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  1. #1
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    Why Not Separate GPS from Computer or Display from Computer? Your Thoughts?

    I have been researching bike computers and I have basically narrowed it down to the Edge 500 or Edge 510. No other cycle computers offer the same comprehensive data collection package.

    It seems like Garmin tried to pack more functionality into the Edge 510 which made it a better cycle computer but it also made the device balloon out in size. In my opinion Garmin pushed the 510 out of the mountain bike market when it made the 510 larger than the 500. When you put a cycle computer on your mountain bike you want it positioned out of the way and protected in case of a crash, which is very hard to do with a 3.4" bike computer and a short stem (70mm or less). The out front bike mount works fine for road bikes but not so much for mountain bikes especially if you are more of a trail/all mountain rider and less of an XC rider. The last thing I want to find out after a crash is that I need to replace a $330 cycle computer.



    Option 1: Separate GPS from Computer

    Why not make a separate GPS antenna that you can strap to your Camelbak that wirelessly communicates with the head unit on your bars. In theory you could keep the size of the head unit reasonably small by removing the GPS. In addition, you could leave the GPS antenna in the car if you were riding the same trail and just wanted to collect metrics based on speed, distance, heart rate, and time using the wheel sensor and HRM.

    I know this would introduce a whole other wireless device with batteries, but the GPS antenna should be able to incorporate a decent size battery to allow it to last for several months if not a year. However, I am not sure how much room the GPS antenna actually occupies in the device.



    Option 2: Separate Display from Computer **Favorite**

    On the other hand, why not put all of the guts for the cycle computer in a base unit that you place in your Camelbak and then have a thin small display screen attached to your bars that wirelessly communicates with the base unit in your Camelbak.

    By separating the display from the computer it would allow you to easily customize the display size. For example, the display could be made long and skinny so it could be turned sideways and placed so it runs parallel with your handlebars like a mini dashboard (maybe 1"x4"). Then place clamps on the left and right edges of the display so it can clamp to your handlebar on either side of the stem keeping the display tucked away and secure.

    Another benefit to this arrangement would be crash replacement. During a crash you would only break the display and not the whole computer. Maybe it would only cost $40.00 to replace the display instead of $330.00 for the whole unit. I think the ability to customize the display size and reduce replacement cost is a great trade off for adding another wireless device. In addition, more features could be added to the base unit because size would not be as much of a factor since the base unit is designed to be carried in your pack.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Or get creative. I took a look at the Garmin out front mount. The piece the unit actually attaches too can separate from the mount. It's held in by 2 small screws.

    Right now I have a long stem so it's no concern, but I though about taking that piece, drilling two small holes in the stem cap, drill a hole large enough for the Allen in the mount and attach the mount directly to the stem cap.

    I cant guarantee this will work as I haven't tried yet, but it's on my list to try eventually.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  3. #3
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    1. Stop crashing so much.

    2. Its actually not a bad idea except it requires the use of a camelback. It also means you have more things to remember when riding. Damn I have the display but forgot the processer and antenna in my other camelback.

    3. What features of the 510 do you want? Why not get an edge 200 for 150 dollars or a used dege 305 off ebay for 75 dollars and use them that way if you break them they are less to replace.

    Also garmin offers device replacement in the event of a crash. Its usually about 50% the cost of the device. So I bet garmin would send you a refurb 510 for 150 ish if you break yours.
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  4. #4
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    WTF, dude?

    What you want already exists. It's called a smartphone and a bluetooth GPS receiver. Eat your heart out. In fact, bluetooth GPS receivers have been around longer than smartphones. BITD, they were used with old-skool Palm Pilots. In fact external GPS receivers are older than bluetooth. Before that, even, they connected via USB or the Palm's expansion port. Mind. Blown. Don't like the size of a smartphone on your handlebars? Buy a Garmin. Or an even cheaper cyclocomputer and put your phone in your pack.

    I put a Garmin Oregon 450 on my stem and it's totally protected if I crash. I have done so several times with the GPS. It's only been ejected once or twice. Unscathed, and I don't even use a screen protector. And you're upset about the size of the Edge 510?

    Maybe you would be happier with a Forerunner 310XT or 910XT with the 1/4 turn adapter. I have a 310XT I do this with when I don't need maps.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    1. Stop crashing so much.

    2. Its actually not a bad idea except it requires the use of a camelback. It also means you have more things to remember when riding. Damn I have the display but forgot the processer and antenna in my other camelback.

    3. What features of the 510 do you want? Why not get an edge 200 for 150 dollars or a used dege 305 off ebay for 75 dollars and use them that way if you break them they are less to replace.

    Also garmin offers device replacement in the event of a crash. Its usually about 50% the cost of the device. So I bet garmin would send you a refurb 510 for 150 ish if you break yours.
    1. Crashing is much more a part of mountain biking than road biking. If you are not crashing once every 4-6 months then you are not pushing your skills.

