What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Bikegirl45
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What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Bikegirl45 » 28 Jun 2017, 6:26pm

I recently purchased a Garmin 810, from a well known supermarket. Using the memory card I added European maps as I was touring Ireland. It got me from Dublin Port to the hotel, but then froze, The message was just "loading Maps" and was totally unusable for the rest of the holiday. Thankfully I had a paper map and notes of the towns and villages on route.sent the 810 back and got a refund after trying to ring Garmin and being on the line holding for 45 mins. (supermarket very good and no problem with them)

I would like to buy similar, or even a more reliable Garmin. Any recommendations,

whizzzz
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby whizzzz » 28 Jun 2017, 8:30pm

After reading similar tales, I went for the Wahoo Bolt. Its a black and white screen, but other than that it seems better than more expensive options.

Decent battery life, you can plot maps using ridewithGPS.com, it links to wifi so you can in theory get routes when you are out ( if you have made them ) via your phone etc.

Easy to use, the maps and LEDs show the way whilst beeping if you want near to junctions.

Pretty impressed with it, certainly have a look at the review videos and stuff.

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Mick F
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Mick F » 28 Jun 2017, 8:33pm

Mick F. Cornwall

Mistik-ka
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Mistik-ka » 29 Jun 2017, 2:06am

Mick F wrote:Garmin Montana.

+1
Have used ours on two 3-4 week tours around England.

Bez
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Bez » 29 Jun 2017, 9:24am

I'm sure everyone's keen to recommend what they have, but no device suits everyone; the answer could be any of the above and plenty more besides and it really depends on a few things:

1. Do you follow pre-planned routes rigidly, loosely, or not at all?
2. If you use routes, do you plan all your routes in advance, or do you plan some/all while you're away?
3. Do you want to avoid ever having to look at a paper map or a phone, or are you happy to use those for a broader map view?
4. Do you need turn notifications or are you happy to "follow the wiggly line"?
5. Do your tours involve access to mains power every night, and if not what power sources do you carry?
6. Do you have plenty of available space on the bars/stem, or just a little?

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Mick F
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Mick F » 29 Jun 2017, 10:07am

All those points equal the Montana.
Maybe point 6 would take an argument, but all the other five is a Montana.

Also, I've had an Edge 305, an Edge 705, and I still have an Edge 20 so I'm not a stranger to GPS devices.
Mick F. Cornwall

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meic
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby meic » 29 Jun 2017, 10:27am

All those points equal the Montana.

Doesnt that depend on the answers to those points?

I would add others, like do you want to spend more for a "groovy toy" or just have navigation on demand. Plenty of scope ranging from a black and white track for £80 to £600 worth of high-tech wizardry.
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Bez » 29 Jun 2017, 10:30am

The Montana may be the most suitable for many people's idea of touring: it scores well on many fronts, the power source is versatile, and it certainly seems the best if you want to use it as a full or partial substitute for a paper map or a phone. But it's also big and expensive. And I suspect it suffers from some or all of the usual Garmin idiosyncrasies (not that the Wahoo or other devices don't have their own; they're just different).

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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby jacksonz » 29 Jun 2017, 12:16pm

Most of the time I follow a track line, I very rarely use active routing to get to a camp site. The etrex 20(x) works perfectly for this. The etrex is very inexpensive to buy.
If I need a bigger screen I look at my phone.

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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby PH » 29 Jun 2017, 3:44pm

Mick F wrote:Also, I've had an Edge 305, an Edge 705, and I still have an Edge 20 so I'm not a stranger to GPS devices.

Well, no stranger to Garmin...

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TrevA
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby TrevA » 29 Jun 2017, 4:00pm

Have to say that I've had my 810 for about 3 years now and not had a problem with it. For a pre-loaded route it gives turn by turn instructions, the map screen is big enough to see, it records my rides and I can use it on my turbo, paired to a cadence and speed sensor. I mainly record rides with it but use it for route finding on audaxes and if I'm in a new area. I've done a ride in the Cotswolds today, ably guided by my 810.

I've just bought my wife an 820 Explore which is slightly smaller, but is able to easily plan routes on the hoof as well as at home.

I've previously had a 705 but it was getting a bit ancient and took ages to lock onto the satellites. I probably still have it somewhere.
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Mick F
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Mick F » 29 Jun 2017, 4:31pm

meic wrote:
All those points equal the Montana.

Doesnt that depend on the answers to those points?
Yes, of course.

I you want a GPS device, all those answers can be fitted into the Montana as it's a versatile as you want it to be.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Bez » 29 Jun 2017, 4:47pm

All those answers fit into the Montana for you.

If you want route calculation other than Garmin's own (which can be quirky, to put it politely) while you're away, it won't do that. If you want a device which runs/charges from a dyno while riding then the Garmins I've used play up in that scenario, I'm not sure if the Montana is the same. If you don't want to spend as much as a Montana costs then it's out. If you want the easiest possible way to get routes onto the device then there are better devices. If you want a nice compact bar fitting or an out-front mount then there are better devices.

