In this post I review the Garmin Edge 530 bike computer. So sit down, keep you eyes shut and your mouth open.
This post is part of a growing mini series looking at the best bike computers in the mid price range.
The Edge 530 is bursting at the seams with features so I will try to limit this post to the most important ones for your average rider and the key things I like and dislike.
As a VERY average rider.
With that, into the post.
Quickly, the basics.
Wait, Wanna Watch My Video Review Of The Edge 530?
Say no more Rodders, here you go:
So What Is The Garmin Edge 530?
It’s a GPS bike computer. It attaches to your handlebars or your stem or in the out-front mount. It communes with satellites.
This is what it looks like. I like it. Rounded rather than angular. The screen is flush with the top of the device. Sleek and understated.
And via this handily-placed screen, it can display all manner of bike data:
- How fast you’re going and how fast you’ve been – in certain cases, how fast you need to go
- How far you’ve ridden, how far still to ride
- Where you’ve been, where you still need to go
AND. SO. MUCH. MORE.
🥊 High performance at a reasonable price
🧩 Intelligent route mapping (unlike previous 5xx models)
🕹 Not touchscreen (not a dealbreaker for me)
Data Sensors and Connections
The Edge 530 doesn’t just pick up signals from satellites. Oh no.
It can pair with… wait for it… LET’S GO:
- Speed sensors
- Cadence sensors
- Speed and cadence sensors
- Heart rate straps
- Power meters
- Varia Radars – did I mention I love my Varia
- Smart trainers
- Smart lights
- Smart underpants
- Your smartphone (obviously!)
And ANT+ electronic shifters – Shimano Di2 and the like.
Basically, the Edge 530 will connect to 99% of the things a sensible cyclist would want it to connect to.
Ride Data Uploads and Software Integrations
All of this data is recorded by the device as you bi-cycle. When you’ve finished the ride, the Edge 530 will automatically connect to t’internet, either via your phone or wifi, and upload these vital statistics to the ether.
The file goes first to Garmin’s fitness platform app, Garmin Connect, and then, if you’ve set up the connections, to Strava, TrainingPeaks, RideWithGPS and others.
And the connection goes the other way. You can sync route files from Strava, RideWithGPS and other route planning software.
Then, when you’re on a ride, the Edge 530 displays turn-by-turn directions and a detailed map of the route.
More on the 530’s route navigation features later in the post.
We mentioned the screen.
The Edge 530 has a nice colour display. It’s quite big relative to the size of the device. 2.6 inches for the fans of imperial diagonal screen measurements.
This big for fans of being shown it compared to something they know the size of – an iPhone 7:
It is not a touchscreen. I repeat, it’s not a touchscreen. All manipulation of the Edge 530 is via the medium of buttons.
Of which there are 7.
Going back to the screen, it has been legible in all the riding conditions I’ve tried it in.
You can vary the brightness to suit you. It displays clearly all the different screen types, whether thats your standard data grid, with up to 10 fields, detailed maps or whatever other software feature Garmin has seen fit to put on there.
For completeness, USB charging port on the front edge. Behind a big plastic cover and an inner rubbery seal.
Protected from the, er, ELEMNTs.
Har har har. I thenk yow…. no?
Whilst we’re talking about the device externals, eagle-eyed electrode spotters will note the contacts built into the mount, or I guess the bit that fits into the mount (what shall we say, the cleat?).
The Edge 530 can be used with Garmin’s Charge secondary power pack.
So, if the standard battery life on the 530 – Garmin says up to 20 hours – is not enough, attaching the extra battery pack underneath the mount gives an extra 24.
For all your 44 hour rides.
So Is The Garmin Edge 530 A Good Bike Computer?
Yes the Edge 530 is a good bike computer. Nay, it’s an excellent one.
It’s the fourth generation of Garmin’s core 5 series bike computer. Garmin has been making these things a long time and they’re damn good at it.
This is not a comparison video with Garmin’s top of the range models. That will come when all this YouTube ad moolah rolls in and I can buy them for review.
But. Simplistically. The difference between the Edge 530 and the more expensive 830 is that the latter has a touchscreen.
And then, still in simpletown, the difference between the Edge 530 and the flagship
The Edge 530 is a top of the line bike computer, absent these two aspects.
The baseline is therefore established: this is a great bike computer. It will do everything you need from a bike computer and I doubt you’d regret buying one.
