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  1. #1
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    What's the best GPS for cycle touring?

    I received a Garmin Edge 510 as a gift from my son in law. I'm thinking of returning it to him, since what features I like, I already have from my Sigma. I may hurt his feeling though. Actually, I only need GPS features to guide me while riding, and show the elevation of the route, also to record my trip, so my friends may have data, should they want to retrace my tour.

  2. #2
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    I'm not wildly experienced with using GPS units yet, but have enjoyed using my Etrex 30 quite a bit. It works, awesome battery life (usually lasts about 3 days of touring on 2 AA's) and its pretty simple to use. Rugged too, has survived more than a few monsoon downpours of Japan and SEA so far.

  3. #3
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    Etrex vista hcx. No cycle functions but a great all purpose unit. Replaced by the etrex 30 etc.

  4. #4
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    The title is asking what is the best. But you did not describe if you are looking to buy or what, only that you received one that you do not need. I am not sure what info you are looking for.

  5. #5
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Garmin Edge 1000

  6. #6
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    "Touring" covers so many things it's hard to pick one best.

    Something like the Garmen 800 or Edge might be better since it shows you a map. The 500/510 may be able to follow a pre-defined route, but if you get off track, I don't know of a cycling GPS that'll reliably get you back. You can get some flaky routes if you let it re-calculate for you. You looking at a map can usually do better.

    For a multi-day trip with camping, the etrex series might be better because you can buy AA batteries to keep it going. If you're doing motels or a B&B, the Edges can be recharged overnight.

    My electronics strategy is to stay at least one version behind state of the art. From what I've read, the Garmin 1000 is exemplifying why -- let the early adopters muck with it for another year or two, and they'll get most of the bugs worked out.

  7. #7
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Just me, but if my son in law bought me one. I'd try very hard to make it work for me.

  8. #8
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    The best is an iPhone with the TomTom app installed. This app makes bicycle routes when you tell it to. And when following a bicycle route the turn-by-turn directions are appropriate for typical bicycle speeds. It plots routes, finds POIs, etc. with no network connection, so it works great where you have no cell coverage. Not only can you follow routes while offline, you can modify your route, make a new route, etc.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Since Guys are famous for not asking the locals for directions, the land based sales of GPS, sort of, solves that .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-05-14 at 08:59 AM.

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    I have a 7 year old Garmin GPSMap 60 csi. Great handheld that also mounts to the bike. Weather proof, easy to use, has altimeter, compass, maps, routing, POI. I generally build routes on ridewithgps.com and load them to the unit before the ride. Same with POI, just download them to the unit. I think they are up to GPSmap64 or some other number. Never an issue with it in all these years.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
    I have a 7 year old Garmin GPSMap 60 csi. Great handheld that also mounts to the bike. Weather proof, easy to use, has altimeter,
    + 1

  12. #12
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I have the Garmin 800, which has GPS and maps for route guidance. I rarely use those functions, but do use the speed, cadence, heart-rate and slope functions.

    I rode in rural Italy in May. I was surprised that my iPhone Mapping and guidance app was all I needed. I would just drop a pin at an important location. If I needed to verify my routing, I would just check my location on the phone.
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    If you want to spare his feelings, I will give you my address..just tell him it got lost. :-D
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    Etrex 20 gets my vote. Very cheap, great features, excellent battery life. It has replaced my gpsmap60. I load OSM freebie maps and use ridewithgps for routes.

    Not so much pure bike stuff (cadence, heart rate, ...) but excellent moving map that I find much easier than paper maps or queue sheets. Very compact on the handlebars, and very cheap (did I say that before?)
    Last edited by dbg; 07-03-14 at 02:54 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
    The title is asking what is the best. But you did not describe if you are looking to buy or what, only that you received one that you do not need. I am not sure what info you are looking for.
    Apology for my vague question. I need a touring specific GPS. I have speed and cadence monitor, and hardly use HRM. I'd like some thing that can
    1. Plan route and give navigation guide+ show elevation chart.
    2. Record my trip, so my friend may retrace my tour.
    After a short search, I find EdgeŽ Touring Plus and eTrex 30 could possibly answer my wish. Further recommendations would be highly appreciated. The Garmin Edge 510 is still in unopened box, so may be I can get an exchange with price adjustment.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    The best is an iPhone with the TomTom app installed. This app makes bicycle routes when you tell it to. And when following a bicycle route the turn-by-turn directions are appropriate for typical bicycle speeds. It plots routes, finds POIs, etc. with no network connection, so it works great where you have no cell coverage. Not only can you follow routes while offline, you can modify your route, make a new route, etc.
    My Garmin Edge 800, and the Edge 705 I owned before it, would seem to do all the things you've mentioned... and run for at least a day longer between charges than any iPhone I've owned (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 5). I find the Edge much easier to read in direct sunlight, too. I use the Edge as my primary means of navigation while my iPhone stays powered off in my handlebar bag.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lanovran's Avatar
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    Check out the Garmin Edge Touring Plus.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    My Garmin Edge 800, and the Edge 705 I owned before it, would seem to do all the things you've mentioned... and run for at least a day longer between charges than any iPhone I've owned (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 5). I find the Edge much easier to read in direct sunlight, too. I use the Edge as my primary means of navigation while my iPhone stays powered off in my handlebar bag.
    I prefer having one device. And with a dyno hub, the power is not an issue for me.

