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What Is GPS And How Do Mountain Bikers Use It? | MTB Computer Tech Explained

What Is GPS And How Do Mountain Bikers Use It? | MTB Computer Tech Explained


– I absolutely love gadgets, from iPhones to wireless speakers to fitness trackers. But when it comes to riding my bike, I like to keep it fairly simple and go almost acoustic
almost all of the time. But one thing I do take
advantage of is GPS. But why is it so good for mountain bikers? (upbeat music) You can find GPS functions
on most new mobile phones and bike computers, so hopefully these tips
are going to help you out. In this case, I’m using Garmin devices as they are a partner here at GMBN. (intense music) You can find GPS in loads
of day-to-day items nowadays from your mobile phone
to your car of course. The emergency services use it to pinpoint exactly where you are. Google Earth of course
for mapping facilities. But why is a global
positioning system useful for a mountain biker? (bright, upbeat music) At any moment in time,
your computer is connected to at least three satellites that triangulate your exact position. Now these GPS units have
become much more affordable in the last 10, 15 years, meaning that it’s really easy to get a computer or a watch that does
all this stuff for you to give you super accurate
data that you can use. You don’t have to go too far back to find those original bike computers. Do you remember the
ones where you stuck it on your handlebar and
you probably had a wire that went down your fork
leg and then a magnet going around your wheel? Although you could get wireless ones. And they gave you really basic information like speed, distance, how
long you’d been riding, possibly average speed,
so super simple stuff for tracking your ride. But the way that GPS does
this means you don’t have to calibrate your wheel size anymore. Just the position of this computer will
give you an awful lot of information that is super useful. (bright, upbeat music) The first big difference from
the old-school computers is that now you know exactly
where you are at any time. You can plan routes online or really look at the mapping on your computer. So you can follow a big, long
route and really not get lost. So here at GMBN, we use
our partner brand Komoot to plan those rides on the software, send it over to our Garmin
computer, and away you go! All you do is follow that
turn-by-turn navigation. So there’s no getting
lost in a field anymore, getting out your old
OS map out in the rain and trying to work out where you are. Although there is still a
bit of fun in doing that. These things make riding for big days out or even big days in a
row super, super easy. (energetic, upbeat music) Now I know there will
be some people screaming at their computer or TV now saying, “I hate all this gadgets
and all these data, “things that I don’t
need for a bike ride!” And I get you. I don’t always take my GPS out with me. I do like to go old school
sometimes and just go for a ride. But I have done that
with a computer before, gone for a big old ride,
decided I’m really tired, and then just hit the get me home button and it will find a nice, easy route for getting me back
without completely bonking or losing the will to live. So there is a time and a place for a computer for most riders. (intense upbeat electronic music) And one of the biggest advantages for mountain bikers of knowing exactly where you are other than route
finding is now the ability to take part in imaginary races. So things like Strava
or even racing yourself on a section that you’ve
set on your computer means that people can turn a normal ride into something that’s
a bit of a challenge. So I know millions of people love Strava for putting in a section
and racing everyone who rides it down there
and it is brilliant. It can really turn a casual ride into something where you
really push yourself. And I definitely do it as well. But also you can use it for training. So often I’ll sort of know my nearest hill and in the springtime
when I’m really trying to get fit, I’ll try and beat
my own times up that hill. So knowing exactly where you are on this planet can have other benefits as well as route finding. (upbeat electronic music) Now there’s varying degrees of nerdiness for how much you want
to get into these sort of location data-based apps like Strava or using the route finding apps. For some people, Strava
is the be all end all of every ride they go on. For me it’s not. I do occasionally look for a bit of sort of some personal satisfaction if I can beat someone else’s
time, but rarely to be honest. I’m more into getting nerdy
on things like Google Maps and on Komoot in winter for trying to find new places to ride
or you know plan those big, epic rides which we’ve
