advice on buying a Garmin

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advice on buying a Garmin

Postby oldnewby » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:29 pm

Hi all, I have an 'old skool' Cateye computer on my bike, which has served me well. A few months back I got an I Phone, and started using Strava. As most of you probably know, this is all of a sudden an essential way of tracking data :)
Long rides and i phone batteries don't go well, so I'm wondering about buying a Garmin. Hoping to spend as little as possible, and just want it to put basic info into Strava - distance, avg speed, max speed, elevation gain.

Anyone's feedback & advice would be greatly appreciated!
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by BNA » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:35 pm

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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby macca33 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:35 pm

I purchased one in November and have to say it was a fantastic investment - well worth it. The functionality of them leaves the old-style cycle computer for dead and they are totally integrated (HRM / Cadence), with some fantastic software available, which can be used to analyse your rides and assist in planning / setting goals, ie Garmin connect, Strava, etc, etc..

As the 'new' Garmins have just been released, you may be able to track down an 'old' version at a very good price at the moment.

I purchased the Edge 500 - HRM / Cadence pack for $250 from ProBikeKit in the US. Other retailers will probably have similar prices.

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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby stinhambo » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:24 pm

Unless you need to track your heart rate and cadence, I'd go with a Garmin 200. Loving mine so far!
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby HLC » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:43 pm

Garmin 200. No wires, no mess, no worries.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby oldnewby » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:57 am

thanks HLC, stinhambo, and macca.
You've sold me - Garmin 200 it is, I looked online and thought that would be the one for me - I just wasn't sure (by the product description) if it did elevation.

Thanks again guys!
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby stinhambo » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:37 am

oldnewby wrote:thanks HLC, stinhambo, and macca.
You've sold me - Garmin 200 it is, I looked online and thought that would be the one for me - I just wasn't sure (by the product description) if it did elevation.

Thanks again guys!


You're welcome and enjoy!

If you're a premium Strava user, you can scope out local rides and download them as .GPX files. Simply hook up your Garmin to the computer and browse it like a hard drive. Place the .GPX file into the /newfiles folder and it will add them to the list when you restart.

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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby __PG__ » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:58 pm

I would regard a bike computer without a cadence sensor as largely useless. Especially for a relatively in-experienced rider.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby Pravda » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:22 pm

__PG__ wrote:I would regard a bike computer without a cadence sensor as largely useless. Especially for a relatively in-experienced rider.


Yup. If you're onky going to have speed and the other normal garmin settings I wouldn't bother. Cadence and hrm are the two best things about garmins and other computers. Edge 500 is where it's at.

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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby grantw » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:01 pm

I agree - cadence is very important, I tend to look at that more than speed. Plus all of the other data you get out of the 500/800 is pretty interesting as well.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby stinhambo » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:54 pm

__PG__ wrote:I would regard a bike computer without a cadence sensor as largely useless. Especially for a relatively in-experienced rider.


In what scenario? Enjoying a weekend cycle?

How did we all get along before cadence monitors?
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby __PG__ » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:05 pm

stinhambo wrote:How did we all get along before cadence monitors?


We rode along with our 53-42T chainrings and mashed the pedals as hard as we could. We all got sore knees and lots of lactic build-up.

If you are starting off in cycling and looking to improve in any way, IMO a cadence monitor is the most important. The second is clipless pedals.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby Mrfenejeans » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:16 pm

I'd buy a standard Garmin500 with no HRM or Cadence, that way at least later on it allows you to use them when/if you decide to, the Garmin200 would mean you have to buy a new unit regardless, which may be a little short sighted. IMO
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby Pravda » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:46 pm

A 200 will give most of the same info youre getting now with the added bonus of gps while the 500 opens up all of the more serious training options that come with hrm and cadence info.
That said going by current wiggle prices s 500 with hrm and cadence ($250) will cost you double what a 200 ($129) will.

