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2023-10-03 17:00:35

So I'd really appreciate your advice about navigation. Up to now we've used a combination of my garmin Fenix watch for the pre planned route and iPhone for places to stop on our route. 

We would now like to transfer responsibility for navigation to the stoker at the rear and I think we're leaning towards a handlebar mounted unit. We don't require any power data, just great navigation screens and the ability to find pubs, toilets, restaurants etc at anytime during our ride. Something like the garmin edge explore 2.

So what do you recommend, what do you use? Any thoughts?

Dmitrii Pasechnik2023-10-03 17:28:19

I tried a Wahoo device (ELEMNT ROAM), and found it inferior to mobile-phone based solutions, e.g. Strava or Komoot. (You can securely mount a mobile phone on the handlebar, e.g. https://www.topeak.com/global/en/products/64-RideCase)

The only advantage of such a dedicated device is that you can connect it to various sensors, to measure cadance, to, more precisely than via GPS, measure speed, etc. For your purposes a mobile phone based solution seems better, at a small fraction of the cost of a dedicated device.


Garmon ap Garth2023-10-03 18:00:57
We really like using Beeline Velo2 for navigation, and then use phones for additional information like finding cafés. The benefits are that the navigation is clean and easy, has cycling specific routes, it's cheap, and it saves a lot of phone battery which is always very helpful. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more complex devices, but ideal for what it does. 
Sally Kertzman2023-10-03 18:07:01

We use a Garmin 1030. This has been perfect for our needs. As a stoker I like it as it is big and easy to read. I can look up where the cafes or supermarkets are in relation to our route. It does give a lot of stats that you may or may not use like heart rate or power. The battery life is great. We used it for at least 2 full days whilst touring. 

We plot all our routes on Komot and you can find toilets / campsites / cafe recommendations / special sights etc. on there beforehand. 

Peter Herron2023-10-03 18:19:50
Plus one for the Garmin 1030 or 1040. Great mapping and long battery life. If you use a mobile phone you will need a battery booster pack as it will eat the battery if the screen is on.
2023-10-03 18:53:32
Yes, the phone and battery life is a big issue, screen on, the iPhone doesn't last the ride 
Malcolm Gammon2023-10-03 18:57:27
Vote 3 for the Garmin 1030 👍. It's my second Garmin after initially having a1000. Great colour map screen, excellent navigation and lots of extras you may or may not use eg notification of incoming phone calls and who is calling. Similarly text messages appear too. Easy to use and the Garmin connect website is excellent too for creating and finding routes. Check out the reviews by Cyclist mag, Cycling Weekly and Bike Radar. Not the cheapest but I guess you get what you pay for. Looking forward to getting the latest version 1040 solar.👍. 
Clive Tregaskes2023-10-03 19:02:21
We use a (quite old now) original Garmin etrex 30 loaded with open cycle maps. Screen size isn't large butdecent enough. Great advantage is it will run for 2 days on a pair of rechargeable AAs and it's easy to store more of them in your luggage or even buy more if you're feeling particularly flush
Sheila Ward2023-10-09 12:05:22

We have been using a Hammerhead Karoo 2 for navigating some time. It has a handlebar mount which is on the stoker bar. The battery lasts all day. The screen is clear, and if you don't mind being upset it can optionally tell you all about forthcoming climbs!

But I don't think it will find cafe stops etc en route. I research and plan these beforehand and build them into the route which I create on RidewithGPS.

Robert Jamison2023-10-12 19:20:42
Ours is another variation of some of the above: plan rides using Komoot (laptop or phone) which syncs straight to Garmin Edge 530. Pilot uses komoot on the phone which is attached to a powerbank (26800mAh) in a small 'bag' on the handlebar stem. Stoker uses the Garmin,handlebar mounted. Komoot mapping is clearer plus verbal instructions and allows for the route to be adjusted during the ride. Garmin does not; you have to 'finish' the ride on it and start the new route afresh. Finding cafes supermarkets etc. seems best on Google maps and then copy and paste the location to Komoot as a route variation. Simple. Three downsides to the phone: visibility in very bright sunshine not as good as Garmin; in a deluge the phone must tolerate some damp (its a bulk standard Samsung Xcover5) and over 35celcius it overheats and switches off. Pilot then uses the Garmin! - which  is totally waterproof and tolerates 60celcius apparently (46 is our max thus far during days with average temps of 38-42) and is very clear in both bright sun and dull rain. Garmin Edge 530 is operated by buttons not touch screen which makes operation with gloves easy. In this arrangement both devices operate for 20-24 hours without a charge. Good luck!
R.N. Goodman2023-10-13 16:15:55

I used the 'cycle.travel' app this year for route planning on a two week trip in Italy.  It was terrific - and I preferred it to Ride With GPS.  It found excellent routes with lot of good traffic free sections that would have been difficult to find without taking a library of large scale maps.  Routes can be planned on the phone app and sent directly to Garmin Connect which we then sync'ed with the Garmin Edge Explore on the handlebars. 

The Garmin device was OK.  We charged it every night but it might last two days.  It has an annoying habit of dimming the screen and showing 'ride paused' when you stop at a junction - which is precisely when you want to look carefully at the route!  If anyone knows how to stop this behaviour I would love to know.


Malcolm Gammon2023-10-25 09:58:15

On my garmin 1030 you can stop auto pause by going Menu....activity profile.....select the profile you use...... auto features. ....Auto pause....auto pause mode...turn off. Be aware this will mean the timer continues even when you are stopped so will affect your average speed. Assume it should be the same on the Explore. 

Cancel the auto brightness menu....system....display....auto brightness (turn off)  Hope this works for you  


Ian Parker2024-01-26 18:32:39
I'm with Dmitrii on this one. Dedicated devices especially those at the top end of the market (Garmin 1030 / 1040) do not fit all budgets. Typically we are not without our smart phones so Komoot is a good choice. There is a good community with ride sharing too. Routes can be planned based on discipline say road bike or gravel for example and the route automatically adapts as you plan. Audible turn by turn navigation, full ride details and elevation detail as you ride. 1200 routes to date planned and ridden on Komoot.
The app is not free, but the functions and features are worth the annual subscription in my opinion.
Andy Ryan2024-01-26 22:18:38
I'm with R M Goodman the cycle travel app is really, really good https://cycle.travel/

Easy to plan long mulitday routes online then break them into day size chunks. I used it for NC500 and an England Coast to Coast to Coast. Plotted big route then broke it down.

You can also jump to google Streetview for any location and it can look for bike shops, accomodation etc. along the route.

You can either run your phone with a spare battery pack or it's easy to download the routes to a GPS - I used a cheap Lezyne because the battery life is so much better than a Garmin I had (also I could use the phone for photos without having to take it off the bars)

They all tend to use Open Street Map data so it's really down to the interface and the routing algorithm.

Give Cycle Travel a go - it's free on the website (and I think the app) and Richard Fairhurst the brains behind it is a cyclist and nice chap.
Dirk Braun2024-04-11 13:27:41

Hi everyone. I meant to have posted this info about an alternative spanish navigation manufacturer called TWONAV for some time. Personally I am happy with the model "Cross" for over 3 years and I prefer it to a garmin 830 which is also available in my household. If interested check out twonav.com or ask me.

Pros: +several maps available +opencyclemaps can be installed and work while connected to hotspot +bright display + battery lasts about 20 hours always on +good contrast line to follow track on map

Cons: -a bit clumsy -no turning direction while on a GPS track -only GPS tracking, no sensible recording of activity on indoor smart trainers