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I have my eye on the Garmin 800. It looks fantastic, but alas I can't afford it right now. I would like a gps / cycle computer that would work well in Europe with maps.

What are my options? I want something I can couple with wheel sensors for speed (better accuracy).

Next month I intend to cycle through Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Thanks in advance

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I don't understand the "speed/better accuracy" comment. The GPS in my mum's in-car TomTom seems to me to be accurate to within about 5 metres (which is accurate enough, without being connected to the vehicle). –  ChrisW Jun 16 '11 at 12:35
    
@ChrisW GPS is pretty good for a car, because you're typically travelling at higher speeds and the GPS inaccuracy is less significant. However on a bike, at lower speeds, GPS inaccuracy will be a much larger proportion of your speed so the difference is much more pronounced –  Mac Jun 16 '11 at 23:29
    
@Mac - I didn't realise meant to use the GPS as the display of a speedometer; I thought that the wheel sensors might be to assist the GPS (some kind of dead-reckoning system, which I couldn't imagine working). –  ChrisW Jun 17 '11 at 1:10
1  
@ChrisW Ahh, I see. Yep, I agree that the wheel sensors couldn't assist the GPS. –  Mac Jun 17 '11 at 1:37

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

One option would be to use an iPhone. If you use software such as MapMyRide you can integrate it with ANT+ sensors to measure speed, cadence and even heart rate. These sites also have excellent mapping, training review and history functions.

Pros:

  • You can use your existing phone rather than needing separate hardware
  • The online version of mapping software allows you to plan routes and review your history

Cons:

  • Waterproofing the iPhone will be harder than with dedicated hardware, although I have seen solutions (such as Biologic's case) that claim to do this.
  • Battery life will be an issue. You'll need to find a way to keep it charging (using a hub generator as seen here) or have battery extenders (as seen in the millions on ebay).
  • Maps are downloaded from google maps so you'll need to have a data plan.
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"Affordable"? Only if you already have one; and even then, I would hesitate to have a smartphone clipped to the handlebars. –  Piskvor Jun 24 '11 at 9:58
    
@Piskvor - yep, I agree it's only affordable if you already have an iPhone but if you do I think it's worth considering. I have friends I ride with that keep their iPhone on the bars in the case I linked to. –  Mac Jun 24 '11 at 21:47

If you are using the device for turn by turn directions, then the Garmin 800 is really the only available choice which meets all of my requirements for a cycling computer with GPS. If you don't need turn by turn, consider the 500. It's got all the othe features, except the tur by turn.

I've tried the iPhone, but the lack of integrated sensors and good, solid handlebar mounts. Also, the iPhone is only cost effective if you already own it. Otherwise, it is far more expensive, after accounting for buying transmitters and receivers.

The Oregon, eTrex, or others are suited well for the handheld hiking options, and will work with a bike, but you still have to buy the sensors, and they aren't exactly cheap.

So my answer is, no. There aren't any other GPS cycling computers which do the same job, as well, for less cost.

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I am using Garmin Oregon 300, a discontinued model, which should be cheaper on eBay. I have a bike specific mount from Garmin.

Pros:

  • Uses AA batteries (can use rechargeble ones), one set will last ~12 hours
  • ANT+: Can see heart rate and cadence data, if you have these sensors
  • GPX track saving on by default - you do not have to worry about turning this feature on, you will allways have your data
  • Can display various maps, including user made and OpenStreetMap

Cons:

  • Display is sometimes hard to see in direct sunlight, newer models of this product line have fixed this problem.
  • A bit heavy, for a cycle computer
  • No training programs built in (interval, etc), no HR alerts. Basically it is a tourism device, not sports one.
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Try a handheld gps device with openstreetmaps.

I have a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx with a 4GB card and all of streetmap Europe on it.

Just dont hit the "search street button", or the poor little processor will go south.

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