Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Magellan Cyclo 505

- published November 2016

93

2016

RATINGS

Functionality
9
GPS and Navigation
10
User Friendliness
9
Display and Battery
8
Online Training Support
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
93

SHOP

MSRP
LOW PRICE
$500.00
N/A
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THE GOOD

  • Bright, clear, full-color touchscreen
  • Huge array of training & navigation options
  • Highly detailed turn-by-turn nav
  • Shimano Di2 compatible

THE BAD

  • Minor glitches with software
  • Minimal training support on Magellan site
  • No dual (or graphic) power readout
  • Uses “mini” USB

THE VERDICT

This unit features everything the tech-weenie cyclist could possibly dream of, and more, with so many functions, we kept finding new ones throughout our testing. The touchscreen is extremely bright and crisp—although like most is prone to smudges which often lead to missed touches and swipes—and highly intuitive to use. Navigation is outstanding with tons of options, even on the fly. But perhaps best of all, this is one of the two units we found that can pair with both Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors.

FULL REVIEW

Functionality
Literally hundreds of functions come loaded on the Magellan Cyclo 505, with all the training data serious cyclists of any level could desire—except one major omission, a dual power reading and/or graphic, which is a valuable and common training tool for racers and serious riders. Readout windows are widely customizable, with scores of options for power, HR, calorie, elevation, etc. There’s even an onboard workout planning tool that can be programmed on the fly according to calories, distance, time in a selected zone, and more. And if navigation is important—and it should be, since there’s no reason anymore not to go out and explore well beyond your usual routes—this device is equal to the best in the business. Creating routes, uploading them and following them is simple and almost fail-proof, and even out on the road riders can punch a few buttons and select multiple route options with the “Surprise Me” function which has multiple options for quick route generation to keep things interesting. One minor but key issue is you can’t turn off “auto pause”. Finally, this device syncs with your phone for text and call notifications, if you really can’t just unplug for a bit.

GPS and Navigation 
As the name of the brand would suggest, the Magellan Cyclo 505 absolutely shines in the GPS and navigation category. It’s extremely hard to beat Garmin in this field, but we would put this unit up against any of theirs (and we did: see Edge 1000 review). The GPS is super quick to load, and we’ve yet to have a loss in signal long enough to even notice—this includes mountains, canyons and even multiple MTB rides in thick foliage. And the navigation options are unmatched (see above), and we found ourselves using each of them—none seemed superfluous or obsolete. Our favorites were the Surprise Me function, which along with the multiple other navigation tools, means you should never have to ride the same route twice and never have a hard time finding your way home—even when on MTB trails, as we found many of our local trails were on the unit’s maps! Just choose loop or point on map (or other options) and enter the number of miles, or minutes you want to ride and the computer offers three options to choose. Once navigating, the Cyclo offers three screens of navigation data, including the current route, a wider map so you can get your bearings, and even an altitude graph of upcoming hills, with percent info, vertical feet and more. 

On the downside, there’s almost too much info. The maps show so much that it can be tough to decipher it all sometimes. And zooming can be glitchy, especially when the screen is smudged or fingers are sweaty—tactile buttons would solve this problem, and would be appreciated on any unit, if just for this purpose alone. Finally, and perhaps most bothersome, if the rider turns off the route the unit goes crazy beeping and posting notifications to turn back, etc. This is great if it’s a mistake, but if it was, say, a chosen shortcut, it’s obnoxious how long it takes for the unit to simply reroute. Picayune maybe… until you’re the rider hearing the beeps! Finally, there’s no compass reading while navigating, which disappointed us.

User Friendliness
The colorful touchscreen tiles that set the Magellan Cyclo 505 apart visually are also quite user friendly. Navigating does not mean scrolling through a bunch of names and then repeating—just touch the button you want to adjust and continue. And what’s inside the buttons is also intuitive and quick to navigate. And if you don’t love the whole “swipe” thing, there are arrows (albeit non-tactile ones!) to move from screen to screen. And during a workout, all options remain open to adjustment—again, something EVERY computer should have! Just tap once, hit the “home” icon and start changing screens, creating routes, etc., all while still recording your workout. Pairing is especially easy, even on the fly, and sensors can be calibrated or even renamed with simple touchscreen steps.  

Display and Battery
The Magellan Cyclo 505 definitely offers the brightest and sharpest screen in the bunch, with a highly sensitive touchscreen and bold colorful display. While this can sometimes get a bit overkill with the mapping displays, that’s a minor issue. Like many touchscreen devices, however, dirty gloves and fingers and dripping sweat can quickly cause issues, and testers even had sweat drops change screens!

Magellan claims battery life is up to 12 hours while recording and navigating, but of course as always this can change according to brightness, timeout settings, GPS mode, etc. we were not able to test this because there’s no way to turn off auto-pause.

Online Training Support
Alas, here’s where the Magellan falls a bit short. While other brands accompany their computers will built-out training software, whether online or on your PC, the Magellancyclo.com site is a bare-bones program where only basic operations can be handled and little training analysis accomplished. Users cannot even create tracks or training programs on this site. While 3rd party sites are available, they can have issues too, and sometimes fees associated with more complicated operations, we feel this sort of support is a key part of these computers, and Magellan should build this out so consumers have the best interface with their devices.

How We Tested It

The devices in this test were used on multiple road and mountain bike rides, generally between one and four hours, on varied terrain including thick forests. Usually multiple computers were tested side-by-side on one bike. Units were paired with multiple sensors and re-paired often. And we compared mapping and training data online after rides.

For more reviews beyond this 2016 test, check out our GPS cycling watch reviews, and other bike related gear reviews

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Scott Boulbol

Scott Boulbol

Scott Boulbol is a freelance writer who has been working in the outdoor and cycling industries for about 15 years. He lives near Boston.


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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$500.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Functionality
9
GPS and Navigation
10
User Friendliness
9
Display and Battery
8
Online Training Support
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
93

Weight

4.6 oz

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