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Thread: Longer gravel races?

  1. #31
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    Default Longer gravel races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    When my Oregon dies, no way will I buy a bike specific GPS ever again. It makes no sense. Much better is to buy an older smart phone, ruggedized or not, and use it as a dedicated bike GPS without ever getting it a SIM card. Or even better, pull that older Galaxy S5, iPhone 5, etc... out of a desk drawer and use it.

    That is my plan. Will primarily use Ride with GPS as I love the various base maps you can choose and cache on your phone while at home or in a coffee shop on wireless. I will use something like JB Weld to improve the mount because I will not care if the phone ends up looking a little ugly.

    Modern smart phones are fully ANT and can connect to just about any sensor via ANT or Bluetooth without all the restrictions Garmin, Magellan and others love to engineer in to drive up the prices. Plus when you stop for coffee, you can connect to their wireless and upload your ride, and download stuff, Skype someone, use a data based text app, modify your Tinder profile .....

    And then you can buy the external battery packs for $ 15 to keep your phone running effectively for ever. Unlike Garmins that like to switch off if you try that.
    I tried using my smartphone for a while and generally it was fine for commuting, but for longer rides, especially at either end of the temperature spectrum, it sucked. The screen was hard to see in sunlight unless at max brightness, and that kills battery life and generates lots of heat. On hot days in bright sunlight it would overheat. On the coldest days the battery would effectively freeze, resulting in shutdowns, something that my Garmin Edge seems to handle a lot better.

    Look, I have a lot of beef with Garmin (and other cycling companies) regarding their insane pricing and tech that often feels insultingly ancient and undercooked. But the reflective displays, sensor connectivity, extreme weather tolerance, comprehensive training features, battery life (especially with a USB pack) do make dedicated cycling computers the best available choices for a lot of us.

    Just don't get a Garmin Edge 820. That thing is for chumps.
    Last edited by Birru; 01-18-2018 at 09:43 AM.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birru View Post
    I tried using my smartphone for a while and generally it was fine for commuting, but for longer rides, especially at either end of the temperature spectrum, it sucked. The screen was hard to see in sunlight unless at max brightness, and that kills battery life and generates lots of heat. On hot days in bright sunlight it would overheat. On the coldest days the battery would effectively freeze, resulting in shutdowns, something that my Garmin Edge seems to handle a lot better.

    Look, I have a lot of beef with Garmin (and other cycling companies) regarding their insane pricing and tech that often feels insultingly ancient and undercooked. But the reflective displays, sensor connectivity, extreme weather tolerance, comprehensive training features, battery life (especially with a USB pack) does make dedicated cycling computers the best available chose for a lot of us.

    Just don't get a Garmin Edge 820. That thing is for chumps.
    Screen is a really good point; I hadn't thought of that. I can never read my phone when I take it out of my pocket on rides unless I pull over in a shady spot. That would make it useless for navigation.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    (1) Waterproof / rugged. As you note there are some smartphones that claim this, but they're not the cheap ones.
    (2) Much better GPS. Antennas designed to track location make a difference. GLONASS support, etc.
    (3) ANT+ support. The list of mfrs with ANT+ phones is limited to Samsung and Sony and a few select models from others, as far as I can tell. Perhaps if buying a phone dedicated to just being a bike computer, I'd consider one of those options.
    (4) Size. I have a Garmin 1000, which I think is too big. I can't imagine having a full-size phone cramping my style.
    (5) Battery life. This probably varies, but even though I complain about my Garmin 1000, I like being able to navigate for ~8-10 hours without needing external battery. That's 99% of the riding I do and I'm gonna get that external battery for that other 1%.
    #2 is very true, smart phones are very sloppy in calculating location via GPS. Of course, there are some small blue tooth GPS antennas out there that are wonderfully accurate. You could even mount it to your helmet for better sight lines. But adding more things at more cost seems like a bad idea.

    #1, #3 and #5 I really think the Samsung S5 Active is the way to go. It is waterproof and rugged and very ANT friendly. With it on airplane mode and location turned back on, the battery life can be very long. And since the S6 has such a bad rep compared to the S5 and S7, they can be pretty cheap. It may not have a memory card slot, hmmm, that is lame.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birru View Post
    Just don't get a Garmin Edge 820. That thing is for chumps.
    I am curious to know why you say that. I am contemplating getting an 820 to replace my 520 since it has much better storage capacity for maps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post
    I am curious to know why you say that. I am contemplating getting an 820 to replace my 520 since it has much better storage capacity for maps.
    Sorry to derail a bit hozn, but I have a feeling you appreciate all this gear talk.

    Here are the sources of my Edge 820 F-bombs:

    • 820 has completely soft-locked when following courses, sometimes multiple times during the same ride requiring soft resets each time (might finally be fixed with latest FW???)
    • Navigating while in power-save mode freezes the screen, rendering it useless until rebooted (unit still beeps and responds to inputs)
    • Touch screen is fairly lousy and inaccurate, very unreliable even with various capacitive gloves.
    • Even after firmware updates, rain still sometimes affects the touchscreen. Almost caused a ride to get deleted!
    • Address/POI routing on the device takes literal minutes. Like automotive devices from 15 years ago.
    • POI lookups take so long I give up and just find the street addresses on my iPhone.
    • Routing functionality loves to send you on the busiest roads.


