By Cycling Dad:
I could not wait for the weekend to arrive so I could take my brand new Garmin Edge 500 out for a ride. Today’s tour was 110k and my verdict is that this is the best bike computer I have ever owned… it surely is also by far the most expensive cycle computer I have ever owned.
So far the Garmin has cost me a bit more than EUR 2 per km and it is clear that I need to work on these figures to justify the purchase. I’ll leave the maths to you. But look at the wealth of data this contraption provides about today’s ride (click on ‘view details’ on the bottom right corner to see the full pony show):
This is what you get: at 48x69x22mm, the Edge 500 is not exactly the smallest bike computer on the market, but at 65g including mount, it sure is still not too heavy. In fact is snugs right in the space between your handlebars and fork top screw. Included in the kit is a heart rate chest strap, a wireless cadence and speed sensor as well as two base mounts so you can use the Edge 500 on a second bike. In fact you don’t need the sensor on the second bike as the 500 will compute the speed from the GPS data, but it is essential for the cadence and I understand from the manual that the sensor will increase the accuracy of the speed readings. Setting up the system is super easy and I was done within 10 minutes. Here’s a size reference:
The Garmin Edge 500 is charged and data synchronised via a USB cable that comes with the box. It has a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that lasts for around 15 to 18 hours on a full charge. Before going for the first ride, all you have to do is set up the custom screens you want to use. You can have up to five screens to cycle through and each screen can be loaded with up to eight data fields which can be configured freely to display a range of information about your ride. From the usual speed, distance, time, to more sophisticated heart rate, cadence to useful bonus features incline and alt difference there’s nothing left to wish for. All information is available as per actual, average and lap. You can even connect the Garmin Edge 500 to ANT+ enabled equipment such as static trainers and power measurement cranks and hubs, but I will leave that for next season. One key feature that I have not tested so far is the option to display a pre-set course by GPS coordinates. While the 500 will not display the surrounding environment on a neat map (you have to get the bigger brother Garmin Edge 800 for that), it is supposed to display the route in a breadcrumb trail and tell you when to make turns to find the way. I am curious to find out just how well that works, but it may become a key asset for the longer exploration rides with Alex in the summer.
Also included in the package is software to enable synchronisation of your Garmin with Garmin Connect, an online portal to store and share all your cycling tracks. This is cool because it gives you a complete overview of your training performance over time. Transferring data between Garmin Connect and the device is fast and very easy.
Both thumbs up for the Garmin Edge 500.
I ordered my Edge 500 at Chain Reaction Cycles, my trusted purveyor of cycling goods. CRC is also my recommendation for a wide range of other cycling equipment, so make sure to order your gear from them and please support me by clicking on the link below before making the purchase .
Stay tuned for more product placement