By Chicky - Posted on 19 May 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hey guys saw on sunday a lot people had garmin GPS trackers. just wondering whats the best one to get?

[Mod. moved to Geek Gear]

Do you need mapping / navigation?

A Garmin Edge 500 with heart rate monitor is perfect for most people. It's small and light , easy to read screen and battery lasts for ages.
The only thing it does badly is navigation, it's nearly as bad as not having it at all.

If you're after a navigation function, go for the Edge 800.

I have the Edge 510 and its awesome. You can plan a ride online and then upload to the 510 which then gives turn by turn nav. I used that function on the weekend and it was fantastic!

Another vote for the 510.

I have used Garmins in the past and one of the things the 510 does really well is to pick up reception very quickly - like a couple of seconds. It has basic navigation and the touch screen is pretty good too. The user interface is pretty user friendly compared to other garmins too.

If you want the latest and greatest the Edge 1000 is out I believe.

I have 800 riding partner just got the 510, much better sat lock and for mtb 510 does everything you need. I could not navigate a trail with the 800

I wanna to buy a garmin 800 before but I missed the deal due to the stock. So, bought bryton rider50 for less than $300. So far so good. Only concern is the km shown in the unit is different in strava. Is it common? I don't know.

It does the same with my 500, Strava always adds a few km to what it shows on screen, plus the vertical climb gets a few metres added too. Garmin Connect is different again.

No idea how it goes on the 800/810, but I have been pretty happy with the trail navigation feature on my 705.

It trills a couple of beeps then flashes up a big red left or right arrow with "Turn left 50m" or "Turn right 25m". Super easy to use when riding.

I used it to navigate the Mont circuit in 2012 when Hans, TheFlyingAl and I went down to do a recce of the circuit. Downloaded the GPX from the event website and off we went.

The only downside was I forgot how to turn it off. So on my race laps a couple of weeks later, everybody in front knew I was coming. I felt like a vandal destroying the pristine silence of the 2am solitude with my jarring electronic reminder of civilisation! Sad ... LOL.

Sorry to hijack this forum. Can garmin heart monitor be switched off to save battery? It goes flat every 3/4 month? Thanks!

I had a similar issue. At the end is a ride I was connecting the two ends of the strap onto the monitor. Battery went flat.

I now keep it with just one end connected... Battery has been going for 3 years. Perhaps connecting both ends complets a circuit that tells the monitor to go into discovery mode????

Anyway.. If you store it with both ends of the strap connected try it with just one and see how you go.

I have an Edge 500 with the HRM. In short don't bother if you want a reliable HRM.

3 returns in 6 months, rubbish. Swapped strap, last a bit longer then the same crap readings. Managed to have an average of 60BPM in the middle of a 4 hour race.

Gave up in the end.

Found the speed sensor when off road would move out of alignment and then not read anymore. Can't really stop every time that happens.

Use the main unit that is going OK.

I haven't had any issues with my Garmin heat rate monitor or the speed/cadence sensor.

Maybe you didn't have the speed sensor mounted properly?

There's nothing wrong with Garmin speed sensors if they are properly mounted. If it moves when riding then I would point the finger squarely at whoever installed it.

As for the Garmin HRM. Yes, there are many stories about them being unreliable. Soaking it before a ride (and rinsing the sweat off after) is often the key to fixing this. Also making sure you don't let the battery run too low. FWIW, they released a new design in the premium strap recently. If you don't like Garmin straps you can replace either the strap (retaining the Garmin electronics from a premium model) or get any ANT+ compatible device.

End of the day, I don't think there are many head units that can compete with Garmin's on price/performance. Personally I'd look at an Edge 500, although if you want to get by without a PC the 510 or above might be worth having for the wireless syncing via your smartphone.

Would you pay 50 bucks for an old Edge 305, BTW? I know someone trying to offload one.

Strava smartphone app does the trick. I keep mine in my back pocket during rides, but you can also get a fancy mount. And if you have a smartphone, it is free, too! Most smartphone GPS are quite accurate - I find my iphone one is more accurate than the Garmin.

Have a read of Smart Phone GPS or Garmin / Similar Bike Computer for the pros/cons.

Having seen GPS traces from an app and dedicated unit I call BS on anyone who says their smartphone GPS is better. Also remember that for accurate altitude you need a barometric altimeter which AFAIK, no phone has.

I have a Magellan Cyclo 505 (for about 3 motnhs now) and I am pretty happy with it, basically like an Edge 800 +Bluetooth +Wifi and cheaper. I sold my Edge 500, only the unit and I kept HRM and Speed/cadence sensor->working perfectly with the Magellan

"Magellan has trumped the market leader, so I hope the company expands its support for this product to ensure its utility in the coming years"

Disclosure....I am sponsored by Magellan but did not have anything to do with these reviews.

the phone thing....
the GPS is certainly no worse than Garmin. I used an Iphone for strava for years. & it served its purpose. most of us would be carrying a phone may as well make use of it.

On the other hand. to mount it on a handlebar is bulky.
youre always chasing max battery life.
all my whaoo periphiasls have always worked more reliably than garmin counter parts.

yes having a speed sensor stop working is frustrating. & you can point fingers. However that sort of fingerpointing happened a fraction of the time with all the Wahoo stuff.
I'd like to point the fingers right back at Garmin.
while the garming gear may be reliable when installed correctly. It is far less userfriendly than other gear on the market.

I currently use the Garmin 510. with combination of Wahoo & garmin gear. Only because I had it & it works.
otherwise my 510 would have been on the market for some other poor soul to try to sort out.

Rob, just looking through the specs and the Galaxy S5 has a barometer built in. This may mean that other phones will follow suit so we could have a situation soon were phones are just as accurate as Garmin devices.

I'll keep using my Garmin though as I don't want to break my phone when I inevitably stack it.

Bought my Garmin 500 + HRM + Speed/cadence bundle 3.5 years ago.

I've replaced the HRM battery once and the Speed/cadence unit once.

Smartphone App is not an option as I often chew through my mobile battery too quickly just from taking too many photos, especially with the HDR Pro app.

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