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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby oldnewby » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:37 pm

thanks again all, really appreciate the info & feedback!
I get what you mean about cadence, heart rate etc, and perhaps one day I'll use those things...
But although I do enjoy my cycling (a lot), and I am looking to improve, I am completely 'recreational'.

The compromise may be (as someone suggested), by the 500, but without the hrm or cadence.
I'd still say at this point, it will be the 200 for price.

Thanks again tho everyone, I really do appreciate it.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby 50cal » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:40 am

If your still researching. Go the 910xt with cadence kit. Yea it comes with HRM included albeit you can get the 910 without hr which has no cadence or with hr and no cadence or full kit.

If your on strava this will upload everything. You want gradients on road etc it is full house. You'll outlay at the start approx $460 however it will serve you for the long haul. Bear in mind it's a full Tri watch swim run bike. It captures everything and yes it has gps too.

Go ahead look at the reviews then make your final call. FYI the cadence kit has a kit for the watch to be quick release and your able to put it on your bike.

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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby The Walrus » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:11 am

I got a Garmin 800 about a year ago and it's obviously a nice piece if kit and it's a good toy to play with, but in many respects I wish I'd stayed with my basic bike computer.

Frankly it has far too much for my own needs. LBS said if I got the 200 I'd regret it, I can't answer that as I got the 800 and its complete overkill 'for me'.

I get a bit sick of people (LBS, forums, group rides etc) making these grand statements like 'without cadence it's pointless'...well maybe in your opinion but I've never used cadence or HRM, and won't.

Unless you know exactly what someone is going to use it for, or likely to use it for, then don't dismiss a lesser model based in your own snobbery or obsessions!

The constant pissing contest in this hobby is so boring. I think people need to get a grip.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby __PG__ » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:29 am

If you are buying a computer as a training tool, then there is no point getting one without a cadence sensor IMO

The original poster has stated that he wants a computer to log all his rides, to keep a historical record. Now, you would only be interested in this if you were looking at it from a training point of view. How much did I ride last month? What was my best time on my favourite hill? Otherwise you'd just stick with a basic Cateye.

When I started riding I slammed it into top gear as soon as I could on the flats and only changed down at the lights and at hills. Luckily I met up with a friend who was doing a bit of racing and he taught me a bit more about cadence and how it helps muscle endurance etc. A few years later I upgraded my Cateye to one with a cadence sensor. I've had that bike computer for about 10 years and along with a smart phone it gives you pretty much everything you need.

I just bought a Garmin 500 a few months ago and the only advantages are battery life (my iPhone 3GS runs out after about 3.5 hours on the bike) and the heart-rate monitor. The HRM is an interesting feature which I'm getting to grips with, but IMO it's not as essential as a cadence sensor for developing your riding skills.

IMO spending $130 on a bike computer without a cadence sensor is a complete waste of money. You can buy a Cateye with a cadence sensor for half that. Getting a Garmin 500 base unit for $200 (or less) is a much better option in the long term as it gives you an upgrade path.

It's got nothing to do with a 'pissing contest'. It's about making the $$'s work to give you the best outcomes, which in this case are helping you ride faster/longer/stronger.

That's just my 2 cents, but I've ridden with/without cadence and for me the difference in having awareness of your cadence (and developing your muscles to spin at an efficient RPM) versus just riding along pushing your pedals...is night and day and I'm not going to ditch it yet.
Last edited by __PG__ on Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby simonn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:03 am

__PG__, I get what you are saying, but I had/have a Sigma BC1606L (or whatever) and gave up worrying about cadence. Didn't even bother with installing the cadence sensor on my good bike.

I just got a Garmin Edge 800 bundle, which slices and dices, and grabs a beer out of the fridge for you, so I now have cadence. It is way up there, on training rides above 90 avg. IOW, cadence, like speed and endurance, will come with time. What strava does best is keep you motivated, which IMHO is more important. You need a gps for that really.