So, rather than assess every function – we’d be here all week, try the veal – I’ll mention a few things I really like about the 530, some things I don’t, and some things that are just, meh.
If you haven’t been verbally assaulted by me before, I’m Monty and this is Sportive Cyclist, the MAMIL channel.
I write and make videos about road cycling. I am partial to the narrow tire and the drop handlebar. I wear skintight clothing more frequently than a 41 year old should.
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What I Like About The Garmin Edge 530
1. Processing speed
The Edge 530 feels super fast.
Now I’ll be honest, I’m relatively late to the party with bike computers that have onboard navigation.
By all reports, older Garmin Edges with true on-board mapping, your Edge 800 through 820, the 1000 and even the 1030 were all quite slow in calculating routes and moving around the maps.
This is not the case with the Edge 530. I’ve been impressed how quickly it calculates a route and re-renders maps as you zoom in and out.
Now moving around the maps is slowed by the lack of touchscreen. Re-routing when you’ve gone off course also seems slow to kick in. But neither of these relate to the lack of processing grunt.
The Edge 530 is not iPhone fast, but it’s pretty damn nippy for a bike GPS.
2. The Navigation Features
It’s only with this generation of the Edge 500 series that true on-board navigation has been added to the device (if we conveniently ignore the Edge 520 Plus).
The Edge 510 and 520, both of which I owned, relied on cookie crumbs, GPS waypoints, overlaid onto a basic map to help you follow a route. If you went off course, they could not re-route.
All change with the 530. It inherits the full onboard navigation fandango previously restricted to the 800 and 1000 series devices. It knows you’re on a street and it knows the name of that street.
And yes it’s a little quirky. It has a predilection for the ‘do a U turn’ instruction, rather than a full re-route, perhaps intentionally. You can’t route to specific address – instead you have select a spot with a set of crosshairs.
But it generally works well. Turn directions are timely. The maps are clear. I LIKES IT.
3. The Strava Live Segments Integration
So this is where you have a starred segment in your Strava account – a favourite if you like – and the Edge 530 displays real-time data on your performance as you ride that segment.
There is a dedicated Strava Live Segments data screen. The 530 alerts you as you approach the segment. Whilst riding it you have a real-time performance comparison, whether that’s with your own PR, that of your fastest Strava friend or even the segment record holder.
It’s a really nice integration, and one that beats the equivalent feature on the
4. It Is Generally Packed With Stuff!
This is both a blessing and a curse.
Mainly a blessing. It’s great to have lots of exciting whizzbang features.
But some mild cursing too. With lots of features come a multitude of menus and a raft of rabbit holes.
A few of the features I really like:
- I mentioned the Strava Live Segments integration. I won’t mention it again.
- ClimbPro – if you are following a route on the 530, the device will identify climbs on the course and then display relevant information about them – length, gradient, distance to next climb and so on. All with some nice colour graphics.
- Warnings about dangerous bends – this presented first to me as what looked like random directions on a ride where I wasn’t following a route. Then I realised that the 530 was giving me advanced warning that these were tight bends. Now I trundle along at a pace that makes even the tightest hairpin safe, but it’s nice that the Edge 530 is looking out for me (even if it is a bit cautious in what it classifies as dangerous).
If I run through all of the features, we’d be here all day.
I haven’t mentioned all the training performance stuff. Dynamic performance monitoring, training status, the ability to upload workouts. All very useful if your focus is improving your cycling fitness.
Or the bike alarm. Or the incident detection.
Or ALL THE MOUNTAIN BIKE FANDANGO – the ability to record grit, flow, hang time and a dictionary of other terms that I don’t pretend to understand.
In short, there is a lot of technical whizzbangery built into this computer. And, as I mentioned, it has the computing horsepower to handle it all comfortably.
Moving on to the slightly ‘meh’ bits of the 530.
Things That Are Okay About the Garmin Edge 530
1. The Garmin Connect App
Sure, this isn’t specific to the Edge 530. But perhaps that’s part of the issue.
There’s nothing to dislike particularly, but the app’s scope is beyond maximizing the usability of the Edge device. It’s also a training and social platform. It’s built for all Garmin fitness devices and wearables.
As a Strava-phile, these features are surplus to requirements.
The app does a reasonable job of getting the 530 set up when you first buy it.
However, perhaps because the app already has a lot going on, it doesn’t allow you to change all the settings on the device.
And the Edge 530 has a lot of settings and features, all accessed and changed via a series of nested menus.
