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The game changer: Magellan Cyclo 505 bicycle computer

malamut's picture
Testing the new Magellan Cyclo 505 bicycle computer. Cycle Traveller review

The new Magellan Cyclo 505 has raised the bar when it comes to bicycle computers. In a market heavily dominated by Garmin, Magellan needed to come out with a game changer in order to attract market attention away from the forerunners, and the Cyclo 505 does just that, incorporating Wi-Fi connectivity and adding useful features tailored to cyclists – such as bike path navigation, cycling route suggestions and a bike shop and service finder.

I've been fortunate to have a new Cycle 505 test unit to play with for the past two months and it has made quite an impression on me.

Already Garmin has scrambled to catch up, announcing its new Garmin 1000 earlier this month. This new product is yet to hit the market and I am still to see one, so I will keep it out of this review. However, I will say that it looks very appealing and will have many of the capabilities that Magellan has introduced in the Cyclo 505, however, with improvements to screen resolution and the introduction of connectivity to new electronic gearing systems – although you can expect to pay a significantly higher price.

So the race is on, with Magellan forcing Garmin to lift its game – this is great news for consumers. Here's what I think about the Cyclo 505.

Gear review: The Magellan Cyclo 505 bicycle computer. Cycle TravellerMagellan Cyclo 505

Dimensions: 61 x 103 x 18.9 mm
Weight: 129g
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life: Up to 12 hours
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (BLE), and ANT+
GPS: Yes
Internal memory: 4GB
Screen resolution: 240x400 pixels
Sensors: Works with heart-rate monitor, cadence and power meter
Touchscreen: Yes
Water resistant: Yes
 

Map features

For the purposes of this review, the Cyclo 505 is best compared with the Garmin Edge 810, which has maps and navigation. For the past year I have owned a Garmin 510, a GPS device that has heart rate and cadence capabilities but not maps and navigation.

Why I chose a Garmin Edge 510 over an Edge 810 is relevant to this review. The simple answer is that the usefulness of the Garmin topographical maps was not worth the extra $200 to me. The maps were generally hard to read on the small screen and there was no way of telling if the roads were suitable for cycling. Further, if there was a rail trail nearby, you wouldn't know about it. I found that pulling out my smartphone and using Google Maps, which highlights bike paths and cycling routes, was much more helpful, and the larger phone screen combined with much better resolution was easier to read. (As an aside, the screen resolution of both the Edge 810 and the Cyclo 505 is nothing to call home about. The upcoming Edge 1000 looks to be a lot better. But keep in mind that the better screen resolution does drain the battery faster.)

So the question is, are the Magellan Cyclo 505 maps better than Garmin Edge 810's?

The short answer is, yes. Not only is the interface a little larger and easier to read (although some might be turned off by the slightly larger size of the Magellan), but the Magellan Cyclo 505 (and the Cyclo 500 for that matter, which costs $30 less and does not have ANT+ connectivity) has incorporated bike lanes and cycling routes into the maps. Further, they have also joined forces with the Where To Ride guide books to include all of their cycling routes as well, including their mountain bike routes.

Another advantage is that you can search the maps for services based on your location, such as bike shops and mechanics, pubs, restaurants and cafes, lookouts, ATMs, emergency services and the like. This feature is very handy when travelling, however it stops short of listing accommodation.

A third feature of the maps is that you can ask the device to suggest a cycling route, of which it will take your criteria and come back with up to three options.

Magellan Cyclo 505 price comparison Garmin Edge 810. Cycle Traveller

So the Magellan Cyclo 505 maps in my view are more useful to a cyclist than those offered by the Garmin Edge 810.

Price

Value for money is a big consideration when buying a product. The Cyclo 505 Bundle (AUS$479), while not compromising on quality, comes in at a significantly lower recommended retail price than Garmin's Edge 810 Bundle ($699), which until now had a monopoly on the market. A high-quality device with more capabilities and at a more affordable price? Magellan, you have our attention.

