Garmin 500 or 800

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  • 11-15-2012
    SummitSurfer
    Garmin 500 or 800
    I have weighed the pros and cons of both units. What it boils down to obviously is navigation or no navigation.

    I'm an avid cyclist who likes to use Strava both on my roady and my all mountain FS bike.
    I like to venture out on new trails, with the security of knowing I'm not going to get lost.....especially when in Moab or Fruita.

    What ever I choose will be a Christmas gift to me so cost is not an issue.

    1.) Those of you that have an 800...do you use the navigation much?

    2.) Is the navigation easy to use?

    3.) Do I need the Topo maps loaded to really use the navigation far from roads etc

    4.) Any additional feedback you might have on why you would or wouldn't do the 800 over the 500?

    5.) Are any of you who own the 800 worried or experienced the unit falling off your All Mountain FS bike?

    Thanks,
    Chaco
  • 11-15-2012
    wetpaint
    I have the 800, I don't use it for loading courses and following them, however, I use the map page all the time. It's really nice if you get lost, it maps out where you've ridden, so it's really easy to find your way back.

    I use the city navigator maps, they have most lakes and some of the rivers on them.
  • 11-15-2012
    SummitSurfer
    What about trail intersections....or are topo maps needed for that?
  • 11-15-2012
    thekarens
    I have the 800 and love it. Check out ridewithgps. It has a lot of useful info and links to free maps. I also use mine when I'm lost on the trails.

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2
  • 11-17-2012
    Bsin80
    I'm in the same boat trying to decide between the 500 and 800. Anyone using the 500 want to chime in?
  • 11-17-2012
    thekarens
    My partner got the 500. She likes it because it's smaller and she never needs/uses the map function. IMO the only real difference between the two is maps and touch screen. I easily get lost so I went with the 800.
  • 11-17-2012
    NateHawk
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SummitSurfer View Post
    What about trail intersections....or are topo maps needed for that?

    topo maps help, but you need a trail map to really know. digital maps are not available for every trail to load onto the GPS, so you've gotta use what you can get your hands on.
  • 11-17-2012
    SummitSurfer
    Thanks Nate... So with that are there programs that you can set a path on your computer then load it to your GPS? Does Google earth do that?

    Was also still curious if anyone had experience with the mount not handling the vibration abuse from an all mountain bike?
  • 11-17-2012
    NateHawk
    yeah, lots of programs let you draw a track or route that you can follow. Google Earth kinda can. You need to save as .gpx and Google Earth will only save as .kml or .kmz. You would have to convert the .kml format to .gpx. Other programs do that better. I can't say enough about Topofusion. There is a free version available, but the paid version is worth it IMO.

    there are a few websites that offer tools to do that, too.

    I have no experience with the mount. My GPS uses a different mount and I ride in decidedly less challenging than "all mountain" trails.
  • 11-18-2012
    SummitSurfer
    Thanks Nate.... Im gonna have to check out Topofusion.
  • 11-18-2012
    ghettocruiser
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SummitSurfer View Post
    Was also still curious if anyone had experience with the mount not handling the vibration abuse from an all mountain bike?

    You're never gonna vibrate them out of the mount. I knocked mine out downhilling only when I bailed and physically turned it the the unlock position with my flailing knee. I found and re-installed it before the next dude came barreling down the rock drop.

    FWIW, I find that road bikes are more traumatic on handlebar-mounted devices since the high-pressure tires transmit such sharp impacts. Mountain and downhill bikes obviously impart more sustained accelerations, but they are muted by the tires and suspension
  • 11-19-2012
    RidingMyTrail
    Garmin Basecamp, free and works very welll too.

    You can find Topos and some trail maps at gpsfiledepot.com.

    I've found lots of trail maps on local MTB websites. You can also export Strava rides that others have done as .gpx and load those to your device.
  • 11-19-2012
    6thElement
    I had a 705, now have an 800 and use the mapping all the time on road or trails. On the road I plan rides out beforehand on Garmin Mapsource and upload them to the unit letting it navigate the route for me with guidance.