I wonder if an intuitive app, that can fully control your Edge settings, would make getting to know the device that much easier.
2. Text size
Yes, we’re talking about fonts. And if you’re not careful, I’ll go off on one about kerning. Goooogle It.
The Edge 530 undoubtedly has a nice big display and I like the detailed colour maps.
But as per a comment on the 530 vs BOLT video, thanks Straj Kat, the font size can only be increased so much, even when there is otherwise plenty of untapped screen real estate.
If you are after a bike computer that can display big numbers even when your legs are not putting out big numbers, then there are better alternatives (cough, ELEMNT BOLT).
3. Connecting To Sensors
Now this is a throusand times better than Garmins of yore. Most data sensors are easily detected by the device and are still there on future rides.
On setup, the Garmin Connect app even helps you port across existing sensor connections.
I do mention it though as I have had one connection that dropped off that I couldn’t find again – the Garmin Varia actually – where I had to make the Edge forget it and then search and re-pair with it.
This is a pain, particularly if you’ve set off on your ride and you really don’t want to stop for a few minutes to get it sorted.
Maybe it stood out because it reminded me of old school Edge pairing woes. Thought I’d mention it.
Things I Don’t Like About The Edge 530
1. The Location of the Buttons
Is it just me? Am I ergonomically unsuitable?
But I do struggle with the buttons on the Edge 530.
I can’t work out exactly which finger or thumb is meant to operate the ones on the front. Either option seems slightly contorting.
The buttons are set within a recessed area on the front plane of the device. Which means I don’t always hit them, particularly with gloves on. Quite often I find myself pressing the edge of the device case, rather than the button, wondering why nothing is happening.
The ones on the sides are less annoying. But I tend to adopt a squeeze grip to keep the GPS steady whilst I press the buttons. Because of the placement of the buttons, sometimes I inadvertent press the opposite go back button, when I am meaning to use the up and down buttons on the other side.
To be clear. I am not saying that the thing I don’t like about the 530 is that it uses buttons to do everything. That’s the deal. If you want to get away from buttons then you need a touchscreen. If you need a touchscreen, you buy the 830.
But I just find the buttons a bit fiddly, a bit slippery and just generally a bit harder to use versus, say, the
2. The Learning Curve
Things that seem to happen automatically on other bike computers – again we’re talking about Wahoos – or are intuitive to set up, seem to be hard work on the Edge 530.
Fr’instance, I’m partial to the odd mid-ride Strava selfie. Out of the box, my 530 didn’t automatically pause when I came to a halt. It took me a surprising amount of faff to find the option to turn this on.
I still can’t get the device to prompt me to start recording when it detects movement. I’m sure I’ve tried all the vaguely sensible options.
Obviously it gets easier once you know which nested sub-menu does what, but there’s a definite learning curve. If you can’t be bovvered with this shizzle, then you may find the Edge 530 frustrating at times.
Dangerous to put these things in writing cos they always seem to change. But hey ho.
Right now, the Garmin price for the 530 on a device only basis is £260 / $300.
The sensor bundle, with heart rate strap, speed sensor and cadence sensor, takes the price up to £350 or $400.
The mountain bike bundle sits in the middle at £320 or $370.
🥊 High performance at a reasonable price
🧩 Intelligent route mapping (unlike previous 5xx models)
🕹 Not touchscreen (not a dealbreaker for me)
Final Thoughts & Recommendation
When I bought the Edge 510, I was underwhelmed. I saw the high-tech promo video set on car-less roads in early morning Girona. The reality was significantly less exciting.
When I bought the Edge 520 it was part of a blog comparison with the
When I bought the Edge 530, I didn’t really expect to like it that much. I was pretty committed to my ELEMNT BOLT.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been overwhelmed by the Edge 530 but I have been very pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed using it.
Yes, it takes a bit of time to get to grips with. But once I’ve finally found the option to turn on a feature, or tweak a setting, I’ve generally been impressed with how that feature has been implemented.
I said it at the start of this post, or maybe part way through, the Garmin Edge 530 is a VERY GOOD BIKE COMPUTER.
Want More Bike Tech Kerfuffle?
This post is part of a series looking at the best mid-priced bike computers. Other detailed reviews in the series:
And here’s a link to my specific comparison post on the Garmin Edge 530 vs the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT.
I have been Monty, this has been Sportive Cyclist the MAMIL channel. See you in the next post.