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Garmin GPS - Yes or No?

Old 03-31-14, 12:20 AM
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Garmin GPS - Yes or No?

Question: Would you order a Garmin Edge GPS if you could get one for free?

Have some recognition points at work, enough to get either a Garmin Edge 510 bundle or an 800 (no bundle) for the same amount of points. Having a tough time deciding if I really need or would use an GPS cycle computer. I like the idea of having an index of rides and all the details, etc... But, I'm not competitive and ride mostly solo. I should add I'm happy with the current Cateye Cadence computer, and I could hand enter details for each ride into a spreadsheet, only I'm not motivated or care enough to do so.

I have read up on each model and searched the archives for threads on Garmin computers, still having a tough time deciding.

What would you do and why? Does a Garmin Edge add value to your cycling experience? And what model would you choose?
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Old 03-31-14, 02:10 AM
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An etrex20 is way cheaper ($150), and quite useful IMO. Moving map color display, routing, and more. I've posted previously about them.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:54 AM
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I recently got a 510 and like it. The main difference I could see between it and the 800 series is that the 800 actually allows you to load maps. Since most of my riding is on bike trails I do not feel I need the maps. Unless you have the sensors already the 510 bundle would seem like a good option, especially since it will be free.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:58 AM
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For free? Sure ... why not?

I have a Garmin Forerunner 200 that I hardly ever use. Sucker has a (non USB) serial interface, so none of my computers will accept data from it sans an interface adapter.

I'm not active on Strava and not really interested in all the statistics you can generate using the data. But having one with maps would be handy for rides on unfamiliar routes with a lot of turns.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:18 AM
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"Recognition points"? Can you use them toward anything other than a Garmin GPS? Do they expire?
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Old 03-31-14, 08:24 AM
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Just going by the post title, I would have said; Only if I got it for free.! Since that is out of the way, I feel about it the same way you do. My Cateye bike 'puter, and smartphone app, Endomondo, is good enough for me. I couldn't justify the price of a Garmin. If could get one for FREE, I would. I couldn't resist a new high tech gaget.

So my vote would be yes, and if you don't like it, you can send it to me.
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Old 03-31-14, 09:09 AM
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The Garmin 500 will give you the ability to track elevation gain in addition to mileage. You will lose the ability to track annual mileage (that you should have on the Cateye) on the computer itself. If you upload the ride data from the 500 to Garmin Connect you can run reports online, or you can download a .csv. Strava will run reports as well. You can download a turn by turn route to a 500. That can be helpful, in addition to a cue sheet, on a ride where you are not familiar with the area and the route.

I like my 500. I would have purchased an 800 if I had more of a need for the maps.
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Old 03-31-14, 09:14 AM
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I have an edge 500 and use it every time I ride. For me it has been a big part of my weight loss program. Success is easiest by tracking everything. I use a nutrition tracking software to track diet, and Strava to track my rides. If you are not in my situation, then it isn't really necessary.

Smart phone apps are OK, but most smart phones do not have pressure altimeters like the Garmin does. My rides can get pretty hilly, so this is an important metric for me. There is also data usage. If you track every ride, like I do, your data plan should be unlimited. Mine isn't. I do an average 100 mile/week over 5-6 days. For that reason the Garmin is more cost effective for me too.
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Old 03-31-14, 09:23 AM
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I also have and Edge 500 and use it on all rides. One of the nice things is that I can easily switch it back and forth between bikes. One of the features I find most helpful is having an accurate post ride map of where I went on those rides in new places when I'm just exploring. I also, like being able to say, "Man that was a tough climb", and then being able to see just how steep and long the hill was. In terms of actual use on the bike while riding, it's not that big a deal for me. I seldom look at it to see how far or how fast. Sometimes I do use the cadence sensors if my cadence seems off or if my knees start to bother me. I'll frequently find that I've slipped into mashing instead of spinning.

So, would I take a 510 for free? Yeah, I would. I don't know if the virtual racer or trainer functions of the 810 would ever get used. So, I'd probably pass on that and go for the bundled kit.
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Old 03-31-14, 10:04 AM
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I'd do it.

