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Magellan Cyclo 505 a Worthy Garmin Alternative
Magellan, a Belgian company that makes GPS products like outdoors and automobile navigation systems, is going after industry giant Garmin with a new full-featured cycling computer called the Magellan Cyclo 505. The Cyclo 505 includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi integration and is roughly comparable to the Garmin Edge 810/1000 in terms of features and functionality.
What’s In the Box
Two 505 series models are available, the 505 and 505hc; the latter includes a heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor as part of the bundle. Both come standard with a micro USB wall charger, micro USB to USB cable to plug the unit into your computer, a zip-tie mounting universal bracket that can be attached to your handlebar or stem, and an out-front mount that bolts to your handlebar.
The Magellan Cyclo 505 is a handsome touch-screen unit about the size of deck of cards. It’s black, with a white border around the face and a single on/off button at the bottom front, below the 3-inch (76.2mm) diagonal color touchscreen. The mini-USB connector is on the lower back of the unit. The dimensions of the unit are 2-3/8 inches wide by 4 inches long by 3/4 inch thick (60.3mm wide, 101.6mm long, 19mm thick).
After unpacking the box, we plugged it in to fully charge the unit. While charging, we downloaded the User Manual from the company website. The manual is definitely worth a read. It is clearly written, easy to understand and describes all of the functionality of the Cyclo 505.
There is also an application/agent, called CycloAgent, which runs on your PC and through which you can upload/download as well as view and compare your rides (similar to Garmin Connect). You can also view and share ride information with other registered users. From the app, you can upload results to Strava, as well.
It took about 4 hours to initially charge the device. Depending on which functions you have turned on/off, the lithium-ion battery can provide a run time of up to 12 hours.
Mounting the unit to the bike is as easy as attaching the included out-front mounting arm to your handlebars and twisting the 505 into its cradle. If you don’t want to use the out-front mount, you can use the universal zip-tied mount that affixes directly to your bar or stem.
Lots of Features
The Cyclo 505 supports any number of ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart speed/cadence sensors, HRMs and power meters (and can handle the latest generation of power meters that read power from each crank arm separately) and is a snap to pair with these units.
- We easily paired existing Garmin speed/cadence and HRM units, as well as a LifeBEAM Bluetooth helmet with optical HR sensor). If you already have speed/cadence sensors on your bike(s), and an HRM, that you’re happy with, there’s probably no need to buy the 505hc bundle unless you want to have extras.
- The 505 can be used for both indoor- and outdoor-specific training. For indoor training, you can create a new profile that disables GPS but measures speed and cadence, heart rate and power. You can even pair the unit with an ANT+ trainer and control the grade, resistance, etc.
- The 505’s Bluetooth capability allows you to pair it with either your Android or iPhone to control your music while you ride. And Android users can see text and call alerts as they ride, and even use the unit’s “Where Am I” function to text their exact coordinates to an emergency contact. (That particular feature is not available to iPhone users.)
- Using Shimano’s Di2 wireless unit (SM-EWW01), you can record/display gear position, gear number and the Di2’s battery status (see photo). For those with Di2 + EWW01 wireless integration, the Cyclo 505 will also keep track of which gear(s) you were in for which % of the ride.
- You can wirelessly sync and upload ride data after each ride. There’s no need to take the unit off the bike and plug it into the computer. You can easily upload data to your computer or download saved tracks to your Cyclo 505, all through the wireless sync.
- The Cyclo 505 can also be used as a full in-car/motorcycle GPS using CAR mode. Further, the 505 has an IPX7 water resistant rating, which means that it can be submerged up to 3 feet (1m) for 30 minutes – plenty of protection for those who sweat all over their bike or regularly ride in the rain.
Navigating the Cyclo 505
Powering it on for the first time, the setup mode is displayed. It proved very simple to program by selecting options, then clicking the right/left arrows to go to the next/previous screens. Selections consist of options such as profile name, type of riding, units (metric, imperial), language, wheel size, address (for navigating to your home), etc.
Magellan has designed and engineered the Cyclo 505’s screens to be intuitive. When the unit ispowered up (after setup), it immediately connects to the GPS satellites and displays the main navigation screen consisting of links to all top-level functions:
Dashboard, Navigate, History, Surprise Me, Workout and Setup.
Touching any of these main functions, you then “drill down” into its corresponding detail pages. Navigating to different detail pages consists of clicking either the left arrow ‘<‘ or right-arrow ‘>’ buttons or swiping from screen to screen. When changing values, prompts are displayed, allowing easy modifications.
The Dashboard consists of 3 screens. The first is a map of your current location, including a directional heading, which tracks your position from the start of your ride to the finish. A cool feature called Back Track lays down “bread crumbs,” little red dots every 50 meters or so on the map. If you ever happen to get lost, you can simply follow the bread crumbs to get back to where you started.
