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  1. #1
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    GPS computers with TrailForks integration

    Hi,

    I moved to new place and i'm discovering new trails. Sometimes i use GPX files from past rides (not mine), sometimes i use Trailforks. i do that with a phone. I thought it'd be much nicer/easier if i can have GPS computer in front of me all the time, with all those informations (gpx track i want to follow and TF tracks/segments visible on a map).

    I saw there is some integration between TF and Garmin Edge 520 plus - you can install TF app on device and it'll show you all tracks from your list (wishlist? or can you upload all tracks (not routes) nearby?).

    also i saw new Garmin Edge 530 has "Trailforks maps are baked into the Edge 530". Does it mean i can't update TF maps? (new trails are created/modified/closed everyday) what's the point of having old and not up-to-date trails in your device ? and what's the point of having trails from all around the world, when probably 99% of them you won't ever ride ....

    Can i update TrailForks trails on weekly basis ? (or as a routine before my ride - new trails emerge all the time, some trails are close/open - status changes)


    Does someone use TrailForks with some GPS computers here and can shed some light on that ?

    any other devices supporting TF ?


    Why in almost every 'review', people focus on 'obvious' functionality (or just 'roadies' functionality), omitting new interesting stuff (lazy reviewers? lazy roadies...)
    Last edited by razorjack; 04-26-2019 at 05:52 AM.

  2. #2
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    Good questions, suscribibg so i can see the responses. Garmin 530 looks really good considering pulling the trigger soon as it is readily available through LBS or other distributor I trust.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorjack View Post
    also i saw new Garmin Edge 530 has "Trailforks maps are baked into the Edge 530". Does it mean i can't update TF maps? (new trails are created/modified/closed everyday) what's the point of having old and not up-to-date trails in your device ? and what's the point of having trails from all around the world, when probably 99% of them you won't ever ride ....

    Can i update TrailForks trails on weekly basis ? (or as a routine before my ride - new trails emerge all the time, some trails are close/open - status changes)
    As this is a new thing for Garmin, and I haven't seen any word one way or another, this is going to have to be a "wait and see" item. It's certainly a good question about being able to update these because stuff changes. And people upload illegal trails to Trailforks often enough (I've flagged a few in my area), how do we know that the ones included on the device are actually legal? I also agree about your "whole world's worth of trails" comment. I don't need all that.

    Now, chances are, that the included trailforks maps work the same damn way they do on every other device. You can download trails in basemap format from TF directly, ready to install onto your Garmin. Any Garmin with mapping capability. I can put them on my Edge 520 if I want. Or my old Oregon 450t. Now it would be best if the interface for updating the TF maps was easy. However it may require some knowledge and fiddling, much the way it requires some knowledge and fiddling to put maps on the Edge 520 in the first place.

    But even that would be better than not being able to do anything at all, the way many devices from a number of manufacturers function. And IMO, is one reason why some of them have disappeared from the market. Like I said. Wait and see.

    Why are all the reviewers roadies? I wish I could answer that conclusively. It's kinda funny, because the first riders using GPS computers were mt bikers carrying etrexes around. Shoot, I once tried riding with a Garmin GPS IV. In all seriousness, I think it has to do with the fact that it's hard to sell all these extra features to mt bikers. Mountain bikers mostly just want a fairly simple device that records, shows a map, shows elevation, and not a whole lot else (for me, a wheel sensor is essential, and a HRM is useful sometimes, but I don't use any other sensors on the mtb). Some want Strava segments or Live Tracking, but based on what I read, it's not most mt bikers...I think roadies like those things more. So I think roadies buy more of these things than mt bikers do. A lot of mt bikers seem perfectly content to run their favorite phone app and stick it in a pocket. There was a short period where people were all about putting their phone on their handlebars, but thankfully I think most of them got some sense and started putting the phone away.

    Me? I don't really care about integrating other services into my Garmin. I've had no problem putting map data onto mine for the 16yrs I've been riding with a GPS computer. www.gpsfiledepot.com has all that I ask for in that regard. I just want my Garmin to be simple to use, with physical buttons, a basic map, some sensors, and record where I've been reasonably accurately. The Edge 520 does reasonably well at those things, and while the 530 does include a few improvements to some features I use (more map memory, better battery life, GPS + Galileo satellite mode), they're not earth shattering improvements that will convince me to sell my 520 and buy the 530. If you were buying now, I'd certainly buy the 530 over the 520 Plus no question. But if I found a refurb regular 520 for a good price, I might still buy that instead.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorjack View Post
    Why in almost every 'review', people focus on 'obvious' functionality (or just 'roadies' functionality), omitting new interesting stuff (lazy reviewers? lazy roadies...)
    If you're into GPS units I doubt I'm telling you anything new, but the only reviews I bother with are DCRainmaker's.

  5. #5
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    ^^^ Totally agree. DCR reviews are at least an order of magnitude better than anything else out there. But, even his reviews don't tell you all you'll want to know, especially since these devices are getting more and more features. DCR can't begin to review and test these in all the possible circumstances. As I mentioned elsewhere, Garmin Edge units always have lots of bugs. Whether they bother you or how much they affect you depends on how you use the device. Unfortunately, you don't find out about them until you've had the chance to use the device for a while.

    And I gotta say, having mapping Edge units since getting a 705 back in 2010, I basically never use the routing features or use the device to figure out where to ride. I use it to navigate rides I researched and planned on my computer, and use the little map on it to try to figure out where I am if I'm a bit lost, but the small size, low resolution, slow screen refreshes when panning and zooming make stopping to whip out the phone usually a much better option.
    What, me worry?

