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  1. #1
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    GPS for Tandem Standard Bike or Car?

    I have looking for a GPS unit for our bike. The Bike ones seem very pricey but I wonder what the benefit would be over a lower price model for a car? I would probably mount either on the stoker's bar. Any suggestions on which would work? Any thoughts for considering which was to go?

  2. #2
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Getting a GPS that is bike specific will be 1) easier to mount, 2) lighter, 3) will think like its on a bike, not a car ( i.e. in road selection)and 4) will give you cadence and Heart Rate.

    You can get a Garmin 305 with cadence, speed sensor and HRM on Ebay for $150 or less right now.

    Check out Digital Oasis on Ebay.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  3. #3
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    The way to approach this is to learn what is in the gold standard, the Edge 705.




    Then, see what you are going to give up as your choice varies from the 705. Off the top of my head, I can list:

    • Long battery life
    • Bright, readable screen
    • Upload/download rides
    • A very good heart rate monitor
    • Directions, maps, waypoints, etc.
    • Grade % (very important)
    • Wildly optimistic calorie count
    • Power meter capability

  4. #4
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Our car-based one has a rather short battery life and does not appear particularly weather resistant.

  5. #5
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    I recently bought a 705 and had the same issues you did. The cost does not justify it and it is more of a fancy trinket than a necessity. With all the 'add ons' that I got with it, we were pushing almost $400. I never did find anything else that was acceptable. My suggestion is to save your money and get one since anything you should get now will most likely not do what you are looking for. If you are just looking for a moving map for the stoker any small cheap one that runs on batteries would be OK. With a little butchery I am certain you can hook it up to the stoker bars. I do not think the 305 has maps, so if you are looking for that it will not help. I am certain you can confirm that yourself.

  6. #6
    Santana Couple
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    GPS economically

    I have been using a Garmin E Trex Ledgen for 5 years. I was the best way to go at the time because there were no bike specific offerings. It is still made and they offer two size handelbar mounts. It is very easy to map out a route on the PC, load it into the gps, and follow it on the road. Mine is the grey scale model and gets about 10 hours from 2 AA batteries. I carry extra and change as needed. The color version eats batteries quicker.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    I recently bought a 705 and had the same issues you did. The cost does not justify it and it is more of a fancy trinket than a necessity.
    Could you explain what issues you had?

    I lay out a route with Garmin's MapSource, download it to the 705, and it gives me turn by turn instructions for the route. Additionally, it shows a map of where I am. After, the ride you can download data on your ride. These functios plus all of the usual bike functions, what more do you need?

  8. #8
    Hej på dej!! Eurastus's Avatar
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    I too use a Garmin eTrex that I move between all my bikes, including the tandem. The biggest benefit to the eTrex series I can see over the 605 & 705 is that the eTrex line uses standard AA batteries, so it's a simple matter to carry a spare pair. Also, the current Vista HCx is an excellent choice as a small all-round GPS for bike and hike use.

    Any GPS with a screen big enough for decent car use will be way to big for mounting on the handlebars.

    The bike-specific models don't work very well off the bike either. Now, keep in mind that I have no use for cadence or heart-rate sensors, which obviously the eTrex line lacks. If these are important, the 705 is a good option. In my opinion the 205 and 305 aren't worth anything; what's the point of a GPS without maps?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurastus View Post
    The bike-specific models don't work very well off the bike either. ...

    If these are important, the 705 is a good option. In my opinion the 205 and 305 aren't worth anything; what's the point of a GPS without maps?
    The Edge 705 with the NA Map SD card is great off the bike. We use it all the time for navigating in the car both locally and cross country on vacation. Batteries last about 12 hours, but we have a mini USB charger for the car, so we can run it non-stop.

  10. #10
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    If it mainly GPS for directions that you want, an iPhone can serve. You'd have it in your pocket rather than on the handlebars, and the stoker can grab it out of there serve as a navigator.



    You can also get other applications such as MapMyRide for the iPhone, that can do many of the functions of the Garmin.