Connectivity

The Cyclo 505 also allows for better connectivity than its Garmin counterparts, allowing users to directly connect via Wi-Fi to third-party programs, like the hugely popular Strava. Garmin has kept this capability out of the hands of their users, only allowing them them bluetooth access through the Garmin Connect portal or to resort to plugging the device into a computer with a USB cable and uploading it manually. It is understandable that Garmin wants to encourage consumers to use its own platform, but there's no point taking on the social media megalith that Strava has become. Magellan has been clever to create a product that seamlessly syncs with third-party platforms rather than compete with them.

The Cyclo 505 has another nifty little feature – instant route sharing. Basically, if you've got a great bike route saved in your Cyclo 505, you can 'bump' it up next to another Cyclo 505 and the route will copy itself into the other unit. This feature is very handy for group rides where people may not be riding at the same pace. However, this feature is only useful if others around you are also using the same device, which at present, isn't the case.

Bike mounts

The Cyclo 505 comes with two types of handlebar mounts – a nice looking out-the-front mount for drop bar handlebars and, for flat bars, rubber brackets connected with zip ties. The out the front mount is very nice (and it's worth noting that Garmin doesn't include this in the box, but sell it separately). However, the zip-tie flat bar mounts, while they work, aren't that swish and can't be easily removed from a bike. For flat bars, I prefer Garmin's rubber-band approach to attaching the mounts. But even rubber bands aren't perfect and I think Magellan and Garmin have a little work to do on developing a better mount for flat bars.

Magellan Cyclo 505 front view. Cycle TravellerBattery life

The Cyclo 505 says it has 12 hours of charge. I tested the device on full day rides and, while I didn't keep track of the battery down to the minute, I got two full days use out of it. I did turn the device off on breaks, so the 12 hour life appears to be about accurate.

GPS tracking

The Cyclo 505 includes all the features that made Garmin so popular in the first place, inlcuiding GPS tracking of location, speed, distance travelled, average distance and altitude. It can also be linked to any ANT+ compatible heart rate monitor and cadence sensor to record performance data as well.

Ease of use

The interface on the Cyclo 505 is easy to use with a home 'dashboard' from where you can navigate to where you need to go. Off the bat, it is a little more user-friendly than the Garmin Edge 510 and Edge 810 interfaces. However, as I had become quite accustomed to the Garmin products, the Magellan took a little getting used to. I'd liken it to switching between an iPhone and a Samsung – you get used to it eventually.

Conclusion

Magellan has been a dominant name in the navigation market for years but it was late to developing a product for the cycling market, leaving Garmin as the only real option for cyclists looking for GPS tracking of their routes while recording distance, speed, heart rate and cadence data. Magellan's first foray into the bicycle computer market with the Cyclo 100 was like a whisper. The device was very similar to a Garmin in looks and ability and, while coming in a more affordable price, it wasn't enough to raise the eyelids of cyclists who had already become comfortable with Garmin. Nevertheless, the Cyclo 100 range was an important first step into the market and provides options in the growing Magellan cyclo computer range.

The Cyclo 505 takes the market where it has never been before. It is the game changer. This product beats Garmin's Edge 810 in terms of price and features and has Garmin scrambling to catch up and trump its new competition with the Edge 1000. However, when it comes to price, Magellan can't be beat. A quality product with great connectivity and capabilities tailored to cyclists, the Magellan Cyclo 505 is a winner.

Comments

I recently purchased the 500 model.

Whilst generally happy with it on two occasions it has directed me to make a turn then after a few minutes sent be back to the turning point and sent me in a different direction. Both times I was using the Surprise me function.

When reviewing my rides in History I was amazed to discover that on several rides I averaged slightly under 50k an hour and on another averaged 512k an hour - I wish. My correct average was around 20k an hour. It should be noted that when I uploaded the rides to the Magellancyclo site the correct information was recorded.

