Garmin Edge 810 GPS Review.
Long term 'Garmin 810 review', Spring 2013 to January 2017, Firmware 5.10
After much deliberation back in the spring of 2013 I finally decided to get myself a GPS, a Garmin Edge 810 GPS-enabled computer with cadence, HRM, microSD-City Navigator NT. Although this is a training aid with cadence and heart rate monitor my main motivation for getting one is for the mapping, I do like to plot a new route and follow it, whereas I had been plotting this online then following on route with a traditional paper map then often futile attempts trying to remember it, I can now follow the route on the Garmin 810 without stopping every other turn to make sure I haven't wandered off route; times I've done that! I will update and edit this review as I get more and more used to it with more detailed feedback, plus Garmin software is often updated so I will edit my review to the current version when necessary to include the new features and any evolutions to the settings (current version is 5.1). Initial impressions have shown this to be fairly intuitive system, indeed following a planned 'course' set up via their 'Connect Garmin' website is straight forward, both interms of setting up an account then using their site to plan the 'course' on my laptop, then sending that route to the unit, then in turn following the 'course' on the ride itself.
This review is in effect not a detailed analyses from a GPS expert, there are plenty of those, some of which I link to at the end, my review is from the perspective of a first time owner starting from scratch and how I've found the experience of setting it up, then using it and the pros and cons I've found along the way. Neither is it an instruction manual, although you will see a few points where I do add some instructions of my own, as is often the case when something doesn't work as expected the solution can be less obvious especially to a novice user, it's these moments when I've gone into more detail, especially when I know of others that have had both the same issues as I was having then finding the solution just as hard to come by as I was.In effect this is a review focused on how to plan then follow a course than it is referencing the 'training' modes that in fairness is a for many the main motivation for buying one.
Buttons and swipe screen:
There are only 'three buttons', one on the side to turn it on and off, you hold it down to turn off or a quick press will take you to the 'Backlight' screen, there are two buttons at the bottom for 'laps' and the 'timer' (to start-stop, pause-resume an activity), other than that you quickly learn to switch between functions via the touch screen, not as sensitive as my smartphone but I soon got to grips with it. Personally I don't see anything wrong with buttons, so I don't see the swipe screen as progress; that said as long as it works as well as it would do with buttons then I don't have an issue with the evolution either.
The 810 only comes with something called 'base map', which as a map, it has to be said is completely useless, so in reality you need to add mapping to the unit. There are free web sites that you can add free mapping like 'Openstreet maps' if you chose, many justifiably decide on this 'free' mapping option and do find them perfectly adequate, these sites are easy enough to find via a Google search; the most extensive and informative I could find was by 'dcrainmaker.com'. I chose to purchase mine from Garmin, as to be honest it's just the kind of chap I am, I buy music, I buy films and I buy computer software even though I'm fully aware that many download all these items for free, my theory is that I have never broken a computer and in part I put that down to the fact that I don't take chances or leave my comfort zone and yes if that means I pay for some things that I could potentially have downloaded for free then so be it.
From Garmin there were two mapping options I could buy as part of a 'bundle', most will chose one, which is either '1.50k Ordnance Survey Discoverer UK' or 'City navigator® europe nt' mapping (Click for area covered), I've chosen the latter, which is detailed, yet basic enough at the same time, with sufficient information presented in a very readable format. This version has as a good balance between enough, yet not too much information, too much detail for me and I would find it difficult to absorb, especially with a watery eyed glance on route; as I feel for me personally is given with the 1.50k OS UK mapping option for example, that gives so much detail on this screen size that a quick glance is insufficient to take in what you are reading. Vice versa applies, a few previously were so basic in how they presented the information that even when I knew where I was I still couldn't work out what I was looking at!
The other advantage for me with the City Navigator mapping is that it includes European Street mapping, where as the 1.50k OS UK is as the name implies UK only. Arguably I could have bought a more basic model or brand, but I did like the compact neat appearance of this model in this brand, I'm far from being a poser but I didn't like some of the larger more bulky GPS systems that are also on the market, even though some offered larger clearer mapping they actually gave to much information for me, I like a lot of data when plotting a route at home on may laptop, but when I am actually on the ride all I want to do is follow the plotted route, so in short I didn't want or need a large, bulky over informative device. Since 2013 Garmin have launched the Edge Touring which is indeed more basic for those who like me are more interested in the mapping facilities.
