Is a Satnav Essential for Your Ebike?
If you like to tour on your ebike, you probably like to plan. Plan your destination, plan your route to get there, and plan your stops along the way. Depending on the distance, and the time you have available, planning a route, especially with numerous stop-off points, and perhaps arranging accommodation as well as rest stops along the way, can be a complicated business. More so when you are not familiar with the area and the roads you will be negotiating. In the past, a large paper map and a telephone would be required. Now, you can do all this on a smartphone, or a dedicated ebike GPS computer, which can usually be paired directly to your smartphone. It is amazing how these devices link up to satellites in orbit around the Earth to pinpoint your exact position on the planet on their database of maps. It is now so much simpler to plan a trip using a device loaded with the map of the area you want to tour. Therefore, some type of satnav is essential.
Planning Routes on Your Ebike
Planning routes is one aspect of a journey. Forward planning is always recommended so you have a good idea of where and how far you will be going on a particular leg. Today there is a need for more information though than a simple line on a map. This is where a decent ebike GPS computer (satnav) for an ebike is an essential purchase if you are planning touring trips on a regular basis.
Information is the key. Information is knowledge, and mostly today’s cyclist wants more information rather than just the essential information. Of course, planning the route, but also during the journey, you want to know how far you’ve travelled, how fast, the elevation of the terrain you are negotiating, even the heartrate of yourself the rider, and how many calories you have used to get you to your destination for the day. You may not need all this information, but it is good to have at your fingertips along with the essential stuff like exactly where you are on the map, which is the least any self-respecting GPS satnav device will reveal.
See also: Packing Your Gear on an Ebike
and: Ebike Range, Our Go Farther Guide
Will My Smartphone Be Fine for Ebike Route Planning?
Ah! You have a smartphone, why do you need an ebike GPS computer? Your phone probably has GPS. A smartphone is a fine and complicated device that can do much of what has been stated above, and there are many available apps that can be installed to offer greater functionality. The smartphone though is infamous for a short battery life. Perhaps not an insurmountable problem if you can connect a charging lead to a USB port on your battery pack, if you have that functionality. Bear in mind though that powering your phone will leave a little less power to move your ebike. The typical smartphone is also vulnerable to the elements, especially rain, and tends to be robust as far as keeping it in a pocket goes, but becomes fragile and easily damaged when positioned on the handlebars of an ebike. One careless fall or knock and your cutting-edge smartphone could become a useless paperweight, or incur an expensive repair bill for replacing a broken screen.
Should I Buy a Dedicated GPS Computer (Satnav)?
There are a wide range of dedicated GPS devices on the market suitable for the ebike tourer, so it is something that you should seriously think about. A simple device will give you little more than the essential navigation information you need, provide a graphical map of the area and pinpoint exactly where you are on that map. It will get you where you want to go without getting lost along the way.
Like anything else in life though, pay a bit more, and gain much in functionality. A more rugged robust device. A larger clearer touch-sensitive screen. Navigation alerts. Elevation data. Points of interest. Link to weather apps. Monitor your heart as you go, and the energy you are using, even post updates of your journey to social media as you career along. Think hard about which attributes you regard as essential to your own purposes before you opt to buy. Don’t pay more for functionality you don’t want and will never use, but ensure whatever ebike GPS computer you do buy will do all that you will require it for. Also pay attention to battery life, you want to ensure a fully charged GPS computer will more than last the length of a leg of your trip. This should not be a problem for you, but worth checking out before purchase so you are not disappointed.