I've bought my last bike computer. I'm tired of setting them up and fretting over maintaining the fussy spoke magnet/pick up gap among other things. I'm thinking that one Garmin that I can transfer from bike-to-bike and even let Mrs. Grouch use would be less bother.
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Old 03-31-14, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dbg
An etrex20 is way cheaper ($150), and quite useful IMO. Moving map color display, routing, and more. I've posted previously about them.
I use my Garmin Oregon 550 on my bike (another hiking GPS) and like it a lot, and it has a lot of the same features as the Etrex 20. It cost me more than $150 but when I starting riding a lot it was nice to be able to use a GPS I already had instead of spending more money for a cycling-specific model.
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Old 03-31-14, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi
"Recognition points"? Can you use them toward anything other than a Garmin GPS? Do they expire?
The points don't expire and they can be used for other merchandise, tickets, hotels, even new bikes (Trek, Specialized and lesser brands). But it would takes years to accumulate more points to target expensive items.

I thought using points on a cycling related item made sense for me. Also thinking about a Rudy Sterling helmet in fluorescent yellow / blue. The overall selection of cycling items is limited, though.

I've read all the reply's, thanks everyone, really appreciate the help.

Interesting idea on the etrex20, haven't thought of this. But then I couldn't download to Garmin connect or Strava. I think the most compelling reason to get either of these units is for downloading rides. Perhaps this could motivate me to ride more and longer. I would like to loose some more weight and ride faster, if that's even possible.

Thanks again everyone!

Last edited by GFish; 04-01-14 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 03-31-14, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NOS88
One of the features I find most helpful is having an accurate post ride map of where I went on those rides in new places when I'm just exploring. I also, like being able to say, "Man that was a tough climb", and then being able to see just how steep and long the hill was.
That's pretty much my thoughts too. After spending the time and energy conquering a tough ride and/or climb, it would be nice to look back and see what you really did. And have a measuring stick for future rides.

OK, think I'm really convinced (excited) to get one of these units.

The 510 is the Team Edition model.
https://www.westernbikeworks.com/prod...t-rate-cadence

Last edited by GFish; 03-31-14 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 03-31-14, 12:57 PM
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I use a Garmin if nothing more than the appearance on the bike (no wires or magnets)
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Old 03-31-14, 01:17 PM
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Now that you have posted your goals then my advice would be the 510 bundle may help you. I'm only somewhat competitive, mostly with myself tough. I purchased a 510 w/ bundle last fall. Training with heart rate and cadence has helped me improve. By linking my smartphone via bluetooth uploads to Garmin Connect are instant and automatic. The screen has an awesome backlight if you use it in darker places and has lots of adjustment. The screen display has more options than most will ever want. Uploading to Strava requires plugging in but you'll want to do that anyway to recharge the battery. Before I bought the 510 I had both a Garmin 200 and a wireless bike computer that only had speed plus distance.

I have found that Strava provides plenty of motivation, not so much that I have any hope for high ranking on the segment leader boards but seeing my improvement over time and with effort. I am plesently surprised that I am actually near the top on some segments and at the top on just a few. Most I am in the bottom 10%. If you pair the 510 with your phone you can email a link for live tracking to whomever you wish. this feature has been handy for me when I went for some longer rides where I have wanted LOML to meet me in-route and at my destination. She could see on her phone where I was, how fast I was going and other data.
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Old 03-31-14, 01:20 PM
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The main difference between the Garmin 500 and 800 is that when you are following a route ("Course"), the 800 gives you a map underlay, while the 500 only gives you the breadcrumb tracks. The map underlay could be a big advantage where the route turns slightly. You don't have to go off course to know you've gone off course, you can just look down and see what road to take.

My understanding is that the main difference between the x00 and x10 Garmins is that the x10's (510, 810) use Russian satellites in addition to the US satellites, so you are less likely to lose the tracks. IMHO, the big problem with the Garmin 500 is that the tracks you are following ("do the course") sometimes disappear. You get a blank screen, and just when there's a turn coming up! You have to mess around with the zoom cut-in to try to get around this.

I think the big advantage of having a Garmin is that if you like to ride by yourself in strange new places, you can go to ridewithgps or some similar site and find rides posted by locals, and "do" the rides. It's like having a ride partner. I use my 500 instead of a route sheet on randonneur rides. It's way faster than trying to navigate by cue sheet (until you come to figure-8 intersections, where it's unclear which direction is outbound and which is inbound).

The bundle usually comes with a heartrate monitor. You don't need this. I'd go with the 800. The mount is now standardized across all current Garmins, and they all pick up ANT+ sensors, so it's like having an open-system universal bike computer. Any bike with ANT+ sensors and a Garmin twist mount can take your Garmin. At the recent Moab Skinny Tire Festival, Cannondale was there with free demo bikes. I took one out for a day. It had a Bar Fly mount attached to the handlebar, so I just clipped in my Garmin and I had a GPS-based bike computer recording all my data for the ride, which I could later upload to Strava. If you wanted to do that with any other (non-ANT+) computer, you'd have to attach the proprietary sensors and mount. I love the universality; Garmins are becoming fairly standard.