  6. #6
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    Yeah, Garmin seems to conduct paid betas, but to give them credit they release a ton of updates. Still, the first year of a new device can be annoying.

  7. #7
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    I use Strava live segments because I race but train solo.
    Live tracking is no use here off-road as there's no cell coverage.
    Live tracking on the road, much more cell coverage.

    I mainly use TrailForks to report trail conditions/damage.

  8. #8
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    I'm in the same boat as the OP I moved from out west to central PA. I am using a combination of paper maps and trail forks on my phone to find my way around. I use an Edge 500 with a Mio link hart rate monitor. I really like seeing my hart rate and using it like a tach on your car. I just wish Garmin would do a mountain bike edge with buttons the screen size like the 1030 but with just the basic functions and really good trail navigation. I have to think there is a really good market for that with how mountain biking and adventure bikes have kind of taken over in the last few years. I have been considering a stand alone GPS unit but its going to be the same problem I have with my phone. Its just something more to put in my pockets. I don't like having a bunch of stuff on my bars.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    And I gotta say, having mapping Edge units since getting a 705 back in 2010, I basically never use the routing features or use the device to figure out where to ride. I use it to navigate rides I researched and planned on my computer, and use the little map on it to try to figure out where I am if I'm a bit lost, but the small size, low resolution, slow screen refreshes when panning and zooming make stopping to whip out the phone usually a much better option.
    I have played with the nav functions of my Garmins and I find them infinitely more useful for road riding. Especially events where they post the route, but course markings will be minimal at best. Following a course "works" off-road, but not optimally. Pretty much the only navigation I use on my device is to look at the map to get an idea if I'm close to the next intersection (or the trailhead), or to see if the painful climb I'm on ends soon. Simple stuff. Screen is too small on small devices for that. And though larger devices are better for navigation, I don't like them on my bars.

    Cell reception is so spotty here that I often don't even bother with trailforks or mtbproject for navigating. Sure, the apps "work" and will show the trails. But without cell reception, you don't get to see the basemap, which might give you a better idea of the terrain. People around here have been adding the gravel roads and even some paved roads to both sites BECAUSE of this problem with the apps and nonexistent basemaps without cell reception.

    I mostly use old school paper maps anymore and my phone mostly just gets camera duty. Though in bright sun, it's kinda impossible to set up photos or videos, even, because the screen gets totally washed out.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    I have been considering a stand alone GPS unit but its going to be the same problem I have with my phone. Its just something more to put in my pockets. I don't like having a bunch of stuff on my bars.
    Stuffing a GPS in your pocket kinda defeats the functionality. Seriously. It reduces the positional accuracy. GPS signals are weak and your body will interfere with them if the device is in a pocket or backpack.

    This is why I prefer small devices, because the big ones are too big to put on my bars.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    And though larger devices are better for navigation, I don't like them on my bars.
    Harold, I've seen you comment on this before and am curious as to what stem length, which Garmin and mounting system ?. Reason I ask is I use a Garmin 1000, the stem is 80mm, so longer than a lot of the really short 35-50mm stems I am aware of and I have no issues using an out-front mount turned around so the device is over the stem and top cap. My knees never hit this and the device seems like it's in a good position. I'm thinking the shorter the stem, the harder to get a mount that doesn't get hit by your knees as you've commented on. And yet I see a lot of YouTube's of mt. bikers using short stem bikes and GPS devices off all types, it's actually about the most common bike computer I see.

    Thus I'm wondering if the GPS mounts and companies that manufacturer are as yet inventing mounts that could do a better job than what seems to be out there for use on really short stems. Only thought I had was wondering if this stem, the type that installs on the 2 top bolts of the stem clamp, would work turned around ?

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    Harold makes a good point about how GPS navigation is very road centric. It's really only been a few years since the TrailForks type apps and database has been available and it's still very much a work in progress.

    Biggest issue I see is lack of full data about EVERY available trail you might want to follow. The Wahoo, Garmin and other devices currently use some form of the Google road database to navigate on roads. Thus the device knows which road to follow in the course/route and knows there are other roads that are not part of the course, thus can determine when you are off the course and can (in theory) help get you back on course or at least show you on the screen map, where you are. As everybody is aware, the ability to re-route is really marginal, even on road systems as the device just isn't currently smart enough to make intelligent choices as to where to send you. Some of the tracking apps and cloud based systems are starting to use what Strava calls Heat Map (Garmin has it's own version) that can look at other users uploaded rides and generate good suggestions based on what other routes have been used by cyclists. Needs cell service though.

    This is harder on a trail system, if only as 1) The database of trails is far from complete. Currently it's only a bunch or tracks as recorded and uploaded, thus there a lot of stuff missing. This issue rears its ugly head when you do a on-line route/course to follow, get it to the device, but find that while navigating there's a lot of "other" trails that exist but are not in the map database. 2) With marginal cell service in area's it's hard for a device to then recommend an alternative route if you get off-course as that's driven by the Heat map and isn't data residing in the device.

    Thus in my experience, trying to follow trails from a pre-loaded navigable route, is really hit and miss, currently, though I know it's going to get better as more trail systems get logged and uploaded.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    Harold, I've seen you comment on this before and am curious as to what stem length, which Garmin and mounting system ?. Reason I ask is I use a Garmin 1000, the stem is 80mm, so longer than a lot of the really short 35-50mm stems I am aware of and I have no issues using an out-front mount turned around so the device is over the stem and top cap. My knees never hit this and the device seems like it's in a good position. I'm thinking the shorter the stem, the harder to get a mount that doesn't get hit by your knees as you've commented on. And yet I see a lot of YouTube's of mt. bikers using short stem bikes and GPS devices off all types, it's actually about the most common bike computer I see.

