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Old 09-21-06, 08:09 PM   #1
invisiblehand
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GPS recommendations/questions

Hi,

I am looking for a GPS device with the following characteristics:

1) Report the basic statistics of a cyclo-computer (velocity, odometer, etc).

2) Show basic maps; ideally to use it instead of cue sheets.

3) Store data points that can be downloaded and converted into the standard .GPX format for Bikely.com and so on.

4) Of course, fit onto a bike and be durable.

I am new to this, so any tips would be helpful.
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Old 09-23-06, 11:23 PM   #2
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I think the Garmin Legend does all of this.
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Old 09-24-06, 03:23 PM   #3
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The basemap of the Garmin Legend (as well as every other unit on the market including Magellans and Lowrance) only gives you a very basic basemap. Which consists of Interstates, US Routes, and some State highways. If you want more detail like local streets, you'll have to buy mapping software. For the Garmin, that's a Mapsource product.

The Garmin Legends are a good choice for value. I've had my Garmin drop into the street during a crash at 20mph and didn't substain any real damage, just some scratches. The Legends also have an excellent trip computer which can show up to 8 live data fields at one time.

There are plenty of other GPS units on the market. Color units, units with SD cards, units with a Compass etc.

Here are some manufacters sites for handheld GPS units.

http://www.garmin.com/outdoor
http://www.magellangps.com/products/gps_units.asp (scroll to Explorist)
http://www.lowrance.com/outdoor
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Old 09-24-06, 04:16 PM   #4
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the http://www.garmin.com/products/etrexVistacx/ is a good unit get the city navigagor and you get a full bike gps and mapping. if you want a deal on the software and bike mount let me know I ahve them for a good price.
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Old 09-24-06, 04:19 PM   #5
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I believe the currend Legend model is the Legend Cx, which has a color display and expandable memory using a microSD card. You can put at least 1 GB of maps in the Cx. For maps, you would need to purchase the Garmin City Select software. The basemap that comes with the Legend is not detailed enough for cycling, so factor the approx. $100 price of the City Select maps software into your decision.

Note that ONLY Garmin maps can be uploaded to Garmin GPS units.
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Old 09-24-06, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpsblake
The basemap of the Garmin Legend (as well as every other unit on the market including Magellans and Lowrance) only gives you a very basic basemap. Which consists of Interstates, US Routes, and some State highways. If you want more detail like local streets, you'll have to buy mapping software. For the Garmin, that's a Mapsource product.

The Garmin Legends are a good choice for value. I've had my Garmin drop into the street during a crash at 20mph and didn't substain any real damage, just some scratches. The Legends also have an excellent trip computer which can show up to 8 live data fields at one time.

There are plenty of other GPS units on the market. Color units, units with SD cards, units with a Compass etc.

Here are some manufacters sites for handheld GPS units.

http://www.garmin.com/outdoor
http://www.magellangps.com/products/gps_units.asp (scroll to Explorist)
http://www.lowrance.com/outdoor

+1 on the Garmin Legend. Tho I used the Garmin Etrex Legend C (color, 36hr battery and 24mb) it's basic map load is the same as what you get on the Etrex Legend. I have used the Etrex (most basic model, the yellow one), Etrex Legend C, and RINO 120. There is an issue with the Etrex series on bicycles where people have reported the batteries rattling. This can simply be resolved by using some tissue paper to fill up the gaps from what I've heard. Also the sealing is not all too super on the Etrex series as well. I would take caution to protect it if you're going for a long haul in drenching rain. Don't drop that Etrex in the water as it can't really take a plunge. Read up some comments on http://www99.epinions.com/ and you'll get more of an idea on your purchase. I've never tried the Magellan models before. I've always loved the Garmin stuff for thier size and function. Also because some army buddies of mine have reported other army people out in both sandboxes (Iraq & Afganistan) and other nations they served used Garmin items for thier day to day work and thus they owned one as well. One of them even took it through an obstacle course and that unit survived the bumping and rolling (no dropping or submerging) so that's good enough for me to own one seeing as I'd almost never put that much abuse on the unit.

The Etrex is small. A little larger and thicker then a zippo lighter. I highly recommend you go to Wally's and buy the Etrex Legend or Etrex Legend C. Just keep your reciept and please keep the unit as neat/clean as possible and try it for 90days and if you don't like it then return to Wallys for your money back or change to another unit.

