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Replacing cyclometer with GPS help

Old 03-21-17, 05:47 AM
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Replacing cyclometer with GPS help

I am looking into a Garmin GPS to replace my now cyclometer.

1) I've kinda narrowed it down to either the Edge Touring or the Edge 520. I don't know anyone that has any sort of GPS so no one to get ideas from. I only need the basic speed/distance info plus elevation/grade and cumulative elevation and heart rate. Also, would like to learn how to download routes from other riders and record and save my own rides. Any thoughts?

2) Once I have this GPS is there a better website to use for uploading my trips and downloading other routes? I've heard about Garmins share site, Strava and Ride with GPS.

3) I know Ride with GPS charges for their site. What about the other two, do they also charge?

4) I'm completely ignorant to these biking GPS's so any comments (consrtructive of course) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Matt
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Old 03-21-17, 06:27 AM
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This falls under the "any comments" of your post. I recently purchased a Polar M450 and love it, but don't need directions while riding, and have no interest (I think) in downloading other's maps. It of course automatically records your route for viewing, saving, etc, after your ride.

Strava has free and pay, but so far I haven't seen a reason to pay. Ride with GPS has free and pay. I use the free side as an alternative to viewing my route. The Polar software provides me with all the details I could possibly want, but if I want others to see how little progress I'm making and how slow I am, I have the free sections of Strava and RWGPS. Polar software automatically syncs with Strava, so I'm increasingly leaning toward it. RWGPS requires me to upload the ride file (like I do with Cyclemeter, which I still love), so there are a few extra steps involved.
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Old 03-21-17, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
1) I've kinda narrowed it down to either the Edge Touring or the Edge 520. I don't know anyone that has any sort of GPS so no one to get ideas from. I only need the basic speed/distance info plus elevation/grade and cumulative elevation and heart rate. Also, would like to learn how to download routes from other riders and record and save my own rides. Any thoughts?
How important is it that your GPS can show you maps while you ride?

Both units can do turn-by-turn directions, and the 520 can do rudimentary maps, but they're very limited. I don't know if the Edge Touring works with sensors (HRM, SPD, CAD) or not.

Both units will be very easy to use on a day to day basis.
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Old 03-21-17, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by IamNed View Post
This falls under the "any comments" of your post. I recently purchased a Polar M450 and love it, but don't need directions while riding, and have no interest (I think) in downloading other's maps.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
How important is it that your GPS can show you maps while you ride?

.

In the past we've done group rides that have a route planned out and have seen others with a GPS with the route already loaded in. We end up having the paper copy of the route. It seems more simple and safe to have the GPS to look at occasionally than having the sheet of paper to hold onto and read and try to figure out where we're at. And, if we find a route on RWGPS or Strava that looks interesting we can ride it using the other riders upload.

Just seems like a good idea.
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Old 03-21-17, 11:17 AM
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I lost my cue sheet to a strong gust of wind once, and stopped using paper to not get lost.

You can "design" (plan out) a route using Garmin Connect, or RWGPS, or other tools, or even download one that somebody else has put together for you. That will work with the 520, and it would work with the Edge Touring. They tell you when to turn, whether they can show you a map or not, or whether you're looking at a map or not.
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Old 03-21-17, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I don't know if the Edge Touring works with sensors (HRM, SPD, CAD) or not.
The Touring Plus supports a HRM (and also has a barometer/altimeter).

The Touring models are intended to be navigation units. They have limited support for "performance/training" features. (If you want those, you have to go to the 810.)

(I didn't find that the Touring to work very well.)

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Old 03-21-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
3) I know Ride with GPS charges for their site.
What you get with a free account on ridewithgps might be more than you need.

Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
1) I've kinda narrowed it down to either the Edge Touring or the Edge 520.
The 520 has a world basemap (not a lot of detail). You can load small maps to it that have more detail. (There's limited space for maps.) But the 520 only displays the map.

All of the Garmins (500+) provide basic "track following". This includes displaying a the course (track), making a noise and displaying a notification when you go off-course, and simple and small turn notifications (called "course points") which include an icon (usually an arrow) and a short street name. There aren't that many ways of getting the "course points". Ridewithgps writes its cuesheet entries as "course points" to the "tcx" files that it exports. Some of the "track following" units might be able to generate notifications based on an angle in the track.

One problem with "course points" is that they get displayed at the turns (it's more useful to display them before the turns). Ridewithgps has an option to move them earlier in the track (but that feature you have to pay for).

You can use "tcx" files or "gpx" track files on the Garmins (both work the same except the tcx files can have "course points").

The Garmin units that use maps (not merely display them) have an additional "turn guidance" mode that shows big white arrows about 0.1 miles before the turn. This "turn guidance" mode can be enabled for both tcx and gpx files. The "turn guidance" mode is much clearer than the "course point" notifications but the "turn guidance" mode can sometimes stop working.

The units that use maps can also generate routes (like a car navigation unit does).

The units that use maps are the 800, 810, Touring, 820, 1000.

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-22-17 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 03-22-17, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for all your help guys. appreciate it all.
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Old 03-22-17, 10:27 AM
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ridewithgps will pull your garmin data if you want. You can use the free version, but I find the paid version is worth my money. I like it!
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Old 03-22-17, 11:49 AM
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Tom,

I think I've settled on the Garmin Touring GPS. I've heard some negatives about the Touring but with it being my first attempt at this technology I'll go with the less expensive model for now.

Have not decided on which program to use yet. It will likely be RWGPS as I just joined it to see what they had to offer on the free service. I don't quite understand a lot of the terminologies yet so I can't really say if the paid program is for me or not.
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Old 03-22-17, 12:01 PM
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That sounds like a good plan, all of it.
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Old 03-22-17, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
Tom,

I think I've settled on the Garmin Touring GPS. I've heard some negatives about the Touring but with it being my first attempt at this technology I'll go with the less expensive model for now.

Have not decided on which program to use yet. It will likely be RWGPS as I just joined it to see what they had to offer on the free service. I don't quite understand a lot of the terminologies yet so I can't really say if the paid program is for me or not.
You should strongly consider buying it from REI, Backcountry.com, Performance Bike, or any other store that has a generous return policy. You're still figuring all this stuff out, and it's possible you'll learn that you need something the Touring model doesn't do. (Or that it's buggy in ways you can't deal with.)

I'm not saying that because you've chosen the Touring model, I would personally never buy any Garmin device without this sort of protection.
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Old 03-23-17, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
You should strongly consider buying it from REI, Backcountry.com, Performance Bike, or any other store that has a generous return policy. You're still figuring all this stuff out, and it's possible you'll learn that you need something the Touring model doesn't do. (Or that it's buggy in ways you can't deal with.)

I'm not saying that because you've chosen the Touring model, I would personally never buy any Garmin device without this sort of protection.
I found a site that's a Garmin Factory Outlet and they sell factory rebuilt units for a good price. Thought I might order from them. I'll ask about their return policy though.

Thanks for the suggestion about the return policy.
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Old 03-23-17, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
I think I've settled on the Garmin Touring GPS. I've heard some negatives about the Touring but with it being my first attempt at this technology I'll go with the less expensive model for now.
I never found the Touring to work very well (even with the latest firmware, which is almost a year old) when using loaded routes.

Also, the Touring doesn't really support "course points", which are basic but still useful.

The "special" feature of the Touring is that it provides more options for generating routes on the device. It can generate a few "loop routes" based on distance and elevation. Routes based on elevation will only work in the unit's home region (for example, a North American unit won't be able to generate routes based on elevation in Europe). You can also have it generate a route connecting multiple places (it's kind of tedious to use). I think the 820 and "higher" units have the same special options.

Beng able to generate routes on the device is useful but, sometimes, the routes are wacky.

I think most people use these by downloading route files to the device.

The Touring would be a great unit if it worked reliably (and supported course points properly).

I'd go with the 800 (even though it's "old" it works at least as well as the newer units for route following) or the 810 over the Touring.

Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
Have not decided on which program to use yet. It will likely be RWGPS as I just joined it to see what they had to offer on the free service. I don't quite understand a lot of the terminologies yet so I can't really say if the paid program is for me or not.
Ridewithgps is a great route planning site. It's very usable without a subscription. (Note that the subscription is month-to-month, which means you can try it for a short while. But use the free version for a while.)

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Old 03-23-17, 09:54 AM
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NJ,

All good information. Thanks. I guess I'll look at the 800 and the 810. I don't remember seeing the 800 advertised anywhere though but I will relook.

Thanks again
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Old 03-23-17, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
NJ,

All good information. Thanks. I guess I'll look at the 800 and the 810. I don't remember seeing the 800 advertised anywhere though but I will relook.

Thanks again
You can still find the 800 used or reburbished.

I really like using the Garmins for navigation. I know there can be bugs in the devices, which makes it hard to recommend particular models.

I have lots of experience with the 800 and I am able to recommend it (for navigation) but it's an old unit.

I have some experience with the Touring and I can't recommend it (but, maybe, people don't have issues with it).

I've read about issues with the other units (810, 820, 1000) that make me a little wary of them. In any case, it appears the 810 should be fairly solid (at this point). The 1000 might be generally OK too. (Keep in mind that you hear much more from people with problems than from those who don't.)

The 800 isn't perfect but, in the rare cases has issues, you can generally get it to work again.

You do have to put some effort into practicing using them. While they work much like car navigation units, they are used differently.

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Old 03-23-17, 02:28 PM
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NJ,

You and others have mentioned "issues" involving the various Garmin's. What would be an example of an issue?? ie. software, hardware, programming?

And, it seems, according to some things I've read, that some of the Garmin's are more apt to have more problems than the others. Wouldn't it seem the best for a companies reputation to fix their problems as they arise and not allow problems to continue?
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Old 03-23-17, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
You and others have mentioned "issues" involving the various Garmin's. What would be an example of an issue?? ie. software, hardware, programming?
"Software" and "programming" are the same thing.

Keep in mind that I'm talking about navigation. There can be cases of the "turn guidance" not working.

On the Touring (from my experience), the "turn guidance" would stop working fairly regularly. That wouldn't be so bad if you could restart the navigation. But (from my experience), the navigation would get stuck at the beginning of the course. You could still follow the magenta line (so it wasn't a complete disaster).

The issues appear to be more related to software issues. It appears that it can take Garmin a while to fix things.

Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
And, it seems, according to some things I've read, that some of the Garmin's are more apt to have more problems than the others.
It seems that newer units have more issues. The 810 should be reasonably OK (but I don't have enough experience say that it is).

Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
Wouldn't it seem the best for a companies reputation to fix their problems as they arise and not allow problems to continue?
You should probably talk to Garmin about this. I'm stuck providing advice on the way things are (rather than the way the should be but aren't).

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Old 03-23-17, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
You and others have mentioned "issues" involving the various Garmin's. What would be an example of an issue?? ie. software, hardware, programming?
The Edge 800 unit will apparently crash after you ride more than about 200 miles at a time. I'm probably off somewhat on the number, but from what I hear it's reproducible and happens every time. I've used an 800 for many years but never done a ride that long in one sitting so it's never affected me.

The Fenix 3 watch used to get stuck in an infinite loop of fail sometimes where a vibration alarm would go off and not stop, the user's only options were to turn the unit off or wait for the battery to deplete. This only happened with the earliest firmware and was corrected before long. But, two years later, the device still isn't the best in its class for GPS reception, and crashes regularly for rowing and cross country skiing. Their Elevate wHRM is a random number generator.

Apparently the Vivoactive HR double counts its users' calories when they track an activity.

Apart from occasional hardware flops, their main problem is software, and most people feel that their greatest problem is testing, especially regression testing. There are bugs in the software, and new features and bug fixes often introduce new bugs or bring old ones back.
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Old 03-23-17, 04:45 PM
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Thanks to all that have replied and offered me help. Rather than beat myself up about this any longer I suppose the thing to do is take the dive and buy one. Doesn't seem like Garmin will fix anything very soon so I might as well get in the pool and swim with the rest of you's.

