The riders on the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team were lucky enough to get Magellan on board for the 2014 season, supplying them with their Cyclo 505 HC bike computer. After almost 12 months of extensive testing on and off road, in the mud and on sunny days, here’s the final test report by Roeland Suys.
The Magellan Cyclo 505 is the first bike navigation computer that has been developed specifically for the Australian market. It is available in two versions; the basic Cyclo 505 and the more performance specific Cyclo 505 HC. The latter includes ANT+ speed and cadence sensors and heart rate monitor and is the version supplied to the team. Besides the ANT+ sensors, the Cyclo 505 HC also comes with an out front handlebar mount that allows you to mount it on or in front of your stem, a wall charger and USB charger cable. Getting started is simple, synchronising the sensors is only a matter of seconds and all the maps you need are pre-installed on the device.
The Magellan Cyclo 505 is an incredibly user friendly device, there’s only one button that takes you to the startup screen from where you have the choice of six menus (or eight if you pair it with your phone, we’ll get back to this later).
All the information you need during your ride is on the dashboard and can be personalised in the settings menu. You can set how much data you have on display, and what it is you are looking at. If you just want a clock, that’s fine, you can set it up like that. You can also lock out the navigation screen if you want a simpler readout with no chance of fumbling onto a map when you decide to play with your touch screen while in the middle of an effort.
The Cyclo 505 is both a bike computer and a navigation system. From this menu you can navigate to a specific address, coordinates or previous routes. Pre-installed in the navigation menu are heaps of trails all around Australia! Of course, you can upload a .gpx file directly via your USB connection, which is a real boon if travelling overseas. The unique ‘Shake and Share’ function means you can even share routes with friend who have the same device, wirelessly. The navigation is turn by turn, and the sensitivity is adjustable. This includes lots of beeping for when you go off course, but you can turn that off.
Following the directions an turns on trails can still be a little tricky, especially when you start getting into the flow of a trail and aren’t consciously looking at your computer. But the Magellan will reroute you back onto your route, without just recommending a U-turn if it’s possible.
This unique function calculates three different routes based on what distance you feel like riding on the day, a great way to find new trails and roads around your home or on your next bike holiday. It does rely on what preferences you have set for the profile you’re on. So if you have your road bike profile set to allowing busy roads, it may well lead you onto them.
Let the Cyclo 505 be an extra motivation to keep you up to speed for the time, distance or caloric burn that you’re after.
From this menu you can personalise your device and it will only take you a few minutes to find out how thanks to the great user friendliness. You can set a profile for each bike, which is an easy way for setting up different sensors for your bikes. It also means you can share the device with your partner, if you never really ride together. Unfortunately, you can’t have different display settings from one profile to the next. For example, with a 3sec Avg power screen up for my road bike, it stays there for my MTB profile – it’s just blank as there’s no power meter on that bike.
Over-sharing is Caring
If you love using Strava, you’ll love the Cyclo 505 and it’s wireless uploads using the built in WiFi. After the ride, simply stop the clock, start the upload and by the time you’ve taken off your cycling shoes, your mates can already see that you’ve taken back their KOM’s! And it doesn’t stop with just WiFi, the Cyclo 505 is also equipped with Bluetooth Smart Connectivity allowing you to pair the device with your smartphone. This is where the start screen will go from the standard six menus to eight menus and where the fun really begins. You can now control the music playing from your phone and see incoming phone calls and text messages on the Cyclo 505 menu. Want more? Got Di2? Connect the Di2 with your Cyclo 505 and see exactly what gear you’re riding in!
The battery life on the Cyclo 505 is a claimed and confirmed 12 hours, pretty impressive considering the massive 3 inch colour touchscreen display and very much inline with Magellan’s direct competitors. The device is waterproof to one metre for up to half an hour, a feature we got to test more than we liked during this year’s Dirty Gran Fondo and other events. Hours of rain and mud couldn’t harm the Magellan although the touch screen does seem to react a bit slower when wet compared to riding under clear skies. Heavy rain and mud means that trail detritus can collect against the sensor, throwing your alititude readings off. This is mostly a problem if you’re riding ‘blind’ on a climb and are judging the top by what altitude the climbs tops out at. More of a concern for alpine marathons than local training loops. Running the device on the out front mount in reverse so it sits over the stem reduces this, as less crap flings against the sensor. A protective cover can also inhibit the sensor in the truly horrible conditions, holding water and grime against it.
The Magellan 505 HC is a great value unit for an active cyclist, whether you’re on the road or off it. The quality of the maps, with trails in it, is amazing. While it comes loaded with Australian maps, team mate Mike Blewitt had the maps for the European Alps loaded in for a trip overseas, and was able to use all the functions like ‘Surprise Me’ as expected. We mentioned value, but you really need to understand that for well under $AUS500 you have an amazing unit that is very easy to get along with – and it’s about half the price of the competition. Even if you get the unit that is ANT+ compatible and without sensors, you can use any other ANT+ sensor with the device, which makes for a great value upgrade.
What we liked
Massive touch screen display, wireless upload, navigation option, multiple profiles, phone and music player connectivity, easy interface to understand
The Cyclo 505 doesn’t feature a stopwatch, and re-starting the device plays with ride data (although not for upload), screen setup isn’t linked to bike profile, touch screen is a bit slow in the wet.