Timon of Athens, 2011-12-08 14:21:18
I am starting to look into getting a bike Garmin to replace my cycle computer. The problem is I don’t even know what to start looking at and what I should be looking for.

So…..

what have you been using and what seems to be the best feature. What could you live without? What is a necessity?

Finally, where have you seen the best prices?

JoeBlake, 2012-03-18 00:16:43
Have you found a GPS yet? What did you decide to go with?

I have one of the early etrex models that cost about $100 ten years ago. It doesn’t show maps and streets, but is it great for hiking and bike riding, and there is a mount to put it right on your bike handlebars. It is kind of klunky looking, it has worked well, but the display is gradually getting enough blank lines in it that it is scarcely readable anymore.

I was thinking of replacing it with one of the watch-style GPS units — reasoning I can wear it whether biking or walking. Do you, or does anyone have any reccomendations or experience with those?

Timon of Athens, 2012-03-19 07:14:45
I haven’t got one yet, JB. Every time I’m close to pulling the trigger I hear rumors of something GREAT coming out.

Either that or the place stops selling them. I might have to resort to Amazon.

StacieParks, 2012-03-21 15:31:07
Hello!
I am looking for a good GPS device also.
I am leaning more towards the watch style since my bike computer seems to get out of whack quite frequently.
I don’t think they’re too expensive either.
rebelLT, 2012-03-27 08:46:25
Do you have a smart phone? Droid and iphone apps are availabe for GPS, geocaching, etc. I assume a good GPS app would be able to track you average speeds etc. Plus why not just carry one device (phone) instead of a phone, gps, camera etc. There may even be a biking type app available and I am sure someone sells mounts for the handlebar somewhere. There are also portable battery chargers available for smartphones. I just carry my phone in a bag and take it out as I need it, mostly for directions, as I am not as concerned with my times or speeds.
rebelLT, 2012-03-27 08:50:21
Here is a news story of several bike apps for the droid.

http://theappwhisperer.com/2011/05/08/top-10-android-bike-apps/

my_bicycle_saved_me, 2012-03-27 18:46:46
rebelLT brought up a point I wanted to make but was afraid of sounding foolish because I am still a newbie.

In the age of smartphones, I’m not sure I grasp the value in having a separate cyclecomputer, and if I’m missing something I’d like to understand it better.

I use the Android app Endomondo – there are probably jazzier ones but this one does ok for me. It is a free app (pro edition costs but the free version is, in my opinion, awesome), has GPS tracking, you can track a “workout” (i.e. a route) and it monitors average speed, top speed, lap time per mile, elevation, elevation change (up / down), etc. Tracks calories burned if that is of value to you.

The real funk behind this app is the website. The app itself I view as just the input – something to capture the info as you ride – but the website allows you to view and slice & dice this data many different ways. You can track your personal bests in many respects – fastest mile, furthest distance in X minutes, furthest distance overall, total miles per day, week, month, year, etc…I think the app is incredible. My understanding is that if you integrate a heart monitor with it, it’ll track that as well. I am not sure if that is available in the free version or only the pro version.

The only hesitation I had at one point is battery life. Smartphones have improved leaps & bounds but battery life has barely improved in years. When I run Endomondo during my ride plus Pandora for streaming music, the phone used to die, from fully charged, in less than 2 hours. But I solved it satisfactorily by buying an extended battery on Amazon. In fact, I bought two. They are only a few bucks, and the battery life is very roughly (I haven’t done detailed analysis) at LEAST 1.5 times as long and maybe 2x as long or more. So bottom line, with 2 of those batteries, plus the original the phone came with, I have literally 8-10 *solid* hours of battery life running apps that really chew it up. That’ll get you through a pretty long cycling day, even if you cannot charge anytime during the day.

So, my $.02 is, if you go the Android route, just get an extended battery. It’ll last you hours even if you’re eating up battery life.

Timon of Athens, 2012-05-02 08:06:57
Just a slight thread bump here.

Looks like I am zeroing in on a Garmin Edge 800. It has everything that I am looking for. You can pre-program a route or just bring up a map to figure out where you are. It records you trek for later downloading also. As someone who often just heads out to explore new backroads, all these feature will be very helpful. I am opting out of the heart monitor, cadence monitor, etc because 1) I don’t care about those things as I am not in competition and 2) they add about 200 clams to a very expensive toy.

Has anyone checked these out or is there something that I am missing? Let me know. The siren call grows louder.

Timon

StacieParks, 2012-05-30 14:46:23
I never thought about an app! First I need to get a smartphone. I am due for an upgrade. Thanks for the great information.
Timon of Athens, 2012-08-28 09:53:30
Complete turn around from my last post.

I took the plunge and got a Garmin 200. It really had everything I needed and the list price of $140 with a $30 rebate sold me.

I decided I didn’t need things like a cadence sensor, power meter, and mapped navigation. What I got was a compact and extremely easy to use piece of equipment. I have been very happy with it an recommend it to other trail riders.

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