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GPS for long distance touring?

Old 03-04-18, 03:03 AM
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finallydownhill
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GPS for long distance touring?

I am trying to find a good, robust GPS for long distance touring but do not know which one to choose. I have looked at Garmin Edge® Explore 1000 and Garmin GPSMAP® 64st. What would you choose and why?
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Old 03-04-18, 06:19 AM
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I think the edge is way too small to be usable. I have the GPSMap 76 but I don't think it is available anymore. It is barely big enough to be usable. What I like is its changeable batteries. But I don't think it is available ant more.

Have you considered a tablet PC? I have been using that lately to augment my GPS. The only thing I wish is that someone would add bike paths to the map. Google has it but you need to be connected online.
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Old 03-04-18, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I think the edge is way too small to be usable. I have the GPSMap 76 but I don't think it is available anymore. It is barely big enough to be usable.
The screen on the 1000 is bigger than that on the 76.
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Old 03-04-18, 08:03 AM
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The Garmin Connect routing maps have bike paths, if you are using the web to create, but with WiFi or cell data you can do that from a phone or tablet

The Garmin 1000 pretty much does what you need, only downside is the battery is 10 hrs in navigation mode. You then need either a recharge stick or brick, or solar. The unit can run while being charged. the 1000 used to sell for $500 and is down below $300 currently.

Wahoo Elemnt as well, very reliable, maybe 12 hrs battery while navigating, some philosophical differences in design such as buttons to control vs. touch screen on 1000, B&W but very readable screen (except in turn-by-turn) on Wahoo, va. color on Garmin.

Not cheap units but they do a bunch of things well, are waterproof, easy to read in sunlight, etc....

I knew a guy that used his iPhone to get across the country, he used a solar panel to keep charged. Seemed to work for him.

Last edited by Steve B.; 03-04-18 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 03-04-18, 08:57 AM
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I've been using a Garmin edge 800 for years. Yeah the screen is small but I'm used to it. I just need to zoom in when trying to navigate in a city, but out in the countryside where there are fewer streets it's no problem. I bought my first one used and when it finally died I just bought another one instead of upgrading to the 1000.

I thought the newest Edge that came out (1100?) was supposed to have incredible battery life. A friend has the 1000 and he loves it. Big screen, short battery life though.

Edit: But yeah, any issue with just using your phone? Assuming you'll bring one with you anyway, waterproof handlebar mounts aren't expensive, and there are plenty of apps for routing and ride tracking.

Last edited by DanBell; 03-04-18 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 03-04-18, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
I've been using a Garmin edge 800 for years. Yeah the screen is small but I'm used to it. I just need to zoom in when trying to navigate in a city, but out in the countryside where there are fewer streets it's no problem. I bought my first one used and when it finally died I just bought another one instead of upgrading to the 1000.

I thought the newest Edge that came out (1100?) was supposed to have incredible battery life. A friend has the 1000 and he loves it. Big screen, short battery life though.

Edit: But yeah, any issue with just using your phone? Assuming you'll bring one with you anyway, waterproof handlebar mounts aren't expensive, and there are plenty of apps for routing and ride tracking.
The 1030 was just released....battery life is better, but it uses a bizarro proprietary battery socket....so you cannot use cheap USB sticks to charge on-the-go...and have to buy a $150 proprietary battery

Problem with phone. Lots of road where there's no service on any carrier or MVNO, not even 3G....sometimes not even 1x. See it every year on Tour de Nebraska. Which is a ding against Wahoo computers, as if you need to reroute you need a data connection--which in the sticks may not exist.

My Edge1000 does the trick...but needs a USB battery to have the legs for any ride longer than 6-7 hours. After that it is flat and dead.
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Old 03-04-18, 09:55 AM
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I've been using my iPhone, and its a slacker. I'm considering using the ACA app on the iPad mini. No matter what I do, I'll probably need a SON hub before its all said and done.
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Old 03-04-18, 10:28 AM
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Used widely at Sea.. Marine GPS is Garmin's big market..

In land I use paper maps, but young folks like technology , instead.. Never learned map reading .


I have a big box of maps from my tours..





...
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Old 03-04-18, 11:18 AM
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I have a Garmin Edge 1000 ....

connected to that, I have all the sensors(speed, cadence, heart), plus he Garmin Varia Radar unit

it's good for 7 hrs with the internal battery, but connected to a good powerbank, it's good for several days .... I'm well pleased, as I'm training for long Audax rides
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Old 03-04-18, 01:13 PM
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I try to only buy stuff like GPS units that will work with all of my outdoor activities like backpacking. Thus, I do not want a cycling specific GPS. I bought a Garmin 62S and later learned that the newer Garmin 64 could be used to charge AA NiMH batteries (there is a trick to it, you have to fool the GPS into thinking it has the Garmin branded battery pack installed). The reason that the battery charging feature is important to me is that I can charge batteries in it while I ride with my dynohub and USB charger. I bought the Garmin 64 and am quite happy with it. The plain 64 like I have will not work with things like heart rate monitor, etc, the more expensive models have that stuff. I am not sure but I think the cadence sensor will not work with the plain 64.

