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  1. #1
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    Low cost GPS device?

    I've had too many breakdowns of my Strava application mid-ride on my Android phone. I think I need to buy a device, however, funds are kind of low. Does anyone know of any specials out there for a tracking device that won't break down on me mid-ride? Perhaps there will be some nice Black Friday deals I should look into.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I've had too many breakdowns of my Strava application mid-ride on my Android phone. I think I need to buy a device, however, funds are kind of low. Does anyone know of any specials out there for a tracking device that won't break down on me mid-ride? Perhaps there will be some nice Black Friday deals I should look into.
    There's almost always something. There are so many retailers, though, that I think you're going to have to do most of your own legwork. Some guidelines for models more likely to have good deals coming up would be maybe slightly older models that may be discontinued soon because something new has been released within the past year or two that is more of an improvement. For example, the Edge 510 came out this year as an improvement on the Edge 500, which will probably go away. These won't necessarily be Black Friday types of deals, but rather more permanent price drops.

    The other types of deals you might see will be drops in the price of new models. More temporary drops to spur sales and adoption of the new stuff that may not be selling all that well. It may be a Black Friday sale, but these may come up on any store's sales on any given weekend. For example, I bought an Oregon 450 several years ago for $250 from REI when most of those were selling for $400 or more. I didn't see that price again for over a year. Those sales will probably depend more on what Garmin (or some particular retailer) hasn't been selling well and they want to move some product.

    To be fair, though, dedicated receivers are not immune to failures mid-ride. There's always the possibility of user error resulting in a day's ride disappearing. I know I've done it before. There's also the occasional bug that requires a reset and forces you to lose your last activities. If you don't clear the device's memory periodically, it increases the chances for those kinds of problems. But IME, those kinds of problems are pretty rare if you handle ride logging in a systematic way. For example, expect that if you manually pause your GPS after riding for years without pausing it even once, you WILL forget to restart the logging process and the rest of your ride will not get logged.

  3. #3
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    I found a Timex Cycle Trainer 2.0 for cheap at a local shop but you can find them online for under $150. It does everything the Garmin Edge 500 does but also has a barometric altimeter and a digital compass. The only down fall is that you have to convert the native PWX format to tcx to upload to strava. There is a free site to convert it. Over all it is a nice computer for the price.

  4. #4
    Mtn View, CA
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    There are the new Cateye Stealth units. There's also a thread on a GPS datalogger that was pretty cheap.
    Atomic batteries to power...turbines to speed...

  5. #5
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    I just use one of my old cell phones (T-mobile G1, the very first android phone, so hardly anything works on it now) with Googles "My Tracks" app. It won't track live without a dataplan, but once I get home, I just connect through wifi and it syncs with google maps. Not the best, but an OK backup device that doubles as an MP3 player.

  6. #6
    SRAM...Shimano who cares?
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    Low cost GPS device?-sextcaptain1.jpg

    Sorry couldn't resist

    I'd give the Cat Eye a look I've been pretty impressed with them

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_R_A View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	sextcaptain1.jpg 
Views:	118 
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ID:	846332

    Sorry couldn't resist

    I'd give the Cat Eye a look I've been pretty impressed with them
    Dude, have you looked at the cost of one of those things? I wouldn't call it low cost. I have a thing for antique scientific instruments (not enough money to do anything about it) and they fetch a premium price on the open market.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_R_A View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	sextcaptain1.jpg 
Views:	118 
Size:	37.6 KB 
ID:	846332

    Sorry couldn't resist

    I'd give the Cat Eye a look I've been pretty impressed with them
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Does this one have a link to Strava? LOL Strava is my primary reason for getting the device - so I can upload my rides.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Does this one have a link to Strava? LOL Strava is my primary reason for getting the device - so I can upload my rides.
    You could do a manual upload. Just type up your locations in WGS84 datum decimal degrees along with the time in UTC (coordinated universal time) using XML tags in the .gpx specification, save your file, and use the manual upload option. Golden.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I maintain my "real" log in Excel. Is the goal Strava per se, or is there something else that you want to record?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Its mainly because on my last three rides Strava has crashed on me. In particular, it cut out on me on one ride when I was trying to gets listed for a segment and I felt like all of my hard work went down the toilet. But, I guess it would be nice to have some of the other features of a GPS device as well.

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The point of the question was that sometimes much simpler devices can do the training stuff. But if you care about segments, it's gotta be GPS.

    Without looking at prices, some additional suggestions are the less expensive Garmin ForeRunners, the Nike Sport Watch, and Timex's competitor to the ForeRunner.

    Running has a much bigger market than cycling and often between economies of scale and yield pricing, one can find great stuff that's applicable to cycling for less than the version that says it's for cycling.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    I second the recommendation of runner's watch-type GPS. I have a Garmin 310XT, which I originally bought for running. It's designed for triathletes, so it includes a cycling mode. You can probably find one for the $150-175 range. FWIW, they sell a bike mount for it but I don't have one, I just buckle the strap around the handlebar.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Now that I'm on my computer and not typing with my thumbs, check out the ForeRunner FR70. $130 and compatible with a bike speed/cadence sensor if you want to add one. I have the 610, but it's pretty expensive.

