What Is The Best Garmin Edge For Cycling?

Great question. And one I’m going to attempt to answer.

The purpose of this post is to give you an overview of the Garmin Edge range of cycling GPS devices as we stand (ride?) here in the first months of 2023.

My aim is to give you an idea of what each Garmin Edge model can do, what features each one has, so that you can go down the list and identify the model that is most appropriate to your own requirements.

(Then you can persuade yourself that you do need the latest pedal stroke analysis feature, even though you don’t have a power meter, and buy the shiny top-of-the-range model.)

A List of Current Garmin Cycling Computers (And I Brief Mention of Some Older Ones)

Which is quite the section heading.

Here is the list of current Garmin bike GPS devices (defined as currently available for sale on the Garmin website):

  • Edge 1040
  • Edge 1030 Plus
  • Edge 830
  • Edge 530
  • Edge Explore 2
  • Edge 130 Plus

I’ll do a section on each and then link to relevant more detailed posts that I’ve done on each device individually or as part of a comparison.

This post will also feature an ‘archive’ section where I cover some of the older Garmin Edge devices – mainly ones I’ve owned and spaffed about in detail, but there are some where I’ve just done the research and published it for posterity (and as supporting evidence for when I will a Purlitzer).

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and buy something, I get a commission. You pay the same price.

Recommended Products Mentioned In This Post

Know Thyself

Before we look at which Garmin is suitable for you and your cycling needs, it’s worth noodling on a few (very) personal questions. Prepare to bare your sole.

(Yes, sole. Ah… sole.)

(I’m tired. I’ve been drinking.)

Okay, they’re not particularly personal. But they may be helpful questions to muse upon once we get to the list of Garmin choices later on in the post.

First up!

Do You Want a Bike Computer Or A Sports Watch?

You don’t have to buy a handlebar-mounted computer to get the benefits of a Garmin GPS device: to find out your speed and cadence; to record your ride and upload it to Strava; to get profane shouts of encouragement*.

(* I’ve emailed Garmin to suggest this feature, so expect it to be implemented in Q1 next year).

Some of the Garmin Forerunner GPS watches will link up to sensors on your bike to provide speed and cadence. The top of the range ones even link to the Garmin Vector pedals, allowing you to display and record your power output.

Garmin Forerunner 920XT angleYou can attach the watch to your bike handlebars (Garmin provides a couple of options) so you can look at the readout in same way that you’d look at a ‘normal’ bike computer.

I should say, these watches are very much aimed at the ‘multisport’ (and therefore weird) end of the cycling spectrum. Forerunners, depending on the model, have a range of running and swimming features, which you may or may not need. But you will pay for.

And if you sport such a watch proudly ‘pon yonder handlebar, people might think you’re a triathlete. Which nobody needs…

Shiny New Thing Or Bargain Hunter

For all that technology progresses rapidly these days, the interaction of machine (bike computer) and soft tissue (you) is a pretty stable relationship. There is very little (that is truly useful) that a bike computer released in the last year can do, which one released 2-3 years ago cannot do.

Depending on the time of year, and the release schedule of new models, you can pick up a bargain on one of the older Edges. At certain times in the past year, great prices have been available on the Edge 810. Apparently the Edge 500 has been available at times from Aldi at a discount price.

So consider whether you need the absolute latest model, where you’re paying for the newness, or can manage with an older version at a lower price (or at the same price but for more gubbins*).

(* Technical term).

Are You Sure You Want A Garmin?

Silence thy wicked tongue, evil serpent.

But as the devil’s advocate, I am duty bound to point out that other companies make bike computers and GPS devices.

About a decade ago, Polar were the leading heart rate monitor / running watch maker. Whilst they had a range of bike computers, Polar were late to the GPS party, until fairly recently not making it an integral part of the product (i.e. you had to buy a separate GPS transmitter that you secreted about your person).

Thankfully, that has changed, with the M450 and V650 bike computers providing viable alternatives to Garmin, albeit more at the Edge 510 and 520 level, rather than at the very top end.

Lezyne, makers of sexy mini-pumps (of which I am an owner), have also recently starting selling GPS devices.

Lezyne cycling gps range

In fact I saw them at the Birmingham Bike Show, and I thought they looked very smart (certainly they are very small). Worth looking at if you want the features of the Edge 20/25/500 (plus a few more) at a similar price point, in a newer product package.

In that same bracket, you might also want to look at bike computers by the likes of Cateye and Wahoo (who do a computer, the RFLKT that basically takes data that is being captured by your smartphone and…. er… reflekts it onto a handlebar-mounted device).

Still, you came here to worship at the church of Garmin (you did!), so let’s stop the blasphemy.

[Mont kneels on the cold hard concrete floor of his service course garage and enters a trance-like state]

“Remember, to purchase an Edge, you must … become the Edge.”

