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What is the best bike computer?

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What is the best bike computer?

Old 03-03-21, 06:58 AM
  #1  
RichinSC1
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What is the best bike computer?

This summer I am riding cross country and want a bike computer that will route me on roads with less traffic and avoid busy highways as much as possible. Is Garmin better than Wahoo? Is this another Ford or Chevy discussion or are there real differences?
Which model of each do you recommend?

Things that are most important to me are:
bright display (I'm 62 and I want a big bright display. But I don't really need everything on display at the same time.)
easy to navigate between the functions
turn by turn navigation
heart rate
cadence
temp
elevation (elevation gain)
interface with Strava



Thanks,
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Old 03-03-21, 09:07 AM
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Well, the Garmin 1030/1030+ seems to have the most screen real estate, and either meets the rest of your wish list with the possible exception of routing.

Are you planning to route on the fly (as you can with, for example, google maps when you have cell coverage)? Have you tried doing this with your cell phone on a bike? I haven't seen a really solid way to do that.

I'd recommend pre-planning your route, either for large chunks at a time or at least for a couple days ahead, using Strava or RidewithGPS. Do your planning on a desktop, laptop, or at least a large tablet; you want a whole lot of screen to see possible routes, and heat maps when appropriate. Download routes to your GPS, either through USB or a bluetooth phone. It may become difficult to navigate menus to your (many daily) routes, but that's a different problem.
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Old 03-03-21, 10:25 AM
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Best for me or best for you? Is there such a thing as a "Best" that fits everyone?

Long, long, long time ago I used to subscribe to Consumer Reports. When I bought the items they rated "best" I was always disappointed. I learned to just go do the touch and feel thing, read up on all the features of each and then go with my gut instinct.

I'd recommend that you do too.

The Garmin 1030 plus is currently a pretty good GPS based cyclometer. All the bells and whistles. It like many Garmin's and similar devices from other manufacturers want to have a phone app to work in liaison with them to give you the ultimate experience. So if you struggle a little with apps on a smart phone, then be careful what features attract you to it or any other device that might use a smartphone for some of it's features.

I'm a long time Garmin user. So I like their devices and grew up with their workings. Some never understand their Garmin's and find when the switch to Wahoo or Lezyne or even lesser things they have a better experience.

So which "best" do you really want. They all are good for someone.
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Old 03-03-21, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Well, the Garmin 1030/1030+ seems to have the most screen real estate, and either meets the rest of your wish list with the possible exception of routing.

Are you planning to route on the fly (as you can with, for example, google maps when you have cell coverage)? Have you tried doing this with your cell phone on a bike? I haven't seen a really solid way to do that.

I'd recommend pre-planning your route, either for large chunks at a time or at least for a couple days ahead, using Strava or RidewithGPS. Do your planning on a desktop, laptop, or at least a large tablet; you want a whole lot of screen to see possible routes, and heat maps when appropriate. Download routes to your GPS, either through USB or a bluetooth phone. It may become difficult to navigate menus to your (many daily) routes, but that's a different problem.
My wife and I do a lot of touring. She is the planner. PDLamb's advice is very good and its what we do. She spends hours planning routes using available info like Crazy Buy and Adventure Cycling to name a couple. Unfortunately, as I type this my wife is not home but the Garmin she uses sounds similar to the 1030. We then create routes that I put on my Garmin 820, downloaded from RidewithGPS. Each are named for the 'expected' daily ride. This provides our turn by turn directions. When I upload it gets captured by Strava as well as many if not all of your other things you want to capture. For at least one of your requests, heartrate, I expect you need to make at least one more purchase so heart rate can be recorded.
She uses the Etrex 30 for navigating. https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/87774 .

Last edited by debade; 03-03-21 at 12:31 PM. Reason: update
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Old 03-04-21, 10:52 AM
  #5  
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The Garmins can calculate routes on the device (you don't need anything else). The routes can sometimes be less than desirable and it's hard to review them on the device. If you use the on-device routing, you might get better results if you calculate shorter hops (rather than one big route to your destination).

Most people appear to create routes else where (typically, using a website like ridewithgps )RWGPS)). I used a tablet a while ago to create routes on RWGPS and it was frustrating to do (enough so that I bought a tiny Windows computer to use instead). RWGPS might have improved how that works.

It's easy to transfer routes from an Android tablet/phone or a computer (you don't need cell service to do that) and a wire. There are apps (GImporter, GRouteLoader) that make it easy to copy routes from an Android tablet/phone wirelessly without needing cell service.

You can transfer routes wireless from your phone by first uploading the route to the Garmin Connect website.

You don't want to rely on things that require a cell network or wifi because you won't always have those.

The Garmins don't need a phone or a smartphone app. There are some features that use the app but none of those are necessary (beyond the issue of transferring routes).
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Old 03-04-21, 10:59 AM
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I was considering the Garmin Edge 530 and the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and went with the Wahoo. the reviews and direct comparisons tell me that both are similar quality products, but some of the features of the Wahoo suited my needs better. I didn't want something huge like that bigger units out there and was trying to keep it under $300. nothing to report yet because I have not picked it up yet.
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Old 03-04-21, 11:25 AM
  #7  
Eric F
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If you're just looking for navigation, Google Maps on your cell phone would probably get the job done pretty well.