No-one's saying it's a rubbish device, or that it isn't the best device for you, or even that it isn't the best device for the OP. But your idea of the best device isn't everyone's idea of it. The best device for me is not the Montana. But neither you or I are the OP.

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Mick F
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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Mick F » 30 Jun 2017, 8:33am

Hi Bez.
If someone asks me what is the best thing, all I can do is offer my opinion.
What, in your opinion, is the best Garmin for touring?

There are a couple of ways of constructing a route with a Montana whilst you're away. You don't have to leave the Garmin firmware to do the whole route as an out-and-out satnav.

Getting a route into a Montana is easy with a computer ......... and I don't mean using BaseCamp. Best way I've found is to use BikeHikeUK and download the route as a GPX track and put it into Garmin/GPX folder.

You can change the connection protocol so when you connect it up any suitable power supply, it will power up normally and not go into mass storage mode. This means that it will run indefinitely on a bike with a dynamo, or even in the car or other vehicle. On a bike, the connections are all available when in the bike cradle.

Not bought a cradle for the car, but use a smart phone holder from Lidl's. The dedicated one has a speaker for the various voices. This unit will mount in/on anything, not just a car.

I bought mine as a refurbished unit from Burrows GPS.
This sort of thing. Mine is a 600 for less than £200.
http://www.burrowsgps.co.uk/hiking/garm ... a-650.html

You can't have a compact fitting for a big device. I have mine on the stem.
Perspective of this shot makes it look bigger than it is.
IMG_0138.JPG
Here's another angle.
IMG_0139.JPG


One of the things I like about a Montana, is that it has a magnetic compass. It means that when you stop, the map stays correctly orientated no matter how you turn it. My past devices didn't have that, and a smart phone doesn't either.

I can only recommend it. Shopping around will keep the cost to a minimum.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: What is the best Garmin or GPS (not smart phone) for touring

Postby Bez » 30 Jun 2017, 8:58am

Mick F wrote:What, in your opinion, is the best Garmin for touring?


Well, this is kind of the point: there isn't one. They're all flawed. They all have pros and cons. And different people will view those pros and cons with different levels of importance. What's best for me isn't best for you, and so on. Some people's idea of touring is to plan every day in meticulous detail before leaving, others will just follow their nose, and there's a whole spectrum in between.

In the past I've used an eTrex Legend, an eTrex Vista C, an Edge 200, an Edge Touring Plus, and Edge 800 and a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt (along with half a dozen or so Android apps, but we've already ruled these out). I currently still have the Touring and the Bolt and I'm trying to decide which one to keep: neither is perfect. Then there are plenty of other devices (Polar, Mio, Xplova etc) which neither of us have used. They're all different and, unsurprisingly, there are significant differences between brands which may not become obvious until you use them.

The Montana looks like a great device for touring. Personally I wouldn't want anything that big; part of the reason I migrated from the eTrexes to the Edges was the compactness and tidiness of the mount. By the sounds of it, the Montana works in the same way as just about every other Garmin of similar vintage, which is good or bad depending on how you view Garmin's flaws. For instance, I've very rarely had a decent route out of Garmin's route planning firmware (in the days of the eTrexes I had some amazingly crazy results); Wahoo's route-planning on the fly is far from perfect, but the routes may for the most part be more suitable in many people's eyes (again, people differ: some tolerate trunk roads, some tolerate unsurfaced roads, others don't). So for me any on-the-fly calculation is at best a sticking plaster; those who like to plan each day while they're away will have different priorities regarding the (in)ability to manually plot a route and, if necessary, the ability to get that route onto the device. If waking up in the morning, selecting a destination and letting Garmin choose the route is something that suits someone else then happy days, but that doesn't work for me.

The issue with dyno power, by the way, is not that it won't work: it does, it's just that IME whenever a Garmin has a fluctuating power supply it seems to gradually spiral into some sort of bizarre behaviour where it just starts doing weird things. It's barely explicable, but it happens. After a few hours you just have to shut it down and restart it, but it may have been displaying duff data for some time before you notice. I've not yet tried the Wahoo, but I've no reason to suspect this is anything other than a Garmin-specific issue.

So, back to the question of which is the best touring device for me. Of the devices I've used, probably the 800/Touring (given that they're virtually identical). But then the Elemnt has certain advantages in other areas (it probably has the edge for day rides) but would be pretty adequate for my idea of touring, so I'm currently undecided as to which best fits my personal preferences. (One of those is map orientation: the behaviour you describe in your Montana would drive me nuts—though I'm sure it can be switched off—and the Elemnt's insistence on orienting the map in the direction of travel when it's following a route does likewise. The ability to view the map "north up" while navigating is a big win for Garmin, in my book. Though, conversely, Wahoo have a great reputation for enhancing the Elemnt through firmware, whereas IME if you buy a Garmin you can pretty much guarantee you won't be getting any worthwhile bugfixes or additional features, ever. Especially if you don't want to use Garmin Connect.)

And now back to the question of which is the best touring device for the OP ;)