Garmin is no longer the only word in the cycling GPS market, in fact with sleeping giant Magellan (who have been making portable GPS for the adventure and 4WD market for over 20 years) now fully awake and making some excellent devices, we may well be talking about Garmin in past tense ie “yeah i used to have a garmin”! In fact Magellan have studied the needs of riders and have come up with the 505, which while looking familiar on the outside, has some key points of difference that make it a more useable and user friendly gadget (a very powerful one at that). I am assured the Cyclo 505 would have been able to run the NASA Apollo lunar missions quite comfortably on its own, and with less margin of error than all of NASAs computers of the day put together!
The box containing the latest in GPS computers from Magellan sat on my desk for 2 weeks. I was keen to get it setup and test it out, but i just wasn’t getting on the bike while moving house. Finally I was clear of obligations so i opened the box and followed the “quick start” instructions. Being only semi computer literate i get worried when confronted with electronic gadgets that have to be setup/synced and/or connected. The Magellan website however was very good in guiding me through it (once i realized it worked best in the Internet Explorer browser and not Chrome) pretty soon I had my account going, device registered and linked via WiFi to Strava. With the setup done it was time to ride!
I must stress I DID NOT read the instructions at any time. I firmly believe men dont need instructions for anything, so I immediately relegated them to the bin. Once i headed outside the Magellan found its satellites within seconds and asked me if i wanted to start a ride. “Yes please” i said loudly and clearly to it. there was no response and then I realized voice recognition is not yet availble on any cycling GPS! I simply pressed the touchscreen at the point indicated and we were away. I was impressed with the screen size and brightness (I could read it without my glasses) and how little lag there was in positioning compared to Garmin. Afterwards i was able to upload my ride to Strava wirelessly by pushing a button! Another of the cool things about the Magellan is the preloaded mapping including off road maps as I want to take it mountain biking. The shake and share is another unique feature, you can share rides with your mates simply by holding your 505 next to theirs and shaking them! The course is transferred wirelessly via ANT.
So early days but i am already loving the 505. The battery life is great, it syncs with ANT+ and bluetooth devices and accessories and does this job with no fuss compared to Garmin. If you are in the market for a GPS computer you must do yourself a favour and check out the Magellan range.
The Cyclo 505 is in stock now at Croydon Cycleworks for $399. The 505 HC bundle comes with HR strap and speed/cadence sensor complete for $479.