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400t for mountain biking?


ftscgb
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Hello. I've recently started mountain biking and have been trying to use my Garmin Edge 305 for that purpose. Great fitness device but a bit of a letdown for navigating, basically it will get you out if you've ALREADY gotten out. Plus I can't seem to get the Training Center software to work properly with Windows Vista. Looking for a different device has led me here where I discovered the discussion about the 400t vs 60csx. Both list a bike mount as an available accessory. I'd welcome any opinions on the subject please. I also have a nuvi 350, so the new device will be used just for handheld applications; biking, hiking, find my car in Lowes Motor Speedway parking lot, etc. By the way...geocaching. What an awesome idea! You guys rock!

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I HOPE it works well. My ONLY outdoor hobby for the past 7 years (after my knee surgery) was walking to my car, which is why I now have a strong resemblance to a weather balloon. I got my eTrex Legend 5 years ago in a raffle at my bank, and used it for fun in the cr just for giggles. Then last summer, I went geocaching! I had heard about it years before, but let it slip by. So long story short. I am ini love with the outdoors again. I also need to get my butt back in shape, so what better way to combine the whole thing is by biking! It is a heck of a lot more fun to pedal up to a cache rather than "how close can I park"!

 

So the last few weeks, I have gotten a 400t, a new bike, and $200.00 in other gear you need but don't think about when you budget the first time.

 

I guess this doesn't answer your question at all, btu I just got type happy:) I have heard good things about the bike mount for the 400t. I know one guy who had it on his motorcycle for a few hundred miles, and if can handle all that vibration, I think a mountain bike would be a cakewalk!

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Here's a review of the bike mount that Rich did a few weeks ago. I think you'll need to make sure you put something like a rubber strip under the tie wraps so that it doesn't slip around the handle bar.

 

I worry about vibration on a mountain bike and whether the GPS will stay put in the mount.

 

The Colorado seems to have the same power distribution design as the 60csx which might mean shutoffs on rough surfaces. I haven't heard of any problems but I've seen issues with shutoffs on the 60csx. Hopefully the Colorado didn't inherit this aspect of the design.

 

Someplace here on the forums there are some good shots of the inside of a Colorado describing the issue above, I just can seem to find them.

 

GO$Rs

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the new handheld (colorado) series from garmin are nice, but quite bulky IMO for cycling especially mountain biking. I would recommend if it fits your budget that you go with the newer 305 series, the 705. I just bought one and I use it for everything, including hiking I made a mount for my backpack strap and I barely even notice its there except when I need the data. Very nice unit, I had the 305 as well and it is soooooo much better than it, nice unit because of the heart rate monitor which I love to use when looking at the data afterward just to compare each run where I can improve

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Last year, I biked most of the season on the road with my 60CSx on my handlebars. I really liked it! It was great to have the big screen, MUCH more accurate than the little bike computer I was using, and I could save the tracks.

 

THis year I got the Colorado to add cadence and HR monitor. I have yet to get those items, but can't wait to give them a shot!

 

I considered the edge series GPS computers, but the main draw back was that they use internal batteries. one BIG thing for me was the ability to change batteries when necessary. The Edge 705 is about the same price as the Colorado, and has some great features, but take it in the woods for the weekend and you wll be out of luck when the batteries run dead.

 

When I go on loooong rides, it's nice to throw in an extra set of AA batteries and know I won't have it go dead on me.

 

Overall, I have really enjoyed using the handheld GPS on my bike.. I thought size might be an issue, but it hasn't bothered me in the least. The size of the 705 is nice.. but I like the extra features the Colorado brings.. the display is amazing!

 

If I was really hardcore about training I might consider getting the Edge also because you can do some really interesting things with workouts.. but right now the Colorado is about as good as I can find for a unit that does MOST things well.

 

I think you'd be very happy biking with the Colorado.

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I have been Mt biking with the 60csx for 2 years now and have not had any problems with shutoffs or the Garmin bike mount. Sometimes the track will be a little off when viewing in Google Earth, but al in all it has been fun to see where you went and view the stats like top speed, and vertical climb.

