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Choosing a bike computer - is touchscreen a good thing?

Old 08-22-18, 06:38 AM
  #1  
hhk25
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Choosing a bike computer - is touchscreen a good thing?

I haven't owned a computer other than my Shimano Flight Deck from the 90s. I need to get something touring specific because the smartphone is not working out for me. Hoping to get some guidance.

First thing I need to confirm is if Wahoo sensors will work with a Garmin computer. I'm assuming they will since ANT+ is a standard protocol. Does anyone know for sure? I bought a used bike and it came equipped with Wahoo sensors.

I'm also wondering if having a touchscreen on a bike computer is a good thing. That's one of my main issues with a smartphone. I find it tricky to use touch when I'm riding, especially if it's raining. I think it would be much easier to just feel for buttons the side.

What about colour? Is the colour on the Garmin a must-have? Or does it just help drain battery?

Last thing I want to ask is about Wahoo's navigation. Garmin is clearly the leader in navigation but is the Wahoo good enough? If I get lost in unfamiliar territory, will the Wahoo get me back on route?
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Old 08-22-18, 06:51 AM
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Navigation is the big factor.


Higher-end Garmins are fully routable on-device with nothing else. They have a mapset onboard they can make sense of on the fly.

With Wahoo ELEMNT devices....the legwork of routing is done by your smartphone. And to do that legwork, your smartphone needs data service. How good or bad is your cellular service in your area (and that you tour), that is the question?

ANT+ sensors are ANT+. They should work on any head unit that does the protocol....barring someone doing something extremely moronic (Garmin) like breaking their own sensor (HRM) compatibility (with Edge 1000) via firmware update (May, back 2 or 3 years ago), and taking a calendar month (yes) to fix it.....Yea, Garmin's cycling department are their 3rd string programmers--all the 1st 2nd string are working in aviation/marine lines.
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Old 08-22-18, 07:00 AM
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Good point about navigation and data service. I'm planning to ride in areas with sketchy service.

One question about nav - does Garmin know about bike paths and rail trails?
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Old 08-22-18, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25 View Post
Good point about navigation and data service. I'm planning to ride in areas with sketchy service.

One question about nav - does Garmin know about bike paths and rail trails?

Generally Garmins know about paths...but if they're very new--they may not be on the OSM. Garmin also has POIs that are searchable (like service stations, hotels, parks, etc).

As far as touchscreens....generally they're not too awful except if it is an absolute downpour of rain. I owned a slew of Edge units over the years (205/305/705/1000), and honestly having a touchscreen to configure it is far less frustrating that button-navigation. Of course, having had Garmins over the course of a decade plus has made me very salty about their soft/firmware and their "public beta" attitude with new-to-market units (new units take about 12-24 months for the firmware to stabilize and be reliable). Touchscreen responsiveness is similar to, or a bit lower, first generation touchscreen phones like iPhone 1. You're not going to type quickly, and the on-screen format is only suited to 1-finger-touch-type-search-and-destroy typing.

Also being as you're in Canada....be advised you live somewhere that the ambient temperature in Winter drops near to the minimum functionality point for LCD displays.


Touchscreens will run the battery out quicker. And as far as battery life---the posted official numbers from Garmin are generally best-case turn-all-extra-nice-advertised-features-off numbers. My Edge 1000 for example IRL got about 6-7 hours of run time before it was zero, ergo a lipstick-USB-battery was in my pack for long-days.
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Old 08-22-18, 12:05 PM
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Have you thought of using a handheld instead, like an etrex 30x? You'll get 25-30 hours on aaa batteries that you then change out with new ones instead of having to find someplace to charge your device. If you prefer rechargeable, as I do, for various reasons, you can bring a charger along and juice up spare batteries as you are able, but you won't be held hostage to the needs of your gps unit.

An etrex would not work for the wahoo sensors, but perhaps you could use a different non gps computer for that. It would not drain nearly as quickly as a gps computer, as it's the gps link that really goes after the battery.
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Old 08-22-18, 05:21 PM
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I have 1030 and it has great battery life. After using it for about 12hours with Navigation and everything (Phone, Etap, and HRM) connected, I had 40% battery left.

