Bicycle GPS first look

CHOICE takes a look at two GPS Bike offerings
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01.Introduction

FL-Bike-GPS001_WEB
We review the MyNav MN700 and the Garmin Edge 200.

Price: $799/$149

Contact: www.mynav.com / www.garmin.com.au

2 stars out of 5  3 1/2 stars out of 5

The MyNav MN700 and the Garmin Edge 200 are both GPS cycling computers from opposite price-points in the market.

While the Edge 200 can only track time, distance, speed, location and calories burned, the MN700 functions as a typical GPS by tracking your movement on maps, and can also measure your heart rate.

Cycling enthusiasts often want to keep notes on the tracks they take for various reasons. It could be simply finding new route shortcuts, training to keep fit or simple interests sake.

Whatever your reason, there are a few options on the market for keeping track of where you are, some of which come with a dizzying number of options ranging from speed monitors to heart rate monitors to cadence monitors (which measure the number of revolutions your wheels make by pedal turns). We took one product from the top end of the market and one from the less expensive end.

How they track

The MN700 uses a GPS signal to track your movement on Australian maps supplied. As a consequence of the battery and quite a rugged build, the high end MN700 is bulky but not overly heavy.

At the other end of the market, the Edge 200 does not show you maps like a traditional car GPS but logs your movement to its GPS signal for later perusal online. The Edge 200 is light and basic.

How they attach

Both attach to the stem of a bicycle so you can quickly look down and check your speed. While the MN700 also comes with spoken directions if travelling on roads to a programmed route, the Edge 200 will only give speed, distance and time.

The MN700 is fiddly to attach with cable ties, while the Edge 200 has some smart elastic ties that attach the mount easily. For the MN700, optional extras like the speed or cadence sensor also require attaching to different parts of the bicycle where the Edge 200 is one device only. Garmin does have higher models that offer these extras.

Extras and expectations

MN700

If you are expecting the same kind of display and speed from current car GPS technology, the expensive MN700 will disappoint. Don’t expect cutting edge technology.

Scrolling across the maps can be frustratingly slow and the touchscreen, while accurate, is resistive so works best with your fingernail. The menu system is not at all intuitive to begin with. The model we bought came with a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor as well.

The advantage of the MN700 is that both the cadence sensor and heart rate monitor are wireless. The disadvantage is that getting the wireless system to recognise both is a hit and miss affair. We were never able to get the heart rate monitor working, despite numerous attempts. The MN700 claims it can be uses as a car and walking GPS as well.

Using the MN700 on a bicycle is relatively simple if you just want to track yourself on a map, it shows you on the go. You can switch to 3D mapping or the cycling variables like speed (assuming you purchase the speed sensor), odometer and altimeter, as well as the added optional extras such as cadence or heart rate, though the latter never appeared for us.

Edge 200

The Edge 200 doesn’t have a cadence sensor or a heart rate monitor, just basic data. However its main advantage is that it does few things, and does them well. Using the Edge 200 is very simple - you just have to press one button to record your ride.

Recording and reviewing

Recording your route is simple with both products. With the MN700 you can review trip history either on the device, or transfer to the PC with supplied software. The software to extract the trips is unintuitive, and forum support sites don’t help unless you speak Italian. We needed to update the software for the MN700 so it could read its own maps. 

With a full complement of optional extras, the MN700 information might be somewhat useful. With training software built-in to the device, it can help you track your development whether you are doing track racing or freestyle training. Trips recorded on the Edge 200 can only be reviewed on your PC with Garmin’s online software which can share to a variety of social networks and Google Maps.

Alternatives

If you have a smartphone you can access a myriad of cycling apps that do all this. MyTracks by Google tracks your routes, distance, speed, altimeter and shows your position on a map. And that’s just one of the free applications which integrates many options into the phone’s existing capabilities and allows you to share it online. You can integrate a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor via Bluetooth in some phones too.

Choice Verdict

The kind of niche these GPS cycling computers fill is quite small, so it’s no surprise that it’s not as developed as other areas of the GPS industry. We don’t recommend the MN700 for those that don’t have wells of patience and deep pockets for all the extras that make it work properly. For those that want a simple GPS-enabled device for their bicycle, you might want to consider the Edge 200 or using something you may already own, your smartphone.

 
 

 

Sign up to our free
e-Newsletter

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

 
Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments