Author Topic: New Buyer -Yipes!  (Read 4777 times)

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Offline velobruin

New Buyer -Yipes!
« on: January 02, 2006, 09:48:07 pm »
I'm trying to decide whether to buy a GPS primarily for bicycle touring - one that I can download the info from the AC GPS site.  I've found this bundle - is it good for this use?  Is the price right?

MagellanĀ® eXplorist" 500 GPS Bundle
Added Accessories Included:
Carrying Case
MapSend Topo software
12 volt adapter
1GB Card
YOUR COST $379.99


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New Buyer -Yipes!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2006, 08:57:16 am »
Although its feature set is tailored for geocaching, this unit should work well on a bike. I won't try to evaluate the price, as you can do that with the Web's price comparison sites.

If you have not yet found it, see the review at and while you are there, look around the site, which contains just about everything GPS and links to the rest.

The rechargeable lithium ion battery would make me think twice about this unit for trips of more than two days away from a wall socket. If those are in your plans, you would need some fairly expensive replacement batteries to keep going. Many competitive units use AA cells, of which a two-week supply is easy to carry on a bike and which can be bought everywhere in the civilized world.

A few people on the GPS newsgroup have said they built a four-pack of rechargeable AA cells with which to recharge the built-in LiIon battery. Extra fuss and extra weight, but probably fine for occasional use.

Is that map set the new Topo 3D USA or the older Topo USA? There is quite a difference, which you can check out at

The biggest decision when buying maps and a mapping receiver is whether to go for auto-routing. You should at least consider substituting or adding an auto-routing street map. I used direct routing--straight lines between waypoints--on my bike for four years before buying the feature, and now wish I had done it sooner.

The Adventure Cycling waypoints are set up to work with direct routing. Auto-routing adds detail and prompting to this. It's comforting to see "0.2 miles turn right on Hillsboro Rd" but hardly necessary.

Auto-routing makes building your own routes easier. Set the start and end points, then add a few intermediate waypoints if needed to guide its little brain along the roads you want, rather than what it first chooses. If that appeals to you, please check whether the Explorist 500 and the maps you pick will allow intermediate waypoints. Some Magellan models do not, but I have not heard about this one.

Finally, ask questions on the Usenet group, where you can probably find more people who are using this gear. It is sci.geo.satellite-nav, accessible through Google Groups or your own newsreader.


Offline velobruin

New Buyer -Yipes!
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2006, 01:56:45 am »
Thanks, Fred.  Your info gives me some good stuff to follow-up and consider.

Offline ptaylor

New Buyer -Yipes!
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2006, 07:37:58 pm »

Fred knows what he is talking about: he's an expert. Respect his info.

I question the need for topo maps; road maps are more valuable if you are following roads.

I presume my Garmin 76C has 'Auto Routing' (haven't heard that term) and it is invaluable for road trips (event though it has some problems).

I think the emphasis on battery life is overblown. My Garmin 76C gives me about 30 hours on a pair of AA batteries (about 4 or 5 days). I always keep 2 spares and replace them when needed at my next grocery stop.