There are three ways to navigate with your Garmin 810, one is to plan the course on your computer via Garmin Connect (or other, vastly superior free sites that I will elaborate more on below) as I've shown in the picture above, I found it intuitive and easy enough to 'create' and 'plan' the 'course', 'save' then 'send to device', you then follow the course with turn by turn navigation, on my 'City navigator® europe nt' mapping' the 'course' is displayed as in the illustration just below and you can zoom in and out as desired. You can also use the unit itself to direct you from your current location to a point, either by postcode and address or you can use the visual map to select a point; the 'you tube video' at the bottom of the page below gives very clear instructions on all three methods. As you can see from the picture below as well as the route and navigation arrow you can display other data, I've set mine with 'speed', although you can select from many other options if you prefer.
Following a route is clear and straightforward.
Following a Course:
To start following a preset course already uploaded to the unit, from the 'Start up screen' select the 'folder' icon bottom left, select 'course' then the actual course you want, when it's finished loading-calculating the chances are you are either at or very near the start, if you are it will ask if you want to start the course and you simply accept and off you go.
Initially you get the map as shown in the picture above, in that picture you can see the route highlighted in a colour of your choice, (pinky mauve above which in fairness you can't see that well in that picture, in real life it is clearer than my camera has captured) with your location being the small solid green arrow (the grey speckled arrow being 'North' showing that this map has been set to 'Track up' as apposed to 'North up'). Where you have just been riding will be highlighted as shown by the blue tracer line above, if the next junction is in view you will also get a directional arrow as shown plus guide text where it's states "left on left on Cranmer Road".
I have my settings set to speed and distance, so you can see that I was 3.15 miles into my ride and had stopped to take that picture, as you get nearer a junction the unit will zoom into to highlight the direction change, although in reality I have mine already zoomed into the scale that it will change to. 'Speed' and 'distance' shown above will change to 'dist' to point' and 'time to point', with an option to 'tab to go back' to the previous display; which it does anyway after the junction has been executed. In practice this proved to be clear and precise even with a watery eyed glance and personally I don't need to turn the display brightness up to absorb the information. Note between navigation points the Garmin 810 display brightness reduces to conserve battery, as you approach a navigation or a 'cue point' that you have added manually the brightness increases, which both draws your attention then allows you to view the display more clearly, in addition you can also have an audible 'tone' (Home screen-settings spanner icon-system-tones-'on'). Personally I set the 'tone' to off on my regular routes where I am not using the Garmin 810 to navigate, but always switch them on when I do so as not to miss a navigation or 'cue' point.
Riding in an urban environment I like the unit zoomed into the scale as above as junctions can come up thick and fast, where as when I ride in the countryside I have noticed I zoom out slightly so a glance shows me more of a map like overview than just turn by turn navigation.
Teething issues following a Course:
I did notice occasionally a junction may not be highlighted with a directional arrow, for example if I joined another road at a junction but the mapping had the other road joining the one I was on instead, if you click on the 'course' screen shot taken from Garmin Connect you will see that the course joined Epsom Ln N B290 (pic' of actual junction with a 'Stop' line), where as the 810 showed this as straight on with no directional arrow, more of a mapping issue really but in reality this was quite easily spotted, both at the time and the odd time since.
A few have mentioned in the Garmin forum that when following a course the unit will occasionally freeze or crash, requiring either a 'stop-start' of the course or even a full power down (hold down all three buttons). I have also had to do both on occasion, normally on rides where I have actually used the 810 to navigate in anger so to speak, as opposed to navigating on a known route just so I could learn how to use it! One thing I have seen that does confuse it is losing GPS signal, I live in south London so it's actually is actually quite common, under a railway bridge, tunnel, or simply taking the unit off mid ride for safe keeping if I go inside. I have updated to the current 5.10
firmware and done a full reset (settings-system-device reset) which has helped, plus I try and keep GPS reception where possible, for example I hide it in my rack pack as apposed to taking it inside and will take a slightly different route, I will use a bridge over a railway line as opposed to under it through a cycle path tunnel; not ideal really but I have found this has helped.
