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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hellooo

Totally new to GPS!

I just need when i travel in europe, and go trailbiking in new areas, and sort of backup,
if one should get a little lost, dont know if it best placed on arm or handlebar, maybe arm..
been looking at the garmin etrex, that can be had here in europe for about 140 doll.
The display, should just be easy to read, with some nice graphic.
Had also looked at the gecko, but dont know really the diff, and the forerunner that seem really nice, but is a bit more doll.

Thanxxxxxxxx Jesper
 

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I have a Garmin etrex Legend C. Sadly, I haven't used it yet, becuase I have been investigating what map software to buy. I finally decided on Garmin City Select ($125) and will order it today.
 

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You can't load maps to a basic eTrex, you'll need to step up a couple levels for that. Also, be aware that, as MattP notes, detailed maps cost extra, and may not be available for all parts of Europe.

I have reviews of many GPS units posted here, in case that helps.

Rich Owings
www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
www.GPStracklog.com

"We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey
 

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I have the etrex summit and I just got the 305 w/ heart monitor, both are breadcrumb (no maps) gps, the 305 comes with training/map software, for another $75 - $100 you can get the garmin topo (us) which is pretty good, after you make a trail you can upload it to the map and then print if you want to. There is also a couple of topo map programs for the same price . National geographic & maptech are the 2 best in my opinion, I'm sure they have european maps available, the topo maps have some streets and most streams, brooks etc. the 305 is great, small, light , rechargable. the summit is fair to good but the 305 (or 205 if you dont need the heart or cadence) works better in clouds and trees
 

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I just ordered a Garmin eTrex Legend Cx from Amazon for $250 yesterday. I really wanted something with a map. I picked the Cx for it's better GPS chip, the color screen, longer battery life, and the expandable memory (I also ordered 128MB for $15).

In my price range, that was basically the only option (, plus I tried the b/w version of the Legend a couple of years ago and liked it.

What I'm not so sure about is the mapping software. I went with the US Topo map, hopping that it will cover cities well enough and my riding destinations too.

I realize that you are looking for a cheaper GPS, but your wife is going to be pissed anyway, so why not spend a little more and get it all :D
 

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LyncStar said:
I hate to break it to you, but he eTrex models don't have the new Sirf antenna. I tried one out at a shop and they still have the same old pokey satellite pickup as the older models.
Yeah, I didn't have the heart to tell him. At least the antenna (and reception) on his is better than on my 60CS.

Rich Owings
www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
www.GPStracklog.com

"We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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Redwoods Mtn Biker said:
Yeah, I didn't have the heart to tell him. At least the antenna (and reception) on his is better than on my 60CS.

Rich Owings
www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
www.GPStracklog.com

"We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey
so basically (ie, assume i am an idiot....which should be easy), which model would give me basically all around capability (load maps etc) and have the sirf antenna or whatever.....the Edge 205? I dont care about heart rate or cadence.

thanks
 

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Garmin GPS Overview

Don't know the other brands. See the links from Redwoods Mtn Biker. Here's the units I've generallly seen used for MTB in the Garmin line of GPS:

Definition: "waypoints" are a space point that you give a text label and can often display on a screen or map. "Routes" can be made by navigating between waypoints. A "track" is a recording of where you've been, like a bread crumb trail on the screen.

Foretrex: ($140+) Wrist based, no maps on GPS, more for running but used well by bikers for charting ride on PC. It can store up to 10,000 track points (~20 hours of riding).
Forerunner: ($113+) Like Foretrex but more running oriented, no maps. All the Forerunner models can store tracks. [Edit] The new Forerunner models 205 and 305 are effectively wrist mounted versions of the Edge, with the advanced SiRFIII receiver (at the Edge price).
Edge: ($250-$350) More of a road bike odometer replacement. Can't display maps but can store waypoints and tracks of where you went. See my review of it (after reading the online manual) here. It has the new SiRF receiver and can log tracks for Motion Based analysis.
eTrex: ($150-350) Compact full function GPS for the handlebars, can display Garmin's Topo maps, do navigation, store tracks of multiple rides, altimeter, etc.. The Legend is the lowest cost with minimal memory. VistaCx is the best, with nice color display, barometric altimeter, electronic compass, and removable/expandable min-SD memory.
GPSMAP60: ($350-$500) Bigger than eTrex line, but similar. More memory, bigger display, better reception especially with the new "x" version that has the SiRFIII receiver and removable memory.

The Garmin Forerunner 205 & 305, Edge, and those GPSMAP units with an "x" have the advanced SiRFstarIII receiver. My eTrex Vista without this chip rarely looses signal, but it would be nice to have the SiRF III in thick foliage and deep canyons for those rare occurances. But GPS signals can't go through mountains, no matter how good the receiver.

I really like my compact eTrex Vista, that can be had at a lower price. It's lasted for years through many of my bike frame breaks while on mounted the handlebars. But I may go for the deluxe GPSMAP60 CSx on my next upgrade for it's larger SD chip memory (also on the Vista Cx), better reception, and more software features with bigger display.

Even the Foretrex and Forerunner can do great plots of the ride on your computer after you're back home. See here an example of all the great stuff the web-based Motion Based programs can do with the tracks from any of these units that store tracks. Click on Dashboard for data, or Map Player and change the background from Street to Topo to Contour to Satellite....