    Thus I'm wondering if the GPS mounts and companies that manufacturer are as yet inventing mounts that could do a better job than what seems to be out there for use on really short stems. Only thought I had was wondering if this stem, the type that installs on the 2 top bolts of the stem clamp, would work turned around ?

    https://www.amazon.com/Corki-Out-Fro...-2-spons&psc=1
    I've got 3 bikes with varying length stems. My commuter has the longest stem, at 90mm, IIRC, and I use an out-front mount on that bike. In that case, I wouldn't care as much about device size. On my Bucksaw, I'm using a 60mm stem, IIRC. I use a mount similar to the k-edge steerer spacer mounts with a hinge, that places the computer right over the center of the stem. Good placement for that bike. On my Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead, that location doesn't work so well. I'm using a 40mm stem on it. I also wouldn't want the computer directly over the top of the top cap (k-edge makes a mount for that) because the computer would overhang too far back. And with the 520's physical buttons, I'd tap the damn buttons with my knee all the time. On that bike, I use the basic bar mount, and I attach the computer just to the right of the stem clamp. It works so far. I have an out front mount that's meant to be flipped backwards (SRAM Quickview) and it resides on one of my wife's bikes with about a 60mm stem, I think.

    Part of my device preferences on my mtb are simply due to an aesthetic to not have huge stuff on my bars. Part of that is related to not wanting big stuff overhanging the bars and hitting things. Me. Branches and vines while I'm riding. The ground in a wreck. I've had devices of all sizes over the years I've been riding, and the Edge 520 is about right for what I prefer. I don't think it really matters what features a manufacturer crams into a bigger device, I'm just not going to buy it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    Harold makes a good point about how GPS navigation is very road centric. It's really only been a few years since the TrailForks type apps and database has been available and it's still very much a work in progress.

    Biggest issue I see is lack of full data about EVERY available trail you might want to follow. The Wahoo, Garmin and other devices currently use some form of the Google road database to navigate on roads. Thus the device knows which road to follow in the course/route and knows there are other roads that are not part of the course, thus can determine when you are off the course and can (in theory) help get you back on course or at least show you on the screen map, where you are. As everybody is aware, the ability to re-route is really marginal, even on road systems as the device just isn't currently smart enough to make intelligent choices as to where to send you. Some of the tracking apps and cloud based systems are starting to use what Strava calls Heat Map (Garmin has it's own version) that can look at other users uploaded rides and generate good suggestions based on what other routes have been used by cyclists. Needs cell service though.

    This is harder on a trail system, if only as 1) The database of trails is far from complete. Currently it's only a bunch or tracks as recorded and uploaded, thus there a lot of stuff missing. This issue rears its ugly head when you do a on-line route/course to follow, get it to the device, but find that while navigating there's a lot of "other" trails that exist but are not in the map database. 2) With marginal cell service in area's it's hard for a device to then recommend an alternative route if you get off-course as that's driven by the Heat map and isn't data residing in the device.

    Thus in my experience, trying to follow trails from a pre-loaded navigable route, is really hit and miss, currently, though I know it's going to get better as more trail systems get logged and uploaded.
    There are other challenges with trails that make this a problem. In my area right now, there are some pretty outstanding map resources. Reliability is pretty high in that regard. It's a popular area, and most of the trails are pretty old, so folks have had a lot of years to map them out.

    GPS accuracy is a problem, though. For example, I can plot out a route to ride on any bit of singletrack out here and load it into my Garmin to follow. Due to a combination of the inaccuracy of the data I based my route on, and the inaccuracy of my own device, I'll get almost constant "off course" warnings when I'm in the middle of the correct trail. Sometimes this might be due to small adjustments to the trail alignment that never made it into the online data. But it's irritating AF and limits the utility of this kind of navigation method for mtb trails. Roads are generally straighter and in more open sky, so they're mapped more accurately to begin with (plus, they tend to be mapped out with GPS gear that costs tens of thousands of dollars), and the straighter, more open conditions tend to give your own GPS a better environment to operate. Hence FAR less fuss on the "off course" warnings.

    Road alignments also change far less frequently than trail alignments. So update frequency becomes a bit of an issue. With crowdsourcing, you HOPE this happens, and sometimes it does, but not always. With crowdsourced data from trailforks and mtbproject, accuracy becomes a problem again, though. For one, both sites make it exceedingly easy for people with terrible hardware to map trails for the sake of inclusion and getting SOMETHING mapped. Then there's the data massaging that goes on behind the scenes that basically reduces the accuracy for the sake of improved storage and less server load.

    That oversimplification can really screw up the ride stats, too. It often reduces the stated distances of the trails, and moreso for trails with lots of sharp turns (like switchbacks). Since the data tends to cut the switchbacks a bit, it also may show the trail to be steeper than it actually is. This is going to mess up routing algorithms that take distance and climbing totals into account.

