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Garmin Edge 500 Review
CBD Cycles - 08/12/2010
Garmin Edge 500 Review

When I picked up my new Giant TCR Advanced I had only one tough decision to make; what bike computer do I fit? The wired ones work a treat, but somehow I manage to bust the wires and the wireless ones I find are unreliable.

So when Davey K told me to get a Garmin Edge 500, I wasn’t that keen. The computer was designed and built around the requirements of the Garmin Cycling Team and is a wireless GPS unit, however that doesn’t make it an essential piece of equipment for the average hack wanting to know the speed and cadence they are doing. But Dave assured me; you’ll be pleased that you spent a bit extra for a proper computer.

I got the Edge 500 with heart rate monitor and speed cadence sensor. Dave was well and truly correct – it’s a great piece of kit!

Fitting it was easy: a neat mount secured by rubber rings and a couple of zip ties for the speed cadence sensor was all that was required to get it in place.

Screen navigation and set up is really easy too, basically all you do is turn it on, let it locate the satellites and the unit will simply calibrate itself from there. The display is fully customizable, which can have up to 8 fields of data displayed on a page and three pages you can scroll through.

I bought mine that day prior to doing the iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool race and really wished I’d bought it sooner. I couldn’t believe my heart rate and cadence over the course of the close to nine hour race (well nine hours for me at least). The information will be essential in my preparation for next year’s race.

Since the Warnie I’ve used it for training and during a TT where I fitted it to my P3: you can have up to three bikes set up, so if you’ve got a roadie and a TT bike like me, you can collect data from both bikes.

My main concern was: would it be reliable? I’m happy to say that at this point it hasn’t missed a beat. Cadence in particular is something that most computers I’ve had struggle with in the rain. It was pretty much wet for all the Warnie, the TT and a fair whack of my training rides too, but cadence is always on the display and accurate. The integrated speed sensor also means that if satellite signals are lost, you still collect speed and distance data, which is a worry for those that are not convinced about GPS.

There are various options for data analysis and I elected to use ‘Garmin Training Centre’ which Garmin provide free. Because you can go back and see what you were doing at any stage of your workout, there’s no cheating with averages and maximums.

The only thing that I don’t like about the unit is that for the P3, that has 9,000 kilometres on the clock, I couldn’t add that to total kilometres traveled…if someone knows how to do this then please let me know.

For those lucky enough to have a PowerTap, Quark, SRM or other ANT+ signaling power meter, the Edge 500 will easily pick up their signal too and add it to the data fields.

So what did this little baby cost me? Well it's worth $399 in the full bundle kit. (starts at $299 with Head unit only, but you need the bundle to fully appreciate this little marvel.) but if you shop regularly with the guys at cbd cycles then they will look after you, and you end up on mates rates!

Dave hasn’t convinced me on the power meter… yet.

Cheers
HP Dave.