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  1. #1
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    New question here. best GPS model for MTB

    I'm looking for a bike computer with GPS capabilities. The one I have now is not very good for MTB if you want to follow a previously established route. Is the Garmin 1030 a possible answer?

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    What are your needs? I use a Garmin 520 with but mostly for it's GPS and live Strava segments

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  3. #3
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    Want a bike computer that can accurately show a previously recorded ride on a map and accurately show my location and turns when following that ride. . My experience is that computers do well on road rides but fall short when used off road.

  4. #4
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    First, what do you have?

    Second, exactly what features do you want?

    IMO, the Garmin 10xx series computers are just too damn big for mtb purposes. That screen real estate is nice in some ways, but it also sticks out and begs to catch on things in crashes, or even just on trails with minimal maintenance that get brush hanging over. You're more likely to whack it with a knee when you're moving around on the bike. It's more likely to get damaged because of that.

    I use a Garmin Edge 520. I don't want anything any bigger than that, tbh. The size is just about perfect. I like physical buttons. I have dabbled with touchscreens on the bike and I hate them.

    The success of using a GPS for navigation on the mtb varies. It gets harder when you're on a really twisty trail in a location with difficult reception because your OWN position may not be as accurately determined as it could be. It also depends on the accuracy of what you're trying to follow. When you're following a previously recorded ride, if it's off by a little and your current position is off a little in a different direction, it's easy to throw the computer off. When you try to draw a course using the available map data, you don't know how accurately (or recently) the underlying trails were mapped. Sometimes (like with mtbproject, for example), the underlying map data gets simplified to keep the database efficient and speed loading. Other times, like with osm or gpsfiledepot maps (or worse, usgs maps from anywhere from the 50's-80's), you don't know how recently that trail was updated on the map, and whether there are or are not any reroutes. All those things are likely to result in the computer giving "off-course" warnings.

    They can be annoying, but if you do your due diligence and are willing to ignore them (especially if you can turn off any audio or vibrations that accompany off-course warnings), you can still get pretty useful navigation for an unfamiliar area.

    If you're using a previously recorded ride as the basis for your GPS nav, you're going to need to massage the file before you send it to your GPS if you want it to give you actual turn warnings. All you'll get otherwise is ONLY off-course warnings. You will have to program turn notifications in yourself. It's extra work, but it's definitely helpful to get those warnings at least a little bit ahead of the turn so you're not constantly having to turn around AFTER you've already gone the wrong way.

    As for me, I enjoy navigation. I generally leave the gps nav capabilities to road rides (where my goals are typically different, for one, and where conditions are just easier for gps based navigation). I take pleasure in planning my routes by looking at maps from various sources. I enjoy pulling out a quality physical map to do spot checks. I do like having some basemaps on my GPS in order to help me get a quicker position fix on that physical map, though. Quick visual assessment of trails, roads, and terrain on the GPS gives me a quick reference to the physical map.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I mount my 1000 horizontally with the mount reversed. That keeps the Garmin back over the stem and the handlebars keeping it out of a more vulnerable position.

    As for why I asked about a better, more accurate view while riding, I was hoping that there was something that would be an easier to follow view when riding on trails; like the 1030.

    Oh well. It was worth the shot.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phread View Post
    Want a bike computer that can accurately show a previously recorded ride on a map and accurately show my location and turns when following that ride. . My experience is that computers do well on road rides but fall short when used off road.
    Fenix 5X (Garmin watch) will do all of that, plus heart rate, sleep tracking, step counting, and 527 other features.
    In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phread View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I mount my 1000 horizontally with the mount reversed. That keeps the Garmin back over the stem and the handlebars keeping it out of a more vulnerable position.

    As for why I asked about a better, more accurate view while riding, I was hoping that there was something that would be an easier to follow view when riding on trails; like the 1030.

    Oh well. It was worth the shot.
    It's not entirely out of the way there, even. Maybe if your mtb has a long stem. I have a 50mm stem and something the size of the 1000 may not protrude out front much, but it sticks behind the steerer and to either side, making it more prone to being hit by my knees. Nah. Still too damn big.

    What do you mean by an "easier to follow view"? What don't you like about the view you have now? A screenshot of the view you have and don't like would be helpful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phread View Post
    Want a bike computer that can accurately show a previously recorded ride on a map and accurately show my location and turns when following that ride. . My experience is that computers do well on road rides but fall short when used off road.
    I'd buy a 820, it has turn by turn and the same size as the 520

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    Take a look at the Wahoo Elemnt. The navigation features are excellent, very easy to import or create routes on the fly using cell phone. I built a route for a Sedona ride last night on Trailforks and imported in a few mins. Has TBT and LED's you can set to show upcoming turns. The base maps are very good as well with lots of MTB trails loaded.

    The good and possibly bad is that all the settings are managed via cell phone app. The good is the interface blows Garmin out of the water IMO, super easy and intuitive. The bad might be if you don't like having to use a cell phone app.

    Size wise it's bigger than a 520 but not obnoxious. Fits on my 50mm stems using a K-edge mount just fine. Wahoo engineers participate in an online forum and solicit input from users, they release enhancements about once a month and quick to respond with bug fixes. I was looking for something better than the standard Garmin stuff a year ago and have been very happy with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkerfiveo View Post
    Fenix 5X (Garmin watch) will do all of that, plus heart rate, sleep tracking, step counting, and 527 other features.
    I was thinking of getting one of the Fenix 5 series (I know the 5x has maps while the 5 and 5s don't), but according to what Harold is saying, trail nav seems to be a hit and miss experience. What's your take on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by whtdel View Post
    I was thinking of getting one of the Fenix 5 series (I know the 5x has maps while the 5 and 5s don't), but according to what Harold is saying, trail nav seems to be a hit and miss experience. What's your take on this?
    I always use MTB Project app for trails I donít know well enough to just go out and ride. The app downloads all the trails in the state while you have cell signal. Then when youíre out in the middle of nowhere a cell signal isnít required to find your way when youíre lost or confused.
    In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.

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    Does anyone know of any iPhone apps that can do turn by turn directions, and/or off-route alerts for an off-road gpx route?
    I use Gaia gps and mtbproject for my mtb rides - both are great in allowing me to know exactly where I am, but if I want to check that Iím still on-route, I generally have to stop my bike to check. It would be great to have an announcement for an upcoming turn (I recognize this is difficult for an off-road route, and may require me to program the turns beforehand), or an announcement if I deviate from my programmed gpx route.
    Or would I need to buy a gps device like a garmin or wahoo to get this functionality?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheels7 View Post
    Does anyone know of any iPhone apps that can do turn by turn directions, and/or off-route alerts for an off-road gpx route?
    I use Gaia gps and mtbproject for my mtb rides - both are great in allowing me to know exactly where I am, but if I want to check that Iím still on-route, I generally have to stop my bike to check. It would be great to have an announcement for an upcoming turn (I recognize this is difficult for an off-road route, and may require me to program the turns beforehand), or an announcement if I deviate from my programmed gpx route.
    Or would I need to buy a gps device like a garmin or wahoo to get this functionality?
    ViewRanger will do that. Itís the only app I know of that will. Apple endorses it and has strategically partnered with them. Itís not just some random app.
    Last edited by marc40a; 03-02-2018 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Clarity

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phread View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I mount my 1000 horizontally with the mount reversed. That keeps the Garmin back over the stem and the handlebars keeping it out of a more vulnerable position.

    As for why I asked about a better, more accurate view while riding, I was hoping that there was something that would be an easier to follow view when riding on trails; like the 1030.