Riding off course repeatedly seems to confuse it as well, again quite easily done if you are new to Garmin Connect, when you plan a course it's not obvious that it shares routing with runners, so it may take you the shortest way around a roundabout, which may be anticlockwise (zoom in to proof read and drag to correct before saving) which will effectively send you off course each time you ride the correct legal way around one as a cyclist. It can also navigate you the wrong way down a one way street, less easy and sometimes impossible to spot when proof reading as you can't zoom in enough on the Google mapping, so the indications arrows referencing that a street is one way are not visible. This is not an issue with www.ridewithgps.com route planning as although they also use Google Maps you can zoom in enough to view one way streets clearly, plus if you optimize for 'driving mode' one way streets and roundabouts will be navigated correctly.This is something I hope Garmin will change, can't believe they allow Garmin Connect to share routing with runners, no wonder many plan courses in alternative sites.
Garmin 810 settings for following a course:
Following a 'course' with Turn by Turn direction and text, audible tones and off course warnings.
To keep turn by turn navigation: (note that if you lose satellite reception turn by turn navigation both in terms of text and the navigation arrows switches off and does not automatically come back on when satellite reception is reacquired; the course map will still be visible and your position still updates, easy enough to follow and a setting I would like available)
Activity Profiles > Race or Train as appropriate > Navigation > Map > Guide Text then select 'Always Display'. Update Spring 2015 with version 3.60 after the update the default setting for TBT instructions changed to "off" in the latest release, so you will need to turn it back on again. Go to the page that lists all your courses and select the 3 horizontal bar icon located in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. There you find a slider button to enable "Turn Guidance", if you select to turn this off you simply follow the highlighted course.
Home screen-settings spanner icon-system-tones-'on', the 810 will give an audible peep at each navigation point or if you have added 'cue' points created with route planning like www.ridewithgps.com.
Off course warnings:
Courses> Then select the Course> Settings> Off Course warnings then select on.
Turn off "off route recalculation":
Activity Profiles > Race or Train as appropriate > Navigation > Routing > Recalculation then select 'off'.
Instead of mapping you can display data.
Naturally there are many of my familiar routes that I will still do that I don't need to follow on a map, so I can display data instead, the Garmin 810 has replaced my Cateye Strada Wireless that I used for quite a few years, so on the rides where I don't need mapping I can use it in a similar way, on those occasions I simply select 'Ride' from the Start up screen then press the 'timer' button at the bottom and the unit will default to the 'data' screen just above, the amount of data visible on the screen can be selected, I chose to display fewer items, so my display is over four lines only, the top three boxes being larger in comparison to that illustration as a result, you can also easily choose what is displayed per box, if for example in the illustration you don't want 'cadence' displayed simply press and hold on the box and select something else. You can scroll between screens, data-map-elevation for example, plus you can show more than one data screen, one may have all 10, scroll through to another that may have 2 for example, you simply enable, or disable the amount of screens you want to be able to scroll through.
On ride completion you press the 'timer' button to stop then you either discard the 'ride' or save it for later viewing on Garmin Connect as required, data that will still include the route; the upload can be done very easily to the Garmin Connect App via Blue Tooth connectivity or via the USB plugged into your PC. In-fact so accurate is the route data that when my friend popped into see me at work the other day I checked to see what secret training he had been up to, I could even tell where he had done a cheeky ride on the pavement to avoid a set of traffic lights! Note even when following a course you can select the data screen, the 810 will switch to the map screen before each navigation point then back to the data screen afterwards; a very useful feature.
Blue Tooth connectivity:
A big selling point of the Garmin 810 is that there is a smartphone App that syncs the phone to 'Connect Garmin' website then via Bluetooth onto the Garmin 810, so in theory you can plot a route on 'Garmin Connect' and send that to the Garmin 810 without having to plug it into you computer, vice versa when you get back from a ride you can send the App data from the Garmin 810 to update the 'Connect Garmin' website, you can also study the data via the App itself on your Smart Phone without having to turn your pc on. I know not having to plug the unit into your pc each time was just one of the reasons a colleague wanted one, as he uses an Apple Mac and iPhone, in the past he found that 'Apple' do not exactly make life that easy when he was using a Bryton GPS system connected via USB to his Mac, so syncing the 810 with the Garmin Connect iPhone App was a big 'plus' for him.
Uploading maps, courses and routes:
Can't manually upload a GPX route to Garmin Connect?
