I know I am behind the curve and many of you Garminists here have moved beyond 500 but starting late means you have a lot to catch up with and I have a few questions.

I was out doing a fairly complicated 200km night ride last Sat/Sun at Parkes-Forbes-Eugowra and most of the time didn't really have a clue where I was, it was inky black.. Apart from chasing the ever receding tail lights of the second last rider I could stop and look at the route on my iphone app (Co-Rider) which is very good but time consuming to look up frequently and battery life does not permit having it constantly on. Everyone else (mostly locals anyway) were using Garmins so I am considering if this is the way to go to shave my time a bit (and not get lost).

I am more interested in the 500 because it is cheap(er) and very small. I had some problems with my non GPS bike computer too so I was not always sure how far I had come and how far it was to the next turn on the cuesheet, so looks like I have to get a new bike computer anyway and considering if a 500 will solve both problems given that a suitable bike computer will cost a third of the cheaper 500 prices (eg wiggle $220 for basic black non bundle one, why do basic coloured non bundle ones cost $60 more?)

I read a lot on the web about Garmin problems, is this because people have not updated the firmware to overcome issues or do the problems remain. I have read the reviews , even the extensive ones but still have questions regarding some features.

If I load the route (tcx) and set the follow route etc option and then am using the 500 to display speed / distance like a bike computer will it display the next turn when it is imminent or do I have to always be on the breadcrumb route page for this to happen. (I know these are not "maps" but that is OK, turn right, left is sufficient, can always look at co-rider for real map and position)

For bike computer speed / distance purposes is the GPS based speed good enough or do you need the speed sensor bit too.

Any general observations about the 500 for longer (200+) rides and navigation (especially if dark)

thanks

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I urge you to reconsider; the Garmin 200 doesn't have ANT+

that means without a speed cadence sensor., and you dont get a GPS fix it can't record. for example through any tunnel , say towards Newcastle. or if you ride on the trainer, of if spy planes/UFOs block the GPS satellites

and without a HRM you can't get a Strava suffer score.and will never ever have the reason to get Premium membership

but, of course, the real showstopper is that the Garmin 200 only comes in one color...

Many good points Peter but the lack of ants or blueteeth etc probably increase the 200's robustness and reliability, doesn't have to juggle all those secondary comms channels and maximises battery life. I try to avoid tunnels after the video you (I think) highlighted previously, colour would be a show stopper except I rather like black, it will go well with my ninja outfits. Most other people here seem to have multiple Garmins anyway so if any of these things become more important I can just buy another device.

I see you ignored the spy planes/UFOs -and -*gasp*Strava Premium membership!!!

you leave me no choice.... here's the coup de grâce : the 510/810 comes with an included out-front mount!  - and available in your rather liked black!

Most other people here seem to have multiple Garmins anyway so if any of these things become more important I can just buy another device. - which reminds me of Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Battery life of an 800 is ~10-12 hours (leaving it on maps and/or using the backlight uses more battery). 

On Sunday, my 800 lasted for all of a 13:15 hr ride with no low battery message.  I turned the backlight right down and turned it off when stopped (1:30).  Didn't use the map function though and pretty much left it on the main page.  

I never rode with the back light on, not even the lowest bar setting, when I did not have a dynamo attached.

Did a 300km ride over 16 hours without charging. On a 400km (22hrs) I did plug in a USB battery for a short time at one of the checkpoints.

No backlight, show simple data on display instead of the map and the battery has plenty of life in it. All the accessing of the SD card for the map chews power, writing to it chews more which is why the data for your ride should be saved to the Garmin device and not the SD card.

I love my 500, I've had it for 4 years and put many many thousands of KMs on it without the slightest problem. 

It's not great for navigation, it works but it's rudimentary, I rarely use it for that. For everything else it's been great.

I also bought one for Sam last year for $200 at my LBS. They buy the bundles and split them up if people just want the computer (then they have spares for people that want a new HR strap etc). I get very good prices at my LBS (I'm a very good customer) but it may be worth asking what your local shop can do for you :)

So I finally settled on a basic 200 as it seemed to have all the basic features I wanted. Have done one long ride (135k) with it and am very pleased. It has a few annoying UI deficiencies but nothing that I can't live with. I don't want to spend the ride looking at it all the time but it sounds a warning a each turn and tells my how far to the next turn, allowing me peace of mind that I am on the right track and can enjoy the ride and just concentrate on another stella performance ??

