What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
khain
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What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby khain » 27 Dec 2015, 5:25pm

I've been using a Garmin Etrex 20 for the last few years but due to a few falls the joystick no longer works. Good device but the screen is a little small and the joystick is hard to use on a bike.

I'm currently looking at either a Garmin Dakota or GPSMap 64. The Edge Tour also looks ok but I'd prefer one that uses AA batteries. Anyone used these devices or can recommend anything else, preferably under £200?

Is buying one with a barometric altimeter worth it?

borisface
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby borisface » 27 Dec 2015, 7:22pm

I have a garmin edge 800 with city navigator maps and it has been excellent. The maps in particular are very good used in FRance, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Greece and it has scarcely put a foot wrong. They do have a rechargeable internal battery though.

MrsHJ
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby MrsHJ » 27 Dec 2015, 8:49pm

Him indoors delivered a garmin touring plus for me for Christmas. I haven't tested it but there were very good discounts a couple of weeks ago. my only concern is overnight charging but it should work with my power monkey if there's no power supply to hand.

khain
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby khain » 27 Dec 2015, 9:07pm

borisface wrote:I have a garmin edge 800 with city navigator maps and it has been excellent. The maps in particular are very good used in FRance, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Greece and it has scarcely put a foot wrong. They do have a rechargeable internal battery though.

Do the Edge devices have a resistive screen? Garmin's website doesn't say.

I definitely want something that can be operated with normal gloves.

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DaveP
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby DaveP » 28 Dec 2015, 12:39am

I have a GPSMap62s. Waterproof, push button design, AA batteries but it was the high performance satellite link that sold it to me. It has several times performed better than a friends Edge when under trees etc. I also have no interest whatever in Strava or even monitoring my own performance data. It came with a City Navigator map which is good and clear in towns and when on roads. I back it up with an Openfiets map for off road use and for whenever I want to see geographical features on my display. Its good for walking as well. the "s" in my model name denotes the ability to accept a micro SD card. This is a convenient way to carry a lot of maps without pushing the devices memory limits. I found another use which may or may not be relevant to the 64 models. The 62 series has a limit on the number of prepared tracks that can be stored - and also on the combined total number of way points. I found that my tracks for a 10 day Jogle exceeded that limit quite comfortably, but with 5 tracks per card I had no problems at all and I preferred this to reducing the number of waypoints pinning my tracks to the roads.
The downside, obviously is that the screen is smaller than touch screen models. You can set the zoom to whatever you find useful, but this is always going to be an area for personal preference.
Don't get bogged down in worrying about which is the better at routing. Few cyclists own up to using that particular function!
It has an attachment point for a lanyard which can be looped round the handlebar for extra peace of mind but if you get a mounting kit from these guys http://www.ram-mount.co.uk/ you should be ok

Nearly forgot - barometric altimeter? Personally I wouldn't worry about it. To work accurately they apparently need calibrating at least daily according to the general weather conditions and your location etc. There should be height information on your maps anyway. I noticed recently that my car gps can give me an altitude from my 6 year old city navigator mapping...
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...

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Paulatic
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What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby Paulatic » 28 Dec 2015, 8:54am

I don't know which is "best" but I'm fairly happy with what I've ended up with.
Had been pondering on a purchase for months and really couldn't make my mind up. I had EBay searches set up for waterproof phones and Garmin devices. I looked and deliberated day after day.
One evening a Garmin Oregon 600, good condition, was listed BIN at £115 inc postage (came with 2 bike mounts also).
I bought it as it appeared to be good value. First day it froze a few times and I thought Ahh this is why it was cheap. Connected it to the computer and updated the firmware and deleted a "bike hike" file which wouldn't delete from the handset. With 2 new NimH batteries it has worked perfectly ever since.
I wanted something for navigating in new areas as I waste so much time stopping , finding my glasses, opening map reading, putting glasses away...etc I've been trialling it at home for a few weeks now using it to make the route and then following it. The two main fields I'm using are "distance to next turn" and an "automotive turn" ( ie arrow). There seems to be unlimited profiles and fields to set up for many possibilities. So far it hasn't told me anything stupid and I'm becoming increasingly confident in using it.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

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Mick F
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby Mick F » 28 Dec 2015, 9:52am

Paulatic wrote:I don't know which is "best" but I'm fairly happy with what I've ended up with.
Spot on! :D

Garmin Montana for me, and it's perfect for everything I want it for.
You can buy one similar to mine - refurbished - from Burrows GPS for £265.
http://www.burrowsgps.co.uk/hiking-camp ... a-650.html
Mick F. Cornwall

bohrsatom
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby bohrsatom » 28 Dec 2015, 10:12am

khain wrote:
borisface wrote:I have a garmin edge 800 with city navigator maps and it has been excellent. The maps in particular are very good used in FRance, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Greece and it has scarcely put a foot wrong. They do have a rechargeable internal battery though.

