A comparison of the screen and features of GPS cycling navigation devices for the American vs Japanese markets.
Here’s what your typical American GPS screen looks like. This is the Garmin Edge 800 GPS cycling computer.
Garmin mentions the aerodynamic carbon fiber look and highlights training tools such the “Virtual Partner,” which helps to push yourself harder through a visual representation of your progress vs your predefined goals.
Now let’s compare against a Japanese GPS bike computer, where they license cartoon characters for serious adult applications. The CN-350TOP GPS cycling computer features characters from the popular “One Piece” manga and anime series of comics. Instead of the tinny, robotic voice typical of American GPS directions, you can see Nami and hear her (through voice actress Akemi Okamura) tell you to “Ni hyaku meteru de usetsu.”
You can also select the voice of the notorious pirate Monkey D. Luffy or that of Tony Tony Chopper the miniature reindeer.
Instead of a sleek, racing look of the Garmin GPS, this Japanese GPS unit has a wood grain of ye olde sailing ship. The handlebar mount features the figurehead from the pirate ship “Thousand Sunny.” That figurehead is supposed to be a lion with its mane in the shape of flower pedals.
The One Piece “cycling navi” GPS allows you to select for shortest distance, side roads, fast roads, or bike-friendly routes when it searches for a route to your destination.
Here’s another interesting feature: You can tell the Cycling Navi that you have time to kill — anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours. With the chotto bura bura suru (“short wander”) function, the unit will display a map showing how far you can ride in that time.
At the very most, the Garmin Edge shows a lame cyclist stenil on its display. The Cycling Navi shows a PIRATE SHIP navigating the streets of Tokyo!
Finally, this unit can also show you the weather forecast (I think by measuring rise and fall of atmospheric pressure, so it’s very rudimentary), and, again, your favorite “One Piece” character can announce the forecast for you.
There’s video near the top of this product page describing the features in more detail (in Japanese). Purchase price is ¥39,800, which is roughly US$500. The map data is all for Japan so naturally you can’t use it in the USA or Europe. I don’t know if this GPS can be hacked to download OSM data or not.