Sat Nav for cycling

Billy Wizz

Über Member
North Wales
I am looking for the best or recommended sat nav device or app to get me from a to b and keep me off busy routes, appreciate some feedback thanks :okay:


Grumpy Old Barstool
Oop North (ish) running on an old phone


Über Member
It depends I need something decent if it’s a device I would consider cost after recommendations :rolleyes:
From what I've heard the new Garmin 830 & 530 are supposed to be decent for navigation 'on the fly' but read this & decide if it's right for you:
Personal experience - sat navs rarely select the route you'd select for yourself no matter how good they are, if you can plan a route ahead it's the best way.
I found it helpful to think of this subject in 2 ways;
1. There is route planning and as @YukonBoy points out most devices are not very good at this.
2. Route following - whether by gps device or phone or cue notes.

Route planning on the fly normally requires internet access and/or subscriptions or previous paid downloads. Routes are typically not ideal tending to be focused on destination, not journey.

I've tested various online planners and prefer as it chooses quieter routes. I found both Komoot and RideWithGPS to be more direct, although the advantage of RWGPS is to "borrow" other's routes. To test, I used them to plot routes between places known to me and then checked which one suited me best.

A simple and cheap way of getting in to the whole thing is to try Osmand on your phone, coupled with your preferred planner. Create route online, transfer gps file to phone, load gpx in Osmand and off you go.

There are many discussions on this topic arguing the merits of different planners and devices. Have a search.

I always advise anyone to have a real good think about what they want before buying a device. Each device has advantages over another and disadvantages too.
None, in device Nav is shoot for cycling. They just do not have the information in them to generate a sensible routes for cycling. Besides some cyclists tolerance for busy is higher than others.
Yep. I'd slightly qualify that by saying it is theoretically possible for a Garmin-style GPS to generate good cycling routes: there's no reason why the map database couldn't include good weightings for each road. But in practice they don't.

(A handlebar-mounted device is always going to be a lot slower at planning routes than a web-based planner, of course, because they don't have much CPU or memory.)
There are very few that don't require pre-planning. Komoot on a phone is about the closest I've come to finding something that works but even that requires some careful inspection of what it's picked, neverherless it did work for a short tour last year. Others swear by osmand on their phone, I've always found it impenetrable but both will give you turn by turn directions. Other than that, Garmins etc rely on a pre-planned route being loaded and their on the fly stuff isn't great, most websites recommend you turn it off.


Grumpy Old Barstool
Oop North (ish)
I have a Garmin 800 & for Sat Nav it's a waste of time, I can't see it as I'm riding & if I tell it to go back to start it never seems to generate a sensible route. I now use my old phone with Komoot loaded, I have the paid maps all of which I have downloaded so can use offline. I plan my route before, send to phone & have it mounted on an out front Garmin mount makes it easy to see, it will give audio but over about 10mph I can't hear it.


Sunny Radcliffe
After using a Garmin for three years or so, I have very recently changed to a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and have nothing but praise for it. I plot routes on RWGPS and sync via my phone. When the Windermere Ferry let me down the other week the Wahoo "Take me to " feature saved the day.
The Garmin never lost any data but random freezes and shut downs drove me nuts.


Wahoo + RWGPS combo works a treat for me no issues. If on the rare time it throws it's dummy out. Just turn it off and on , and it's sorted.
As @HobbesOnTour says the added plus of RWGPS is being able to "refining" other peoples past routes.
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