Do the Edge devices have a resistive screen? Garmin's website doesn't say.

I definitely want something that can be operated with normal gloves.


Yes it is a resistive screen that you can use without taking your gloves off.

I use an Edge 800, my girlfriend an eTrex 20. Are either the best for touring? Really it depends what you want -

Touchscreen vs joystick control
Internal rechargeable battery vs AA batteries
Speed/Cadence and plenty of ride statistics vs few statistics
Wifi, strava integration, etc vs none of that rubbish!
Follow a preplanned route vs generate routes on the device
very easy to remove mount vs slightly harder to remove mount

I like that we have both - the edge 800 is more advanced and I like to have stats on the day's ride and use it to get from A to B when we divert from my preplanned tracks. The much simpler eTrex 20 is only used to follow preplanned GPX tracks. But there's no issue if it runs out of battery!

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al_yrpal
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby al_yrpal » 28 Dec 2015, 10:22am

Inexpensive and versatile solution, plenty of battery life. The brouter app sounds very interesting :-

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=102016

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

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Mick F
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby Mick F » 28 Dec 2015, 10:24am

bohrsatom wrote:I definitely want something that can be operated with normal gloves.
Yes, you can use the thickest gloves you want.

The only limitation I have found, is that the when you jab your gloved finger on to the screen, the gloves can be too thick to get the correct button first time. :lol:

The massive screen of the Montana is better than the smaller 800 etc.
Mick F. Cornwall

khain
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby khain » 28 Dec 2015, 11:20am

al_yrpal wrote:Inexpensive and versatile solution, plenty of battery life. The brouter app sounds very interesting :-

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=102016

Al


I wrote an article comparing smarphones to dedicated gps units: http://www.tourbybike.co.uk/smartphone-or-dedicated-gps-unit/ which discusses the pros and cons of both for navigating. I'm not a fan of smartphones personally but in some ways they're a better option. I much prefer a Garmin though.

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al_yrpal
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby al_yrpal » 28 Dec 2015, 3:21pm

khain wrote:
al_yrpal wrote:Inexpensive and versatile solution, plenty of battery life. The brouter app sounds very interesting :-

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=102016

Al


I wrote an article comparing smarphones to dedicated gps units: http://www.tourbybike.co.uk/smartphone-or-dedicated-gps-unit/ which discusses the pros and cons of both for navigating. I'm not a fan of smartphones personally but in some ways they're a better option. I much prefer a Garmin though.


Thats a pretty good article. The reason I wrote my review of the (now £80!) Moto E is that currently its the inexpensive smartphone with probably the best battery life there is regardless of price. As a phone, it can go 5 days without charging, with the screen on navigating by gps it lasts over 6 hours and with the screen lighting up on turns it can apparently go 12 hours between charges. I bought an Etrex 20 for cycle touring and tried it but found it to be complex and limited compared to Osmand on a phone. If you try any old smartphone you are likely to be disappointed with battery life.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

khain
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby khain » 28 Dec 2015, 4:55pm

@al_yrpal
12 hours isn't bad but using lithium batteries I can get close to 100 hours on 2xAA with the etrex. A pack of 8 standard AAs will last me nearly a month of cycle touring. And when the batteries run out you simply pop in another set. No waiting for it to charge.

Also, I'm in Scotland where it rains a lot. Using a capacitive touchscreen in the rain doesn't work well, nor in high humidity. I have an older Motorola smartphone which is weatherproof and has good battery life but trying to use the touchscreen in a cold and humid tent is no fun.

Having said that the newer Garmins seem to be converging with smartphones so might have the same problems.

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Mick F
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby Mick F » 28 Dec 2015, 5:04pm

My Montana touch screen works well in the rain.
Never a problem.

Not tried it (yet) but I bet it would work under water.
Mick F. Cornwall

granville2
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Re: What's the Best GPS Unit for Cycle Touring?

Postby granville2 » 29 Dec 2015, 1:01am

I have an Oregon 450 and Oregon 600. The screen on the 450 started to cause problems at least 2 years ago, and I bought a 600 without maps for £200 in July from Amazon. Most things are a marked improvements in the new model, in particular the screen visibility and sensitivity, and the software functionality. However the screen is so sensitive it can be pain. It not a problem on a mount on the bike but is when you are hiking. When I first used it on a walk, I put it in my pocket just recording the track, when I took it out it was in car navigation mode with a destination, this was all from random touches of the screen in my pocket. The high sensitivity of the screen has also been a problem when it is raining hard, the rain drops landing or drops of water rolling on the screen are read as finger touches and unit can get completely tied up trying to keep up with the random inputs. When I made the mistake of unlocking the screen in the rain on a hike I could not get control of the unit without sheltering and drying the screen.