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Published on January 10th, 2015 | by admin


Garmin Edge Computers – What’s Your Edge?

Cycling computers have come a long way in recent years. It wasn’t so long ago that most cycling computers only tracked time and distance. Some were able to calculate an average speed and, if you were lucky, some could measure your cadence. Those days are long gone! With the advent of GPS-enabled cycling computers, all sorts of metrics are now able to be collected. At their most basic level, these computers track speed, distance, and keep track of where you’ve been. At their most advanced level, they can act as a virtual coach or training partner, telling you how fast you’re going relative to your other performances, communicating your stats to your friends, and telling you exactly where to go. They’re super smart, easy to use, and able to assimilate an awful lot of data.


Garmin has been a trailblazer in the GPS-enabled fitness tracker market for a long time and their popular Edge series of cycling computers is the leader in all things bike related. With so many options available, the hardest part is figuring out which computer is the best choice for you! In this article we’ll talk about the different Edge models and help you decide which computer best fits your needs. So, let’s get started!


Edge 200 ($199.99 USD)

garmin edge 200

The Edge 200 may be Garmin’s most basic bike computer but it’s still packed with features that make it a great option for a lot of riders. If you want a computer that can keep track of your time, distance, and route but don’t want to deal with more complicated and confusing functions, the Edge 200 is the perfect choice for you. This computer requires no set up – just pop it on to your bike (or move it from bike to bike) and go. What it lacks in extra features it makes up for in simplicity, ease of use, and attractive price. But just because this is Garmin’s most basic computer doesn’t mean that it lacks all of the bells and whistles of its more expensive cousins! While the Edge 200 doesn’t have the mapping or social capabilities of some of the pricier models, the Challenge Me feature will certainly help you push your limits. Enable Challenge Me and the Edge 200 will tell you, in real time, how you’re doing on a certain route compared to your previous performances. This is great for cyclists who are trying to go just a little bit faster or those that are trying to smash old Strava records.


Best for: Cyclists who want an affordable and easy to use way to keep track of basic ride data.


Edge 500 ($199.99 USD and up)

Garmin Edge 500

If you like the simplicity of the Edge 200 but you want to be able to collect more information, the Edge 500 is a great option for you. Unlike the Edge 200, the Edge 500 has ANT+ compatibility, which allows it to collect data from third-party wireless devices. What this means for you is that things like your heart rate strap, cadence sensor, and power meter can all talk to the Edge 500. The ability to record all these metrics will put even more data right at your fingertips and allow you to have a much better overall picture of how your training is going. The Edge 500 also incorporates a barometric pressure sensor to track changes in elevation. Unlike some of the higher end Edge models, the Edge 500 is not capable of wireless data transfer. To transfer data from the Edge 500 to your computer you will have to use a USB cable. Once plugged in, it is easy to upload data to Garmin Connect, Strava, or whatever web-based training log you use. The Edge 500 can be purchased by itself or in a bundle with a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor.


Best for: Folks who want to collect data from all the various bike gadgets without getting too bogged down in extra features.


Edge Touring ($249.99 USD)


The Edge Touring is Garmin’s most basic cycling computer that comes with navigational features. While the Edge 200 and 500 mostly tell you how far and how fast you’ve gone, the Edge Touring can help you figure out where you’re going and tell you how to get there. Garmin’s preloaded maps can help you stay on your route both on and off the road. But that’s not all that this powerful little computer can do! Tell the Edge Touring how far you want to go and it will give you up to three round-trip, bike-friendly route options. It can also help you find points of interest (like places to eat or shop) along the way. The Edge Touring puts the world at your fingertips and allows you to leave your map at home. Like all GPS-enabled bike computers, the Edge Touring will keep track of where you’ve gone and how fast you’ve gotten there and allow you to relive your adventure on Garmin Connect when you get home. Because this is not an ANT+ enabled device, it can’t record data like heart rate, cadence, and power so cyclists who are looking to collect these types of data will want to choose a different device. But for cyclists whose main goal in purchasing an Edge computer is to collect basic information and find their way around on their bike, the Edge Touring is a sweet little cycling computer!


Best for: Cyclists whose primary purpose in purchasing a GPS-enabled bike computer is to be able to easily explore new places and find new routes.


Edge Touring Plus ($299.99 USD)


If you like the navigational features of the Edge Touring but want to collect more data on your rides, you should take a serious look at the Edge Touring Plus. This powerful little computer has all the mapping features of its slightly less expensive sibling but with one key difference: It is ANT+ compatible. What this means for you is that, along with having the ability to help you stick to your planned route (and find new ones), it can also collect heart rate, power, and cadence data. The Edge Touring Plus may be the perfect computer for cyclists that want to use their GPS for both route finding and as a training tool. This model also includes a barometric pressure meter which gives real time ascent and altitude information.


