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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.
 
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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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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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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I now have Edge 1030 plus. (The replacement screen I needed for my frazzled 1000J took so long to arrive that I bit the bullet.)

1030+ came with Japanese map and corresponding price premium. I could have saved money by buying a US/Euro version, but didn't want to wait. Still I generally prefer the UpUpDown map of Japan, with its 10-metre contour line intervals, to the official Garmin map.
Bump!

I'm considering upgrading from my 530 to the 1030 plus. Price of the 1030+ on Amazon US is just $350 (without the mounts and straps). The price on Amazon Japan is about 70k yen with the HRM strap and mounts. With the price difference being so much, I'd prefer to buy the US version, but worry that it won't be as good working with maps of Japan. Also, I recently had experience with Garmin Japan customer service, refusing to fix an HRM that was purchased outside Japan since it didn't have the Japanese marking for electronic goods.

Bottom line, if I can't find the 1030 plus Japanese version for 50k or less, I'll pass since I'm pretty satisfied with the 530 I have now. But if I can get the 1030+ US version for about 50k ($350 US) and I don't lose functionality or warranty, I may go for it.

Thoughts?
 
Buy a used phone. Or even go new. ¥50,000 buys a nice one. You don't need a SIM to use it for this purpose. Get a compatible case and mount from rev-mount +. Subscribe to Ride with GPS. Pair any Bluetooth cadence, speed, and HRM sensors. Enjoy!
 
Bump!

I'm considering upgrading from my 530 to the 1030 plus. Price of the 1030+ on Amazon US is just $350 (without the mounts and straps). The price on Amazon Japan is about 70k yen with the HRM strap and mounts. With the price difference being so much, I'd prefer to buy the US version, but worry that it won't be as good working with maps of Japan. Also, I recently had experience with Garmin Japan customer service, refusing to fix an HRM that was purchased outside Japan since it didn't have the Japanese marking for electronic goods.

Bottom line, if I can't find the 1030 plus Japanese version for 50k or less, I'll pass since I'm pretty satisfied with the 530 I have now. But if I can get the 1030+ US version for about 50k ($350 US) and I don't lose functionality or warranty, I may go for it.

Thoughts?
I would say check the Explore 2 which seems very capable. For my usage case, the 1030+ is honestly too complicated by all the training features and they're annoying me. I'm not going to train to be an elite athlete. I just want to plan a ride and ride the plan.

As for maps, the OSM for Japan just gets better and better.
 
I would say check the Explore 2 which seems very capable. For my usage case, the 1030+ is honestly too complicated by all the training features and they're annoying me. I'm not going to train to be an elite athlete. I just want to plan a ride and ride the plan.

As for maps, the OSM for Japan just gets better and better.

Thanks. I'll have a look at the Explore 2. So...using the OSM for Japan on a US purchased Garmin works well?
 
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.
I realize that this post is a bit old, but I made an account just to reply to it, since it seems many people don't know the real answers.
I often go on trips of several hundred KM where I need navigation, so this is something I have researched heavily and tried a lot of options.

Good option for navigation in Japan:
A few years ago, I would have said the Sony or Panasonic bicycle navigation units - but they are both out of production, and map updates have stopped.
These are great because:
1. They are weatherproof
2. They are like car nav units in that they have voice enabled turn by turn navigation without needing internet. They also have better GPS sensors than most smart phones
3. They are weatherproof, and the touch screen works properly in the rain. The screen is readable in direct sunlight as well.
I don't have any idea if they can do English, probably not, but to me that's not really a requirement or something any company operating in Japan would put much effort into.
In fact, address entry on these is super east because they are designed specifically for Japan. For example, you want to go to 東京都渋谷区笹塚4−5−6, you just press と, followed by し, and さ, then 4-5-6. You can also use Mapple codes or station names, etc. Super fast and super easy. Anything like Garmin is super painful and convoluted by comparison. (with a smart phone, at least the screen is big enough that using the keyboard a bit more is easier).

Anyway as I said they are out of production, so you can get them cheap, but at this point any used units probably have short battery life. I believe Pioneer still makes their potter series, but I haven't used this.

