Edge 200 GPS Computer Evaluation

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    • Ahtn
    • February 6, 2014

    GPS With Canada Maps Also Good For Bicycling? I’m looking for a portable GPS that I can use for driving in the US and Canada and can mount on my bicycle for road trips. I think the garmin nuvi 500 is good, but no Canada maps. Any advice?
    I think the garmin nuvi 550 will do the trick! I don’t care so much about elevation, but at least this one has CA maps.

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      You aren’t going to find one device that works well for car and bike … at least not at a reasonable cost. The Garmin Edge 705 is a well regarded bike computer/GPS/HRM that comes with Canada and US maps …. but is about $600 and not ideal for car use. See the first link for what MEC offer (including the 705) and the second link for a refurbished 705 at under $400. As you note most don’t have Canada maps. That said, if you want Canada topo maps you can download free (3rd link) and load in Garmin car GPS’s (like the 265WT).

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    Which HRM? Garmin Forerunner 405cx Or Polar RS400 Run Or What? Which one is better? I want to see heart rate, distance, calories, and I want to transfer it to my computer. (both of them can do that).
    what I like about the Forerunner is the Training Buddy,
    in the Polar I like the Running Index feature..
    any recommendations?

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      The Garmin unit has a GPS that will plot where you run on a map when you connect to the computer. However, the GPS doesn’t work indoors while the Polar footpod will. You can of course always buy a footpod for the Garmin but at an extra cost.
      The 405 model has a touch select bezel that is a bit annoying since you may accidentally touch it and thus select something. There are other Garmin models that have real buttons like the 310xt.

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    Does Anyone Use A Cycling Computer? Seems like an easy question, but now the tricky bit!

    I am currently using a Polar CS200, which I am quite happy with but. .
    It’s wireless and interference is getting on my nerves!

    In particular my distance readings are being affected, I have narrowed this down to Cat-Eye HRM’s(on a couple of occasions I have been stationary and I can watch the tenths of a mile increase as I am near a Cat-Eye wearer! )

    Does anybody use a good WIRED computer that they can recommend? (with all the usual goodies,HRM,etc that is downloadable) I have surfed the net but can find only cheap simple things made by obscure companies.

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      I haven’t got one yet but I’m seriously looking at getting a Garmin Edge GPS cycle computer. Mileage is calculated as your position moves so no problem with wireless interference or calibrating your wheel size. You can download and upload journeys and training data. I’ve talked to people with the running version who absolutely swear by them. HRM and cadence attachments are available. Because it’s GPS you can also switch from bike to bike without recalibrating.

      I was dead set on getting the 305 when they bought out the 705. I’m just waiting till they fix it so you can upload routes from Memory Map then I’ll be getting one.

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      I had problems with a wireless computer, my HRM interfered with it, and it thought I was doing 17 MPH when I was stationary. The other drawback with wireless is that you need to replace 2 batteries rather than 1.

      I found having a cadence readout has probably helped me make the best improvement to my cycling for many years, I just wasn’t spinning the pedals fast enough. Not only am I faster now, but my knees are feeling better for it, and I get up hills without tiring myself out so much.

      I have a Cateye Strada Cadence fitted to both of my cycles, I did consider using just one, but the cost of the kit for a second bike wasn’t much less than the cost of a complete unit, so I bought a second one.

      In the 3 years that I’ve had them, I’ve done 1000 miles with one and almost 3,000 with the other Apart from strange readings in heavy rain, and changing the battery at about 1,500 miles, I’ve had no problems.

      If you calibrate them correctly, they are within 0.5% of the reading I get from my GPS.

      EDIT: The wired model does have an auto start / stop, it starts as soon as a signal is sent to the unit, either from the wheel sensor or the pedal sensor, and stops when the signal stops. You can cycle so slowly that the display stops, but that’s down at about 1.5 MPH.

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    If Im Doing Mountain Biking, What Is Better To Count My Burned Calories, Bike Computer Or Heart Rate Monitor? Can you suggest me any?

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      A heart rate monitor is a very accurate guide to how strenuous an overall workout is. A HRM isn’t perfect, though. For example, you may work exceedingly hard to go charging up a short hill. At the top of the hill, despite the fact you are breathing deeply and your legs are burning, you may find your HRM showing a very low pulse. This is because it takes a while for your heart to catch up with your increased level of exertion. Likewise, at the end of a long period of exertion, your heart will still be pounding even when you are finished. (In these cases, a power meter is much more accurate. However, power meters are exceedingly expensive.) On average, a HRM will give you a good indication of your workout.

      A calorie counter that uses either your heart rate or power output (along with your age, gender and weight) will give you a decent idea of how strenuous your workout is. However, as others have pointed out, a calorie counter that just looks at speed and distance is not going to be very accurate or helpful.

      You really need to do some thinking about how you want to use an HRM before buying one. Some of the things to consider are:

      – do you only want an HRM for cycling or do you run, kayak, skip rope, etc? If only for the bike, you may want a handlebar unit. Otherwise, you will want a wristwatch type unit.