I also found a great video newly added to velogps.com that demonstrates the turn-by-turn features, you can find it here http://velogps.com (has similar video for Garmin Touring and other interesting stuff) or directly on YouTube http://youtu.be/V9NQNcdtxZU

Also have come across an app CUESHEET (android or iPhone) that displays the cue entries from a TCX route (but only from ridewithgps.com) either as a traditional CUESHEET or as symbols on a map. The android version is more advanced while the iPhone one is fairly new, basic and has a few issues. Good backup for the Garmin or paper cue sheets .

NA lost for words!!  Never thought that I'd see that!  Bet Mr O' would have something to say if NA can't.  :-)

Dunno what happened there... but I was trying to say:

Here's another Stella performance, Bill.

I recently did this for my 500, creating a route in Strava (extremely easy - just click and add waypoints) then creating and exporting the .tcx file to the "new files" folder on your Garmin. It gave us the route, not the map, but it was more than sufficient to ensure we didn't take a wrong turn. But no, as best I was able to use it, it doesn't give you imminent directions, you just need to page through to the route page and be aware of which direction you need to - or should have take(n). It will flash up a "you are off course" box on any page if you get significantly off course, which is handy.

I was actually going to write up the "create route and load to your Garmin" process as a separate thread, but maybe I don't need to now - and besides, I was struggling to work out how to "screen shot" my Garmin ;-)

From memory the stated battery life for a Garmin 500 is about 18 hours, which would be about right as I recently completed two ~6 hour rides and it had about 35% left at the end.

It does work  sus, while Way Points / Route Points / Course Points are often used somewhat interchangeably  what you need is a mapping site that creates a TCX file with "Course Points"  like this

<CoursePoint>
        <Name>Rydal Sodw</Name>
        <Time>2014-02-03T07:02:41Z</Time>
        <Position>
          <LatitudeDegrees>-33.524460000000005</LatitudeDegrees>
          <LongitudeDegrees>150.03252999999995</LongitudeDegrees>
        </Position>
        <PointType>Left</PointType>
        <Notes>Turn left onto Rydal Sodwalls Tarana Rd</Notes>
      </CoursePoint>

In addition to the more usual Track Points

        <Trackpoint>
          <Time>2014-02-03T19:55:01Z</Time>
          <Position>
            <LatitudeDegrees>-33.44431</LatitudeDegrees>
            <LongitudeDegrees>150.03456000000006</LongitudeDegrees>
          </Position>
          <AltitudeMeters>981.6</AltitudeMeters>
          <DistanceMeters>179861.45921489596</DistanceMeters>
        </Trackpoint>

The Course Points are essentially the turns and relate to the Cue Sheet entries if your mapping site generates those, I know naught of Strava so don't know if it does it or not but sites like RidewithGPS and BikeRouteToaster (having a little rest at present) can do this and include them in the TCX.

For the 500 there is a "How to" here http://velogps.com/garmin-edge-500-turn-turn-directions-courses/ and you can see a video of the result (with turn warnings) here (is a 200 but 500 does same)  http://youtu.be/V9NQNcdtxZU

Works for me just like in the video

You can also do something like

Garmin Edge 500 Strava Segment Alerts

Thanks, very useful. That's pretty much what we did, and it had the "breadcrumb" route laid out ahead, but there was no cue card or approaching turn warnings, not that you really needed them as you could see the turn coming up on the route line and therefore knew to take it. But that "impending turn" function would be nice, so it'd be interesting if anyone knows if the Strava route builder allows this or not (outside of my depth of GPS!).

The other thing I did like about the Strava route builder, apart from its simplicity (search for your start area, click on the map for your first point, then click as many times as you wanted along the way and it would lay down the route, allowing you to drag it elsewhere), was the option to use its recommended commonly ridden sections or create a route with the lowest elevation. From there the save and export was really easy too.

Here's one I created last week - not that I'm an expert, but it looks like you can export as both .tcx and .gpx, the latter the option if you have maps installed.

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