As for a bike computer, I love my Wahool Bolt...but I don't use the nav features at all.
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Old 03-04-21, 01:51 PM
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Ed Wiser
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I was I. The market for a new unit and decided on the Hammerhead Karoo 2
great FPS and mapping and you can install other apps on it. It is shipping now. I ordered it on Monday and recieved mine today. So I can get it ready for this weekends ride.
https://www.hammerhead.io/
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Old 03-05-21, 09:46 AM
  #9  
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Reroute

FYI
Wahoo Bolt will not reroute on-the-fly.
Wahoo Roam does (optionally) reroute on-the-fly.

I have disabled the reroute feature on my Roam!
I was on an organized ride and took a wrong turn. The Roam rerouted me off the planned/saved route and sent me the shortest way to my destination.
I followed the new (shorter) indicated route and it ruined my Metric Century.

Barry
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Old 03-05-21, 01:19 PM
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If it's good mapping you're after, check out the Garmin edge explore. At ~$250 it compares to the expensive 1030 model but lacks such features as Strava live and few other features but has the same big screen and all the navigation aids. If you're just looking for a great navigation device, it's hard to beat.
Here's a review:
https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/07/...re-review.html
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Old 03-07-21, 06:17 AM
  #11  
njkayaker
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The Explore is basically the 1000 with some features disabled.
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Old 03-07-21, 07:06 AM
  #12  
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My take is Garmin is great 90's tech, Wahoo is great 20's tech. Too much glitchy outdated 90's crap in the Garmin UIs. Wahoo got to start over and designed a much more seamless experience. This is from a computer scientist with low tolerance for crappy user interfaces.

I have a Wahoo Bolt, everything just works. Well, take that back it doesn't synch with Komoot. But it is not like I was missing some glitchy oddball thing you would have to do on a Garmin to get it to work, it is simply broken.
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Old 03-07-21, 07:19 AM
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Garmin 1030 plus for all the reasons you listed. You are going to want the bigger screen. I wish it was even bigger. The garmin just works and it's all integrated so well.

If you don't care about seeing your data live ( speed, grade, elevation etc.. ) your phone with a bigger screen and external battery pack is better than the garmin. It's real pain to be using google/apple/waze maps and then on the fly switch over to another app to see speed, distance etc... When I am doing group rides with my slow friends I prefer my phone. I don't need live data when putting around at 15 mph. ha-ha I just start strava in the back ground and never look at it again, then start up google maps.
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Old 03-07-21, 10:07 AM
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Whatever you get, don't wait too long. There's a learning curve with these things that you don't want to be figuring out the week before your big ride.
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Old 04-13-21, 06:55 AM
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Hammerhead has the best screen. Big phone worth a look, you'll have it anyway.
As pdlamb sez, map it on a laptop and download to get best performance .
everything else is a work around. small maps, slow computers with touchscreens don't perform well
Good screen will mean short battery life, that's why low res monochrome is used, so extra charging is needed and power management is a PITA.
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Old 04-13-21, 08:43 AM
  #16  
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I also recommend and use the Hammerhead Karoo 2. The ability to set different profiles, navi, and a lot of options such as viewing e-gears on my Shimano di2, time to sunset, time to destination, etc. are superb.

Cheers!
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Old 04-16-21, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RichinSC1 View Post
Things that are most important to me are:
bright display (I'm 62 and I want a big bright display. But I don't really need everything on display at the same time.)
easy to navigate between the functions
turn by turn navigation
heart rate
cadence
temp
elevation (elevation gain)
interface with Strava
How about battery life? Garmin 1030/1030+ and 830 can be used with an auxiliary battery pack, effectively more than doubling battery life. With a bit if searching you can find them at a lower price than the Gamin store.
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Old 04-16-21, 06:39 AM
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I like my Garmin Edge 500 (discontinued). Outstanding battery life. All the data I'll ever need.

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Old 05-08-21, 06:40 AM
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I just had to share this one.

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Old 05-08-21, 06:07 PM
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I'm loving my Garmin 530 the more I use it. Ive had it a couple of weeks now and its really added something to my rides. IMO I don't think its worth paying more for touchscreen.

I was using an old Edge 200 before, which was fine (although no longer compatible with any of Garmin's software platforms), but 530 is on a whole new level.
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Old 05-10-21, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
I was I. The market for a new unit and decided on the Hammerhead Karoo 2
great FPS and mapping and you can install other apps on it. It is shipping now. I ordered it on Monday and recieved mine today. So I can get it ready for this weekends ride.
https://www.hammerhead.io/
How are you like the Karoo 2 so far? Looking to get my first bike computer
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Old 05-11-21, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Geo_Zegarra2016 View Post
How are you like the Karoo 2 so far? Looking to get my first bike computer
its great they are always updating the app. Taking clues from user needs.
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Old 05-11-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
its great they are always updating the app. Taking clues from user needs.
Yup, I upgraded from my Wahoo Element Bolt and the Karoo 2 is on another level with the bigger screen and many options/customizations. It just works and their customer service is responsive.
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Old 05-11-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
its great they are always updating the app. Taking clues from user needs.
Yes, that is why I like Karoo 2. I heard they update every two weeks based on their website. I probably lean towards buying Karoo 2.
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Old 05-11-21, 01:53 PM
  #25  
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@TCollen, I saw that meme yesterday, and yes, it does say there is such a thing as too much measurement and not enough insight. A friend of mine thinks a heart monitor wouldn't be useful for him, but I think my new one will be useful to me because I may not know accurately when I'm exerting myself vigorously, and I want to increase my efforts to build endurance.
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