Garmin GPS ?-
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Thread: Garmin GPS ?

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Garmin GPS ?

    Is Garmin GPS watch useful?
    Does anyone use this GPS watch for biking & hiking?

  2. #2
    Rent this space for $
    Reputation: Oh My Sack!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    I'll play.

    Useful? For ease of use, yes. I have one of the more economical units, the Vivoactive. I paid around $100 bucks for it as opposed to the several hundred for the fancier units with a bit more capability and capacity. I wear it 24/7.

    I use it always when hiking or out doing my trail building activities because it's attached to me and requires nothing but a couple button pushes. I run a Garmin 520 between all my bikes religiously but on the rare occasion I forget to make the switch, the Vivoactive has been there to do the job of recording. The only telemetry it doesn't handle is the Cadence or Speed sensor but I do have my Heart Rate monitor connected.

    My biggest complaint with this unit is that when running a hiking or riding app, it doesn't allow you to cycle through the menus to get the time. I don't believe the OEM apps I am using that were preloaded have the ability to add data elements like that but thinking about it right now, I'm not certain I have fully explored that aspect. I played with the inner workings a whole bunch at first but sort of quit giving it that attention once it all became second nature after a couple weeks of use.

    One thing about using GPS features on this unit is it really sucks the battery. A full charge for me will go weeks when just using it as a watch. You have to plan for GPS use as it will drain a full battery in about 4 hours. Not sure if the high dollar units are any better. FWIW, after a year's use, I still haven't conjured up a reason to buy a fancier version.

  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    GPS watches are incompatible with Picard.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Oct 2018
    I use a 405cx Garmin watch.
    I've had it as a runner since 2010 I think? 2011 maybe?

    I didn't used it for riding early one just because I didn't want to risk damage.

    I've been using it now for a few years on the bike though. It works well. I think it is a little inaccurate on the bike as I get different distances when biking the same trails I have run.
    I rode 25 miles last week, it was only 1 mile off compared to my bike computer (Cateye wired unit) and Strava. I say only a mile because there are times it is off near a mile on shorter rides.

    While wearing on the wrist, it takes a few hits now and again from tree branches, weeds, whatever. If you choose to wear a watch and ride tighter trail conditions you should expect to have it get wacked from time to time.

    I'm considering a GPS cycling computer but not sure I want to spend the money since I have other measuring devices at the moment.

    In general, I do enjoy tracking activity. It helps me track mileage on components and hours for maintenance such as suspension. And it was great to build my Google Earth trail network.

  5. #5
    Sneaker man
    Reputation: mik_git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Picard View Post
    Is Garmin GPS watch useful?
    Does anyone use this GPS watch for biking & hiking?

    It depends, if you are going to use it for stuff other than riding, then yes, if you arn't then a dedicated bike computer is better.
    I started with a FR610, whcih did the job, but i was mostly road biking then which it worked fine for, except for actually looking at while riding.
    Then I got a FR620, similar to the 610, except it was worse for biking (garmins fault intentionally, not the watches)
    Now I have a FR645 and same drawbacks as the 610 (small and on wrist so not easy to see while at speed on the roadie, and not advisable on the mtb) but otherwise works really well.

    So if you just want to track data, not look at it, a watch is fine, which really on the mtb is all you need as if you're looking at it, your crashing. I still prefer my edge 1000, on the road its brilliant and on mtb it's perfectly good, but I only really look at it when climbing to see whats what.
    All the gear and no idea.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator SuperModerator
    Reputation: AVL-MTB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Garmin Forerunner 35 here. GPS is very reliable.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Jun 2013
    I use the Vivoactive 3. Good enough for biking, running, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc. I don't how know accurate the gps tracking is or the HR monitor but it's good enough for me.

  8. #8
    Jacob 34:19
    Reputation: JAKEtheDOG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    I use a Garmin FR235 paired with a HR strap and speed sensor and it's been fine for MTB. In ride I might glance at time or distance but other than that, it's primarily data tracking. You can create your own data fields on the FR235 so I have a 2 field screen setup to show just want I want to see. I also have an Edge 500 which is great but I haven't found the GPS to be any more accurate and the USB sync is a drag compared the BT on the FR235. And since I'm generally wearing the 235 24/7 anyway, I usually just use the watch.

    Starting to venture into gravel so I might invest in a new computer with routes and wireless sync but for now I'm really liking just using the watch.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    I have been using the Fenix 5X plus for about a year. Like it and it has done ok. The HR is not always accurate, and often takes about a mile or so to begin showing your HR. Also the distance will typically show a bit off when you are on covered singletrack (through woods), seems to be pretty close when out in the open.

    I just got an Edge setup and tomorrow will be the first time I can get that out. Hoping that it is an improvement over the Fenix. But Iím just doing it for fun and to compete with myself anyhow.

  10. #10
    Reputation: MCHB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    I picked up a garmin instinct a couple weeks ago for tracking my heart rate on my ride to work and for tracking distance when riding in familiar areas. Everywhere else I use an etrex 30x on the stem of my bike.

    It's a cool piece of tech!

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