GPS – Do you?

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  • GPS – Do you?
  • Stumpi

    Ok, so, I’ve fancied one for mountain biking for a while, but have never really had much use as I nearly always ride trails I know.

    Just recently I was guided round a course I’d really wouldve liked to have recorded and thought it’s about time I should look a little deeper into these. plus I can download rides others have been on and then go ride them which sounds nice.

    Plus there is the added advantage of using it as a training aid, however I appreciate the same course and a stopwatch pretty much cover that one anyway.

    So, what do you use? is it any good? What should I get?



    I’d like to ‘tick’ this thread too if you don’t mind!
    Over the Xmas I’ve been sort of nosing around out of mild curiosity. Originally I had no interest, living in a valley with a lot ot tree cover – apparently the first generation ones wern’t too good in these conditions, but now they’ve got better.
    I use Tracklogs and so went on to their website to see what they had to say. They no longer sell them ( just stick to their mapping software ) but they do have some interesting faq’s on the subject.
    It seems gps’s seem to fall into either navigational or training, and a training one won’t necessarily navigate for you. Also they use vector maps, i.e. not a picture just line drawing – ish. So when you transfer your Tracklogs map you only transfer the data, not the map as it appears on your pc. I didn’t know any of this as I’ve never seen one!
    As you can tell, I’m sort of digging too, with *no* experience of any of it!!!!
    Try a nose around the Tracklogs site for info on Garmin gps’s. They give Trracklogs compatability and descriptions of what models can do…..

    Premier Icon nickc

    It all depends on how much you want to spend, and what you want to do with it. a ‘boggo’ Garmin etrex will set you back about 70 quid, and will download way points, store data, tell you where you are, how far you’ve been. All the way upto the Garmin Edge at about 400 that’ll do all the training, cadence, flashy maps, and complicated graphs telling you how crap you’re training is…Sort out what it is you really need it for, and go for it. I know folk who have them in the bottom of the camel back, just to record the ride, and I know folk that mount them on the stem and slavishly follow them. Good tool to have when it all goes t**s up, and you’re not 100% sure of where you are.


    I’ve got a basic Garmin Etrex – you can get them really cheap now.

    It doesn’t have any mapping (eg roads, paths, forests, etc) but it logs routes, shows your location and I’d used it to follow routes that I’ve downloaded from the web (eg without any real problems.

    Works for me though when they’re cheap enough, I’ll get one with mapping.


    I’ve got a Garmin Forerunner 305 that I use for running (and occasionally cycling), its an absolutely invaluable training tool; it even has basic mapping functionality that’s nothing more than a compass, waypoints, and an alarm that bleeps when you should turn and I’ve used it a couple of times when running places I have never been to before and its saved my bacon more than once just by showing me I am going in the wrong direction and away from the next waypoint. I use the forerunner with SportTracks PC software and also memory map.

    I do have a PDA that I use with memory map pocket navigator when walking or exploring any new areas and would definitely say that if I were buying a cycling specific GPS it would be one that can run memory map or an alternative full colour mapping system with a finger-draggable-interface, the main issue I find with the PDA though is battery life, it gets about 4 hours when the GPS is running so on day trips (or longer) its not really a run all day tool but more of a where-the-hell-am-I-and-how-do-I-get-home box of tricksl. Of course battery life could be extended using something like a free loader.

    There are loads of ultra-rugged walking specific GPS systems that are similar to PDA’s and its probably a good time of year to buy as its sales galore right now!!


    OK, if you want a navigation only type, but with maps display on as opposed to the ‘bog standard etrex’, what do you head for?

    Premier Icon miketually

    I was thinking of putting a basic Etrex on my birthday list in the summer. I think it’d be really useful.

    I’ve an Edge 305 with HRM and CAD. Very good peice of kit, the software that came with it wasn’t so impressive, but I have Memory Map and GPX2crs.

    I got the Garmin for less than £200, I got MM and GPX2crs, ahem, very cheap…….

    I don’t see the point of paying more for a device which will use only topo maps which seem to be inferior to OS maps. Anything which uses OS maps, has them encrypted so that you have to buy the compatible maps for your device, from the vendor themselves, which can be very expensive, depending on how far-a-field you travel to ride.

    Anyway, for mid-range/mid-budget GPS and training aid, consider the 305 Edge.

    Alternatively, if you have a GPS windows smart phone, just load Memory Map onto that.

    Good luck




    I’ve got a Garmin Etrex but it’s very basic, sometimes plot routes on Memory Maps and uploade to the GPS, likewise you can download a route recorded on the GPS to Memory Maps to see where you’ve been, it’s an old I am sure there are better options now.


    I was indeed thinking of something that uses OS or MM TBH.
    I do have an Etrex and have had for many years and have never bothered with it on the bike.
    I kind of think it’d be nice to have something to physically reference when out riding instead of just the track.
    And of course as a training aid.

    Cheers for the replies, I was leaning towards somthing like the 305 or the newer colour ones.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    I tried basic, but now I’ve got a SatMap.

    I think it’s still a bit clumsy in its interface, but it is a good tool.


    I’m buying a GPS this week, i’ve got some plans i’d like to work towards, so will find it extremely helpful in terms of training and recording the ascent/distance covered.

    The added benefit of using it with memory map etc is a real plus point for me, i’d like to be able to just throw the bike in the car and go, and concentrate on riding rather than navigating.

    for what they cost, which is the price of a pair of shifters, I really think its a worth while investment.



    I posted lots about this on the old forum.

    A lot of the edges are compatible with MM, and very easily too. However, they don’t run OS maps on their screen. The way I use mine (605) is that 90% of the time it’s a glorified cycle computer that accurately tracks where I’ve been, and then upload it to memory map or the (actually quite good) garmin-connect website. This is more of the training bit.

    The other 10% I upload to the unit, from MM on a PC, routes that I’ve created/downloaded etc. Then it’s an accurate ‘follow the red line’ ‘sat nav’ device.

    I got mine for £160 brand new from the bay.

    I used to run a PPC with MM on it, out on the trails. It was very poor due to:
    -battery life
    -not hardy enough
    -too complicated! Too much to go wrong.

    That’s my thoughts on it!


    Premier Icon Seamus

    If you have a PDA it is a cheap way to try GPS as you can get a bluetooth GPS for £25 and they are not too difficult to set up. They are good used in conjunction with MM for navigational purposes and you can plan routes and review rides on PC (speed, altitude etc). I would agree with comments about battery life and durability though, it is not something to attach to your bars.


    Its not a cheap option, but the Garmin Colorado seems to do just about everything, including using OS maps.


    Basic Etrex and a few OS maps do me fine.

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