I say go with the C because I got around 29 hrs on alkalines and around 20-22hours on 1850mAh NIMH batteries real world test. Also the backlight has the feature to adjust from 5%-100% in 5% increments. Thier marketing specs claim 36hrs which I'd like to know more on what cells and settings were used. I had WAAS off (managed 5-7meter accuracy with it off which is pretty good), backlight to 5% (at night), and batt save mode on for my testings. The unit has all the things to asked for above. Now I'm not sure on the Legend model but on the Legend C model you can have 4 data fields showing while you've got the map up. So you can customize what 4 fields you want. I chose speed, eta to destination, time, and either odometer or sunset time. There are lots of data fields you can pick to suit your data needs. Heck if you pack the hunting gear it even tells you the best time to hunt/fish and the moon phases (I believe that's on all models. At least it's on the 3 models I mentioned).

The color model will run you a little bit more but it is IMHO the best balance of price, features, huge built in memory (important as in the future you may want to drop maps), and run time. The price has dropped already on the Legend C because the Legend Cx just came out. Basically and model you see with a Cx suffix to the models name means that model will support removeable memory cards which is good if you wish to use a lot of maps and such later. It's a nice feature to have as you're not limited to the built in memory but 24mb right now will hold you over for a long time unless you get heavy on the maps and go crazy. I heard just 15% of California can eat up 24mb right there if you've using a map. Ouch! Well that all depends were in Cali or any city you're in. The more dense the city the more memory that map will take. I've never used maps myself but for those that have used it they told me that you can call up addresses using the GPS which is damn handy if you can't find a payphone around to call up and ask the operator for help.

To protect your GPS I recommend (if going with the Etrex series) the Kuny's small cellphone pouch which can be found at Home Depot. It's about $6-8 CDN (Yah I'm north of the 49th parallel) but has a GOOD steel clip that will stay on your pants, belt, duty belt, suspenders, etc. They designed that pouch to be mounted via clip, vertically on the belt, and horizontally on the belt. You can also loop a lanyard through the hole in the clip to dummy cord it to your body so you won't lose it. I've used the clear open face case by Garmin and it's not bad too. It allows you to use the GPS while in the case with it's face. The clip was ok but I can't remember if it had a ring to attach a lanyard or something so you won't lose it.

Hope that helps.


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Old 09-24-06, 07:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
I believe the currend Legend model is the Legend Cx, which has a color display and expandable memory using a microSD card. You can put at least 1 GB of maps in the Cx. For maps, you would need to purchase the Garmin City Select software. The basemap that comes with the Legend is not detailed enough for cycling, so factor the approx. $100 price of the City Select maps software into your decision.

Note that ONLY Garmin maps can be uploaded to Garmin GPS units.
I was told by Garmin 512mb mini-SD cards are the largest the Etrex Cx series will work with. This was coming from email when I emailed thier tech department. Unless someone tried a 1gig card and it worked I'd stick with what has been recommended, tested, and works.


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Old 09-24-06, 08:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma
I was told by Garmin 512mb mini-SD cards are the largest the Etrex Cx series will work with. This was coming from email when I emailed thier tech department. Unless someone tried a 1gig card and it worked I'd stick with what has been recommended, tested, and works.


Zero_Enigma
According to the FAQ on Garmin's web page, Cx models can use up to 1 GB microSD cards except for the ScanDisk Ultra II 1GB card. I have a 1 GB card in my Legend Cx and have used it with no problems up to about 300MB of maps.

Note that 300MB worth of maps allows all of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nevada to be uploaded to the GPS with both road maps and topo maps.
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Old 09-24-06, 09:02 PM   #9
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http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showforum=11

That's the geocaching forum.

That forum will tell you everything you need to know about any GPS unit on the planet. A lot of those guys sleep with their units.
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Old 09-25-06, 10:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand
Hi,

I am looking for a GPS device with the following characteristics:

1) Report the basic statistics of a cyclo-computer (velocity, odometer, etc).

2) Show basic maps; ideally to use it instead of cue sheets.

3) Store data points that can be downloaded and converted into the standard .GPX format for Bikely.com and so on.

4) Of course, fit onto a bike and be durable.

I am new to this, so any tips would be helpful.
Get the map software for the PC that comes with the device and design your routes at home. Look for places you've never been to or just look interesting. Discover new routes and places that are far off the beaten road. Now mark those routes on the PC and upload them to your GPS. Once you do this, the product's features will seem less and less important.

Look for beauty.
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Old 09-25-06, 10:29 AM   #11
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I have used the Magellan SporTrak Pro for 4 years. It is rock solid and waterproof but is now a little outdated (no external memory card, no color, no usb). I'm considering switching to Garmin even though it means buying all new mapping software. A riding buddy has had etrex legend for a few years and seems to be able to do routes more easily than I do. I was considering the Magellan Explorist 600, but am now leaning toward Garmin.
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Old 09-25-06, 12:10 PM   #12
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The discontinued Magellan's (Sportrak and Meridians) were VERY good units. Why Magellan went with far LESS FEATURES in the Explorist is mind-boggling. An example was the elimination of the trip computer screen, the elimination of the odometer being in .01 miles, elimination of the graphic speedometer feature, elimination of the trip odometer (you only get the basic odometer) etc.

