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I'm selling my Polar 720i and buying a garmin edge 305. It looks to have all the features of a 720i + GPS.

I've been using the 720i for 2+ years and I like the Polar software - so I'm wondering about the ease of use for the garmin computer and software.

any feedback on the garmin is appreciated!
 

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305

I have used it for about 8 month now and it works great..but here is what my cons are. No total elevation data, you need to recharge the battery every 12 hours of use. Ticks me off when I forget to plug it in and get on my bike and it's dead. No quick charge. Bar mount housing is suspect to the 305 ejecting from it's housing mount (off road) that's why I wear mine on my arm. But with that being said...Your going to like it..
 

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Polar 725 user

I've been using a Polar 725 for nearly two years and recently got an Edge.

I prefer the Polar software's graphs (much more flexible) over Garmin's, however there seems to be a lot of third party software for the Garmin being developed (SportTracks, etc.), so that may change.

I plan on keeping my Polar and using it for swimming and indoor exercise equipment, and I think it would be worth the effort to write a filter (both file formats are published) to convert the Garmin history file into the Polar .hrm.

I only plan on using the Edge's wheel/cadence sensor on my road bike (mileage numbers from the GPS are good enough for the trails I ride for mtb'ing), and this eve I did a 20 mile hilly ride with both the Polar and Edge sensors mounted. While both wheel sizes have been set the same, the mileage numbers and average speed differ slightly. I also got interference which caused both heart rate numbers to go bonkers for awhile, so those numbers are off. I'll spend more time looking at the data to see where they differ, but otherwise I plan on removing the Polar sensors before my next ride.
 

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Don't count calories

I have had the Edge 305 for 5 months now and really do like it. However, the calorie calculator is way off. It is not even in the ballpark. Not that this is an improtant fucntion, but if you are counting on it be prepared.

The MotionBased forums might give you some perspective too. Remember it is a forum, so mostly techies and those with gripes post there.

http://forums.motionbased.com/smf/index.php?board=55.0
 

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GeoMan
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I've ridden over 1000 miles of mountain trails with my Edge 305. I loved it so much I started selling them and have sold over 650 of them so far (as of July 1, 2006).

Honestly, I have never had a return due to a dissatisfied client. Sure, after selling so many we've had a few units that needed tech support but after getting the bugs ironed out, I hear nothing but great feedback. And, Garmin is a quality company with great customer service. They aim to please and realize the potential of this market. I had a client smash his Edge to smithereens in his SUV hatchback the other day :nono: and Garmin is repairing/replacing it under their flat rate warranty service program. That is excellent customer support.

If you keep up-to-date on the firmware upgrades (click) you will note improvements in calorie counting. And, if you want, I'll send you the instructions for building the Edge battery extender via email. We've had a few century and double century riders use them to great success. My email is [email protected].

TTYL,
Geo.Man
 

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update the software

I have a 205 and love it - sure the battery charging etc. is less convenient than a regular bike computer but it's minor in all the data/info you get.

as far as the Calorie counter and other software issues are concerned - Garmin has been excellent at updating the software - you simply need to download a file and run it to update the software (you'll find that the Calorie counter has been updated to be much more accurate - accounting for climbing,descending and flats.) in addition to many more updates that continually improve on an already solid platform.

http://www.garmin.com/support/download.jsp

As far as total elevation - you can get it from the Training Center software when you upload your history. I ride almost exclusively off-road with a lot of technical riding and have yet to have an issue with the mounts on either my Blur or road bike.

Get a garmin, you won't be disappointed.

G
 

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Calories still way off

I have updated every time a new version has come out and I will still say that the calorie counting is way off.

When I have a MTB race with 2100 ft of climbing over 21 miles and an avg HR of 174 for 1 hr 40 min and burn the same calories as when I commute to work with an avg HR of 145 for 1 hr 30 min but with a higher avg speed and only 400 ft of elevation, then the calorie counter is just wrong.

They still have a long way to go on this one.
 

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GeoMan
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Mine works fine as well with no problems calculating calories. Of course, accuracy could be an issue but I've never had reason to question it since it seems reasonable and comparable to other computers I've used.

Might want to discuss with Garmin TS? If you do and learn something new, would you share it with us?

Best,

Geo.Man
 

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agreed

my gps seems to count calories fine (or as well as could be expected - see below) - I do have the 205 and not the 305 though. Again you may want to contact Garmin's TS though.

Additionally, these calorie counters as a whole are not complete or accurate as they don't account for wind resistance (other than speed - such as a 15mph head wind), ambient temperature and other factors that could greatly affect calorie burn over a ride.
 

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Might be worth a read

I'm not the only one. This is a known issue with the Edge. They just recently fixed the more calories when going down hill problem. I still like the unit and the calories are just a small feature upon which I do not rely. But given the greater than 50% inaccuracy it is not even in the ball park especially when comaring efforts between a MTB race and a slow commute on the road bike.