[Mont starts to receive ANT+ power data straight into his brain]

(I mentioned the drinking, right?)

Life On The Garmin Edge: Which Model Is Right For You?

So I’ve ordered this list in terms of features, starting with Edge that only has the very basics. Then, as I move down the list, I try to note the features that are added.

My aim is to help you work out which model meets all your needs, without overpaying for extra features that you’ll never use. In an ideal world, you would go down the list until you’ve found the model that fulfils all your requirements, stop right there and buy it.

Sadly, Garmin has not provided an ideal world. Because this is a mix of older and more recent models (so not ordered by ‘newness’), the price doesn’t exactly correlate with the feature list. In order to get the best value, it might be worth going to the next Edge down on the list and paying less for more.

Also, you’re a human and therefore subject to human frailties. You won’t stop at the model that just does the job, you’ll look at the one below to see what extra you get.

And then the one below that.

Eventually you will decide that the Edge 1000 is the absolute minimum you need to satisfy your requirements. Plus a pair of $$$ pedals with integrated power meters. Plus a pair of ‘head up display’ sunglasses….

Anyway, that list.

Edge 1040

Garmin’s previously-top-of-the-range-but-still-available touchscreen bike GPS


  • What this space…


  • Yeah so I’m going to do a lot of content here as well. Need to recoup the gargantuan amount I paid for the device somehow…
Garmin Edge 1040

Garmin's brand new tippity-top of the range bike GPS. The Solar option recharges whilst you ride. Super powerful with an easier-to-use UI than Garmins of old.

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Edge 1030 Plus

Garmin’s previously-top-of-the-range-but-still-available touchscreen bike GPS.


  • No specific review (sad face)


Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

High spec bike GPS with large colour touchscreen and super fast processor. Similar features to the 830 (i.e. lots of sophisticated ones) - the larger screen makes them easier to use.

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Edge 830

A compact touchscreen bike computer with pretty much all the features.



Garmin Edge 830

A powerful bike GPS with full on-board mapping. The touchscreen is responsive and works well, both in the map screen and for moving around the menus. Excellent training and safety features.

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Edge 530

Middle of the Garmin range, but top end in terms of features. This is the device to go for if you don’t want to be mithered by a touchscreen.



Garmin Edge 530

High performance at a reasonable price. Sophisticated training and performance features. Good for trails and MTB. Not touchscreen. Complex at first but powerful when you get the hang of it.

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Edge Explore 2

Yeah so I only just bought this device so…..


  • In the works


  • You’ll also have to wait for these. HashtagSoSorry.

Edge 130 Plus

Not even bought this one. Probably will, unless it gets superseded by a new device (the Edge 140?) in the next few months.

Phew, He’s Only Garmin Done It


That brings us to the end of my brain dump (and blog dump) on the current range of Garmin cycling computers.

If you’ve made it this far, I salute you.

If you already own and love one of the Garmin Edge devices (or indeed any sort of bike computer, GPS or otherwise) please do share your feedback in the comments section below. Any recommendations or advice is gratefully received by me and all the other readers (reader?) of this post.

Until next time, safe cycling!



Edge 20

The Edge 20 was released in June 2015, alongside the Edge 25. This was very much your basic bike GPS. Which may have been very much what you wanted.

Edge 20 display

It’ll measure and show you your speed and distance whilst on the hoof ride, and record the route for you to update to the ride analysis app of your choice (Strava, MapMyRide etc.). It’s also small and light and lasts for around 8 hours (according to Garmin) before you’ll need to recharge it.

What it doesn’t have is ANT+ connectivity. So it can’t take in data from other sensors around your bike. Clearly that’s fine when it comes to speed and distance – the Edge 20’s GPS gubbins calculates that for you. But it won’t connect to a heart rate strap or a power meter. If that doesn’t bother you, then parfait.

Nor does it have Bluetooth, so connection to your computer (to upload your ride data) is via a USB cable (which also recharges it).

Garmin Edge 20 angleIt does have the ability to provide some navigational help, but it’s GPS waypoint navigation (sometimes called a ‘breadcrumb trail’*) rather than true turn-by-turn road navigation that you get on car sat navs and some of the top end Edges.

You can create a route on your computer, using Strava, Bike Route Toaster or whatever, upload it to the unit (again via that trusty USB cable) and then follow the instructions whilst out on your ride.

(* It’s worth noting that breadcrumb navigation is also found on some of the more expensive models, such as the Edge 510, which I own. It may not be true sat nav – it won’t recalculate if you take a wrong turn – but this style of navigation has been more than sufficient for my bike-based needs).

If this sounds like just the cycling GPS device for you, you can buy it here.

Edge 25

The Edge 25 was the same (small) size as the 20. The key difference between the 20 and the 25 was that the latter could communicate wirelessly with, er, things.