One thing I did initially find far less intuitive was loading an existing route from www.mapmyride.com eonto the unit, (other popular sites include www.bikeroutetoaster.com , www.bikehike.co.uk , www.ridewithgps.com and www.gpsies.com ) you should be able to do a 'manual upload' via 'Connect Garmin' of a '.GPX ' route but initially I simply couldn't get that feature to work successfully, I tried many routes from www.mapmyride.com and similar sites with no luck, all I got was the repeated error messages stating "Some activities could not be created"; which translated to nothing seemed to be happening at all! After much Google searching I found that many had been experiencing the same issue, there were many work arounds people had tried but here are what I have found worked; the fourth for me being the most relevant:
1) If you can't upload the .gpx file onto Garmin Connect you may be able to load it straight onto the device. Export a .gpx route from www.mapmyride.com into a folder on your pc, then selecting the Garmin 810 on your pc via 'My Computer-Garmin 'F' drive', select the 'NewFiles' folder and copy-paste the route into that folder, disconnect the Garmin 810 and power down, when you power it back up again the copied route then appears in 'courses' on the Garmin 810, although note it doesn't appear in the courses section on the 'Connect Garmin' site so you can't then edit them yourself there of course.
'Garmin 810 tips' if you want to upload and edit some one else's .Gpx route. what are the options?
2) I have been using routes from www.mapmyride.com, so I simply uploaded the route I wanted to my own www.mapmyride.com account and edited it before adding to the 'NewFiles' folder in the Garmin 810 as in '1' above.
3) Another way is to simply view the route you want and recreate it yourself in Garmin Connect which is quite straight forward and relatively quick.
4) The manual upload problem is due to the fact that some sites do not save the data quite how Garmin Connect needs it, however there is a site called www.gpsies.com that will convert their data to what Garmin Connect will accept for the manual upload. So, via their 'Convert' page you 'choose' the '.gpx' file you've exported and saved from another site, select 'convert' to a 'GPX Track', when converted this will then load into Garmin Connect; (via the import link on the 'Activities' page) note it uploads it as an 'Activity' that you then save as a 'Course'. Note as you will read below this can still be problematic, so proofread the route before using to make sure it's been uploaded exactly as created.
I assume that they do not exactly make life easy when uploading routes from other sites to encourage you to use and share routes via 'Connect Garmin', as it gains in popularity the less other sites are required. I may still be a novice but I have to say as far as I am concerned if Garmin want more of us to use their 'course planning' it is something that needs to be improved, as in short other free sites to me at least do seem superior, many zone in more accurately when you key in a post code and navigate you the correct direction around a roundabout and along a one way street for example, regarding the two latter points believe or not often in Garmin Connect it often doesn't, easy enough to edit especially on a shorter course but really Garmin!
So does this mean I now use other course planning sites instead, well yes and no, it may not be the best but I still use Garmin connect to plan my courses on rural country side less technical courses, as it's quicker to edit the occasional roundabout faux pas and one way streets than it is to create a course from another site, convert that via www.gpsies.com, then to upload it to Garmin Connect, plus I do like to have my courses as a back up in Garmin Connect and as they will also appear on the Garmin Connect App on my smart phone, if I had to do a hard reset on tour and lost all my courses I could at least reload them from the app. Where I still use sites like 'www.mapmyride.com' is for urban riding, I live in South London, if I was trying to navigate across town I would not currently use Garmin Connect on any level, either route-course planning or importing a course GPX file into Garmin Connect. I have found course planning in London via Garmin Connect almost impossible, it will sometimes allow cycle paths through parks which is good, but not along a cycle path at the side a busy dual carriageway, where for no apparent reason part way along the path it would deviate off to a much longer route that is simply didn't need to with no way of overriding what it wanted to do; I want to dictate the route on my course and not have the Garmin Connect course planning software dictate it.
I have found importing an urban route into GC from www.mapmyride.com also problematic, I had planned a route over the Thames on a ferry, which was straight forward enough to plan on www.mapmyride.com and to be fair in Garmin Connect as well (it was the dual carriage way cycle lanes where I eventually gave up trying to plan the course in 'GC') but when I manually imported the GPX file from map my ride as described in 4) above the route would whiz off into the North sea where I had crossed the Thames on the Ferry, the work around being uploading-importing the .GPX file direct onto the 810 itself as described in 1) above, it uploaded the course just as created then. To be fair the in the updated Garmin Connect (Spring 2014) importing the same route across the Thames on the ferry did not have the route then going via mid North Sea as before.