    Oh well. It was worth the shot.
    What do you think the 1030 will be better than the 1000, it's newer and i'm sure "better" but it's only going to be slightly better. Also, and I could be wrong on this, the 1030 doesn't do horizontal screen like the 1000. If you have a 1000, and it doesn't do what you want, I highly doubt a 1030 will fit the bill either (I use a 1000, great on the road, but pretty much too big on the mtb).
    All the gear and no idea.

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    The 1030 is the latest update to the 1000. Improvements are few. Bigger battery, battery boaster now available, slightly larger screen, can text other riders that have a 1030 and a few other not essential features. The good news is you can buy a 1000 for under 300 USD brand new. A real steal. As other has said, it is not too big at all mine is mounted on top of the headset. It does so much more than tell you weíre you are at. The radar unit really works that displays cars coming up behind you. Displays all my eTap and Di2 information. This is a great time to change to these units and make yourself a fitter, safer and better rider.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emdexpress View Post
    As other has said, it is not too big at all
    lol, no.

    It's clear you are using it on a road bike, which is really what it's for. If I mounted one of those monsters on my top cap, I'd have broken it off on my first ride.

    Making yourself a "fitter, safer, and better rider" because you're using one of these computers? Are you a Garmin shill? Come on...

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    Safer: with a rear light and radar unit, you can see cars coming up behind you and can even judge their speed all displayed on the side of your Garmin GPS. Not getting lost in some areas is a real plus to your personal safety in some areas of the USA. Display weather and especially severe weather alerts are sent directly to the GPS. Shows sunset and eta to destination, all important on long return rides.

    Fitter:can display power meter, speed, cadence, heart rate and your current gear ratio, temperature, grade, elevation, and all on the same page at the same time. This information can make you fitter if you pay attention. In fact it is huge when training.

    Better: saves all your rides including all the data and the exact route you took on maps. Uploaded automatically to your devises and you can analyze all that info in the cold months. My cadence started at 66 and now it averages 95 for example.

    I could go on and on but these units are remarkable and now for less than 300 USD, hard not to own one.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emdexpress View Post
    Safer: with a rear light and radar unit, you can see cars coming up behind you and can even judge their speed all displayed on the side of your Garmin GPS. Not getting lost in some areas is a real plus to your personal safety in some areas of the USA. Display weather and especially severe weather alerts are sent directly to the GPS. Shows sunset and eta to destination, all important on long return rides.

    Fitter:can display power meter, speed, cadence, heart rate and your current gear ratio, temperature, grade, elevation, and all on the same page at the same time. This information can make you fitter if you pay attention. In fact it is huge when training.

    Better: saves all your rides including all the data and the exact route you took on maps. Uploaded automatically to your devises and you can analyze all that info in the cold months. My cadence started at 66 and now it averages 95 for example.

    I could go on and on but these units are remarkable and now for less than 300 USD, hard not to own one.
    LMAO, dude...relax. Buying more stuff won't make those things happen. You know what can do all those things and doesn't cost a dime? Your BRAIN.

    Paying attention can help a lot with safety. But when you're riding with cars, there is NO sure fire way to protect yourself. A little radar gizmo might help, but then again there are plenty of situations where it won't. It's useless on a mtb trail. It's useless in a group riding situation unless you're at the back all the time (and who does that?). OP wasn't super clear if he wanted a computer primarily for road or mtb use, but this is a mtb site and you have to assume that mtb use will be a significant component of use. Maybe even the only use.

    Okay, if you are working on training at a high level, sure, extra data can be helpful to help you tease out places you need to improve. But it's not necessary for the vast majority of people. Know you're weak on climbing? Go climb more hills. Know you're weak on long distances? Do more longer rides. You can do those things without a computer. For probably 99% of riders, riding more will provide gains, computer or not. Further, OP never mentioned a desire for a high level of fitness feedback as a desire for a computer. What he DID mention was routing quality, particularly off-road.

    As for your claim of better - better than what? OP already has a Garmin Edge 1000 and wants better routing than it provides. Are you responding to the people talking about phone apps? Still, the discussion there is about ROUTING OFF-ROAD, not road safety, not fitness. Why is a Garmin Edge 1000 better for someone who wants only better routing off-road (than a Garmin Edge 1000 provides, for that matter) when you're talking about product features that nobody in this thread has mentioned that they have any interest in, or will even use?

    And even for all that, there are smaller devices that can do a vast majority of the things the Edge 1000 can do. Especially the things you're talking about. The Edge 520 I use can do all of those things. I don't use many fitness features the device offers. I do occasionally use a HRM. I do have a cadence sensor on my road bike. You know what? I notice improvements on the HRM data, average speeds, my cadence, and all of that when I just ride more. Riding more improves my fitness more than engineering a ride or workout around heart rate zones. I ride because riding is fun. Turning my ride into numbers destroys the fun of it. Just no.

  19. #19
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    If I came off sounding like I was trying to convince others to buy something, then I am sorry. I usually try and share my experiences and thoughts about aspects of the sport. Folks share their thoughts and we may learn something we did not previously know or understand. Or reject out of hand issues for many reasons. I did that with DI2 XT Snycro shift. Totally blew it off cause no computer is going to shift my gears. Then I learned about how and why is does itís thing. And control both derailuers with only one shifter? I was interested and completely changed my mind. That happened right here on this forum.
    Lastly, most of my big mileage is road but the Farley sees itís share of the action and the 1000 comes along to document the fun. I did have to look for it after a crash once so it now has a red coat on it. Safe Travels all.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheels7 View Post
    Does anyone know of any iPhone apps that can do turn by turn directions, and/or off-route alerts for an off-road gpx route?
    I use Gaia gps and mtbproject for my mtb rides - both are great in allowing me to know exactly where I am, but if I want to check that Iím still on-route, I generally have to stop my bike to check. It would be great to have an announcement for an upcoming turn (I recognize this is difficult for an off-road route, and may require me to program the turns beforehand), or an announcement if I deviate from my programmed gpx route.
    Or would I need to buy a gps device like a garmin or wahoo to get this functionality?
    RWGPS is the best app Iíve ever used for riding in new areas. You can search off road rides and choose ones that have cues. It overlays your ride over the route. Itís like having google maps on your iPhone.


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  21. #21
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    I kind of have the same question as the topic starter.

    The way I currently work is as follows: create tracks with RWGPS, download GPX file and import it into my Locus Pro App that I use on my phone.

    I don't use turn by turn navigation but instead I follow the track by observing my own direction and the direction that the track is headed. Especially when I head into an area for the first time I find myself plenty of times in situations that the track I made is not accurate or just not rideable. Therefore I need to have a general idea of the direction and then I'll find my way just by navigating the terrain that's in front of me.

    It's quiet an adventure at times and I've found myself plenty of times in situations where I'm scratching my head thinking what the hell am I doing here.. But, when I have found a nice track it's super rewarding. I'm currently on a mission to find the best MTB trails of Northern Vietnam and it's really something else.. The combination of breathtaking scenery, challenging terrain, great single track and delicious food makes it an experience I would recommend to anyone.

    Back on topic..
    I'm very happy with Locus and RWGPS.. just not so happy about my phone.

    The battery drains quickly and it's fragile and easy to get destroyed in the event of a crash. (I think.. haven't tried it out yet luckily) . Besides that, I'd like to keep it in my pack and save it for emergencies.

    If I read the comments I think the Garmin 520 is a good alternative for me. I'm also considering a handheld GPS (such as the Garmin GPSMAP 64) because of the many waypoints and tracks it can store. It's a bit of a pain to mount it on the bike though.

