learn me about Strava and GPS
Last Post 03/10/2014 11:29 PM by Darrell Edwards. 22 Replies.
Author Messages
steelbikerider

Posts:42

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03/06/2014 10:31 PM
I'm starting to think about a new speedo unit and need some info on want to look for in a GPS/Strava compatible unit. I've always been a basic speedometer/ interval timer and HR monitor user and now that my carbon bike is well sorted and broken in and I got used to looking at fat tubes, it is time to continue my march into the 21st century with more high tech stuff. What do I need? Garmin, or ??? What will it cost? Does Strava/Garmin/GPS require a subscription? Power meter compatability isn't necessary now but I may get a Stages PM when I retire in 3-4 years and try to tear up the 60+ circuit. The Strava segments may motivate me to push a little harder and show the wanna-be's what a used-to-be can do. It would also help to alert me when the wanna-be's decide to do a strava section 3 miles into a 60+ mile group ride with no warm-up but that's an issue for another topic. I've been riding seriously for over 35 years and raced for over 10 but that was while ago. I'm also an occasional poster and would trust y'all a lot more than any bike shop around. Besides, it's time for some real bike talk around here about parts and stuff.
79pmooney

Posts:1095

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03/06/2014 10:51 PM
Good to see you, steelbikerider! I'm not much help toward your questions. Only one of my bikes has any electronics beyond lighting (my old Mooney/trainer bike). I"ll let others step in now.

Ben
Dale

Posts:468

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03/06/2014 10:58 PM
I've got a Garmin 500 and use Strava, the free site. I can't see the value in upgrading to the paid side. I bought one of the K-edge mounts to stick the Garmin in front of my stem where it's nicely readable
dkri

Posts:80

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03/06/2014 11:07 PM
Hey Steel -

It's ridiculously easy and free to use strava. I use a garmin 500 like Dale, which I mostly use as a power meter head and not a gps, but it's all you need for strava for sure.

Just enjoy it. Like anything else people get wound up about it, but you don't have to. It's pretty helpful just to find good routes and stuff. There are also these cool things called heat maps. They're part of strava premium but the dude who came up with the idea has a free site with them. Basically it shows how many people are ride where, when.
formerly dkri
Orange Crush

Posts:1161

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03/07/2014 01:17 AM
"learn me about Strava and GPS"

you ride up next to a guy (or better, gal) sporting one of these devices and ask them how fast we're going and where we're going. Then tell them to stop looking at their stem :-)
Funk

Posts:22

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03/07/2014 10:59 AM
Not a Strava user, but some input on GPS. I have the older Garmin EDGE 700 unit which is now the 800, or maybe even 810. If I had to do it all over again, I would save the money and get the 500. The difference is basically the mapping screen. If I need help directionally when riding, my iPhone is much easier to use. Also, Garmin has their own site for downloading data: Garmin Connect. Not bad, easy to use, and good enough for this guy. I can't compare it to Strava as I've not played around with Strava.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1054

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03/07/2014 04:03 PM
+1 to what Funk said about the difference between the Garmin 510 & 810. My 310XT recently crapped out (which Garmin was kind enough to cover for me gratis), but wanted my data while I wiated for the replacement unit.

The bike specific units have some other data options that I have wanted (10s avg power, Normailized Power (NP), etc) plus a bigger screen and more data fields, so I popped for one. Was trying to decide between the 510 and the 810 and just couldn't justify the extra coin for the 810.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
pabiker

Posts:80

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03/07/2014 06:31 PM
Garmin 305 that has been absolutely bomb-proof. I use Strava for all data recording, route-viewing, bench-marking, and post-ride banter.

Strava is awesome; however, arseholes who use Strava are still arseholes.
roadbuzz

Posts:20

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03/07/2014 08:29 PM
Another vote for the 500 series ... the 800s are *still* kind of buggy. If you want cadence or a wheel sensor for trainers or whatever, _do_not_ get the GSC 10. That said, Garmin is great with customer and warranty support.
Pin0Q0

Posts:229

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03/08/2014 09:06 AM
One more vote for Garmin, I use a 705 and love it. The big customizable data display (up to eight categories) and Garmin Connect was the selling feature for me. I can manipulate my data and export it into a spread, and your data is never deleted and accessible from any PC or smart phone. I also like the fact that I can route different rides upload and share using Garmin Connect and select various route depending how I feel. Never used Strava so it may have the same features. You can find used units on e-bay at a reasonable price.
steelbikerider

Posts:42

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03/08/2014 10:19 PM
thanks, lots of good info. Anybody use anything besides Garmin?
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1054

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03/09/2014 11:43 AM
I used a Motorola MotoACTV for awhile. A nice unit, but getting data to transfer to Training Oeaks or WKO was a pain. Having an MP3 player with Bluetooth built into it was nice. Touch screen was OK, but sweat could sometimes activate it.