I also find the rubber USB port cover to be very fiddly. Sometimes it closes correctly on the first attempt yet on others takes numerous attempts.

The price was a large factor in my decision to purchase.

Good review, I also just purchased the 505 and have found it really easy to use and very accurate. The best part is the wifi uploads to Strava.

The maps are surprizingly detailed, with all the bike paths. Used it for finding point of interest in Adelaide and heaps of bike shops came up. Have had no problem with the routing, and can even change preferences to use bike paths prefer or avoid, good for when on my carbon wheels

This model is $320 less than its competitor the Edge1000 which I just can't justify.

I am interested to see the new software, to be released soon say it has : phone compatibility and Di2 compatibility.

I agree with everything in your review, but just have one major point to add. Another reviewer pointed out an infuriating "feature" of the cyclo 500 series - it has to repair with the sensors every time you turn it on. I actually emailed Garmin support before purchase and asked if this had been fixed and received the reply: "About the problem with the sensor, we already have released a firmware update that enhances it and fixes the problem so that the accessory can easily pair with the device."

Well that was a straight out lie, because I have found repeatedly that it doesn't pair when I turn it on and I find myself riding down the road turning the stupid thing off and on sometimes 3 times before it finally detects the sensors. If I stop for a coffee and take the head unit inside with me, it stays connected to the HR sensor but invariably loses the speed/cadence sensor and has to be repaired yet again. This is a major bug IMO and enough to make me consider this unit a lemon.

I am in discussion with Garmin Tech support about it but just getting the run around now that I have purchased.

malamut's picture

Thanks for your feedback Greg. Although can you clarify you mean Magellan, not Garmin?

On an aside, Magellan did release a firmware update that also includes a few new features. These include things like Shimano Di2 Compatibility, ANT+ Indoor trainer control, wireless music control, call and text message alerts from your smartphone, as well as an emergency message capability.

The device should update when you log into your Magellan Active account and connect your device. More info available here.

Sorry, said Garmin, meant Magellan.
That firmware update (v4) has not been released yet, and Magellan Tech Support here in Australia will not say if it has any improvement to the sensor pairing issues or not.

I have created a list of all the problems I am having with the Cyclo 505, the magellancyclo website and the Magellan desktop tool. In the interest of helping others who may me looking at purchasing the 505 I'll add it here. Admittedly some of the problems are minor but taken all together they show this is well and truly a Mk1 product. Hopefully some of the issues will be fixed with future firmware updates.

Cyclo 505 Software problems
1. Speed Sensor Problems
Cannot remember manually paired sensor
Pairing must be left on Auto and it repairs every time 505 started, but often won't pair with speed sensor
Best Workaround: Do not turn 505 on until you start cycling. Should find both HR and Speed sensor within 30 secs. If it doesn't turn unit off and back on. Repeat if required.
2. HR Sensor Problems
Riding in a bunch, without my HR transmitter. My stupid Cyclo 505 asked me constantly, “Do you want to pair with this HR transmitter” NO Then again with another NO then another NO etc etc etc ad infinitum. How simple would it be to get the stupid thing to stop trying to pair with HR sensors once speed is over say 10 k/h or cadence is over 20rpm.
Best Workaround - go into settings and select "No Sensor" if you are not wearing the HR Sensor
3. Mapping problems
(a) When riding in map mode I get regular and incessant beeps because 505 thinks I am riding through the bush instead of on the road. Off-track tolerance (if it exists) is way too small
(b) Alert Settings gives no choice of turning of some alerts (like off-track). All navigation “Instructions” (they’re not instructions they are beeps) can be ON or OFF – should be a selection to turn each individual alert ON or OFF
4. Usability problems
(a) Far too many stupid messages and confirmations.
Press power off and it wants confirmation.
Detects movement and asks if I want to start recording. Can't turn this off, should be user selectable
Stupid messages asking for pairing sits on top of Dashboard and obscures it. Should be no such messages once ride is underway (user selectable)
(b) Zones are wrong. For my age (63) Maximun HR is 157 by the most common formula. 505 says it is 173. There is no formula I have seen that gets it this high.