I have an external battery to charge my phone and Garmin if I need to, but I haven't had to do that while I'm touring.
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Old 08-22-18, 10:26 PM
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Hello. Perhaps I am late to get in on this conversation , but...... I had a Wahoo RFLCT, and then upgraded to the +. The first computer crapped out after about a year. They gave me a bit of a deal to get the +. It worked fine for about 3 years, and again, crapped out while I was on tour. I emailed Wahoo, back in June and have NEVER been responded to! Uncharacteristic of Wahoo, I will say, but that is my version. I considered the Element, but decided in the end that the Lezyne Super GPS was to be my next computer. It worked fine on my tour except for live tracking, BUT I think that maybe I maybe did something wrong, or maybe it was because I was in an area where there was no cell service on the way to the Arctic Circle and beyond. I really, really want to support Wahoo, but want their products to last longer than 3 years.
As far as sensors go, the Wahoo Blue HR worked with the Lezyne. The Wahoo Blue SC probably would have worked but that unit crapped out well over a year ago. The replacement cost was about $79 as I recall. The knock off that I got on Amazon was less than half that cost including shipping and in Canadian dollars. The knock off works very well with the Lezyne. And by the way, the Lezyne was $100 less than the Wahoo Element. I suggest you check it out. Also, the Lezyne drops bread crumbs so you can get yourself unlost if you get lost by retracing your path. Not something I have tried or been in the situation of, but that is what I understand. It also has a rechargeable battery which I like rather than the replaceable battery in the Wahoo RFLCT, But the Element has a rechargeable battery as I recall. Also, you can map your rides, while riding. Just my 2cents.
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Old 08-23-18, 09:51 AM
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Post elsewhere here was asking how to keep their touch screen from being activated by their dripping sweat onto it.







...

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-23-18 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 08-23-18, 10:58 AM
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I do most of my tracking with my phone. And, since touch screens are pretty ubiquitous, I hadn't thought a lot about it.

Advantages of touch screens:
* More screen area available for viewing. This allows multiple items to be displayed in larger fonts on a smaller device.
* Easily create new buttons, less re-using buttons for tasks they weren't designed for.

Disadvantages of touch screen:
* Problematic with rain, perhaps sweat.
* No tactile response. Can't feel the right button.
* Poorly senses a button press???
* Multiple actions for one spot on the screen. Swipe, scroll, button press, etc.

I often find myself hitting an icon on my phone multiple times before an app comes up. It can be quite aggravating.
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Old 08-23-18, 11:10 AM
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I use PGS. Paper guidance system. And a regular old CatEye wireless computer. But I do now have an iPhone if I need to consult a map of the area I am in on the fly.
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Old 08-23-18, 11:43 AM
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I have a Wahoo HRM that works fine on the Garmin 1000. I also use a Garmin remote for controlling the GPS while riding. Easier to push a button, and works with gloves.
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Old 08-24-18, 07:26 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Post elsewhere here was asking how to keep their touch screen from being activated by their dripping sweat onto it.

...
Neither my Garmin 810 nor my 1000 have issues with this.
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Old 08-24-18, 12:44 PM
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If you are not satisfied with the user experience of smartphones, I doubt you'll be happy with a GPS enabled computer. They don't come anywhere near the design polish of modern mobile apps.
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Old 08-24-18, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
If you are not satisfied with the user experience of smartphones, I doubt you'll be happy with a GPS enabled computer. They don't come anywhere near the design polish of modern mobile apps.
Id argue the reverse is true. If you are not happy with trying to get your smartphone to function like a dedicated GPS cycling computer, youd be happy with a unit dedicated to the purpose. Lots of stuff out there, Garmin, Wahoo, Lezyne that are do in one device, with an OS dedicated to the purpose, what you often have to cobble together on a phone.
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Old 08-25-18, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post


Neither my Garmin 810 nor my 1000 have issues with this.
Same with my 1030.
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Old 08-25-18, 09:04 PM
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I'm going to suggest the Polar V650.

$169 if you shop around. The screen is gorgeous.

It is a bluetooth device. Wahoo RPM matnetless sensors do both bluetooth and ANT.
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Old 08-25-18, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hhk25 View Post
One question about nav - does Garmin know about bike paths and rail trails?
That is a function of the map(s) you have loaded into it.
I have an Edge 1000.
I have the OSM "Generic New" and "Openfietsmap Lite" maps loaded.
When I am cycling, I enable the Openfietsmap Lite, (and disable Generic New), and it shows every offroad trail I know.
When motorcycling, I enable the "Generic New" , (and disable Openfietsmap Lite).

