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Garmin Edge Explore

Old 06-02-20, 12:11 PM
  #1  
maximum01
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Garmin Edge Explore

I received one of these units for my birthday. So far I'm really enjoying it, so much so I'm considering using it on longer tours. What I really like:

- Large responsive touch screen. Very clear and works well in the rain after testing during some recent wet rides.
- Very functional turn by turn navigation. By and large it avoids busy roads and put you on cycle paths and canal tracks if you set it up right.
- All the stats I could ever need.
- On the fly route generation. Give it a distance and it will calculate looped rides for you. This feature has been amazing and taken me to parts of my home town I never knew existed.
- Robust and light weight. I toyed with Quadlock mounting of my phone for navigation but quickly realised how futile this is for long rides. Battery life, dust, rain and the potential to destroy the phone's image stabiliser weighed too heavily on me during rides. This unit removes all this anxiety and my phone is now tucked away in my jacket pocket.

Negatives:

- Syncing with Connect IQ has been a bit flakey for me with my particular phone - thankfully this is only an issue when I need to download a new app or widget, which isn't very often.
- Battery life is only average....and this leads me to my final point.

Has anyone successfully attached a power bank to this unit and tested it in the rain? The micro USB port has a plastic rain shield and is underneath so I'm wondering how risky linking the unit to a battery pack would be in rain. I'd love to know if anyone has successfully pulled this off. If so I can see this unit being a fantastic touring partner - allowing me to leave the maps at home.

Last edited by maximum01; 06-02-20 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 06-02-20, 01:02 PM
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I dont have an answer to it being used in the rain, but I dunno if it would be a good idea to 100% rely on electronic mapping.
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Old 06-02-20, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Piff View Post
I dont have an answer to it being used in the rain, but I dunno if it would be a good idea to 100% rely on electronic mapping.
I suspect the OP is not riding gravel roads in western Montana or some equally remote area. They mention roads, cycle and canal paths. I’d suspect the UK. They can likely get away with not having a map and compass but if on a tour, I’d carry as backup.

Last edited by Steve B.; 06-02-20 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 06-02-20, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by maximum01 View Post
I received one of these units for my birthday. So far I'm really enjoying it, so much so I'm considering using it on longer tours. What I really like:

- Large responsive touch screen. Very clear and works well in the rain after testing during some recent wet rides.
- Very functional turn by turn navigation. By and large it avoids busy roads and put you on cycle paths and canal tracks if you set it up right.
- All the stats I could ever need.
- On the fly route generation. Give it a distance and it will calculate looped rides for you. This feature has been amazing and taken me to parts of my home town I never knew existed.
- Robust and light weight. I toyed with Quadlock mounting of my phone for navigation but quickly realised how futile this is for long rides. Battery life, dust, rain and the potential to destroy the phone's image stabiliser weighed too heavily on me during rides. This unit removes all this anxiety and my phone is now tucked away in my jacket pocket.

Negatives:

- Syncing with Connect IQ has been a bit flakey for me with my particular phone - thankfully this is only an issue when I need to download a new app or widget, which isn't very often.
- Battery life is only average....and this leads me to my final point.

Has anyone successfully attached a power bank to this unit and tested it in the rain? The micro USB port has a plastic rain shield and is underneath so I'm wondering how risky linking the unit to a battery pack would be in rain. I'd love to know if anyone has successfully pulled this off. If so I can see this unit being a fantastic touring partner - allowing me to leave the maps at home.
My 1000 and 1030 devices can run off USB battery sticks, so yes, this is an option for when you are needing more than 12 hrs. If it were pouring rain I’d cover everything with a baggie or some such.

I don’t think the Explore connects via WiFi directly, some units do. The manual actually has a note in the index for “WiFi” on page 1, but then there’s no mention of how to connect, typical Garmin. Page 8 in the manual has cryptic instructions that states you can do direct downloads from the iQ store to the device via a computer and USB cable.

Last edited by Steve B.; 06-02-20 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by maximum01 View Post
I received one of these units for my birthday. So far I'm really enjoying it, so much so I'm considering using it on longer tours. What I really like:

- Very functional turn by turn navigation. By and large it avoids busy roads and put you on cycle paths and canal tracks if you set it up right.
Have you tried turn-by-turn navigation with pre-programmed routes? My old Garmin e-Trex was problematic with that. I have a newer e-Trex but haven't tried pre-programmed routes.

- On the fly route generation. Give it a distance and it will calculate looped rides for you. This feature has been amazing and taken me to parts of my home town I never knew existed.
OK, but for tours I'm not sure if I'd trust a bike GPS to pick the best route. I use Google Maps to create routes before the tour & print little cue sheets. OTOH a GPS can be handy to find location when lost & also as a backup to the phone.
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Old 06-03-20, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Have you tried turn-by-turn navigation with pre-programmed routes? My old Garmin e-Trex was problematic with that. I have a newer e-Trex but haven't tried pre-programmed routes.



OK, but for tours I'm not sure if I'd trust a bike GPS to pick the best route. I use Google Maps to create routes before the tour & print little cue sheets. OTOH a GPS can be handy to find location when lost & also as a backup to the phone.
It's actually pretty amazing how well it works. On our Swedish tour I felt the Edge Explore found the best possible routes imaginable. Really nice rides on quiet roads. It does require some common sense but often when I decided we'd go against the explore's recommendation it ended up being a mistake. Either we'd end up in a dead end or the route would be impassable. It would also direct us to questionable route choices but in the end it was far more often reliable than not. At least it's far more reliable than I am with paper and topo taps.
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Old 06-04-20, 01:44 AM
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Also, you can plan routes in Garmin connect, Strava, Google and other mapping tools on your phone or laptop and send them to the unit via Bluetooth. I would also have my phone with me as backup.
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Old 06-04-20, 11:27 PM
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Perhaps turn-by-turn navigation on pre-programmed routes has been improved over previous models but I wouldn't count on it since previously Garmin had many years to work on that issue & did nothing. Some Explore reviewers complain about kludgy UI & PC software.