      – if you use it only on the bike, you may want one that is both a cyclocomputer and HRM.

      – do you want to use it on one bike or multiple bikes? For one bike you may want a handlebar mounted unit. Otherwise, you may want a wristwatch type unit or one that you can buy multiple mounts for. (If wheel sizes are different, though, and you want to use it as a cyclocomputer it must
      handle multiple bikes.)

      – do you want to be able to download data to your computer? An HRM with a computer interface is much more expensive.

      – do you want altitude, and GPS along with HRM? Now you are talking real expensive.

      Anyhow, while it is interesting to know how hard you worked out, to effectivly use a HRM in training, you need to read something like: “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” by Joe Friel. Joe Friel is a top notch trainer and in this book he lays out the theory and practice of conditioning and using a HRM. (Here is a tip: for best conditioning, you don’t need or want to go full out all the time.)

      Hope this helps.

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    What Do You Think Of This Bicycle GPS? I want to get a gps for my bike, I need one that will give me good routes specified for bicycles. I am thinking of getting the Garmin Edge 800 GPS cycling bike computer touchscreen, but not sure if it works with Australian roads and maps? Does anyone know of some good gps systems for bicycles that work in Australia?

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      Garmin sells both road and topographic maps for Australia, so working in Australia should not be a problem. I would assume that the base maps installed with units sold in Australia will cover Australia.

      I have a Garmin Edge 705. The North America base maps that came with it were not nearly as detailed as the full road map, which isn’t cheap. You may want to consider how important detailed maps are to you and how much you’re willing to spend.

      The 705 is not without its issues. I would guess that the 800 is similar. I recommend reading through the Garmin forums (link below).

      Smart phones are not as good a choice for a bike computer because:
      1. You don’t get cadence or HRM or power meter capability. There actually is an ANT+ adapter for the iPhone but that’s more money and more hassle and the other problems below still exist.
      2. You don’t have a wheel sensor which means that you lose speed information while going under bridges or any place else where GPS satellites aren’t visible (like between tall buildings). This could also be fixed by the ANT+ adapter.
      3. Shorter battery life. With a GPS application on and the display locked on, most smart phones are lucky to last 2-3 hours or so. These bike computer GPS’s can typically do more like 12-15 hours. That’s not an issue if you’re only riding an hour or so at a time but if you like to do longer rides like I do, then it’s a problem.
      4. My 705 is rain proof. My smart phone is not.
      5. My 705’s display is a lot easier to read in bright sunlight than the display on my smart phone which is effectively unreadable in bright sunlight.

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    • Peter
    • February 16, 2014

    Should I Get A Heart Rate Monitor? I’m into fitness and timing and all that.
    But I don’t know if I should get a heart rate monitor.
    I don’t really understand what it does.
    What does it do? I need as much detail as possible.

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      Danny Dreyer, author of Chi-Running is about the only running guru I know of that is against Heart Rate Monitors. He thinks it’s best to just listen to your body. That by paying attention to your body and not a bunch of gadgets you can tell more about your body than any gadget can. People have off days and if you paid attention only to a HRM you might over do it by trying to keep your Heart Rate in the right zone, as opposed to just running at a pace that feels good.

      However, I have a HRM and I’m really happy with it. My main concern is that when I’m running and daydreaming I have a tendency to slow down. I also wanted to make sure I would push myself but not over do it.

      So the basic Heart Rate Monitor has a watch part and a strap that goes around your chest. The watch part is a pretty good sports watch but it also displays your heart rate.

      I’m simplifying things, but the idea is that we can determine our Maximum Heart Rate, and that we can benefit by running in certain zones. For instance, it is generally understood that running at 65% of the max is really good for weight loss and that running at 85% is anaerobic.

      Most HRM watches have a way of inputting your max HR and then can display what % you are at.

      Good HRMs will till you at the end of your workout what your Max HR was, what your average was, and some will even show you how many minutes you were in each Zone.

      Really Good HRMs will have interval timers, and alarms. So you could set it to beep after 5 minutes to let you know when your warm up is over. Or you could set it to beep if your heart rate goes too high or too low.

      The best HRMs will have some kind of computer interface and will automatically log your runs and graph them. Also computer interfaces are the best way to program complicated interval training programs.

      When you start looking at the best HRMs you will find they have GPS built in. It turns out that having a GPS HRM watch gives you the most flexibility in programming runs and looking at computer graphs and displays.

      Mostly you will find runners with GPS HRMs. In gym the GPS is useless. But the HRM is still very useful. On the treadmill and elliptical a HRM watch means you can let go of the handles and swing your arms. Plus you get a log of your activity.

      I’ve tried low end Polars and Timexes. They are both adequate. The Timex “Trainer” line is about $100. I like them because they have good interval timer features.
      I ended up getting a Garmin 305. The 305 has a lot of features and doesn’t cost as much as the newer models.

      There is a blog called DC Rainmaker where a guy talks about HRMS and GPSs. He has compared a lot of the models and it’s worth checking out.

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