Thanks again
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Old 03-23-17, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
NJ,

You and others have mentioned "issues" involving the various Garmin's. What would be an example of an issue?? ie. software, hardware, programming?

And, it seems, according to some things I've read, that some of the Garmin's are more apt to have more problems than the others. Wouldn't it seem the best for a companies reputation to fix their problems as they arise and not allow problems to continue?
My 810, which got used over 2000 miles last year, crashed twice early on.

Once was a bad file that was present on the unit when I got it, resulting in the unit freezing. A call to Garmin tech. support was actually helpful with the correct solution. The 2nd crash was when I had created a route in Connect, downloaded via BlueTooth, started the ride then changed my mind and stopped the routing mid ride. The unit didn't like that and froze. I reset the unit. It had saved the ride to that point so I simply restarted as a new ride. That taught me that the unit doesn't like it when you stop a route while you are moving. No big deal, I won't do that again is all.

After that it's been fine (10 mos. of steady use). I create routes in Connect, which I find works very well. Turn by turn is pretty good and otherwise the units been stable.

Garmin has had a reputation over the years of poorly supporting the units, bad software, flaky units etc.. and it seems the units just need a few years and OS updates till they stabilize. Nobody has had many nice things to say about their tech support either and they don't typically have great suggestions for a problem. I personally think the units have gotten better, but the bottom line is, IMO, Garmin tends to not do a good job of field testing and fixing issues before they release products and this has been the theme about them that the first users of a new product are really beta testers.

Trouble is, I'm not sure anybody else is any better. It took a LONG time for Wahoo to get the Elemnt stable and I've read a few complaint s about Lezyne being slow to get advertised features onto the units. Polar might be the most stable, but at the end of the day the best units with the most features seems to be Garmin.
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Old 03-23-17, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
The Edge 800 unit will apparently crash after you ride more than about 200 miles at a time. I'm probably off somewhat on the number, but from what I hear it's reproducible and happens every time. I've used an 800 for many years but never done a ride that long in one sitting so it's never affected me.
I've had that happen to me. When it happened, it was hard to get it started again. If you know about it, it's easy enough to avoid.
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Old 03-23-17, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I create routes in Connect, which I find works very well. Turn by turn is pretty good and otherwise the units been stable.
It doesn't matter what route planner you use (they all produce files that work equally well).

Ridewithgps is a bit easier to use and has more features. (Unlike ridewithgps, Connect isn't Garmin's core product.) Ridewithgps is more "open" (I often load the gpx files into other apps).

Using the same map to plan that is on the device can make things work a little better but, usually, that doesn't matter.

The planners use Google maps (usually) but allow the use of Openstreetmap (OSM) maps.

Generally, the maps used on the Garmins are Garmin's CN maps or OSM maps. The newer Garmins come with OSM maps.

Garmin Connect doesn't support "course points", which means that, if you have a 5xx, you might do better using another planner.

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Old 03-23-17, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
Thanks to all that have replied and offered me help. Rather than beat myself up about this any longer I suppose the thing to do is take the dive and buy one. Doesn't seem like Garmin will fix anything very soon so I might as well get in the pool and swim with the rest of you's.
No one is trying to discourage you. It's just complicated.

By the way, the 800 and 810 don't necessarily come with maps.

The Touring, 820, and 1000 (the newer units) come with OSM maps.

I would suggest not buying maps.

Instead, you can get OSM maps free (equivalent to what the newer units come with).

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/05/...705800810.html

It might be confusing the first time, but it's easy to do.

You might need a microSD card (for the 800 or 810) if what you get doesn't have maps. An 8gb card is big enough (ones larger than 32gb might not work).

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Old 03-23-17, 10:31 PM
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my garmin 800 works for me. I used to be a lot grumpier about it before I had more experience using it. I might get grumpy with it again this year because the last time I used it was last June. Or maybe everything will be fine. I always carry a paper cue sheet if I don't know the roads. I usually follow along with the cue sheet so I understand what's coming up.

The usual use for one of these units is a couple hour ride collecting data and then uploading to a website. They work really well for that. They are complex devices, and it takes some practice with them to make it simple. But once everything is working, it really isn't that hard.
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