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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a basic cycle computer that gives the basics, current speed, average speed, distance, time, odometer, and for the most part have been happy enough with that information. Newer GPS units like the Garmin 830 seem to have a lot more features but are way more $$$. The ability to download a route and get turn by turn prompts is a nice feature but we usually ride known routes most of the time. Are the GPS really all that and would I be giving up anything from my current set up? Thanks!
 

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I currently have a basic cycle computer that gives the basics, current speed, average speed, distance, time, odometer, and for the most part have been happy enough with that information. Newer GPS units like the Garmin 830 seem to have a lot more features but are way more $$$. The ability to download a route and get turn by turn prompts is a nice feature but we usually ride known routes most of the time. Are the GPS really all that and would I be giving up anything from my current set up? Thanks!
I think that without a power meter or heart rate monitor what you are using is fine.


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Are the GPS really all that and would I be giving up anything from my current set up? Thanks!
Yes they really are all that (and then some). Almost all of my rides involve following a route. So it's indispensable.

But from what you describe, it wouldn't be all that for you. There are some non-navigation/map GPS units that are under $100. They may be perfect for you. Gives you all your ride data. And you can download your ride to Strava, RWGPS, etc.

Some of these work with phone apps too. So while you may not have full navigation, I think you can stop and access your location on the phone if lost.

Bryton Rider 15 neo GPS Bike/Cycling Computer Device Only: Twist | Click | Go! 3 Satellite System. 16 Hr Battery Life. Supports BLE Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate Sensors. Backlight. Smart Notifications.

LEZYNE Macro Easy GPS Bike Computer, Bluetooth Connect, USB Rechargeable, 28H Runtime, Bicycle GPS

CYCPLUS GPS Bike Computer Waterproof Bicycle Speedometer and Odometer ANT+ Wireless Cycling Computer Compatible with App 2.9 Inch LCD Display with Backlight M1

Bryton Rider 420E GPS Bike/Cycling Bike Computer. 35hrs Long Battery Life, Bread-Crumb Trail with Turn-by Turn Follow Track. 5 Satellites Systems Support for Extreme Accuracy.

Bryton Rider 15 neo GPS Bike/Cycling Computer Device Only: Twist | Click | Go! 3 Satellite System. 16 Hr Battery Life. Supports BLE Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate Sensors. Backlight. Smart Notifications.
 

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I think if you don't use STRAVA, don't need navigation, and don't care about your ride data other than speed/distance, a GPS would be a giant waste of money.

Also, they can also be less accurate at measuring distance but that's probably more likely on MTB rides where you have lots of tight switchbacks.

I don't use GPS on any of my bikes and don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.
 

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Sounds like you are wondering why people spend a hell of a lot of money on these complicated devices that do everything except make coffee. People like gadgets. I like gadgets. I like new gadgets that can be fun to use. Do I need this stuff, not really, but I enjoy using them. I've been tracking my workouts since about 1990 and know that I might make it to 100,000 miles this year. Knowing that gives me a goal and motivation.

I used to use a log book, where I wrote things down, then I used a custom computer program (Aimbie software) that was a PC based spreadsheet and data base, then I used a smartphone app that dumped up to a website, but didn't have that on the h-bar, then I discovered the Edge series from Garmin and I was hooked, as it automatically got my ride data up to a web based fitness tracking program. I like that. I actually do on occasion go back and look at ride data from a decade ago, as well as can look up the route I took last time I was at Acadia National Park, etc..... I also make a lot of use out of route creation and navigation plus turn-by-turn. I've been a ride leader for my small group as we ride in places we've never been and I can safely and easily navigate a new route. With all of the above, spending $400 is worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I typically wear an Apple watch during rides that gives me heart rate, elevation gain, time and distance. Not sure how accurate all these data points are with an Apple watch and how much more (if any) accurate a GPS computer would be.
 

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"Turn by turn prompts"? Who on earth would want that? Don't you know your way around your own town?
 

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If you know your routes, why would you want 'turn by turn'? That doesn't make sense. Do you get lost a lot like tlg?
What I like most about my GPS units is that I can use them on any of my bikes, or hiking, or running (which I do not do) and never worry about wheel sensors, wheel dia, etc. It is just the info without the hassle which ever bike I pull off the rack.
Cateye Stealth are not a huge investment like Garmin, etc. Now those would be over kill and why would one want all that clunkiness on the handlebar or ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you know your routes, why would you want 'turn by turn'? That doesn't make sense. Do you get lost a lot like tlg?
What I like most about my GPS units is that I can use them on any of my bikes, or hiking, or running (which I do not do) and never worry about wheel sensors, wheel dia, etc. It is just the info without the hassle which ever bike I pull off the rack.
Cateye Stealth are not a huge investment like Garmin, etc. Now those would be over kill and why would one want all that clunkiness on the handlebar or ?
Read the original post. MOST of the time we are riding known routes, not 100% of the time. Turn by turn may be a nice feature at times such as organized rides where you can download the route prior to the ride. So yes, if does make sense at times. Is it a big enough deal to spend $400 on a GPS unit? That is why I started the thread. And no, I have never gotten lost is 40+ years of biking.
 

