've been doing, using my iPhone and MapMyRide. Still with a phone you need reliable cell service to connect to either Google Maps or MapMyRide, so I was looking for the next level up, something that would work independently (no data plans, no dependency on cell towers, etc.).
    Don't use these, then! You can get apps that use local maps (downloaded before-hand).

    For the iPhone:

    Motion X GPS lets you download maps easily and tracks (but doesn't provide turn-by-turn).

    Motion X Drive lets you download maps (but not easily) and provides voice turn-by-turn for an extra monthly fee (I'm not sure if this is worth it). It looks like "Drive" will cache the maps for a computed route (which doesn't seem that useful for your purpose).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-30-13 at 05:40 AM.

  12. #12
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgpg_99 View Post
    That's what I've been doing, using my iPhone and MapMyRide. Still with a phone you need reliable cell service to connect to either Google Maps or MapMyRide, so I was looking for the next level up, something that would work independently (no data plans, no dependency on cell towers, etc.).
    Google maps lets you cache the maps (on Android, at least) so you don't need data coverage (and I know there are other programs that do the same for both platforms). Particularly if you are in a spot with bad coverage, turning off the 3G/phone can save a lot of battery life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Google maps lets you cache the maps (on Android, at least) so you don't need data coverage (and I know there are other programs that do the same for both platforms). Particularly if you are in a spot with bad coverage, turning off the 3G/phone can save a lot of battery life.
    There doesn't appear to be any obvious way to get the Google maps to cache on the iPhone. (It could be caching some stuff but you have no idea what is being cached.)

  14. #14
    Senior Member Roosterbird's Avatar
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    http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/Dakot...nersManual.pdf

    The battery life in the nuvi is shorter but if your in the car that doesnt factor in. Battery life in the gps can be managed, like haveing the screen power off sooner, less back lite etc. I havent need an extra set of batteries but a couple of extra AA could fit in your pocket or pouch. I would say the regualar AA's last about 6hrs of continous use?

    @ Tony, you can find more info in the garmin instruction mannual link above, sorry I can't be more specfic because I dont use it in the car, but I got that from instructions and device. See page 23.

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    The Dakota can also do cadence, speed, HRM, etc so if it is a deal breaker for you to have any bike computer functions the Dakota is out for you.

  16. #16
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Google maps lets you cache the maps (on Android, at least) so you don't need data coverage (and I know there are other programs that do the same for both platforms). Particularly if you are in a spot with bad coverage, turning off the 3G/phone can save a lot of battery life.
    At least on my phone the "Make available Offline" option only allows for a relatively small area to be cached. I'm not sure of the exact cross section.. maybe 50 - 60 miles left to right / top to bottom. I got up to around 100+ miles and it told me it was too large.

    So I guess it depends on how far you're going or how frequently you want to re-cache your data.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    At least on my phone the "Make available Offline" option only allows for a relatively small area to be cached. I'm not sure of the exact cross section.. maybe 50 - 60 miles left to right / top to bottom. I got up to around 100+ miles and it told me it was too large.

    So I guess it depends on how far you're going or how frequently you want to re-cache your data.
    Huh. What if you try making it offline in two or more passes?
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  18. #18
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Huh. What if you try making it offline in two or more passes?
    Well, I hadn't considered that. Apparently I can.
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  19. #19
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    Well, I hadn't considered that. Apparently I can.
    Good!
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  20. #20
    Senior Member fatguy_ona_bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgpg_99 View Post
    Sorry to disappoint you, I carried the iPad in my pannier. I only took it out when I couldn't find a turn or a street, or when I wanted to know how far I was from the next turn. Google Maps gave me my exact position on a satellite map, much better than any paper map.

    But if you want a picture, someone else set up their iPad on the handlebars the same way I would have done:

    ipad_case_horizontal.jpg


    This. This is amazing.

    I think you have the better solution to use it as a check. Thanks for the pic!

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