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Can't decide if I want a computer or not.

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Can't decide if I want a computer or not.

Old 11-08-16, 11:11 AM
  #1  
Jixr
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Can't decide if I want a computer or not.

So I love strava, its fun to me to record and keep track of my goals and stuff.

But my phone's built in GPS is horrible, to the point where its distance tracking is off by miles, it teleports me around, and is generally a mess.

Instead of buying a new $600+ phone, I was thinking of maybe buying a bike computer.

LBS has both the garmin 520 and 500 ( with HR, speed/cadence sensors ) for good prices, but i'm really not sure if they are worth the cost.

Live speed tracking, accurate distances, time, and stuff like that sounds awesome, but the price points for a computer are at the level where its costly enough that I'm a bit heasitant if the trade off of features is worth over what my phone can provide.
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Old 11-08-16, 03:03 PM
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chong67
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I use "GPS Test" app to check out my GPS strength. I get 3D lock inside building. You give yours a try. I never have GPS problem on my phone. I have use Runtastic Bike Pro, Strava and MapMyRide on it and I run 2 of 3.

I am now using 520 along with the Garmin HR, speed n cadence sensor. The Garmin Edge 25 is too basic.
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Old 11-08-16, 03:13 PM
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Steve B.
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Originally Posted by Jixr View Post
So I love strava, its fun to me to record and keep track of my goals and stuff.

But my phone's built in GPS is horrible, to the point where its distance tracking is off by miles, it teleports me around, and is generally a mess.

Instead of buying a new $600+ phone, I was thinking of maybe buying a bike computer.

LBS has both the garmin 520 and 500 ( with HR, speed/cadence sensors ) for good prices, but i'm really not sure if they are worth the cost.

Live speed tracking, accurate distances, time, and stuff like that sounds awesome, but the price points for a computer are at the level where its costly enough that I'm a bit heasitant if the trade off of features is worth over what my phone can provide.
I found my Garmin 810 to be off by about .6 of a mile in 100, and that was before I got a dedicated speed sensor. It was accurate enough on road rides for me to remove all my ancient regular bike computers. I used the 810 with a speed sensor on a mt. bike ride yesterday, the track is dead on accurate, near as I can tell.

If you don't need turn-by-turn directions, the 520 is a nice unit and is $265 on Amazon right now.
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Old 11-08-16, 05:25 PM
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Are you sure it's your phone (hardware) and not the app that you are using that is giving you the GPS problems? Have you tried a different cycling app? If it is the phone, I would go with either of the two Garmins that were looking at. As Steve B mentioned, if you don't need turn-by-turn directions and some of the other bells and whistles of the 500, the 520 is a nice unit, from what I've been told.
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Old 11-08-16, 05:33 PM
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Yes, its my phone hardware, its a lesser known brand and many other users with this phone have this issue.

aside from strava not working often, google maps and every other app that uses GPS has issues.

I'm looking at being off by half a mile in a 2 mile ride.

My strava lines look like zig zags and never follow roads
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Old 11-08-16, 06:18 PM
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I like my old Garmin 705. I upload routes to it, and following the route on the scrolling map is way easier than a cue sheet. This is the main reason I got it, but I found I like the ride statistics, too.

It's visible in bright sunlight, and at night with the backlight turned on.

The battery lasts at least 12 hours. (I replaced the original battery last year.)

It's completely waterproof.
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Old 11-08-16, 06:54 PM
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One of the best Garmin features I find is the BlueTooth connection between my 810 and the iPhone Garmin Connect Mobile app and from there to the Garmin Connect web based activity tracker. When done with a ride, the Save function uploads immediately and from there it's on the web. Garmin Connect in turn will then dump right to Strava or RideWithGPS as well. Very slick system that has worked very well for me.

So one question for you if you want your data getting to Strava, is can you install the Garmin Mobile app on the phone ?.

If not, you would need to be doing cable connection ride transfers to Garmin.

