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gps/computer for tours

Old 06-14-16, 10:31 AM
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gps/computer for tours

I'm thinking of getting a gps unit for touring - I usually guess mileage because using the phone apps (Endomondo, Strava, etc) eats the battery. In looking at the Garmin reviews it doesn't seem many of them last much longer than a phone. Charging every day isn't really an option. Anything out there that can last multiple days? I really only care about tracking distance, I can get other data and directions from Google maps. Thanks!
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Old 06-14-16, 10:44 AM
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Use an old school cyclometer. I have some that run an entire season on one set of batteries. Sigma, planet bike, and Cateye are a few of the brands.
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Old 06-14-16, 10:55 AM
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I have cheapie wired cyclocomputers on all my bikes, mostly whatever is on sale from the big box shops, but also two CatEyes. I use them specifically for quick distance readings (much easier to glance down than pull out a phone, which I generally also have running). Haven't paid over $15 for any of them, all generally read within 1% of my GPS. The wired eats batteries far less than the wireless (tried one wireless, didn't like it), its rare I have to change out batteries.
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Old 06-14-16, 11:03 AM
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Well duh! I never thought of using a wired unit and I even have several in the parts box (somewhere). Low tech to the rescue - thanks!
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Old 06-14-16, 12:02 PM
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I use the Garmin Edge Touring Plus, and get about two long days of touring out of one charge. If I go longer than that without access to an electrical outlet, I simply plug the thing into a solar charger that I keep on my rear rack, strapped to the top of my tent. Works well, and the Edge Touring is as fully-featured as a typical car GPS unit.

I mainly use a GPS-enabled computer because I want to be able to accurately track my milage and route. If you don't care about that, and don't need turn-by-turn directions, then I'd do what the other posters have suggested - go with a basic CatEye computer. A watch battery will last several months.
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Old 06-14-16, 12:46 PM
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The no guess work of the Gps is nice. The you are here arrow is comforting, as well as turn by turn. But then you lose the personal contact of asking locals for directions, and the subsequent conversations. And the outside chance of an invite for supper and a shower.
Nothing wrong with a fairly basic computer. I do like cadence.
My current computer has heart rate, a welcome feature at my age.

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Old 06-14-16, 01:21 PM
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I used a Garmin eTrex 30 during my tours. Great for building routes and setting up waypoints for alerts. I also use MotionXGps on my Iphone. But if you want to conserve your batteries the etrex is good because it takes 2 AA batteries so you can always bring spares. Mine went on for a weeks without swapping batteries.
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Old 06-14-16, 01:51 PM
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I just used my IPhone with the ridewithgps app, as long as I have it in airplane mode my phone lasts 2 days, then I used a BRUNTON METAL 4400 to charge it up, good for a couple of charges easy... Here is my trip to Jasper. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/3260309
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Old 06-14-16, 01:52 PM
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For distance, the Cateye Padrone with the large display (my battery have lasted for months).

It is as accurate as you want it to be; you just need to take the time to set it up with a known distance.

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Old 06-14-16, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
The no guess work of the Gps is nice. The you are here arrow is comforting, as well as turn by turn. But then you lose the personal contact of asking locals for directions, and the subsequent conversations. And the outside chance of an invite for supper and a shower.
Nothing wrong with a fairly basic computer. I do like cadence.
My current computer has heart rate, a welcome feature at my age.
And you also miss discovering how much the actual route and terrain differs from how the locals describe it, something that I can never figure out!
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Old 06-14-16, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
For distance, the Cateye Padrone with the large display (my battery have lasted for months).

It is as accurate as you want it to be; you just need to take the time to set it up with a known distance.

Do you use wired or wireless version?
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Old 06-14-16, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by suburbanbeat View Post
I use the Garmin Edge Touring Plus, and get about two long days of touring out of one charge. If I go longer than that without access to an electrical outlet, I simply plug the thing into a solar charger that I keep on my rear rack, strapped to the top of my tent. Works well, and the Edge Touring is as fully-featured as a typical car GPS unit.

I mainly use a GPS-enabled computer because I want to be able to accurately track my milage and route. If you don't care about that, and don't need turn-by-turn directions, then I'd do what the other posters have suggested - go with a basic CatEye computer. A watch battery will last several months.
I've yet to find a solar charger that worked even with riding a full day strapped to the rack. Well at least one that didn't cost more than my bike!
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Old 06-14-16, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by biketocamp View Post
I used a Garmin eTrex 30 during my tours. Great for building routes and setting up waypoints for alerts. I also use MotionXGps on my Iphone. But if you want to conserve your batteries the etrex is good because it takes 2 AA batteries so you can always bring spares. Mine went on for a weeks without swapping batteries.
many guys who ride audax rides use the eTrex and they all speak very highly of them

I am training for Audax rides but may end up getting a Garmin Edge 1000 (some really good features which appeal to me) and will use an external battery pack (which I already have). This will sit in a handlebar bag and charge the GPS and mobile phone etc... I can use this on all my bikes

