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Old 08-09-13, 11:41 AM   #1
christophhh
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Garmin 810 Best Choice For Touring?

Looking at picking up a Garmin 810 -

I want a computer to use anywhere in the world, to map my routes, but to use for map access. I like to kind of just jump on my bike and go wherever.. having a suitable computer/map system with me would be a huge plus. But Thats about all I'd use.

Think the 810 is the best bet? Is the user interface clunky insofar as using the maps or does it work well?
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Old 08-09-13, 01:37 PM   #2
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Curiuos - given how advanced phones are these days (android, iphone, etc), do you really need a separate GPS device? I find myself using my phone for more and more these days...
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Old 08-09-13, 02:37 PM   #3
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The Edge 800 is pretty good (I've had mine for a couple of years and see no reason to upgrade to the 810, since I don't want to use the phone connectivity). I use OSM maps on mine, rather than Garmin's expensive proprietary maps. Depending on where you are, OSM can be great or terrible. The screen is pretty small, though. Take a piece of opaque paper, cut a 1.5" x 2.5" hole in it, and try reading a map through it. That will give you an idea of what it's like to use the Edge for route planning. I find it easier to plan a ride on my computer, export it as a GPX track, and then upload it to the Edge, which can use it to navigate.

If you want to use the device primarily for mapping, you might consider one of Garmin's other GPS products, such as the Oregon or Montana, with a larger screen. I think most of them also have basic cyclecomputer functions too (speed, distance, lap distance, etc.).

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Curiuos - given how advanced phones are these days (android, iphone, etc), do you really need a separate GPS device? I find myself using my phone for more and more these days...
The phone is great if you're connected to a network. But it doesn't store maps on the device unless you get an app that specifically does that. I do a lot of riding in places with poor or nonexistent cell reception (western MA and southern VT). I also find that using my phone for GPS runs the battery down quickly; I don't want to find myself unable to make a call because my battery is dead.
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Old 08-09-13, 02:45 PM   #4
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The 810 can have maps installed, but the display is too small and too low resolution for figuring out routes. That is best done using a computer to layout a route and then download it to the 810 to follow. FWIW: I've used the RideWithGPS website to layout routes and download them to a Garmin on a Galaxy S4 phone with USB OTG host adapter.

Cell phones are good. Often they get the map info from the data connection which can be costly. There are apps that allow the maps to be dowloaded and resident in the phone so that you don't rack up MB of roaming data (OsmAnd is one such app). No cell or data connection is needed for GPS to work with the resident maps. One major issue with cellphones is the battery usually doesn't last very long while being used as a GPS with the screen on. Aux battery packs are needed for that. There are some intricacies in hooking up cadence, heart rate, and wheel sensors to cellphones, but the new low power Bluetooth SMART (AKA LE or low energy) is resolving that.
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Old 08-09-13, 03:51 PM   #5
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For sure. I use Strava already when I ride, and have toured with it - but the problems are:

1. Your phone dies rapidly, like 4-5 hrs of riding and its dead (iphone 5)
2. You cant do maps/routes well

I don't need any crazy cycling stuff.. I just like what strava does, more than enough. Elevation, maps the route, speed, etc. What else could I need.

I thought it would be helpful to have something to have map access and directions when touring. Basically just roll up to any country/state/town and you'll have this potential device right on your bars.
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Old 08-09-13, 04:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by christophhh View Post
Looking at picking up a Garmin 810 -

I want a computer to use anywhere in the world, to map my routes, but to use for map access. I like to kind of just jump on my bike and go wherever.. having a suitable computer/map system with me would be a huge plus. But Thats about all I'd use.

Think the 810 is the best bet? Is the user interface clunky insofar as using the maps or does it work well?
I really like the Garmin Oregon 550t. I just started using it on my bicycle, but I mainly use it for adventure motorcycle riding. What I really like about it is the camera. While not spectacular as a camera, what it does that's cool is geotag the photo so you can use it as a waypoint. I like that feature and use it more than anything else.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:01 PM   #7
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You can get a small light battery booster pack that will carry your smartphone through the day.
For a total power solution I suggest getting a hub dynamo that powers a USB power source that will keep a booster battery and phone charged. This will also give you unlimited bike lighting for day and night riding.
I am building a SON28 dynamo hub wheel and adding a LED headlight with USB charging for around a $600-$700 dollar outlay. I don't think this is much more than a Garmin 810 and the necessary mapping software. Plus I'll have the convenience of charging all my devices and the use of all the apps of my smartphone (Droid Razr Maxx).

