Thursday, January 5, 2012

GPS on a bicycle, isn’t technology great!

A GPS on my trike for my cross country ride certainly can’t be counted in the “Need” category. But I’ve been using GPS units motorcycle since the Garmin III+ was bleeding edge tech circa 1998. So I think it’s natural to what to use a GPS on a long bike ride.

After a few hours of research I’m going to get either a Garmin Edge 800 or Garmin eTrex 20. The Edge is best described as a bicycle computer that is GPS enabled, while the eTrex is aimed at Hikers. Both are very small and light weight, under 5oz. So either would easily fit a bicycle handlebar.  So which so I get?

Here are the pros/cons as I see them.
Garmin Edge 800
Integrated Heart Rate monitor.
Integrated Cadence count.
Cool “Virtual Partner” icon to race with.
Comes with handle bar attachment bracket.
Less clutter in the cockpit with integrated functions.
It’s a Garmin and I’ve always had good luck with them.

Expensive!!! $450 for unit, $79 for maps, $44 for HR strap, $35 for Cadence sensor, $50  for mobil charger for s total of about $658.
Internal battery that can’t be swapped for fresh, instead must be recharged each night.
It appears to be a more limited market so updates to firmware probably are not as timely.
Integrated functions means single point of failure.

Garmin eTrex 20
Uses AA batteries, already own a boat load of rechargeable AAs.
Relatively cheap: $185 for unit, $79 for maps, $30 for handle bar bracket. Total about  $294, this is less than I paid for that III+ 14 years ago.
Segregated function so less single points of failure.
It’s a Garmin and I’ve always had good luck with them.

More cockpit clutter since I really would like to have HR and Cadence
No “Virtual Partner”

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