Garmin or Magellan, which is the best gps for us??

Seriously looking at getting a gps for finding and mapping new trails, does anybody have any preference as to make or model of gps, there are spcialty houses , but the selection is way to vast ... Garmin and Magellan both make about 40 models each... which has the best value for the dollar??

So far all i know is that we need a unit with a minimum of 500 waypoints and it should be able to connect to a pc... thats about as far as I got


I've been using the Magellan Meridian with a 32 mb chip, and I think it works just fine. It's a little on the large side, but it's waterproof, runs all day on 2x AA batteries, and can UPLOAD my day's track (where the gps actually went) onto a topo map so I get to see exactly where I was lost :). Seems to hold a signal really well in the woods too.

I've had my eye on the Garmin GPS V Deluxe and the Garmin 176. I've talked with dozens of Garmin owners who were very happy with their GPS's and many of them told me Garmin is definitely the way to go for a bike, but perhaps that comes more from them being Garmin owners than anything else.

The GPS V Deluxe can be found on Ebay for under $400 from various vendors and the software that comes with it is unlocked for all regions, so you don't have to buy seperate unlock codes if your riding areas fall into different regions. The GPS V Deluxe has a lot of nice features including auto-routing for turn by turn directions if you want to also use it in your car and it comes with a mount, 12 volt adapter, etc. I just wish it had expandable memory and a larger screen, but it's one of the better GPS's out there for bikes from what people have told me and I have to agree from looking around at various units that I've been considering.

The Garmin GPS 176 has a nice large screen, expandable memory and a fast processor for quick redraws, but its bigger in size, requires a memory card purchase for loading anything, chews up batteries like mad, doesn't feature auto-routing and it doesn't come with any software. A Garmin 176 grayscale GPS will set you back about $400 for the GPS itself, plus memory, plus software, plus a mount, plus a USB interface if you want to upload/down info from the GPS with any speed, etc. Plan on spending $600+ for this unit. Garmin has a 176c color version, but the colors wash out in bright sunlight even with the backlight on and it chews up batteries even quicker than the grayscale version. I like what I've seen of the grayscale version better, especially in bright sunlight.

Those are my favorite picks so far and I'm also looking forward to more input from others here.

I have been using a Garmin etrex Vista for a while now. I really like it. It's a great unit: small, 24MB map memory and many features including an electronic compass. The compass is nice since it allows you to get directional orientation without requiring movement. Since it is small, the only drawback I have seen (other than small screen) is it antenna sensitivity - it sometimes looses lock under tree cover.

Garmin makes a similar but larger unit - GPS76s. This has similar features to the Vista but better reception and allows an external antenna connection.

I've bought a few units at and these guys have great prices and service.

I am using the Magellan Map 330. Works great - Speedo visible at 94 MPH on a lake bed. Can't get lost anymore, which was half the fun.

I bought a Garmin Etrex Vista for $287.00. I bought from the Gps map store. I cant find the e-mail address, but phone is (208)937-9705. And right now there is a 50.00 rebate from garmin! Go to the dual sport link on the honda tab, there is a great posting with lots of info on GPS.

I'm on my second GPS; a Garmin E-Map, which I thought was a good value a few years back for a mapping GPS. I have the Mapsource topo maps loaded, which are decent but don't have the detail of other topo software.

I've used the more current Garmin models and they're pretty nice.

For exploring, I'm holding out to see who (software maker)digitizes the recent updates in the USGS Quad maps, which now include Forestry trail designations, along with other updates. Whoever does that first will probably determine the make of GPS I buy, hope they're compatible with Garmin.

I really like the new Garmin that integrates an FRS radio with GPS. It also identifies the "real-time" location on map of other buddies that have the same unit. Very cool feature.

Here's the best GPS review site I've found:

Gotta step on my last post a little.

The new Garmin (with integral FRS) does not display "buddy position" real-time, it must be "beamed".

Here's the link to the Garmin Rino:

Also, the integral FRS is only two mile range. Considering 5 mile range is becoming more available at lower costs (some even do 7 mile), I'd opt for separate radio to get 5-7 mile range, which, in my experience, would be desireable since I've often run out of range with 2 mile units (that only get 2 miles un-obstructed).

I'm running a Garmin III+, found it on E-bay for under $200

I have it mounted (RAM mount) so I can switch it between my trauck and the bike (currently KTM 400) and wired to the battery so AA's are not an issue.

Vibration can be a problem causing the internal batts. to loose contact.

I also use a small external powered antenna (mounted to the front fender under the headlight. E-Bay $24) and it really helps in the trees. If you ride heavy cover you may want to look at external antenna compatible units.

Contact these guys for mounts and advice

They are the experts on Garmin units for bikes (plus they ride)


I've had some experience with the Garmin Etrex Vista. I have to say it is a nice little unit, it works very well in the open, but using it in a rig driving through the woods, you tend to loose the signal really easily. I haven't used it on a bike, but I would imagine that i would have the same outcome that I did with it in my Forestry truck.

I have a Garmin Etrex Legend that I use for many things but, I've never mapped trails with it. I usually carry it when riding alone so I can direct the Life Flite helicopter via cell phone when I break a leg.

The Legend has been a lot of fun and has provided great service. When I'm on the road, I keep it on the seat beside me and I have never had a problem acquiring and holding a signal inside the vehicle. I feel pretty confident that it would work as well on the trail.

Thankyou for all of those who posted and read the article , it made for some very good references.

I spent quite a while on the phone with an outfit out in western canada, the fellow knew exactly what i was talking about when i mentioned trails!!, He suggested for the money the Garmin etrex Legend was the best bang for the buck, and had a huge assortment of mounts for these little gps's.

I very happy to have had the input from everybody , many of you pointed out things which I would have eventually had a problem with, leaves, and poor contacts on batteries ect,

Thanks to all of you , appreciate your input,

a couple of interesting sites for Canada

and US, apparently no relation at all..


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