I have no experience with Wahoo, but I do have a Garmin Edge 1030.
I don't like the address entry at all, it's quite a pain. There is also no easy way to just select a train station as your destination.
Worse yet, the routing is awful. There is only one option when routing, and one time it was routing me in circles when I was over 20km from home and it was raining. Once I realized it was sending me in circles and I wasn't getting any closer, I had to switch to pulling my phone out of my pocket and checking where I was and where the next turn would be every 5 minutes. Maybe the routing problem is rare, but once was enough to turn me off to it. Also, I want prompts like "turn left in 30 meters", not tomogachi sounds.

But... I don't understand why your edge 1030 wouldn't have Japan maps. Assuming you bought it directly from Garmin Japan, or a proper retailer like Y's road or BIC Camera, it absolutely will come with Japan maps pre-installed. Mine certainly did.

I have a Karoo 2. it works fine in Japan. In the setting menu, you can download maps for multiple countries. The navigation (at least when I bought it) requires you to be online via WiFi or the built in LTE connection, though. The LTE connection works fine with a SIM card from OCN (which uses NTT Docomo) though.

I don't use it for navigation, though, because it doesn't really properly support Japanese. I don't hate myself enough to try searching for Japanese addresses in English very often. When I did, it was frustrating and I gave up. If this is something you are really interested in, I can try more.

This unit is very similar to the Edge both in form factor, and in purpose. Which is to say that Navigation is not the main point. It's main purpose is showing Watts, RPMs, heart rate, etc., and recording all that along with your location. It also supports Garmin Radar, and LiveTrack (again needs WiFi or LTE). Bluetooth audio is supported, so you can at least get your bleeps and bloops via your headphones if you have Shokz or the like.

Since it's not sold in Japan, I had to order it using MyUS.com, which was easy to do. There are other similar services.

I think they are preparing to support Japan, because the newer v3 units have Japanese as an officially supported language.

Back to the Karoo 2, the interesting thing is that it runs on Android 8 (or Android 12 on the Karoo 3). They don't advertize this, and they don't support google play services or the google play store - but you can actually side-load many Android apps. In fact, you can load Google maps, and surprisingly, although it complains about not having google services, it works fine. You can also use "Jitensha navitime" (more about that later). I was also able to install G-board, so I could type in Japanese. I still use a smart phone, since the screen is a bit small for these apps. Some apps won't work without google play services, so it is a bit hit or miss, but people have reported using spotify, etc. If you want something small, tough, and bike-computer looking that is somewhat customizable and has very long battery like, then the Karoo 2 might fit. Since you can use load other map apps, you should be okay with it anyway. I use mine as a backup for navigation, but mainly for displaying speed, radar, and live tracking.

Another good option is the Leomo. This is literally a small low end smart phone designed for training. It feels less sturdy than the Wahoo and costs more ((because it comes with special sensors for training), but it also is officially sold and supported in Japan, and does officially support Android apps. The built in app is great for tracking your routes, etc., and it comes with Google maps. Again, though, Jitensha Navitime and Organic maps should be considered. Like Garmin, (and unlike the Karoo dashboard) Leomo dashboard lets you share your routes with friends. There is no built in support for radar or live tracking - but you could use 3rd party apps for those - or anything else you like. The screen is still small, so not all apps might be convenient to use. There is also an extended battery mount, so you can get a longer run time. It looks and feels a bit cheap compared to the Karoo 2, but there is an available rubber cover, and I haven't had any problems with durability.

I have tried Garmin Zumo motorcycle units. They don't even support Gentsuki, much less bicycle routing. This means they will try to take you on the no bicycles allowed freeways, etc.

Finally, one can't deny the versatility of smart phones, but there are problems.
1. Phones not designed to be used as GPS units often have not-so-great GPS chips, and often will heat up or run down the battery quickly.
2. You probably don't want to strap your fragile and expensive iPhone 12 pro max or Sony Xperia whatever onto your bike. The rattling of the bike is known to destroy phone cameras, btw.
3. Most smart phones aren't particularly rugged, and the screen won't work well when wet even if it's waterproof.

