Tag Archives: trai

Garmin 705: Definite Upgrade from the 305

As I’m intending to eventually get a power meter1 for my new bike, I decided it was also probably a good time to upgrade from the Garmin Edge 305 I got last year to the newer, nicer Edge 705. A month into using it, it was a very worthwhile upgrade.

The 305 was really great in terms of tracking my rides. I was able to both upload rides to MotionBased and also keep the GPX files around. This made having a training log relatively easy for the rides I used the GPS on. I could then also share the routes with others, go back and see what I’d ridden, etc. This was awesome.

The 705 does all of that. And as a plus, it does it with a color screen and longer battery life. Those probably wouldn’t be worth the upgrade. The ability to talk to power meters probably is. But the other thing is that its routing functionality is way better. I’ve now taken a route that I’ve done in the past and loaded it back onto the Garmin as a saved route and then followed the route again with audible prompts for each turn. And then for today’s ride, I created a route with MapMyRide and loaded it onto the GPS the same way and followed it. We did a 75 mile ride, the first half of which was all on roads that I’ve never seen before and we had lots of very nice roads and only missed the one turn that I didn’t listen to the GPS for :)

There’s only one set of caveats with the Edge devices in general — the software stack kind of sucks. There are a few things to keep in mind/tricks I’ve figured out

  • Unlike the Edge 305, the 705 just shows up as a USB mass storage device. This means you don’t have to use garmin-sync under Linux and can just mount and copy files off. This is an improvement!
  • The shipped software is kind of crappy for a lot of things. I’m finding you’re better off using various web sites.
  • To load a route on the 705, first you want to create a route as a GPX file. Then I’ve being going to GPSies and converting it to a GPX track and then I can just copy it to the Garmin/GPX directory and it shows up as a saved route.
  • Garmin purchased the company behind MotionBased and has put them to work on Garmin Connect which is intended to replace MotionBased and is what you have to use with the new devices. Unfortunately, the new site is lighter on functionality, slower, and I’m generally less than happy with it. If you’re using another site (TrainingPeaks.com, MapMyRide or something else) for keeping your riding log and like it, I’d love to hear what you’re using.

Even with the above, though, I’m very very happy with the 705 and would recommend it to anyone who rides a lot and likes to over-analyze data afterwards. Or for anyone who likes to ride in places they’ve never been and see new routes without getting lost or following a paper map.

1. I’d also love to hear opinions on a Quarq vs the more ubiquitous PowerTap as a power meter option