The other two screens are informational (see photo), with customizable fields to display whatever ride metrics you care to see on each screen. Compared to smaller bike computers with screens crammed with data fields, the 505 features fairly large, easy-to-read fields, icons and text. To navigate between these screens, you can use either the right/left arrows at the bottom of the screen or just swipe the screen with your finger like on a smartphone.
While most of our testing was done before long-fingered glove season, we slipped on a couple of different pairs to test the screen sensitivity – with mixed results. While it’s designed to be used with gloves, the swiping function left a lot to be desired. It was hit or miss. Using the right or left arrow buttons seems to be the better bet when gloved up. And it sometimes requires holding your finger on the button for a bit longer than you would normally. On the plus side, the button background changes color from white to gold to indicate that it has been pushed.
If you know your route, you can simply use these two main Dashboard data screens to see everything you need to know about your ride. To start recording, you simply push the middle (red) button at the bottom of the info screen, which takes you to another Yes/No screen. Push Yes to start recording, and you’re off. The same must be done to stop recording. (An auto-start function is in the works, we’re told.) The unit does pause data recording when you stop in the middle of a ride and tracks Active Time and other averages based on the distance and active time recorded.
Other Screens and Features
Navigate – If you don’t know where you’re headed, you can use Navigate to map out your route. On this screen, Magellan has included lots of “navigate to” options – such as home, a specific address, a point of interest (you can look up such things as a bike store, food and drink, emergency help, etc.), tracks (routes you’ve already established), a specific coordinate, or a point on a map, among others.
Again, all of these screens are easy to get to and very easy to add or select options. Once an option is selected, Navigation will start. If you miss a turn, the unit recalculates to get you back on a recommended path.
The 505 comes pre-loaded with a complete U.S. road network for audible and turn-by-turn navigation, as well as Open Street Maps (OSM), a crowd-sourced trail network showing cycle lanes, tracks and bike shops. You can even share your own trails through OSM.
Navigate Tracks Function – Using the Navigate Tracks function, you can create a custom map route in any third-party tool (like Map My Ride), save it in GPX format and drag the GPX file to the Cyclo 505 – it really is as easy as that! Once on the Cyclo,click Navigate, then Tracks, and each of your custom route maps will be listed. Select the one you want to navigate and click GO. The Cyclo 505 will display turn-by-turn directions as well as capture and collect the normal ride data. This ride data can then be uploaded to Strava. All of this is terrific functionality.
Surprise Me – This cool feature offers up to three alternative routes around your current location. The route can be generated based on distance or time (which you input), and the three choices are listed by difficulty and grade. This is meant as a way to give alternatives so that boredom doesn’t set in by doing the same route over and over again. And it’s a handy tool to have if you are riding in an unfamiliar location, like when you’re on vacation or traveling for business.
History – Trip/training data can be saved in the History records. When the ride is completed, history data such as date, active time, distance, average speed, total calories, total ascent, etc., can be easily viewed, by day, week, month, etc. This is also the data that is uploaded through the CycloAgent desktop app – or via Wi-Fi – to your account on the Magellan site.
Workout – This mode offers a choice of working out by Distance, Time, Calories, Heart Rate Zone or Power Zone. When you choose the specific mode, it adds another info screen to dashboard so you can monitor your progress. For example, if you choose a Calories workout, with a goal of burning 2000 calories, a screen is added to the Dashboard that counts down the remaining calories (along with other data) as you ride. The Cyclo 505 beeps when your target has been reached.
Customization – Besides the obvious settings that can be customized (profile name, types of roads to avoid, screen brightness, language, date/time, etc.), the layout of each Dashboard screen can be modified as well. The best way to do this is to create a new profile and make the screen changes to this profile. Functions can be added, such as displaying Heart Rate, Power Meter, etc.
IPX7 – The IEC 60529/IPX7 is a European system of test specification standards for classifying the degrees of protection against intrusion. An IPX7 designation means that this unit can withstand immersion in 1 meter (approximately 3 feet) of still water for up to 30 minutes – provided the battery door and all jack covers are properly and securely closed. So, it can easily handle any amount of sweat or rain on a ride. Just wipe down the unit with a damp cloth after the ride if it gets messy.
The Last Word
In our testing to date, the Magellan Cyclo 505 has proven to be a solid device with numerous valuable, cool and easy-to-use features.
The Cyclo 505 favorably compares with Garmin’s Edge 810 and 1000 series computers and is priced lower. It’s a full-featured modern bike computer that should appeal to riders looking for a great combination of ease of use, low price, high performance and lots of great features.
One thing we’re happy to see is that Magellan is listening to and evaluating all feedback from product testers. Magellan is continuously adding functionality and quickly taking care of any issues that arise, making this unit better and better with each new release of the software.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.
John Marsh is the editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of “less than podium” talent, he sees himself as RBR’s Ringmaster, guiding the real talent (RBR’s great coaches, contributors and authors) in bringing our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That’s what we’re all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John’s full bio.