Last edited by Steve B.; 11-08-16 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 11-08-16, 10:10 PM
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Those Garmins look like they cost around $250. If it was me, I would definitely be more interested in buying a new phone. (I also use google maps on my phone so having an accurate gps would be an issue there to).

If I was going to buy a Garmin, I'd get one with a screen big enough to view maps and such on. The two you mentioned looked like small units.

If your phone is older, you might get better coverage with a new phone as well. If it's many years old, they've added new "bands" with new hardware support to newer phones that aren't on older phones.
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Old 11-09-16, 07:15 AM
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I've got a 520 and it works quite well. I plan my routes using ride with GPS, I also pay for the middle tier of RWGPS, and when I export my rides I get turn by turn directions. It's not like the 810 where I can input an address and it gets me there but it helps when exploring new back roads.
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Old 11-09-16, 04:31 PM
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Months ago the Edge 500 was frequently available on sale at ~$150 to $160. Maybe now the old new stock is depleted enough that the remaining stock isn't being discounted as much. But at that price the 500 is an attractive option if you don't need any sort of maps, Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. It's a stable platform that reliably delivers what it promises.
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Old 11-10-16, 08:31 AM
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You may want to look at the new Lezyne computers, they are about half the price of Garmin and seem to do a good job if you aren't looking for all of the bells and whistles that the Garmins possess.
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Old 11-13-16, 09:02 AM
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are you social
are you apt to try and beat your PR each time out
do you obsess over the numbers instead of listening to your body
do you believe that what you do for the other 20-21 hours off the bike is just as important
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Old 11-13-16, 09:18 AM
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rm -rf
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Originally Posted by RiPHRaPH View Post
are you social
no.
are you apt to try and beat your PR each time out
no.
do you obsess over the numbers instead of listening to your body
no.
do you believe that what you do for the other 20-21 hours off the bike is just as important
yes.
Do I like my GPS history and route mapping?
Very much, thanks!

Last edited by rm -rf; 11-13-16 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 11-13-16, 10:06 AM
  #14  
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As far as tracking goes - I use GaiaGPS. I know most people won't ever entertain doing this, but I like it - I run a 7" LG tablet with Gaia on it for the tracking. As for cost - the tablet was free. I have an iPhone 4s (I know, old school) for my regular phone. It has GaiaGPS on it also and has worked well for a lot of years. I track bike rides, boat trips, hiking & backpacking trips, etc with Gaia and have been pleased.

So from a GPS track/data perspective that works for me. The drawback is, unlike Strava, you can't run remote sensors (speed, cadence, HRM) with it. There have been suggestions to Gaia for improving this, but so far there has been no support for sensors yet.

As far as a "bike computer" goes - I would consider the most basic function of a "bike computer" to be a wheel speed sensor for distance and speed tracking (avg speed, max speed, etc). Whether or not it tracks trip segments or tour/trip totals depends on the model. The second most basic function I would consider being cadence tracking.

From a riding perspective - I like riding to cadence. Depending on the ride and duration this may be upper 70's to upper 80's. My neighbor rides to heart rate. So depending on what your ride/fitness goals are both of those (HRM/cadence) may be important to watch, maybe not.

If you get above HRM/Cadence/Speed/Distance tracking in features that you want your "bike computer" to do then you are looking at the higher end units like the Garmin's.

My thoughts - the basics are important to me. I'd rather have an analog, low-tech bike computer to track the basics and know it is reliable. The routing and track recording I can do well on my other devices. In the OP's case this does not sound like the case. For a less-expensive route to start it may be worth-while having an analog, low-tech computer. That way you always have your data. If you want to upgrade to something else later then cross that bridge then. At that point - you may even keep the analog, low-tech computer just in case your higher-tech option takes a dump on a ride. I keep a log of my rides and would be ticked if I lost my ride data. To that point my cadence is out on my computer so I've lost that already...
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