do most mtb computers over $200 have an "out and back" type of feature?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    do most mtb computers over $200 have an "out and back" type of feature?

    I was riding my mtb on Green Mountain (Alameda side) last night and rode to the top. Then I turned around and started riding back down. I must have taken a wrong turn going downhill at some point because I hit some gnarly terrain and a dead end and I had to climb up a steep rocky section obviously not used for mtb to get back to this landmark that I had identified when riding up:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zsizb319op...12740.jpg?dl=0

    This landmark was within 50 yards of a small sign which pointed to "Green Mountain" one way and "Summit Loop" another way. I don't currently have an mtb computer so I was wondering if most mtb computers over $200 have an "out and back" type of feature? Here's an example use case:

    1 - I could press some type of button to start GPS tracking and recording at the start of my route
    2 - After I ride out as far as I want to go, I could press some type of button to initiate GPS guidance to return to my starting point
    3 - As I'm riding back, the computer would provide some type of audio/visual indicator if I stray more than say 20 yards off course

  2. #2
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    Good questions, I only have experience with 2 GPS devices.

    Both have a feature that will basically tell you where you came from, but it isn't much more than it telling you to "head west". On one of my devices it is a compass that shows an arrow in the direction to your starting location. That isn't helpful if you are on a trail with no fork. It simply points "go that way", nothing like a "take this trail".

    My 2nd device, I can't quite remember how the feature works though. Both my devices are Garmin.

    What a bike computer can do though is allow you to upload a route, or create your own route and upload to the bike computer. Then you can navigate which works "okay" at best. I don't know which level of bike computer supports navigation and map uploading though.

    I've also been known to have to ride up a steep trail that I wish I hadn't gone down -while exploring new stuff.

  3. #3
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    On Garmins, there’s a feature called “Navigate to Start” with an option to select “Along Same Route”. I’ve never used it but it is intended to follow the recorded track you’ve been riding back to where you started. I have a feeling it’s likely designed to follow the roads you’ve ridden and would be mostly useless while mt. biking especially if the trails you are riding are not in the map database, which is typically (and with Garmin maps) pretty much everywhere.

    But, you do get a trace of where you have ridden and can see that and use it to return. It will show you the direction at places where a trail junction exists, even if the trails themselves are not shown.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    On Garmins, there’s a feature called “Navigate to Start” with an option to select “Along Same Route”. I’ve never used it but it is intended to follow the recorded track you’ve been riding back to where you started. I have a feeling it’s likely designed to follow the roads you’ve ridden and would be mostly useless while mt. biking especially if the trails you are riding are not in the map database, which is typically (and with Garmin maps) pretty much everywhere.

    But, you do get a trace of where you have ridden and can see that and use it to return. It will show you the direction at places where a trail junction exists, even if the trails themselves are not shown.
    That's cool. I'll look for that feature on the 830. I haven't dug into that function since I've owned it.
    Probably won't use it, but who knows! Knowing it is there may be helpful in the future.

  5. #5
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    Just looking at the map screen on almost any Garmin will show you a breadcrumb trail of where you've been.

    Even if there's no mapping, most will have a breadcrumb trail of some sort.
    Unless you're using a brand new Stages L10 of course...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    Just looking at the map screen on almost any Garmin will show you a breadcrumb trail of where you've been.

    Even if there's no mapping, most will have a breadcrumb trail of some sort.
    Unless you're using a brand new Stages L10 of course...
    This. I use a Garmin 1030 with Trailforks maps. There will be a green line on the map showing where you've been. You could simply consult that line on the return trip each time you hit a trail fork. Of course, the same could be done using the Trailforks app on your phone as well, but then you're digging out your phone at each trail intersection. The problem is when you don't see the intersections as you blow past them.
    . . . . . . . .

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    That's cool. I'll look for that feature on the 830. I haven't dug into that function since I've owned it.
    Probably won't use it, but who knows! Knowing it is there may be helpful in the future.
    I think every Garmin since time immemorial has had that feature. I wouldn't be surprised if even the crappy Edge 20/25 models had it.

    I can honestly say I've never used it. But it's there.

  8. #8
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    Yep. I use my breadcrumb trail to follow the way back if the need arises. I've never use the back to start feature using Garmins since 2010. Sometimes I'll plan a route and have the Garmin navigate it (not always useful when mtbing), but often I'll just have it show on the screen and follow it on my own.
    What, me worry?

  9. #9
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    I've had the 830 for a few months, but used a Garmin watch since 2010. That's my experience, the watch pointed in the direction of the 'start'.

    Back to start was as good as it got on a 2010 GPS watch with only data screens.

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