Enter the Kyocera Torque. These phones are designed for Military, Police, Construction, hiking, and cycling/motorcycling use.
They are normal android phones, but with better than average GPS and fantastic durability. The batteries are even replaceable.
You can buy a 2-generation-old G04 for less than 1 man yen right now, and that works fantastic as a navigation computer.
You'll also want a mount for it from Rec Mount. The phones have screw holes for attaching proper mounts, and RecMounts have specific mounts for this phone. (And various metal mounts for the bike). They are pricey, but trust me there is no chance they will fall off.
And if the phone does happen to somehow fall off and skid town the road and get run over by a car.. it will just be a little scratched.
And if it was somehow broken - they sell replacement parts - and anyway you can buy a new one for < 1 man. (I actually have 2, one as a backup).
If you are willing to drop about 3man, you can get a used 5G version, which is faster, more storage, etc. - but again the G04 is actually plenty fine for navigation.
The only real disadvantage of this setup is that the mount that attaches to the phone is aluminum, so no wireless charging.
If you are looking to use a "real" smart phone on a bike, this is the optimal solution.

(Panasonic makes similar "Tough" phones and tablets - but they cost more and run older OSes).

As for which map apps to use:
1. Google maps - it's not the best, but when it will actually give you a route, it's usually decent - and it's free.
2. Organic maps - This is free, and the maps (based on OSM, etc) can all be downloaded for offline use.
3. Jhitensha Navitime - This is paid and requires internet, but this is what I use most of the time. It is fantastic in that it will give you multiple routing options. f.e. Take the shortest route, the route with the most cycling roads, the route with the most hills, the route with the least hills, use major roads, avoid major roads, etc. I haven't tried searching in English, but I assume it would work? You can download and try it for free.
To me it's worth the monthly fee - but that would be up to how often you actually use it.
 
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.

I have had bad luck with two Wahoo computers so I stay with Garmin now. I use the 1030 and am satisfied with it. I also use my iPhone. I've stuck a garmin mount (male side) onto case and attach it to my handlebars using a Garmin mount. (much cheaper than a Quadlock) It is easy to take on and off and has never bounced off despite some rough track. I turn it off except when tiling and I want to see my lines (that I've loaded on MapsMe), or when I want to quickly navigate back to a station. Battery is a problem if you keep the screen on all the time, but I turn it off when not needed and I take a battery charger, just in case. I take a plastic zip loc bag with me to cover it if there is some rain. The combo of the 1030 and the phone has worked well for me.
 
Well someone threw a spanner in the plans for the Hammerhead:
"
Karoo orders are only available to the below-mentioned countries:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States of America

We will expand to more countries in time, though barriers in certification, logistics, and other regulations make this a slower process than we would like.

The only other suggestions, I can recommend is, you can have the unit delivered to a friend or family member who resides in our available regions and has the unit shipped across to you "

Never mind.
Yes, Hammerhead's policy of not selling here is a PITA, but I used MyUS.com which costs a bit but got things here quickly.
Other than that, I've been happily using a Karoo 2 for a while, having 'graduated' from a Karoo 1 which had never-ending battery management problems. Like the Karoo 2 - after finding a SIM card that would work in it (IIJmio voice/data plan) - but of course they're replacing it with the Karoo 3 now which will sync with a phone. No issues with battery life, though I don't often go beyond 7 hours - there are battery save modes that are rumoured to extend battery life. Love the display, mapping is good now, rerouting works well and fast too.
 
Yes, Hammerhead's policy of not selling here is a PITA, but I used MyUS.com which costs a bit but got things here quickly.
Other than that, I've been happily using a Karoo 2 for a while, having 'graduated' from a Karoo 1 which had never-ending battery management problems. Like the Karoo 2 - after finding a SIM card that would work in it (IIJmio voice/data plan) - but of course they're replacing it with the Karoo 3 now which will sync with a phone. No issues with battery life, though I don't often go beyond 7 hours - there are battery save modes that are rumoured to extend battery life. Love the display, mapping is good now, rerouting works well and fast too.
Here's a detailed review of the new Karoo. Seems to offer a big improvement in screen quality. But all these flagship cycon's still seem very pricey for what they do though and their "consumable" nature.
 
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