Real life bike and gear tests
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Garmin Edge 705
I purchased the unit from http://www.octapc.com.au/. The sale went smoothly and apart from a small mix up with couriers resulting in a 2 day delivery rather than the 1 day as promised I was generally happy with Nicks communication at the store. The unit was bought for $569 inc GST.
How it is used
Will be used on every bike for every ride, commuting, touring and recreational cycling
Trainer. Navigator. Edge 705 pushes you to do your best, then shows you the way back. This GPS-enabled cycle computer knows no limits. Get heart rate, cadence, turn-by-turn directions, power data (from ANT+â„¢-enabled third-party power meters) â€” the works. Even share your data with other Edge 705 buddies after your ride. All wireless with a color display, this is no ordinary cycle computer.
Interchangeable between bikes
User configurable info screens
No user replaceable battery
I will go into a bit more detail here as per my blog post
Setup of the unit proved to be so amazingly easy, the bike mount went on super easy and initially thats all you really need to do as the speed and mapping are taken care of with GPS, the additional supplied Cadence/speed sensor can then be added to enhance the accuracy of the unit. Although I have found mine to be super accurate without installing it. The units, user/bike details then are also very easy to setup along with training zones for heart rates.
You can also setup the screens as you want, so zoom levels on maps, information on the display is all user definable, great for being able to see exactly what you want, when you want.
The unit comes with basic maps which are great for seeing roughly were you are. I have gone one step further and added route-able maps from OPENSTREETMAPS, an open source mapping community built by the users. These maps are very good and work brilliantly on the Garmin, of course they require upkeep by us the users, so the more people who contribute the better.
My first ride on the unit was just a small commute of 13k form work to home, the unit worked flawlessly, the data was easily readable, quick to respond to presses of the keys and the backlight is an awesome addition. The chest strap for the HRM is really comfortable and never loses connection to the unit, something my old Polar seemed to do frequently so another tick in the boxes.
The battery life is claimed to be 15 hours by Garmin, although I havenâ€™t had the opportunity to test this fully, the results that I have been seeing suggest that this is an accurate assumption. Even with the HRM and using the back light occasionally I believe this is easily achievable. The battery is also easily charged with any Micro USB cable either from the PC/mac or from the mains power. You can also charge the unit with a portable AA battery pack thats designed for charging MP3â€™s on the go.
In summary the first impressions of the unit is awesome, I really believe that I have made the right choice in purchasing this product. I have heard a few issues with reliability so we shall have to see how we go. I will update this post and write others when I have more experience with the product.
I would thoroughly recommend this product even at this price point
Value for money 7
Pictures can be found here http://idurx.com/?p=187
Guys I have added a bit more detail on the Garmin if your interested :-
Ok so I have had my Garmin for a week or so now and I thought I would update some of the thoughts that I had initially here.
Accuracy. Now having done a few longer rides over various different style roads I can confirm that the unit seems to be super accurate, satalite connection is VERY strong remaining fixed through underpasses, tunnels and it even works pretty much all the way through my place of work. I have also now installed the speed/cadence sensor to the rear wheel.
This provides a further level of accuracy using both satalite and real time data from the sensor to establish speed. It is a dual sensor so it sits between your crank arm and rear wheel and both magnets pass close to each side of the unit, a very clever design which works really well. This is the first computer I have had with cadence and its interesting to see what my average and max speeds are in relation to cadence. It seems that I am pretty normal averaging around 90 rpm which they say is very efficient.
The battery life remains high on the list of priorities for me especially as during the summer I have a tendancy to do long rides and even multiday rides where I might not have access to a power point. I am pleased to report that battery life is awesome, I can see no issues in the unit achieving the claimed 15 hours, maybe even more if your not using the HRM/Speed sensor.
I find the collection of data something that I am really quite new at, in relation to my riding. Cycling for a few years without any real computer at all and not really worrying about distance and speed etc. What I am finding is, its interesting, its great fun analyzing your rides, routes and data. You find yourself constantly trying to compete with yourself, better your previous rides and then if you donâ€™t beat them wondering why. It really makes you think like a professional sports person.
One of the things that I knew would be helpful is the mapping, its not a turn by turn navigation unit really although you can use route-able maps, but the option to overlay a previous ride of your own, or the ability to download a GPX file from one of the training websites is very helpful. You can download a ride that someone else has mapped out or completed then upload to your Garmin and simply follow the line on the map. For someone who is new to a particular area or has a bad sense of direction this is tremendous.
The huge memory of the Garmin is also great in that you have access to all your ride data for pretty much every ride that you have done, if you run out of the 1gb space on the unit simply plug a 2gb micro sd card in and your back up and running with even more space. Although every week or so I am starting to keep backups of the Garmin files on my Mac for extra security incase the unit breaks down or gets lost.
Th unit also performs well in the wet, although the USB cover on the rear could certainly be classed as not quite adequate, however having done a few wet rides there have been no issues to speak of to date and forums are suggesting that it is not an issue.
There are also lots of sports websites that allow you to upload your activities to the site and share/analyze and review your data. I have been using a few such as Garmin Connect which is Garminâ€™s own website, this has lots of features whilst still remaining very simplistic in its appearance and easy to use. You can download all new activities and then edit the descriptions as you see fit, each activity has a large amount of detail that can be edited (see pic below)
Garmin Connect - Activities for craigdurk
Cyclogs is also another that I have warmed to, very cycling specific and detailed info can be edited, there is also a great online community for this site, the ability to add pictures etc to your rides is also very appealing.
I am finding that my love for cycling has been rekindled and I am becoming more competitive as well, mostly against myself, however I see that as a huge plus. I will continue to use my Garmin and continue to try and improve my results as time goes on.
The full version with pics is available here http://idurx.com/?p=204
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