    Onboard processing capability is another limitation for onboard routing (and rerouting) and is something Garmin somewhat discusses in the marketing for the Edge 530. The old "traveling salesman" problem. Exceedingly difficult for a computer to figure out. Oddly easier for the human brain. And frankly, I don't trust most devices to do this. I've had computer algorithms utterly fail to route me in a manner that made ANY sense whatsoever such that I actually double check the routing when I use it for driving. Where I live, I commonly look at the suggested route, say "f*ck that, I'm going this way" and then ignore all of the "recalculating" BS while my phone catches up. Not a snowball's chance in hell I'm going to trust a (smaller, less powerful) bike computer to actually build a route for me.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    Harold, I've seen you comment on this before and am curious as to what stem length, which Garmin and mounting system ?. Reason I ask is I use a Garmin 1000, the stem is 80mm, so longer than a lot of the really short 35-50mm stems I am aware of and I have no issues using an out-front mount turned around so the device is over the stem and top cap. My knees never hit this and the device seems like it's in a good position. I'm thinking the shorter the stem, the harder to get a mount that doesn't get hit by your knees as you've commented on. And yet I see a lot of YouTube's of mt. bikers using short stem bikes and GPS devices off all types, it's actually about the most common bike computer I see.

    Thus I'm wondering if the GPS mounts and companies that manufacturer are as yet inventing mounts that could do a better job than what seems to be out there for use on really short stems. Only thought I had was wondering if this stem, the type that installs on the 2 top bolts of the stem clamp, would work turned around ?
    The Bar Fly SLI-D is an out-front mount turned around.
    I've got an older one that's Garmin only and a convertible one.
    Mounts everything from an Edge 25 to an 810.
    My knees brush the stem clamp bolts occasionally when standing so I don't want anything back that far or that low.

    GPS computers with TrailForks integration-barfly-3-mtb1.jpg

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    With the Garmin on top of the stem or bars, I sometimes hit it with my chest. In front of the bars it was prone to getting hit, so I turned around a Barfly to mount it behind the bars. I can tap it with my knee on rare occasion, but it's loose enough on the bars to be able to rotate. I don't think this particular mount is available anymore. On top of the top tube behind the steerer would probably be good, though more out of the line of sight.

    GPS computers with TrailForks integration-20181229_120426.jpg
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  17. #17
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    Take a look at the Garmin Explore. Missing some features of the 530 but as a navigation gps it does great with a nice big screen. You can download the Trailforks app into the unit. Works great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vin829 View Post
    Take a look at the Garmin Explore. Missing some features of the 530 but as a navigation gps it does great with a nice big screen. You can download the Trailforks app into the unit. Works great.
    I have thought about that unit. How good is it with the trail forks app downloaded? Can you actually navigate a trail system? I don't want to have to plain out rides before had. Just ride around a complex trail system and be able to look at the screen and see where I am going or how to find my way back to the parking lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    I don't want to have to plain out rides before had.
    And this is where I think GPS computers and smartphones can be problematic.

    It is very poor outdoors-craft to go somewhere without some level of planning. You should at least have a general route in mind, and if your rides often include exploration, that should be part of the plan, too. Part of this should also include noting shortcuts or spots to dump out onto a road in the event of an emergency or a mechanical.

    An urban trail with a single loop shouldn't require much effort. But the more remote the location, and the more complex the trail system, and the more unfamiliar the place, the more planning you should invest in beforehand. As you learn the trail network, a lot of your planning will occur behind the scenes, or in your mind, without consulting lots of maps. But don't be confused - you're still planning your ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    And this is where I think GPS computers and smartphones can be problematic.

    It is very poor outdoors-craft to go somewhere without some level of planning. You should at least have a general route in mind, and if your rides often include exploration, that should be part of the plan, too. Part of this should also include noting shortcuts or spots to dump out onto a road in the event of an emergency or a mechanical.

    An urban trail with a single loop shouldn't require much effort. But the more remote the location, and the more complex the trail system, and the more unfamiliar the place, the more planning you should invest in beforehand. As you learn the trail network, a lot of your planning will occur behind the scenes, or in your mind, without consulting lots of maps. But don't be confused - you're still planning your ride.
    Don't get me wrong I have paper maps for the places I am going and I bring them with me. But I don't want to have make a route on the computer and then download it on to the garmin. I generally have an idea in my head what trails I want to hit. But what I am looking for from a computer is to just have the map running on the screen and to quickly look at it when I get to an interaction and see what way I want to go. If I were to really get lost I just get the paper map out. Having it on my bars would be way faster then getting my phone out of my pack with the trail forks app running all the time. Also my phone is getting kind of old and I don't have much signal in the places I ride. So i like to keep it on airplane mode to us the downloaded maps and GPS but keep it from killing its self looking for signal.
    I guess being able to just use some of the routs from Trail Forks would be cool. But from what I have experienced here in central PA is that the bigger rides have some really crappy hard to follow trails in them. I like to bypass some of the crappy ones and use a nearby dirt road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    Don't get me wrong I have paper maps for the places I am going and I bring them with me. But I don't want to have make a route on the computer and then download it on to the garmin. I generally have an idea in my head what trails I want to hit. But what I am looking for from a computer is to just have the map running on the screen and to quickly look at it when I get to an interaction and see what way I want to go. If I were to really get lost I just get the paper map out. Having it on my bars would be way faster then getting my phone out of my pack with the trail forks app running all the time. Also my phone is getting kind of old and I don't have much signal in the places I ride. So i like to keep it on airplane mode to us the downloaded maps and GPS but keep it from killing its self looking for signal.
    I guess being able to just use some of the routs from Trail Forks would be cool. But from what I have experienced here in central PA is that the bigger rides have some really crappy hard to follow trails in them. I like to bypass some of the crappy ones and use a nearby dirt road.
    I'm not talking about only using paper maps. Planning can take lots of forms. Maybe you program the route into your Garmin (though I don't find that as useful as I wish it was). But maybe you just have your route in your head the whole time.