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"Turn by turn prompts"? Who on earth would want that? Don't you know your way around your own town?
I never use it around areas I'm familiar with, then it's just an activity tracker.

It's terrific being able to create routes out of town, where I don't know the roads, lets me explore new areas without worrying about getting lost. Ive gotten good at checking out roads in Google Street view as well as Earth to determine suitability, then create routes to follow on the GPS unit. I've used it many times on outback gravel/dirt rides in the Adirondacks of NY as well as northern Maine. I can see my location, I know how far to next turn. It's great.
 

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I never use it around areas I'm familiar with, then it's just an activity tracker.

It's terrific being able to create routes out of town, where I don't know the roads, lets me explore new areas without worrying about getting lost. Ive gotten good at checking out roads in Google Street view as well as Earth to determine suitability, then create routes to follow on the GPS unit. I've used it many times on outback gravel/dirt rides in the Adirondacks of NY as well as northern Maine. I can see my location, I know how far to next turn. It's great.
Used that way, makes perfect sense to have navigation. I’ll often pre-drive a route, or pieces of it I have questions about. But I’m around a lot of cars. I have but don’t use turn by turn navigation. I do kind of like having it though.

So, was that a typo or are you actually riding close to 300 miles every day?


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OK, you set up a route and you are on the ride. Your following your 'turn by turn', then you find out the road your turning onto is under construction, got a bunch of asshats on it, there is a wreck, .... back to square one. Most of the time you don't need it, is it worth $400 and working with a PITA piece of crap, you have to decide that for yourself.
I didn't notice that 300 miles a day thing, if he rides that much one would think he already knows where he's going.
 

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I've gone with my iPhone on my handlebar mount (via QuadLock) and an AppleWatch for data collection. I've not bother with any of the apps or services, but I've consider it. I find the AppleWatch collects the data I want to look at (but do nothing with). It's just enough data to have a sense of pride in the numbers. In my past life time I collect all the data I could and kept it all in a big spreadsheet. Now, not so much.

If i get lost, or need a map or to reach out to the larger world the phone works for that. Its right there on my handlebar, so its easy to see. I've noticed the iPhone will use the AppleWatch to tell me when to turn and what not. I like the tackle feedback, even when driving.

I have had one call while riding, it was my daughter with a FaceTime call. I was pedaling through Waikiki, she could see the palm trees over my head, she thought that was cool.

The Watch is still collecting data... Apple Fitness app (on the phone) has its nice little map and data display, that are shareable, which I've texted to people I'm close to. The AppleWatch also collects my data for hikes, and walks, and when I work out. So for me its not just a bicycle things.

I guess what I'm should be saying is that the modern mobile phone does everything that a fancy GPS bike computer does and more. Consider using your phone and a handlebar mount. If you get lost you can just open your phone and tell it to find your way home. IF you want to plan a ride there are a bunch of apps for that. The nice thing about the phone and maps apps like Google Maps, is they have near real time data.

Side note with Google Maps, you can have the app cache maps on your phone so if it can't connect to the internet for what ever reason it can still be usable.
 

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I have used both GPS and non GPS computers.
Non GPS can give you all the info you need and units are inexpensive.
Currently I use a Garmin 130 with a Garmin Varia RVR 315. I had Polar computer units that died and later were discontinued.
Why? The best basic gps setup I could figure for a low cost replicating my Polar. GPS gives me no interference with my front light. I really appreciate the rear radar. I use my own rear light.
Higher end GPS gives you all kinds of upgrades. I don’t need/want any of that.
 

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I think you're fine with what you have. IMO, you're not missing anything other than a lighter wallet.

I have a basic Cateye cycle computer and I use the free Strava app on my smartphone to track my rides. If I will be riding an unfamiliar route, I will go onto my laptop and map it out on Mapmyride beforehand, then print the cue sheet and clip it to my handlebar.
 
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I am going to guess he meant 100,000 miles in his riding lifetime.
Correct, that's my lifetime. I'm at over 96,000 currently.

You cannot plan for every contingency, If using a paper map, you are still dragging out the map, or on a GPS, going to the map screen, to find an alternative. Either way works. I've used the on screen map on my local rides, when construction closes what would be my normal loop. Having a GPS map available is handy, as on a local loop I normally wouldn't carry a paper map.
 

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Correct, that's my lifetime. I'm at over 96,000 currently.

You cannot plan for every contingency, If using a paper map, you are still dragging out the map, or on a GPS, going to the map screen, to find an alternative. Either way works. I've used the on screen map on my local rides, when construction closes what would be my normal loop. Having a GPS map available is handy, as on a local loop I normally wouldn't carry a paper map.
If I need to "detour", I get out my smartphone and look at the good old Google Maps.
 
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