GPS Tips Wanted

Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#1
I take it the Garmin Edge 800 is the bees knees when it comes to cycling GPS units, but is it really 300% better than something like a Garmin nuvi 1365 with Japanese navigation and English menu and voice options? The only thing holding me back is the short battery life, but surely a back up source can be bought or rigged, no? I don't mind paying for quality, but I just can't see how the price difference is justifited. I think Costco has the cheaper Garmin for under 10,000 yen, and the cheapest I can get the other one for is about 33,000.
 
Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#4
Cell phone is old school - not smart in the slightest - freebee from AU. My wife and I spend about 4,000 yen a month on phones combined, and don't want to spend 15,000 a month for smart phones.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
922
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#5
I think the Garmin nüvi range is meant for use in cars, not specifically for bicycles. It will get you from A to B, but that's about it.

The short battery life of 2 1/2 hours is not an issue when you have a 12V DC adapter plugged into the auxiliary power socket of the car (previously known as the cigarette lighter), but for a bike that's a problem. Most smart phones will do better than that. They will sleep as much as possible to conserve battery power, unlike units meant for cars, where you want the screen on all the time.

The second issue is that car units are not designed for logging rides. If you're interested in keeping track of km covered, altitude gain, calories burnt, average climbing speed, etc on training rides then this unit is not for you. You won't be able to use Strava or any of the other interesting sites for cyclists that make sense of GPS logs.

In my opinion you'd be better off with a smart phone, such as an Android or an iPhone, if you want to avoid the costs of a Garmin Edge 500 or 800.
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#6
Weight is a big difference.

On the Edge, the other cost is to get Japan maps. Never saw an Japan Edge model for a price that low. I ended up spending quite a bit for the UUD map which would add onto the cost. That gets you routing capabilities, which is great, but just gets it up to the functionality of a Nuvi. Actually, not even that good, the routing is a bit finicky to me, especially if you are used to other Garmin devices.

Maybe the 60csx is a good option then? Discontinued, so cheap, very popular model. I think you'll still need to source some maps for it though.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
922
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#7
My wife and I spend about 4,000 yen a month on phones combined, and don't want to spend 15,000 a month for smart phones.
I hear you. I used to be really frugal on phones too. I paid about 1000 yen a month on my first cell phone with Softbank and only used it for text messages and free phone calls to family members, not even e-mail.

A year and a half ago I got an Android phone in Hong Kong and paid 5700 yen a month just for the Softbank smart phone data plan, which does add up (the iPhone plan is cheaper). Then my employer paid the data plan, but even now that I pay by myself I would never want to go back.

Being able to figure out train connections anywhere, anytime, navigating anywhere in Japan by bike or on foot, listening to Internet radio in the car, looking up stuff on Google/Wikipedia/Amazon, finding restaurants or opening hours of places with web searches - it's wonderful!
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
650
133
Kanazawa
#8
... for logging rides. If you're interested in keeping track of km covered, altitude gain, calories burnt, average climbing speed, etc on training rides then this unit is not for you. You won't be able to use Strava or any of the other interesting sites for cyclists that make sense of GPS logs.
...
For logging data, an Edge 500 is great--it's small, and the battery will last thru any ride. Either 2 or 3 man, depending on which package you choose.
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/?s=edge+500

The 500 is generally a "tracker", and it doesn't require any maps, either initially or as an add-on.

OTOH, if you want maps and directions as you ride, you'll have to spring for something like the 800. Bought locally, it costs a fortune; it's less if imported but then you need maps like the UUD (Up-Up-Down) add-on referred to by theDude, above.

Maybe an iPhone for routing, combined with an edge 500 for tracking...?
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,682
495
103
Japan
#9
Cell phone is old school - not smart in the slightest - freebee from AU. My wife and I spend about 4,000 yen a month on phones combined, and don't want to spend 15,000 a month for smart phones.
I use an old iphone ( it cost me nothing) with no sim card using map my ride. It works well when i aren't using my Garmin 705.
 

TimeTraveler

Maximum Pace
Feb 6, 2012
397
103
73
Koto-ku, Tokyo
#10
Just this morning, I received the handlebar mount for my Galaxy II android. I will give it a try on Friday climbing Mt. Odake; using Strava cycling for androids to track and map my course. I will post the results by the weekend.