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Old 03-31-14, 01:30 PM
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Agree with Luis, except that I think that, even if you have a power meter, the heart rate monitor is important. If you don't have a PM, it's the most important training aid available to us. While it is true that the Garmin Edge series has that universality, you do have to know how to sync with the ANT+ senders. I got my 800 with no bundle, added free OSM maps and whatever else I needed. I love it, use all its features and use them a lot.
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Old 03-31-14, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
The main difference between the Garmin 500 and 800 is that when you are following a route ("Course"), the 800 gives you a map underlay, while the 500 only gives you the breadcrumb tracks. The map underlay could be a big advantage where the route turns slightly. You don't have to go off course to know you've gone off course, you can just look down and see what road to take.
I don't often follow a course with the 500. Like you said, it is kind of limited. OTOH, If the ride is on an unfamiliar route, I do my best to familiarize myself with it using street view, then create a course so that I can get alerted if I go off course. Not totally reliable, as you said, due to frequent loss of course lock, but better than nothing.
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Old 03-31-14, 02:18 PM
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If I could get one for free, absolutely! However, I am quite happy with my iPhone and Cyclemeter app, especially now that I have the Elite upgrade. I live in Florida so elevation gain is absolutely meaningless to me. Other than that, it does everything, plus, what any of the Garmin units do and I have maps, statistics and graphs right on the phone without having upload and then to go to a website to see it. I also don't compete nor do I care about being a KOM of anything but the data I get from Cyclemeter helps me optimize my rides better and keep track of progress and setbacks. As for the argument of battery life on my iPhone, I can do a 65-70 mile ride and still have about 60% battery life left by optimizing the phone for extra battery life and by turning off all background running apps. I haven't done a full century using the app but I would guess that it will not die on me before I'm done. With the exception of the data that you get after a ride, I get the same pertinent data from my Cateye Double Wireless during the ride as my buddy gets on his Garmin. But again, if I could get one for free, why not?
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Old 03-31-14, 03:25 PM
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I very much enjoy my Garmin 500. I use Strava, and also, because I'm too old to trust "the cloud" I use Ascent, a mac based program.
I use a heart rate monitor, but BEST of all is seeing where i went.
You can also send that info to GoogleEarth and relive your ride. It's way cool. Boring if it isn't your ride, but great if it is.

Get it. Embrace your inner geek.
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Old 03-31-14, 04:29 PM
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I like my 800:

--I ride in unfamiliar areas and can plot out a ride on my computer, download it, follow it, and get back home. I especially like it on my mountain bike so I don't get lost in the desert.
--I can move it from one bike to another easily and do so every day.
--I like the data for fun, but I don't bother with the heart rate monitor or cadence sensor. I do have maps installed.
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Old 03-31-14, 04:40 PM
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It's interesting to me how many Garmin users don't really care about the mapping. That was the only reason to get my 705. I regularly go riding on routes that I've never seen before. It's a lot easier than using cue sheets, and really great when helping to lead a group ride on someone else's route.

But I didn't expect to use the ride recordings as much as I do:
For yearly mileage and elevation totals,
For "what were those roads on the group ride today",
For VAM climbing scores on longer hills,

and interesting ridewithgps info, like this:

A long Blue Ridge Parkway ride, all climbing and descending:



~~~

or desperately hanging on the back of the fast (for me) group ride:


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Old 03-31-14, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
<snip>
and interesting ridewithgps info, like this:

A long Blue Ridge Parkway ride, all climbing and descending:
<snip>
How did you do this? I'm a Premium member at ridewithgps and can't find any analysis like this.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
How did you do this? I'm a Premium member at ridewithgps and can't find any analysis like this.
It's kind of hidden at the bottom of the Metrics tab on each ride. You probably have to scroll to see the blue chart thumbnail, then click it to expand the size. For instance, see this Red River Rally ride. (the thumbnail used to be visible, but they've added more stats, so it's now off the bottom of the screen)

I also like to drag on the elevation chart to select a climb, then see just it's statistics on the Metrics tab.

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Old 03-31-14, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
It's kind of hidden at the bottom of the Metrics tab on each ride. You probably have to scroll to see the blue chart thumbnail, then click it to expand the size. For instance, see this Red River Rally ride. (the thumbnail used to be visible, but they've added more stats, so it's now off the bottom of the screen)

I also like to drag on the elevation chart to select a climb, then see just it's statistics on the Metrics tab.
That was quick! Thanks to you and BF once again.
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