Questions from a GPS newbie

MaxwellBygraves Posts: 1,353
edited May 2011 in Road buying advice
Looking to get me a GPS computer, have a few questions that are probably a bit dumb but would be really grateful if you can help.

Main reason I'm buying one is for navigation and when I say navigation I mean proper maps not like a breadcrumb trail. Other than basic computer functions like speed etc, I'm not really bothered about other stuff.

So was looking at the Edge 800 as it seems to be the benchmark really. Specifically, this from Wiggle - ... il-bundle/

1 - I heard the basemaps are terrible. If I buy the bundle above, then am I correct in thinking that with the OS maps included I will have all the mappage needed for road cycling in the UK?

2 - Will I be able to plan a route of say 100 miles on my computer then load it to the device to follow?

3 - Whats the real world battery like?

4 - Basically, if I buy the above bundle, then have I bought everything I need to get going with it? (I'm aware it doesn't include cadence sensor or heart rate strap).

"That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer


  • 1) You heard right. The basemaps are worse than useless. I have the City Navigator maps, which work best for me as I only cycle on the road. The OS maps are great if you do a lot of mountain biking or off road, and like being able to see the topography/etc. I find the city navigator to be visually cleaner.

    2) You will be able to do that- Garmin has software for just this. I've heard that it's a bit clunky but works fine. This is only hearsay, as I haven't used it myself. Also note that you can view and download rides other people have done on Garmin Connect- this is what I use most of the time, and works exceptionally well.

    3) Battery is good for me. I leave the backlight on full so I can see the screen at all times. I went for a 5 hour ride yesterday, and had over 50% battery left. I think other people have complained about the battery life, but I've had the opposite experience- very impressed.

    4) The link you provided has everything to start you off, assuming that you choose to go with the OS maps rather than the City Navigator pack.

    However, I would suggest that you just spend the extra at the start to get the HR strap and speed/cadence sensor. As soon as you upload your rides to your computer, you're going to geek out on all the stats and data, and wish that you had your HR and cadence figures too. They're more expensive to buy separately, so the bundle is a good way to go.

    I think this is the best choice: ... on-bundle/

    Although if you wanted to mitigate the extra cost, you could buy the same thing from Handtec for £25 less: ... ion-bundle

    I bought my speed/cadence sensor from them, and the transaction was great.

    I would also say one thing to bear in mind is that the Edge 800 is not as slick and professional as you may be expecting. I'm used to my iPhone, etc., and expected the Garmin to have the same aesthetic polish (software-wise) and sharpness. In comparison, though, it's a bit ugly and utilitarian. Having said that, I've been using it for a while in a number of capacities, and I wouldn't be without it now- it works very well.
  • MaxwellBygraves
    MaxwellBygraves Posts: 1,353
    Thank you for your thorough answers - I am still trying to make my mind up!
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • CamR
    CamR Posts: 83
    I have the 800 and use Bike Route Toaster to plan rides then download to my Garmin, It seems to work well. I upload my routes to Garmin connect so that I can see all of the stats and as previously mentioned it is probably worthwhile getting the speed/cadence sensor and HR strap.

    I also have the OS base map which I quite like.
  • Butterd2
    Butterd2 Posts: 937
    +1 for bikeroutetoaster for planning a ride then loading onto Garmin.

    You can also get free maps (Google open source maps) which I have loaded for both UK and Belgium onto my 705 and work just fine.
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  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Another vote for Bikeroutetoaster to set up routes to go onto the Garmin.

    3 - real world battery life - is pretty good - don't leave it on the maps page though - that drains the battery fast. I'd certainly say 10-12 hours is realistic if you are navigating with it - more if you are just logging. I carry a portapow battery as well to charge it during cafe stops. This has worked well on up to 400km rides so far (though there is a bit of a bug with the 800 in that it can't log very long rides - I've had it lock up at 350km (others have had it go on until 450km without problems) - so you need to start a new log every 300 or so km.

    It's a great GPS - but it is only as good as your route set up on bikeroutetoaster etc.

    It's own navigation is pretty awful (i.e. if you just say 'take me to this location') - it can take you very weird and wonderful ways.

    The first thing you need to do when you buy one is to get a screen protector - the screen is plastic and very susceptible to scratching.

    Overall, really pleased with mine.
  • richh
    richh Posts: 187
    That's good to know. I'm planning a JOGLE trip and I was wondering whether the 800 would be suitable from a power point of view. sounds like it would be good enough for a full day's riding, although it would need to be charged overnight (or in the pub that evening). I was also thinking of a battery extender so I should be able to go for several days without access to power I hope.

    One extra question if I may, can you create routes on the device itself? or do you have to upload them from a PC? I am planning on camping on my JOGLE and won't be taking a laptop so I guess I could create all of the routes ahead of time and just start the relevant course each morning, however what do I do if I don't make it to the prearranged overnight stop due to bad weather. Can I replan that day's route (and presumably all of the following day's routes as well - unless I manage to catch up again) using only the 800?
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    You can create routes on the fly (i.e. go to this point/town) however, it can be a bit hit and miss on the routing.

    If I were you, I would create the tracks called DAY1, DAY2 etc.

    If you don't make it to the end of a track on a certain day, you just start the next morning on the previous day's track (it will find where it is on that track and navigate to the end of it - at which point, you can select the current day's track).

    Of course, part of the fun of touring is being flexible - so, unless I was aiming for a fast LEJOG I would be tempted to use the GPS purely for logging and the occasional bit of routing. But that's my thoughts on touring.
  • rich164h
    rich164h Posts: 433
    Sounds good that I can just continue on the same track. Yes the day1, day 2 thing was what I had in mind.

    I'm not looking to set a record or anything but I am doing the JOGLE trip via the extreme NSEW points of the UK mainland (~1400miles vs the normal 900-100 miles of a direct JOGLE route) and I'm hoping to do it in ~15-16 days so I won't be able to hang around too much. Being flexible is one thing but I'm not planning on massively diverging from the preplanned routes unless absolutely necessary as it's not that sort of trip.