I do have a Garmin edge 500 that I will still use since I have it and the cadence and heart monitor. I'll use the battery booster to recharge it nightly.
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Old 08-10-13, 03:35 PM   #8
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Lots of issues with the 810. Just did a cross country tour where many riders had an 810. Mine worked fairly well for recording and tracking with an iPhone. For the others, there were numerous 810 crashes, resets, etc. Go to the Garmin 810 forum and you will find a number of unhappy users. The 800 is a better bet unless you need iPhone connectivity and live tracking.
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Old 08-10-13, 03:41 PM   #9
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Never having used a Garmin, I don't know what is different, but there have been stories of Garmin introducing a new model for touring

http://road.cc/content/news/85582-ga...g-gps-computer

http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/06/14/...puter-spotted/
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Old 08-10-13, 05:39 PM   #10
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Lots of issues with the 810. Just did a cross country tour where many riders had an 810. Mine worked fairly well for recording and tracking with an iPhone. For the others, there were numerous 810 crashes, resets, etc. Go to the Garmin 810 forum and you will find a number of unhappy users. The 800 is a better bet unless you need iPhone connectivity and live tracking.
The 810 has gotten much better with firmware updates, I no longer have crashes or resets, however, I usually lose the live tracking feature about 5 minutes into the ride and need to pull out my phone again and relaunch garmin connect which reconnects everything and then I'm fine for the rest of the ride. The live track issue started when garmin updated the garmin connect app.
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Old 08-11-13, 03:33 PM   #11
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The 810 has indeed gotten better but for many on the trip it was still erratic. I spent a number of days downloading new firmware for fellow riders. Often one bug fixed, another introduced. Garmin support even sent new units out with original firmware and often didn't ask riders what version they were using. The new version of the Garmin connect app (which is the primary reason I got the Garmin) and just released recently now refuses to do live track (says busy retry later) and takes days to upload results from the Iphone to Garmin connect. The app problems seem to stem from the fact that the update wants to first download all of your previous rides (I have a large number) before doing anything else, but that takes forever--for me it has been over a week now. Also, the number of firmware updates for a unit released early this year is pretty unconscionable. Each update has its surprises like resetting the unit to zero unless you carefully back up (OK fair enough read the directions) and losing some settings even if you do (some have complained about this on 2.7). The unit has great potential, but prepared to be a beta tester as it currently is not ready for prime time. I have had fewer problems than many with the NAV part of it, but even there the unit has stopped navigating mid course--at times without warning which is somewhat disconcerting towards the end of a long ride on an unfamiliar route. It requires the rider to stop the course, and restart it. It then recalculates the course from that point. That usually works but on out and back courses it sometimes gets confused which way you are headed.
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Old 08-12-13, 08:31 AM   #12
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I found with mine, if you load a course before you start moving, and the end to that course is the near the beginning, it thinks you should just go to the end mark, so the entire ride it tells you turn around and go back and that you're off course. I got around this by loading the course after I started riding, then everything would work fine.

As brickster said, I've seen it redownload all of my rides back to my phone as well. Everything seems fine on the initial startup of Livetrack, but no matter what, after 5 minutes it shows the phone has been disconnected. Pull out the phone and open Garmin Connect and then it redownloads everything. It does reconnect Live Track at that point, so I just throw the phone back in my pocket and then usually everything is ok.

Auto upload to my phone works quickly and efficiently. For the Garmin Connect app to upload the file to the net, I need to have Garmin Connect open on the phone and the phone needs to be on. It usually takes 30-60 seconds for it to upload, so I make sure my phone stays on while I take my shoes, helmet, gloves off. After that, I edit the file on my phone and save.

It's quirky, to say the least but you do learn the quirks and ways around them. Personally, I think firmware update 2.5 and 2.6 were the most stable and although the older version of Garmin Connect didn't let you edit the title of your ride, it did work efficiently with live track.
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Old 08-12-13, 11:04 AM   #13
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I found with mine, if you load a course before you start moving, and the end to that course is the near the beginning, it thinks you should just go to the end mark, so the entire ride it tells you turn around and go back and that you're off course. I got around this by loading the course after I started riding, then everything would work fine.
The Edge 800 does this too. I either do what you do, or if it's an unfamiliar route and I want directions the entire time, I break my course into two parts, out and back.
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