Best for: Cyclists who want a computer to help them find (and stick to!) new routes without giving up the ability to collect third party training data along the way.


Edge 510 ($329.99 USD and up)

 garmin edge 510

Cycling can be somewhat of a solitary endeavor but with the Edge 510 it doesn’t have to be that way. The Edge 510 takes the great features of the Edge 500 and makes them way more … social. The Edge 510 pairs with your smartphone so you can easily share ride data both in real time and when your workout is over. The 510 makes it exceptionally easy to share your ride stats to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as to upload your data to Garmin Connect. One really great feature of the 510 is its ability to let your friends and family follow your ride in real time, allowing them to track your progress in a race or let them know where you are when out for a training ride. Oh, and did we mention that this computer can also send you weather alerts while out on the road or trail? While these features are fun from a social perspective they also can provide additional safety and peace of mind for those who regularly ride by themselves. Like all of the higher-end Edge products, the Edge 510 is ANT+ compatible so you can collect data from third party devices while out on your ride.


Best for: Social riders who like to share their stats with the world and solo riders who like to stay connected while out hitting the trail or tarmac.


Edge 800 ($279.99 USD and up)

garmin edge 800 

The Edge 800 may be one of Garmin’s older models but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy GPS-enabled cycling computer! The ANT+ compatible Edge 800 gives you many of the features of the higher end models, including navigation, and does it at a very attractive price. The Edge 800 uses Garmin’s microSD cards to load street or topo maps and gives you turn by turn navigation while you’re out on your ride. While this computer lacks the wireless connectivity and social sharing options of the Edge 810 (see below) it does basic navigation and data collection very, very well. This computer can be purchased alone or as a bundle along with heart rate and cadence sensors.


Best for: Cyclists that want to collect heart rate, cadence, and power data while also getting turn-by-turn navigation.


Edge 810 ($399.99 USD and up)

Garmin Edge 810 

If you’re looking for a computer that can keep track of all your stats, help you navigate in unknown territory, and share all your information with your friends and family, the Edge 810 may just be the device for you. The Edge 810 takes the social features of the Edge 510 like live tracking, social media sharing, wireless transfers, and weather alerts and throws in built in basemaps and the ability to give you turn-by-turn directions while you’re out on the road. If you are a cyclist that rides the same routes all the time and doesn’t see yourself ever using mapping features, the Edge 510 may be your best bet, but if you do a lot of riding in different places and want to leave your map at home so you can focus on the task at hand (while also wanting wireless data transfers and social media connectivity) the Edge 810 is the way to go. This computer really gives you the best of all of these worlds in one easy to use package. One thing to note is that while the Edge 810 doesn’t at first appear to be too much more expensive than the Edge 510, if you want to get all the extra bells and whistles (like heart rate and cadence sensors), you’re going to have to pony up! Don’t let this deter you: if you plan to use all of this computer’s features, it is an awful lot of bang for the buck!


Best for: Cyclists who want social connectivity and wireless data transfers coupled with the convenience of turn-by-turn navigation.


Edge 1000 ($599.99 and up)

garmin edge 1000 

Riders who want nothing but the best will probably want the crème de la crème of cycling computers: the Edge 1000. This computer takes all the best parts of Garmin’s other Edge models and wraps them up into one neat and powerful package. If the Edge 510 and the Edge Touring got together and had a lovechild, the computer would look an awful lot like the Edge 1000. This computer does it all. With ANT+ compatibility, wireless connectivity, social media sharing, live tracking, and weather alerts, this computer can do all that you ask of it and more. It can also help you figure out where you’re going and get you to where you need to go. Just like with the Edge Touring models, the Edge 1000 can calculate bike-friendly routes for you and guide you to interesting stops along the way. The Edge 1000 integrates to Shimano’s electronic shifting systems to keep track of how much time you spend in each gear. It can also be paired with Garmin’s Vector pedal power meter system, which measures things like total power and left/right foot balance.  Simply put, the Edge 1000 does things that a lot of other really great bike computers can’t. While many recreational and competitive cyclists might think some of this information is overkill, data nerds will love being able to keep track of these kind of highly specialized metrics.  The Edge 1000 also allows for in-ride challenges using Garmin Connect’s segments. The bottom line here is that if you find large amounts of data to be useful and motivating, you will love the Edge 1000!


Best for: Cyclists that want the best of all worlds including mapping capabilities, endless options for metric collection, and easy data sharing.


What’s My Edge?

Figured out what Garmin Edge I use? Well I may surprise you by telling you I still use the Edge 800. I’m not bothered about Bluetooth connectivity as without it my Garmin battery outlasts those of the 810 and 1000. For me the Edge 1000 is simply too big compared to my compact 800. No for now I’m happy with my 800.

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