Garmin gives you Edge – we look into the entire Edge – cycle computer – range and highlight the specific features of each model so you can determine which one is right for you and your type of riding…
The click of shoes clipping into pedals and nervous chatter of riders used to be the definitive sound at the start of a race. Now a chorus of Garmin bike computers bleeping into action adds to the tenor.
Like many, we didn’t think we’d need a bike computer. Logging rides was with a pen and paper: now its Strava and Garmin Connect.
Garmin is a popular brand. Its high-profile sponsorship of Slipstream Sports buoyed the American company’s credentials with us cyclists. As Hoover is to vacuum cleaners, Garmin is to the bike computer.
Garmin’s Edge range was launched back in 2010 and is still leading the way for design and function. This range is no different, and now there’s something for everyone.
Garmin Edge 20
The Garmin Edge 20 is the introduction to the leisure range. It gives accurate readings for speed, distance and more via GPS and GLONASS. Its compact design is durable and super easy to use; just pop it onto the quarter turn mount and press start. Once the ride is over, link up to Garmin Connect to see the map of the ride for your own analysis, or share on Strava. It also has a course feature to follow new routes, challenge previous records and download rides from other Garmin Connect users for a bit of healthy competition.
Garmin Edge 25
Next in the range is the Garmin Edge 25. It looks similar to the Edge 20, but boasts a few more features, including Bluetooth compatibility for Garmin Connects live tracking and automatic uploads. The unit has ANT+ for heart rate and cadence sensors, but these are separate to the standard Garmin Edge 25 package. For these, choose from Garmin Edge 25 HRM Bundle and Garmin Edge 25 Cadence Bundle. With dimensions of just 1.6″ x 1.6″ x 0.7″, note that the Edge 20 and 25 are also much more compact in size compared to the rest of the range.
Garmin Edge Touring
Think of the Garmin Edge Touring as a car sat nav, but for your bike. It features a large touch screen, which is easy to read on the move and is the go-to until for touring cyclists. The unit comes with maps preloaded onto it, and through Garmin Connect and Garmin Adventures, it’s possible to download specific routes from fellow cyclists. There are a selection of modes to choose from as well, cycling, tour cycling and mountain biking. This feature calculates the most appropriate route for the type of bike it’s on. It also displays speed, distance, time as well as a host of other fields to aide cyclists.
Garmin Edge Touring Plus
It looks the same as the Garmin Edge Touring, but the Touring Plus comes with a few little extras that make it the ultimate computer for touring cyclists. As well as being able to download routes through Garmin Connect and Garmin Adventure and the ability to select which discipline of riding to plot the best routes, the Touring Plus has ANT+ connectivity so it can be paired to a heart rate strap and/or a cadence sensor.
Garmin Edge 520
The Garmin Edge 520 needs little introduction. It’s made famous by more or less the entire pro peloton. They all use it, as do racing cyclists and keen amateurs the world over. It’s the competitive Edge – it’s even aerodynamic!
The Edge 520 comes with the next generation Garmin GPS for greater accuracy and it’s the first device in the range to feature the live Strava segment challenges. It also houses advanced analysis of time spent in heart rate zones, cycling specific VO2 max1 and recovery time as well as cycling dynamics and in-ride challenges with Strava and Garmin Connect segments. Through the heart rate monitor and cadence sensor, it’s possible to keep a live feed of performance levels.
Other functions include live tracking, smart notifications and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect (and Strava) through a smart phone. And if the bike it’s on has Shimano Di2 electronic shifting it’s possible to pair it to the unit as well.
Similar to other models in the Garmin Edge range, it pairs with GPS and GLONASS satellites for more signal options for better consistency and faster satellite pick up.
Edge 520 HRM and Cadence bundle comes with ANT+ and both a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor. Through ANT+ the Edge 520 also pairs with turbo trainers that also feature the same connectivity.
The Garmin Edge 520 isn’t just a bike computer. Think of it as a training partner and coach!
Garmin Edge 820
Another of the Garmin computers being used in the pro ranks is the Edge 820. It’s lighter and smaller than the 810 it replaces within the Edge range but is packed with the same great features (and more) such as touchscreen, now high res 2.3″, base maps, navigation and has Garmin’s advanced performance monitoring that has connected features through a smartphone. It also features ANT+ compatibility, HotFix (improved GPS), GroupTrack, in-ride challenges through Strava, live segments and works with Varia, Garmin’s cycling awareness product range.
The 820 is robust, water resistant and compact, the Edge 820 really is a neat package.
Finally, and in the UK especially, it’s important to keep close tabs on the weather, so the 820 will give you forecasts and alerts.
Garmin Edge 820 Explore – Ultimate Performance
Garmin’s 820 Explore is the same size and weight as the 820, offers the same battery life, display size and touchscreen resolution. It comes with base maps, giving you turn-by-turn GPS navigation, GroupTrack and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery too. However it is not ANT+ compatible and misses some of the advanced training options the 820 offers. Still, this is the perfect unit for the adventure or touring cyclist.
Garmin Edge 1000
The Garmin Edge 1000 is the American company’s latest and most advanced GPS cycling computer. It has also been one of the most popular and it’s easy to see why.
The unit has even more functions and performance indicators to help riders train and compete via Garmin’s segment feature, which displays when one is approaching and how well (or how badly) you’re doing against your previous personal best and the leader board.
It also comes with preloaded Garmin Cycle Maps and round trip routing, meaning that it’s never been easier to explore on road or off.
Similar to the Edge 820 and the Edge 520, the Edge 1000 has the Live Tracking feature as well as wireless connectivity and the weather updates, but there’s more. The Edge 1000 can be paired to a smartphone, so it’ll display incoming calls and text messages. And if it’s perched on a bike with a Shimano Di2 groupset, the unit will even display which gear the bike is in. It even has a dual-orientated screen that’ll work in the wet – even through a soggy glove (as we’re found out for ourselves over the wet winter months).
The Edge 1000 is the ultimate cycling companion.
Garmin Edge 1000 – Performance Bundle
The Garmin Edge 1000 Performance bundle is made up of a heart rate monitor, a speed and cadence sensor and an out front mount.
Garmin Edge Explore 1000
This one is all about functionality. It’s super easy-to-use and features cycling specific maps and points of interest. Routes can be plotted before setting out based on distance and elevation. But, the Explore 1000 has been popular for its incident detection safety feature that can give alerts to emergency contacts should its owner need assistance. It’s also compatible with Varia rearview radar and bike lights for even greater awareness on the road.
It also allows instant uploads to Garmin Connect Mobile, gives incoming call and text alerts and has the added safety features of weather updates and live tracking, while Garmin Segments add a spot of healthy competition. It’s always good to see personal progress and how you measuring up against other cyclists.
Whether for fun, function or fitness, a Garmin Edge cycling computer certainly is a handy gadget to have along for the ride.