afanasiew wrote:Planning for a 16 day LEJOG next year, I'm wondering what to use for navigation. I'm dizzy from reading Garmin and Wahoo reviews which, if you keep looking, always seem to come up with off-putting negatives. Now I'm looking at android apps for use with a spare phone and powerbank, but there are so many to choose from, even when you're only looking for offline mapping and turn-by-turn navigation. What's your preference? Anyone used Naviki?
Most cycling GPS units have a few negatives, the problem is that it varies wildly between different users - some people will love a certain feature, others will hate it! You just need to pick something that has the lowest number of negatives for you and your ride.
At the very top end, the units are like complete fitness / performance centres designed to connect to power meters, heart rate, cadence sensors etc. If you don't have any of those things, it's fairly pointless buying a unit designed to connect to them.
In the mid-range you (generally) get a better mix of navigation features and fewer of the "fitness / performance" features so something like the Garmin Edge Explore. The trick then is to work out how you're going to calculate your route and transfer it to the unit - some like Wahoo require pairing with the phone app, the advantage being that it's then quite easy to update the route on the go via the phone and send it to the unit. Some (older Garmins in particular) require plugging into a laptop with a cable for upload / download which is obviously impractical for extended touring.
Most units will accept routes from a range of sources - so long as it's a .gpx or .tcx file it'll generally work no matter which route planning app or website you've used. Worth trying out a few sites and seeing which one is most intuitive - route planning is far and away the biggest logistical challenge and the settings on your chosen site need careful checking as it;'ll often give you the option to route via most popular, via "quietest" (which often puts you onto NCN, towpaths and so on) or via shortest / quickest so make sure the settings match what you want to do.
Same with the unit, the routing settings need to match. This just requires some local rides on routes that you know where you can deliberately go off course and see how the unit reacts - does it try to send you back to the last known point, does it try and pick up the route further along, will it cut the corner, will it re-route you via towpaths or A-roads...? This is also useful for trialling battery life. Most modern units will do about 10hrs+ even with navigation but constant screen use or re-routing will lower that considerably. If you're going to be camping en-route, you probably want to look at something that uses rechargeable AA batteries but if you're staying in B&Bs / YHAs etc, you can use a USB rechargeable one. A Powerbank is another option but again, needs factoring into the logistics.
Once you've created your route, you should just be able to upload it as 16 different files (Day 1, Day 2........Day 16) and work through them. Check the unit has enough memory to handle 16 routes being stored in it.
One of the best sites for quick independent (but very in depth) reviews is this one: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/
My personal preference is to calculate a route on Strava which (personally) I find the best combination of features for me, transfer it to the unit and then let the GPS take care of any re-routes. If I or it get confused, I'll stop and consult the OS Maps app on my phone and use that in conjunction with the GPS to ride the way I want to go which is not always the way the GPS wants to send me. It'll generally catch up after a few minutes of complaining and trying to turn me around but you need to understand those foibles before you arrive in Lands End!