For about a year now I have been using a Magellan Cyclo 505 and my cycling computer/GPS navigation device. It’s been a good device throughout that time but it hasn’t been without its problems.

When it was first released in the US & AU in April of 2014 (the UK already had it for a year prior) it came with software version 4.0. It worked right out of the box, paired with my Bluetooth sensors perfectly and worked as expected. Bluetooth was important to me as I already had those sensors from when I was using my iPhone. If I had gone with a Garmin I would have needed to replace those senors with ANT+ versions. Unfortunately my good fortune wasn’t experienced by everyone and there were many reports of users suffering from what was dubbed the “distance doubling bug”. What would happen is when some people paused their ride (either manually or automatically) and then resumed their ride the Cyclo would double the distance they had traveled. In some cases the error would correct itself later in the ride, other times it wouldn’t and sometimes it would propagate itself to the Magellan Cyclo website where rides are uploaded to. Thankfully services like Strava disregard many of these false stats and re-calc the rides themselves. Support tickets were created and users were assured a fix was in the works.

Fast forward to October 2014 and 4.1 was released which was to take care of the distance doubling bug. For some uses it did just that, but for others, like me, it actually introduced the bug into their rides. Of course I updated right before a 100k charity ride which got recorded as 469575.82 miles instead of the usual ~60 miles. After some testing and compiling of data from users on the forum we figured out the bug only seemed to affect certain BTLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) sensors and did not seem to affect ANT+ sensors at all. I logged a ticket and was told a fix would be out in about “2 weeks” which seems to be their standard line, which equates to about 6 months. To band-aid the problem some users just stopped using sensors, others took the magnet off their wheel and just used GPS speed or others, like me, went out and purchased ANT+ speed & cadence sensors. So what once was a selling point for me mattered no more.

Things were hunky dory for the most part after that but with winter, there was no outside riding so the Cyclo just stayed off until the spring. When outdoor riding resumed everything worked as before but we were still waiting for another release to fix the distance bug and maybe get some new features. The distance bug didn’t concern me anymore but there were some new features we had been told were in the works.

4.2 was finally released in April 2015. I believe it finally solved the distance bug for the majority of people if not for everyone and also featured some minor UI enhancements but no new real features. Of course the update itself wasn’t without it’s own problems. In the US the original release accidentally removed the use of the OSM maps, which was corrected with a follow up release a few days later. The AU was released next and had it’s own set of similar issues which were corrected in a day or so. The UK was released last and they experienced issues as well which actually resulted in the 4.2 release being pulled and as of this writing has not been re-released yet.

The good news is if you have 4.2 on your device it should be working reasonably well at this point. But if you are having issues or want some new features I wouldn’t hold your breath as Magellan seems very slow in releasing updates. If there is a silver lining to all this is that the navigation portion of the Cyclo has always been exceptional. You may not know how far you have ridden or what temp it is in Fahrenheit but it would always route you to your destination and follow a course without error.

Enter the Garmin 1000. Ever since the 4.1 version of the Cyclo software I have been wondering if I had made the wrong choice when it came to my cycling computer. Between unresolved issues, lack of updates and unresponsiveness from Magellan when a deal came up on a Garmin 1000 I took the plunge. Now I had been following the Garmin for quite some time and the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. The biggest complain about the Garmin is that it doesn’t navigate as well as the Cyclo, but there are several websites and blogs that recommend certain settings you should use on the Garmin to improve routing. The 1000 has also had it’s share of bugs and issues but Garmin pushes out software updates at a much faster rate than Magellan so they certainly do seem more responsive in that respect.

Now that I have both units in my possession I will be doing some testing and updating the blog here with my results – most notably on the navigation portion of each unit since that is where most of the difference seem to be.

So stay tuned for my next post on first impressions.