Edge 25 displayThe 25 can pick up data from ANT+ speed and cadence sensors and from ANT+ heart rate straps. It can also, via Bluetooth, link up with your smartphone in order to upload ride data to Garmin Connect and to provide ‘Live Tracking’ (so stalkers loved ones can track you in real time from the comfort of the sofa).

What the 25 cannot do, though, is use its Bluetoothery to pick up data from sensors that use Bluetooth Smart to communicate. This feels unlikely to be a problem – ANT+ sensors tend to be easier to get hold of anyway and any inherited heart rate straps are likely to be ANT+ (or some esoteric Polar ones that won’t work with anything) – but something to be aware of.

Garmin Edge 25All of which is a long-winded prefix to saying, if you use an indoor (or ‘turbo’) trainer, you’ll want to go with the 25 over the Edge 20. Clearly, since you’re cycling on the spot, the GPS-calculated speed and distance calculations on the Edge 20, are useless.

On a similar tack, if measuring your cadence (the speed at which you revolve the pedals) is important to you (and it probably should be), then you’ll want the Edge 25 and a cadence sensor (of which the best option is likely to be the Garmin combined speed/cadence sensor).

Click here to see the latest prices for the Edge 25.

Edge 510 (and the 500 for that matter)

I owned the Edge 510 and was very happy with it (here is my long term review of it).

It had a host of features over and above the Edge 20/25 and many of the more recent features present on the later Edge 520.

But (and this is written with heavy heart), I’d suggest that a new Garmin purchaser looks to the Edge 520 (or even the Edge 25), rather than the 510.

Whilst Garmin continues to update the software on the 510, it appears to have stopped selling it. It is clear that focus from the firm is very much on the 520 and the 1000.

Edge 510 map screenGiven the price of the 510 is similar to the 520 (and in some cases more expensive?!), going for the newer model seems a bit of a no-brainier.

(For what it’s worth though, the discussion on the additional features in the Edge 520 section below, largely apply to the Edge 510, except where noted).

Edge 520

The Edge 520 was released in July 2015, replacing the Edge 510 (eventually, as mentioned) and occupying the mid point of the Edge range.

Hardware wise, it is a larger unit (compared to the Edge 20/25 – in the world of the tablet-like smartphone it’s still pretty small) with a colour screen. Whereas the 510 went down the touchscreen route, the 520 has reverted back to having buttons on the side and no touchscreen.

Varia bike light with 520Whilst the Edge 20 and 25 have a fairly limited set of vital features, Garmin has taken a Jackson Pollock-style splattergun approach to feature packing the 520. It is more than capable of fulfilling the needs of a professional cyclist (subtext: so I’m sure it’ll be powerful enough for you).

As well as the de rigeur speed/cadence sensors and heart rate straps, it can pick up ANT+ data feeds from power meters and communicate with Shimano’s Di2 electronic gear system, amongst other things.

Increasingly relevant, given the rising popularity of ‘smart’ indoor/turbo trainers, the 520 supports ANT+ FE-C trainer control – it can control the resistance on the turbo, in line with whatever training programme you’ve programmed or uploaded.

(Note that this is one of the key differences with the Edge 510, which does not support the FE-C protocol – in other words, the Edge 510 cannot control your indoor trainer).

Garmin Edge 520 side viewLike the 20/25 (and the 510), the Edge 520 won’t receive data from Bluetooth Smart sensors (e.g. a Bluetooth Smart heart rate strap), but like in the case of the 20/25, I doubt this will cause you too much of a problem.

What it can do on the Bluetooth front is communicate with your smartphone. Over and above the usual syncing/upload feature, it can show text and call notifications on the screen, whilst you’re out on the road.

The 520 has a whole raft of software-y features, that aim to support your training. Cycling Dynamics analyses the data coming in from Garmin’s Vector pedals (the expensive ones with in-built power meters…) in order to help improve your pedal stroke.

The 520 will attempt to estimate your VO2 max. It will also tell you how long you need to recover before your next ride.

If you’re a Strava user (and a particular sort of Strava user), one of the most important recent additions to the Edge range (which is available on the 520, 810 and 1000, as well as the 510), is (are?) Strava Segments.

You can identify your ‘favourite’ segments and your Edge device will alert you mid-ride as you approach them, provide ‘motivating visualistion’ (the ‘Come On You Fugger’ screen), and then, as soon as you finish the segment, show your result versus previous times, your friends and the current KOM/QOM.

Garmin Edge 520 Strava live segment

Finally, and we’ll deal more with navigation in the Edge 1000 section, the 520 allows you to upload maps to help see where you are.

Importantly though, it still uses the GPS coordinates/’breadcrumb’-style navigation seen on the Edge 25 (and on my Edge 510). The 520 doesn’t ‘understand’ what is on the map as such, it just allows you to see the wiggly line plotted agains a map background, to help you work out where you are.