 

I hope the Colorado works for you as well

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I use my 400t for Mtn. Biking as well. The mount from Garmin that I got had no rubber strip on the back of the mount, so it doesn't stay put that well. You'd definitely want to put some in there so it won't slide down.

 

Other than that, I say go for it. It works great.

 

Edit: Also, I've used mine on single track trails through the woods that are pretty rooty and have plenty of bouncy parts. I've not experienced any issues with the unit shutting off, although once it did fail to record a track, but I think that was due to user error.

Edited by tcatkins99
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I use my 400t in the back woods and trails, including jeep roads and single track, on my dirt bike - a KTM. I have it hard wired to the bike's battery so I don't have to worry about GPSr batteries running down. Also, I've had no issues with shutdown from bumpy trails or engine vibration - the 400t seems to be withstanding both just fine. The only thing that may cause issues is dust in the mini usb for external power. I'm going to rig a dust cover for that connection.

 

I used the bike mount, and mine has a rubber backing to help with slipping. Also, I put cable ties through all 4 holes rather than just the two for the bars. Hope this helps. Rider

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Since my review of the Colorado mount, I've moved it to the handlebar stem, which is much more stable. But the angle leaves a lot to be desired for viewing the screen, something the Colorado is handicapped by anyway.

 

Also, the Colorado won't allow you to view multiple tracks at a time. This can come in handy if you are doing serious backcountry mountain biking. I often download tracks of trails I want to ride and sometime you must cobble several together to get the route you want. Hopefully this will be resolved in a future firmware release.

 

I'm still recommending the 60CSx or 60Cx or eTrex H models for mountain biking, due to the multiple track display issue and the poorer screen visibility of the Colorado. When (if?) RAM actually releases a mount for the Colorado, that could help the latter as we might have a stable, angle adjustable mount.

 

HTH

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BOOO...viewing multiple tracks makes a difference alright. I'm using an app called "expertgps" which allows multiple tracks to be displayed and edited on a map, and saved as a GPX file. Is it possible to move a custom track from a pc to the Colorado? That might be a way around the issue for me. Lol...I keep trying to find a way for the 400t to be the right one because it's so dadgum COOL!

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BOOO...viewing multiple tracks makes a difference alright. I'm using an app called "expertgps" which allows multiple tracks to be displayed and edited on a map, and saved as a GPX file. Is it possible to move a custom track from a pc to the Colorado? That might be a way around the issue for me. Lol...I keep trying to find a way for the 400t to be the right one because it's so dadgum COOL!

 

Yes, you can just drag and drop into the GPX folder. You can edit tracks and stitch them together to get what you want, but it can be a pain.

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You can put many saved tracks you've created or edited on the PC by dropping the gpx file in the Garmin/GPX folder on the Colorado. Problem is you still can not view it the way we're used to on the map screen. The only way would be to select that track and it is then highlighted cyan. Rather useless at the moment I think.

 

As others have said perhaps viewing multiple tracks will appear in a future firmware update. I've emailed Garmin and have spoken directly to tech support asking for this. Maybe if more users bug them it will happen, it can't be that hard to implement viewing multiple tracks, all the other mapping units can do this.

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Problem is you still can not view it the way we're used to on the map screen. The only way would be to select that track and it is then highlighted cyan. Rather useless at the moment I think.

 

As others have said perhaps viewing multiple tracks will appear in a future firmware update. I've emailed Garmin and have spoken directly to tech support asking for this. Maybe if more users bug them it will happen, it can't be that hard to implement viewing multiple tracks, all the other mapping units can do this.

Useless because of the visibility issue? If I ride some random trail and save the data as a track for future use, does the device treat it any differently than the one I move from the pc?

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Excellent, thanks that screen shot is a big help. Just a couple follow up's please; based on the scale that's an area about 1.5 mi accross. If you were within 1.5 miles of a highway would it display on this exact screen using the basemap (I understand the accuracy issue from one of g-o-cachers posts on another thread)? If you have city navigator installed, would it show surface streets on that screen as well? Also, can that level of zoom be used to navigate the track you show? If you were standing on that cyan line when you took the screen shot would it show your position? Thanks for your time.

