Best Garmin Edge for Cycling?

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Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just looking to level-up your fitness, the Garmin Edge range has something for everyone. Here’s my recommendations on the differences between the models.

On a budget: Garmin Edge 130

Even though it looks a little too basic, with the black text display, don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of essential cycling tech built in to help you get more out of those rides.

As you exercise, you’ll see distance, pace and how high you climb as standard but that’s just the start. The Edge 130 is compatible with a whole host of optional wireless sensors that can connect over ANT+ or Bluetooth. From heart rate monitors, power meters, speed and cadence sensors, you can easily upgrade the Edge 130 with accessories to become data rich. It also connects to the Varia range of safety equipment, including lights and radar sensors.

For any courses you’ve added to the Edge 130, you’ll get a map on the screen as you ride and prompts of when to turn direction.

There’s even a Back to Start feature which tells you the best route to get home, should you want to finish earlier than planned.

If you’re a Strava Summit subscriber, you’ll love the Live Segments feature, that will alert you of upcoming segments you’ve added to the device. See how you compare against the top of the leaderboard, or your past efforts.

With 15 hours battery life thrown in too, that’s ample for a cyclosportive.

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GPS under £100? Try the Edge 25

Garmin Edge 25

Want to spend even less? You could try shopping around on older Garmin units, like the Edge 25. Given its age, not everywhere stocks it, and for some places, it’s priced on a par with successor Edge 130.

BUT, if you’re lucky, you may find it priced under £100, as I can currently find deals on Cycle Republic, OnBuy and eBay.

On the UK Amazon, I’ve also found a refurbished version (Amazon Renewed) comfortably below £100.

Read more Garmin Edge 25 and 20

The Edge 25 is super compact yet still gives you a healthy set of features including ability to download courses; albeit the maps are even more basic but it’ll give you the heads up on any upcoming turns. It’s Bluetooth compatible too, so any cycling effort can be wirelessly transferred over the Garmin Connect app before you can take off your shoes and helmet.

The training partner: Garmin Edge 530

The Edge 530 is where hardware and training options shift up a gear, as those course maps and metrics are now visualised in glorious colour. There’s plenty of added features too:

For instance, ClimbPro gives you valuable insight of the hills on your course. As you ride up, you’ll get details on the average gradient, how long is left to climb both in distance and ascent. Enhanced with colour coding, it’s easy to spot the steepest sections versus where you might be able to catch your breath.

Based on your recent ride frequency and duration, Garmin can estimate the load you’re placing on your body and assess whether your training is effective or you’re at risk of overworking. Attach a heart rate accessory, and you enrich this data with estimated VO2 Max scores and estimated recovery time.

For mountain bikers, this where we start to see MTB dynamics added to the Edge range as it tracks jump count, jump distance and hang time. Grit and Flow measure the difficulty and smoothness of your descent.

You get more battery juice, with up to 20 hours of riding; 5 more than the Edge 130. If that isn’t enough, you can even plug in a Garmin Charge Power Pack to keep turning for longer.

A couple of safety features are added too. If you and a couple of cycling buddies are connected to GroupTrack, the Edge 530 let’s you send out predefined messages to your group. Useful if you need to let the team know you’ve got a puncture. Should the unfortunate happen and you fall off, incident detection can automatically send your location to an emergency contact to come to the rescue.

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Something more: Garmin Edge 830

It’s a minor upgrade vs the Edge 530 but has some specs users may prefer. Physical buttons on the sides of the unit are replaced with a touchscreen.

There’s some added convenience too as you can also create new courses on the unit itself, rather than having to log into Garmin Connect on a computer. The Round-Trip feature lets you enter a distance and a direction, then Garmin will use that to build a randomised course for you. Useful if you’re in the mood for exploring somewhere you haven’t been before.

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What about the Garmin Edge 1030?

Being a ‘bigger model number’ it’s easy to fall into the first impression trap that this model is best. That’s only reinforced too by the higher RRP price tag of £500 in the UK; nearly double against the £260 RRP of the Edge 530. In my opinion, it’s a good device, just not worth paying that much extra. Keep away unless you can find it priced competitively with an Edge 830.

When it was released in 2017 the Edge 1030 was a great purchase, but since the arrival of Edge 830 in summer 2019, the features are so similar that you’ll scratch your head wondering what’s different.

The key differences in the pro 1030 camp are physical. The touchscreen is nearly an inch larger than the Edge 830; which some riders will prefer. The 1030 also has a microSD card slot for saving extra maps, that’s if the internal 16GB space isn’t enough already; I feel microSD cards won’t be used by many riders.

Also, given the age of the Edge 1030, I’m anticipating we’ll see an Edge 1030 Plus or Edge 1040 announced within 2020-21. Expect that one to offer more significant differences in features than the Edge 830.

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Going on a long bike ride?

I feel your pain if you’ve ever ventured on a long ride, only for your GPS device to go flat, leaving you unable to record that monumental effort.

Because the Edge devices attach to your bike frame instead of your wrist, they can afford to be a little chunkier and pack a healthy amount of battery juice. You’ll get up to 15 hours GPS usage on a single charge of the Edge 130, and up to 20 hours on the Edge 530, 830 and 1030 devices. This is pretty much double versus most of Garmin’s running and multi-sport watch lineup.

If you need even more power off a single charge, the Garmin Charge Power Pack, can give you a big boost, up to 20 extra hours. Though this accessory was designed to attach to the Edge 1030, if you add a Garmin USB adapter cable into the equation (which annoyingly is sold separately) more units can benefit from a battery boost.

  • Edge 1000
  • Edge 1030
  • Edge 520
  • Edge 520 Plus
  • Edge 530
  • Edge 820
  • Edge 830
  • Edge Explore
  • Edge Explore 820
  • Forerunner 645 / 645 Music
  • Forerunner 935
  • Forerunner 945

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I'm a super keen injured runner with over 20 years experience in races and endurance training. Get in touch with me over Twitter, G+ on in the comments below.

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