    Off road you don't need the topo maps as they won't necessarily have the trail network. If your chosen map doesn't have the trails on it you can either download another users workout in gpx format and make it display on the map. Or with the 800 it supports custom maps, meaning you can take a jpg image of a trail network and make that display on the unit.
  • 11-19-2012
    irishpitbull
    I have 800 and use if for mapping and it is pretty good.

    The mount for the 800 is great. It kinda locks in place and I have not lost it yet.
  • 11-19-2012
    SummitSurfer
    Thanks...its good to know the mounts are solid.
    What software do u use for loading trails and maps?
  • 11-20-2012
    RidingMyTrail
    I use BaseCamp. You can also load custom map imagery. You can purchase Bird's Eye imagery from Garmin, but I'd never do that. There are tutorials for using Google Earth images to load into BaseCamp.

    Garmin | United States | Custom Maps

    .
  • 11-22-2012
    SummitSurfer
    Wow...thanks! Downloaded base camp for free and that seems really simple!
  • 11-22-2012
    NateHawk
    It is simple but limited. I use garmin mapsource to load free maps from gpsfiledepot. It cannot do sat imagery like basecamp but i find that it works better with the free and custom generated vector maps
  • 12-03-2012
    gps4sport.com
    As 705 owner I can tell You one thing. I use 705 map functionality 2 or 3 times a year. But this 2-3 times are life savers in a wild. Probably I could do this with predefined tracks and without map behind on edge 500 but I don't have saved route 100% of the time. I think this is pretty much the same on Edge 800. So if You are a mountain biker and not a road racer who trains an race go with Edge 800. You will discover whole new unknown world around your standard routes :)
  • 12-03-2012
    Econoline
    With the 800 bundle on sale everywhere for $500, I'd say go with the 800. Or wait and see what's coming out to replace the 800.
  • 12-06-2012
    Stumpjumpy
    Very different devices.

    800 is for navigation.

    500 is not - it's a high-powered GPS-based cycling computer for training and analyzing/comparing ride data on your PC.

    If you explore the unknown often, the 500 is kinda useless for navigating.
    That being said, it's much cheaper, smaller and lighter. And there are excellent nav apps for smartphones that cost $2 (Motion-X GPS, for example). I love my 500, but i rarely need nav, and when i do, I just pull out my iPhone and it gets me home every time.

    If money and bulk are no object, the 800 is the way to go, clearly. If you want to save dough by eliminating a feature set you would rarely use and would never miss, and also have a tidier form factor, go 500.
  • 12-07-2012
    ziscwg
    I have the 800 and use the navigation on the road mostly. If you have a road bike, it's nice to have.

    Once in a while I use the navigation for mtn. It's usually a "Did we miss the trail junction, because this seems too far" type of moment
  • 12-11-2012
    mazzmond
    I've got both and use the navigation on the 800 a few times a year. Originally had the 500 but had a warranty issue with it which Garmin replaced but while I sent it in, couldn't do without a GPS so bought the 800 as well. I think the 800 has a better GPS sensor as well, seems to be more accurate on the trails than the 500. On the road they are both really good. 800 is bigger than the 500 as well so that may be a big deal to some. I use the 800 all the time and the 500 is currently being used on my indoor training bike with the GSC-10. Having used both a lot, I would get the 800 if you're mountain biking or need navigation and 500 if you know where you're going and do mostly road, fireroad riding.
  • 12-25-2012
    chollaball
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SummitSurfer View Post
    Thanks Nate.... Im gonna have to check out Topofusion.

    late to this thread, but just got an 800 and researching reviews before I crack it open.

    Topofusion is written by a local mtb legend in Tucson, AZ, and a very nice guy. Its quite affordable for what you get. There are some features to it that are a bit dated in design, UI layout etc and have not fundamentally changed in years. So compared to GoogleEarth you will find some cons. But, its very good at manipulating file formats, loading to your gps, helping you snip segments more precisely than GoogleEarth. Also has some nice featuresl ike elevation profile, difficulty index, ability to tie in photo locations and hear rate monitoring. The freeware version, iirc, doesnt restrict the features it just has some ugly watermarks over the ui...so you can give it a spin. On Scott's website there are user forums for it, and a lot of the discussions involving it you will find on bikepacking.net.