a Cross Country Rider
from Grand Junction,Colo.
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2002
Strengths: It adds a new dimension to your riding expirence (see Bottom Line)
Weaknesses: none really.. for the price, it's all you really need,though the newer models are smaller..
When I ride a new trail, I mount this GPS unit onto my camelback pack utilizing a pencil holder ((like you used in the 3rd grade( clear plastic with a zipper and 3 holes for the note binder)--WalMart sells a really heavy duty model .. Look in the "school supplies" section..)) using the bungee cords that come with most brands of backpacks..( I also carry an extra set of batteries in this vinyl pouch if I think that I may have battery-drain during the ride).. I turn the GPS ON when I START the ride and then ( and this is IMPORTANT) turn the GPS unit OFF at the END of the ride ( more on this later..) When I get home, I open my TOPO USA 3.0 computer program and download the "trail" onto it.. I now have a record of this trail,including 3D,,a "profile" ( really neat),, elevation gain(climbing),,elevation loss (descending),, total trip distance,, and a whole bunch of other really cool crap.. I can print out maps,,etc,too.. I currently have about 40 different trails on my system.. You can use ni-cad battteries( rechargable).. I have found the BEST ( longest-lasting) to be Energizer ACCU Rechargable ( you can buy them at Wal-mart).. They last over 8 hours per charge.. I have tried some silver ones (from Radio Shack) and EveryReady (yellow) but they only last 2 1/2 to 3 hours maximum.. If you go the TOPO program ( HIGHLY recommended),,it is imperative that you remember to turn off your GPS unit at the end of the trail-ride OTHERWISE ,,when you download the trail,, you will find that the trail you just rode has continued all the way back to your house..BUMMER.. You'll only forget to turn your GPS unit OFF 2 times at the most.. Live and learn.. This set-up works AWESOME for any ride,, for any club,, for any race venue,,for ANY new adventure.. It puts looking at a topgraphical map and trying to "visualize" your trail back into the 20th century.. It also allows you to "mark" items of interest along the trail ( gates,,cattle crossings,,steep drops,, prominent features,,etc.)..Of course, to "mark" ( make a waypoint) an item you must take the backpack off to quickly press a few buttons.. If you have a riding partner with you,,you can show them which 2 buttons to press ( it only takes 2 seconds).. This system gives you a dimension to your riding that you can't really even imagine until you actually see it.. TRY IT.... YOU'LL LIKE IT.... Also, if you e-mail me ,,I can send you an example of a downloaded trail (( Hubbard Cave Complex in Glenwood Springs,Colorado ( see TRAIL REVIEWS section) )).. It is REALLY neat..
a Cross Country Rider
from Brownsville, TX
Date Reviewed: January 14, 2001
Strengths: Performs basic GPS functions
Weaknesses: Not shock or dustproof, receiver not too rugged, uses batteries like crazy
The Garmin 12 is a cheap receiver but fairly old; the eTrex line is the most advanced Garmin product. The 12 is due to be replaced 2/2001 by a new series of Garmin handhelds with better energysaving technology and shock resistance. I had to make a special h-bar mount myself as the factory mount was insufficiently rigid. Newer hi-tech receivers are smaller & lighter, use only 2 AA batteries and last longer with them, very important. Unless it's on clearance for $70 or so, I'd pass on this one..
a Weekend Warrior
from San Francisco, CA
Date Reviewed: July 7, 2000
Strengths: A GPS reciever is much more versatile than a cycle computer. It stores up to 500 waypoints, tells you how to get there and when you'll get there, and is usable off the bike. It is also waterproof (submersible, but I don't bike in floods) . Plenty accurate now that selective availability is off. No fiddling with wires and magnets. Also has a watch and a compass. The map function is neat.
Weaknesses: Very expensive, but mine was free with an purchase of an HP printer. Even the bar mount costs as much as some cyclecomputers. Eats up batteries quickly, 4 AA's. Large LCD will get damaged by something, no protection against scratches or cracks. Unit sometimes shuts off inexplicably. Takes up lots of space on the handlebar, and heavy. Doesn't work well in tunnels or in heavy tree cover, it must have a clear view of the sky. Some buttons are not working well.
It's a GPS reciever, not a cyclecomputer, and not purpose-built for cycling. But it's still a nice toy for telling you distance, speed, and time.
a Cross Country Rider
from Pathum Thani, Thailand
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2000
Strengths: You always know where you are. You get a map plotted and can memorize any point on this planet. Backlit display. Rugged, affordable, easy to use. Works as well for hiking and motoring. Later models have 20h battery life (alkaline).
Weaknesses: If subjected to heavy shock, batteries will suffer and unit tends to turn off. If used in tropical environment with alternating rain and sunshine, humidity gets into the unit which can't be opened. However, Garmin exchanged my first set where this happened. Receiver experiences difficulties in areas with narrow roads and tall buildings - a matter of concept. Eats more batteries than a cycle computer. Display not self-healing - it should be, as a GPS receiver is normally used in rough environment and will receive scratches.
If you're touring places like Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, you better get one for your personal safety. It's also a great help in downtown Bangkok. Perfect to explore and map new tracks. A handlebarmount is available from Garmin. Out of all the receivers around, the GPS12 is the most popular one for outdoor activities. It should be your first choice. Performance is OK and the price is lower than ever, Jan00 only US$120 at www.tvnav.com - best value for money, 5 chilis. Overall just 4 chilis, I will rate it 5 when it will withstand all abuse I put it thru (water, shock, display scratches) and when the batteries can last one week.
Similar Products Used: Magellan Color Trak, which is inferiour in matters of receiver sensitivity, display clearness, userfriendlyness.
Bike Setup: Giant ATX840 with Ortlieb handlebar bag - The GPS12 rests on this bag.
a Weekend Warrior
from castro valley,ca
Date Reviewed: October 25, 1999
Strengths: provides more features than a bike computer. easy to mount/dismount from the bike handlebar. nice large readout. runs on rechargeable batteries
have multiple bikes and didn't want to buy a bike computer for each one. also constantly remove the front wheel and didn't want to worry about proper alignment of the metering device to the wheel. and the great thing with a gps device is that you can mark landmarks and use those to record the current trail