    Any thoughts or advice on my situation?

    Thanks

  22. #22
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    All the gear and no idea.

  23. #23
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    I like the size of the 520/820 form factor for mtb use. Works GREAT. Only thing I don't like about the 820 is the touchscreen. I have used touchscreens on bike computers before, and I just didn't care for them. Inadvertent bumps activates the device and does unexpected things. If you turn the screen lock on, that adds additional things you have to do to unlock it to do a quick check of something like elevation or HR or the map or whatever. I find that I prefer the interface of the 520 (physical buttons only). The main thing I wish the 520 did (or had) that it doesn't is better control over functions like panning or zooming the map. Which is certainly an advantage of a touchscreen. Would be nice if the 820 had all of the physical buttons of the 520, and a quick press of the power button, in addition to allowing you to adjust the backlight, would allow you to enable/disable the touchscreen. That way, you could operate the device almost entirely with the physical buttons, but on occasions when you're stopped and you're going to use the device more (like fiddling with the map or more detailed setup or whatever), you could enable the touchscreen.

    I find the 1000 series to be just too big for mtb use. Too much device hangs out past the bike no matter how much you mount it.

    The one thing about dc rainmaker is that he doesn't mtb. So none of his reviews carry the nuances that a mtb rider might have to deal with that are slightly different from a road rider. To be fair, his audience is probably a lot more road/tri/fitness oriented, anyway. But it's something that's worth pointing out. He'll never mention whether he thinks one is better for mtb or not. He just doesn't participate in the activity, so it's not in his worldview.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javano View Post
    I kind of have the same question as the topic starter.

    The way I currently work is as follows: create tracks with RWGPS, download GPX file and import it into my Locus Pro App that I use on my phone.

    I don't use turn by turn navigation but instead I follow the track by observing my own direction and the direction that the track is headed. Especially when I head into an area for the first time I find myself plenty of times in situations that the track I made is not accurate or just not rideable. Therefore I need to have a general idea of the direction and then I'll find my way just by navigating the terrain that's in front of me.

    It's quiet an adventure at times and I've found myself plenty of times in situations where I'm scratching my head thinking what the hell am I doing here.. But, when I have found a nice track it's super rewarding. I'm currently on a mission to find the best MTB trails of Northern Vietnam and it's really something else.. The combination of breathtaking scenery, challenging terrain, great single track and delicious food makes it an experience I would recommend to anyone.

    Back on topic..
    I'm very happy with Locus and RWGPS.. just not so happy about my phone.

    The battery drains quickly and it's fragile and easy to get destroyed in the event of a crash. (I think.. haven't tried it out yet luckily) . Besides that, I'd like to keep it in my pack and save it for emergencies.

    If I read the comments I think the Garmin 520 is a good alternative for me. I'm also considering a handheld GPS (such as the Garmin GPSMAP 64) because of the many waypoints and tracks it can store. It's a bit of a pain to mount it on the bike though.

    Any thoughts or advice on my situation?

    Thanks
    You can certainly do all those things with most Garmin models. I think what's going to wind up helping you make your decision is going to be a bunch of the little nuanced differences between models. One thing to consider is how much you rely on the basemap on your phone. If you go to Garmin, you'll have to acquire maps for your device. Being that you're in Vietnam, that puts a crimp in your options, for one. My usual recommendation of www.gpsfiledepot.com doesn't appear to be worth much for you. It appears nobody has made anything with Vietnam coverage. Some parts of southeast Asia are covered (like Thailand, but that's about it), but no Vietnam. Garmin only offers road maps for Vietnam, and they only appear to cover urban areas and some connecting roads - coverage in rural areas appears to be nada (https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/89538#coverage). And Garmin has zippo for trail maps in your area. That leaves you with OSM maps for your options (Free worldwide Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap). It's not a bad option. You just need to be aware that this is where you'll have to get maps.

    Which brings us to how to get those maps onto your device. Doing so with the Edge 520 is a little weird, since the device wasn't really supposed to be able to change maps when it came out. But ppl figured out how to do it. The steps are too complex for this thread, but suffice to say, you'll have to delete the stock map to make room (best to save a backup on your computer) and replace it with the area you want. There's limited space on the device, so depending on the size of the maps you replace it with, you may or may not have to repeat this process with some frequency if you travel much to ride. Once you get the maps on it, you cannot search the map, or have the device navigate the map. The Edge 520 does not have those functions built into it. So the maps simply provide a visual reference around the track you're navigating. For me, that's plenty. Most places I ride have pretty good paper maps available. Sometimes it's a digital thing I have to print, but I do strongly prefer having a paper map on my person for most of my general navigation.

    A device like the Edge 820 with more detailed mapping functionality is going to offer you substantially more if you rely more on those digital maps. I have no idea about the availability of digital vs. paper maps in Vietnam, so you might have to rely more on digital options. For one, getting your maps onto the device is going to be easier, with fewer steps. That's a plus if you do that often. Second, the device will be able to search/navigate the map you load onto it. What it finds will depend on the data you load, of course. In the past, when I've put digital maps onto my Oregon 450, I've found that some of the maps are sorely out of date when it comes to POI data. Before I owned a smartphone, I loaded road maps from the OSM map link I supplied above, and used them to navigate the big island of Hawaii, which had pretty poor coverage on other digital map products. The road data was good, but searching the map for places was a waste because a lot of stuff was out of date. Since you have a smartphone, using it for this functionality would probably be best.

    Since you're considering a handheld (GPSMap 64 and similar), it's worth considering how the hiking models work differently. First, with the ability of most of these to accept memory cards, it's going to have a good bit more space for maps and such than the 520 or the 820. I find, however, that in practicality, that difference is not quite as big. First, Garmin places limits on the number of map "segments" you can install onto a device. If you browse the OSM maps page, you'll get an idea of what a segment is. It's just an area of maps. That area could be larger or smaller, depending on how much information is contained in that area. So rural areas tend to cover larger area, and urban areas less. It keeps map loading/drawing times reasonable on these devices. Your smartphone does segments, too, it just handles them slightly differently. Basically, it allows the device to operate fairly quickly without drawing the whole map you have loaded all at once (even what's not visible on the screen). When I'm making maps on my PC with geographic information systems software, this is exactly what the software does. Consequently, working on large, detailed maps is incredibly resource-intensive. At any rate, I don't believe you'll have any problems with the map segment limit for your location no matter which device you use. FWIW, on the 520, you'll run out of memory before you hit the functional map segment limit.

    When it comes to recording your rides is where the differences between a handheld model will differ most from a fitness model like the edges. The Edges have the familiar start/stop buttons for your ride timer and track recording. It's easy to start a new track/ride, and you don't have to worry about recording limits of any sort most of the time. Handhelds work on a totally different premise. While they're able to record a whole activity, they weren't designed around this function as their primary use model the way an Edge is. Handhelds are designed to work just as well for spot location checks (turning them off when not being used) as they are for recording an activity, saving waypoints, and a host of other uses. They're more versatile, but not so specialized for recording activities. What that means is that when you turn the device on, it begins recording a track (if track recording is enabled). On some, like my Oregon 450, you can set up a trip computer screen that gives it virtual start/stop buttons like an Edge, but the device still works very similarly. Those virtual start/stop buttons are there mostly for the timer, not for track recording. Before you start a new activity, you have to manually clear old track memory. Otherwise, what you start riding will get connected to the last track data that was recorded. Before Edges existed, this meant that a lot of people had to manually edit their data in map software because they forgot to clear their old tracklog before starting their ride. It's buried under settings menus. I don't know how the newest models handle it, but it's probably not much different than my older Oregon. Another important thing to consider is that most handhelds have a maximum tracklog size. My older Oregon has a limit of 10,000 points. It looks like the newest Oregon 750 is up to 20,000. How fast you fill that up depends on your recording interval. For many reasons, I find a recording interval of 1 point per second (basically maximum) is best for mtb riding. You can do the math to see how fast the memory will fill up. Your data doesn't get totally lost, though, unless you tell the device to do that. The device will archive the oldest parts of the track, which gets them out of active memory and frees up more space. What this means is that if you want to show a map later of your whole ride, you will have to manually stitch the segments back together. Annoying, but manageable. Recording limits on fitness models like the Edge devices operate differently, and are based on time. So this is not something that people who have only ever used an Edge probably even think about. Many people still do ride with handhelds, particularly the smaller etrex series (and particularly the etrex 30x). These folks tend to be long distance riders like bikepackers and endurance riders, because the etrex models have the best battery life (as much as a continuous 2 whole days) and user replaceable batteries.