To be honest, and as I’ve mentioned above in the context of the 510, it’s hard to see past the 520 if you’re a reasonable serious cyclist in the market for a Garmin. In fact, my brother-in-law is a reasonably serious cyclist and his ageing 500 went kaput and the 520 is exactly what me and my parents clubbed together to buy him for Christmas. And he was a very happy bunny ’bout that.

As we’ll see below, the main difference with the 1000 and the 820 (and the 810) is on the navigation front. For my money, that would not be sufficient to persuade me to spend the additional moolah on the higher spec model.

Click here to see the latest prices for the Edge 520

Edge 810

So the Edge 810 was released simultaneously with the 510 at the start of 2013, as part of Garmin’s first foray into smartphone-connected cycling GPS devices.

Like the 510, it has been superseded by a newer model, the 820 (see below). That said, it is still available to buy (generally at a good price versus newer models with similar features). As I’ve noted before, Garmin has a good record for supporting older models with software updates, long after they’ve gone out of production, so there should be some life in this ol’ dog for the time being.

Garmin Edge 800 vs 810The main additional feature you get when moving to the 810 from Edge models that start with a 5 is on the navigational front (it’s all in German, as per the photo above…).

Whereas the 520 (510/500) is able to direct you along a series of preloaded GPS coordinates and display a sequence of turn instructions as and when you reach that point in the route, the 810 offers something much closer to the navigation that you have on your smartphone or in a car navigation system.

The 810 ‘understands’ that there are roads and junctions, and different ways of getting from A to B, rather than simply following a series of pre-ordained points on a map. It can therefore update a route in the event that you go off course or you find your way blocked by an unfortunately situated snowdrift (or something…).

As a predecessor to the 520, it uses an ‘antiquated’ touch screen rather than the newer model’s high-tech non-touchscreen approach (!!).

(I’ve never had a problem with my 510’s touchscreen so I wouldn’t let this factor into your buying decision.)

The final (rather esoteric) ‘fact’ to mention about the Edge 810 is that it only uses American satellites in order to position itself (globally). ‘GPS’ strictly only refers to the US government-run system. There is also a Russian one (‘GLONASS’), a European one and a Chinese one (wu knew?).

The Edge 810 only communicates with GPS, whereas the 520 and 1000 (and even the 510) also use the GLONASS system.  This might make the 810 marginally slower to lock on to your position, but probably not something that should weigh heavily on your buying decision.

Click here to see the latest prices for the Edge 810

Edge 820

The Edge 820 is Garmin’s most recent Edge model, coming out in summer 2016. It therefore has all of Garmin’s latest and greatest software features, and stands to continue receiving updates as they’re released for many years to come.

The 820 is to the 520 what the 810 was to the 510. That is to say it has ‘proper’ navigation, rather than ‘breadcrumb’ routes. The navigation works like the 1000 (so better than the 810), which I’ve written about in that section (so I won’t write it here…).

Interestingly (if you find these things interesting), the powergubbins of the Edge 820 are squeezed into a case that is EXACTLY the same size as the Edge 520 (and therefore smaller than the 810). Even more fascinating (yes, fascinating) is that it has a touchscreen, where the 520 does not (yet the 810 does!  Oh my…).

Communications-wise, the Edge 820 talks to on-bike sensors (as well as some off-bike ones: heart rate straps, indoor trainers) via the medium of ANT+. It connects with your smartphone using Bluetooth, allowing you to upload routes, download ride data and all sorts of other techno-magic that modern connectivity allows. Unlike the 520 (indeed unlike all Edges except the 1000), it has wifi, meaning it can connect to your router (or someone else’s…) and upload your ride without needing to go via your phone.

The Edge 820 has a couple of features not seen on models lower down the range.

Group Track allows you to find (and track) other Garmin users that you know, presumably so you can meet them for a group ride (rather than just to stalk them). Since only a small subset of Garmin owners can do this currently (just 820- and 1000-owners), it might be a while until this feature becomes super-useful, but when it does… (you’ll be able to find your mates).

The 820 also has incident detection (or ‘Incident Detection’ as Garmin call it…). If your Edge 820 comes to a halt in an erratic fashion, it will send a message to your emergency contact to let them know that you might need assistance (it presumes that you and your bike also came to a halt in an erratic fashion). There is a countdown, giving you an opportunity to stop the message from sending, in case of a false alarm.

The Edge 820 packs a lot of Garmin magic into a very compact package. With ‘Incident Detection’, it has a useful safety feature that (so far) is not seen elsewhere amongst the performance models of the Edge range (as opposed to the Explore versions).

Click here for the latest prices on the Garmin Edge 820

Edge 1000

The Edge 1000 is top of the tree in the Garmin Edge family. It was released in mid-2014 and remains very much at the front of the queue in terms of receiving software fixes and new features.