    That's how I usually wind up riding. My planning involves deciding what route to take, and then, probably more importantly, committing it to memory. For a trail system I'm pretty familiar with, this process will often take place in my head while I'm driving. The less familiar I am with where I'm riding, the more I'm likely going to need to consult my backup maps (paper or digital) to ensure I'm making the correct turns. And frankly, trying to do this on a Garmin screen just sucks. I can never get quite the view I want.

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    ^^^ yeah. Places I know I know. Those I don't, I research on-line on my computer. Where is it, how do I get there, where is parking, what's mtb legal or not, hours or days of use, seasonal closures (usually state, county or municipal websites) what are the trails like (various mtb related sites including TrailForks) etc... When I go somewhere I have a good lay-of-the land already and have a route or area to explore in mind. I might lay out a route and download it to my Garmin, but not to have it navigate but rather to have it display on the map so I can orient myself if need be.

    One way I search for new areas to ride is simply look at OSM maps in the area I'm interested in. I'll see obvious networks of trails and from there then can further research them on line. Strava heat maps are also useful in finding popular trails.
    What, me worry?

  23. #23
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    I just got an Edge Explore and I am going to try adding a basemap to it. From my looking around you can add a maps to the edge units that have maps. With something like the explore you will have to select the maps you want to us before the ride because it doesn't have ride profiles like the 1000. I'm still trying to figure out how to do this with trail forks maps. But if it works I can have full mapping on both my road bike and the mountain bike.

    Here is a video of a 1030 showing how to change the basemap. https://www.pinkbike.com/video/488405/

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    I just got an Edge Explore and I am going to try adding a basemap to it. From my looking around you can add a maps to the edge units that have maps. With something like the explore you will have to select the maps you want to us before the ride because it doesn't have ride profiles like the 1000. I'm still trying to figure out how to do this with trail forks maps. But if it works I can have full mapping on both my road bike and the mountain bike.
    I don't understand what ride profiles have to do with maps. Other than the fact that by using different ride profiles, you can choose to display the maps stored on the device in a data screen or not.

    I put maps on my Edge 520 this way, and have some profiles that show them, and others that do not.

    Yes, you do have to ensure the maps are loaded onto the device before you ride. Garmins have always operated this way, because the maps are stored ON the device. It doesn't pull them from the cloud or anything like that.

    Assuming you ride in an area small enough for the amount of maps the device can fit in its memory, it's a one time job. The plain ol Edge 520 I use has limited memory, so I can fit pretty small regions on it. So every time I ride somewhere new, I load maps for that area, and I save them on my computer, so I can more quickly access those maps if I return. So later I just swap mapsets on my device.

    The maps I use from gpsfiledepot.com are arranged in "tiles" which are just blocks of the map of some geographic extent. They are roughly divided up so that they occupy a similar amount of memory on the device. This allows for faster loading, as the device doesn't have to load the entire global map all at once. The more data dense an area, the smaller the geographic area the tiles occupy. A map that includes trails only (like the MyTrails layer I use) has fairly large tiles. Maps that include a lot more (like the topo layers I use) are going to have smaller tiles in mountainous areas (lots of contour lines) and cities (lots of roads) than in rural, flatter areas (fewer of both). I don't think Garmin has changed this, but the amount of map data you are permitted to load depends on the number of tiles, if the device has lots of memory. The plain 520 has less memory, so that's what ends up being the limiting factor. But on my Oregon 450, which has much more, the number of map tiles is the limiting factor, not memory.

    Garmin relaxes the "map tiles" limit in certain cases, such as with built-in maps (I have the Oregon 450t, so have topos for the whole USA, and only need to load trail maps) or with Garmin BirdsEye imagery.

    Getting the maps onto the device should be pretty simple with Basecamp or Mapsource. Download the map, ensure it's loaded into the map software (gpsfiledepot maps come in self-installing executable files, I think TF maps have to be placed manually in the correct folder), connect the device to the computer and open the program, select the map tiles, send to the device. If your device has built-in maps, you may or may not want to disable them. On the plain Edge 520 I use, I had to actually remove the pre-loaded overly-general basemap in order to fit my own maps. On my Oregon, I continue to display the built-in maps along with any trail maps I load.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I don't understand what ride profiles have to do with maps. Other than the fact that by using different ride profiles, you can choose to display the maps stored on the device in a data screen or not.

    I put maps on my Edge 520 this way, and have some profiles that show them, and others that do not.

    Yes, you do have to ensure the maps are loaded onto the device before you ride. Garmins have always operated this way, because the maps are stored ON the device. It doesn't pull them from the cloud or anything like that.

    Assuming you ride in an area small enough for the amount of maps the device can fit in its memory, it's a one time job. The plain ol Edge 520 I use has limited memory, so I can fit pretty small regions on it. So every time I ride somewhere new, I load maps for that area, and I save them on my computer, so I can more quickly access those maps if I return. So later I just swap mapsets on my device.

    The maps I use from gpsfiledepot.com are arranged in "tiles" which are just blocks of the map of some geographic extent. They are roughly divided up so that they occupy a similar amount of memory on the device. This allows for faster loading, as the device doesn't have to load the entire global map all at once. The more data dense an area, the smaller the geographic area the tiles occupy. A map that includes trails only (like the MyTrails layer I use) has fairly large tiles. Maps that include a lot more (like the topo layers I use) are going to have smaller tiles in mountainous areas (lots of contour lines) and cities (lots of roads) than in rural, flatter areas (fewer of both). I don't think Garmin has changed this, but the amount of map data you are permitted to load depends on the number of tiles, if the device has lots of memory. The plain 520 has less memory, so that's what ends up being the limiting factor. But on my Oregon 450, which has much more, the number of map tiles is the limiting factor, not memory.