    Saving waypoints on an Edge REALLY SUCKS. So certainly if you're going to be doing that frequently, you might be better off with a handheld.

    You're not going to get a perfect solution, unfortunately. You're just going to have to weigh the limitations of each option and decide which ones you're willing to live with.

  25. #25
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    I use an old 800, I wouldn't want anything bigger for MTB. In fact, I started using my Vivoactive instead of my 800 except when I want to have certain data more accessible (navigation, lap, or HR data). But having that big 800 sitting there on the bars of my Enduro with the way I ride (and inevitably crash) is an issue. I've damaged the screen enough already. But for my racing I like having certain data easy to see (HR backs up my RPE, lap times, and distance).

    I'm also a pretty big roadie (200-250 miles per week), and it works great on my road bike. My LBS owning friends have the newest 1030, and it is MASSIVE. For road only, it is nice. Even better if you are trying to use live Cycling Dynamics, but I am not.

    The 800 isn't perfect for nav. But I have used it for self guided, self supported endurance racing. If I would have used my brain and more prep first, I would have been better off than with the GPS alone, but poor prep is my fault, not the GPS. The GPS is a tool only.

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    Garmin makes a devise that displays the data on the GPS screens and with Bluetooth displays the info on your sunglasses. It mounts on the temple of your glasses. You can keep the GPS in your pack somewhere. And while there are controls on the devise, the Garmin remote would work well in this application. Not for me but it is available. Oh, when you turn 64, you simple no longer crash. My last one was the day before my 64 birthday. That was end of my wrecks for good. Besides, we heal up slower than you kids.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emdexpress View Post
    Garmin makes a devise that displays the data on the GPS screens and with Bluetooth displays the info on your sunglasses. It mounts on the temple of your glasses. You can keep the GPS in your pack somewhere. And while there are controls on the devise, the Garmin remote would work well in this application. Not for me but it is available. Oh, when you turn 64, you simple no longer crash. My last one was the day before my 64 birthday. That was end of my wrecks for good. Besides, we heal up slower than you kids.
    The HUD Garmin makes is not so you can put your GPS in your pack. That's a sure way to get crappier GPS signal and garbage data. The GPS antenna needs to be unobstructed and oriented correctly for optimal use. What good is a fancy HUD if the data it displays is next to useless?

    Besides, that device is marketed for road use, anyway, so you can keep your head up and your eyes down the road. Anytime I need to look at my GPS on my mtb, I'm stopped. No way would I want to add that weight to one side of my glasses so they could get cockeyed on bumpy trails. No way would I want the display distracting from what I need to see on the trails.

    This also will not work for the way that Javano wishes to navigate. The nav prompts the HUD provides will be based on turn-by-turn routing supplied by Courses. Which, is really a road riding thing. Turn-by-turn routing using Courses on the mtb is possible, but it's not great. And Javano explains why perfectly well. Frequently the data those Courses are based on is questionable (even in the USA, so this is not unique to places like Vietnam, where he is riding). Navigating visually by displaying the projected route on the map screen is about the best we can expect. There's no indication whatsoever that the Garmin Varia Vision displays maps on its HUD.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I like the size of the 520/820 form factor for mtb use. Works GREAT. Only thing I don't like about the 820 is the touchscreen. I have used touchscreens on bike computers before, and I just didn't care for them. Inadvertent bumps activates the device and does unexpected things. If you turn the screen lock on, that adds additional things you have to do to unlock it to do a quick check of something like elevation or HR or the map or whatever. I find that I prefer the interface of the 520 (physical buttons only). The main thing I wish the 520 did (or had) that it doesn't is better control over functions like panning or zooming the map. Which is certainly an advantage of a touchscreen. Would be nice if the 820 had all of the physical buttons of the 520, and a quick press of the power button, in addition to allowing you to adjust the backlight, would allow you to enable/disable the touchscreen. That way, you could operate the device almost entirely with the physical buttons, but on occasions when you're stopped and you're going to use the device more (like fiddling with the map or more detailed setup or whatever), you could enable the touchscreen.

    I find the 1000 series to be just too big for mtb use. Too much device hangs out past the bike no matter how much you mount it.

    The one thing about dc rainmaker is that he doesn't mtb. So none of his reviews carry the nuances that a mtb rider might have to deal with that are slightly different from a road rider. To be fair, his audience is probably a lot more road/tri/fitness oriented, anyway. But it's something that's worth pointing out. He'll never mention whether he thinks one is better for mtb or not. He just doesn't participate in the activity, so it's not in his worldview.
    yeah I'f my 1000 didn't have a touchscreen I'd probably hit it with a hammer in about 3 seconds. I'll take touchscreen over buttons any day.
    Also I don't find it too big for mtbing, don't find it hangs out anywhere, just that when mtbing I don't need all the data so it could be way smaller, the only time I look at it is on easy sections and usually only HR, maybe time/dist depending on whats going on.
    As for DC Rainmaker, I only point to his reviews as they look fairly well at the features and a person can have a look at their leisure
    to see how those features and their implementation match up to what they want..and he does mtb...just not very often.
    All the gear and no idea.

  29. #29
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    Yeah, during the course of a ride, I mostly just page through different screens. I'd zoom/pan the map occasionally if that control was more accessible. But mostly my computer just sits on the bars and gets ignored unless I want to check something like time, climbing, or some such. Just requires paging through the screens. I like having physical buttons for that.

    I really like the touchscreen on my Oregon, though. When saving waypoints, it's INFINITELY better to type out waypoint names or descriptions on a virtual keyboard than it is to try to type them out with a d-pad (like the 64 series) or with the joystick like the etrexes offer. After using the the Oregon on the bike for a couple of years, though, I learned that the touchscreen was more annoying than it was worth in that scenario.

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    Iím an etrex user. Love it. We have 3 in total.

    Big enough to use practically for navigation.
    Long battery life.
    Easy to get and replace AA batteries which is important if you are relying on it
    Works with gloves
    Customisable screens so you can easily access the data you need.
    Can be used with various free (and excellent) mapping options
    Very reliable GPS connection in my experience

    Yes itís bigger than some but the screen has to be a certain size to enable it to be used for navigation. Small units are worthless

    I use mine for other activities too including trekking/bushwalking, sea kayaking and off road/desert driving.

    They are very popular in the bikepacking scene because they a) do the job really well, b) long battery life, c) trailside replaceable batteries


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Yeah, during the course of a ride, I mostly just page through different screens. I'd zoom/pan the map occasionally if that control was more accessible. But mostly my computer just sits on the bars and gets ignored unless I want to check something like time, climbing, or some such. Just requires paging through the screens. I like having physical buttons for that.

