Which GPS is best For You: a Guide
Road or trail, day ride or going full adventure tourist, a GPS unit is your digital route guide, a mapping buddy and cycling best friend.
Think you can do without a dedicated GPS when you’ve got a phone? Think again! Phones are fragile, constantly demand your attention and need (usually awkward) cases for protection from rain, dirt and impacts. They struggle with battery life – something that’s getting worse – and satellite coverage is often patchy.
Dedicated units, such as the Garmins we recommend at Hargroves, use a dual system of satellite networks to ensure dependable navigation both on or off road, and when you’re out of mobile reception areas.
Their connectivity offers everything from live data uploads to instant messaging too, but they’re laser-focused on cycling. They also connect wirelessly to cycling peripherals such as heart, power and cadence sensors, and interpret the data in ways you can instantly use.
BIG POWER, SMALL PRICE
For a surprisingly sophisticated suite of features in a small, light and rugged unit, check out the Garmin Edge 25 (£139). Naturally it tracks distance, speed, time and location, but it also records total ascent and can download and follow new routes. Paired with a heart rate strap it displays rate and zone info, for an accurate picture of calories burned. And paired with a cadence sensor (via wireless ANT+) it folds that information in too.
The Edge 25’s battery charge lasts up to 8hrs and is waterproof, works under dense cover (thanks to extra satellite coverage), and fits on a stem with room to spare. You can even wirelessly pair it with your phone for live tracking and instant data uploads.
WANT TO GO DEEPER?
The Edge 520 (£309.99), boasts a large 2.3in colour screen. Pair it with power and heart sensors and it calculates V02 max and recovery time, and tracks your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) too. It can even display your current gear when paired with Shimano Di2 shifters.
Battery life is an impressive 15hrs, plus it’s tough and waterproof – it works as well off-road as on. It has all the social media connectivity you’d expect, plus it’s compatible with Strava Live Segments.
Still not enough? Try the Edge 1030 (£499). Behind its 3.5in hi-def screen lurks all the above and more, including preloaded maps, navigation alerts, rider-to-rider messaging, and support for apps including Strava, TrainingPeaks and Best Bike Split.