Published on July 12th, 2015 | by admin0
New Garmin Edge 520 Review With Strava Live Segments
Garmin seem to have gone into overdrive this year with an array of new products available to cyclist. One such product which could well prove to be highly successful is the new Garmin 520. Let me start off by saying I’m an owner of Garmin’s flagship cycling computer, the Garmin 1000. I have to say I despise it to such an extent I prefer to ride with my Garmin 800 in preference to the Garmin 1000. To me the 1000 is simply oversized and has an array of functions I don’t even use plus the large screen zaps the battery to such an extend the older versions such as the 500and 800 are far more efficient. Perhaps though this time Garmin have actually listened to what cyclist actually want hence my optimism for the all new singing and dancing Garmin 520.
First off let my state the 520 has a battery life of 15 hours which is around 50% better than the 1000. The main new feature though which seems to have got many excited is Strava live segments which in effect provides live, real-time data for Strava Premium users targeting personal bests on Strava segments. So how does this new feature work I can virtually hear you asking? Well, this feature will allow the user to see up and coming Strava segments so attacks can be made on such segments. Plus in real time, during the ride, it allows users to compare their performance with Strava data such as KOMs and QOMs and their own personal bests. Before each segment a countdown is displayed so the user knows exactly where the segment starts. At the end of the segment the user is notified with their completed Strava segment data.
For those who want the new Strava live segment function with older Garmin edge models such as the 1000, 810 and 510, there is some good news. During the 3rd quarter of this year Garmin has announced that there will be an update available which enables this function on the 3 models listed.
We are still testing the features of the 520 which also includes features which were only available on the Garmin 1000 such as integrated live tracking, Bluetooth Smart uploads to your mobile phone smartphone alerts, social media sharing, weather, wireless uploads and Support for the Edge Remote Control accessory. We will be updating this page with a full review in the next couple of weeks before the unit actually hit the shelves.
The Garmin Edge® 520 Cycling Computer Review
I remember when my mother got her first cycling computer for her Giant road bike about 15 years ago. It was the first cyclo-computer I had ever seen and I was taken by the technology. I would beg her to let me take her bike out for a spin, climb the hill on a country road near my house and rip down, attempting to set a new speed record. In the time since, I have graduated to a road bike of my own and the technology behind cycling computer has progressed greatly.
My mother’s cycling computer was an old pink Cateye, no bigger than 1.5 square inches, with a black and white screen. It could calculate distance, time, and speed, but I don’t remember the tiny machine doing much else. Now, Garmin, a name long associated with cutting-edge cycling products introduces their new Edge 520 bike with enough features to make an iPhone jealous.
The New Garmin Edge 520
The Garmin Edge 520 is a direct descendent of the popular Edge 500, only with more capabilities added. Edge 500 was a hit because it was designed for competitive cyclists. It was small and lightweight, with a legible display, packed with data calculating features, and could be upgraded with a compatible heart rate monitor or power meter. All of those characteristics are included in the Edge 520, they just get even better.
Basically, if you take the Garmin Edge 500 and make it a little larger, give it a color screen, increased analytical capacity, more online connectivity, and Strava live segments, then you will have created the Garmin 520. The high-resolution color screen is 2.3 square inches in size and adjusts bits brightness automatically depending on the ambient light of the environment. Riders can quickly toggle between traditional stats like distance, speed, and time, and the built-in GPS (and GLONASS) also calculates location and elevation gain. In comparison to the Edge 500, the 520 is only a few grams heavier. The 500 weighs 56.7 grams while the 520 weighs in at 60 grams even. Garmin’s Edge 520 is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will last for 15 hours on each full charge, making it a great computer for touring, backcountry mountain biking, and racing alike.
If paired with the optional power meter and heart rate monitor, the Garmin Edge 520 becomes even more versatile. The computer will use the data from the monitor to display active heart rate, VO2 max, and after your ride, it will calculate your expected recovery time. With the power monitor in tow, the device calculates your power to weight ratio in watts/kg which acts as an excellent benchmark for training and comparison to other cyclists.
Strava Segments and Connectivity
One of the true innovations of the Edge 520 is that it is the first cycling computer that is synced with Strava live segments. Strava is a program that displays live performance updates for your pre-selected segments. Each ride segment is a portion of road on which the performances of cyclist’s is tracked and logged online. For every segment, you are able to track your performance, and at the end compare to your PR and those of your riding buddies. There is no better or more convenient way to track training progress over time. Strava Premium normally costs $6 per month or $60 per year for a subscription, but the Garmin 520 comes with a 3-month trial membership.
Besides Strava, the 520 computer is compatible with a variety of different Garmin products. The Varia™ Rearview bike radar system and smart lights are compatible, as are Edge and VIRB® remote controls. If you happen to have Shimano Di2 electric shifters on your bike, the 520 will work with them and show your gear onscreen.
Moreover, like most recent Garmin products, the Edge 520 is programmed to recognize the Garmin Connect™ Mobile app. This means you can receive weather and traffic updates during your ride and afterward you can easily share your ride on your personal social media platforms. Not only that, but you also get access to the Garmin Connect online group for sharing ride stats with other Garmin Connect users.
Where to Find the Garmin 520
Edge 520 is offered on the Garmin website in two different options: 1) Device Only 2) Bundle Package.
- Device Only costs $300 US and includes the Edge 520 cycling computer, two different mounts, USB charging cable, a tether and instruction manuals.
- Bundle Package costs $400 and includes the Edge 520, heart rate monitor, speed and cadence sensors, the two mounts, USB cable, tether, and manuals.
For more information, or to order a Garmin 520 cycling computer, visit the Garmin website, https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/cycling/edge-520/prod166370.html. Note that each order takes three to five weeks to process, so plan ahead if you want to get the computer by early fall 2015.
Garmin continues to innovate on its cutting edge cycling technology with the Edge 520 bike computer. All the classic features of my mother’s late 90’s Cateye cyclo-computer are included, plus a bunch of amazing new features. The Garmin 520 is the kind of accessory that allows cyclists to imperially track their performance and inspires cyclists to become better by comparing them to other riders. Once I get my Garmin 520, I bet my mom will be begging to take my bike out on a spin. It’ll be a welcome role reversal.