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Ah, now I see what you're getting at thanks. A screen shot really is worth a thousand words. Lack of trackback, unable to display multiple tracks...those are a couple of pretty big whiffs man. I dunno, it's obvious the way things are today the 60csx is the best choice for what I KNOW I like to do; mountain biking. The CO is the best choice for what I MIGHT like to do; geocaching (now I know what it is). Do you guys believe Garmin will listen to the consumer and make some changes? If so the future of the CO is definately brighter than the 60csx. By the way, Timpat your screen shots are beige while redwoods mtn biker's are green. Am I seeing mountain vs forest terrain?

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Ah, now I see what you're getting at thanks. A screen shot really is worth a thousand words. Lack of trackback, unable to display multiple tracks...those are a couple of pretty big whiffs man. I dunno, it's obvious the way things are today the 60csx is the best choice for what I KNOW I like to do; mountain biking. The CO is the best choice for what I MIGHT like to do; geocaching (now I know what it is). Do you guys believe Garmin will listen to the consumer and make some changes? If so the future of the CO is definately brighter than the 60csx. By the way, Timpat your screen shots are beige while redwoods mtn biker's are green. Am I seeing mountain vs forest terrain?

 

Except the 60csx only allow 500 point tracks and only 20 of them. That is extremely limitting, in my mind. The Colorado can take large tracks and many of them.

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By the way, Timpat your screen shots are beige while redwoods mtn biker's are green. Am I seeing mountain vs forest terrain?

Ah, yes, I had US Topo East displayed vs. the better Topo 2008 mapping for one thing. Different map products and in different locations.

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It depends on what you want.

 

I rode for about a week with a 400 on both road and mtn bike and was not impressed. The unit is very hard to see due to it's higher resolution and very poor backlight on the bike. This is usually not a big deal hiking cause you can always tilt the unit a bit or turn towards the sun etc....not an option on the bike. I found in most daylight conditions with it mounted on the stem it was near impossible to see the map screen, the trip screen was better esp. if you force the background to white. The stem mount seems fine, never had any problems with that or with the unit shutting off on rough MTB trails. It's a bigger unit, but when mounted on the stem it's fine, I would not want to mount it to the handlebars due to it's larger profile than the edge series.

 

Also be aware that while the unit "works" with the HR monitor and cadence sensor of your 305 unit, you will get no info aside real time HR and Cadence. You will not get any zones or min/max data you may be used to from the 305. Also as of current none of the garmin software can use the HR or Cadence data it records. Supposedly this will happen when motionbased.com gets merged with connect, last I heard maybe in late may. So you will not gear anywhere near the type of ride data that you get with your 305, no different bike settings etc, no zones, no alerts, no min/max data.

 

Also be aware that you cannot have the unit navigate you both ways on a track (IE there is no trackback feature) so if you want to ride a loop both ways and have the unit navigate you along the loop (and not just try to follow it on the map screen) you need to load two tracks to the unit, one going each direction.

 

It is a pain also that the unit does not show more than one track on the screen this is especially true in places where you have networks of trails.

 

Overall I was not impressed at all. The deal breaker for me was that when mounted on the bike the unit is very hard to see in most lighting conditions. This has been discussed to death, but it's due to a darker screen because it has more resolution, and also a much dimmer backlight than other garmin units.

 

For the bike the edge 705 is a big upgrade in mapping from the 305, but it's having its share of problems as well. People are having problems with the units locking up when navigating on the map screen, also big elevation tracking problems, and problems with track display/navigation. There is a ton of discussion on this at motionbased.com. The 705 is much much better to see on the bike by far, and the ride data is much more complete. It does not have as much navigation/mapping features as the colorado, but for biking it's a better unit with more cycling features and much easier to see when mounted on the bike.

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You can put many saved tracks you've created or edited on the PC by dropping the gpx file in the Garmin/GPX folder on the Colorado. Problem is you still can not view it the way we're used to on the map screen. The only way would be to select that track and it is then highlighted cyan. Rather useless at the moment I think.

