Update July 2017 after 8 years of loyal service, have just sold the 705 and replaced it with the Edge 520
Update 2021 : many links and sites are no longer available. So I have deleted them and changed some of the text.
I lashed out and bought a Garmin 705.
I had been thinking about buying a GPS for a while now, my choices were between the edge 705 and the Colorado 400, although the Colorado has a bigger screen I decided that it was more for those who hike and not bike (hey that rhymes)
So I bought the Edge, smaller screen, but heart monitor included and also it’s cheaper than the Colorado
I bought it thru amazon UK although I am living in France and as its half the French price.
I have the Isle de France Topo map as the map that is included with the unit is a waste of time and I will only be using the 705 for off-road biking so I need all the paths / tracks details to be shown. The complete DVD containing all of France is not available yet. Though should be end of march 2009 (edit May and still not available) this will be cheaper and apparently they are adding some colour. So that the maps will look like ordinance survey maps which will be nice as for the moment the Topo maps are basically just two colours
The unit is small and fits real nice on the bike stem which is a 80 cm on my bike, it can be fitted to the handle bars as well, but on the stem it’s protected in a crash as nothing is overlapping anywhere
The 705 is not to complicated at first glance and I got it setup and running fairly quickly, though the Garmin handbook is rather basic. Many things are not explained so I spent some time on the forums or just playing around with it, for instance I couldn’t get my heart beat to show up on the screen, until I found that in the data fields / bike computer 1 or 2, not only can you choose how many inserts/panes can be seen in the window but also you can choose and change the data that is shown in each insert / pane, this is not really or rather not clearly explained in the handbook which is a shame as it’s really great, 1 to 8 inserts/panes in the same window, pretty neat
Its to soon to say if I have will use the work outs or the training but I shall try, being that this year I should get more biking in and it would be useful to get my training up another notch
Certain things are no good though, the alarms when for running under or over set heart rates are to quiet, and I can barely hear them in my sitting room so on the bike outside just forget it, I am 51 and going deaf with age, What about a headphone socket Garmin ???? or a blue tooth option.
Edit March 2009
The Garmin software seems to work just fine and on Vista 64 (though it’s not 64 native) so that’s a nice surprise but not a Linux which is shame.
Software : mapsource, map install and training center
Mapsource is a program so that you can see the trails that you have ridden but it’s really useful for creating rides, this can use the Topo maps so that you can see all the finest of details and it can transfer the Topo map to the 705, strange thing as there is also a program “map install” to install even easier the maps to your Garmin, why the map install is not included in Mapsource I don’t know
Training Center is garmin’s ‘agenda’ so that you can see all your rides, (use SportTracks as it’s far better)
A little confusing, why two sites and two programs rather than one of each with access to both I don’t really know
I’m now using https://www.alltrails.com/or uploading all my rides so that they can be used by others.
Some things that might be of help to new users :
1, You have to set the ‘Position Format’ in the ‘unit settings’, this is not explained in the hand book, and there are many choices, after googling around I found that ‘Position Format’ meant GPS datum and unless I am wrong the only settings in the list for France is the UTM UPS setting ( the default after a hard reset is hddd°mm.mmm)
2, For the time zone the setting for France are ‘Central Europe’
Soft reset : sometime you might need to rest the Edge, press the Mode+Lap buttons.
Hard reset : To perform this one hold down the mode button while powering on your Edge, the Edge will ask you if you want to reset it, this should wipe clean the 705, all data will need to be imputed again.
New things tested :
Courses and virtual partner : This I like, after saving a ride from the history file to a ‘new course’ you can then re-do the ride and have the virtual bike show you if you are riding slower or faster than the last time : tip if you history folder has many rides this can take some time to be read, empty often your history folder to your computer, this will speed things up)
Now that I have this sussed it’s quite good, you MUST turn of the ‘lock on road’ option and the ‘re calculate’ option, this will then allow you to follow even the smallest of trails, also turn of the Auto Zoom, this is annoying as at every junction the scale settings jumped back to about 200/300 meters where I use the 20/50 meters settings
Annoying things are : the messages ‘turn left on unpaved road’ who cares if it’s a unpaved road when doing of road riding, ‘turn left’ would do just nicely and it would be easier and quicker to read, or that it takes up another ‘pane’ on the screen rather than just over writing the pane that is already there for a couple of seconds (I use 2 small panes on at the top to show speed and heart rating)
I then transferred the same ride to a ‘course’, this is not bad as you get a pink trace to follow, the same as the routing except you don’t get the “turn” messages, I had to juggle a little with the scale settings and sometimes I found that the screen didn’t draw fast enough and I over shot the turning, meaning that I was stopping and going back a meter or so to get back on the track, but not bad and I am sure that this takes a little getting used to.
