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Old 03-19-10, 09:15 AM   #1
BluesDawg
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Garmin Forerunner 305

I'm thinking of finally wading into the GPS pool. I don't want to get all geeked out with following routes and looking at maps while I ride and such, but it would be nice to be able to track where I've been and post the route and elevation data. I do a lot of route planning for my club and I get tired of going on MapMyRide and connecting the dots to show where I rode.

I think the Garmin Forerunner 305 (not the same as the Edge 305) will do everything I need and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It also includes a heart rate monitor which is another thing I've been slowly coming around to wanting to try.


I think at least one regular poster here (alcanoe?) has one of these. I'd appreciate any feedback and advice about it before I pull the trigger. Thanks,
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Old 03-19-10, 09:31 AM   #2
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My wife had one that we initially purchased (2006 version) for running. It worked perfect for running and when she changed her focus to cycling, she mounted it on the handlebar. The weak point for this device was that it did not have an altimeter such that climbing and % grade are wildly overstated. Instantaneous % grade was total BS. However, it does provide great tracking of routes and gives an indication of the route profile. Some software programs and on line services correct GPS data based upon USGS survey maps to provide more accurate climbing data. We have the 705 which has an altimeter and the climbing, % grade, and instantaneous % grade match known numbers. I did not check if the new versions have an altimeter.

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Old 03-19-10, 10:38 AM   #3
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I have had one for some time and it works fine. I use it both for bicycling and hiking. I am on my second one as the battery finally died on the first and Garmin refurbished for $80.00.
The con with the ForeRunner 305, from my viewpoint, is the battery life, is not great and as time goes by it gets worse.

I mostly use a Garmin Vista Hcx hand held device with a bike mount. It takes two AA batteries for which I keep a recharged pair in the wings.

The 305 is nice with the heart monitor, two bike set up( IIRCC), and you can get cadence and wheel sensors too as well as a handle bar mount.

I like using the gps units as a bike computer. There is no need for wheel sensors and wiring. And it moves from bike to bike hassle free.

Last edited by mas-az; 03-19-10 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 03-19-10, 10:41 AM   #4
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I'm thinking about getting this one.
http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/a...and-nvi--25391
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Old 03-19-10, 11:44 AM   #5
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Quick question: Are you comfortable wearing a wrist watch? But if wearing wrist watches doesn't bother you it should work fine. I've tried the handle bar mounts for a variety of heart rate monitors and none of them are all that slick. Some are cumbersome to use, others just look wrong, and yet others slip and slide. The Edge 305 might be a better bet if you don't want to wear something on your arm. It's pretty simple and straightforward, has the altimeter and as mas-az says you can set it up for cadence.
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Old 03-19-10, 12:09 PM   #6
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I went ahead and pulled the trigger. This looks close enough to what I want at a price I can handle without too much agonizing. Everything else I looked at was significantly more expensive. I ordered a quick release bike mount to put it on my handlebars. I don't plan to wear it on my wrist and I don't plan to use it on my bike all the time. Mostly for the first time I ride a new route.

I'll let you know how it works out. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 03-19-10, 06:16 PM   #7
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Hope you like it. I have a really old version of it and still use it, no HRM on mine. I use it in place of an odometer/speedometer and just being able to download the data is great. If I want grade I can get it by importing the data to one of the route mapping web sites. The only way to get good real time grade information IMHO is if the unit not only has a barametric altimeter but also a direct connect (non-GPS) odometer. Short of hanging a plumb line from your bars - grade is hard to measure.
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Old 03-19-10, 09:54 PM   #8
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That looks like an interesting product and I look forward to hearing more about it. I really enjoy having HR information myself and expect you will like that. Are you getting the cadence unit?
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Old 03-19-10, 10:13 PM   #9
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That looks like an interesting product and I look forward to hearing more about it. I really enjoy having HR information myself and expect you will like that. Are you getting the cadence unit?
Negative on the cadence unit. The computer on the Casseroll has cadence. That's enough to help me calibrate my brain for pedal speed.
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Old 03-20-10, 07:31 AM   #10
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I bought one about 2-years ago. The main reason was that my heart rate monitor (HRM) was giving trouble and I needed to replace it. After down-loading the manuals from the major brands of HRMs, I found that the 305 was the easiest to use of those who had the features I wanted, but the poorest support software. It also was about the same price and I got GPS to boot.