Saying that though, I would agree that if you are going to buy a 200 you may as well go the 500 (or even 800), as the 200 offers nothing over a phone (other than I personally would not want my phone on my bars waiting for a minor stack to damage it!).
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby simonn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:12 am

The Walrus wrote:I get a bit sick of people (LBS, forums, group rides etc) making these grand statements like 'without cadence it's pointless'...well maybe in your opinion but I've never used cadence or HRM, and won't.


In the context of the OP already having a gps logging device (i.e. phone) for Strava the 200 is "pointless", meaning the 200 offers very little above what they already have.

This is not a "pissing contest", just a logical evaluation of features.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby BrisVegas » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:20 am

my noob opinion is that a basic computer with cadence + strava on a smartphone is a reasonable option. I've been looking at getting a Cateye Strada double wireless for <$100 so that I've got more info on the go. I track my rides with strava, but never know how fast I'm going til the coffee shop afterwards! I would like to try and improve my cadence too.

Otherwise, a runout Garmin 500 bundle for <$250 seems to do it all in one.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby jasonc » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:21 am

__PG__ wrote:If you are buying a computer as a training tool, then there is no point getting one without a cadence sensor IMO


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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby stinhambo » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:54 am

simonn wrote:
The Walrus wrote:I get a bit sick of people (LBS, forums, group rides etc) making these grand statements like 'without cadence it's pointless'...well maybe in your opinion but I've never used cadence or HRM, and won't.


In the context of the OP already having a gps logging device (i.e. phone) for Strava the 200 is "pointless", meaning the 200 offers very little above what they already have.

This is not a "pissing contest", just a logical evaluation of features.


I disagree. GPS on the smartphone can be hit and miss and can suck the battery, I've lost a few rides worth of data because Strava stopped while I took a call or took a picture. Plus I like to glance at my computer to see how I'm doing. And I don't want it getting damaged in the rain. All in all I think the 200 is a good purchase.

The 500 does not cost $200 or less, they are advertised at $300+ for all the HR and Cadence sensors - http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Garmin-500- ... ory=150339

I'm no expert but I can tell if I'm pushing on the pedals rather than spinning. It won't be as accurate as a cadence sensor by a long way but I don't pedal in 18th gear all day either.

If you can find a used one then more power to you.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby jasonc » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:09 am

stinhambo wrote:The 500 does not cost $200 or less, they are advertised at $300+ for all the HR and Cadence sensors - http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Garmin-500- ... ory=150339


wiggle have them for $260
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby sblack » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:33 am

You can compare the 200 and 500 on Garmin's site.


Whilse the ANT+ for future upgrades on the 500 makes sense to many, whether that's worth the extra cost is really a personal thing. A couple of other things to consider though.

oldnewby wrote:thanks HLC, stinhambo, and macca.
You've sold me - Garmin 200 it is, I looked online and thought that would be the one for me - I just wasn't sure (by the product description) if it did elevation.

The 500 has barometric altimeter whilst the 200 does not. This is a big plus for the 500 since you're tracking your climbing.

Also, I don't know what longer rides you may be considering but the battery life on the 200 is listed as 14 hours as opposed to 18 on the 500. For me that means I'm confident of the 500 lasting a 300km ride but I wouldn't be with the 200.

Finally, the 500 has customisable screens whereas the 200 doesn't. That may not matter to many but to others being able to display what data you want is a big plus, again if your interested in climbing information then there is none available to you during the ride on the 200.

Of course, as well as the sale prices on the 500 with the release of the 510 it may also be worth keeping an eye out for people who feel the need to upgrade offloading their 500 and note that if it's still within the warranty period then the warranty transfers with ownership.
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Re: advice on buying a Garmin

Postby stinhambo » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:03 pm

jasonc wrote:
stinhambo wrote:The 500 does not cost $200 or less, they are advertised at $300+ for all the HR and Cadence sensors - http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Garmin-500- ... ory=150339


wiggle have them for $260


With no Australian warranty.
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