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kidshibuya

Cruising
Apr 17, 2018
5
4
What is a good option for navigation in Japan? I currently have a wahoo elemnt roam and its almost useless. Constantly just crashes when cycling though Tokyo and often it just gives up, I have so many pics of the unit just displaying the black arrow and nothing more, I just have to guess where to go.

Anyway I have also tried an edge 1030 plus and instantly returned it, no Japan maps, trying to download 3rd party maps was surprisingly difficult plus garmin support was terrible when I asked if I could just buy Japan maps, their answer was NO!!!.

Now I am looking at at Karoo 2 but cannot find any useful information on it. Has anyone tried it in Japan or anywhere outside of US or EU? What maps does it use and how to you put new maps on? Can it search and return results in English for Japan? Need an answer to that one as the wahoo technically supports this but I can very rarely get any results when I search on the unit, I always need to pick a spot off the map and hope its close to where I am going.

Of course I have found any android phone to be perfect for navigation, google maps seems to take me on great cycling routes, but phones are heavy and I have broken two mounts, I am sick of my phone bouncing across the road. Plus the sun in summer on the phone screen, it gets scary hot.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,464
3,391
I have also tried an edge 1030 plus and instantly returned it, no Japan maps, trying to download 3rd party maps was surprisingly difficult plus garmin support was terrible when I asked if I could just buy Japan maps, their answer was NO!!!.
The Asia versions of devices have to support Asian scripts in the operating system and user interface. The work that goes into this, as well as licensing of the map itself plus the usual 'Japan tax' of charging what they can get away with, increases the price a lot over US/EU. That's not helpful to users who don't need a map in Japanese!

The third-party options I know of are:

OpenStreetMap (free) - it's much simpler than it used to be, and there are dozens if not hundreds of tutorials. Download a gmapsupp.img file and drop it into the correct folder while Garmin is connected to computer by USB cable. If using an EU/US model Garmin must ensure the map does not include Asian characters.

UpUpDown (about $100) - as I mentioned above, the map was last updated in 2012 and there's little chance of further updates

but phones are heavy and I have broken two mounts
And the battery expires quickly, I bet.

looking at at Karoo 2 but cannot find any useful information on it.
I've no experience of the Karoo 2. https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/12/hammerhead-karoo-2-in-depth-review.html says "Gives turn by turn directions with full color/detailed maps for anywhere in the world". One Japanese commenter tweeted they would prefer it to Garmin if it would support Japanese language, from which we can infer it doesn't.
 
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kidshibuya

Cruising
Apr 17, 2018
5
4
The Asia versions of devices have to support Asian scripts in the operating system and user interface. The work that goes into this, as well as licensing of the map itself plus the usual 'Japan tax' of charging what they can get away with, increases the price a lot over US/EU. That's not helpful to users who don't need a map in Japanese!

The third-party options I know of are:

OpenStreetMap (free) - it's much simpler than it used to be, and there are dozens if not hundreds of tutorials. Download a gmapsupp.img file and drop it into the correct folder while Garmin is connected to computer by USB cable. If using an EU/US model Garmin must ensure the map does not include Asian characters.

UpUpDown (about $100) - as I mentioned above, the map was last updated in 2012 and there's little chance of further updates


And the battery expires quickly, I bet.


I've no experience of the Karoo 2. https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/12/hammerhead-karoo-2-in-depth-review.html says "Gives turn by turn directions with full color/detailed maps for anywhere in the world". One Japanese commenter tweeted they would prefer it to Garmin if it would support Japanese language, from which we can infer it doesn't.

I am an app developer, I know a lot about incorporating foreign scripts the the near zero effort it takes.

Oh and you might be surprised on the battery life, depending on your phone I guess. My phone has a 4500mah battery with an oled screen, when I use google maps in dark mode (meaning the screen uses little power as an oled screen uses no power to display black) I can ride literally all day and still have 40% battery left, including using the phone to access media when stopping for lunch etc.

Good to see that tweet. I ordered a karoo 2 just now, I'll see how it goes. If it gets here before the end of the month I'll take it to nagasaki and the shimanami kaido. Though almost anything works in the sticks, the real test will be the first time I take it across Tokyo. Time will tell.
 

paullb

Speeding Up
May 24, 2010
75
10
There are some new roads that aren't on the 2012 UUD map, but these are rarely a problem IRL
Yeah, that's been my experience as well. (I still use that map we chatted about at Pink Cow all those years ago). As I pretty much always plan out the routes in advance the road not appearing on the map is hardly an issue. (There was even one time when I forgot the SD card at home and didn't have the map at all but managed to get through the planned route fine.


I'm genuinely curious how you got the veloviewer tiles into the garmin display, is that loaded in as a map?
as OpenStreetMap is so much more detailed and easier to get hold of than it was 9 years ago.
Yeah, it was pretty much useless 9 years ago (i remember trying).

The Garmin 800 (which has not had a battery transplant) is good for 120km or so as long as there isn't too much dallying. I do carry a small mobile battery if I think the ride is going to be longer than that or there will be a lot of stopping and starting.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,464
3,391
I'm genuinely curious how you got the veloviewer tiles into the garmin display, is that loaded in as a map?
It's a route. (As illustrated here) in addition to my route plan, I also create a grid for the day using Manual Mode in Stravr Route Builder. I draw the lines by tracing the tile borders that show in Route Builder in Chrome when using the VV plugin.

