GPS device for real time navigation

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billyonabike
Posts: 5
Joined: 22 Sep 2022, 10:47am

GPS device for real time navigation

Post by billyonabike »

Hi all,
I'm new to mountain biking and looking to start going onto more off road trails and improve fitness.
I'd like to buy a GPS to do real time navigation so I could follow a route and not get lost.
Ideally a unit where I could download a trail and then follow it, give me alerts if I take the wrong turn etc.
What would you recommend? Garmin 530, Wahoo Roam, or is the Hammerhead worth the extra money?

I'm in the UK if that makes any difference re quality of mapping.

Thanks for any advice :)
Benz3ne
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Joined: 25 May 2021, 8:53am

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Benz3ne »

Afraid I have no input, but I'm following this with interest. :)
Psamathe
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Psamathe »

Personally I'd never get anything Wahoo again after my experience using one of their GPS navigators on tour (my review https://psamathe.net/wahoo-elemnt-navigation-review/). Others like them but when it lets you down badly you avoid (and it was multiple failures, both the device and separately their infrastructure).

Ian
deeferdonk
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Joined: 11 May 2019, 2:50pm

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by deeferdonk »

I have a first generation Hammerhead and that has a nice big screen and good clear mapping. I believe the current 2nd generation is similar but slightly smaller. It is the best i have seen for displaying map/routes on a cycling specific device. And it often recieves updates with improved features as they are developed. However the battery life isn't brilliant. It suits me for rides of no more than a few hours but if i was doing longer days in the saddle, for peace of mind, I might be better off with the equivalent Garmin which i understand is a lot better for battery life. It will run with a battery pack attached though - which i may do as the battery life gets worse over the coming years unless tempted by a good offer on some new tech.

I don't think i would play full price for a hammerhead though (i am too tight!) - i got mine at a significant discount on a black friday offer a couple of years back.
mattheus
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Location: Western Europe

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by mattheus »

billyonabike wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 11:34am Hi all,
I'm new to mountain biking and looking to start going onto more off road trails and improve fitness.
I'd like to buy a GPS to do real time navigation so I could follow a route and not get lost.
Ideally a unit where I could download a trail and then follow it, give me alerts if I take the wrong turn etc.
What would you recommend? Garmin 530, Wahoo Roam, or is the Hammerhead worth the extra money?
You can download and follow a trail with just about every GPS on the market. Other features appear on different brands/models.

My expereince is with eTrex - about a third the price of the Hammerhead. I recommend it due to taking AA cells instead of needing charging, but this is personal preference; and they are generally more reliable than other Garmins and other brands.
Also it uses a normal cable* for transfer/upload, instead of bluetooth etc. Again, personal preference.

*or mico SD card
Jdsk
Posts: 17926
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Jdsk »

Welcome.

As above: they'll all help you follow a route.

It sounds as if you want turn-by-turn instructions.

How big a screen would you like?

Would you prefer removable batteries or USB charging?

What's the price range?

Thanks

Jonathan
mattheus
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Location: Western Europe

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by mattheus »

Jdsk wrote: 23 Sep 2022, 2:35pm As above: they'll all help you follow a route.

It sounds as if you want turn-by-turn instructions.
Does turn-by-turn work well off-road?

I haven't done much, but GPS is certainly a very different experience off-road to on-road!

Keen to hear answers from the muddy mob. I would guess it's VERY dependent on the mapping used.
Nearholmer
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Joined: 26 Mar 2022, 7:13am

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Nearholmer »

Don’t dismiss simply using your smart phone, with the OS Maps app loaded. Using that you can download, for use off-line, OS map areas, so not only follow a route, but know where you are if you accidentally wander off it, or decide to change what you want to do in mid route.

I use it a fair bit for what is nowadays called ‘gravel’ cycling, but probably don’t transit significant mobile phone ‘not spots’, because there aren’t really any in southern England, and would be interested to hear how users who do go into ‘not spots’ get on with it.
sjs
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Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by sjs »

Nearholmer wrote: 23 Sep 2022, 4:07pm Don’t dismiss simply using your smart phone, with the OS Maps app loaded. Using that you can download, for use off-line, OS map areas, so not only follow a route, but know where you are if you accidentally wander off it, or decide to change what you want to do in mid route.