    2. I understand that dilemma but if you are riding without a backpack then you should be wearing a jersey with a back pocket or have a saddle bag to carry tools so you could always stick the base unit in one of those areas. In the perfect scenario you would have the base unit which you would carry with you and then the display would just stay attached to the bike. You would still only need to remember one thing.

    3. The main purpose of having the 500 series edge is the ability to attach a separate speed sensor. It has been proven many times that relying solely on the GPS for distance calculation leads to relatively large errors. Also, half price crash replacement is still quite expensive compared to what you might pay for a simple monochrome display.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    WTF, dude?

    What you want already exists. It's called a smartphone and a bluetooth GPS receiver. Eat your heart out. In fact, bluetooth GPS receivers have been around longer than smartphones. BITD, they were used with old-skool Palm Pilots. In fact external GPS receivers are older than bluetooth. Before that, even, they connected via USB or the Palm's expansion port. Mind. Blown. Don't like the size of a smartphone on your handlebars? Buy a Garmin. Or an even cheaper cyclocomputer and put your phone in your pack.

    I put a Garmin Oregon 450 on my stem and it's totally protected if I crash. I have done so several times with the GPS. It's only been ejected once or twice. Unscathed, and I don't even use a screen protector. And you're upset about the size of the Edge 510?

    Maybe you would be happier with a Forerunner 310XT or 910XT with the 1/4 turn adapter. I have a 310XT I do this with when I don't need maps.
    1. Strapping a phone on my bars defeats the purpose of size reduction and crash replacement cost when it comes to GPS bike computers. In addition, using a phone would run down your battery on a device that you should be carrying with you in case of emergency.
    2. I know separate GPS receivers have been produced for a while so no need to "blow my mind". The only reason I suggested this option is that I thought it might make the computer less bulky if you separated the GPS from the computer and made it an option. If this is not the case then scratch Option 1 and move to Option 2.
    3. Using the watch style GPS is a valid option however they do not allow you to look at metrics without removing your hands from the bars which is more of an issue with mountain biking than road biking.
    4. I commend the fact that you have experienced several crashes with your Oregon 450 and have not experienced any damage, but the fact that you crashed and the unit was ejected at all should prove that the possibility for damage to the device is very real.

    To be honest I would rather have an 810 on my rides because it is a full blown GPS unit but strapping something that large and expensive to by mountain bike bars is a no go in my book. I would rather carry the 810 safely in my backpack and just have a wireless display on by bars for reading metrics. I think you could keep the 810 or 510 they way they are currently designed and just add an option for a wireless display that you could purchase to place on your bars.

    The whole idea behind this post is to explore options to:
    1) Reduce replacement cost
    2) Reduce size of device on handlebars
    3) Increase rider options
    4) Allow the manufacturer to continue adding functionality to the device without focusing on size restrictions.

  7. #7
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    Why Not Separate GPS from Computer or Display from Computer? Your Thoughts?

    There are handlebar mounts for watch style receivers. Furthermore, those are pretty much ejection proof. I relayed the story about my oregon to illustrate that folks ride with much bigger and heavier receivers than the edge 510 and don't have problems. The potential for problems for me is there but it is low.

    You're making a mountain out of a molehill.

    It is very occasionally an issue but if you look at those issues compared to the larger body of people who have never broken their gps on a ride, they are tiny.

    Put it on your bars or your pack. Whatever. Don't ride with one at all. I don't care how you choose to address the issue but my point is that there are plenty of solutions out there already that are viable enough.

    If you don't like what's there then stop whining here and just develop that product yourself.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    There are handlebar mounts for watch style receivers. Furthermore, those are pretty much ejection proof. I relayed the story about my oregon to illustrate that folks ride with much bigger and heavier receivers than the edge 510 and don't have problems. The potential for problems for me is there but it is low.

    You're making a mountain out of a molehill.

    It is very occasionally an issue but if you look at those issues compared to the larger body of people who have never broken their gps on a ride, they are tiny.

    Put it on your bars or your pack. Whatever. Don't ride with one at all. I don't care how you choose to address the issue but my point is that there are plenty of solutions out there already that are viable enough.

    If you don't like what's there then stop whining here and just develop that product yourself.
    No need to get defensive and I am not whining. I am simply throwing out an idea. If I had the money and expertise I might just develop it myself but unfortunately I do not. Also, you are correct that there are GPS watches that can switch from your wrist to your handlebars. However the watches tend to be more expensive than the larger units and the watches tend to be multi-sport oriented instead of bike specific so they lack the bike options that you find in the larger units. Also the displays on the watch units are generally small. The separate display unit I suggested would be around 1"x4" so it could be placed parallel with the bars and span the middle of the bars over the stem connecting to the handlebar on both sides.