For those courses that you do actually have on 'Connect Garmin' note these can be shared with any of your Garmin Connect contacts, sharing them is very easy, you simply open the 'course' then share via email, the recipient simply opens that email, clicks on the link which opens that course into their own 'Connect Garmin' account, they can then save and edit as required; a very useful feature; as they can edit the route to start from your their home not yours for example and vice versa when they share their routes with you.
My personal choice of creating and uploading a course:
If it's quiet country side course with few roundabouts then I will still use Garmin Connect to create a course then sync that to the 810 via my smartphone app. If it's a more complex urban or longer route I use www.ridewithgps.com to create the route and add to the 810 via 'F Drive New folders' described in 1) above, as that software navigates roundabouts and one streets correctly.The reason I chose www.ridewithgps.com is that I've found it the most user friendly, the course is intuitive to plan, then edit if needed, both during composition and when recalled at a later date.
One handy feature I like is you can toggle between walking-cycling-driving when creating, so for you can switch to walking if you want to take the a shortcut over a footbridge for example. Note if you do wish to follow something other than the road you need to uncheck 'lock on road' as the 810 will try and reroute you, to do this select Activity-Your profile-Navigation-Routing-Lock on road-Select 'No'. You can also add your own navigation notes to the 'Cue Sheet', useful for 'Points of Interest' or Audax-Sportive control points, or simply for notes notes like" last Cafe", when these points are reached the Garmin 810 display will wake up to full brightness as it does for the normal navigation cue points are approached. Note they also list a 'POI' feature, although this doesn't seem to work on my 810 so I use the 'Cue Sheet' feature to add any notes.Always make sure it has transferred to the unit as created, as there will be the odd occasion where it doesn't.
If I want a back up for a few days tour on my smartphone I will always try and first create the course in GC, hoping that it will allow me to plot the route of my choice, if it will not then again I'll use www.ridewithgps.com then add to GC via www.gpsies.com convert page as described in 4) above, taking care that the course has synced as created, be warned it often doesn't, especially if you've planned a course that GC wouldn't allow in the first place. All a bit long winded and often so problematic that I give up! All this is simply because GC course creation is in short, poor!
It came with an 'out front' and two 'quarter turn' bike mounts.
'Live Track' and Weather
The Garmin 810 also has a feature called 'LiveTrack' effectively sending live tracking results to the Garmin Connect App via Bluetooth (if your phone is in range of course) so you can share your location (as well as other data, speed etc) with anyone you chose, they view the data on their pc or smartphone via the App, friends, or your coach for example, potentially a useful feature for those who often turn up late for a club run and want to try and meet up with their club mates. The Garmin will also send current and predicted weather to the App, although I dare say most already have that information on their smart phone anyway plus let's be honest few of us embark on a ride before we checked what the weather forecast is for the day but it is good to see hourly predictions in those days where weather is changeable. Note that the forecast and even current weather doesn't come from your location, but from the local weather stations, locally to me anyway. I've noticed that they seem to be from Airport locations which can have different weather to my location! I am being picky with that though, it's still a handy little feature and often I've been out on a day ride where the predicated weather forecast on the television in the morning has predicted rain late into the ride, only for that to change resulting in one soaked rider before I got home, this is where the 810 could prove invaluable as their updates could have warned me that the forecast had changed!
Garmin GSC 10; their Speed and Cadence sensor:
Heart rate strap, speed and cadence:
There are several bundle or package options available from Garmin, the best value for what I wanted at the time of order came with heart rate strap, speed and cadence sensor as well as the 'City navigator® europe nt' mapping', the unit displays current BPM plus you can set upper and lower alerts that can also be used in conjunction with your set training zones, should you chose the unit can download quite an extensive amount HRM data after each ride. As the name implies the speed and cadence sensor send speed and cadence data to the unit, although the Garmin 810 uses GPS to obtain the speed data in normal use, there are times when it will switch to the speed sensor should the GPS signal be lost; tunnels for example, so even though I don't really care about cadence data I have still fitted the sensor as it's the same unit that transmits speed to the head unit; one sensor, two magnets on crank and wheel-spoke.