I have a question. Is anyone familiar with the GPS application "AllSportGPS?"
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
922
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#12
I use an old iphone ( it cost me nothing) with no sim card using map my ride. It works well when i aren't using my Garmin 705.
For most of my 200 km Fuji ride I actually had the cell radio turned off (airplane mode) to conserve power, with the Google map preloaded off the WiFi at home.

I also usually carry my older android as a backup, with a fully charged battery but no SIM card, which means I have a fall back position for GPS logging and even phone calls (if I swap the SIM, as neither unit is locked).

So yes, smart phones are perfectly usable even without a data plan. GPS logging is a purely passive function (GPS reception is separate from 3G data) and navigation can work in "airplane mode" if you preload maps.

Any unit designed for a car will use a lot of juice, especially if it has a large colour screen. There's a reason Garmins have tiny screens and mobile phones automatically turn their screens off after a minute or so.
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#14
Maybe the 60csx is a good option then? Discontinued, so cheap, very popular model. I think you'll still need to source some maps for it though.
Here's one on Yahoo auction, looks to have some maps already there, so wouldn't have to shell out for those.

http://page4.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/d127606676

Weighs a bit more than 2x as much as an edge 800. you'll need a bar mount. But it runs on AA batteries and is a proper navi-navi.... if you were considering a Nuvi, I'd think this would work a bit better (waterproof, etc.)

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=310
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#15
Plenty of options available from the Garmin range, and I don't know of any other manufacturer that makes units that are suitable for cycling and can take a Japanese map (although I think Panasonic may have just launched a Japanese language one).

"Trackers": Edge 200, Edge 500. The 500 is a bit more expensive, but can link with heart rate and cadence sensors, which the 200 cannot. If you're interested in GPS as a training tool, the 500 is more useful. The 500 can be used as a navigation aid; i.e. it can show you a single line on the screen representing your course, with your position marked on it. But it won't show any roads, contours, etc so if you go off track you're on your own. Strava, MapMyRide and RideWithGPS are optimised for use with these.

"Navigators": Etrex series, Dakota series. Have bike mounts available and run off AA batteries, good battery life of 15-18 hours from NiMH batteries. Show maps, road, contours and can do on-the-fly routing and re-routing if you go off course (with varying degrees of success). Some of them can link with a heart rate / cadence sensor (e.g. the Dakata 20) but getting the HR history data out is a bit of a fiddle, though it can be done. The Etrex series is cheaper but the Dakotas have much faster processors and can scroll around, zoom and redraw maps many times faster. A fair chunk heavier than the trackers (about 200 g with batteries). Great for longer tours in unfamiliar regions. Many Openstreetmap files are available for overseas use.

"Sports Navigators": Edge 605, 705 and 800. Lighter than the Navigators (about 120 g), internal batteries. Have most (maybe all) the functions of the Navigator types, easy sync with heart rate and cadence sensors, easy integration with Strava etc. The 605 and 705 are much slower at map redrawing and navigation re-routing, although it does work eventually. Most expensive compared to the other types.
 
Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#16
Thanks for the tips everyone. Tracking is a nice feature, but navigtion is the main thing I need. Not knowing where I am or having to stick to main arteries can be a real pain.

Based on the above, I think I will give the old phone route a try. I suppose I can get a not-so-old HTC phone with Android and use Google maps and apps and make due with that. I assume the phone's GPS will run without phone serivce, and I hope to be able to prepay in installments of 2,000 yen or so, if I want to brose the Net, so I can avoid the monthly phone service rates. If so, that would be ideal.

Not so interested in the handle bar mounts. I have seen a few phones fly off before, and it does not look the best strapped on there. I do like the look of the Edge 800, but the screen seems too small (light and good battery life though I suppose) and no way to check train times, restaurants, and TCC posts. Also, I am not so interested in cadence and HR, so I will look into the old phone route more now. Thanks again!
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#17
I have Been pretty disappointed with the 800. Consistently buggy as a device. Inaccurate too. Despite the fact that it is supposed to be reading speed off my wheel sensor it is constantly giving me different distance measurements over the same track.
My heart monitor has given up. And the gps elevation readings are nit accurate.

Very poor given the status it affords itself