  11. #11
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurastus View Post
    In my opinion the 205 and 305 aren't worth anything; what's the point of a GPS without maps?
    I have a Garmin Edge 305 and I like it, but it's not a GPS; it's a training tool. I think of it more as a cyclecomputer that records the ride so that I see where I have been and get a summary of my ride. With the price of the 305 now below $200 ($179 at Costco.com) they're a great deal.

    I had been looking for a mapping GPS that I could use on the bike but only the bike-specific and hiking GPS units have any sort of reasonable battery life. I almost bought a Garmin Oregon 400T when they were on sale at REI, but even at the reduced price I couldn't justify the price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    If it mainly GPS for directions that you want, an iPhone can serve. You'd have it in your pocket rather than on the handlebars, and the stoker can grab it out of there serve as a navigator.
    I had considered the iPhone also and the cost of the phone wasn't so bad, but the data plan at $30 per month with a two-year contract adds up to $720, which is way more than a dedicated GPS.
    Last edited by swc7916; 06-03-09 at 03:24 PM.

  12. #12
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    We use a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx or Cx. I have both, the "H" series has the high sensitivity stuff inside.

    I've used the Garmin handlebar mount and now a RAM cradle with a carbon fibre adapter to mount the cradle to the stem, plus stuffed it into the Camelback or trunkbag. So far all have worked well.

    FWIW, Both of my Vistas came with marine software that may be handy if miss miss a turn or fall off a bridge into the intercoastal. This preloaded from Garmin at no additional cost.

    Seriously, the Vistas work well, the downside for the non high sensitivity unit is it does not like tree cover, or any cover and was just ok on the MTB. The HCx works very well.

    One thing I have learned is to have it track on very short interval times and save often, otherwise as it straightens out your corners you will lose distance. Our last 100 mile ride on the computer had the GPS at 98.xx.

    Getting back to the trailhead or car quickly, grabbing rides of new locations or saving a cool group ride is the benefit, outside that it's more novelty for us. It is also good to have when off road riding if someone gets hurt, with cell service you can get rescue within a few feet of where you are.

    I also used it for the wifes genealogy stuff, somehow she drug me around to old cemeterys where we found or buried relatives. Finding the exact gravestones was tough going by cemetary plots. For her records and anyone else that someday wanted to "follow our footsteps" I waypointed each site. Now it's easy for someone to load it into their unit or get a google earth type map, noting the locations. Sounds creepy and odd but ultimately it was a fun weekend.

    We did try a Garmin Forerunner 305 attempting to get stoker heart rate on the captains bars, it didn't work. As a monitor that unit made some sense, as a GPS, it can track but the display is small.

    Just some thoughts and blab.

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  13. #13
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    We use a a 305 and move it from bike to bike. You can map a ride on Map my Ride, and download it to a 305. It will not give a turn by turn command like a true GPS, but it will give an indication of a route, showing upcoming turns on the screen plotted out for you. You also can use it to find your way back to the start in reverse direction if needed. At last year's ETR, the hosts had the routes online, and we were able to download them and use them instead of cue sheets, or as an aid to the cue sheets. Worked out well, as the cue sheets were wrong and confusing for one of the rides. I also use it for single rides. Just did some pre race training rides, then used the data during the race so I knew how I was doing compared to my training. Overall I have been happy with it. I couldn't spend the extra for the 705. I like my gadgets, so I am sure if I had it, I would like that too, but the 305 does what I want it to.

  14. #14
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    BTW, can someone tell me why my name is in red??

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    I've been using Garmin GPS models in lieu of a cyclometer for the last 12 years but haven't been at all impressed by their supposed 'bike-specific' models. The ones I use have all been marketed primarily for auto use but have served me much better than the x05 series would.
    - Battery life is longer (14 - 24 hours) and two of my three run on standard AA cells so it's easy to carry NiMH spares (or to get AAs at any convenience store while on a tour).
    - They included maps of North America with the 'points-of-interest' data for much less expense than the 605/705 (very useful when touring to get directions to the nearest grocery store, bike shop, motel, etc.)
    - Routing can be easily changed between car and bicycle so you won't get routed onto freeways while cycling but can also be used in the car on the way to events
    - Unlike friends who have lost their 305 and 705 models, my impromptu rubberband attachment to the handlebars has never come loose.