Cyclo 505 Hardware problems.
1. Two piece Speed/Cadence sensor is cumbersome and unnecessary. There are many combined units that work very well.
2. The battery door on the speed sensor is on the inside not the outside. Changing the battery is very difficult and involves getting grease from the chain on hands and arms
3. The battery door o-ring is not retained and falls out when the door is taken off. Very easy to trap the o-ring when putting the door on, especially with the door's ridiculous location on the inside.
4. The 5/8 turn out-front mount (not 1/8 turn as advertised) is cumbersome and difficult to use. I have seen pictures posted on-line of the plastic tabs on the 505 breaking off after minimal use. I find it very difficult to ensure both tabs are properly engaged before turning the 505 to lock it.

Documentation problems
Getting Started Documentation: A few hard to follow pictures for setup made the process much harder than it should be.
User Manual: Doesn't go into any depth at all. For example doesn't explain the difference between Manual and Auto sensor pairing and which one should be used. Doesn't say that if a sensor is not used (eg HR) it should be set to "No Sensor".

www.magellancyclo.com Website problems
1. Cannot create routes or edit routes
2. There is a setting to leave recording on the cyclo when synching but this does not work and files are ALWAYS deleted from the 505 after syncing.
3. When the 505 is connected the website constantly shows that it is Syncing when it is not. Syncing should be started with a sync button and then stop afterwards.
4. No instructions on how to load 3rd party tracks and website doesn't seem to be able to do it. Had to go to a forum to find out how to copy new tracks to 505 manually. Eventually found those instructions hidden in the manual.

Magellan Cyclo v3.07 (only used for firmware and map updates) problems
1. Tells you to "Close this Desktop Tool before accessing www.magellancyclo.com to avoid connection conflict problems." but there is no easy way to close it. Clicking the cross in the top right minimises it to the tray but does not close it. Can be closed by right clicking launch bar icon and selecting Exit. Lame
2. Always starts up with "Run at Startup" ticked. Unticking it has no affect, it still always starts with Windows and this option is always ticked.

Hi Greg, you list an extensive list of issues with the 505HC. I appreciate you listing them all, it is interesting for me to read as I am considering a purchase of the 505. I hope you could take the time to answer my questions... Do you think some of these issues are resolved since the new update has been released (I have been following your comments on DC Rainmaker as well)? Additionally, are there good things about the unit? I.E Would you recommend purchase? Finally, have you tried the unit with bluetooth sensors? Thanks for your time.

I have created a page on one of my websites dedicated to discussing the bugs and ideosyncrasise of the 505. You can see it here: http://www.ddsystems.com.au/other/magellanmio-cyclo-505/
Your questions:
1. Do I think the issues are resolved in v4.0? They have definitely worked on the sensor problems and pairing is better and easier BUT it still loses the speed/cadence sensor if you stop riding and move the 505 away from your bike (ie take it in to the coffee shop so it doesn't get stolen) and then its difficult to get it to pair up again. As I said its improved, and I have every reason to believe they will get this problem licked soon.
2. Overall I'm now pretty happy with the 505. I can now work around the sensor problems (see link above), Strava upload is much easier that with a Garmin, Mapping is good and importantly its a lot cheaper than a Garmin 1000 and has many of its features. Of course please bear in mind that I'm concentrating on the problems because most reviewers don't spend a lot of time with a product and often miss all the little problems. I don't mention the good things but as this review points out its a very usable device and a very good price.
3. Would I recommend purchase? It depends on your acceptance of substandard features. This unit is just not good enough as released with 3.1 software. Hell you couldn't even swipe between screens. With 4.0 its usable (and swipe is available) but still has many annoyances. I believe that further updates will follow quickly. I absolutely hate all the stupid confirmations that are always popping up and covering the screen, and that is an indication that the programmers haven't got a clue about user interface design. If you want a bike computer with mapping and think the Garmin 810 is too expensive, and you are happy to put up with some annoyances then the 505 is a good option, because it has more features than the 810 at a much better price (once you include the cost of maps). If you don't need mapping buy the Garmin 510 you'll be getting a mature and well developed product. If money isn't an issue definitely buy the Garmin 1000.
5. No I haven't used Bluetooth sensors. Giving that it crashes badly when I try to pair up my phone, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Bluetooth module is buggy also.