done a bit of recently. Me and Blake went on the Ridgeway, all planned out by myself on Komoot. So I really do get into doing that. And however much you’re into these things will determine the sort of the GPS device you go for. How many features do you need or you think you’ll want to use? (upbeat electronic music) Most GPS units will also have the ability to add on extra bits
and bobs, other gadgets. And I do use some of these for training. So something like a heart rate monitor. If I’m going for a big ride,
I probably will use that. And that’ll connect wirelessly to my Garmin, same as a power meter. Now I have one of those
on my cross-country bike. Again I mean I’m not
probably the best person for that sort of thing. I don’t go super in deep
on the power numbers. But I do get a bit curious
and occasionally like to see if I’ve upped my FTP,
see if my training is working. There’s other things, things like lights that you can wirelessly connect to your head unit so you
can control your light. That’s probably useful for
commuters and people like that. (bright, upbeat music) The fully up-to-date GPS computers will probably let you add different apps to them as well like our Garmin. So I’ve got Komoot on here for those, well, syncing my routes across. I’ve got something called Wikiloc. I don’t know what that
is; I’ve never used that. I’ve also got Trailforks and Strava Route. So super useful, Trailforks is for maybe when you’re in
bike parks for finding out where those trails
are you want to ride. Same with Strava Routes,
probably better suited to road riding, but
there’s definitely ways of customizing your GPS
unit to really make it work for what you need it for. (relaxed, upbeat music) Route finding and ride tracking are probably the two main reasons for using a GPS device on a bike. But there are some added extras as well, something like the incident detection that you get on Garmin. So in the event of a crash, basically, this will use a GPS to
see if you’re still moving and also an accelerometer. If there’s a really big
hit and then you stay in the same place for a while, that is probably going
to trigger the incident. So you turn this on and off but what that will do in the case of
my computers is send a message to a loved one at home. So you can turn this on off like I said and even set up who it’s
going to send the message to. So this could be really useful and potentially save your
life in a big incident. (upbeat, relaxed music) There’s also a nice feature
to set a bike alarm on this. So just using your head
unit, set the bike alarm, and if anyone moves the
bike, the computer will know and will send you a text
and the bike’s location. There’s also a way of
integrating your ebikes into this as well. So you can see power level,
what mode you’re riding in. So there’s definitely a few
other extra useful things when it comes to getting
the right bike computer. (upbeat electronic music) It’s fair to say that modern GPS computers for riding bikes are absolutely packed with different features. And of course you can buy
different models as well from the larger screen
units that are really good for navigating, having big, useful maps, to smaller ones or even GPS watches where you have a lot of the same features, but probably a smaller
face on there compared to most GPS units. And I do like to keep track
of the rides I’ve been doing. Whilst I don’t get super crazy into number crunching
of power and heart rate, things like that, I do like to see the training effect
that bigger rides have had. So maybe if I know I’ve
had a long, mellow ride, it’s been good for sort of
building my base fitness. And now the next time might be worth going for a shorter, faster paced ride. Also you know you do see
lots of mountain bikes out in the woods with you know GPS units. You often hear people talking KOMs, things like that, on Strava. So they’re super popular
for mountain bikers. And your phone can do it. Most phones nowadays do have GPS. They’re in there so lots of
people use them for Strava. Although you might find that
they’re not going to be quite as accurate as the GPS you
find on one of these units. And of course, you got to ride with your phone in your pocket. Not everyone likes to do that. And I wouldn’t necessarily want to put my phone on the
bars for navigating. But it’s worth shopping around, looking at what you need from a GPS unit to suit your style of riding. Don’t forget if you’re thinking about planning your own epic rides, then why not look at
the GMBN Komoot profile for some inspiration? There’s a lot of UK-based rides in there, but there’s also Iceland. There’s the day from BC bike race. So hopefully that’ll inspire you. And if you want to see
a couple more videos where we use our Garmin devices, me and Blake, or myself
and Blake should I say, compare each other’s flow and try and improve on our own flows, then click down there for that one. And for Blake sending it on A-line with the CUBE Actionteam,
up there for that one. Give us a thumbs up and subscribe. That’d be great!