Here is an example of why you don't want to use Openfietsmap Lite on a motor vehicle:
There are some mountain roads here with narrow tunnels, which have signs "No Bicycles" posted.
Openfietsmap Lite will not let you calculate a route through those tunnels.

Here is the download page for OSM.
New ones come out roughly every two weeks.
See the "Map version:" note just below the displayed map, (15-08-2018 as I write this).
Free worldwide Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap
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Old 08-26-18, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
Have you thought of using a handheld instead, like an etrex 30x? You'll get 25-30 hours on aaa batteries that you then change out with new ones instead of having to find someplace to charge your device. If you prefer rechargeable, as I do, for various reasons, you can bring a charger along and juice up spare batteries as you are able, but you won't be held hostage to the needs of your gps unit.

An etrex would not work for the wahoo sensors, but perhaps you could use a different non gps computer for that. It would not drain nearly as quickly as a gps computer, as it's the gps link that really goes after the battery.
Thinking long and hard about the eTrex. Running on AAAs is very appealing. Does it have basic bike computer functionality like speed, avg. speed., distance to end, etc. As opposed to having just a map display. I often just want to see how far I have to go to get to my next waypoint, how long I've been riding, etc. The map itself is not that important.
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Old 08-26-18, 02:59 PM
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Why do you even want a computer? Touring bikes should be as simple as possible without compromising function. A computer is just one more thing to worry about.
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Old 08-26-18, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
Why do you even want a computer? Touring bikes should be as simple as possible without compromising function. A computer is just one more thing to worry about.
Some people like to be geeks. More power-2-um. Whatever floats their boat. It's just like most of the threads here...... they talk about equipment and gadgets.
My first cross country trip was in 1991. No computer, no music, no navigational aid except for the paper map I bought at each state line. I didn't even have a watch....on purpose. My mind was completely clear. I never wondered how much time was left to the next water stop because I didn't bring a watch.
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Old 08-26-18, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
Some people like to be geeks. More power-2-um. Whatever floats their boat. It's just like most of the threads here...... they talk about equipment and gadgets.
My first cross country trip was in 1991. No computer, no music, no navigational aid except for the paper map I bought at each state line. I didn't even have a watch....on purpose. My mind was completely clear. I never wondered how much time was left to the next water stop because I didn't bring a watch.
Sure sounds blissful!
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Old 08-26-18, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
Some people like to be geeks. More power-2-um. Whatever floats their boat. It's just like most of the threads here...... they talk about equipment and gadgets.
My first cross country trip was in 1991. No computer, no music, no navigational aid except for the paper map I bought at each state line. I didn't even have a watch....on purpose. My mind was completely clear. I never wondered how much time was left to the next water stop because I didn't bring a watch.
That's more typical of my approach. When I go hiking or backpacking I don't listen to earbuds and seldom check the time, yet I see many others with earbuds and checking their cells (if there's service). To me this largely defeats the purpose of outdoor recreation; I just want to relax, focus on the immediate environment and enjoy the moment. If you're constantly tethered to technology you might as well just stay in a developed environment.
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Old 08-26-18, 08:23 PM
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To be clear, Now I listen to Pandora, check emails, and charge my Iphone 6 plus with a dynamo hub. These things weren't available back then. So I'm a total hypocrite.
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Old 08-27-18, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25 View Post
Thinking long and hard about the eTrex. Running on AAAs is very appealing. Does it have basic bike computer functionality like speed, avg. speed., distance to end, etc. As opposed to having just a map display. I often just want to see how far I have to go to get to my next waypoint, how long I've been riding, etc. The map itself is not that important.
Yes, yes and yes. I also didn't realize it looks like the 30x has wireless capability so it will get HRM, cadence info linking up to an ANT sensor.

https://www.navigation-professionell...30-x-settings/
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Last edited by revcp; 08-27-18 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 08-27-18, 06:56 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
Yes, yes and yes. I also didn't realize it looks like the 30x has wireless capability so it will get HRM, cadence info linking up to an ANT sensor.

https://www.navigation-professionell...30-x-settings/
What maps come on the device by default? Do you have to buy anything extra (other than handlebar mount) in order to do routing for tours?
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