Like the 810 (and the 510), it features a touchscreen. Like before, I wouldn’t let that sway your buying decision

It improves upon the smart(er) navigation on the Edge 810 by allowing you to plan routes on the 1000 device itself. You can select a destination, and stop off points on the way, and the 1000 will calculate a route. You can also input some parameters (ride length, time and the like) and it will suggest some round trip routes that you might like to follow.

In my mind, perhaps because of all the features it purports to have (and probably does have), I always think the 1000 is going to be massive.

Edge 1000 displayI’m always surprised therefore when I see it in the flesh (in the electronics?) and remember that it’s not actually that big. It’s quite a bit smaller than your modern smartphone (certainly the latest iPhones). I certainly cannot see it causing such an aerodynamic drag on your performance that you would want to favour a smaller-sized device.

That all said, the 1000 has the largest screen in the Edge range. Which is quite useful for those navigational features mentioned above. In fact it has an additional 57,6000 (count ’em) pixels over the 810.

(Though to put things into perspective, the Edge 1000 has a screen measuring 240×400 pixels. The iPhone 5 (not one of those jumbo ones) screen is 1136×640.)

Garmin Edge 1000 side

The other difference with the Edge 1000 screen is that you can rotate it 90 degrees, allowing you to spend your ride in widescreen. I’m not sure why you might do this, but isn’t it good to know you can…? (No? Alright.)

Finally, and unlike the 820, the 1000 has a micro-SD memory card slot. You can use the additional memory (on the micro-SD card) to store more map data than can be accommodated in the unit’s internal 8GB of storage (note: the 820 has 16GB of internal memory, so this makes up for the lack of card slot somewhat).

Basically, if you want your bike GPS device to have all the latest features (once the ones mentioned above are added in) plus the most sophisticated navigation features in the range plus the largest screen, or you want an Edge with 4 digits rather than 3, then the Edge 1000 is for you.

Click here for the latest prices on the Edge 1000

Edge Explore

So far in the list, I’ve gone through the Edges in order of additional features – with the Edge 520 you get all the features on the 25 plus these further whizzbangs and goombahs. This also maps to a higher price at each level.

The Edge Explore sort of turns that on its head. It’s like the Edge 1000 model, but with a few features taken out (mainly the ones to do with performance and training) and marketing that positions it at the touring cyclist.

Specifically, the Explore doesn’t allow you as many custom pages of data fields (speed, power, cadence, etc), the structured workouts go, Strava Segments are ditched, plus some of the other software features aren’t there either. They support fewer ANT+ sensors on the bike.

The net impact of these feature removals is to save you about $50/£50 in RRP terms versus the fully-featured non-Explore models.

If the navigation features are a key part of your buying decision, and you can’t see yourself using some of the Edge’s training/performance-oriented whoopsies, then the Edge Explore might be for you.

Click here for the latest prices on the Edge Explore

Edge Touring

If the Edge Explore turned my rising feature list/price approach on its head, then the Edge Touring sends us spinning into a dizzy heap. Or something like that.

The Edge Touring is to the 810 what the Explore is to the Edge 1000. So it’s a stripped down version, focused on ze maps.

Garmin Edge Touring frontIn fact, it’s even less performance-focused than the Explore. The basic Touring won’t connect to your speed and cadence sensor. Nor your heart rate strap neither.

There is a Touring Plus, that does seem to record ANT+ data (so will connect to a suitable HR strap or cadence sensor), but this could well be discontinued by Garmin (it’s not on the Garmin website). It’s still available to buy though.

What is definitely the case is that neither device will link up with your Garmin Vector pedals (in case you’re considering pairing some heart-stoppingly expensive power meter pedals with a GPS device targeted at the touring gentleman or gentlewoman).

It is also significantly cheaper than both 1000 variants though. On an RRP basis, it’s about half the price.

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

34 thoughts on “What Is The Best Garmin Edge For Cycling?”

  1. Thank you for the review. I owned Cateye Astrale for 20 years untill Garmin came up with their devices. I had all important functions for cyclist like time, distance, speed, cadence, clock and odometer. Its battery lasted years. I got into Edge 705 wanting all, my old cyclo computer had, with bigger screen and navigation features. IMHO navigation on all Garmin devices sucks. Ability to upload data online to keep your activity log become usefull. When Strava came up, a lot of my buddies appeared there and I could see where, when and how they ride. I could also see where some pros are training which I find amusing. I like that. Is there any reason for me to buy new Garmin device? No. The only feature I could pay for is ability to see phone caller id on Garmin screen so I don;t have to pull my phone out and automatic wireless transfer to Strava once I get home. Is it worth paying twice the price for Garmin 1000? Hell no! I have my eye on these Lezyne devices but they are overpriced. Once they get to 100 Euro point, they might be worthy contender. And speaking of Garmin Forerunner watch. My buddie has one. We are bot around 50 years old. He has to ask me or one more gouy what is on the screen as he doesn’t want tu pull out his prescription glasses. I also can’t see damn anything on its screen. So don’t even think of buying one if you are middle age cyclist.

