So, I broke down and bought a Garmin Edge 705 GPS. My thoughts follow:
- It tracks a lot of information…up to 16 different items are instantly viewable with a single button push. For instance: Speed, Average Speed, Max. Speed, Elevation, Elevation Gain, Percent of Grade you are on, Heart Rate, Average Heart Rate, Cadence, Average Cadence, Calories, Lap time, Ride Time, Pause time, etc.
- The unit, with or without the wheel sensor (in which case all distance comes from satellites) seems more accurate in terms of ride time, pause time an miles, than a standard cyclometer. In fact, with the wheel sensor, put the wheel size on automatic and it will set and periodically adjust the proper setting for you.
- By setting up a series of Favorites I can easily cut off a long bike ride for a shorter way back.
- Even on a hike, with just a tracking of my steps, I can see where I am in relation to where I started.
- If I want to store a route that I am riding, I just need to Start the unit and Stop it and Reset, when I am done.
- There are thousands of links to GPS files online to download.
- Two Garmin 705s can transfer rides between them just by pressing some buttons.
- Many online and computer based mapping systems export to GPS, which I can then upload into my Garmin.
- There a many not so obvious features that I am still learning about.
THE BAD AND THE UGLY:
- In speaking with other cyclists who have this unit it seems that an awful lot of people use it as no more than an extremely expensive cyclometer. They never program it on any level.
- For the price of a unit like this you’d think that it would include a thermometer.
- As a near monopoly, the ‘nickel and dime’ to death attitude of what you really need to buy to make the unit complete is another example of corporate greed. You need to buy maps for the unit and map software (if you want to use theirs). The wheel sensor and cadence monitor are extra as well.
- The Calorie counter is a joke unless you set your weight to 50% to 60% of what it really is. When I questioned tech about this I got a defensive non answer.
- The Garmin Map Source (to create routes) works, but is definitely second rate software.
- The menu system is logical to someone, but not me.
- Checking Avoid Major Roads doesn’t always recognize major roads for bicycles (which may not be true for cars or tanks).
Anyway, I am enjoying it for what is does well.