1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Advice on what computer to get

    I'm new to this and would like recommendations on what computer to get. I was looking at some reviews for the Garmin 500 and 510. Any recommendations? Or should I stick to just some basic ones for now?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I know this might not make sense, but you will probably pass through using a computer if you are in the sport for a while. It's very peaceful without.

    Also, a phone app does the job. Get an app that writes to gpx.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindercone View Post
    I'm new to this and would like recommendations on what computer to get. I was looking at some reviews for the Garmin 500 and 510. Any recommendations? Or should I stick to just some basic ones for now?

    Thanks
    I use the Garmin 510 and it does the job really well.

  4. #4
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    iphone for me. I use Strava and Map My Ride+. Both work well and I run both every ride. Its nice to be able to compare this ride with the last ride on the same trail. Also Strava lets you compare to others that ride the same trails. A buddy of mine is getting skeert because I am catching him on one trail.
    Im sure both of these apps are available on other phones as well. I bought a $25 blutooth speed/cadence thingy that mounts to my chainstay/crank arm that works quite well too. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    I've have the 200, 500, and the 510. I like the 510 the best, because of the bluetooth function. It uploads the saved data to my Garmin Connect account which is linked to Strava. No need to connect to the computer to upload.

    If you just want something real basic...the 200 does a good job. The 500 has the Ant+ functions but no bluetooth and touchscreen like the 510.
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  6. #6
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    What do you want from the the computer? If you just want a close idea of time ,distance and mileage any of the apps will be fine.You could use any of the Cateye type recorders.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I have an iphone but would like something I can just use solely for my bike. Maybe I can start with just an iphone app and see what I really need after a few rides.

  8. #8
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    A cheaper GPS option is the Cateye Stealth series. I've been using the Stealth 50 for little over a year now and like it quite a bit. Personally I didn't need the fancier features of the Garmin offerings and saved myself some money in the process. If you just want basic, non-GPS functionality, you can pretty much pick your poison. I have previous experience with both Cateye and Specialized Speedzone wireless computers and liked both.

  9. #9
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    smart phone apps that use GPS will devour your battery. I am using an iPhone 4s still, so maybe battery life has gotten a lot better, but my phone is usually almost dead by the end of a long ride.

    sorry to derail your topic, but how much data does a mapping app use on your phone? I only have 1GB per month, and I would hate to gobble it all up on mapping rides.

    edit- do a little research. a quick search found that, if you set it up correctly, mapping your ride with your phone uses very little data.

  10. #10
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    True, didn't think about the data, i'm in a family plan with lots of data per month but still I'm sure it'll use up a lot if I bike often. Have to probably settle for simple ones for now and then upgrade when needed.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    smart phone apps that use GPS will devour your battery. I am using an iPhone 4s still, so maybe battery life has gotten a lot better, but my phone is usually almost dead by the end of a long ride.

    sorry to derail your topic, but how much data does a mapping app use on your phone? I only have 1GB per month, and I would hate to gobble it all up on mapping rides.

    edit- do a little research. a quick search found that, if you set it up correctly, mapping your ride with your phone uses very little data.
    I use an app called gpslogger on android and even blackberry back in the day. Very good battery life.

    What usually clobbers battery life mountain biking for me is the phone trying to stay on the network when a tower isn't near.

  12. #12
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    I use a bion it has everything u need. Speed, cadence, heart rate, altitude, gradient and odometer.

    It was 60 off eBay. Great device

  13. #13
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    GPS files are tiny. It's audio and video that really clobber data.

    I use a Garmin ForeRunner. I get a kick out of Strava, log some of my ride stats, and sometimes use it to do structured workouts. I didn't even take my phone on today's ride, though I usually do. But I almost never take it along when I go for a run. Between that and mounting it on my handlebars, I find I like having a dedicated device.

    I've also used my phone, a pre-GPS CatEye, a runner's watch, and nothing at different times.

    I think you're right to try just using an app for a while. I think a lot of people get cycle computers because All Cyclists Use Computers. But if it's not telling you anything that's relevant to you, why bother?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I used my phone for a long time and to save battery life I would set it to airplane mode. I finally broke down and bought a used garmin 705 for $55 shipped off ebay. Way WAY overkill for mtbing but the routing is nice for road biking.