Things that I don’t like
My main grumble is the glass screen on the 705, this is very reflective and in sunlight I see myself rather the map it’s like a mirror, don’t Garmin test their own products, In the photo you can my gloves and the back of my telephone taking the photo
The sound or rather the volume : Ok I’m a little on the deaf side as I’ve turned 52, but the beeps I just cannot hear them and its a real shame as sometimes you need to watch where you are going and not the screen so the beeps to warn you that there will be a turn coming up are useful, but other seem to think that they are to loud, so just a volume control would maybe sort out the problem
Creating a track that can be navigated : this in itself is easy using the mapsource program and save it as a GPX file, but you then need a another program or rather a website that modifies it http://www.gpsies.com/convert.do (2021 update this site has been changed you will need to find another) so that it will be work as a track that can be “navigated” , this is just plain silly. For info you upload the saved “GPX” file and transfer it to a “GPX Track” file and then save it to your 705, why the mapsource program can’t do it all I don’t know
Update : May 2009
Firmware update to 2.70, all seemed to go went well untill the first ride and the Edge just ‘locked up’ after 30 mins of riding, so I had to do a hard reset by pressing start + mode buttons to get it to reboot, and to top it all the ride was not recorded, but reading the forums it seems that a lot of people have had to do a hard reset after updating, since then all is well though
Update : June 2009
At last the IGN France Topo 25:000 V2 is available, I bought the “all France version” a DVD with also a SD card (that cannot be used with the edge 705 as it’s a 4gb card)
Tha maps are a little easier to use as that have more colours BUT the contours lines are almost exactly the same colour as the track line and can make reading difficult, also there is no explication for the colours so reading it means that you are not sure if its a small road or a paved track for instance, there is a bug in the 705 software that sometimes makes the contours lines as thick as the track and then you need to reboot or stop the saves rides as the screen becomes unreadable, big very thick purple lines all over the place, also I noticed that the map is missing certain smallish paths that are indicated on the IGN paper version (bit of a rip of) as its meant to be the same , I find as I was away on a biking weekend and according the Garmin there was no paths where we were and yet we were on them and the paper IGN showed them 🙁
It’s better than the V1 CD Rom version, but ……
Update : June 18th
Firmware update available, version 2.8, just seems to correct some smallish bugs, but does a hardware reset so note your setting before doing it
Update Have had one lock-up and one re boot while riding which I have never had before, have re installed the 2.8 but deleted all files before including profile files, maps, saved rides etc as many are still there after an update,this meant That I re installed everything and re configured everything will see how this goes over the next couple of weeks
Changing map colours
One of the many things that bug me with the 705 maps are the colours, many being the same ish colours and difficult to read quickly especially if you are like me and need glasses for reading but not for riding …
So I have be playing with http://ati.land.cz/gps/typedit/editor.cgi to see if I could make things easier
I have changed the colours of, trails and paths from the grey colour to red
At the same time the land contours I have made them thinner and dotted and black (this seems to have cleared up the THICK contour bug that many are having)
You can download the file that I have modified from the below link and you replace the I0000186.TYP file in your Garmin file with mine renaming Red trails I0000186.TYP to just just I0000186.TYP
PLEASE make a backup of the old file (just rename it “originalI0000186.TYP” or something similar
In XP you will find this file in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\GARMIN\Maps\TOPO France v2.gmap
In Vista or Windows 7 you will find it in C:\ProgramData\GARMIN\Maps\TOPO France v2.gmap
Download my file from http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?twm3yqjknon
Once the file has been replaced start Mapsource and re download your map to the Garmin
Please note that I have done this for fun and to see if I can make my map better, please feel free to test the file and get back to me but please note that I cannot be held responsible if it doesn’t work or if your 705 melts or blows up ……
For me the best program is Mapsource to create trips and use TCX Converter or GPSies.com to convert them to a tcx file so that they can be used them without routing option, all other sites or programs are just no good ( at least no good for off-road riding)
Update December 5th 2009
Firmware update available, version 3.10, have just flashed the Edge and might try it this afternoon if the weather stays clear, there doesn’t seem to be many important changes on the change log, so why it went from 2.9 to 3.1 in one go I don’t know, will post if I find anything, Have managed to get out 3 times so far, no bugs, no problems with this update, all seems OK
1 year on, 4200 km later
Although not perfect this as a dam good machine, it takes a lot of getting used it is still to road orientated for me (I only ride VTT/MTB off-road) but it’s getting better with every firmware update, the 705 plus the program SportTracks (freeware) give you the means to see all your rides, day by day, month by month, to keep a track on your health (having been ill last month, I can see that my heart rate is not as good for the same ride a couple of months ago for instance) , your times, to see if you are faster or slower than the previous time, being able to upload your rides so that other can ride them and of course being able to download rides unknown to you and ride them when you are on holiday for instance.