I have still fitted a crank magnet to register cadence, although I have not used their 'crank arm magnet' that is designed to be zip tied to the crank as I would have to pack out the magnet significantly to get it close enough to the sensor, as my Ta Carmina Chainset is deeply fluted on the inside; so I adapted a 'Cateye wheel magnet' by removing the plastic housing, cutting the thread down to nib and simply slotting that into the back of the 'Pedal' as shown below, works a treat, sticks out just enough on my wide 'Q factor' triple chain set to bring it near enough to the sensor to achieve pick up, I have seen even neater magnets on Ebay since that don't stick out as far, although these flush magnets would make the distance to the sensor to far away on my bike. As far as I'm concerned it's actually very neat, much neater than their zip tied version in my opinion; you do have to mount the sensor further along the stay if you use that set up of course.
Incidentally in their Pdf instructions "Installing the GSC10" speed and cadence sensor it doesn't state that you need to have created a 'bike profile' and search for the sensor for each bike, a small point but I know this has confused a few. As I said I'm not that fussed about cadence data, so if they did a smaller neater speed sensor without cadence I would have bought that instead, by the same token I wouldn't have bought the heart rate strap either, it just simply worked out cheaper to get a bundle that included it, than it was to buy the head unit, 'City navigator® europe nt' mapping', with speed and cadence sensor separately!
Instead of using a zip tie to fit the cadence magnet to the crank I used part of a Cateye 'Wheel Magnet'.
Overall initial conclusions:
The initial conclusion is that it's relatively simple to use and should get even more so with regular use, to try and put 'relatively' into perspective I confess I'm no Alan Turing, but I'm no Fred Flintstone either, like many of us middle aged types I can initially be a little daunted by modern technology, but with the occasional swear word or two thrown in I do sit there scratching my little head and by hook or by crook often get there in the end; well that's the same approach I applied with the Garmin 810, with the help of their Garmin 810 Pdf instructions and Garmin 'YouTube' posts with the exception of one or two solutions to problems that were not as intuitive to find for a novice user like me I did find setting it up relatively pain free; that said I didn't just plug it then a few seconds later ride carefree over the horizon either.
It's fair to say that it's no more troublesome than setting up a smartphone, as such expect moments of thinking "wow this is amazing" with the odd moment of "what on earth is going on here.....". I now look at it in a similar way to how I feel about my laptop, it can be incredibly useful, most of the time I love it, but there has and I dare say will be the in the future the odd occasion where it will send me around the bend when it should've navigated me around it but didn't! Like any GPS I would recommend not relying on the navigation too much, like many who use GPS systems in their car you will find the odd occasion where the system will not do what is expected and you need to over ride the presented information with a large dollop of common sense!
Garmin do update the 810 and notify you of the procedure as and when you sign into Garmin Connect, the updates include additional features, corrections and 'bug' fixes, which it has to be said it does need!! For example following a planned course often ends in the unit shutting down or freezing which is an issue that will hopefully be resolved with an update (Currently issues are with firmware 5.10). To be honest until such time that both stability and reliability improve I would not use the 810 as my sole source of course navigation, which is a shame, if I just wanted to log my ride data I would simply use the very impressive and free 'Map My Ride App' on my smartphone. Garmin Connect course planning needs to be improved as well, cycle specific routing for example, currently sharing that with runners and potentially sending a cyclist the wrong way down a one way street or around a roundabout is not acceptable. They've bothered to design a Cycling Specific unit and want us to use Garmin Connect via the Smartphone App then cycling specific routing as far as I'm concerned is a must have, as it stands Garmin Connect is extremely underwhelming to say the least. I've just tested the latest version of Garmin Connect (Spring 2014) and plotting a course will still potentially send you the wrong way around a roundabout. Like wise the it will still try and dictate routes to the point where you simply can't go where you want to, it will often divert around cycle paths for example! Still don't quite believe they can't and indeed haven't done better than that!
Personally I would like to see more of their 'How To' 'YouTube' posts as the few I did view I found very informative, I also used the Garmin Forum a good source of information, it was from there I got the solution to the problem I was having uploading routes from Mapmyride.com for example. I would also like to seee more troubleshooting solutions in their instructions, one reason I have written this blog is that I have found finding solutions to anything that hasn't worked as expected quite hard to find on occasion. The forum also lets you know of the things being corrected by updates which is again very useful.