I'm busy customising my Surly LHT for touring and will add a Son 28 dynamo hub with dynamo lights and an E-Werk charger and also use the Garmin Edge 1000
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Old 06-14-16, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by arsprod View Post
Do you use wired or wireless version?
Wireless
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Old 06-14-16, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by arsprod View Post
I'm thinking of getting a gps unit for touring - I usually guess mileage because using the phone apps (Endomondo, Strava, etc) eats the battery. In looking at the Garmin reviews it doesn't seem many of them last much longer than a phone. Charging every day isn't really an option. Anything out there that can last multiple days? I really only care about tracking distance, I can get other data and directions from Google maps. Thanks!
I have a Garmin Oregon 600 brought for other users which I use on my Salsa Mukluk (no dynamo) ... works a treat, runs on AA batteries. The Garmin Extrex range provides a number of options worth considering which would meet your needs.
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Old 06-14-16, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by arsprod View Post
I've yet to find a solar charger that worked even with riding a full day strapped to the rack. Well at least one that didn't cost more than my bike!
You can recharge the Garmin Edge Touring Plus with plain old batteries. There are USB chargers that take batteries, just Google them. I like to use the etrex with rechargeable batteries. If you have your own route, you don't even need the maps. Simply follow the "Arrow" and it will take you home.

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Old 06-15-16, 08:48 AM
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After reading this thread, I've been experimenting with putting my phone in airplane mode and using RideWithGPS for navigation. My first 2 hour ride looks promising.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/5247...9102172548564/

I found a cheap pre-paid phone that I might purchase if it looks usable. Then I can keep my regular phone on and ready to use... plus it makes a good backup.

Failing that, I've been strongly considering the Garmin Edge Touring. I'd read some bad things about the GPX navigation though.. being a bit tricky to set up. So if the solution I already have works, I'm going to use it
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Old 06-15-16, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
After reading this thread, I've been experimenting with putting my phone in airplane mode and using RideWithGPS for navigation. My first 2 hour ride looks promising.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/5247...9102172548564/

I found a cheap pre-paid phone that I might purchase if it looks usable. Then I can keep my regular phone on and ready to use... plus it makes a good backup.

Failing that, I've been strongly considering the Garmin Edge Touring. I'd read some bad things about the GPX navigation though.. being a bit tricky to set up. So if the solution I already have works, I'm going to use it
Interesting idea and in another life (car racing) I use an old android smartphone that's not activated for GPS lap timing. But even there battery life ain't the best
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Old 06-15-16, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by arsprod View Post
Interesting idea and in another life (car racing) I use an old android smartphone that's not activated for GPS lap timing. But even there battery life ain't the best
Over a 1 1/2 hour ride, I used about 10% of my battery. Further experimentation is needed, though.
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Old 06-15-16, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
Over a 1 1/2 hour ride, I used about 10% of my battery. Further experimentation is needed, though.
Not great considering 8-10 hour days!
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Old 06-15-16, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by arsprod View Post
Not great considering 8-10 hour days!
I ran my phone all day on my last trip with my logging app running, from 9AM to 10PM most days without a charge, and usually wound up right near the low battery warning by the time I was done. All very dependent on the phone, though, my last phone couldn't handle regular use for that amount of time without dying. Of course, this was all screen off in my pocket, too, leaving the screen running will kill it in 2-3 hours.

That said, if all I cared about was distance, I still far prefer the computer on the bars. Just much easier to use.
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Old 06-15-16, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by arsprod View Post
Not great considering 8-10 hour days!
How do you figure? By my calculations I could get a 15 hour day on a full charge (assuming battery usage is linear... that's why I'm going to do further experimentation).

I'm actually contemplating getting this for primary navigation (the same one listed on the thread I linked) and then using my phone if the battery dies on this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SIE2YQ8...I1AIW0PCTNT6PV
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Old 06-15-16, 11:45 AM
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Interesting discussion. I've been wondering about this myself and appreciate everyone's comments.

At the moment I am leaning toward a traditional stand alone cyclometer, supplemented by a hiking type GPS. As I'm a hiker too, that would kill two birds with one stone.

I have played a bit with backcountry navigator on my smartphone, and I've concluded it doesn't make a very good GPS. Reliability is spotty and the battery life when running apps like that isn't practical - unless I got a dynohub for charging. I'd rather simply keep the phone off most of the time, like I do when hiking. I did cut my teeth back in the days of paper maps and a few dimes for a phone booth if needed after all.
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Old 06-15-16, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
How do you figure? By my calculations I could get a 15 hour day on a full charge (assuming battery usage is linear... that's why I'm going to do further experimentation).

I'm actually contemplating getting this for primary navigation (the same one listed on the thread I linked) and then using my phone if the battery dies on this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SIE2YQ8...I1AIW0PCTNT6PV
That would be a 15 hour day if you didn't use the phone for anything else and even at that the phone would be dead. Even when camp touring I'm using my phone to find grocery stores, places to eat, even campsites. I don't want to be searching for outlets to charge my phone just so I can use my phone to find other places!
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Old 06-15-16, 12:18 PM
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My Garmin is Oregon is a bit heavy for the bike but will last a whole day on two AA batteries. Pack a few pairs and recharge when possible. Will give it a try on my up coming tour. It's worked very well when motorcycling.
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