hey Greg,

I just bought the Cyclo 505 2 weeks ago - loving it everyday!!

Btw did you read their instructions on pairing? You should be pairing the sensor manually only at the start, and thereafter it automatically remembers your sensor (brilliant!)

Btw they've just released the latest firmware version. Try it - really superb, connects to my iphone like a charm, answers calls and reads my sms. It hooks up to Di2 also - though I've no $$ to buy that ...

Although many users will not want to fiddle around with downloading and installing maps, both of these devices can use OSM maps which enormously increases their versatility, not to mention saving you money on map updates.

In a few months I am off to do some cycle touring in Italy, and I wouldn't even think about buying the maps from Garmon. I just download the Italian map optimised for bicycle routes, install on my Garmin 810 and off I go. In my opinion both Garmin and Magellan have now "run up the white flag" in terms of proprietary mapping data, with most savvy users having moved to free maps from OSM.

So comments in this article about cycle maps for the Garmin don't really apply in practice. Either way if you go OS you will want to load the right maps.

Magellan issued another firmware update on 27 May 2014. The version number is v4.0.6.8808 2014-04-25

Since installing the latest update:
1. I have had no sensor issues at all. None. Both Speed/Cadence and Heart rate are working perfectly.
2. Re-routing has been very much improved and now works well.
3. The phone connection now works perfectly with my Samsung Note 2 running KitKat 4.4.2

I have to say this update is a massive improvement, and now the Magellan Cyclo 505 does pretty much everything I expect of it.

I find both devices frustrating. I own an Edge 1000 and have been trying to research the 505HC. I have been to the Magellan site and the information on the device is poor. I understand that it also connects to the Shimano Di2 D-fly transmitter. However I am unable to confirm that this part of the 505HC's applications. Also I am not sure if the 505HC connects via phone and is able to transmit data in real time. Finally - I do not know and cannot find where to go to have a decent look at one prior to purchasing.

My recommendation to all is DO NOT PURCHASE AN EDGE 1000. The device has great potential but does not do much of the important stuff that it should do, for example:-

Screen lock comes on randomly
WiFi connection does not work
Bluetooth drops in and out randomly and sync issues often appear.
Auto pause function will turn off randomly
It will only accept one set of sensors - If you have two bikes you either have to have two devices or spend several minutes deleting and re pairing when you swap bikes.
It took me some time to work out how to stop the device from deleting rides once you upload to the crappy Garmin connect. I cannot find out how to export data from Garmin connect back to the device so that I can load on Strava - much better and more popular software.
The Gear indicator function works (but seems to drop our a bit, requiring re pairing) It would be better if the gear display had a graphic interface as well as displaying gear numbers. - currently the only thing available is 1/2 - 2/2 and 1/11 - 2/11 - 3/11 etc through to 11/11. When one is hypoxic and in severe pain - numbers are harder to take in!!

When Garmin comes out with a comprehensive software update the device may be worth buying - but at the moment it is very disappointing.

I agree the Garmin Edge 1000 is a complete and utter disaster!

My Edge 1000 has the same issues that you describe:
1) Screen locks every time you touch it
2) Sensors constantly disconnect
3) Bluetooth constantly drops
4) Failure to sync with the Garmin Connect App
5) Can't change the Di2 gearing info
6) WiFi does not work

I ordered the Magellan Cyclo 505 and it's scheduled for delivery this Saturday.. I am sending the Edge 1000 back to Garmin as soon as it arrives!