    Garmin relaxes the "map tiles" limit in certain cases, such as with built-in maps (I have the Oregon 450t, so have topos for the whole USA, and only need to load trail maps) or with Garmin BirdsEye imagery.

    Getting the maps onto the device should be pretty simple with Basecamp or Mapsource. Download the map, ensure it's loaded into the map software (gpsfiledepot maps come in self-installing executable files, I think TF maps have to be placed manually in the correct folder), connect the device to the computer and open the program, select the map tiles, send to the device. If your device has built-in maps, you may or may not want to disable them. On the plain Edge 520 I use, I had to actually remove the pre-loaded overly-general basemap in order to fit my own maps. On my Oregon, I continue to display the built-in maps along with any trail maps I load.

    It looks like the 1030 in the video you can set it up with a profile for each bike and have the TF maps just on the mountain bike profile. From another thread I was looking at you can download the TF trail only maps and overlay them on the garmin maps. Thats what I want to try and do. I looked on the website you listed and I can't really see any thing of value for the trail systems in my area. Trail forks has every trail system in my area on it. So is seams the easiest ting for me to do is download the TF map and overlay it in the native basemap. I just have to figure out how to best do that and not cause bunch of problems.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    It looks like the 1030 in the video you can set it up with a profile for each bike and have the TF maps just on the mountain bike profile. From another thread I was looking at you can download the TF trail only maps and overlay them on the garmin maps. Thats what I want to try and do. I looked on the website you listed and I can't really see any thing of value for the trail systems in my area. Trail forks has every trail system in my area on it. So is seams the easiest ting for me to do is download the TF map and overlay it in the native basemap. I just have to figure out how to best do that and not cause bunch of problems.
    The maps aren't only present for a given ride profile. They are always present, but you can always choose what to display on the maps.

    I think you can just dump the trailforks map into the relevant folder on the gps. TF has the instructions. But that only works for certain cases. It will overlay on something that's already on the gps, like any built-in maps. But if you want additional or different basemaps, you need to use Basecamp or Mapsource.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    ...But if you want additional or different basemaps, you need to use Basecamp or Mapsource.
    I use OSM maps on my Garmin Edge units. (820, 520...) I find they have just about all trails, mtb and otherwise on them. The maps themselves have no trail info, just their depiction. Many are routable, if that's what you want to do. These maps are also available to layout courses on in RWGPS, Strava, and other similar sites.



    Download instructions here: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/05/...705800810.html
    What, me worry?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    As this is a new thing for Garmin, and I haven't seen any word one way or another, this is going to have to be a "wait and see" item. It's certainly a good question about being able to update these because stuff changes. And people upload illegal trails to Trailforks often enough (I've flagged a few in my area), how do we know that the ones included on the device are actually legal? I also agree about your "whole world's worth of trails" comment. I don't need all that.
    i don't really care if trail is legal or not (only if explicitly it says don't ride etc...), a lot of trails (majority?) are 'illegal' / unsanctioned or with 'unknown status'.
    usefulness of Trailforks is that you have up to date reports about closures or issues with trails.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Now, chances are, that the included trailforks maps work the same damn way they do on every other device. You can download trails in basemap format from TF directly, ready to install onto your Garmin. Any Garmin with mapping capability. I can put them on my Edge 520 if I want. Or my old Oregon 450t. Now it would be best if the interface for updating the TF maps was easy. However it may require some knowledge and fiddling, much the way it requires some knowledge and fiddling to put maps on the Edge 520 in the first place.

    But even that would be better than not being able to do anything at all, the way many devices from a number of manufacturers function. And IMO, is one reason why some of them have disappeared from the market. Like I said. Wait and see.
    i don't know how it works with existing devices and basemaps as i've never used it. They didn't have useful features for me, phone with Strava, Trailforks and Locus (for a proper navigation/exploring) was way much better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Why are all the reviewers roadies? (...)
    That was a bit rhetorical question
    I understand that it's much easier to sell all these fancy features (cadence, power, climbs, steepness, effort etc.) to roadies.

    MTB riders don't need all these funny statistics to enjoy the ride

    I'd personally be happy if i can put my phone in a backpack and use just gps computer - (i can still provide internet from my phone by BT tethering), to see trailheads and trails (with reports about trail - status), so i can decide if i want to climb to this track or maybe to another one.
    i'd like also to see GPX route on my map (yes, i know this is possible for a long time, but that was not enough to invest in Garmin) of a someone's else ride (that i've obtained from somewhere (strava,wikiloc etc.)). i don't need real navigation, i just want to see that route on a map, i can follow it, or i can take alternative trails, but later i can decide if i want to join it again or not.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorjack View Post
    i don't really care if trail is legal or not (only if explicitly it says don't ride etc...), a lot of trails (majority?) are 'illegal' / unsanctioned or with 'unknown status'.
    Definitely not the majority. Everywhere I've lived, it's been quite clear. Depending on the land manager, the trails are "open unless specifically closed" or "closed unless specifically marked as open". The most common is "closed unless specifically marked as open" when it comes to bikes. So if there's no sign labeling the trail as legal to bikes, then it is not legal to ride there. That includes trails that exist, but have no sign. If the land manager doesn't put a sign on it with permitted uses, then it's not legal.