On a very positive note it's inspiring me to search out new routes instead of riding the same old same old routes that I've ridden time and again; which for me is why I wanted one, especially now they tick the boxes interms of neatness and information given, when initially choosing the Garmin 810 I was well aware that I was buying a set up more often bought as a training device crammed with data by those wanting to get fitter and go faster, where as I use my bike more to tour and explore, so I was focusing on the mapping and navigation and there are arguably more map focused GPS system out there, the excellent 'Satmap' and 'Memory-map' being the two I shortlisted and very nearly chose, but if I'm honest they were just to big a unit for what I wanted, but I am pleased to say the mapping and navigation on the 810 has proved far better than I expected, small, neat easy to read and to navigate; perfect! Another GPS I considered waiting for was the Bryton Rider 60 but then no doubt by the time that is available in the summer there would be yet another soon to be launched product that I could have justified waiting for as well! I confess I am a bit of anti gadget, anti change kind of a chap, but the appeal of riding new routes outweighed any "bah humbug, I've ridden all these years without one and so I don't need one now" thoughts that I am may normally apply when it comes to embracing change, I like it far more than I thought I would and like it far more than I thought I'd admit to! When it works as it should, with a route planned correctly in Garmin Connect on a route I have chosen, then when I am able to follow that on my 810 without it crashing then it's impressive, very; here's hoping that stability and usability improve with updates.
I've been using the 810 for two years now, so have the initial misgivings been nothing more than teething troubles that were ironed out with software updates; sadly most, for what are important to me anyway, haven't been! Yes for those who want to save ride data and simply use it as that then it's very good, most of my friends use it in this way and enjoy it; when I ride a well known route it is lovely to have that data when I get home that I can quickly browse on my larger Smartphone screen. But if that's all I wanted I would have used the free www.ridewithgps.com and saved what was a £419.99 purchase at the time thank you very much!
I bought it as a small neat device to enjoy plotting a course on a winters evening on my laptop using Garmin Connect, then following that course on my 810, courses that would be backed up and synced to my Smartphone for tours. For that role sadly the 810 is not worth it, although in fairness the main problem is with Garmin Connect and not the 810, as it still will not allow you to plan a course as well as www.ridewithgps.com, as it will still potential send you the wrong way around roundabouts, the wrong way down one way streets and the wrong way when I try and plan a course of my choice, sending you way off course when what I may want to do is short cut along the side of a dual carriageway on a listed Cycle path for example, it will often simply not allow it! Turn by turn navigation and directional arrows frequently stop working within an hour or so, meaning you only have a visual line to follow and outdated data on the screen; both underwhelming.
My motivation for wanting it for this role still exists, but seeing as it doesn't to my satisfaction then in hindsight I personally wouldn't have bought this model, at the time of purchase I would have simply bought the 800 which was back then still available. That said now I've got it I do intend to keep it, as by using it with www.ridewithgps.com I can get it to do what I need it to.The new Garmin Edge 1000 will still have the same issues with Garmin Connect, the Garmin Edge touring is far cheaper and Smart Phone Connectivity aside looks very good, except if I wanted to use the mapping on the unit to plan a route I have to go outside to get GPS connection first, so I would still create a course on my laptop first. Interms of the current competition I would be considering the Bryton Rider 60 as I have to say that does look very neat and I much, much prefer their course planning! Mio would be another brand I would have looked at, as well as Satmap and MemoryMap, their Adventurer-3000-gps with with Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Explorer maps for all of Great Britain looks very appealing and I came very close to buying one.
As a final update would I still buy a Garmin? Well yes but only just; although I dare say if I was to be making my purchase now I would not pay the extra for Blue Tooth connectivity and buy the Edge Touring. But, live in the hope that creating a course in Garmin Connect will improve with cycle specific routing, if they introduced that then the 810 would be far more impressive! Still seems ludicrous that the 810 is set up to be used with their own software yet their own software is in short nowhere near as good as the FREE competition! It really wouldn't take that much surely for a company with the clout that Garmin must have to rectify what must be easy updates, so that their products do what they were supposed to do; or, they could just buy www.ridewithgps.com!
As I mentioned at the beginning this was never intended to be a detailed analyses from a GPS expert, if you would like to read something far more technically in depth probably the best I've seen to date is the Garmin 810 review by www.dcrainmaker.com another review worth looking at is Cyclingtips.com.au
Garmin Edge 810 GPS Review.
You tube links
Garmin 810 GPS review