I use it for both cycling and running, though it's 98% cycling as in mountain biking on single-track both in N Florida and the N Georgia mountains. I keep it on the wrist as I keep a cyclometer on the handle bar. I mostly use it to record the data to view the plots of my HR, speed and cadence. Once in a while I'll glace at the display which is very easy to read quickly.

Unless I'm exploring a new and complicated trail where I may need GPS to get out, I keep the GPS off so that the recorded distance, speed, cadence plots are based on the rear wheel sensor and not GPS. It's far more accurate that way. You can use the GPS to calibrate the wheel sensor mode. I do it over a straight level mile under open sky. It jives with my cyclometer withing 0.01 miles over 1-mile that way.

Be advised that GPS is very inaccurate for elevation. So a lot of the features that involve distance measurement, slopes and altitude are inaccurate. That said, it's with-in a couple of hundred feet based on checking against the topo maps.

Biking in the woods the distance measure is generally 10 to 12% low and you'll get a deflated average speed accordingly. I haven't figured out whether this is due to drop-outs or the position errors ( about +/- 15 meter accuracy 95% of the time) or signal drop-outs. The trails are under trees, very twisty and up/down all of which would make the position errors accumulate rapidly.

In testing it on flat suburban streets with very few turns and not under trees it agreed withing 1% with my Ford and my cyclometer, but that was only for a 2 mile distance. I don't do much road cycling anymore.

Also note that the calorie estimate is way too high. The Garmin calculation doesn't incorporate HR, so it's useless.

I love it, and when prices drop I may get a 705 for the map capability. But it will be a while.

On the comfort thing, it's huge which is why the display is so easy to read, but very comfortable.

A neat feature is that with one button click you can see your route overlayed on Google Earth. Then with your mouse, you can see Google Earth's estimate of elevation.

I believe the Edge is identical in function. However, before you buy download the manual. It's the same for both.

Al

Last edited by alcanoe; 03-20-10 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 03-20-10, 08:17 AM   #11
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That's some good information Al, thanks. I really would want the maps, so I could use it for my car as well, thanks.
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Old 03-20-10, 08:47 AM   #12
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Since the GPS elevation and grade figures are considered to be so inaccurate, what are some good software and/or online resources to use with the tracking data to get more accurate stats? I know that MapMyRide wildly underestimates the grades of the frequent, short, abrupt hills around here.
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Old 03-20-10, 09:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Since the GPS elevation and grade figures are considered to be so inaccurate, what are some good software and/or online resources to use with the tracking data to get more accurate stats? I know that MapMyRide wildly underestimates the grades of the frequent, short, abrupt hills around here.
There are apparently some out there as I've seen some mention on forums somewhere. Even the Garmin "pay a monthly fee to use" on-line software might have that feature. The 705 has a barometer to better estimate elevation. However I don't know if it's tied in to the distance and slope calculations or if it's temperature compensated. In the old days I used a barometer for elevation to navigate for backpacking and spent big $'s to buy a German temp compensated unit.

Beware of Garmin tech support. Many don't know their products and have obviously never used them. They can't be trusted. However, you might post that question on a Garmin forum. Somebody there knows for sure.

I believe this issue is discussed (705 altitude accuracy) in the owner review section of the Amazon listing for the 705.

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Old 03-20-10, 09:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by alcanoe View Post
There are apparently some out there as I've seen some mention on forums somewhere. Even the Garmin "pay a monthly fee to use" on-line software might have that feature. The 705 has a barometer to better estimate elevation. However I don't know if it's tied in to the distance and slope calculations or if it's temperature compensated. In the old days I used a barometer for elevation to navigate for backpacking and spent big $'s to buy a German temp compensated unit.

Beware of Garmin tech support. Many don't know their products and have obviously never used them. They can't be trusted. However, you might post that question on a Garmin forum. Somebody there knows for sure.

I believe this issue is discussed (705 altitude accuracy) in the owner review section of the Amazon listing for the 705.