    Places where they use a "open unless specifically closed" policy create more potential conflict over unsanctioned trails. That requires you, the user, to know if the trail itself is sanctioned by the land manager. Especially if the land manager is lax about posting signs or providing maps. Ignorance does not absolve you here. But it really depends on the land manager how this gets handled. Land managers might take a more lenient policy on such things. Or they might be strict. Without a clear status, that can change quickly.

    This is for the US legal framework, fwiw. So, here, it absolutely is relevant if a trail map labels permitted uses correctly (or incorrectly or not). It's even more important to know if the maps Garmin pulls from Trailforks includes trails that are explicitly illegal. One of the trails I flagged on Trailforks was VERY explicit that bikes were not permitted. It was on the sign. So it absolutely is a significant issue if Garmin is pulling data from Trailforks that includes explicitly illegal trails. Because they DO get listed. And it's important to know if you can download updates so you can resolve those issues.

  30. #30
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    probably a lot of trails on TF around me are illegal (unsanctioned or unknown) but i don't care and other people riding there don't care as well, and it's not for discussion in this topic
    if i ride in trail centre, yes, they are legal, but very often i ride some natural trails (build by locals in the woods and i guess more than 50% are illegal)

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorjack View Post
    probably most of 'my' trails are illegal (unsanctioned or unknown) but i don't care and other people riding there don't care as well, and it's not for discussion in this topic
    if i ride in trail centre, yes, they are legal, but very often i ride some natural trails (build by locals in the woods and i guess more than 50% are illegal)
    illegal trails should never be included on maps for public dissemination. that point absolutely does become relevant in this discussion.

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    maybe yes, maybe not, it's a user build database ....

    some not too known trails are not published (hidden), so it won't get crowded there or/and trails build by locals are not overrun and destroyed by massive influx of other riders.

    but as i said, it's not for this topic (it's up to TF to fight with it or not)
    I was talking about statuses (which are valid for official trails as well - reports about fallen trees, logging activities etc.) - something that can change everyday
    Last edited by razorjack; 05-03-2019 at 01:18 AM.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorjack View Post
    maybe yes, maybe not, it's a user build database ....

    some not too known trails are not published (hidden), so it won't not get crowded there or/and trails build by locals are not overrun and destroyed by massive influx of other riders.

    but as i said, it's not for this topic (it's up to TF to fight with it or not)
    I was talking about statuses (which are valid for official trails as well - reports about fallen trees, logging activities etc.) - something that can change everyday
    Doesn't matter if it's crowdsourced data or not. It's going to create problems for someone, somewhere, if their Garmin device tells them they can ride an illegal trail. The onus has been on individual mapmakers to get their maps correct and users have had the responsibility to verify for recency and correctness. Now, the responsibility is spread out to even more parties. It's up to submitters to provide correct and accurate information (some of whom do not). There's even more responsibility placed on the end user to verify data, and as we see here and elsewhere, that doesn't always happen, and it's becoming increasingly common for people to put too much trust in technology and they become complacent. So now data clearinghouses like Trailforks and MTBProject and others have a responsibility to police their listings. Which is logistically impossible for them to do ALL the legwork, so they spread the onus out. MTBProject forces more onto the submitters, at least at first. And once you become "trusted" the oversight drops substantially. Trailforks puts the onus onto the map users to submit reports on illegal trails before the reviewers really bother with anything. But that process is not exactly transparent. It takes some legwork to figure it out. Illegal trails will slip through both systems, though MTBProject makes a bit more effort to police it before anything gets listed.

    But now, you've got device companies like Garmin and Wahoo and probably others who are going to be serving as direct distribution platforms for this data. How much responsibility do they bear for poor quality data? Garmin has been including trail maps for quite some time. Some of these maps have actually included allowable uses, and certain trails would not be displayed if a certain activity profile was chosen. At least at that point, they were making an effort.

    You really don't get to dictate how discussions morph and migrate on the internet. This IS a relevant issue with crowdsourced maps and with with update frequency of those maps that are included with the device. Probably what will happen will be that individual trail users will still be legally responsible if they ride trails they shouldn't, even if their Garmin which includes Trailforks maps tells them they can. I'd be curious if anyone could manage a successful civil suit against someone who uploads an illegal trail onto such a service.

    And no, you're not going to get trail conditions or status reports on your Garmin. If you did, they'd tell you that. The Trailforks maps "baked in" to the Edge 530 are likely to be the exact same trail maps that Trailforks essentially sells right now (and you can already put onto your Garmin). Are you going to have to fork over more money to TF to get an update, and manually load it onto your device? If that's the case, then the "baked in" maps are of absolutely zero value because you can do that already. Or will Garmin supply an interface to owners of devices that include these maps, that allows them to update the maps at a specific interval (or just do so automatically on a set interval)? I have a feeling that doing so will be entirely up to the user, and you'll have to send money to Trailforks to get the updated map.

    Where I ride, on-device conditions and status reports wouldn't be relevant, anyway. Don't get phone reception on most of the trails (except maybe on the mountaintops), and conditions frequently change by the minute so it's kinda impossible to do condition checks at any point other than before you leave the house. And even at that point, you can't assume that because there are no reports that the trails are clear. There's probably still something. Maybe a lot of something. My last ride the other day, there were at least 11 trees down, some of which required some effort to get past.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorjack View Post
    ... and i guess more than 50% are illegal
    It would be better you knew rather than just guessed, IMO.
    What, me worry?

