Monthly Archives: April 2015

Magellan Cyclo 105 Long Term Review

Whether you’re riding for fun, or training to race it’s important to track your progress, both instantaneously and over the long term. That’s why a bike computer is so useful, you can track and record your ride details so you can analyse them later. If you’ve thought about buying a GPS computer you’ve probably come across the Magellan Cyclo 105 (or Mio Cyclo 105). I’ve been using this unit for the past 6 months to track my training and record my races. If I had to summarise it in one sentence, I would say it’s a solid device, a great entry into GPS computers, however serious races should beware.

Magellan Cyclo105 – Size comparison

If you’re familiar with the Garmin Edge 500, this device has many similar features. On the software side, Magellan uses something called “CycloAgent” (much akin to Garmin Express) to upload your rides from your device to MagellanCyclo. This process is very similar to how the Garmin works, but beware, unlike the Garmin, you can’t manually extract the rides, you have to upload them online first, and then download them.

Magellan’s CycloAgent software. Very basic software which upload’s your ride to MagellanCyclo

Once uploaded, you can view your rides via MagellanCyclo. It’s a neat website, my only criticism is the data presented is quite lacking. It syncs with Strava, Training Peaks, Today’s Plan and Endomondo quite easily. If you’re using any of these websites it’s quite an easy unit to live with. If you’re not, you’ll find the software provided by Magellan a little lacking, this is all the data you see from your rides – it may be all the data you need, but for those who like numbers it is a little lacking.

MagellanCyclo software. This is the most detail you'll be able to get of your ride.

MagellanCyclo software. This is the most detail you’ll be able to get of your ride with Magellan software.

As I mentioned before it syncs quite easily with Strava, which is handy as it undos the little “recording errors” you get with this unit, note how the distances and elevation figures are a little different.

Viewing the same ride on Strava

Viewing the same ride on Strava

Overall, the GPS accuracy is decent, however it only records a position once every few seconds. If you’re riding a tight criterium circuit I wouldn’t trust the GPS figures. Magellan compensates for this by correcting it once you upload your ride – eg if it sees a trail which all your GPS coordinates lie on, it’ll change your route so you follow the trail. Also, I wouldn’t trust the distance/speed readings given by the unit unless you’re using a speed sensor. Defeats the purpose of GPS a little, but it’s accurate enough to upload to Strava (if strava segments are your thing).

The GPS correction software works quite well.

The GPS correction software works quite well.

On the hardware side the unit is ANT+ compatible, so you can use most sensors available. It can receive power data, I’ve paired it with a Rotor LT powermeter. It gives you very basic power data, things like instantaneous power, average power etc, but it won’t give you things like L/R balance. Another interesting thing to note, there’s no zero/calibrate option on the device, if your powermeter plays up and you’re getting weird readings you’ll have to turn your device off and on again.

You can customise the information displayed, you can display 6 fields per page, and can have a maximum of 5 pages.

The device is mounted with a quarter turn mount, which is compatible with Garmin mounts too (handy if you want to use an out-front mount). Battery life is fairly solid, from my experiences I would believe it’s close to the advertised 14-18 hours. The device charges via a MiniUSB cable (just like the Garmin). They advertise the screen as “anti-glare”. It’s as “anti-glare” as the Garmin 500, however at the wrong angles you still get the sun shining in your eye. I’ve experienced this issue when riding at around midday, and I experience a similar issue on other devices too. The only device which I haven’t had this issue for is the Polar CS600, which I’m guessing manages to avoid this issue with a curved screen.

Backside of the Magellan, with charging cable attached.

So, if it’s so similar to the Garmin 500, why would I  suggest that serious races should beware of this device? Well, there are a few subtle differences, which really do set the 500 apart from this device. If you’re not overly analytical with your data you probably wouldn’t notice, but if you like numbers you’ll notice that this device isn’t fully compatible with Golden Cheetah. If you download your ride to GC, you’ll notice that it doesn’t display your heart rate and power data. This is especially annoying for me as I like to be able to break my data down, and GC offers a free, user intuitive summary of my rides. I contacted GC about this issue, apparently it’s being fixed in version 3.11 but it’s an annoying issue nonetheless, but thankfully it’s software related and can be patched. If you’re interested, see the post here: https://github.com/GoldenCheetah/GoldenCheetah/issues/1208#issuecomment-68131041

Having said that, the Magellan Cyclo 105 ticks all the other boxes. It’s a solid, dependable unit which will work for cyclists who aren’t data geeks. Overall, I would recommend this device to those who just want to record their rides, without being overly analytical (eg for things like strava). However, if you want to break your data down and like using Golden Cheetah I would avoid this unit. It’s a really good unit for certain types of cyclists, and a waste of money for other types. If you’ve never had a GPS computer before, this would be a good first computer as it can give you a great overview of your ride and is accurate enough to be useful, however if you’re replacing something like a Garmin, Navi2Coach or any other high end computer, and know your numbers this device won’t be able to deliver those numbers.

Pros: Well priced, well thought out unit

Cons: Lacking in the data department.

Disclaimer: The author is not in any way affiliated with Magellan. The review sample was purchased from a store.