Cyclists can use GPS devices for several different purposes. Some riders focus on tracking their progress and performance both in real-time as well as for later review. Others use GPS devices like automobile drivers commonly do: as a source for way-finding directions on how to get to a specific location.
In terms of overall sales, Garmin pretty much has the edge in the U.S. market, at least and its Edge series of GPS devices are the leaders in the field. However, Magellan with its competitively priced and easy to use 505 Cyclo GPS Cyclo computer offers a decent alternative that will appeal to many riders.
We had the opportunity to try out the Magellan 505 GPS Cyclo Computer over the past several months. Our experience included a multi-day touring ride as well as mountain biking and road riding. There are many features you’d expect, and some that you may not have known about but will relish nonetheless. Check out this Magellan Cyclo 505 review to know more about it.
- Fully customizable dashboard.
- Can be connected to other devices with Bluetooth.
- Wireless data transfer via Wi-Fi.
- ANT+ sensor compatibility.
- The unique route selection feature.
- Route maps are only limited to the USA.
- A bit large and heavy.
- The actual battery life is limited.
- There are some issues with ANT+ connectivity.
Magellan Cyclo 505 Review: GPS device for Cyclists.
The Magellan 505 GPS is envisioned as a handlebar-mounted, readily visible and accessible tool fully operational by fingertip alone. A 3″ color screen is activated with a swipe anywhere and is readable even in direct sunlight. A simple menu with large control buttons is easy to use, even with gloved hands.
The device features both direct and wireless connectivity to upload and download routes to the Magellancyclo.com website via your computer. Additionally, Bluetooth connectivity can link the Magellan 505 directly to your phone, giving you the ability to control music and notify you of incoming calls and texts. The device even offers an autoresponse option to advise those reaching out to you that you’re on the bike, in case you want to share news of your good fortune (a day spent outdoors!) with others.
Additional linking capability offers compatibility with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting systems, reading and recording shifting information for review and feedback. Plus the Cyclo 505 work with more than 130 ANT+ accessories, such as heart rate monitors, and speed and cadence sensors.
Check out this video for a quick review of this device:
Look and design
The design and look of the device is more like an iPhone with just a single large button to turn it off and on. The color screen is 3-inch which fits easily into pockets and the handle of the bicycle. The screen portion has a black surrounding and the back and corner being white.
The interface is very simple and has 6 touchable buttons:
- Surprise me.
The best thing I love about the interface is the dashboard. It’s fully customizable and you can choose between power, heart rate, speed or whatever you prefer. This is the feature most cyclists use almost 99% of the time.
The screen brightness is pretty good and you can easily see even in bright sunlight.
But what made me disappointed was the responsiveness of the touch screen. It’s not that bad but not as good as the Garmin Edge 820.
1. Surprise me feature.
There’s even a “Surprise Me” option, where if you just want to ride and don’t have a destination already in mind, you can ask the device to suggest some choices based on distance.
It will present you with three options, including notes on the amount of climbing in each. Just jump on your bike and go. Six different rider profile options allow you to select the types of roads you prefer — quiet roads, bike paths, more busy streets, etc., and the suggestions will be calibrated accordingly.
2. Complete USA road network.
I love creating routes for bike rides and riding in new places. One of the best features of the Magellan 505 is its functionality in taking bike routes — either self-designed or created by others — and uploading these routes (called “tracks in Magellan lingo) to the device. One has now turn-by-turn directions mounted on your handlebars with audio and visual indicators of upcoming turns. Do you want to ride from Chicago to the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee? It’s there on the site. Plug it into the device and you have 646 miles of turn-by-turn directions from start to finish.
3. Recording activity.
Magellan 505 offers realtime feedback on a cleanly laid-out, easily readable and fully configurable dashboard screen with the items you’d expect plus a number of other pieces of data, all accessed by a finger swiping through several different side-by-side screens. These items include current speed, average speed, active time, distance, elevation, heart rate (displays when the device has been paired with an HR monitor), total climbing, % grade, max speed, calories expended, distance to next turn (when in directional mode) and a map showing current position.
These can be utilized during a ride simply to monitor current performance or tracked in recording mode for review and post-ride enjoyment. The Magellan 505 will ultimately provide a person with details like this, which came from a mountain bike ride I did last month. Note distance, duration, calories burned, feet climbed, average speed, max speed and a map of my actual route. A route can then be downloaded as a GPX file and shared with others or directly transferred wirelessly from one Magellan 505 to another and in both cases used in the future as a route with turn-by-turn directions.
The Magellan 505 can also be used to create an indoor cycling profile that you use on the stationary trainer when paired with appropriate ANT+ devices, giving you all the same data as an outdoor ride minus the GPS details.
You get an out-front with the Cyclo 505 computer. There is also a handlebar mount but as it uses a zip tie in place of rubber bands, it’s not easy to install. And you can’t expect the same stability as with the Garmin mount. The speed and cadence sensors are also difficult to install.
The device has an IPX7 waterproof rating. It can withstand 3 feet of water submersion. This means you can carry it with you even in the worst weather conditions.
Battery life is adequate at 12 hours, but the actual consumption rate depends on specific features being used, i.e., turn-by-turn directions with the screen constantly on vs. just monitoring in a more passive mode.
Who is this best suited for?
I think this GPS device is mots suited for casual cyclists and casual touring cyclists. The turn by turn instructions will help cyclists to ride without distraction and getting lost. Long tours would have been possible if the battery had a longer life.
The Major drawback of this device is the limitation of downloading only USA based tracks. So, if you want to go on an international tour on it, it won’t be very useful.
Apart from this, there are many performance tracking metrics unavailable in this device. For training-yes. For professional riding-no!
If you keep the brightness of the screen at the lowest level, you probably can get more battery life. But riding in bright sunshine will restrict you from using the device at the lowest setting.
There are so many terrific features in the Magellan 505 GPS Cyclo Computer that just to use it as a simple device for measuring speed/time/distance would be a shameful waste of its many other powerful capabilities. Its ability to quickly and easily up- and download ride data and routes is a wonderful tool for touring and long-distance cyclists who don’t have many other options for figuring out directions in unfamiliar territory.
With pricing under $150, the Magellan 505 Cyclo GPS is very comparable in price with the higher end devices in the Garmin Edge line, its most comparable option on the market today. This price point generally may be beyond what the more casual cyclist is willing to spend, but for the serious rider, either someone who is all about monitoring or measuring performance, or else the mid-distance rider, such as a touring cyclist or a person frequently riding in new territory, this will be a great addition to your cycling inventory.