    Yes, people ride with the larger units strapped to their bars but that is because other options don't exist that offer the same functionality

  9. #9
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    Why Not Separate GPS from Computer or Display from Computer? Your Thoughts?

    This is what you are describing

    http://getpebble.com/

    You can have Runkeeper or other apps running on your phone tucked away from risky locations and have the data transmitted to the watch. Mount I on the bar and enjoy your ride.

    I have the garmin 510--it is great and the size is fine. I like to see lots of data.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyyall View Post
    This is what you are describing

    Pebble

    You can have Runkeeper or other apps running on your phone tucked away from risky locations and have the data transmitted to the watch. Mount I on the bar and enjoy your ride.

    I have the garmin 510--it is great and the size is fine. I like to see lots of data.
    Oh, but the watch display is too small and you have to move your hand to look at the display.

    He SPECIFICALLY wants a 1"x4" display. Wonder what kind of total size that would translate to. With the battery and control interface.

    FWIW, the 510 display is 1.7"x1.4" and the total unit size is 2"x3.4"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Oh, but the watch display is too small and you have to move your hand to look at the display.

    He SPECIFICALLY wants a 1"x4" display. Wonder what kind of total size that would translate to. With the battery and control interface.

    FWIW, the 510 display is 1.7"x1.4" and the total unit size is 2"x3.4"
    Yep, some are tough to please. I stumbled across the Pebble system the other day. I think there is a good bit of promise in that approach.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Oh, but the watch display is too small and you have to move your hand to look at the display.

    He SPECIFICALLY wants a 1"x4" display. Wonder what kind of total size that would translate to. With the battery and control interface.

    FWIW, the 510 display is 1.7"x1.4" and the total unit size is 2"x3.4"
    Maybe I am not expressing myself clearly enough. I don't specifically want a display exactly 1"x4". All I am saying is that if you only have the display to deal with instead of all the other components you have the freedom to make the display different shapes and sizes. I still think moving your hand to look at a display is risky business when you are riding a mountain bike over rough terrain. The display size on the 510 is not my complaint it is the overall volume of the device and how it is proportioned. The proportions of the device make it hard to position on a handlebar or short stem. My solution would work even on the shortest stems and the profile of the device would stay in line with the handlebars instead of protruding forward, backwards, or vertically away from the handlebars.

    Also there is no need to keep replying if you are getting frustrated just leave it be.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyyall View Post
    Yep, some are tough to please. I stumbled across the Pebble system the other day. I think there is a good bit of promise in that approach.
    If we were all easy to please then we would never see any progress or innovation. However, the pebble idea is getting close to what I am talking about. I will keep my eye on that. Good find.

  14. #14
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    What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blk02 View Post
    ...To be honest I would rather have an 810 on my rides because it is a full blown GPS unit but strapping something that large and expensive to by mountain bike bars is a no go in my book. ...
    I've had an 800, the same size a the 810, and I fall more than anybody. This is not a problem.

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    Bik02,

    Don't let people here get to you just because you want something that does not already exist. If you think you have an idea that will improve a product, offer more functionality, or better durability then develop it. There is almost no question that devices of the future will be smaller.

    I hear you on the replacement cost. The biggest reason I don't have an edge 800 is at 400 dollars its too much to risk losing. I worry more about it getting stolen/lost then broken in a crash. I have been through a bunch of crashes with stem mounts and a riser bar and the computer is pretty well protected. I also like the mount a little loose so if the computer does hit something it can just rotate. I still think 2 units is the answer for you. An edge 305 will work with a wheel sensor and do 1 sec recording which will give you as accurate of a file as any unit out there. 75 dollars for a crash replacement is pretty reasonable I think. I also have an Oregon 450 for times when I want mapping. I honestly only use it a few times a year when riding alone in new areas. 99% of the rides I do I have done before and don't need maps.

    Whatever you get don't let people tell you thinking outside the box is a bad thing. I can't wait for Google Glasses with a garmin app. Heads up display and you can control your GPS and Ipod with your eyes.
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    except he has no intention of developing the product he keeps theorizing about.

  17. #17
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    The reason the GPS and display are all-in-one is cost. The GPS baseband processor and display driver are likely all on one chip.

    You can't have the GPS "Antenna" too far (distance) separate from the baseband processor because we are talking ~1.5GHz carrier signals here, so you need to down-process that and ship the data to the processor at lower frequencies... otherwise you suffer RF losses in any cable that connects the GPS antenna to the processor, reducing sensitivity.

    What you really meant is to put the GPS receiver (antenna and baseband) into a separate device, which Natehawk has pointed out already exists.

  18. #18
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    Probably not but this is just a forum that gives me something to do between bike rides. Why burst his bubble.
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