    I really like the touchscreen on my Oregon, though. When saving waypoints, it's INFINITELY better to type out waypoint names or descriptions on a virtual keyboard than it is to try to type them out with a d-pad (like the 64 series) or with the joystick like the etrexes offer. After using the the Oregon on the bike for a couple of years, though, I learned that the touchscreen was more annoying than it was worth in that scenario.
    I'll add that if I had the buttons on the top of my di2 shifters to page stuff, then I'd need a touchscreen far less, but I don't. I do like to be able to jsut flick the screen with my finger to page through
    All the gear and no idea.

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    I have an extra Garmin remote in my bike box so I use in on my old Hardtail. I can change the screens with my thump never taking my hands of the bars. In addition, before I was using the remote, I would ďmiss flicksĒ of the screen fairly often. So even though the Garmin is right in front of me, it is nice to use the remote.

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    Has anyone tired the 520 plus with the Trailforks app feature yet? or does anyone know if the Trailforks app will work on older 520 models?

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    Quote Originally Posted by crfnick56 View Post
    Has anyone tired the 520 plus with the Trailforks app feature yet? or does anyone know if the Trailforks app will work on older 520 models?
    I have a 520 that I bought last year and the Trailforks app works on it. I've not used Trailforks much, as I've only had a couple of non-local days this year, but it worked well for me. I did have some struggles getting it to work initially - I don't recall if the firmware on the unit needed to be updated, or if the connect app needed to be updated but once all was updated it was good to go.

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    I've used a wide variety of Garmins as well as a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. There are some compromises with all devices and ultimately it comes down to what you want, what your budget is, and what bikes you want to use it with.

    The Wahoo Bolt is nice and compact, easy to read, and very easy to set up and get running. The interface between the device and the phone is fantastic and makes it super easy to customize. It also integrates well with RideWithGPS which I use to make road courses and then sync over. Some users have reported that the Bolt doesn't track MTB rides as accurately as some of the Garmin devices, but the bolt does utilize both GPS and GLONASS, so at least in theory it should be as accurate. Most Garmin mounts can be adapted to work with the Bolt.

    The downside of the Bolt is that it doesn't offer some of the Di2 features where you can change screens with the Di2 buttons. I don't have Di2 on my mountain bikes but do on my road bike, so I do miss this functionality at times. The other big one, which is mainly a road specific issue, is the lack of integration with Garmin's Varia rear radar system. As someone who rides country roads with light traffic Varia has been a game changer for me and I feel much safer with it. You can still use a Bolt, but then you have to mount (and purchase) the separate Garmin head unit that interacts with Varia. I've done this with my road bike, mounting the Bolt upfront and the Garmin device on the stem, but it starts to be a lot of stuff. Reportedly Garmin left the option for other manufacturers the option of syncing with Varia, but none to date have done this. The other big negative on the Bolt is the lack of third party app integration on the device.

    I also have used a Garmin 1000 extensively. It is big, but I've had success mounting it above my stem with a Barfly MTB 3 mount. However I tend to run 70 - 80 mm stems, rather than super short ones. I use a tether with it, because if I crash there is a risk of it getting knocked off. I definitely would not run it out front as it could be the first thing that hits a tree if something goes wrong on the ride...

    When I head to unknown regions, I love the big screen on the 1000. I used the Trailforks app for navigation and it generally works really well although there are some trails the MTBProject has that Trailforks doesn't. It is also nice to have some pages with a lot of very easy to read data at a glance.

    The new 520 Plus does look very nice and probably a great MTB computer.

    If I didn't have a device and was starting from scratch I'd probably get a Garmin 1030 and use it both on my MTB and Road Bikes. If my bike didn't fit the 1030, I'd likely go 520 Plus.

    If I only was going to use a device on a MTB bike and not use the Trailforks app, I'd probably go with the 520 Plus or a Bolt.

  36. #36
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    Since my last post I did get a 520 Plus. I decided I wanted the live tracking and crash detection option since I do so much solo riding. And, at the time, I was without a significant other who had at least an ETA of when I would return, so having the crash detection was nice to at least send a notification to my ex (hey, she still currently gets my life insurance!) and my mom so my body could be recovered from the side of the road...

    I haven't used Trailforks with it yet. Maybe I will soon. Most of my riding is on the road or on trails I am intimately familiar with so I haven't needed it. But I know the app does work. I have used the Strava routes on it, which works. Though I do prefer to use Garmin Connect (which now is easy to import routes to).

    I haven't used it on my MTB yet, but I imagine when I do it will be handy.

  37. #37
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    I've had bike computers for 10 years. I used to run/train/race and have a Garmin watch that I now use for bike days.
    I'm planning to sell the road bike and have considered moving the microwireless computer to mountain bike #2.
    Instead of that I've been considering a Garmin 520 and a 2nd mount to transfer between bikes.

    I currently ride with my phone (Strava), Garmin wrist watch and my bike computer. Rarely do all 3 devices align with accuracy (understandably).

    I've done the wheel rollout and am pretty confident in my computer readings. My old GPS running watch shorts me, while seems more accurate on runs than rides.

    Because of the running watch inconsistencies, I'm concerned with the new bike computers having the same issues. Transferring the bike computer from road bike to MTB is free (until the wireless sensor catches a rock). Spending $300 on an inaccurate computer provides me with the same data I have using the wrist watch.

    Any opinions on the accuracy of the 520's these days?

    After reading a few threads I have learned that Garmin also has wheel sensors (for improved accuracy over GPS). To use a Garmin as a device for 2 bikes, the expense just increased if I'll need to purchase a 2nd wheel sensor.

    So can anybody tell me what an advantage to having a Garmin computer setup with a wheel sensor will give me that I do not already get with my GPS watch (my track and other useless data that I can't seem to live without) an a computer?

    I've been using GPS for years and understand the inaccuracies and why they occur.
    I am really wondering if they are more accurate today than my 2011 wrist watch.

    I guess one more question -any reason to consider the PLUS model? I don't need maps in the woods unless there is something I'm missing.

    I'd also use the 520 for dirt bike riding and store the device in my backpack. I already use my watch for tracking as it is.

    Thanks for dealing with my post that is kind of all over the place.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Any opinions on the accuracy of the 520's these days?
    I've been happy with mine. Accuracy has been pretty good. It's worth pointing out that Garmin's magnetless sensor isn't going to get hit by a rock and the only reason it'd stop giving accurate data would be if the battery dies. And you'll get warnings about that on the head unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    After reading a few threads I have learned that Garmin also has wheel sensors (for improved accuracy over GPS). To use a Garmin as a device for 2 bikes, the expense just increased if I'll need to purchase a 2nd wheel sensor.
    Yes, buying multiple wheel sensors is going to increase the cost. To be fair, I think the wheel sensor makes a MUCH bigger difference on the mtb than it does on the road. For this reason, I'm moving my 2nd wheel sensor from my road bike to the 2nd mtb that I'm in the process of building, rather than buying a 3rd wheel sensor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    So can anybody tell me what an advantage to having a Garmin computer setup with a wheel sensor will give me that I do not already get with my GPS watch (my track and other useless data that I can't seem to live without) an a computer?
    Well, you said yourself that the running watch always seems short on rides, and that it's better on runs. This is because you're moving slower on runs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I've been using GPS for years and understand the inaccuracies and why they occur.
    I am really wondering if they are more accurate today than my 2011 wrist watch.