  15. #15
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    The garmin 500 or 510 will be great for you as a bengineer because it can grow with you I wouldnt hesitate.

    Is their specific functions you are looking for is spo post those and you might get some better input on options.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  16. #16
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    I started out using apps on my iPhone to track my riding. After having the battery go dead on me and my phone overheating a couple of times, I decided it was time to buy a cycling specific computer. I don't regret that decision at all.

    I have had my Garmin 510 for a little over a year now. At first, I bought it to use on my road bike. I bought the bundle that came with the hear rate and cadence sensors. I really like the fact that the 510 has customizeable screens so I can readily see the info that I am concerned with at that time or specific ride. The cadence and heart rate sensors are super for making sure my road efforts are where I want them. For MTB, the 510 is a little overkill for my needs. When I am on a trail, all I am really concerned with is how far I have gone and what time of day it is. It is nice to know the amount of climbing I did, ect after the ride though. My favorite two functions of the 510 are the "Track My Ride" and auto upload features when paired with my iPhone. My wife can track me when I am out on my road bike and all of my rides are automatically uploaded to Garmin Connect witch is linked to my Strava account.
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  17. #17
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    My 2 cents.
    I picked up a Garmin 500 for my road bike. I opted for it over the 510 and 810 because it is easy to read in daylight. It also has more available memory than the 510. The only real shortcoming is that it only supports 3 bikes.
    Since my wife and I have many bikes, I had to get 3 of them total. So far, they've worked great and I will stay with them until Garmin comes out with something easier to read in daylight.

  18. #18
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    At first I just wanted something very simple, something to track distance, speed, etc . . . but then I also want something that will grow with me so I don't need to buy another one later on. So, back to Garmin 500 or 510....

  19. #19
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    From someone who used a Garmin 500 for the last 3 years and now just jumped to the Garmin 510, get the 510 if budget allows.

    I like the BT features, I also like having my HR data and cadence as well. I use the live map tracker when I ride on the trails by myself and send the link to my wife so she knows where I am at in case something happens. I also like the auto upload to Garmin and if linked to Strava that as well.
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  20. #20
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    There are really two aspects to bike computers: 1) the dynamic display of information and 2) the logging capability.

    There is a limited amount of dynamic info I am interested in. Speed, total distance, heart rate, and maybe current elevation. There is a lot of stuff I am interested in logging. The route, total climbing feet, segment time, heart rates etc. But that info, I only care about *after* the ride. I use a garmin 500 and and it does everything I want. But if you want to save money you can get a cheap computer for the dynamic display of info and use your smartphone and strava or mapmyride (there are many other app choices) to do your logging.

    People complain that using their phones as a logging device drains their batteries but I can only assume that this is the case because they keep the display on. If you use the phone as a logging device only, then you would not keep the display on but leave it off while the phone is stored safely in your pack. A friend of mine has a Note 2 that burns through about 15% of battery during a 2 hour ride when used in this mode. I have used my LG Optimus G Pro for hiking with strava (display off) and it used less than 10% of power per hour. I rarely do rides that are much longer than 4 hours, so it would not be a problem for me to use the phone for logging. I don't know about other apps but strava does not need a data connection to log your activity.

    Everyone's different but for me logging is a huge motivator. I like to analyze what happened on a ride, how I felt and how I performed quantitatively. I also like to keep my weekly mileage and climbing at certain levels, if at all possible.

  21. #21
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    I got a Garmin 305. Does the job.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  22. #22
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    I just ate the most fabulous burger ever on my way home from an endurance race.

    Lately, I find I use distance, total time, lap time, and heart rate zone. Raw heart rate is too hard for me.

    The lap timer is a great help in remembering to slurp gels. Though in a multi-lap race like today's, it's interesting to see how my l lap times are doing relative to each other. I just picked a spot on the course to grab a gel each lap.

    Heart rate zone can be useful because I'll approach a course differently if the climbs are forcing me into Zone 5 versus if I can do everything at pretty much whatever effort I want.

    Of course, I'm looking forward to "uploading myself" when I get home.

    My watch has a ton of different things it can display. Many are useless, but I can configure the screens. So I've chosen a few things I think are more important.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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