Teh Garmin 64 seems to have a much better battery life than my 62S. So for backpacking I will likely use the 64 instead of the 62S that I used in the past.

I misplaced the Garmin Nuvi that I used in my truck, I have even used my Garmin 64 for navigating in my truck for the past year.

Kayaking, canoeing, I plan to continue to use antique GPS units with black and white screens that stay on so I do not have to take a hand off the paddle to wake up the screen.
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Old 03-04-18, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I try to only buy stuff like GPS units that will work with all of my outdoor activities like backpacking. Thus, I do not want a cycling specific GPS. I bought a Garmin 62S and later learned that the newer Garmin 64 could be used to charge AA NiMH batteries (there is a trick to it, you have to fool the GPS into thinking it has the Garmin branded battery pack installed). The reason that the battery charging feature is important to me is that I can charge batteries in it while I ride with my dynohub and USB charger. I bought the Garmin 64 and am quite happy with it. The plain 64 like I have will not work with things like heart rate monitor, etc, the more expensive models have that stuff. I am not sure but I think the cadence sensor will not work with the plain 64.

Teh Garmin 64 seems to have a much better battery life than my 62S. So for backpacking I will likely use the 64 instead of the 62S that I used in the past.

I misplaced the Garmin Nuvi that I used in my truck, I have even used my Garmin 64 for navigating in my truck for the past year.

Kayaking, canoeing, I plan to continue to use antique GPS units with black and white screens that stay on so I do not have to take a hand off the paddle to wake up the screen.
Do you get speed and odometer with that Garmin 64?
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Old 03-04-18, 03:27 PM
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Always used a garmin 705, small screen always an issue. I have upgraded to a karoo,, but haven't seen it yet.
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Old 03-04-18, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Do you get speed and odometer with that Garmin 64?
NM. I answered my own question.
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Old 03-04-18, 04:49 PM
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Garmin Edge 1000 here. Works great. Dcrainmaker has extensive reviews.
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Old 03-04-18, 04:59 PM
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I think it depends what you want to do, e.g. look up & follow maps, record stats, etc.

The solution that worked reasonably well for me has been:
-- A tablet (or phone) with offline MAPS.ME installed. I don't follow this "turn by turn" but instead use the wifi when I might be at a hotel and use the offline maps for an occasional consultation.
-- A Garmin Edge 520 in my cockpit to record mileage and a customizable set of indicators, e.g. I like to keep track of time of sunset or climbing as well as general time/distance.

So the "screen is too small" doesn't really affect me since I'm not looking at maps on my Garmin 520 and when I do look at maps, I've got a larger tablet screen. I also don't find a need to look up those maps all the time (sometimes only in the evenings after cycling or sometimes at a lunch stop or tricky navigation point).
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Old 03-04-18, 06:29 PM
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How does the edge touring compare?
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Old 03-04-18, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
I've been using a Garmin edge 800 for years. Yeah the screen is small but I'm used to it. I just need to zoom in when trying to navigate in a city, but out in the countryside where there are fewer streets it's no problem. I bought my first one used and when it finally died I just bought another one instead of upgrading to the 1000.

I thought the newest Edge that came out (1100?) was supposed to have incredible battery life. A friend has the 1000 and he loves it. Big screen, short battery life though.

Edit: But yeah, any issue with just using your phone? Assuming you'll bring one with you anyway, waterproof handlebar mounts aren't expensive, and there are plenty of apps for routing and ride tracking.