Take a look at what others have been saying:

http://forums.motionbased.com/smf/index.php?topic=2109.0
 

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GeoMan
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Zip,

Of course you're not the only one. With thousands (if not millions) sold already, there's bound to be a few issues surfacing. I'm just glad you have the opportunity to use such a cool device! I mean, think about it. GPS derived stats??? How cool is that? Everybody's raving about the Edge 305 even if the calorie count is suspect on some units. The Edge 305 literally changed my life.

Glad to be involved.

Best regards,

Geo.Man
 

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Last thought

GeoMan,

It is obvious that you like the device and so do I, so don't take my comments as bashing the deveice. BUt, my the calorie counting is NOT limited to my device. It is an inherent flaw in the way the device calculates calories. Until Garmin decides to spend a litle more time (to their credit it no longer calculates calories higher when going down hill and coasting than riding pushing uphill) I will consider this a drawback to an otherwise good unit.

Just don't let your selling of the unit cloud the fact that the software and calculation of calories still does not come close to reality. I suggest you go for a 1.5 hr ride at 90% Max HR on a mountain bike but keep your speed below 12 MPH, then go on a 1.5 hr ride on a road bike with HR at 70-75% max and avg speed of 20 MPH and you will see that the calories are almost the same, ususally the road bike ride gets calculated a little higher. This is just plain wrong. Garmin should factor HR more into the calorie calc. as it appears that they are focusing on speed more now.

Given that the unit asks for user age, Max HR, bike weight etc in the set-up you would thnk that they would use this a little better in the calcs.

So remember, this is not an issue with my unit, it is the way the software is designed so the results are repeatable on any unit.
 

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Im really really close to pulling the trigger and buying a 305 as well. I want it for my MTB and also for speed skating. So with that said one of you said you strap it to your arm vs on the stem, what are you using for the strap? I almost got the wrist mount one but I just think that would drive me nuts but if there is a nice way to strap it to my arm that will not bother me that would be great for both sports.

Also if you use the car charger can you run it for say 16 hours non stop on the car charger without a problem? Is it just a charger or is it also a power supply?


I really want to order it, just inches from the trigger. Thanks.
 

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GeoMan
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Zip, et al,

Let's just hope that if there's a calorie counting problem (which seems to be the case) that Garmin gets it fixed poste haste.

In the meantime, I'm out riding and not all that worried about it. The other calculations seem much more relevant to my needs and, frankly, of the 650 or so that I've sold todate, this is the only place where I've had it mentioned to me... And I do keep close tabs on my customers. You can draw your own conclusions.

But, you are absolutely correct. Garmin needs to make certain that their product lives up to their representations.

Hope to see you out there!

Geo.Man
 

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There was a good formula in a book I read (might have been by burke?) one time for computing calories, you could probably just use MS excel to post-process.

These were the baseline values (ie flat ground no wind), you'd then add/subtract % based on wind, elevation up/down, plus refine them for bike position, body size, rolling resistance, etc.

Avg. Speed Baseline coefficient cal/lb/min
MPH
8 0.0295
10 0.0355
12 0.0426
14 0.0512
15 0.0561
16 0.0615
17 0.0675
18 0.074
19 0.0811
20 0.0891
21 0.0975
23 0.1173
25 0.1411

you can see that there is exponential growth not linear, ie riding 2X as fast will burn more than 2X the calories, so a flat high speed run *could* result in the same or more calories burned than a hilly slow-speed run.
 

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Polar Blows...

OK, I just need to take this opportunity to rant.

This morning I added a new USB hub to my computer. This precipitated 3 hours of f*cking around witht the Polar USB unit. I became painfully aware that a) the Polar USB drivers are more than 5 years old, and have never been updated; b) the polar documentation is the worst of any product I have seen in a many a year; c) the polar online support is absolutely worthless; d) countless others have had huge time-consuming problems with similar issues.

The solution eventually came randomly: plug the USB thingy into the computer directly, not the USB hub.

Anyway, the watch is great, and once it's working the software is great too. However, the user installation experience is inconcievably awful. If I had to do it all over again, I would run - not walk - away from Polar.
 

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I am getting back in to Mountain Biking after a 10 year hiatus (man how the bikes have changed), so I can't speak too much about the cycling-specific computers. I have been way into running for the past year or so and bought the Garmin Forerunner 305, which is a wrist mount version of the Edge 305 made for running. It totally rocks for running and the Training Center software is very cool. I noticed the Forerunner had a bike mode, so I strapped it to the handlebars of my MTB and it worked freakin awesome. I rigged up a foam handlebar mount for it and it is solid.

I have ran about 85 miles and biked about 75 miles with it so far and it has never lost the GPS signal.

The only difference I can see is that the display on the Edge is bigger, so you can get more info on the screen. The Forerunner can even use the cadence sensor.

I had a Polar RS200SD running computer and it was very quirky. I ran about 500 miles on it before I gave up and ebayed it. The Garmin kicks butt.
 
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