    I guess one more question -any reason to consider the PLUS model? I don't need maps in the woods unless there is something I'm missing.
    Considering GPS accuracy alone, I've found my Edge 520 to be much more accurate than my old Forerunner 310XT. Reception for extra satellites (both a larger number at any one time, but also compatibility with more constellations - not just the US GPS, but also Russian GLONASS) makes a notable improvement. It's not something I see all the time, but there was a particular route I used to do where it became readily apparent. It was an urban ride where the road/bike path passed underneath a multi-story parking garage for a block. My old watch would make it look like I was suddenly drunk in there, but the Edge 520 captured a mostly straight track through there. It was also notable in the urban canyons, where the old GPS would show me riding through the skyscrapers, but the Edge 520 would show me on the bike path along the road. I imagine in coming years, you'll start to see more fitness GPSes that are also compatible with the Chinese BeiDou satellites and Europe's Galileo system and that will make for additional improvements, though those improvements might be more regional in nature (GLONASS, for example, is better for more extreme northern latitudes than it is elsewhere in the planet).

    As for the plus model, I don't see it unless you want more on-unit navigation and mapping. The basic Edge 520 holds all the map that I need (just for quick reference purposes) and the only thing I'd wish was better, was the process of loading maps. Since it was a bit of a hack to put maps on the regular Edge 520, putting maps on it is a bit of a pain. The plus model, at least, would fix that issue. With more memory, it could also hold more so I wouldn't have to swap mapsets as frequently. If I was buying new today, I'm not sure what I'd be willing to pay for those two improvements. The regular 520 does what I want as it is, so probably not very much money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I'd also use the 520 for dirt bike riding and store the device in my backpack. I already use my watch for tracking as it is.

    Thanks for dealing with my post that is kind of all over the place.
    You'd be better off getting a mount to put the computer on the handlebars of your dirtbike, too. Bury the device in a pack and the antenna won't have an optimal angle for reception. Computers like the Edge series work best with the screen facing the sky. Put the computer in a pack and it'll be less accurate.

  39. #39
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    I recently picked up a Fenix 5 while they were on sale (maybe still are). Not the cheapest, but pretty much handles everything I may need except it doesn't have built in maps (you can get that too if you need it). You can still upload courses to it, it will connect to just about every sensor (BTLE and Ant), built in HRM if you don't want to wear a strap (accuracy will vary, but good enough), EXTRA long battery life. Can be used for just about any activity you want, not just MTB. And, if I want to be able to see my data on my bars and not worry about my head unit dying, it will connect to my 520+ and show the data from my watch without using the GPS of the Edge, so the Edge lasts WAY longer (handy triathlon feature).

    I was using a 310XT for the longest time until the seal failed (the day before a triathlon, ugh). Replaced that with a used 910XT, and it has been doing most of the work until I found a cheap, refurbished 520+. But I wanted battery life and a couple other features, and liked the Vivo I had been using, so I splurged and went with the Fenix while it was on sale and I am happy. I'm not planning any more upgrades any time soon (910XT was over 6 years old when I replaced it!).

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I've been happy with mine....
    Thanks Harold. You've pretty much confirmed everything I had assumed to be true. Most important is how you recognized my concern with the less accurate ride data. Nice to hear the 520 tracks well.

    And you educated me on the 520 (non plus). The descriptions say the 520 plus allows maps to be uploaded. I didn't realize the base 520 is a map device, just more difficult (or not possible) to upload.
    I don't think I care about maps. I guess on a dirt bike trail I am not familiar with it would be nice. Been lost/turned around at least twice. I still need to investigate the device, for for the cost and availability, the 520 seems like a happy balance. All the devices offer more metrics than I need (but who doesn't love data). I don't need the top of the line but do want something that isn't the low level.

    When I mentioned the sensor being hit by a rock I meant my road bike wireless sensor. I think you knew that and were reassuring me that the Garmin sensor isn't as open to the environment.

    I think I'd back up your decision to transfer the wheel sensor to a MTB. My road rides have been pretty spot on with my watch. A few instances not so much but close enough to know better.

    As for a dirt bike mount, yeah maybe. For as infrequent as I ride, I'd just borrow one from a bike. I have been running Strava in a phone case stashed in my pack and it works well, assumed a Garmin would too be tracked if stowed.

    I read through some of the comments in a Wahoo thread and it sounded really good. I have Garmin Connect for all my previous activities for the many years so I'd probably stick with Garmin for consistency.

    My watch is a 405cx Forerunner as well.
    Like you have described, the tracking at times looks drunk. I have a trail that loops the river -a high percentage of runs has me cutting a corner to where the path intersects the bridge and on occasion it has me swimming right down the center of the river. Other times the route is correct, but not lining up with the streets I've run on.
    I found it quite interesting when I ran a half-marathon in San Jose -the track was one of the most accurate tracks I'd ever recorded. They have pretty banked streets so I ran the center paint stripe most of the race and the route had me right there in the middle.



    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    I recently picked up a Fenix 5 while they were on sale (maybe still are). Not the cheapest, but pretty much handles everything I may need except it doesn't have built in maps (you can get that too if you need it). You can still upload courses to it, it will connect to just about every sensor (BTLE and Ant), built in HRM if you don't want to wear a strap (accuracy will vary, but good enough), EXTRA long battery life. Can be used for just about any activity you want, not just MTB. And, if I want to be able to see my data on my bars and not worry about my head unit dying, it will connect to my 520+ and show the data from my watch without using the GPS of the Edge, so the Edge lasts WAY longer (handy triathlon feature).

    I was using a 310XT for the longest time until the seal failed (the day before a triathlon, ugh). Replaced that with a used 910XT, and it has been doing most of the work until I found a cheap, refurbished 520+. But I wanted battery life and a couple other features, and liked the Vivo I had been using, so I splurged and went with the Fenix while it was on sale and I am happy. I'm not planning any more upgrades any time soon (910XT was over 6 years old when I replaced it!).
    I have considered another watch. I do not run as often as I used to. My current watch does well for runs. Plus it is old enough that when a tree branch hits it I don't cringe over having it getting scratched/damaged. IF I want a new GPS device I'd probably get one geared towards the bike. It's a tough decision. Partly because it means I have to admit I do not run as frequently.
    I like how the Fenix can have the shared display with the 520 like you mentioned. That opens up the future of getting an updated running watch. I'd have to have this one fail though since my longest trail run is 6 miles these days.

    The battery on the 405 has barely lasted 4 hours. Over the years it's now not even as much of course. I did just use it for over 3 hours the other day and seemed like it was still pretty well charged. About 1:20 dirt bike ride time and a lot of hanging around with friends otherwise.


    Thanks to the both of you for the help.

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    I have an Edge 520 and it's very accurate on my bars on my mountain bike, but I run or XC ski with it in my jersey pocket and the accuracy is good enough but noticeably worse than on the handlebars.

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    Alright, another question for the experts of the 520/sensor folks.

    My Cateye Micro Wireless computer is interfered with by my NiteRider light. The light doesn't have enough electrical shielding and throws off the wireless sensor. I do not have the problem with a Serfas light.

    Anybody have an experience with a bar mounted NiteRider and a Garmin Wheel sensor?

    Examples of interference:
    Speed readings occur then stop and hold steady at a speed (when I know I've changed speed).
    Distance readings inaccurate.
    Speed at 0 mph.

    I generally wear the NiteRider on the helmet and the Cateye is currently on the road bike (which I really don't ride). It is a less likely scenario where I'll have my NiteRider bar mounted but never say never.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Alright, another question for the experts of the 520/sensor folks.

