Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Satmap Active 10 GPS review

Posted by Colin | July 31, 2008 | 14 comments so far

Satmap Active 10 GPS
When I started riding a couple of years back, there were a few things I scoffed at, perceiving them to be pointless fads.

Time moves on and, whilst trying to be more open-minded in my old age, I have since changed my mind regarding some of them.

Take Single Speeding for example. Now that was a concept I just couldn’t grapple with at all. But now, having ridden with a few guys who indulge, I can totally see the point.

Having decided my trusty Albert will do me just fine and a full-susser is no longer on the wishlist, I now find myself thinking that I may just build up a single speed machine this winter. This will really pee off the person who got me into MTB, who hates the SS brigade with a passion and thinks they are all long-bearded, skinny aliens who still live with Mum and Dad! I’ll let him have a go when my knees have given up the ghost – he may even enjoy it.

Next fad – Arm Warmers. Well OK I haven’t changed my mind at all on this one. A completely pointless idea and a total waste of money. If sleeves are needed, wear a top with them already sewn on, got it!

Finally, and the point of this particular blog (though it reads from hereon like an advert) – GPS for bikes and boy have I changed my mind about this, thanks to getting the much-acclaimed Satmap Active 10 from Satmap Systems, the Leatherhead-based company.

Through connections, lucky me was able to get an extremely good deal (ie £60 including the OS Explorer map card for Surrey with Swinley Forest tacked on). Perhaps I wouldn’t have taken the plunge otherwise at £300, but I can’t recommend it highly enough and would have saved up the pennies in hindsight. The main thing that sets it apart from any other activity-biased units out there is the 3.5” screen actually displays the OS Explorer map, on which you can plan and plot routes, waypoints, etc without going near a PC.

Satmap Active 10 GPS screen

It puts the whole ride ‘in context’ on the fly – your trail, the route being followed (if applicable), points of interest (POI) and the OS map are all there in front of you. No need to go home and spend ages analysing it on a PC. When you’ve got yourself lost, it’s a massive help.

As an example, I’d not ridden much at all up on Holmbury or Pitch and when I did, I was just an MTB-lemming, following the leader and not paying much attention. After receiving a whole host of POI’s from a friend, including the trail heads for BKB, Telegraph Road, Caution Steep Slope, Xmas Pudding, to name but a few, we recently managed to cobble together a route one Sunday and take them all in, like cabbies ‘doin the knowledge’.

I had the confidence to lead the MuddyMoles Pitch and a Pint night ride recently, taking in the best parts that Pitch and Winterfold have to offer. Using my expanding knowledge of the area and my GPS we rode with no interuptions or u-turns and did the exact route I had planned.

There are so many other plus points, such as the rugged build quality, the rock-solid bike mount and water proofing (tested to the max Wednesday night) but for me, the fact it is so damn easy to use and so user-friendly makes it ideal. The bike mount is bullet proof and I can thunder down BKB or Holy Moly without a care in the world.

Most importantly, it’s given me knowledge that would have taken ages to acquire otherwise whilst appealing to the gadget-junkie in me.

To balance this glowing review, I did have problems initially, as experienced with other users. Battery life and achieving a satellite lock were the main problems. Satmap were quick to respond and sent out software updates on mini SD cards, correcting known bugs and it has been good as gold since then.

So, next time I find myself slating the next big thing, I’ll stay quiet or once again, I may just end up eating my words. Munch munch.

P.S. There’s a couple of detailed photos of the Satmap Active 10 fitted to my Prince Albert on Flickr.

Filed under Accessories, Reviews in July 2008


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  1. Dave says:

    🙂 I use mine as a device to give an OS grid ref for when I’m not 100% sure.

    Doesn’t beat a map in my view though (mainly because a map never loses satellite lock!)

  2. Muddymoles says:

    Ride report: Wednesday 1 April – Ranmore, Horsley and Bookham

    Another sprightly night ride on unfamiliar trails shows the value of mixing up your riding.

  3. Muddymoles says:

    Ride Report – Sunday 20 September – Pitch Hill

    The Moles go to Pitch Hill for some route mapping and find autumn really is perfect for Surrey Hills riding.

  4. Steven Dunn says:

    Wow, I was thinking of writing a Satmap review for you guys, and lo and behold I find this.

    After the bike this has been my most important purchase. It has transformed my biking life. 6 months ago I only knew the Chilterns by name, now I know virtually every bridleway and track in a 20 sq mile area. I have found so many great routes.

    To add to the review: you can review your ride and it even shows the profile – often looking like looking at sharks teeth when I get back, and no climbing hills never gets easy.

    Sites like allow you plot and input new routes from road, google maps or OS maps and includes a profile.

    Every off-road should have one.


    P.S Just to reinforce, once it is in the h/b cradle it never budges, various offs and the satmap is still unmarked. Great at night too ! 😉

  5. Emcken says:

    Would you also recommend this for road cycling?

  6. StevenD says:

    If you are a pure road cyclist, then no I would not recommend the Active 10.

    The A10 is a GPS unit with 25k and/or 50K OS mapping and is perfect for off-road types; eg walkers and MTBrs. The A10 does not include a lot of roads or their names, eg my road is not on my A10 map card, though the Chiltern Way at the top of my road is.

    There are far better alternatives for road cyclists with improved road maps, routing, and ride stats options from the likes of Garmin etc.

    When I was in Holland recently, I used the A10 for all my off road rides, but on the day I rode to Eindhoven I took a Garmin (I do not have an Edge as well, I took the one out of car and kept it in a side pocket my Nomad backpack) so as to not get lost and find my way back again.



  7. StevenD says:

    Correction; my road is on the A10, but not named. I would not trust the A10 with minor roads in towns (though in the countryside it is perfect). ‘Street view’ as such is I think on a 250K scale map.

    Excusing any inaccuracies in my comments, but as a regular user; A10 = offroad, Garmin Edge and similar products = on road.

    Sadly no one device covers both. The Garmin Edge has poor topographical maps and the A10 is well ‘just’ an OS map in town.


  8. Muddymoles says:

    Ride report: Tuesday 21 September – Gatton Gallop

    A very fast night ride over to Gatton Park via a new route which threw up some cracking Surrey singletrack

  9. Ross says:

    I have been using the SatMap Active 10 for a few months now and am loving the functionality that the unit provides but am hating how often I have to swith batteries! I have entered the UK IronMan triathlon and have been using the active 10 to scout out and navigate new training routes most weekends. It has been great at keeping me on track but I only seem to be able to squeeze 6 hours battery life out of it before a charge or battery change. I am going to mess with the power save options now and see what I can find!

    My attempt at a – SatMap Active 10 review

  10. Related: Satmap Active10 GPS | Words and pictures

  11. Related: Ride report: Saturday 11 April - Swinley Forest | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  12. Related: Ride report: Wednesday 12 August - Malhamdale loop | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  13. Related: Ride report: Tuesday 21 September - Gatton Gallop | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  14. Related: Satmap Active10 GPS | Words and pictures

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