 

As others have said perhaps viewing multiple tracks will appear in a future firmware update. I've emailed Garmin and have spoken directly to tech support asking for this. Maybe if more users bug them it will happen, it can't be that hard to implement viewing multiple tracks, all the other mapping units can do this.

One way around this is to use MapSource to create one single track. With all the tracks displayed, record a single track, "recording" over the individual tracks. The accuracy of the new track depends on much you zoom in to record over the original track. An advantage to this procedure is reducing the number of points. I don't know about the Colorado, but the other units have a 500-point download limit.

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Seems like they both display the same number of points, CO shows 1 track w/10,000 60csx shows 20 tracks w/500. It's shaping up to be the 60csx; it does geocaching better than the Colorado does mountain biking. Last question: is there a mount that allows the 60csx to be placed on the stem instead of the handlebar?

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It's shaping up to be the 60csx; it does geocaching better than the Colorado does mountain biking.

 

I'd argue that point but I'm out of energy for the day :rolleyes: (Meant to be taken light heartedly, not critically.)

Unfortunately I've only seen handlebar mounts.

Edited by XopherN71
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The Colorado has a 10000 point limit in the tracks it displays.

 

GO$Rs

Yes, but when you try and upload it, it may be truncated to 500 pts like the other handhelds.

 

Mapsource might do something to truncate trackpoints, but I can tell you from the testing I've done that the active track log (current.gpx) can contain up to 10000 trackpoints, the auto archives (1.gpx, 2,gpx, etc) contain about 5000 trackpoints and the manually saved track logs can contain up to 10000 trackpoints. Similarly, you can upload a gpx file with multiple tracks (at least 180) with 10000 trackpoints for each track.

 

GO$Rs

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...it does geocaching better than the Colorado...

 

Your nuts man...... The Colorado is miles better than the 60csx for Geocaching.....

 

On topic, I find the 60csx map screen impossible to use when mountain biking. The trip computer screens can be used on either unit, but maps are pretty much useless while moving on either unit, IME. I always had huge power loss problems with the 60Cx mountain biking, that I could never fix, do to the crappy power contact design.

 

The 500 track limit was next to useless IME, that is the main reason I started the trail mapping project. Now I don't care as I can make a routeable trail map in a few minutes. Much better all around.....

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Mapsource might do something to truncate trackpoints, but I can tell you from the testing I've done that the active track log (current.gpx) can contain up to 10000 trackpoints, the auto archives (1.gpx, 2,gpx, etc) contain about 5000 trackpoints and the manually saved track logs can contain up to 10000 trackpoints. Similarly, you can upload a gpx file with multiple tracks (at least 180) with 10000 trackpoints for each track.

 

GO$Rs

Thank you Scott, this is exactly what I have found as well! I currently have 76 tracks, as 76 individual gpx files, with my one large test track of a cross-country flight on United having about 9000 points.

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...it does geocaching better than the Colorado...

 

Your nuts man...... The Colorado is miles better than the 60csx for Geocaching.....

 

On topic, I find the 60csx map screen impossible to use when mountain biking. The trip computer screens can be used on either unit, but maps are pretty much useless while moving on either unit, IME. I always had huge power loss problems with the 60Cx mountain biking, that I could never fix, do to the crappy power contact design.

 

The 500 track limit was next to useless IME, that is the main reason I started the trail mapping project. Now I don't care as I can make a routeable trail map in a few minutes. Much better all around.....

 

He said "it does geocaching better than the Colorado does mountain biking."

 

Never had the power loss problems, and I've found the 60CS and 60CSx maps to be quite useful while moving.

 

There are numerous programs (e.g., TopoFusion) that will simplify a track to 500 points.

 

Edited to add emphasis via bold type.

Edited by Redwoods Mtn Biker
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Here are some pics, not the best but I think they illustrate the point.

 

In direct sun (upper left and right) they both look similar, although the map on the edge 705 has better color/contrast is and a lot easier to see. Both upper pics no backlight on either unit.

 

In indirect sun (which is most of the time on the bike with the mount angle) the edge crushes the colorado.