    My Cateye Micro Wireless computer is interfered with by my NiteRider light. The light doesn't have enough electrical shielding and throws off the wireless sensor. I do not have the problem with a Serfas light.

    Anybody have an experience with a bar mounted NiteRider and a Garmin Wheel sensor?

    Examples of interference:
    Speed readings occur then stop and hold steady at a speed (when I know I've changed speed).
    Distance readings inaccurate.
    Speed at 0 mph.

    I generally wear the NiteRider on the helmet and the Cateye is currently on the road bike (which I really don't ride). It is a less likely scenario where I'll have my NiteRider bar mounted but never say never.
    I'd google that question. There's a LONG and sporadic history of lights interfering with signals from basic wireless cyclocomputers. High tension lines, too. I'm not aware of such interference problems with either ANT+ or Bluetooth based sensors. I've never had any. But I also have never owned Niterider lights.

  44. #44
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    If you want to look at maps on the device while riding, you can do that on a 520 or 520 plus, but zooming in or out takes a bunch of button presses through menus and panning is not possible. Zooming and panning on an 820 would be great if the touch screen response wasn't so erratic and unreliable.

    MTBing, beyond using the device to record my ride data, I like to be able to see the trails on the screen to keep track of where I am and where I'm going. Using it on the road, I fairly often use route guidance. A phone can do this very well, but size, touch screen (the Edge 820's downfall) would be problematic for me.
    What, me worry?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    If you want to look at maps on the device while riding, you can do that on a 520 or 520 plus, but zooming in or out takes a bunch of button presses through menus and panning is not possible.
    My one UI gripe about the 520.

  46. #46
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    Super informative thread....

    Torn between the 520+, 820, or explore. Looking for something to use mostly on exploration rides. New trails, using GPX data, on top of elevation maps. I'd love to be able to add satellite maps as well. I really enjoy riding new unfamiliar areas, and just need something to keep me on track.

    Don't care if it's touchscreen, but I'd like to be able to zoom/scroll the maps.

    I've been using my phone, with Gaia maps and uploading my own GPX files. But it sucks taking it out at every intersection, and I want to keep its battery life for emergencies.

    Advice?

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by abacall View Post
    Super informative thread....

    Torn between the 520+, 820, or explore. Looking for something to use mostly on exploration rides. New trails, using GPX data, on top of elevation maps. I'd love to be able to add satellite maps as well. I really enjoy riding new unfamiliar areas, and just need something to keep me on track.

    Don't care if it's touchscreen, but I'd like to be able to zoom/scroll the maps.

    I've been using my phone, with Gaia maps and uploading my own GPX files. But it sucks taking it out at every intersection, and I want to keep its battery life for emergencies.

    Advice?
    In general the bigger the units display, the easier it is to read the maps. Thus the Garmin 1030, 1000 and the Wahoo Elemnt are easier to use if following a map to navigate. In the Garmin series, the 1030, 1000, 820 and 520 Plus are all designed to do navigation with a map. The Garmin 520 not as much, itís mapping capability is more limited. Note that a common complaint is the larger units are more prone to damage due to their size ?, but thatís somewhat dependent on how you mount it. You can use the ďout front mountĒ thatís included and orient it in front of the h-bar, or turn it around so the device sits on top of the stem, where it might be less prone to damage in a crash. Placing the unit on top of the stem, also means you have to look down a bit more to see the map. Iíve used assorted 810ís, 1000 and a Wahoo Bolt on mt. bikes for 3 years without breaking anything and donít find my 1000 to be too large.

    I found the Wahoo units to be terrific, but the maps are very road centric and you cannot load different maps on a Wahoo. My Garmin can take a topo or can take a downloaded RideWithGPS or other GPX or TCX maps. Touch screen works OK, sometimes you have to take off a full fingered glove to get the screen sensitivity you want, especially if doing something other than swiping, like zooming or panning a map.

    Iíd recommend a 1000 as it was a lot cheaper than a 1030. Now itís back up to near $450 or so, but does have a larger and more useful screen than an 820.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    In general the bigger the units display, the easier it is to read the maps. Thus the Garmin 1030, 1000 and the Wahoo Elemnt are easier to use if following a map to navigate. In the Garmin series, the 1030, 1000, 820 and 520 Plus are all designed to do navigation with a map. The Garmin 520 not as much, itís mapping capability is more limited. Note that a common complaint is the larger units are more prone to damage due to their size ?, but thatís somewhat dependent on how you mount it. You can use the ďout front mountĒ thatís included and orient it in front of the h-bar, or turn it around so the device sits on top of the stem, where it might be less prone to damage in a crash. Placing the unit on top of the stem, also means you have to look down a bit more to see the map. Iíve used assorted 810ís, 1000 and a Wahoo Bolt on mt. bikes for 3 years without breaking anything and donít find my 1000 to be too large.

    I found the Wahoo units to be terrific, but the maps are very road centric and you cannot load different maps on a Wahoo. My Garmin can take a topo or can take a downloaded RideWithGPS or other GPX or TCX maps. Touch screen works OK, sometimes you have to take off a full fingered glove to get the screen sensitivity you want, especially if doing something other than swiping, like zooming or panning a map.

    Iíd recommend a 1000 as it was a lot cheaper than a 1030. Now itís back up to near $450 or so, but does have a larger and more useful screen than an 820.
    Replying to the size issue specifically.

    Bigger screen is easier to use with a map for sure. Touchscreen is also easier to zoom and pan the map. To an extent. Don't expect the touchscreen to work exactly the same as your phone. Phone touchscreens are far too sensitive for extended outdoor use in humid climates (and the resulting sweat), so to make the screens on touchscreen Garmins more functional in those conditions, they have to be less sensitive almost by rule. Some people lose their minds over the Garmin touchscreens because they aren't quite like their phones. Don't be "that guy" because the devices are built for different things and need different functionality. My issue with touchscreens on the bike is more related to their general limitations. One being the extra drain they put on the batteries. The other being my own propensity to tap them when riding. Locking the screen to address accidental taps solves that problem, but introduces another by adding button presses in order to do something simple, like look at the time. No, thanks.

    As to the "risk of damage" issue, it's a broader issue. Sure, damage is a potential risk, but the bigger computer hanging off the bike is more prone to be hit. That creates a number of issues. One is the risk of losing it because it popped off the mount. That's a risk no matter where you put it, so using a lanyard should be standard operating procedure, but the more the computer hangs over solid parts of the bike, the greater the risk of impact. Damage to the computer itself is another risk. Again, it can happen no matter where the device is mounted. But the more it hangs off the bike, the greater the risk. Out front mounting, IMO, should never be used on a mtb. That should be limited to road bikes. If the out-front mount is designed to be flipped backwards over the stem, then that's better. Not all are meant to be used that way, though. The "low out-front" mounts aren't flippable. The high ones can be flipped. I have both. If you plan to flip the mount, be aware of this limitation.

    I've been riding with GPS bike computers in some way or another for 15yrs. The first one I owned was a Garmin Rino 130 that I kept in my pack. I've used a few other handhelds (GPSMAP 76 CSx, Oregon 450). I've used a few Edges (Edge 705, 520), and a couple Forerunners (205, 310XT). I'm pretty picky about what I get out of a computer, so I don't buy a new one often. Some I've used because it's what I had. Especially when I was younger and couldn't afford more than one GPS.