They should have kept at least the Meridian series and updated the software and made it USB.

And the Magellan share in the GPS market has dropped like a stone and is now around 8 percent of the market. And it appears they are disinterested in the handheld GPS market, concentrating on car based units with the new ownership. They are trying to become like TomTom.
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Old 09-25-06, 02:24 PM   #13
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Wow. Thanks everyone for the response.

I really appreciate the additional links and product selections. Over the weekend I scanned several different links and websites. From what I could decipher, I was thinking that the best unit for me would be the GPSMap series ... but after looking at the details of the Legend, it appears to be a more reasonable price yet just as functional. At the moment, it looks like there is a $50 rebate on the Legend Cx. The after rebate price is advertised at 196.50 at Chumbo.com.

Most of my riding occurs in the Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angles/Orange County, and New York City/Philadelpia areas. From what I gather from the dialogue below, getting city/road maps for these areas and uploading them onto the device would take a lot of memory. I assume that this would be a strong argument for the Cx instead of the base Legend model.

Here is an interesting review of the product http://gpsinformation.us/vistacolor/...istacolor.html
http://gpsinformation.net/
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Old 09-25-06, 03:17 PM   #14
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That's a fine choice invisiblehand & what I personally use as my main unit. 512mb micro-SD cards are really cheap now which will cover quite a large area. Wait until you use the unit in a dim/dark lit area but using the backlight. It's awesome.
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Old 09-25-06, 06:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma
+1 on the Garmin Legend. Tho I used the Garmin Etrex Legend C (color, 36hr battery and 24mb) it's basic map load is the same as what you get on the Etrex Legend. I have used the Etrex (most basic model, the yellow one), Etrex Legend C, and RINO 120. There is an issue with the Etrex series on bicycles where people have reported the batteries rattling. This can simply be resolved by using some tissue paper to fill up the gaps from what I've heard. Also the sealing is not all too super on the Etrex series as well. I would take caution to protect it if you're going for a long haul in drenching rain. Don't drop that Etrex in the water as it can't really take a plunge. Read up some comments on http://www99.epinions.com/ and you'll get more of an idea on your purchase. I've never tried the Magellan models before. I've always loved the Garmin stuff for thier size and function. Also because some army buddies of mine have reported other army people out in both sandboxes (Iraq & Afganistan) and other nations they served used Garmin items for thier day to day work and thus they owned one as well. One of them even took it through an obstacle course and that unit survived the bumping and rolling (no dropping or submerging) so that's good enough for me to own one seeing as I'd almost never put that much abuse on the unit.

The Etrex is small. A little larger and thicker then a zippo lighter. I highly recommend you go to Wally's and buy the Etrex Legend or Etrex Legend C. Just keep your reciept and please keep the unit as neat/clean as possible and try it for 90days and if you don't like it then return to Wallys for your money back or change to another unit.

I say go with the C because I got around 29 hrs on alkalines and around 20-22hours on 1850mAh NIMH batteries real world test. Also the backlight has the feature to adjust from 5%-100% in 5% increments. Thier marketing specs claim 36hrs which I'd like to know more on what cells and settings were used. I had WAAS off (managed 5-7meter accuracy with it off which is pretty good), backlight to 5% (at night), and batt save mode on for my testings. The unit has all the things to asked for above. Now I'm not sure on the Legend model but on the Legend C model you can have 4 data fields showing while you've got the map up. So you can customize what 4 fields you want. I chose speed, eta to destination, time, and either odometer or sunset time. There are lots of data fields you can pick to suit your data needs. Heck if you pack the hunting gear it even tells you the best time to hunt/fish and the moon phases (I believe that's on all models. At least it's on the 3 models I mentioned).

The color model will run you a little bit more but it is IMHO the best balance of price, features, huge built in memory (important as in the future you may want to drop maps), and run time. The price has dropped already on the Legend C because the Legend Cx just came out. Basically and model you see with a Cx suffix to the models name means that model will support removeable memory cards which is good if you wish to use a lot of maps and such later. It's a nice feature to have as you're not limited to the built in memory but 24mb right now will hold you over for a long time unless you get heavy on the maps and go crazy. I heard just 15% of California can eat up 24mb right there if you've using a map. Ouch! Well that all depends were in Cali or any city you're in. The more dense the city the more memory that map will take. I've never used maps myself but for those that have used it they told me that you can call up addresses using the GPS which is damn handy if you can't find a payphone around to call up and ask the operator for help.