I use it a fair bit for what is nowadays called ‘gravel’ cycling, but probably don’t transit significant mobile phone ‘not spots’, because there aren’t really any in southern England, and would be interested to hear how users who do go into ‘not spots’ get on with it.
There are many apps which will download maps for later offline use.
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Vantage
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Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Vantage »

Using a phone when mountain biking may not be the best advice. If it flys off the bar or a crash happens then chances are the phone won't survive very well if at all. Plus if the phone is nice and safe tucked away, it can still be used for calling for help.
Plain old maps are the best thing to use or next best is a dedicated GPS unit.
The etrex's unfortunately do not give turn by turn instructions. At best, they'll give an alert and only then when the unit is navigating (not a pre planned route) or if following a 'track' plotted by 'points' (or is it the other way round? Can't remember!) That method however has limits on how detailed the track is due to the units software....or something. Again, bit fuzzy on that.
The etrex also has a small screen which can be hard to read on rough terrain. On the other hand, they're practically bomb proof, use GPS, GLONASS and some other type of satellite, are small and run off AA batteries with a good 16 hour lifespan.
Bill


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cycleruk
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Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by cycleruk »

Nearholmer wrote: 23 Sep 2022, 4:07pm Don’t dismiss simply using your smart phone, with the OS Maps app loaded. Using that you can download, for use off-line, OS map areas, so not only follow a route, but know where you are if you accidentally wander off it, or decide to change what you want to do in mid route.

I use it a fair bit for what is nowadays called ‘gravel’ cycling, but probably don’t transit significant mobile phone ‘not spots’, because there aren’t really any in southern England, and would be interested to hear how users who do go into ‘not spots’ get on with it.
You won't need a phone signal if you are just using it for a GPS 'App'.
I use a Garmin 810 but have used it very little for off-road routes. Not done any real mountain biking with it.
It works fine with canals and bike paths. For MTB routes it will have to cope with bridleways etc and may depend on the mapping available for whatever unit.
I would recommend talking to someone who actually uses a GPS for mountain biking.
Personally I have only ever used O.S. maps when I did MTB. Used to photocopy the map and take that with me.
You'll never know if you don't try it.
Nearholmer
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Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Nearholmer »

If it flys off the bar or a crash happens then chances are the phone won't survive very well if at all
I have mine in a quad lock case, on a quad lock mount for those reasons, and that combo makes the arrangement exceedingly robust.

The bigger issue is battery life, in that if one has a map on view on screen all the time, that places quite a demand on the battery, something which applies irrespective of the tech. I attempt to keep ‘screen on time’ low, and use a large capacity battery brick as backup, oh, and if I’m going where I might get properly lost I carry the paper map too as final backup .
billyonabike
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Joined: 22 Sep 2022, 10:47am

Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by billyonabike »

Thanks for the replies so far guys.

I'd prefer USB charging as I tend to carry a power bank if I go camping which has plenty of power.
Given the cost of a replacement phone and typical rainy weather I'd prefer a dedicated GPS unit as its a little more 'disposable' than a fancy phone.
As Mattheus says, GPS on a muddy rainy hillside is likely to be very different to GPS on a road.
For screen size, I'm thinking mid size about the Garmin 530 size is good for me and price ways say up to £250.
It's bound to get dropped a few times so it would have to be durable and rain proof and get me around a mountain bike trail in the Lake District etc and back to the safety of a warm pub :D

Also, do they work for hiking too?
Jdsk
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Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Jdsk »

Thanks for the extra specifications.
billyonabike wrote: 23 Sep 2022, 6:38pm Also, do they work for hiking too?
There isn't a simple answer! In a sense they all can but the maps and displays and other features may not be optimised for that. Garmin divide their products by function.

I tend to use a paper map when walking although rarely when cycling. I then use the GPS (which is often an iPhone) to give me map coordinates but nothing else. Other walking buddies use dedicated devices often with built in eg OS maps and massive battery life.

But I use a Garmin Edge 1000 when touring on the bike.

Jonathan
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Paulatic
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Re: GPS device for real time navigation

Post by Paulatic »

Vantage wrote: 23 Sep 2022, 4:40pm Using a phone when mountain biking may not be the best advice. If it flys off the bar or a crash happens then chances are the phone won't survive very well if at all. Plus if the phone is nice and safe tucked away, it can still be used for calling for help.
I’ve ridden with people whose Garmin has fallen off and got lost. I’ve ridden with people who’s Garmin flew off into the path of a tractor. I’ve never rode with anyone whose phone in a quadlock has ever parted company.
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