    I used the big handhelds on the bars because that's what I had. But they got beaten up for it. I lost the Oregon 450 in the woods somewhere in North GA. I recently even broke an Edge 520 in a crash. Mine sits protected over my stem. The ONLY way to possibly smash that computer is for the bike to land upside down on a rock. Which is what happened,, of course, as a result of an endo (I also had to replace my carbon handlebars because a big chunk got taken out of them, possibly on the same rock). My computers have popped off the mounts countless times when they've been bumped in a more minor wreck. Lanyards FTW. Using the same mount for a much bigger computer means for a less stable attachment. A big risk for the current Garmin mounts is for the tabs on the back of the computer to be ripped off. Plenty of people have had that problem, to the extent that there are aftermarket repairs you can do. I've been fortunate so far. The wreck that broke my 520 could have ripped the tabs off the computer, but I use a good quality mount with a softer plastic insert, and the insert crumbled (I have spare inserts at home, so no big deal).

  49. #49
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    I'm digging the K-Edge stem mounts. One replaces a 5mm spacer, one IS the top cap.
    It seems it would hold the device very solidly.
    On the flip side, it seems it would hold the device very solidly (as in no dampening from hard its that an otherwise flimsy mount would introduce. Until of course the flimsy mount allows impact to the stem/bar.

    I don't have any of the GPS units so I can't speak of any mounts, but traditionally anything mounted on an arm will have a certain level of jounce. Unless the mount is too heavy for a standard bicycle rider to accept.

  50. #50
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    I have a mount similar to the k-edge spacer mount. Comes from a japanese company called rec-mounts. I bought this one, because the pivot between the pieces is the same as a gopro mount and the company makes other attachments. I have one that fits my garmin oregon, too.

    For Garmin's 1/4 turn mounts, you want the mount to be sacrificial, or for there to be a sacrificial insert, in case something rips the computer out. You don't want your mount to eat the tabs on the back of the computer. Early 1/4 turn mounts were prone to doing this because they were more sturdy than the computer.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  51. #51
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    Good point. I recall seeing one of the mounts having an insert. It may have been both of the 2 I mentioned but could have only been one of them.

    Good on them to design the break point.

    And thanks for the reminder to use the tether. I figured I'd use one but good to know it shouldn't be 'optional'.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Good point. I recall seeing one of the mounts having an insert. It may have been both of the 2 I mentioned but could have only been one of them.

    Good on them to design the break point.

    And thanks for the reminder to use the tether. I figured I'd use one but good to know it shouldn't be 'optional'.
    Unless Garmin has changed something, they don't include a lanyard with the bigger 10xx models, for some strange reason. I feel the tether is more important the bigger the device for mtb use.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  53. #53
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    +1 on the tether, having lost a Garmin not using one. Also on plastic mounts for the Edge tabs. For my use, I feel a completely plastic mount is better than aluminum. They're more elastic than aluminum so easier to tighten to a point where it'll rotate around the bars when hit but still have enough friction to not move in normal use, and they won't mar the bars. Also if something's gotta give in a crash (bike or body part) the mount is the most expendable.
    What, me worry?

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    For my use, I feel a completely plastic mount is better than aluminum.
    I suppose it depends on how your mount attaches. For the types that serve as a steerer tube spacer, alu with a plastic insert is probably best. I wouldn't want a plastic spacer on my steerer. Would make for some issues with preloading the headset bearings at first, and then probably with the top cap bolt loosening up later (as the plastic compresses). The one I have, as well as the similar K-Edge will pivot around the steerer. Plus there's a hinge that allows for vertical movement in an impact, though mine has never really moved that way (the stem beneath it prevents movement downwards, so the only possible direction is up - an unlikely need).

    But if clamping on the handlebars, sure, I'll take totally plastic. I have a SRAM mount (flippable out front) I bought years ago, but didn't work well with the Answer 20/20 bars I had at the time. It's totally plastic, and I'll be using it on my new bike build because I already have it.

    https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/p...computer-mount

  55. #55
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    I love the standard mount for my 520 because there is enough movement when it gets hit that nothing breaks. I had a k-edge top cap mount and it broke, and I had to ride back up to get my garmin after noticing. Fortunately I found it, but I never used that type of mount again. Sometimes simpler and cheaper is better.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    I love the standard mount for my 520 because there is enough movement when it gets hit that nothing breaks. I had a k-edge top cap mount and it broke, and I had to ride back up to get my garmin after noticing. Fortunately I found it, but I never used that type of mount again. Sometimes simpler and cheaper is better.
    The standard mount is nice, I agree. If you like your computer over your stem, though, it doesn't play nice with short stems, and it also doesn't fit squarish ones very well.

    I'm not sure I'd like the top cap mount, either. I have a feeling the computer sticking out behind the steerer would result in fairly frequent knee impacts. My favorite ones have been the spacer mounts.

  57. #57
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    I have my 820/520 nestled next to the right of the stem just behind the bar using a old short Barfly mount that's no longer available. The top of the Garmin is just below the top of the stem and bar. This works the best for me. On top of the bars or stem and I hit it with my chest. In front of the bars and it will hit something when I biff. It hasn't interfered with my knee.

    Just checked the Barfly website and their 4 Prime is pretty similar to the mount I use, though aluminum instead of plastic. I have it on the bar facing backward and the Garmin in positioned closest to the bar.
    What, me worry?

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I have my 820/520 nestled next to the right of the stem just behind the bar using a old short Barfly mount that's no longer available. The top of the Garmin is just below the top of the stem and bar. This works the best for me. On top of the bars or stem and I hit it with my chest. In front of the bars and it will hit something when I biff. It hasn't interfered with my knee.

    Just checked the Barfly website and their 4 Prime is pretty similar to the mount I use, though aluminum instead of plastic. I have it on the bar facing backward and the Garmin in positioned closest to the bar.
    Interesting. Got any pics of this setup?

    I feel like I'd hit it with my knees. It always seems like my knees are hitting my top tube/stem area when I spend much time in technical terrain. Of course, I never see it happen, or feel it when it happens, so I don't know exactly where I'm hitting. I just know that I do, since I almost always have a light bruise on the inner surface of my knee.

    When would you hit a top-mounted computer with your chest? I haven't had that problem (yet), but I could see it happening in some situations.

  59. #59
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    On the road bike I can touch the bars with my knees but with my setup on the mtb my knee clears the Garmin by about 1.5" with the bars straight.

    best GPS model for MTB-20181229_120426.jpg
    What, me worry?

  60. #60
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    My Garmin 520 has died on me. I have a Colorado 300 that I've not used for years, but would like to use that for a while until I either get my 520 repaired or replaced. Will the 300 work for simply tracking data and uploading to garmin connect? It seems like all the information about it is focused on routing, rather than tracking. Thanks to anyone who can help with this.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    My Garmin 520 has died on me. I have a Colorado 300 that I've not used for years, but would like to use that for a while until I either get my 520 repaired or replaced. Will the 300 work for simply tracking data and uploading to garmin connect? It seems like all the information about it is focused on routing, rather than tracking. Thanks to anyone who can help with this.
    It'll work. Being a hiking model, it will be a bit different than the edge, though. I have never used a colorado, so I don't know how similar its firmware is to my oregon 450.

    But generally speaking, as long as tracking is enabled, a hiking model will begin tracking almost as soon as you turn it on. You should have plenty of control over the recording interval, too.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    It'll work. Being a hiking model, it will be a bit different than the edge, though. I have never used a colorado, so I don't know how similar its firmware is to my oregon 450.

    But generally speaking, as long as tracking is enabled, a hiking model will begin tracking almost as soon as you turn it on. You should have plenty of control over the recording interval, too.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
    Thanks. I finally figured out how to get it to save to my PC, and I've set the recording interval to the most frequent. It linked to my HRM strap too. I'll give it a shot today with a real activity

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