The Garmin 800 (which has not had a battery transplant) is good for 120km
Wow. I'm impressed and wonder what I'm doing wrong. Maybe too much backlight and/or fiddling with it while riding.
 

paullb

Speeding Up
May 24, 2010
75
10
Wow. I'm impressed and wonder what I'm doing wrong. Maybe too much backlight and/or fiddling with it while riding.
I turn it off for extended stops and if there is a lot of stopping to take photos etc it won't last this long, which is why I brink a small (130g I think) mobile battery on longer rides. I've been debating trying to swap the battery out.

The reality is that (aside from having to plug it into the machine each time) it's totally fit for purpose.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
1,826
1,626
What is a good option for navigation in Japan? I currently have a wahoo elemnt roam and its almost useless. Constantly just crashes when cycling though Tokyo and often it just gives up, I have so many pics of the unit just displaying the black arrow and nothing more, I just have to guess where to go.
dcrainmaker hit the same issue when he tested the new Bolt 2. He lives in Amsterdam with a dense network of cycling paths and roads. Assuming my Bolt is running the same software, I haven't had any issues with my unit crashing.

What was an issue, though, is routing via the Wahoo app. Almost always are the routes suboptimal. I think it tries to avoid major roads which isn't always the right choice. Sometimes it would send me on gravel farm roads parallel to main roads … on an aero road bike with little clearance. Other times it wants me to cut through a maze of small roads instead of taking the longer, but ultimately faster route using the major arteries.

But when I create my routes myself or let Strava or MapOut do that for me, navigation works very well. MapOut is awesome, you can download quality maps for the entire globe. When I go on business trips, I download the map for the place and use that to navigate. (I usually don't use roaming as that is too expensive for my taste.)
Anyway I have also tried an edge 1030 plus and instantly returned it, no Japan maps, trying to download 3rd party maps was surprisingly difficult plus garmin support was terrible when I asked if I could just buy Japan maps, their answer was NO!!!.
Unlike Wahoo where you can freely download maps for the entire world. Garmin has special J units that “can deal with Japanese maps”. Which is total BS. I understand that some people want to buy Garmins abroad as they are cheaper, but people visit other countries (like Japan, at least pre-pandemic) to ride.
Now I am looking at at Karoo 2 but cannot find any useful information on it. Has anyone tried it in Japan or anywhere outside of US or EU? What maps does it use and how to you put new maps on?
dcrainmaker rates the Karoo 2 and the older 1 very highly when it comes to their navigation features.
Can it search and return results in English for Japan? Need an answer to that one as the wahoo technically supports this but I can very rarely get any results when I search on the unit, I always need to pick a spot off the map and hope its close to where I am going.
Japanese place names are hard. Even Japanese have a very hard time navigating in new places as the pronunciation of places is inconsistent and sometimes just different. Just do your searches on a smartphone and use that to navigate roughly where you want to go.
Of course I have found any android phone to be perfect for navigation, google maps seems to take me on great cycling routes, but phones are heavy and I have broken two mounts, I am sick of my phone bouncing across the road. Plus the sun in summer on the phone screen, it gets scary hot.
Just don't.
I use my iPhone to augment my Wahoo, but phones aren't made to be used with an always-on display. I tried doing that for a few years and it wasn't great.
 

BeerTengoku

Maximum Pace
Mar 14, 2021
103
170
The battery life has been amazing - I did a 250km cycle a few weeks back, and left the device on for about 10 hours or so, and it wasn't even down to 60% on the life.
As Half Fast Mike mentions, having a quick update to navigation has been very helpful and the ecosystem works very well for me.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,253
2,966
I use my Wahoo Elemnt for following courses and my Android phones (Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3, I carry two) for any unscheduled routing as well as for VeloViewer tiling.

I have a Minoura iH-100-S phone holder which works well for either phone. Most of the time the 3a is on the phone holder to serve maps while the 3 is in my back pocket for taking pictures. The phone goes into a bumper with a lanyard attached that wraps around the holder as otherwise it's too easy to drop a phone off the handlebar holder. I never have issues with the phone overheating on the handlebar, even in July or August. While you're moving the wind cools it and when on conbini stops I take off my helmet to cover and shade the phone. Actually I have had issues with low temperatures with some touch screens (other phones, not on Google Pixels) in winter but never with heat.

I have a USB battery for recharging the Wahoo as needed, but with a battery life of 14-15 hours it's not strictly necessary most days. Last Saturday I rode a 200 km brevet in 13 hours with the last 2+ hours ridden in the dark and only started recharging after that for the ride home from the goal. It's very easy to recharge while still recording. I have a micro USB cable with 90 degree connector that has no issues with the handlebar mount. Recharging doesn't take much power and I've never had issues with rain either.

The Pixel 3a also lasts long enough for most long rides (160+ km). I often return from these all day rides with still having over 40 percent battery capacity left. I still carry a USB C battery for my two phones, but it's more for peace of mind than real necessity. Previously I used a single USB battery to charge a GPS and two phones over a 2 day 600 km ride but these days I carry two batteries, one with a USB A connector to charge the GPS with a micro USB cable and a USB C / USB A battery for charging the Androids with a USB C cable.
 
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