    If you're looking for and plan to use the 820 like a 520 with more storage and don't plan to use onboard routing you may be OK. That's a pretty specific use case, and also the use case I've sort of been forced into since I don't bother with the features that cost me an extra $150 any more. I personally think touch screens (especially one this bad on a screen this small) are a design mistake for cycling computers. Give me reliable buttons that I can use with gloves. There have been several firmware updates to improve the 820 since it was released so undercooked (as is The Garmin Way™) so if you buy one now you won't have to go through some of the relationship pain I've experienced. A discounted 1000 and the 1030 for six-hundred-damn-dollars might be better choices. Then again the 1030 is pretty new and is probably undercooked. So get one in 2019.
    Last edited by Birru; 01-18-2018 at 09:36 AM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birru View Post
    Sorry to derail a bit hozn, but I have a feeling you appreciate all this gear talk.
    I love this gear talk!

    I have had no-so-great experiences with my Garmin 1000 too. Not enough to throw it in the Potomac next time I pass that way ... But there have been times when it's lucky I wasn't next to the river.

    - Occasionally records rides where speed (GPS-based) is registered fine, but distance stays at "0". If I don't delete that ride, I'll end up with a distance of 25,000 miles or so; the file is corrupted.
    - Sometimes it just refuses to find satellites. Had to factory reset last time that happened.
    - Sometimes the turn navigation just never gives actual turn directions, even though the route is all loaded & calculated. Sometimes a hard reset fixes this. Sometimes it doesn't.
    - It used to consistently require a hard reset when unplugging from external power or the next ride recorded would be garbage. This makes me a little wary of using a battery pack at all . This didn't happen last time I unplugged it, though I'm skeptical that this is fixed [3 years later ...].
    - The touchscreen is pretty crappy.
    - The touchscreen is useless in the rain.
    - The weather integration is pretty worthless. I'm not sure they could have done that more poorly if they tried. They need more granular stations and a service that actually produces accurate forecasts.

    Things I like about it:
    - Easy to read display.
    - The maps are great.
    - Turn navigation works well. Except for every now and then when it doesn't give turn directions at all (see above).
    - Expandable storage. Easy to add OSM maps.
    - The routing works pretty well, though in my case it tends to go out of its way to put me on bike paths. At least in Europe where I was using OSM cycling maps.
    - The BT phone integration so I know if I need to stop to answer the phone or respond to a text.
    - A couple years after release the auto-upload finally became reliable.
    - Super durable. I've thrown mine on the ground numerous times. Usually by accident, not out of anger.
    - The GarminIQ apps seem to be nice. Though I hate that you can't open an app if you have a ride in-progress. I really have to stop my ride if I want to load my RideWithGPS route .... !?

    The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt or Hammerhead Karoo (pending more reviews) will be my next device, I'm pretty sure. Garmin has had plenty of opportunity to do this right and IMO they have just rested on their laurels. I'm just glad the Garmin 1000 was a gift. To be fair, my Garmin 510 was a lot worse in most every way (and didn't have maps).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post

    The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt or Hammerhead Karoo (pending more reviews) will be my next device, I'm pretty sure. Garmin has had plenty of opportunity to do this right and IMO they have just rested on their laurels. I'm just glad the Garmin 1000 was a gift. To be fair, my Garmin 510 was a lot worse in most every way (and didn't have maps).
    Reviving a somewhat dormant thread, but this seemed the place to mention this: my e-mail with tracking information just reminded me that I preordered the Hammerhead Karoo (which I promptly forgot about when I bought my Wahoo Elemnt this summer)...so when it arrives that'll at least be one non-expert side-by-side experience to share.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    Reviving a somewhat dormant thread, but this seemed the place to mention this: my e-mail with tracking information just reminded me that I preordered the Hammerhead Karoo (which I promptly forgot about when I bought my Wahoo Elemnt this summer)...so when it arrives that'll at least be one non-expert side-by-side experience to share.
    Nice -- look forward to hearing about it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Nice -- look forward to hearing about it!
    I think I'll have a much more interesting take in a few months after more of the software updates are delivered. For now, here's the 30 second version: it's big, it's got a pretty screen, the mapping is neat but still a work in progress, and a lot of features still are on the way (e.g., it'll be at least a few weeks before it can record altitude data during a ride)...so much of the value in the current "discounted" price (compared to the MSRP) is in the promised potential.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    I think I'll have a much more interesting take in a few months after more of the software updates are delivered. For now, here's the 30 second version: it's big, it's got a pretty screen, the mapping is neat but still a work in progress, and a lot of features still are on the way (e.g., it'll be at least a few weeks before it can record altitude data during a ride)...so much of the value in the current "discounted" price (compared to the MSRP) is in the promised potential.
    Yeah, it does seem like they have a lot of potential with the Android base.

    The lack of speaker for auditory alerts feels like a big deal for navigation, but maybe in practice it wouldn't really matter.

    If they could get battery life to a real 15-20 hours and the operation in rain really is as good as they say, that would be very compelling.

    Do you plan to put a SIM in it?

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