52 comments on “What Is GPS And How Do Mountain Bikers Use It? | MTB Computer Tech Explained

  1. Nice Video i don’t like my Brakes very much But i have them just vor 3 days in bikepark and about 2 month normal and in bikeparks it was were i thougt they haben enough power i have sram code rsc. What do you think about mt7 and i have the Top Model ( with Fox Factory) of the Canyon torque (180 mm with dh geometry)

  2. Love your vids. You inspired me to mountain bike

    Hope you have a nice day. It is my dream to meet you. Keep up the good work.

  3. I'm finding that Fatmap is a game changer. Especially for planning and designing routes on Desktop. You can select a fly over option that will cover the route you've planned in 3D so you can see exactly where the hills are and what the challenges are.

  4. I almost bought Garmin 530 MTB bundle, but then i discovered lot of interesting on garmin forum about GPS inaccuracy.. So, not yet, myabe next generations..

  5. GPS inside the forest is not the most accurate device for obvious reasons, much more accurate on the road I believe.

  6. I use an EMTB so my technology is slightly different. The Kiox computer paired with the Bosch motor can give me information at almost anytime and once my ride is complete it downloads to the app. It doesn’t, however, pair with my iwatch but does pair with other heart monitor devices. My Garmin edge25 records my travels and will give me turn by turn navigation but I seldom use it. I can’t risk attaching my iPhone to the bar so i keep it in a safe place on my person.
    I use most of the apps such as Strava, Komoot, Trail Forks, Garmin Connect, eBike Connect and Heathfit. So I think I’m covered. Maybe a sensor so that a drone can photograph and track my every move. JK.
    I’m fairly high risk when it come to my heath so having the ability to call for an emergency, or a device that calls for me, gives a little peace of mind when I’m out riding. As long as it works. GPS is important to me and I’m usually out of range for cell phone service. I only needed help once (lost and then found my dog) but knowing this technology is with me gives the wife and my family some reassurance.

  7. The dumbest videos. And always trying to sell something. Explain what shoes are next. Omg. How do mtb riders use shoes? On their feet? Bicycle buzzfeed over here. 👎

  8. If it does not happen on strava, it did not happen. Lastly – if you fall so hard that that you are unconscious a good mate should stop your strava for you. ✌️🏻

  9. My first 'bike computer' was just a mileage gauge. It had a gear mounted near the spokes that was driven by a little peg attached to one of the spokes. Couldn't find a picture of one, though.

  10. I like Strava but use it to compete against myself not others. Trailforks is used mainly in Canada never heard of Kumut until I started watching your channel.

  11. I used to have a old school computer that I loved using and have thought about getting a new one biggest turnoff for me is the risk of breaking it in a crash. My last one I broke in a big crash and the LCD screen is just black. So now I just use my phone with trailforks and a lifeproof case.

  12. He literally was wrong in all technical details:!
    GPS devices are never connected to any GPS satellites. They are pure receivers, like your eyes receivers of light. There is no GPS to satellite transmission, nor satellites are aware of any receiver.
    Emergency services don't use GPS. It is GSM what does the job. Your GPS is nothing without transmitter to send you info where is your stolen bike is. Your position will not magically appear elsewhere without dedicated communication channel. And it is cheaper to buy new bike than pay to mobile carrier to fetch location of stolen bike, which already half country away.

  13. So question for those Garmin fans: is there a version with normal screen lighted enough so you actually can read something while riding? All those models literally equally bad!

  14. Strava is cheap because 99% of us already run smart phones. Strava also gives you a specific metric to tell your friends how much faster you are. Strava is both the best and worst part of our community for that reason.

  15. Not a racer but enjoy the data just for fun. The incident report doesn’t work when you don’t have cell service. And my Garmin had to be sent back and serviced in less than a year. I also have a Garmin watch and a Garmin in reach. Feel more secure with the Garmin in Reach satellite since I ride by myself where there is no cell service. Love technology,

  16. Hey guys, i‘m thinking about to buy an Garmin Edge 820 Bundle for 249€ at my LBS. It would be my first gps and i‘m asking myself is this a good one? Is ist worth the Price? I‘ve no idea and hope u guys can help me out about. BTW i love the show!!! #askgmbn

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