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    so it looks like the best option is still just a phone with TF app and Locus (various offline maps) - for exploring.

  36. #36
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    After reading whole topic - still didn't get it: baked trail-base in 530 - is it updating somehow or what?
    OK

  37. #37
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    there are some updates, but many months back, i still can't see tracks from TF, which were added or updated in July

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    Does Garmin say anything about it?
    OK

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    Old thread but I can confirm that, at least on the 830, the trailforks maps are loaded automatically and Forksense works as advertised.

    GPS computers with TrailForks integration-unnamed-3-.jpg

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    I bought a Garmin 530 and have already returned it. The selling feature was the preloaded Trailforks, the problem was it needed to be connected to a phone for Trailforks to work. There is a 530 MTB bundle for even more money, and only after struggling with the 530, I found out the addition price wasn't just the remote, it was the ability to use the GPS without phone connection. What a PITA! If I'm planning an out-of-country excursion, I cannot use TF without investing in a data plan AND be in cel service for the 530 to work!!

    With the 520, when the TF data is loaded, does it require a phone connection a data to work? There is NFW I'm paying $500 cdn to have a GPS with the ability to function as a GPS, and I don't need a remote for a head unit 3" away, and am not interested in metrics. What are the alternatives.

    Side note. . . .has anyone at garmin ever owned a smartphone?? I have a 10 year old Garmin, and they clearly haven't advanced in user interface one bit! So clunky!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fodermonk View Post
    I bought a Garmin 530 and have already returned it. The selling feature was the preloaded Trailforks, the problem was it needed to be connected to a phone for Trailforks to work.
    This sounds like operator error.

    "– Added Trailforks maps to unit: Added global Trailforks data/maps to baked-in data on unit (no downloads required)
    – Added ForkSight: Automatically shows mountain bike trail options when you pause at fork in trail"

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2019/04/...th-review.html

    That description matches exactly how my 830 works. No phone connection required.

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    Well that's frustrating. I could only get into the Connect iQ when the phone was connected, otherwise I could not, and therefore no Trailforks. I read somewhere about unlocking the maps, but I never could find within the app the option to do so. Each time I tried the unit with my phone in airplane mode, Connect Iq wouldn't open the TF maps.

    The TF maps are there (vs the 520 plus), the ability to use them without a connection is not, from what I could gather. The 530 MTB Bundle unit "TrailForks™ integration lets you access and navigate through the immense TrailForks trail database without needing a cellular connection."

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fodermonk View Post
    Each time I tried the unit with my phone in airplane mode, Connect Iq wouldn't open the TF maps.

    ."[/FONT][/COLOR]
    I don't use a Garmin 'computer' but rather a Fenix 5+. Connect IQ app on my phone requires a bluetooth connection to talk to my watch, I'd assume it's the same with any Garmin device, no? How else would they talk?. Airplane mode turns off BT.

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding. If you are simply trying to look at TF via Connect IQ (on your phone) with no cell service/AP mode, then have you downloaded the TF region for offline use? Sorry I'm not familiar with the Garmin computers but this scenario makes no sense to me. If you're on your phone you would simpy use TF app instead.

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    The whole point was to not have to stop and pull my phone out and figure out where I wish to go at junctions. Airplane mode doesn't turn off bluetooth or wifi. I use both of those functions for my headset while my phone is in airplane mode every day that I work. Airplanes use wifi for entertainment, and I stream music to my headset while in AP mode.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fodermonk View Post
    The whole point was to not have to stop and pull my phone out and figure out where I wish to go at junctions. Airplane mode doesn't turn off bluetooth or wifi. I use both of those functions for my headset while my phone is in airplane mode every day that I work. Airplanes use wifi for entertainment, and I stream music to my headset while in AP mode.
    AP mode turns ALL radio devices off on your phone.
    Then if you turn BT and WiFi back on, the airplane mode symbol stays, but you're not really in AP mode anymore. Some phones remember your last settings.

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    Mine doesn't turn off the settings, and it really is in AP mode. If either it or my company iPad aren't in AP mode, I can hear the device searching for a signal through my BT aviation headset. Both devices, one tap and its off, but BT and wifi stay on. Your device may vary I suppose.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    I don't use a Garmin 'computer' but rather a Fenix 5+. Connect IQ app on my phone requires a bluetooth connection to talk to my watch, I'd assume it's the same with any Garmin device, no? How else would they talk?.
    That's a really bad assumption.

    The 530 and 830 don't require a connection to a phone to use Trailforks. The maps are built in.

    No cell service required, no phone required, the TF maps are native to the devices.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by render ranger View Post
    That's a really bad assumption.

    The 530 and 830 don't require a connection to a phone to use Trailforks. The maps are built in.

    No cell service required, no phone required, the TF maps are native to the devices.
    Well he said he could not use TF maps on the Garmin with his phone in AP mode. What was I to think? Maybe you can explain the correlation.

  49. #49
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    Airplane mode on an iPhone when activated initially shuts down cell service, WiFi and BT. You can reactivate individual parts. If you have a device that has the TraiForks app and have downloaded a route, the device can run stand-alone and does not need BT or WiFi to navigate.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    Well he said he could not use TF maps on the Garmin with his phone in AP mode. What was I to think? Maybe you can explain the correlation.
    It sounds like user error.

    It seems that he believes that he needs to have the Connect IQ TF app installed on his 830. He doesn't. The maps are native. The phone connection has no effect on TF.

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