Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Totally fair - I bought my Wahoo because of this. In the last 2 years with my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt I've only had one issue where a GPS glitch sent me 100 miles away for a few minutes (although I did crash and the knock could have caused this). I had no end of issues with my Garmin.

Good news though, with someone like DCR dedicating an article to this, Garmin may actually pay attention and do something about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
It seems that software problems have been a issue for many many years now....
So not very new actually....


(however I can't really complain about my Edge 820. Quite ok. Especially if you compare it to an Android system...the one on my TV constantly crashes despite all updates...)
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,326 Posts
Completely fair.

Anyone who's remotely a student of history in this industry should be aware that more than one of Garmin's competitors have been killed by one (or both) of two major issues:

Bugs that never get resolved.
Poor customer service.

It really does seem that the more features Garmin adds, the less reliable their device software becomes. I have an Edge 520 and an Oregon 450t as my main receivers right now, and they're generally pretty reliable. I have a Forerunner 310XT that has horrendous problems with connectivity to computers for data uploads (via ANT+). I mostly don't use it anymore because of this. For my Edge 520, there are a LOT of "extras" that I don't bother using, though. Definitely Live Track falls into that category. Most of the other Bluetooth connected features. The only one of those that I use is the upload function, on occasion. But I turn it off unless I specifically want to use it. IME with a lot of BT functions (for anything except speakers), the reliability goes to **** if you leave the connection up long term.

I've been watching Wahoo as a competitor, though. They almost have a feature set that'll pry me away from Garmin. I don't need (or necessarily want) a ton of features. But there are a few that I'm after, and Wahoo has been slow to improve their mapping functionality to the point where I'd be willing to move over. This is probably a good thing, though, as I figure that if a company is being more deliberate about feature adds, that they're taking the time to do it right.
 

·
Rides all the bikes!
Joined
·
4,489 Posts
I seem to have lucked out in getting devices that were decent, or just getting lucky that the device I had was good. I can't think of any software issues I have had, besides a random bug (losing a single activity on my 310XT, and a single activity on my 800).

But tons of reports of people having problems is hard to ignore. And I mostly buy out dated models now that seem to have been either patched or weren't problems to begin with.

310XT
910XT
800
520+
Fenix 5
 

·
Ride Fast Take Chances :)
Joined
·
3,582 Posts
DC nailed it. I smashed my 500 and got a 530 to replace it. The 500 was like an old Nokia brick phone. It just worked and lasted forever.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,326 Posts
DC nailed it. I smashed my 500 and got a 530 to replace it. The 500 was like an old Nokia brick phone. It just worked and lasted forever.
Too bad the 500 was **** for mtb use when it first came out because it didn't offer 1sec recording intervals. Thankfully enough riders gave them hell over that and they added it later with a firmware update. I think that change saved that device. IMO, this same thing is what crippled the Edge 20 and 25 models from the start. Sure, the people who would have bought them wanted small, simple computers. But Garmin f*cked up their accuracy right out of the gate, and the people who would be most likely to buy them would have been unhappy that their devices were less accurate and less likely to understand why.

But honestly, like DC mentions about their testing program, I have doubts that they are asking their testers the right questions, or pushing rigorous tests hard enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What he didn't mention, and what irks me a bit more here, is that the Edge series seem *particularly* problematic in Garmin's lineup.

As I've mentioned before, I bought a Garmin VA3 watch, which is half the cost, 1/3 the size, and has given me no issues whatsoever....it stays connected at all times and does everything as advertised. It's like it's made by a different company, but I think it's because it's a mass-market, high-volume device in a ultra-competitive market where smartphone makers call the shots.

And that's the rub. To me, it feels like the Edge series, targeting a low-volume bike computer market, are overpriced and under-engineered devices mostly designed to soak money out of chumps who have no alternative devices made by heavy hitters like Apple and Samsung.

Garmin could make better cycling devices, but they just don't see the point.

Full disclosure: on the way to work this morning my Edge 520+ beeped "speed sensor found" EVERY TWO SECONDS for half the ride, then finally crashed and reset... because, hey, nobody cares.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,754 Posts
^^^ totally. I used their aviation and marine devices and they work. They're a very big presence in both, and there, of course, malfunctions can have much bigger ramifications. I have difficulty understanding how they can be the same company.
 

·
Rides all the bikes!
Joined
·
4,489 Posts
^^^ totally. I used their aviation and marine devices and they work. They're a very big presence in both, and there, of course, malfunctions can have much bigger ramifications. I have difficulty understanding how they can be the same company.
It's quite likely they aren't. Probably a totally different business unit, just shares the profits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
The article is more than fair. I believe most Garmin users would stay loyal if Garmin backed up their product and their features. Stop adding features and make the ones you offer more stable and resilient. I even offered to assist them with feedback and recommendations as both an IT expert and avid cyclist on their Facebook page. Did they ever respond? Of course not. Customer service isn't their sweet spot.