    Mine don't have provisions for adding heart rate monitors or power meters, but they do function very well as cyclometers and as navigation systems that guide me to my destinations. They also keep track of where I've been and let me automatically synchronize with my digital camera to mark each photo with the lat/long position where it was taken.

  16. #16
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablopsd View Post
    BTW, can someone tell me why my name is in red??
    I assume you are referring to your name in the left margin. Anyone currently "on" has their name/handle in red.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    Could you explain what issues you had?
    The issues was trying to find a cheap alternative to a good bicycle GPS. I did not want to spend the money but I did finally came to realize that if I would buy something that was not exactly what I wanted I would just buy the thing later. So I bought a 705, cadence, HR, and map the first time out.

    Yes, what more would you want [one more for my stoker].

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    Our needs are pretty basic. I have all the other meters and weight has not been a top issue, more weight more exercise.

    The mapping feature and water proof/resistent would be the top two requirements. With this in mind, which devise out there meets our needs at the best price?

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    Here's one of the ones I use (Garmin Quest):
    http://www.amazon.com/GARMIN-010-N03...4126276&sr=8-2
    $89 from Amazon. It's waterproof, does automatic routing for both bicycle and car uses, includes maps for North America (but you need to download the specific ones for your area - it doesn't have enough memory for the whole continent at once), and has a battery life of about 20 hours with a good color screen. Unfortunately this one doesn't run on AA cells. When used in the car you get voice prompts of upcoming turns (the speaker is built into the car power plug) whereas on the bike you just get a beep. In both cases the screen automatically zooms in on the turn and shows an arrow for your route through the intersection. It also supports a tracklog of up to 10,000 points to keep track of where/when you went for reviewing your trip later and also for synching with digital photos and reviewing the elevation profile of the ride.

    Although the memory won't store all the maps at once, it's about enough for an area the size of California or for a narrower strip of maps going most of the way across the US.

  20. #20
    don't be so angry clancy98's Avatar
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    I use a low end garmin gps on the bike that I also use in the car. A handlebar mount can be ordered, it has a pedestrian and a bike mode, the battery lasts a long time, and the screen is giant compared to bike specific GPS'. Not waterproof, but you could improvise that if you wanted to. Haven't found the need yet. No cadence, but meh.
    Irregardless is not a word, and you do not sound more intelligent using it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemnh View Post
    Our needs are pretty basic. I have all the other meters and weight has not been a top issue, more weight more exercise.

    The mapping feature and water proof/resistent would be the top two requirements. With this in mind, which devise out there meets our needs at the best price?
    Garmin eTrex Vista HCX would be a good choice. You're paying for a GPS that is designed for hiking/biking but without the whiz-bang "training" features of the x05 series. You'll still need to buy the mapping software, so keep that in mind. We also use ours in the car all the time -- not as convenient as a car GPS, but works fine. Batteries last about 24 hours in real useage, and since they're AA's you can replace them on the road, rather than either recharging an x05 or lashing-up a USB charger to power the x05.

  22. #22
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    Great feedback and suggestions. I will plan to research each of these this evening after our ride. Anything further thoughts are appreciated.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Bluechip's Avatar
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    I've used my Garmin Nuvi 350 on the bike before. I bought a cheap handlebar mount for it. It's not mcuh bigger than a deck of cards. The problem is a short battery life (maybe 4 hours). On longer rides I just turned it on when I needed to confirm a route. You can set it so it knows your a bicycle/pedestrian. It seems to keep you off of major highways. Not ideal for bike use but if you already have one it works in a pinch.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebsterBikeMan View Post
    I assume you are referring to your name in the left margin. Anyone currently "on" has their name/handle in red.
    Cool thanks! Though I was blacklisted or something!

  25. #25
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    We also use a Garmin Nuvi 205. Set it on bicycle mode and the nice lady in the box tells us where to go. Battery life is a problem (about 4 hours), but for exploring new territory we've found it to be very adequate.
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