    • I concur on them being hard to read. Even on the 810 I have trouble with the map and a stop is needed to figure it out. I’m 57 but I can see things on most cell phones a lot better. Once I get a route set up it works well except for the lag time if I don’t turn it on early.

    • Which is probably a great reason to buy it through the link!

      I doubt Monty will make 10 quid as an affiliate (he’ll probably get enough commission to fill up his water bottle – with water!) but even if he did, his great writing style is worth every cent (um… pence) let alone the time and effort taken to give us all a truly independent comparison. Thanks, Monty, helpful, entertaining and informative as always.

      • Which is probably a great reason to buy it through the link! – WHY IS THAT?

        I like this site and if I was going to buy something that was being reviewed I would have no problem buying it through one of the links and if Monty makes commision on that purchase then good for him but i’m not paying £10 more for something just so I can buy it through http://www.sportivecyclist.com, in fact the Edge Touring appears to be £20 cheaper at CRC not £10!!!.

  2. I have the edge 1000 bundle and think its fantastic, the ability to see heart rate/cadence/speed etc is great and provides a bit of stimulation for the grey matter while cycling. I have found the turn by turn directions and ability to plot routes and upload them from “map my ride” really helpful as is the ability to specify a distance and the edge 1000 will calculate 3 routes for you to choose from.

    Some thoughts:

    1. At £325 for the bundle (cadence/speed sensors and HR monitor) it seemed a no brainer to spend a bit more and get the 1000 – Jan 2016 price.

    2. Strava segments will not alert you mid-ride as you approach them if you are following a route, however your times through the segment(s) are recorded and will show when you sync your device with Strava, if you are not following a route and you have pre loaded segments on your device then you will be alerted as you come towards the start of each segment with a count down and a nice big green “GO” when you get to the start.

    3. Remote control (£35) for the edge 1000 is excellent and well worth the money, the ability to flick through screens with both hands on the handle bars is 20x safer than trying to swipe screens when riding.

  3. Edge Touring Plus here. I think I’d say I’m reasonably happy with it, which increases a bit when I remember how I used to get lost on rides before I had it.

    Ad hoc route planning on the device is possible, but horrible, I do everything on MapMyRide and then load it across (check with the google maps that it’s chosen actual tarmac roads before finalising the copy, move the streetview man on to the route and make sure the google car went everywhere). The few times I’ve tried routes on the move I’ve ended up hideously lost (although thanks to the maps still known vaguely where I was).

    I run a heart strap and speed/cadence sensor which do me fine for on the ride feedback and (more importantly for me) ride data at the end.

    My biggest bugbear is the battery life of around 8 hours (which is what’s stopping me buying a 25 to leave on my commuter largely, also not really needing one) if I’m out for the day 8 hours is just not quite long enough and there’s a definite ‘aw’ moment when you’ve been out all day and not quite got the full log of your imagined awesomeness.

  4. I use a Timex Cycletrainer II. It is perhaps comparable to a Garmin 500. Many reviews report a failure of the GPS feature in this unit, but mine has performed without fault for 2 years on the road. In the velodrome with GPS disabled and a Garmin speed sensor it is a bit more problematic, where, I believe, static electricity sometimes causes an erratic heart rate and the speed sensing drops out on occasion. A couple of pluses with the Timex are the inclusion of an Ant+ hrm strap and an 18 hour battery life, but the biggest pus for me was the bargain price of Cdn $100 i.e. about 53 pounds!

  5. A feature on the Edge 1000 I immediately fell in love with is the gear display, when connected to Shimani Di2. No more looking back at the cassette. I guess it removes any doubt as to whether I’m a dweeb, but this feature is a real safety plus for me.

  6. I am a user of a Garmin 510, and in general is a great device. My only major complaint is the touch screen. Sometimes, during a hard workout, it can become difficult to move from one screen to another with the touch screen which is a little… “touchy”! I would love a “old style new school” physical button to switch screens. Here’s were the 520 could be an option.

  7. I’m in the stone age….
    I have the edge 500 , it does all I want ,speed distance cadence and heart rate.
    I don’t feel the need for navigation as part of the fun is to get lost and find some great rides.
    I would love a 1000 but I don’t need one.

  8. Edge 520 – my first Garmin and I have no complaints and like it a lot – like the Strava sync and real time segments only problem is I ride with someone who has a 1000 and often gloats . . .
    Good job on the review Monty and I see you’re working your way to DCR in-depth length : )

  9. Hi I have the edge 1000 it’s a great device but whilst cycling in Spain I was riding between stages and the Garmin chirped up turn round. It had taken me forty miles off course which put a total of eighty miles on to the ride.
    Beware to check a map and not put all your faith in the software. It would have let me down twice more in Spain but for double checking.
    Though it has been fine in the UK.