Al
Question is in reference to the Forerunner 305 which does not have the barometer altimeter.
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Old 03-20-10, 10:13 AM   #15
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Question is in reference to the Forerunner 305 which does not have the barometer altimeter.

I realized that and gave my comment to that issue in the first sentence. Then I ran directly into the 705 with out any indication that I was switching subjects. Sorry about that.

My point in bringing up the 705 was that even if you have a barometer/altimeter, it may not solve the problem and one can't rust Garmin to give a trustworthy answer either.

I've considered putting an inclinometer on my handlebars. They do make them for bikes.


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Old 03-20-10, 12:59 PM   #16
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Since the GPS elevation and grade figures are considered to be so inaccurate, what are some good software and/or online resources to use with the tracking data to get more accurate stats?
There are several sites that do some of this but I tend to like this one best for now. http://ridewithgps.com/
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Old 03-20-10, 02:51 PM   #17
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In my opinion, the best software to use with any of the Garmin fitness products is Sporttracks (used on a donation basis from http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTracks/). It's much better than what comes with the units, and runs directly on your PC instead of having to put up with the slowness of the Garmin Connect site. It has all sorts of mapping features including satellite views, etc., and has some free add-ons to do things like correcting elevation using USGIS topo data.

I use the Forerunner 305 for running, as I found it inconvenient to use on my wrist while cycling. I have an Edge 705 for the bikes, which I got as a retirement gift. I've had the F305 since the product was released 4 years ago and it's been very reliable for me except that the HRM has never worked all that well. But I don't have that much use for an HRM anyway and don't like wearing those straps.
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Old 03-20-10, 06:19 PM   #18
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There are several sites that do some of this but I tend to like this one best for now. http://ridewithgps.com/
I like this site. I can use it even without the GPS.
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Old 03-21-10, 08:25 AM   #19
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Sportstracks looked interesting so I've been playing with it a bit. It's certainly good for comparing performance history which Garmin Training Center (which you download and run on your pc) is not.

However, I like the detailed curves of Training Center of each ride which are automatically plotted/saved by just connecting the 305. I also like the automatic chart data. The charts show among other things the time spent in each HR zone, the distance spent in each zone. You can set up speed zones as well.

You can download Training center without owning a Garmin product as I did that before buying the 305.

The curves include HR or HR as % of max vs time or distance. Same for speed, cadence, and pace. If you own the Garmin topo map disc, you have your route displayed on a topo map and then of course there's Google Earth.

You can control the plotted curve detail by braking the ride into Laps by just hitting the Lap button on the device during the ride/run. For example, when I do a session of 1/10 mile sprints, I hit the lap button at the beginning and end of the sprint. The detail is such that I can tell things like I maintained over 185 BPM for 25 seconds. On my typical 19 mile single track rides, I'll divide it into three or four lap segments. You still get the plot of the total ride with option of looking at each lap segment.

For comparing historical data, training center is a loser.

I use CycliStates for that ( http://www.cyclistats.com/). I like it better (so far) than Sportstracks for historical data comparison/ tracking. You can select all kinds of curves and it also imports very easily from Training Center. CycliStates is not all that popular as you have to buy it. I think I paid something like $40 about 6 years ago which allows 2 pcs. Updates are free.

You can track performance by bike, by trail/route.

None of these though correct for GPS slope errors, but I don't know about Sportstrack. I use google earth or the Garmin topo maps to determine my elevation changes. The mountain trails get really steep and they are often so technical, that the slope can significantly change in a few feet.

My main issue is maintaining rear wheel traction while at the same time keeping enough force on the front wheel to steer. So elevation change is all I care about and GPS or Google earth is good enough for that.

By the way, you don't need GPS or even a HRM to use Cyclistats

Al
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Old 03-21-10, 02:11 PM   #20
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I have the 305 Edge. It does everything I could ever dream of. I use sports tracks for the software. Its a blast and tracks my rides in the way i want it. You can always just pocket the Edge for walking the dogs. (thats what me and the wife do) I like mounting it on the handle bar and using the timer for intervals. I mainly use it for MTBing. So far it has held up to the bouncing.
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