  19. #19
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    I say stick with the Etrex series. Not the most compact, but most certainly the most versatile. Built in compass, altitude (sans gps), routing, POI (depending on your map), abilty to track gpx files, and batteries you can replace. I just carry two sets of rechargables and if they run out I can always go buy more from any store. AA aren't hard to find. Mine even has a parachute mode! Fishing guides and stages of the moon charts. You can put in a 4-8gb memory card and never run out of space for your maps etc.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    I say stick with the Etrex series. Not the most compact, but most certainly the most versatile. Built in compass, altitude (sans gps), routing, POI (depending on your map), abilty to track gpx files, and batteries you can replace. I just carry two sets of rechargables and if they run out I can always go buy more from any store. AA aren't hard to find. Mine even has a parachute mode! Fishing guides and stages of the moon charts. You can put in a 4-8gb memory card and never run out of space for your maps etc.
    +1

    The only disadvantage to the Etrex series is constructing a route on the fly while on the road. The microprocessor is very slow which is why you would plan your routes online first and store them on your GPS. One reason why people prefer using an Iphone or Android is due to the fast processor speed and larger screene. However, you'll drain your battery in a day or less forcing you to carry an extra battery (brick) all the time unless you have an expensive dyno. No thanks.

    Did I mention the auto routes created by GPS often suck. Even Garmin's auto bicycle routes tend to vary from good to horrible. I had the software create a route though my town and it placed me on the second fastest road not realizing the bike route is two blocks over.

    You don't have to buy the most expensive GPS on the market because if you plan routes at home any unit will do. Heck, I was able to travel 75 miles a day with no color screen or maps! A Garmin GPS would have the arrow screen pointing to the right direction and that's all you need. There are loads of Garmin Etrex on Ebay selling for a song. Again, no need to buy the latests.

    Garmin Arrow Picture.jpg
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 07-04-14 at 08:07 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Another option worth considering for the touring cyclist more so than the sports cyclist seeking a bicycle focused GPSr is the Magellan Cyclo 505 or Mio Cyclo 505 as it is know in Europe. DC Rainmaker has an early review on the Mio Cyclo 505 which is worth a read in my view.

    Andrew

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelinthai View Post
    Apology for my vague question. I need a touring specific GPS. I have speed and cadence monitor, and hardly use HRM. I'd like some thing that can
    1. Plan route and give navigation guide+ show elevation chart.
    2. Record my trip, so my friend may retrace my tour.
    After a short search, I find EdgeŽ Touring Plus and eTrex 30 could possibly answer my wish. Further recommendations would be highly appreciated. The Garmin Edge 510 is still in unopened box, so may be I can get an exchange with price adjustment.
    I do not have any experience with the Edge series of GPS units.

    I have a very strong preference for AA batteries for GPS units. I just got home from a 890 mile tour, at times I could not recharge batteries for almost a week. Thus, the AA batteries were much better than an internal Lithium Ion battery. I usually carry enough rechargeable AA (for GPS) and AAA batteries (for tail light, headlamp, bike light) for 5 days, along with a AA/AAA battery charger. But on this trip I carried a few more AA batteries and was glad I had them. My camera uses a Lithium Ion battery, I carried four spares and a battery charger for that too. My biggest struggle was keeping my 7 inch tablet charged, part of an hour in an occasional restaurant was not much of a charge when I was so lucky to find an outlet. The nice thing about AA batteries is that if I run out of charged batteries, I can buy some disposables until I get to an electrical outlet where I can start charging batteries.

    For GPS I use a mix of an old Garmin Etrex Vista (black and white screen) and newer Garmin 62S, both of which use AA batteries. But the GPS units I use would work poorly for your purposes.

    But as noted by others, what you want can be done with a smart phone. I have used the Open Cycle Layer in the Android App Soviet Military Maps, paid version. This app will continue to run when you turn the screen off, not all of them will do that, thus you can record a track and extend battery life. Not sure if you would be happy with that app for route planning, but otherwise I was very happy with that app. On the trip I just did, I often looked at the route and looked at the contour lines to try to estimate where the biggest hills would be for the next day of riding. But smartphones are hard to see in the sun and when the screen is turned on, they burn batteries quickly. Thus, I rely on regular GPS units on the handlebar instead of a smartphone. You will find a smartphone with a bigger screen (or a tablet with even a bigger screen) to be much better for route planning than a small GPS screen.

    I am beginning to think that bike tourists that use smartphones or use GPS units with internal batteries will need a dynohub to keep them charged. Thus, I think more dynohubs will be used in the future on bike tours. I think the trip I just finished will be my last trip without a dynohub.

    20IMGP1167.jpg
    Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 07-06-14 at 09:07 PM.

  23. #23
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    Thanks for all above advices. Now I have information to search for the GPS that will meet my needs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    +1

    The only disadvantage to the Etrex series is constructing a route on the fly while on the road. The microprocessor is very slow which is why you would plan your routes online first and store them on your GPS. One reason why people prefer using an Iphone or Android is due to the fast processor speed and larger screene. However, you'll drain your battery in a day or less forcing you to carry an extra battery (brick) all the time unless you have an expensive dyno. No thanks.

    Did I mention the auto routes created by GPS often suck. Even Garmin's auto bicycle routes tend to vary from good to horrible. I had the software create a route though my town and it placed me on the second fastest road not realizing the bike route is two blocks over.

    You don't have to buy the most expensive GPS on the market because if you plan routes at home any unit will do. Heck, I was able to travel 75 miles a day with no color screen or maps! A Garmin GPS would have the arrow screen pointing to the right direction and that's all you need. There are loads of Garmin Etrex on Ebay selling for a song. Again, no need to buy the latests.

    Garmin Arrow Picture.jpg
    Just use the highway mode or display the track on the map the prompts pop up in a dialogue box.

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