    • This is exactly what I’m saying. Is navigation is unreliable. I used to prepare my courses using bikeroutetoaster.com. When you want to load the course, sometimes it takes 10 minutes loading it, the progress bar goes on and then…error. And you buddies are waiting. Then you try again, this time it works. But it is unable to find the starting point. Then it shows wrong directions. After a while you get so angry with useless navigation that you stop using it. Proper navigation device should allow you to prepare you course offline, using up to date maps in a user friendly manner. Then it should display turn by turn instructions with voice navigating commands. It doesn’t do any of this. It is cheap crippled “made i asia” style device navigating device as far as navigation is concerned. All the rest is more or less fine. If you want navigation, get yourself some old rugged phone with good battery life and use it for navigation.

      • I use “map my ride”, if helps if you zoom right in and carefully check your route to make sure it is on the type of roads you require and has not selected a foot path or similar, when checked and you are happy with it then save as a .GPX. Once loaded on the Edge 1000 I load the course while I’m getting dressed and good to go – 10 minutes sounds a long time could be your rides are a lot longer than mine.

        I find the turn by turn mostly works fine, the odd glitches I have had are when I haven’t checked my route carefully before loading or i’m flying downhill and eyes tear up so cannot see the device clearly and miss the turning 🙂

  10. Old Edge 705 user, that’s both me & the device. Still love it after all these years and all those tired legs. No one’s mentioned what I consider to be a great feature of Garmin and thats the connectivity to the Garmin Connect website. I search for rides in my local area on here & then just download to the device. Voila, 65 miles later I’ve discovered another new ride without getting lost, which I used to be a national champion at before I got my Garmin. It also lets you plot your own courses which is also a great feature when trying to get to your kids away footy match avoiding the M3.
    Nice review Monty.

  11. As always a totally engrossing and readable ‘article’.
    However as a smart phone only user, (recording direct to STRAVA as a premium user) who uses Viewranger (O.S and similar )for mapping purposes, what benefits would I gain? My ancient lidl H/R monitor (usually) links to the phone so H/R data is available, although it’s sometimes wildly and disconcertingly innaccurate..and I’m still toying with the cadence feature..so my question is,(questions are)..
    1) What is the battery life like?
    2) How accurate do you think the cadence and H/R monitors that come with the Garmin bundles are?
    3) How useful are the displays, (the smart phone lives in my pocket…) and how flexible are the warnings, as in can and how easy isit to get the garmin to warn you of an impending STRAVA sections’ start and finish, and routing prompts?

    • how easy is it to get the garmin to warn you of an impending STRAVA sections’ start and finish, and routing prompts?

      It is actually simple to configure but takes a bit of understanding, so here goes:

      Option 1 : Don’t do anything, just record your ride and when you upload to Strava it will pop up with the segments you have passed through complete with your times, you will NOT be alerted on your Garmin device as you approach the start/end of segments using Option 1.

      Option 2 : Use option 1, once your ride is uploaded to Strava, star the segments you want to sync on to your Garmin, once synced on to your Garmin you will be notified when you are approaching a segment by a distance count down and then the green “GO”!!!, you can race against the best overall (KOM/QOM) time/a buddies time/your own PB

      Option 3 : To have Strava segments pop up on your Garmin on a route you haven’t yet ridden: create a route (use say mapmyride) on your PC, save as .gpx, you then need to add a time stamp to make a file (activity) that Strava thinks you have already ridden, go to :


      Upload the activity to Strava at :


      Strava now thinks you have ridden that activity, now star the segments that you would like, strava then syncs with your phone, that then syncs the segments with the Edge 1000, hey presto when you ride this route you have never ridden before the segments will pop up

      1.When you have uploaded the activity you have created at http://gotoes.org/strava/Add_Timestamps_To_GPX.php and synced your segments, it’s a good idea to delete the activity as it is not something you have actually ridden yet and will skew your strava data.

      2. To convert the activity you created in to a route select the spanner symbol in Strava.

      3. Be aware that if you follow a route, Strava segments will not pop up on your Garmin, WHAT? I hear you say, that is crazy – I spend £300+ for a device with navigation and to be notified of Strava segments and they will not appear when following a route – CORRECT MY FRIENDS

      4. Understand the difference between an activity and a route – Route is something worked out before a ride, uploaded to the Garmin with a view to following it. Activity is something you have done ie a ride you have completed, you may have completed this activity following a route or not following a route

      5. it took me three days to understand all this, the above is not a step by step guide, just an over view of how it all works, once understood it all works very well. I spent three nights driving up and down the local roads trying to get Strava segments to appear until I sussed out it didn’t work as I was following a route!!!.

      6. Strava have advised Garmin are working on this and at some point it will be released in a firmware update.

      7. So yes you have to know where you are going in order for the Strava segments to appear, do not switch on your pre planned route!!!.

