GPS Advice

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New Member
I am planning on buying a GPS device for my bike with a budget of around £150. My main aim is to allow me to log where I have been so that I can transfer the data into some mapping software then keep records of my rides. I was considering getting a Garmin Edge 205 but I believe that it does not tell you your current location so taking it and an OS map won't help me if I get lost.

The alternative that I am considering is one of the Garmin eTrex devices. I presume that these can store details of your current ride and some, such as the Venture CX seem to offer on-device maps and directions. Are they any good in practice? Would I be better off saving myself £50 or so and getting a basic eTrex and some OS maps?

Any advice, suggestions or comments would be most welcome.


Senior Member
I got an edge 305 last week and used it in anger for the first time this weekend. For logging its unbeatable. Download the route when you get back and you can see exactly where you went, wheer you hit peak HR or speed, route profiles and all sorts of other info that the geek in me loves.

As for navigation, you need to use it in a different way. Before you go you plan a route and download onto the unit. After that you get an arrow on the screen telling you which way to go to stay on the course. If you stray off the course it can be difficult to find your way back to it and you can't get an absolute location so finding where you are on a maop may be tricky.

Having said that, it suits the way I ride. There's a few sites you can download routes (, mapmyride). I just put in Reading as a search and it came back with stacks of routes round here, pick one that looks a nice distance, download and away you go. Great for training, might not be so good for touring as you can't wander off course.

As you can tell, I'm a big fan of this new toy. And to top it all, I can take it running and it will tell me how far I've managed to crawl.


Legendary Member
I would go for something like the Garmin eTrex Summit and some Memory Map CDs - it'll do what you want. IMHO maps on the GPS aren't very useful as the detail is sparse.


I have been using a basic etrex and os 1:25 maps for a couple of years, walking and cycling. Just recently I bought a usb to etrex cable and some tracklogs software. I've managed to upload a route back to my pc but haven't yet worked out how to plan a route and put it in the etrex.

As I have now come to use the gps more frequently I occasionally wish I had bought a higher spec model, but havent used one so can't really comment it has also taken me a year to work out the basic thing so it could be the best one for me.


Legendary Member
I'd recommend an Etrex Cx model unless you want to log heart rates or cadence.
The Edge isn't so good for navigating (no grid refs, no possibility of on-screen maps), and has an internal battery (8-10h) so you need access to a mains charger and PC to download onto after every ride.
The Etrex will tell you whereabouts on a map you are, can run indefinitely (up to 30h on 2xAA, swappable), and can log many rides to card for later downloading (so you can take it on holiday without the laptop). You also can put maps on if you want to pay for them (the free ones that come with it are pretty basic).
The older pre-Cx Etrex models don't take memory cards, so if you want to log routes for several days you have to compact them, losing time , height and speed info, and the finer detail. They also use dedicated cables.

The Venture Cx and the Legend Cx are the same except that the Venture doesn't come with any software or accessories. The usb cable required is a fairly standard one (I got suitable ones with digital camera and MP3), or you could extract logged info by taking out the card and using a card reader. Some sort of software and a cable will be required for uploading route info into the GPS, but there is probably suitable free software around (can't be done via the card).

Chris James

Über Member
I have had an Etrex for about four years which I use (very occasionally) for hillwalking. Now I think they are great for navigating off the top of Bleaklow in thick mist in January but can't really see the point of them for road biking.

In my view a map is required anyway (and interesting viewing) and if you get lost then just ride to the next village and see what the big sign at the edge if the vilage says. Or ask someone!
it costs a lot to set up a gps for road use, or it can do. i've got a vista c ,now cx, with city select europe mapping and tracklogs to plan rides on.i built up the gear over a few years.the city select mapping is used as a detailed basemap in the gps.
anything planned on and downloaded from tracklogs is shown as an overlay on the basemap ,making it very easy to follow.
i used to travel around with a clubmate to areas we'd never ridden in. a quick bit of research on the internet with places of interest waypointed on tracklogs and then joined up using as many minor roads as possible.
we did loads of rides never getting lost or needing a paper map, other than for looking at on a brew stop.
any on ride diversions needed weren't a problem as it's easy to navigate back to the chosen route.


Legendary Member
Tynan said:
a gps that can't tell you where you are?


The Edge series doesn't tell you where you are in a useful form.

If it says 51 deg 56' 56.3" N, 2 deg 35' 35.6" W, and you are out on the road, where are you?

Paper maps (eg OS Landranger) only have marks every 5' or so round the edge, with no intermediate markings or grid on the body of the map. You'd be lucky to locate yourself on the map within a mile, and you would have to unfold the map completely to do that well.
If you use a GPS that gives a national grid ref, it's easy to get within 100m, and not too difficult to do better.


suppose but if they can knock out routeable satnav for cars for sub £100 seems to me they can do it for bikes too

only got one a month ago and it still seems like dark science, I have absolutely no idea what I did before, got the route all planned out for our drive to the Dordogne at crimbo in our new car and frankly can't wait, are say the ring road around Paris will still be a bit ticksy
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