I have moved on to the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt with no regrets. It's a rock-solid computer that has yet to fail me. The menus are intuitive and configureable on my phone. The Wahoo updates also appear to be fairly forward maybe with the exception of sensor updates which I haven't gotten used to yet.

I suspect the code behind the Garmin isn't written very well and/or not QC'd enough before they deploy/push their updates. The Garmin battery life on my Edge 520 was atrocious and I am sure that can be somewhat attributed to bad/inefficient coding that attributes to the shorter battery life. I really loved my Garmin but they are their own worse enemy. Spot on article after all...
 

·
Loud tyres save lives
Joined
·
547 Posts
I seem to have lucked out in getting devices that were decent, or just getting lucky that the device I had was good. I can't think of any software issues I have had, besides a random bug (losing a single activity on my 310XT, and a single activity on my 800).

But tons of reports of people having problems is hard to ignore. And I mostly buy out dated models now that seem to have been either patched or weren't problems to begin with.

310XT
910XT
800
520+
Fenix 5
I find it difficult to get an idea how good or bad Garmin devices are as the prevailing opinion is they're all awful and unusable but I've had a variety of Garmin devices which have all been great.

I bought the Edge 520 for BT and radar support which has had a very hard life having been used in hot conditions, freezing conditions, frequently wet and muddy plus it's been there during multiple bike crashes but it's never crashed or failed to save a ride in all the years I've had it.

I've always liked the look of the Fenix series so when they made a smaller 's' model I bought it straight away and it's been so handy, never had an issue with it connecting to my phone apart from an error with Connect last week when they pushed out a faulty update. It was down for the day but sorted out the next one and made me appreciate how much I use the watch.

The most difficult decision was an Edge 1030 which I saw a great deal for but everywhere I read said it was in an awful state with constant crashes and freezes. I wanted something with good navigation, long batterylife and support for the radar so decided to take a gamble on it thinking at worst I could record the ride on another device and still take advantage of the navigation. However it's been superb, I find it great for long road rides and it's never frozen or crashed once, it did corrupt a single ride but it's not done it since.

I don't understand how my experience with Garmin devices is so radically different to most others and I certainly wouldn't use Garmin devices if they were that bad they work well for me and have a great feature set.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There does seem to be a lot of variation in the nature of problems people have, which has to make it difficult for anyone at Garmin troubleshooting.

For instance, a lot of users have problems with battery life. My batteries seem to last forever. When I first got the 520, I did a 13-hour winter ride at temps below freezing, livetracking, following a course, with backlight on for a few hours in the morning and evening, and still had 20-30% left.

The garmin support thread for the VA3 had a huge number of users with battery drain issues.... mine lasts an entire week. It kind of baffles me how supposedly identical mass-manufactured objects have this kind of variation.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,326 Posts
I don't understand how my experience with Garmin devices is so radically different to most others and I certainly wouldn't use Garmin devices if they were that bad they work well for me and have a great feature set.
The most consistent problems appear to be related to specific features. I've had 3 Edge 520 computers now and they've all been solid. One is my wife's, and mine had to be replaced because I smashed it in a crash. I don't use any of the features that people have problems with. Battery life has been fine for me. It hasn't done anything unexpected. But as I've said earlier, I have had issues in the past. My Forerunner 310XT became unusable because the ANT+ data transfer got so flaky and terrible. I had an Edge 705 that Garmin bricked with a bad firmware update that caused a lot of problems for people. Some were able to recover their devices, but I was unable to, even after spending hours on advanced recovery attempts with Garmin's tech support. They ended up replacing it with a refurb.

Since they've begun releasing more advanced models with more features and bigger price tags, I've pretty much avoided them. There's a lot of stuff they've come out with that I have no interest in. And it seems like the problem reports have been growing with the addition of more and more features. Garmin has a long history of releasing stuff that's iffy at first with things like battery life, elevation recording, and GPS accuracy, and they refine those things with firmware updates over time. It's always been a questionable strategy that they seem to have continued with (and the only reason I think most tolerated it to begin with was because Garmin's early competitors never resolved their own bugs with firmware updates at all), and with the increased complexity of their devices, the effects result in more significant degradation of the user experience.

There does seem to be a lot of variation in the nature of problems people have, which has to make it difficult for anyone at Garmin troubleshooting.
This is the truth. In addition to the sporadic battery life issues, I see sporadic tracking problems, too. I've never had problems with that, but it could potentially be related to using a specific combination of features, or it could possibly be some bad electronic components. There's a local kid on the mtb team I coach who's been having some accuracy issues with his Edge 520. I've been doing some troubleshooting with him to try to figure out what's causing them, but he gets huge position jumps from inaccurate points that I haven't seen on a GPS since before selective availability was turned off, and he'll get dropouts that last half an hour or more on the same ride as someone else with another Edge 520 that records the whole thing accurately.

It doesn't make any sense. I've seen people report similar problems in this forum, and Garmin isn't even remotely helpful about it. They just say, "it's the forest" or some other bullshit answer. Their customer service used to be stellar, but they've been slipping.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top