The most useful piece of kit for anyone that rides a lot or seriously
Update : Avril 2010
I have noticed two things lately that are annoying, when down loading certain rides made or modified with Mapsource and or when adding extra sections of maps from Mapsource to the Edge, the Garmin settings get changed and ‘Lock on road’ or ‘Recalculate’ under routing gets ticked. This is a right pain and I have been caught out several times already so be careful when downloading to the Edge, re check you setting before riding. update : I have never been able to suss out what if anything changes these settings, but if I download a track / gpx file I always check before starting the ride)
Update : June 22nd 2010
New firmware update available 3.20, have just uninstalled it, as usual I emptied all files from the Garmin while plugged in to the computer, then added the update, re booted and after I did a hard reset, this apparently is not needed, but old habits die hard, I like to reinstall when updating firmware on all my gadgets.
Update : June 27th 2010
Have ridden three rides, all have speed spikes that are not normal, 70km this morning, 55 yesterday (both off-road riding), I’m fast ‘ish’ but not that fast, so it seems that there is a problem with this latest update , and quite a lot of people seem to have this problem on the Garmin forum, for the moment I have re-installed the 3.10 firmware
Dropbox : I use Dropbox on all my computers, I regularly empty my history files folder from the Edge saving them in the Dropbox , this not only does this keep my history folder nice and clean but also gives me the possibility to see all my rides no matter where I am as long as I’m next to a computer, at the same time give me a permanent backup of all rides.
Update : 8gig SD card.
I finally got around to changing my old SD card for a 8gig class 6, with this I have installed all of France on this card, it’s also faster than the old one as it’s a class 6, rather than a class 4, having the map on the card leaves all to memory on the Edge for the rides. Update I ride quite a lot but have never been able to fill the memory, also I copy my rides (history files) to a folder in Drop Box and them delete them from the Garmin, only keeping about a month’s of rides on it.
Update december 22nd 2010 : New firmware 3.3 available from Garmin, Have updated my 705 using the Garmin web updater, reset my data screens and now ready to try it. As it’s lousy wet, cold and snowy weather here in France, it might take me a while to get on my bike (Need to though, to get rid of the Xmas food that I’m going to be eating for the next couple of days though) Fingers crossed to see if the firmware is better than the last one that was all f**ked up.
Update : Have managed to get two rides done, le 31rst December & 2nd of January, as the ground is extremely muddy, both were on my Singlespeed and on the road. No problems so far with the latest firmware. The auto pause works correctly, though I haven’t been able to try it out in wooded areas to test how it works while under trees and cover etc. but so far so good. Update again … 700km so far in 6 weeks, now being able to get out on the MTB as the weather is getting better. No problems noticed, even under trees in the woods, all is just fine.
2 years on, 10 000 km later
I’m still pleased with the 705 , I now use only SportsTracks to record my rides and keep track on them all, recuperating the parcours, heart rate, distance, time etc and whether the ride is a MTB, mixed or singlespeed on the road, I use Mapsource to map out a new ride if need be, sometimes TCX converter or GPSbabel if I need to work or convert a file.
Update April 2011 all is still good with this machine, although the power button seems to be a bit tired, the last firmware 3.3 is still OK.
I have no real gripes with this machine, except under certain sunny conditions it’s difficult to read thru the glass , I still say that there is a bug when using some downloaded rides that switch on the ‘lock on road’ option, even if Garmin says no. I rarely use GPX tracks, preferring the TCX version as these don’t give directions, having directions is nice but it slows the 705 down, you have already read, gone around the corner and the instructions are still on the screen instructing you to turn ….
Apart from these gripes the rest is OK, The 705 is a good machine.
I have now ridden over 10 000 kms since I bought the 705 in January 2009, either off road MTB or on the roads with my Singlespeed.