The problem with a small screen is you can't effectively plan alternate routes. Yes you can zoom out but you also lose details on minor roads.
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Old 03-04-18, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by etw View Post
How does the edge touring compare?
Both junk from all I’ve read. Many limitations and quirks. You’d be better off with a 520 or 1000. Or a Bolt.
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Old 03-04-18, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
The problem with a small screen is you can't effectively plan alternate routes. Yes you can zoom out but you also lose details on minor roads.
This is rub with units that do mapping, how big ?. A tablet or one of the giant smartphones obviously do a better job displaying maps, but are just too big for a lot of users. My experience was a Bolt and the Edge 810 were on the small side to view maps, while the 1000 and Elemnt are about right and I would not want anything bigger. Plus with a smartphone, if you want water resistant, you need an Otterbox or Lifeproof case, which makes the unit even bulkier.
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Old 03-04-18, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Both junk from all I’ve read. Many limitations and quirks. You’d be better off with a 520 or 1000. Or a Bolt.
The Bolt and the Elemnt both seem pretty cool
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Old 03-04-18, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
The problem with a small screen is you can't effectively plan alternate routes. Yes you can zoom out but you also lose details on minor roads.
Very true. Garmin stuff years back for bike navigation has only marginally advanced. Stuff is a bit better now, but details are still poor comparable to paper maps on a scale important for bike touring.
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Old 03-05-18, 04:50 AM
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As others have mentioned, you do not indicate what is important to you, i.e. display screen size (not that important while touring as I can always stop if needed), accessories like heart rate or cadence, etc. For me, the unit’s capacity of way points, can use standard-sized AA rechargeable batteries, and battery life are the most important. I currently use a 64s.

I have toured for over 40 years. At this point, I create my own routes using waypoints (not track points) and I have over a thousand little connector routes (most under 50 miles) covering North America. ALL my routes are created prior to actually riding. Think of them like a car’s broken windshield, lots of little lines interconnecting. When I want to go on a tour, I download the various routes together along with the corresponding “service points” (waypoints I added that are verified locations of grocery stores, campgrounds, POIs, etc.) averaging about 40 Directional Waypoints and 50 Service Waypoints per route.

Garmin typically limits routes to 50 waypoints or less for turn by turn directions. A unit’s capacity is limited as to how many waypoints, or track points, it can handle. Most units handle 200 routes but the overall capacity of waypoints ranges from, I think, 1,000 to 6,000 depending on the unit. I think most handle 10,000 track points which sound like a lot but it really isn’t for a long tour. Regardless of the external memory capacity, the waypoint/route/trackpoint limit stays the same unfortunately.

Since I tend to tour small highways/back roads with lots of turns, I may bring 40 routes on a tour or up to 4,000 waypoints. I have once run out of waypoint capacity on a unit but it was an older unit. My tours tend to be 6 weeks or less for now but anything longer or if east of the Mississippi (more turns), the capacity would run out pretty soon.

Sooo, if you do custom routes, I would focus on waypoint/track point capacity. If you just want to follow an ACA route, do not get a GPS but use your phone or tablet and download their new route apps for $4.99 each and use your phone to search for grocery stores, etc. when you need them. I “think” the apps can be used off-line and are really nice if you can just follow a line.

For me, the screen size is not a huge deal. I have a Montana also which has a nice touch screen display but it is a battery hog, about 3 rechargeable batteries per day. That is a lot of batteries to keep charged or buy and carry. For me, the 64s uses about 1.5 rechargeable batteries per day on average. My old eTrex 30 (circa 2005??) would go 3-4 days on 2 batteries.

All that said, in reality, if you have an accurate bicycle computer and you just pay attention to it and the maps, you do not need a GPS. Yes, they GPS are convenient but at times they are a pain with battery management, become dependent on it, etc.

Best, John
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Old 03-05-18, 05:02 AM
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I've gone from Garmin to Wahoo Elemnt. The battery lasts longer - I easily get 8 hours of riding on a charge. Much easier to set up and so far it has proven more reliable than most Garmin devices I've owned over the years.

The one downside is that if you get off route, it does not have automatic recalculation - it warns you that you have missed a turn but it is up to you get back on the route. It also doesn't support running 3rd party apps on the device but I wasn't doing any of that with my Garmin anyway.

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Old 03-05-18, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
The 1030 was just released....battery life is better, but it uses a bizarro proprietary battery socket....so you cannot use cheap USB sticks to charge on-the-go...and have to buy a $150 proprietary battery
Hi Marcus,
Where is it suggested you can't charge "on the go" without the propriety battery?
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Old 03-05-18, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
Hi Marcus,
Where is it suggested you can't charge "on the go" without the propriety battery?
They moved the damned USB port.

With the Edge 1000, they obscured the USB port with the right-handed out-front mounts (like Garmin's own or K-Edge). Which is annoying...so to charge while riding you wanted a left-handed out-front mount, like the BarFly4.

With the 1030, the USB port moved to the stem-plate-facing-edge of the computer. Only way you're charging that puppy via USB is if it is on a standard 1/4 turn plate mount (not the loved out-front ones). This being the touring sub, I suppose there are more people with aerobars than the Road sub-who might use a tri-bar 1/4 turn mount....so I suppose there's a higher-percentage of non-out-front-mount users.


OTOH for as ubiquitous as out-the-front-mounting go it is a dumb dumb move.
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