You can find them pretty cheap now because Motorola discontinued them, but they are still out there.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
cycling chick

Posts:68

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03/09/2014 01:27 PM
"Anybody use anything besides Garmin?"

My husband and I use our smartphones to connect with Strava. I use my iPhone and he uses an Android. We don't use power meters though. We mainly use Strava to map routes, track distance, elevation, and to stay a little competitive with one another and others.

If I remember correctly, the most recent version of the apps allows for connectivity for heart rate monitors, power meters, and speed/cadence meters, but I don't really know the details on that.
professeur

Posts:12

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03/10/2014 08:36 AM
I have owned a Garmin 500 for a while and like it. I was disappointed about how poorly the unit can determine your speed based solely on GPS. The number varied a lot from one second to the next and would be lost entirely under tree cover. Not surprising, really, considering the low speeds of a bicycle and the small antenna size of the receiver. You'll need to get the speed cadence sensor (sometimes sold separately) to make it work, but it works quite well when coupled with the sensor.

For me, the GPS has proved most useful in determining the grade and seems fairly accurate in this calculation.

On the negative side, the 500 has a rechargeable battery - and it must be recharged frequently (about once per week for me). Unfortunately, the battery life remaining (in %) is presented when you turn the unit "on" and not when you turn it "off". The latter would be far more useful to know.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1054

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03/10/2014 09:47 AM
I have always found the GPS speed to be pretty accurate....at least on my 301XT. I haven't ridden outside with my 510 yet, so dunno if there is some material difference between the two (but can't imagine why there would be). This pertains to running as well as cycling, and the speeds are obviously even lower for runing (especially if I am the one doing the running!!!)

Do you make sure you get a strong satellite lock before you set off on your ride?
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Funk

Posts:22

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03/10/2014 11:47 AM
One more thing to add re: GPS accuracy. I have an issue with elevation totals with my 705. My buddy rides with an 800 and our elevation totals for the same ride are never the same, and often WAY out of whack. I've researched this, and even called Garmin, and they say the issue is the unit grabbing the correct starting elevation. If this doesn't happen, you get discrepancies. In the end, it's not a big enough deal to worry about for me, but I do wonder why. Are the new units more accurate? Do I have a lemon? If anybody has any answers I'd love to hear them.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1054

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03/10/2014 11:53 AM
I never pay attention to the elevation stats.....1) it is pancake flat here. Doesn't mean anything to me.

2) When I can get elevation gains (or losses) on my swims, I figure the technology is pretty much worthless.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
professeur

Posts:12

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03/10/2014 11:55 AM
The system said that it had satellite lock, so I assume it was good. I thought my Garmin 500 would have been more accurate than it was, although it didn't surprise me that it wasn't. Considering that you are traveling only about 30 feet/second the accuracy of GPS position (+/- a foot or more) error can come into play. Not so much a deal with cars since they are traveling at 90 feet/second and have better satellite reception usually.

The speed would jump around a lot. 19.4 then 19.3 then 19.5.... Annoying.

Maybe they solved this with some better programming to smooth out the data and/or more frequent sampling rates on the newer units. If so, the inaccuracy is still there, it's just hidden from the user.

The problem solved itself when I added the speed/cadence sensor (which you'll probably want anyway so you can use the cadence feature of your Garmin.

The grade % feature works really well, which is odd since altitude determination with GPS is even less accurate than lateral position location. Still, there is a noticeable delay between starting the climb and the unit displaying the grade %. I assume the programming is collecting data points and doing some statistical manipulations. It's very accurate, however, since when I climb bridges with profiles I know I see the grade percentages changing just as they should.
79pmooney

Posts:1095

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03/10/2014 12:07 PM
CK, elevation gains swimming I take with a grain of salt, but elevation losses? Now that's one I take dead serious. As in, I'm a sinker. That could be real!

Ben
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1054

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03/10/2014 12:24 PM
@ prof - I use a Powertap hub, which gives me cadence along with my power. No need for the GSC device.

@ Ben - HAH! Good point! Luckily I do all my open water swims in a wetsuit, so sinking is not an issue.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:1161

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03/10/2014 12:28 PM
That's funny, cumulative vertical kms is my main cycling training metric. Horizontal kms are easy :-)

For swimming the metric should be water temperature.
Pin0Q0

Posts:229

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03/10/2014 10:25 PM
Funk my 705 seems accurate, with both elevation speed and cadence. Once in a while after I download the data cadence just flat lines, but that's it. I say this because I ride with friend who has the 500 and we both get compatible data read out. I am wondering if it has to do with the GPS mapping and the location where you live.
steelbikerider

Posts:42

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03/10/2014 11:29 PM
I guess I will start looking at a Garmin 500. Elevation change here means the 10 foot rise over the golf cart overpass. You can figure that it is really flat here with an elevation of 49 ft and being 40 miles from the coast.
thanks
P.S. over 20 posts on a bike stuff question. The forum's not dead yet!!


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