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  • This topic has 13 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by benp1.
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  • Garmin for navigation – Help my hovering!
  • kayak23
    Full Member


    I’m interested in getting a GPS for navigation.
    I’ve started being into doing quite a few classic loops(MBR etc), online gpx routes and planning my own routes.

    For the most part, I’ve been using my Android phone with a combo of the OS mapping app and the GPX loaded in via GPX viewer app so I can see where I am should things become unclear and backed up with an OS map in my backpack.

    This works pretty well, except it’s a PITA having to stop and keep getting your phone out of your backpack when the route isn’t obvious….which can be a lot. The GPX viewer is followable but then I’d have to have it on my bars and I don’t want my phone on my bars.

    I really like the idea of being able to upload gpx files to a unit, or plan my own route with the software and follow it on the unit but am struggling to find enough opinion to make me part with up to £280, which is what I can find the Garmin Edge 820 for.

    I’m not really interested in any of the fitness tracking features although I guess I could be at some point, I do use Strava but I’m really just after decent off-road navigation. I appreciate the Edge 1000 is a better size for navigation but don’t really want something so massive on my bars when I’m shredding the gnar on my enduroist weapon riding rough terrain.

    So, anyone care to comment on navigation and which unit they use? Good points/bad points?
    Would really appreciate it.
    I’m currently hovering over the Garmin Edge 820 but….it’s a lot of dough so I need some convincing. 🙂
    Does anywhere hire them out?


    Full Member

    You can use most of the Garmins for navigation, right down to the 25. With the smaller screens it’s a line and tells you when to turn, on the bigger ones you get the map as well (which is pretty handy as you know what’s coming up, if it’s just after a river or before a hill, etc.).

    Full Member

    I use a bar mounted Oregon 600 for all my riding and it’s perfectly secure on the bars, so I wouldn’t worry about an Edge 1000.

    Larger screens are generally better for navigating too.

    Full Member

    Garmin Edge 810 with HRM/Cadence on Sports Pursuit for £228?

    Full Member

    mogrim – Member
    You can use most of the Garmins for navigation, right down to the 25.

    I’m after a kind of mini os map ideally.

    Full Member

    have to have it on my bars and I don’t want my phone on my bars.

    I’d just get over this.

    I have a Gamrin 800, it’s OK, but the battery life is barely better than a phone, the screen isn’t visible when wearing sunglasses (too dark), or in the woods etc without putting the backlight on. The resolution is pants so mapping is only really usable in areas where the trails are relatively easily followed. Fine in the Peak, Lake district, Scotland etc, utterly useless in the Chiterns.

    I also have a phone. It has 54x more pixles on a screen about 4x the size, the battery life is similar. The mapping on the phone is clear enough to make paper mapping redundant for all but an emergency backup.

    And if I get bored on a climb I can look at pictures of my friends cats on Facebook. It also has strava, camera, flashlight and everything else you could need (electronically) on a ride built in.

    The phone even has the same waterproof rating as the Garmin.

    Phone £100
    Garmin £200

    The only downside is the phone is more vulnerable in a crash being 4x bigger and not quite as plasticy. But then I just keep it in my back pocket, on a road ride the turn-by-turn navigation works really well and off road I treat it like a paper map (the next turning is in x miles/fields/streams/minutes), then check it when I get there.

    Free Member

    OP – I use one of these top-tube bags.

    It’s good because not only does it work but you are also avoiding having an expensive Garmin sticking out the front of your bike (think crashing), limits what you have to carry since your gps is still your phone and the bag can carry sunnies, food, tools etc.

    And it’s cheap. Just make sure you put your phone in a ziplock bag to ensure full waterproofing.

    PS. Viewranger mapping is a very good if you fancied a change.

    Full Member

    I’m after a kind of mini os map ideally.

    Fair enough, wasn’t clear from the original post – and for that use case the small Garmins (or Garmin and Suunto wristwatches etc.) are clearly no use.

    Full Member

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines and wondering which Garmin would be best. Is the Garmin Touring any good for this sort of thing? It looks to have the same navigation features as the 800s but is cheaper – I was wondering if anyone had used one.

    Full Member

    IIRC the Touring range has the same nav functionality but no ability to connect cadence/HRM/etc via ANT+

    The 820 has a lot of cool features based around live data (which might be a bit lost on OP by the sound of it) but also a higher res screen (and is physically smaller whilst retaining the screen size) than the 800/820 IIRC

    Full Member

    Have you looked at garmin etrex20 and 30 with uploaded OS maps which can be bought of Used mine for a few years now, only problem is they sometimes pop out of the bar mount so a lanyard is required

    Full Member

    I’ve a touring and a edge 25.
    The touring has had the card upgraded to full UK os maps and gets mainly used on the road bike and occasionally on the mtb when I’m trying out new routes and likely to need an OS. The maps are clear and concise (to a point, as if you really zoom in it get a bit pixelated). It’s easy to use and relatively cheap, and the GPS is much more accurate than my phone (when compared on strava).
    You do need to make sure the touring runs the correct firmware though, I’ve had issues with it turning off randomly during rides and deleting data etc. But this has been resolved (so far)with updates on Garmin Connect.
    To upload data you do need a pc though, which is a ball ache if your planning a multi day trip. It can last an 8HR ride (just) if you keep it on the black and white screen and try not to us the full colour maps. But if you keep the maps on it reduces the battery to about 3or4hours.

    The 25 is my goto computer – it does everything the touring does apart from the maps. It’s possible to load a prepared route and follow the bread crumb arrows around to your destination, but this needs thinking out in advance and is great for road use, but a bit tricky off road. For example when you are at a junction in wood s with multiple options, picking the correct trail is hit and miss where as a quick glance on the tourings Os map would put you straight.
    What the 25 does very well is data gathering and easy of upload via blue tooth. Before a ride I can get the garmin app to email Mrs monkeyboyjc and she can follow my progress (also useful in ‘tag team’ style Racing). It’s small and light and I’ve not run out of battery in a day’s ride when it’s fully charged.

    I have occasionally used/carried both in recent months – 25 to gather data and show speed etc on the bike and touring for when I get lost.

    Full Member

    The only downside is the phone is more vulnerable in a crash being 4x bigger and not quite as plasticy. But then I just keep it in my back pocket

    This is the thing…. I do crash…. sometimes, so a phone will get broken. I’d rather have a relatively small unit mounted on a stem cap mount which I guess is more likely to be the weakest link over the unit itself…maybe.

    I also don’t want owt in my pockets really.
    I’ve found that the phone gets annoying as it just keeps sleeping and doesn’t work with a gloved hand. I can live without pictures of friends cats too. 😀

    I like the idea of having a sleeping unit that wakes the screen when a turn is coming, which I think the Garmins do?

    I’ll have a look at the touring model and Etrex range, but I suppose if I’m spending what is already a lot of money, then losing handy features for the sake of saving 20-50 quid might not be worth it.

    In terms of the fitness tracking etc, I’d like to integrate with Strava, but I don’t currently GAS about tracking heart rate and such but you never know..

    I think above all, I’d like to be able to plan off-road routes at home with a cup of tea, wang them onto a device and then follow that route. Simple. 🙂

    Full Member

    Oregon here as well, I have a 550t

    I only use it for navigating, or tracking a ride on something that last a whole day (as my phone battery won’t last that long if it’s running strava)

    OS maps, or anything else you want to load. Would rather put that on the bars than my phone, which is far less robust

    It’ll do exactly what you’re after, as that’s what I use it for, but it’s not cheap

    Runs on AAs too, easy to carry another set with you as a spare (which is great for bikepacking)

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