I would also advise everyone to steer clear of the Edge 1000. It's a complete disaster!

I did a TON of reading reviews before buying the Cyclo 505 and I understand the 505 does connect with the Shimano D Fly and there are several reviews that show the settings. Check DCRainmakers sight, he has a pretty good review on the 505's D Fly connectivity.

Best I can tell the 505 does not have anything like Garmins Live Track. The 505 has an emergency feature that will send you location to someone via a text message I believe..

Paris's picture

Hi Alan,

The Magellan Cyclo505 and 505HC both connect seamlessly to Di2 here is a link
on Magellan's site to connecting your Di2
http://www.magellansupport.com.au/All%20Magellan%20FAQs/Software/Cyclo%2...

As for the Phone connectivity - Users can now connect their iPhone or Android
device to their Cyclo 500 and 505 via Bluetooth®, to receive incoming calls
and see who is calling. The user is able to read incoming texts and even
answer calls when wearing a headset with microphone (wired or Bluetooth®).
This new functionality ensures connectivity during a ride in a safe way.
Users that don’t want to be disturbed while cycling can easily switch this
option off.

As for the real time transmit data, not sure if you talking about real
time-tracking (as doesn't) or transmit real time data (caller id, sms and
music control)from phone as paired to it(which it does).

For all Magellan dealers just visit front page of our website and click
"where to buy" http://www.magellangps.com.au/Where_to_Buy

Thanks and hope aid your decision.

Paris

As a user of Garmin for many years, I was nervous when I switched to the 505. I had a 510 before, and did experience BT drop out and erratic sync with the phone. I think the 505 is great though had a bit of a mess around to get it going and upload the update as I am a Mac user and it only supports Windows and Safari on OX 10.8 which was frustrating. Bootcamp later and the Desktop tool installed and I could get it going. The Desktop tool is slow and buggy and appears to freeze on occassion and I am left wondering if it is frozen, taking an age or what and I dont want to break the thing by disconnecting prematurely. THis needs sorting out (both the buginess and the lack of Mac support-there are a ton of home Mac users out there now). Thankfully once disconnected, with WiFi link all the stuff can be uploaded and the computer is a bit more redundent. THe sensor connections are all sound for ANT+ and BT, though only having combined cadence/sensor is a bummer as there are separate units out there, most notably the new magentless Garmin ANT+ speed and cadence units which I have and want to use but they wont pair with the 505 (as it only supports a combined unit). Hopefully a future update will fix this. Overall, great unit and I am happy with it. Very nice checking out texts and taking calls (with 'phones in ears).

Hi, I've purchased a 505HC today and have not been able to connect the cadence/speed sensor. Heart rate strap has no problem connecting. I've updated the firmware to 4.1 (can't believe I even had to do that....only found out after reading blogs). Should the cadence/speed sensor be on the bike and in motion when searching. ATM I'm sitting on the couch with them beside me but having no luck getting the head unit to locate it.

The speed/cadence sensor needs a magnet to pass by the sensor to turn it on. Then it should connect.

Should the cadence/speed sensor be found when not in motion or on bike?

This is my second unit. First was defective because I couldn't download the updates. The replacement works fine except for distance and average speed readings. On my first ride with the replacement unit I averaged 450mph and rode 1095 miles. Magellan told me to reset the unit by holding down the power button for 20 seconds. I took a short ride after doing this and it worked well. Today's ride was a different story. Once again average speed and distance were way off. And the erratic readings are downloaded that way to the Cyclo website but not to Strava. Strava's readings are spot on. Can't figure that out. Something must be interfering with the 505 during my ride, but I don't know what. Other than that major problem I like the unit. I looked at a friends 810, and it doesn't compare to the 505.

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