To protect your GPS I recommend (if going with the Etrex series) the Kuny's small cellphone pouch which can be found at Home Depot. It's about $6-8 CDN (Yah I'm north of the 49th parallel) but has a GOOD steel clip that will stay on your pants, belt, duty belt, suspenders, etc. They designed that pouch to be mounted via clip, vertically on the belt, and horizontally on the belt. You can also loop a lanyard through the hole in the clip to dummy cord it to your body so you won't lose it. I've used the clear open face case by Garmin and it's not bad too. It allows you to use the GPS while in the case with it's face. The clip was ok but I can't remember if it had a ring to attach a lanyard or something so you won't lose it.
Zero_Enigma
I´ve got a Etrex legendC mounted on my Lemond and it works fairly well, but it did require a special handlebar mount which I had to special order. The colour display when paired with the mapsource basemap is really impressive.

However, on bright sunny days the display can be hard to read and depending on what scale you are using sometimes the street names are not displayed so you have to stop to adjust and read it, but if you had a paper map you´d have to stop anyway.

It´s a great way to navigate through areas you´ve never been to and still know exactly where you are. I´m looking forward to using it in Europe sometime.
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Old 09-25-06, 08:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand
Wow. Thanks everyone for the response.

Most of my riding occurs in the Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angles/Orange County, and New York City/Philadelpia areas. From what I gather from the dialogue below, getting city/road maps for these areas and uploading them onto the device would take a lot of memory. I assume that this would be a strong argument for the Cx instead of the base Legend model.

Here is an interesting review of the product http://gpsinformation.us/vistacolor/...istacolor.html
http://gpsinformation.net/
Uploading maps is a good idea but creating efficient routes on the road with the GPS is time consuming and difficult to the slow microprocessor and small screne. A much better idea (this is what I do all the time) is to create the routes you want to at home. This way, you can travel to new places without having to create an inefficient route that could very well place you on a fast speed highway.

Using the technique above, you'll find yourself using the maps very little. Only if you find yourself very lost do the maps come in handy.

Creating routes on a PC takes time! I spend about an hour or two hours creating an efficient 30 mile route. The time spend creating the same route on the GPS would double that time.
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Old 09-26-06, 07:19 AM   #17
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Hmmm. Just came across my desk... waterproof, color, usb, sd memory cards ..and I already have all the mapping software. Sure, it's previous generation magellan, but I don't like the newer ones so much. It's these little decisions that slay me

http://www.heartlandamerica.com/brow...&EID=w6951001&
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Old 09-26-06, 10:16 AM   #18
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Update on the price ... Amazon.com is selling the Legend Cx for 234.99; the after rebate price is 184.99 with free shipping.

Also, it looks like the Legend comes with a bike mount.
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Old 09-26-06, 11:39 AM   #19
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The Legend comes with an adapter that will allow it to clip into a bike mount or an automotive dah mount. Unless things have changed, the mounts themselves are not included with the unit.
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Old 09-26-06, 01:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
The Legend comes with an adapter that will allow it to clip into a bike mount or an automotive dah mount. Unless things have changed, the mounts themselves are not included with the unit.
Oh, that is interesting. I need to look more closely.

Thanks.
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Old 09-27-06, 07:26 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
The Legend comes with an adapter that will allow it to clip into a bike mount or an automotive dah mount. Unless things have changed, the mounts themselves are not included with the unit.
That's correct. And, to the previous post about the SD card, I have used a 1 Gig card in mine and have maps loaded for pretty much everything east of the Mississippi. It works great. If you buy a unit like mine that has an SD card, the bike mount works a little differently. You will want to first check the size of your handlebars. The standard bike mount package is for the smaller diameter handlebars and comes with a new back for the unit which doesn't work with units with SD cards. Instead, your GPS will come with an adaptor to screw on to the current back of the unit and the bike mount will slide into that. You can also get a mount for larger handlebars (which I did through the internet), and I think I ordered that directly from Garmin.
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Old 09-27-06, 12:19 PM   #22
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I just bungee my Garmin to the headlights of my bike. Never had a problem with it that way over 1,000s of miles of bike riding except for one accident I had. I got hurt more than the unit did.



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Old 09-27-06, 10:32 PM   #23
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I am interested. What mapping system should I get with the Garmin eTrex Legend Cx, the Garmin MapSource City Navigator North America, v.8?
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Old 09-28-06, 10:08 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by 14R
I am interested. What mapping system should I get with the Garmin eTrex Legend Cx, the Garmin MapSource City Navigator North America, v.8?
Yes.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:43 AM   #25
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Done.

Thank you Jim.
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