Are you guys happy with the screen size of the Garmin 520 Plus??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are you guys happy with the screen size of the Garmin 520 Plus??

    I've had it messing around with Trailforks on my phone. It's not like I want to specifically stare at a screen all the time during a ride, but it would be nice to refer to a device that shows an accurate location. The Trailforks phone app is useless if you're up in the mountains (where most mountain bike trails are!) and barely get a signal.

    The Garmin 1030 looks awesome but it's expensive... I like the screen size. I'm sure the 520 Plus will do the job but I find the screen is kinda small. Is that something you get used to? Or is the screen size a non-issue?
    Kona Operator CR and Santa Cruz Megatower

  2. #2
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    It all depends like everything else. If you own a Garmin Edge 1000, Garmin will sell you a 1030 for 20% off 600.00 USD. I need a new GPS so it will either be the 1030 or the new 135. Screen size is important. Most useful data for me is speed, cadence, grade and my present gear ratio. After that, sunset and eta back to the Escalade. You can set up the 1000/1030 with just three read outs on a page so those three numbers are pretty big, speed cadence and grade. I usually have all 10 data fields field on each page x 5. Besides, once you use touch screen, buttons feel clunky. The new 125 is tiny in comparison and only has a bread crumb feature as opposed to turn by turn. They are 250.00 USD. The thing is once you spend the money that you soon forget about but you have a great toy for several years to come. I will say that in a crash, the smaller the better has a good chance of surviving. Even if it does not make it, they are much less expensive than the big boys. These units have made me a better rider for sure. Do not like riding without one.

  3. #3
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    It's almost like I'll have to buy a 520 and see how I like it and then decide if I'll keep it. I'm finding Trailforks to be buggy and a pain in the ass to work with online lately.
    Kona Operator CR and Santa Cruz Megatower

  4. #4
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    Personally, I don't use Trailforks on my Garmin that much. I bought the larger 1030 expecting to use it for navigation purposes, but I've found that when on trails it's not too terribly useful compared to a phone. Navigation via Trailforks trail maps is iffy in my area as there are often more trails than what are in the Trailforks database. Beyond that though, I still think it was the right choice for me. I like to keep an eye on my HR, power, cadence, and climbing when riding. The size of the screen is great for having multiple fields up at once and still being able to make them out. The touchscreen works just fine with my gloves too. Ultimately, I bought the 1030 for navigation, and ended up using it as an advanced ride logging cycling computer.

    If the trails in your area are well documented on Trailforks then it might work fine for you. I can tell you that the 1030 is about as small as I'd want to go with a navigation screen, I couldn't even imagine trying to use the 520 for navigation.
    . . . . . . . .

  5. #5
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    I have one. It's fine for data. Not so hot for looking at maps as it's small, you can't pan and changing zoom is buried several menus deep. I mainly use a 820 which has the same size screen but it can pan and zoom, which would be OK if the touch screen wasn't so erratic. If you're having it navigate a course, that can be fine on the road, but I haven't found that to be generally useful on the mtb. You can lay out a ride and have it the course display on the screen while riding.

    The OSM maps on Garmin devices have most all trails, way more than Trailforks, but there's no info as to the character of the trails or suitability for mtbing. Where Trailforks does have info, I'll check out trails and plan a ride using Trailforks at home, and simply refer to the OSM maps on the 820 while riding.
    What, me worry?

  6. #6
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    Through the years you will own the 520, how much time will be spent looking at the map?

    Do you only travel and ride new trails or do you visit trailforks once every 8 months?

  7. #7
    since 4/10/2009
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    I've been perfectly happy with the screen size of the 520. No, it's not great for navigating with maps. I use that function very occasionally, when I know I should be looking for an intersection and want to know when it's close. When having the device direct you on a course, it's more useful, since you rely a little less on the map and more on the notifications (I program courses into RideWithGPS so that turn notifications are loaded into the GPS). Still, that feature is more useful on roads than it is on trails.

    The thing about going new places is that different resources are better in different places. I'm a map nerd/collector, so if quality physical maps are available, those are my preferred navigation. If not, then I browse multiple online databases to figure out what's better. Sometimes it's trailforks. Sometimes it's mtbproject. Sometimes it's something else. So when it comes to navigating new trails, I want to keep myself flexible to use whatever is best. Tying myself (even if just emotionally) to a single method is a recipe for frustration and potentially trouble.

    Frankly, I find touchscreens for a bike computer to be too much of a pain in the ass. I WANT simple buttons.

  8. #8
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    Garmin released a newer unit called the Edge Explore. It's the size of the 1000 but doesn't have all the fitness and sensor capabilities. Designed more for navigation, thus the larger screen size. $250. It got a great write up on DCRainmaker.

    TrailForks is still a work in progress in many ways. Lots of area's that haven't seen trails logged as yet. Even my local park has the primary trails, but there's such a rats maze of add'l unmarked stuff I don't see how you could possibly use TF to navigate, if for no other reason you need to simultaneously be watching the trail, watching the trees for the trail markings and watching the device for turns. If the trail turns are every 1/2 or mile, maybe. Every 100ft ?, not going to be useful.

  9. #9
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    Edge Explore eh? I'll take a look.

    I decided to try something slightly different: Garmin GLO. A small gps box that essentially makes your cell phone a more powerful gps/mapping tool. I have my watch that tracks heart rate and calories, which I use to help track my workouts during the week, so I don't need my phone to track that.
    Last edited by Christopher Robin; 02-10-2019 at 06:21 PM.
    Kona Operator CR and Santa Cruz Megatower

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