Garmin's website doesn't even list the Explore memory capacity but I read it's 15GB which isn't ideal esp when the Explore doesn't accept memory cards & putting in 10X the internal memory would only cost $10 extra. Explore internal battery basically good for one day & then one needs to recharge it with power bank/dyno hub/electrical hookup. AA batteries would be much more convenient.

I don't want to hate on bike GPS's but touring is an after-thought at best for the manufacturers. Garmin's instructions are traditionally terrible, optimizing the devices can require absurd amounts of research & practice.
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Old 06-05-20, 08:40 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Perhaps turn-by-turn navigation on pre-programmed routes has been improved over previous models but I wouldn't count on it since previously Garmin had many years to work on that issue & did nothing. Some Explore reviewers complain about kludgy UI & PC software.

Garmin's website doesn't even list the Explore memory capacity but I read it's 15GB which isn't ideal esp when the Explore doesn't accept memory cards & putting in 10X the internal memory would only cost $10 extra. Explore internal battery basically good for one day & then one needs to recharge it with power bank/dyno hub/electrical hookup. AA batteries would be much more convenient.

I don't want to hate on bike GPS's but touring is an after-thought at best for the manufacturers. Garmin's instructions are traditionally terrible, optimizing the devices can require absurd amounts of research & practice.
I uses TBT navigation on an 1030 all the time,. I plan on RWGPS. It works very well and the only issue I've ever seen is when a route takes you on the same road twice in different directions, then the device takes a minute to figure out in which direction it's travelling before it can catch up. My friend on an Explore has zero issues as well. The Explore Touring was a model that people had many issues with, seemingly resolved with the Explore,, which is a different unit.

My Edge 1030 has 16 gig internal memory. I have the OSM maps as provided by Garmin for the entire US, as well as a set of Garmin Topo maps for the NE US in the device. Currently that's a bit over 8 gig as the device states internal memory used is 55%. I have never used or needed the SD card.
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Old 06-05-20, 03:57 PM
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This is my experience - it just works! Not encountered any major issues so far. As for maps, my unit by default shipped with the whole of Europe installed. That takes up about 6GB and the Explore has 16GB internal storage, just like the 1030. Adding new countries is easy if you follow DC Rainmaker's guide here: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2019/08/...rmin-edge.html

For big countries like the US you're talking another 5GB and much less for smaller European countries - so easily achievable with internal memory. I see no requirement for using an SD card based on this, and you can also clear and reload maps you're not using.
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Old 06-05-20, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I uses TBT navigation on an 1030 all the time,. I plan on RWGPS. It works very well and the only issue I've ever seen is when a route takes you on the same road twice in different directions, then the device takes a minute to figure out in which direction it's travelling before it can catch up. My friend on an Explore has zero issues as well. The Explore Touring was a model that people had many issues with, seemingly resolved with the Explore,, which is a different unit.

My Edge 1030 has 16 gig internal memory. I have the OSM maps as provided by Garmin for the entire US, as well as a set of Garmin Topo maps for the NE US in the device. Currently that's a bit over 8 gig as the device states internal memory used is 55%. I have never used or needed the SD card.
That's good to hear. Now I kinda regret getting the eTrex 30 1 or 2 years ago, apparently around the same time the Explore was introduced. I've barely used the eTrex but in most ways the Explore sounds better. I like eTrex AA batteries but OTOH on tours many folks would carry a power bank anyway for the phone so why not just tote a bigger power bank to charge the GPS as well? Another thing about battery life: on tours it's likely there will be stretches with easy navigation where the GPS isn't needed so one can turn it off...whereas with the fitness/competition models I suppose riders would want to have the GPS on throughout the ride.
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Old 06-06-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Another thing about battery life: on tours it's likely there will be stretches with easy navigation where the GPS isn't needed so one can turn it off...whereas with the fitness/competition models I suppose riders would want to have the GPS on throughout the ride.
Mostly correct in that you don't always need to navigate if the roads and turns are far and few. That saves some battery time but you might be using the device as your basic cycling computer and want to know distance and time data, so will have it running and installed. Thus you need to be able to charge it.
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Old 06-06-20, 10:56 PM
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I did some research on the etrex 30s and my conclusion was the removable AA batteries were not really going to be an advantage in a touring world where I'd be charging my mobile phone, headphones and usb lights anyway.

An inexpensive 10k mAh powerbamk is definitely the way to go. You could charge the Explore 10 times on one of these before needing to hit a wall socket.

You can also use the Explore as a normal GPS for hiking I suspect. Not sure if the maps lack specific details compared to the etrex. The default European maps seem very detailed and based onthe OpenStreetMap overlays.
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Old 06-09-20, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by maximum01 View Post
I did some research on the etrex 30s and my conclusion was the removable AA batteries were not really going to be an advantage in a touring world where I'd be charging my mobile phone, headphones and usb lights anyway.

An inexpensive 10k mAh powerbamk is definitely the way to go. You could charge the Explore 10 times on one of these before needing to hit a wall socket.

You can also use the Explore as a normal GPS for hiking I suspect. Not sure if the maps lack specific details compared to the etrex. The default European maps seem very detailed and based onthe OpenStreetMap overlays.
Yup...I checked just now & realize that I had posted about the Edge Explore but it was new & basically no one on the forum had tried it. Oh well.
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