Originally Posted by Sprout97
I'm leaning towards getting her a Garmin 705 or 800 w/ cadence. If I get a lower Garmin model...
First, steer clear of the Edge 705, regardless of any attractive discounts. It is discontinued, and essentially unsupported. There are no firmware updates, so all is bugs or problems will remain.
I think an Edge 800 is preferred for tandems in general and captains in particular, this because of the navigation. Navigation is not important if you are doing the same old routes repeatedly, but, if you are making the most out of your tandem by exploring new places and unfamiliar routes, the navigation is a big help. If you are on a half-bike, it's not such a big deal if you are momentarily confused about your direction or location. That's part of the adventure! But, a tandem team thrives to the extent a stoker has confidence in the captain, and the captain being 'lost' does not augment stoker confidence.
I've signed up for RidewithGPS
, which has pretty slick route planning. With a paid subscription, you can download the route directly into the Garmin
, as a Course
. RidewithGPS will have calculated the mileage and elevation gained. You can then Do Course on the 800 and the route is plotted on the map. You make every turn, are never lost, can predict what's next, etc. The stoker appreciates knowing before the ride what she is in for, and that you deliver exactly what you promised, and that executed flawlessly.
For example, after much exploring on bike, and on Google Maps, Strava, etc, I came up with a really intricate route
. It is breathtakingly pretty as it wends through very upscale and wooded residential neighborhoods (you can verify this on the Strava map, by dragging the Street View man over to any part of the route you select at random). An Edge 800 is just about indispensable to do this route with any confidence.
So, if you use the capabilities of an 800, you can be adding to the tandeming experience by boldly exploring promising new routes that you devise ahead of time, and by avoiding those situations in which you are momentarily confused as to your direction and whereabouts. If a computer can do these things, it is worth a lot to tandem team, IMO.