But for MTB you may want to display maps for navigation into remote parts, which would require an eTrex or GPSMAP unit. It would also require about $90 for Garmin's MapSource Topo software that covers the whole US. The street maps also cost another $90 if you want them too. With 24 MB on my eTrex Vista, I can store all street AND topo maps of the entire SF bay area and surrounding MTB parks. Topo maps are much smaller - if you just store Topos, you may store most all of CA with 24 MB.
 

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FoShizzle said:
so basically (ie, assume i am an idiot....which should be easy), which model would give me basically all around capability (load maps etc) and have the sirf antenna or whatever.....the Edge 205? I dont care about heart rate or cadence.

thanks
You can't load maps on the Edge or on Foreunners. The lowest cost, SiRF III, map capable unit would be the
GPSMap 60Cx. The link goes to a review I recently posted.

HTH

Rich Owings
www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
www.GPStracklog.com

"We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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thanks!

so if i understand the basic concepts.....the EDGE would be a fine choice if I were only using it for cycling, right? In other words, if I dont care about navigation for the car etc, the EDGE should be more than enough. If I follow...I could still download track to something like geoladders, right?
 

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FoShizzle said:
so if i understand the basic concepts.....the EDGE would be a fine choice if I were only using it for cycling, right? In other words, if I dont care about navigation for the car etc, the EDGE should be more than enough. If I follow...I could still download track to something like geoladders, right?
Yes, the Edge 205 would work fine, and you could download your track. If you want it for that, and for recording your speed, etc., it should be a good choice. If you want to use a GPS for navigation, even if it's just on your bike, there are better choices. If you're into maps, you would probably enjoy a mapping unit. Remeber though, the maps cost extra.

Here is my Edge 205 review.

Rich Owings
www.MakeYourOwnMaps.com
www.GPStracklog.com

"We were desert mystics, my friends and I, poring over our maps as others do their holy books." - Edward Abbey
 

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Edge is great for road biking, maybe OK for MTB

FoShizzle said:
thanks!

so if i understand the basic concepts.....the EDGE would be a fine choice if I were only using it for cycling, right? In other words, if I dont care about navigation for the car etc, the EDGE should be more than enough. If I follow...I could still download track to something like geoladders, right?
Yes, the Edge can record tracks that can be downloaded to many web based programs such as Motion Based, or geoladders or many others you can find from Redwood Mtn Biker's links and books.

The map display on a GPS is especially usefull for rides into new areas on your own. The topo maps are for navigating on the trail, the street maps for navigating on the road. If you know your trails well and/or have good paper maps, you may not need the topo navigation. The street navigation is great for finding the trail head on new rides, which usually involve some remote roads that are tough to find. The street maps also come with Points of Interest, that allow you to find the closest ATM, gas, mexican food, fast food, walmart, bike shop,... - like a yahoo yellow pages in your hand, sorted by those closest to you. This is the nicest single feature of the street maps. I flip from stored street to topo maps via a menu option.

However, the Edge is about the same price as the eTrex line that has many more features, such as mapping. And the Edge is:
1. Only B&W versus color
2. Less battery life (<12 hours, depending on battery age and if you just charged it before the ride). No trail-side AA replacement is possible - you'll likley loose data on long epics.
3. Much less software capability and smaller screen

The only major advantage I see in the Edge over the eTrex line is the smaller size and lower weight. The improved reception is not that big a deal unless you live in a very thick forest or in deep canyons. For SoCal, like NorCal, you probably don't need the SiRFIII. The Edge "Virtual Partner" function (race against a virtual competitor, including yourself on a previous ride) looks like fun for training too.

[Edit: using Redwood Mtn Biker's link on his web site, I find some reviews on Amazon.com complain about the lack of map capability on the Edge GPS to tell you where you are. Be warned, the Edge is NOT a mapping unit and cannot tell you where you are (AKA "navigate").
The reviews also say it's hard to combine and edit tracks with the web based software, or view more than two tracks at a time. Track editing is easy with Garmin's MapSource software - either Topo or Street will do fine. I can view all my rides and manipulate the display quickly on the same Garmin MapSource map on my PC's high resolution screen.]
 

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Redwoods Mtn Biker said:
Yeah, I didn't have the heart to tell him.
I'm glad you guys told me about my mistake. This way I only look like an idiot on this forum ;)

Redwoods Mtn Bikder said:
At least the antenna (and reception) on his is better than on my 60CS.
That's was probalby what I read and misunderstood. Again, thanks for telling me and not letting me die ignorant. I'm always amazed about the amount of knowledge one can find here in the forums, no matter the topic (I'm just thinking about the @ss shaving thread :D).
 

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If you want to go into the wilderness ...

jeb said:
Hellooo

Totally new to GPS!

I just need when i travel in europe, and go trailbiking in new areas, and sort of backup,
if one should get a little lost, dont know if it best placed on arm or handlebar, maybe arm..
been looking at the garmin etrex, that can be had here in europe for about 140 doll.
The display, should just be easy to read, with some nice graphic.
Had also looked at the gecko, but dont know really the diff, and the forerunner that seem really nice, but is a bit more doll.

Thanxxxxxxxx Jesper
If you want to go trekking in wilderness areas, I would recommend something from Magellan. If you are looking for something REALLY useful while biking, I would recommend the Garmin Edge 305. It's a full fledged cyclo-computer with GPS functionality and PC connection for automatic ride logging.

The Edge 305 also has a barometric altimeter which should help it's accuracy while tracking elevation changes (you need 4+ satellite reception for this with GPS).
 
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