Lower left is with both units on full backlight (sorry it's out of focus) the lower right image neither unit has backlight. Part of the difference is certainly in the color choices for the colorado in map display, and also the size/style of the trip text as well. Changing to a white background helps a bit, but it's still no where near as readable as the 705 is.

 

705colo.jpg

 

So if you are riding at just the right angle so the sun is on the screen its a toss up. In any other light condition it's really hard to see, esp. when you are just trying to glance at it while riding. If you were hiking or something and could take time to really look at it, or tilt/turn the unit to help improve the view its not a big deal, but on the bike that's not an option.

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There are numerous programs (e.g., TopoFusion) that will simplify a track to 500 points.

 

You can do this in Mapsource. It is just not enough data for a proper trip.

 

What I was getting at is the map screen on the Colorado is no worse than the 60Csx when riding. Both are to hard to see without taking away to much from the trail. I'm not sure what trails you ride on, but the ones I'm on are very rough and you only have time to glance at gadgets to get info.

Edited by Red90
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Hey guys I really appreciate your time on this. Toddm great pics, thanks now I know what the visibility discussion is all about. Red90, how do you get around the no trackback, and no multiple track issues? I recently had a few tense minutes due to what turned out to be a missed turn. What do you do if you miss a turn, or the trail doesn't go where you expect it to go? My worries are less about rough trails and more about looong trails.

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I've never used trackback. I've never seen the need. I just use tracks for saving data. If I need to follow a track, I just look at the map screen.

 

I think I stated it above, I don't use tracks for routing. I use maps. It is less work for me to make trail maps than to fart around uploading tracks to the unit. I edit the tracks once and then they are on my unit forever as routeable trails within a single map. It is the only way to go <_< You come on up here and you can have every trail within 100 km on your unit in minutes....

 

You can have multiple tracks on the Colorado. In fact, nobody even knows if there is a limit. The limit (at the moment) is you can only have one displayed on the map at one time. If you get to the end of your 10000 point trail, you need to stop and turn another one on.....

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Hey Red90. Can you walk me through making a trail map please? If I understand what you've said, several trails CAN be displayed at once as long as they're all part of the same map. Correct? They'd all be the same color (cyan) but really all I need to know is what are my choices when I get to an intersection. where does it take me if I turn right or left. Zooming out in map view should answer that question. You said you edit the tracks once and they become routeable trails...etc. What edit do you make to the tracks? Sounds like it comes down to; does the device tell me what turn to make (track/nav mode), or do I decide what turn to take based on the map I'm looking at (map mode). Am I right or am I not even close?

Edited by ftscgb
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I took a little ride (200 miles round trip) this morning to see the CO in real life. The guy at Bass Pro Shop let me take the thing out in the parking lot to see the display in actual daylight. Users going from the 60csx are rightly disappointed with the visibility difference. I'm going from the black-on-gray Edge 305 display, the Colorado looked like Vegas at night to me no matter what angle I held it. I ordered a 400t 10 minutes ago, should be in on Wednesday. Thanks for all your help and advice everyone, this has been the most informed purchase I've made in a long time.

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I just bought a Colorado 300 and have loaded various maps on it. Getting the RAM-Mobile mount for it, which consists of a holster with diamond ball, a short arm made from light composite, and a handlebar ball. I use RAM mounts on my scooters, and they have provided vibration free mounting systems that work well. I figured why not use the Colorado as a navigation device for bikes and scooters? We'll see how it works. My NUVI is great, but not so good in direct sunlight, and not waterproof, so the Colorado makes alot of sense.

 

Hello. I've recently started mountain biking and have been trying to use my Garmin Edge 305 for that purpose. Great fitness device but a bit of a letdown for navigating, basically it will get you out if you've ALREADY gotten out. Plus I can't seem to get the Training Center software to work properly with Windows Vista. Looking for a different device has led me here where I discovered the discussion about the 400t vs 60csx. Both list a bike mount as an available accessory. I'd welcome any opinions on the subject please. I also have a nuvi 350, so the new device will be used just for handheld applications; biking, hiking, find my car in Lowes Motor Speedway parking lot, etc. By the way...geocaching. What an awesome idea! You guys rock!

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