      Good Luck

      • And after you upload and download and analyze everytthing the sun goes down and there is no more time left to ride the bike 🙂

        In an era before heart rate monitors and GPS cyclo computers appeared, you had to learn more about how your body reacts to training, altitutde, suffering and what you are balet to do and what not.. And you had more time to ride and enjoy yourself. That’s why I love to watch riders like Thomas Voeckler or Jens Voight in the past who first of all had the heart to go for the win through hard work, pain and suffering and technology was at the very end. Voeckler as far as I know is not even using HRM.

      • Wow Jason. That is an incredible amount of very specific knowledge. It feels like it deserves a whole blog post of its own! Thanks for this.

    • Sadoldsamurai (Conrad!) – Your third point/question is the most relevant one for responding to your point one. I do like to see my speed, time, distance etc so I do like to see the screen. If I did that with my phone (which is refurbished and two years old to me), the battery would probably run down within 30 minutes. Whilst a new iPhone may last for a good number of hours, eventually the battery will degrade and potentially become limiting. My garmin seems to last for ages.

      As to accuracy of the cadence (& speed) and HRM strap sensors, they seem pretty good to me (without having anything to compare them against). They’ll definitely do the job if you’re using HR (or cadence) as part of your training plans.

  12. I’ve had an Edge 800 for four years – essentially the 810 minus bluetooth connectivity. I use it for road cycling and for touring in the UK and Europe. For a person like me with no sense of direction, the turn-by-turn directions are an absolute blessing.

    Definitely best with pre-planned routes – the on-the-fly routing is, as a few people have said here, a bit (ahem) quirky. But if you have good maps installed (for routing, I recommend velomaps – free and optimised for cycling by a cyclist https://www.velomap.org/ ) and get the settings right, it’s not too bad. Especially if you approach its use with a reasonable amount of intelligence – when it decides to route you over a ploughed field, for example, and you’re on a carbon Pinarello. Mine has helped me out loads of times when I’ve been lost.

    Don’t buy one of the packages with maps included. The free talkytoaster maps are superb – and his (extremely cheap) paid-for ones are better for the device than the Ordinance Survey ones. They aren’t as good at routing as the velomaps, though, so I have both on an SD card. Sadly, the Garmin-friendly version of the wonderful opencyclemap is no longer being developed or sold.

    Talkytoaster: https://talkytoaster.co.uk/

    Also, if you leave your bike locked up in a strange town, you can set your location as a marker on the map and use the Garmin to find your way back to it once you’ve walked round a few pubs or whatever. It’s good, too, in a limited way, for finding local amenities, such as bike shops, cafes, supermarkets.

    Re battery life problems – well you can always buy an external USB battery and plug it in (not the crazily expensive official Garmin one – a cheapo powercastle or somesuch). Even a 10,000 mah battery should add more than enough extra hours of ride time. Of course you have to pay a terrible weight penalty of 400 grammes or so, and jerry the battery onto your bike, uglifying its sleek lines. I suspect anyone who’s cycling longer than eight hours a day is unlikely to be much fussed about either of those ‘problems’. Alternatively you can make like a touring cyclist and put in a dynamo hub (though if you turn up with one of those at a Sportive, your competitors are liable to think you’ve fitted a motor to your front wheel).

  13. I have a Garmin 500 and I am ready to upgrade. Love the small form factor. What would really be a game changer for me is a better social experience (Strava) in Garmin. Let me know if I am missing something.

  14. I did my first 100 miles yesterday, the last few Km were very worrying as my Garmin 520 was telling me it was low on battery. 100% to 2% in less than 9 hours. I was thinking of updating to the 1000, but on this performance I am not sure.

  15. Has anyone tried the new Edge 820?
    I’ve never had a Garmin before and I am thinking if I should buy the 520, which is not just under 200 GBP, or just go straight to the 820 model.

  16. I recently bought the the Edge 820 Explore
    Utter garbage in my opinion. Before this I had the Edge 705 – which I loved.
    Great unit, good navigation and lots of training features and you could install several maps.
    The Edge 820 Explore has a shitty touch screen which I cant stand. Why did they go and remove the buttons??? Its impossible to zoom into anywhere on the map. Re-loading the map after moving or zooming in our out takes ages. I haven´t found out if I can change the map to OSM

    Garmin took a great product and over engineered it to godless crappyness.

    • Currently there seems only two reasonable units to choose from. My training partner has Edge 1000. It is very good unit with very good screen and maps look much better on it than on my 800. If you don’t want mapping, 520 is the best unit. With buttons and nearly all features you may desire, including Strava segments and connection with the phone. You can still find discounted, refurbished 800 which is very reasonable unit. I bought mine for less than 200 USD. It has lots of features but maps readability is worse than on my old 705.

  17. The one thing that I did not see covered was display visibility in daylight.

    Any recommendations for a GPS that can easily be read in daylight?


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