Flow’s First Bite: Magellan Cyclo 505 GPS

Words by Flow | Images by Flowtographer

The not-so-minor details

Product

Magellan Cyclo 500

Contact

Magellan
www.magellangps.com.au

Price

AUD399.00

Weight

130gm

Positives

Large display.
Easy operation.
Well priced.

Negatives

Web portal and auto sharing to third party sites still evolving.

A couple of months ago we attended the unveiling of some pretty trick GPS gear from Magellan, including their new Cyclo 505 (and the slightly cheaper Cyclo 500), a unit designed to go head-to-head with the most premium cycling GPS items on the market. We’ve now received a pre-production version of the unit to put through its paces.

The 505 is much bigger than the 105 we've been using previously, and around three quarters of the size of an iPhone 4S.

The 505 is much bigger than the 105 we’ve been using previously, at around three quarters of the size of an iPhone 4S.

It’s a large unit (a fellow rider asked us in all seriousness if it was an iPhone), dominated by a huge colour touch screen display. There’s only the one button, so the look is very sleek and the included bar mount allows you position the item over your stem, rather than sticking out the front. The size of the unit is well justified once you begin to explore just how much information you can display at one time on this device should you choose (you can display up to eight fields at once), and the maps are big and easy to follow.

The supplied mount allows you to position the unit either out in front of your bars, or flip it around to sit above your stem.

The supplied mount allows you to position the 505 either out in front of your bars, or flip it around to sit above your stem.

To date, we’ve primarily used the Cyclo 500 on the road bike and only a couple of times on the mountain bike – we have to admit we don’t like the idea of crashing with this item on the bars.

Magellan Cyclo 500-29

You can configure multiple dashboard display pages, with the primary page showing up to eight fields. This is where the large screen really helps – allowing you to see more info, clearly without toggling between pages.

Magellan Cyclo 500-20

The Surprise Me function generates three route options based upon your preferences of time or distance, and your parameters around road types to use or avoid.

On the roadie we’ve quickly come to appreciate the size and clarity of the display, and it synced instantly with our ANT+ sensors and heart rate monitor. We’ve just begun dabbling with the very cool ‘Surprise Me’ function as well – you can set the parameters (ie. avoid major roads, distance or time to be ridden etc) and the unit then generates a recommended ride or loop for you to explore. Sounds like a good way to discover some new training rides.

The 500 series units come preloaded with dozens of popular rides, both mountain bike and road bike, plus it's preloaded with cycling specific points of interest (like bike shops and cafes).

The 500 series units come preloaded with dozens of popular rides, both mountain bike and road bike, plus it’s preloaded with cycling specific points of interest (like bike shops and cafes).

Uploading data is done wirelessly, to the Magellan Cyclo portal (www.magellancyclo.com); whenever you’ve got a wifi signal, simply hit the wifi sync button and your rides are uploaded in a few seconds. At present the Magellan portal doesn’t export to Strava or other external sites directly, but we’re glad to hear that this functionality will be completed very soon. UPDATE: The Magellan Cyclo portal now exports automatically to Strava if desired, with other third party sites in the pipeline for early 2014.

Over the coming months we plan on using this device a lot. In terms of sheer features, it appears to be a serious competitor for items like the Garmin 810, especially given the Magellan’s price tag is considerably lower.