May 11, 2012

Garmin Edge 500

     I have been using this cycling GPS/computer for just over a month now and I have to say that the unit is awesome. I ordered my computer from the UK as most all bike accessories seem to be cheaper over there. I purchased the bundle that came with a cadence and heart rate monitor. The kit also contains a wall charger for the Garmin, a computer cable for transferring data and two sets of stem/handlebar mounts so the computer can be switched between two bikes or one mount kept as a spare. I decided to buy the unit because my phone (which I was previously using to track my bike rides with apps like Stava, MapMyRide, and Sports-tracker) stopped receiving GPS signals for some unknown reason.

     When powered on, the Edge 500 usually manages to acquire a strong satellite signal within a minute. You can customise several different screens from within the menus, and you can cycle though your created screens with the Page/Menu button on the lower left side of the computer. I like my main screen to display the time riding, my current speed, the distance travelled, my cadence, heading and current heart rate. I also set up my Garmin to automatically pause itself when I go below 4.8km/h so it doesn't continue recording when I stop for a light, stop sign... The power consumption is very low on the unit and it should have no problem lasting all day. Once the ride is over the data can easily be uploaded to Garmin's own data analysis site called Garmin Connect.

     I chose the Edge 500 over the discontinued 705, the 800 and the new 200 for a couple of reasons. The 705 and the 800 both have a colour screen that displays a map (the 705 uses a joystick and the 800 is a touch screen) but I don't need a map for my rides as I always plan my routes out in advance. If I ever were to need a map I always have my Android phone with me and I can easily access Google Maps. Also, the 705 and 800 are both larger than the 500 which fits nicely on my bike's stem. The Edge 800 is also quite a bit more expensive and requires the purchase of an extra SD card loaded with maps of North America. The Edge 200 is less expensive but lacks many of the features that I enjoy in the 500. The 200 does not include the ability to gather data from a heart rate monitor, a cadence sensor or a power meter (which I do not have).

     If you're considering a cycling computer I strongly suggest taking a look at the Garmin Edge 500. It's a 9.5/10

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