    I do have the adapter thing. I think my watch would rattle around on the handlebars without something. "Something" could also be pipe insulation.

    I like the watch form a lot for MTB. I don't really like putting more stuff on my handlebars, where it's in my field of view. On my wrist, I have to want to look at it, and I frequently just have it recording and not guiding a structured workout or anything. Having it on the bars on my road bike, if I am doing a structured workout, is very handy.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    A watch would be ideal actually because I also don't like to attach extra things to my bike.

  16. #16
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    Low cost GPS device?

    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    I second the recommendation of runner's watch-type GPS. I have a Garmin 310XT, which I originally bought for running. It's designed for triathletes, so it includes a cycling mode. You can probably find one for the $150-175 range. FWIW, they sell a bike mount for it but I don't have one, I just buckle the strap around the handlebar.
    I have been using one of these that I also got for running. Got mine as a refurb for $165. I have a quick release mount for mine so it can go from wrist to bike in seconds. I don't do tris with it, but it is smaller

  17. #17
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    What features are you looking for in a GPS unit? I am more than happy with my Garmin Edge 200. It is basically a glorified cycling computer that can upload to Strava post-ride, and get lots more info there. I can track my real-time speed, ride time, distance, etc., and not have to use both the cycling computer and Strava on my phone. Best of all, I don't have to run wires or put fork mounts on my bike, and I can easily move it from bike to bike. No mapping features or meaningful route assistance (I guess it has it, but I haven't used it), but it does the basics just fine. $130, so not too expensive compared to other GPS units, or even 2 wireless cycling computers.

    I wonder what is causing problems with the phone, however -- I've tracked a couple thousand miles on Strava on my phone, and haven't had a single issue. Maybe uninstall and try to reload the app?
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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  18. #18
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    Low cost GPS device?

    Stay away from the edge 200 if your local trails are very twisty. You need 1sec recording in tight trails and the edge 200 doesn't offer that.

  19. #19
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    Anything can mess up. My 500 had a memory corruption of some type 2 weeks ago and lost an 80km off-road ride.

    So I did a turn-by-turn reenactment of the ride last weekend, changed the date stamp, and uploaded it twice.

    Lesson learned, I'd use the Garmin AND the phone app if you are doing an effort that you absolutely need a tracklog of. Belt and suspenders....

  20. #20
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    I unloaded it and reloaded it onto my phone. It seems to be working now. Maybe I just need to unload and reload every few months.

  21. #21
    ballbuster
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    I suggest finding a used Garmin Edge 305. You can get them off craigslist or fleabay for less than $100, possibly even $75. They are well supported by every application I've ever seen, and can be repaired fairly easily. You can easily add HRM and Cadence/Wheel speed sensors to it if they don't happen to include them in whatever deal you find.

  22. #22
    Trail Tire TV on blogger
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    I'd say just try another App for 3 bucks before spending boot loads of cash on a GPS hardware...
    Everytrail App is cross platform, works great, doesn't drop with signal loss (like Strava) WAY more adjustable in sensitivity settings, Less Battery draw, and can export the file so you can upload to strava's site if you're stuck on their info/segments/ site... Thou I like their site better too,.. but they don't have the "race" info like Strava on their website,.. the GPS info will convert over seamlessly...
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  23. #23
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    After about 5 weeks w/ the Edge 200, I'm retracting my prior statements about it being good enough. Riding a few not-that-twisty trails (even the MUT by the river on my road bike) reveal that the space between recording intervals is too great -- my tracks are too much of a zig-zag. The 200 has been returned, and I'm trying to decide between the Edge 500 and the 510. Price of the 200 vs 500 right now is only $70 difference (w/o sensors), making the decision to return the 200 quite easy.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

  24. #24
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    I've been using Google's My Tracks app for Android devices for a few years now, never had any issues. I'm not sure how accurate it is, I suppose a nice standalone GPS unit would take care of that though.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayonays View Post
    I've been using Google's My Tracks app for Android devices for a few years now, never had any issues. I'm not sure how accurate it is, I suppose a nice standalone GPS unit would take care of that though.
    Yeah, I've been using Mytracks and then Strava for the last few years. Although Mytracks gave my first-gen Samsung Galaxy fits, it works fine on my current phone. I just need/want something on my bars to give me some real-time data on my rides. I don't want my phone on my bars, and running the screen full-time plus GPS plus tracking apps would probably only give me 2 hrs of life the way my phones suck down power.

    I know, they make much cheaper cycling computers that do most of what I want, but the cost of a wireless computer w/ 2 extra sensor kits approximates the cost of the Edge 200, which is how I justified the 200. And over the last month I've kinda liked having the GPS do the tracking, having my information there in front of me, etc, so while I've ridden w/o a cycling computer on my mtb for 5 years (had one the first 7 years, then broke it and never replaced it), I'm now addicted to the info. More importantly, I don't want to mount a sensor on my beautiful my new carbon roadbike, and I'd be bored to death on it without a cycling computer to look at! Oh, the 1st world problems ...
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

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