Worth getting a dedicated GPS?

3wheeler Posts: 110
edited July 2018 in MTB general
I'm looking at various bike computers; the wahoo and garmins can do some level of route guidance and directions - does anyone use these for off-road? Are they any good? Not wanting to start a wahoo Vs garmin debate, but find out if any of them are worth getting.

Currently I'll just use my phone but it's a bit of a pain to keep taking it out of my pocket, and I'm not keen on strapping it to the stem or bars.


  • JGTR
    JGTR Posts: 1,404
    Yes, same issue, was using phone but battery would die and pain to keep getter it in and out of my pocket. I use a Garmin Touring for off road rides. I download GPX files of routes e.g Surrey Hills and make my own routes on Viewranger and upload them to my Garmin. I don’t use the turn by turn GPS, I just have the route up on the screen and follow it, it’s quite easy as you’ll be on a trail and when you get to a junction just look at the map and follow the route. The only time I use the turn by turn GPS is to take me back home by the quickest route when I’ve had enough!! I looked at the Wahoo but it doesn’t do turn by turn and the mapping is breadcrumb style Aand not really what I was after. I don’t use the training aids/heat rate monitor etc so went for the cheaper Garmin 800 Edge Touring which was about £130 but does exactly what I want which is to be able to go on long off toad rides with minimal hassle. The battery last ages, It was on for 8 hours last weekend and still had 40% battery left. Only thing I will say is that I have to pre-plan routes, either by creating a GPX file or downloading a route, I still use my phone for maps if I’m somewhere unfamiliar as the Garmin screen isn’t as detailed and easy to use.
  • figbat
    figbat Posts: 680
    I use a ELEMNT Bolt off-road, mostly for just tracking my rides but also if I am going somewhere new or following a ride-out route I’ll load the route onto the Bolt and follow it. Not turn-by-turn, but I haven’t got lost yet! I use Strava to create a route, using whatever roads, byways, bridlepaths or other trails are available then simply sync it to the Bolt (Strava and Wahoo accounts are linked).
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • FishFish
    FishFish Posts: 2,152
    I think they are only any use if you have an os map on them. I have a memory map toughphone which acts as a navigator and a phone and also has a fairly good camera in it. Equipped with the 1:50k UK os map series. There is software to faf with your computer too. Expensive though - but I am rich as well as a genius and good looking. :D
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • timontyres
    timontyres Posts: 11
    I use a Garmin Etrex 20 with free Open Street Map maps. Works on batteries (three days with good eneloops aa). Just a map on the screen and a plotted line to follow. Really basic, never fails. I use it when touring on and offroad. I use a garmin bike mount which works like a charm. Highly recommend using an outdoor GPS when in unfamiliar territory.
  • brplytdy
    brplytdy Posts: 2
    Did you get your answer? I say yes go for a GPS. I was sold after trying a phone mount and losing it a few times with a form mount. My friends laughed at me because they said they started the same way. I prefer a dedicated gps. Beside losing my phone in a ditch a few times I don't run my battery down. I like having it all attached in front of me.
    I have several Barfly's and I swear by the versatility and how I have never lost my Garmin. I am using a Wahoo Bolt. I tried Lezyne but was not happy at all with their interface.
    Both Garmin and Wahoo's proprietary mounts were cheeso and rickety. Most of the group I ride with use Barfly mounts and now I know why. Super solid and cleaned up my cockpit mess (gps, light or gopro) I have a TT mount on my tri, a Prime mount on my road and an MTB on my off road.
    The Prime mount is my favorite. It lets me get my Gopro off my helmet, and during night rides I attach my lightandmotion. Barfly had a lot of versatility in their mounts and came with a lot of stuff in the box, extra cleats, etc.
  • t0ffeeman
    t0ffeeman Posts: 47
    I used to use my phone(iPhone 6), along with Strava, but on occasion I would lose the GPS signal and I didn’t like using the battery of the phone just in case I needed it for an emergency.
    So I got a second hand(eBay) Garmin Edge 200 for £35, it’s an older model GPS that doesn’t show a map but is perfect for what I need, and it can be mounted on the handlebars so you can see your speed, time, distance etc
    I’ve got it synced to Strava so I can review my ride afterwards in Strava, the Garmin connect viewer isn’t great, in my opinion.

    So I would recommend getting a GPS, but I wouldn’t spend loads on your first one

  • Stoatally
    Stoatally Posts: 9
    Definitely. I’ve had my garmin edge 800 fir years and use it on and off road. Planning routes online and transferring the the unit is dead easy.

    I’m not sure how useful the new garmin explore would be off road but the idea that it will plan road rides is interesting. Maybe they’ll come up with off road routes too