Last week RCUK was invited along to Box Hill, Surrey at the invitation of the Garmin UK people to try out the Edge 500, which we first saw at Eurobike in September. The 500 is the latest addition to the Edge range, the company’s performance orientated computers aimed at cyclists who like to be armed with all the data. It squeezes most of the guts from the larger 605/705 computers into a slimline, stylish and compact device.
Garmin has achieved this feat of miniaturisation primarily by removing the mapping facility that was a key aspect of its bigger brother, thus enabling Garmin to meet the requests of its sponsored Team Garmin-Slipstream riders who wanted most of the functionally of the larger Edge models but in a smaller size. They succeeded.
It’s also a fair bit cheaper. Just £199 and it’s also loads lighter, down to a featherweight 60g. Battery life is also improved by a considerable sum too, Garmin claims some 18 hours. There’s also a new and far simpler bike mount as well – slot the Edge in at roughly a 30 degree angle, twist, and it locks into place.
All sounding good so far, but how is it to use? Garmin had laid on a day of riding with a few challenges, including a time trial up the twists and turns of Box Hill against a Virtual Partner, to demonstrate the functionality of the 500.
From the outset, the immediate difference is just how quickly the 500 grabs hold of a satellite reception, meaning no delay to your riding. The screen, despite its smaller size, clearly displays data and it’s easy to read while riding. The available data the 500 offers can be scrolled through by the two buttons on the right hand side of the unit, with a nifty transition fade between modes. As you’d expect, there’s all the data a performance cyclist could ever need, and what’s better the amount of data available at any one time is customisable, more or less, whatever suits you
For those familiar with the 605/705, it’s a very similar interface, but there are a few key differences. As we mentioned, there’s no mapping facility, but the 500 does still record your route and this data can be accessed once you’ve uploaded to Garmin Connect, it just doesn’t show it when you’re riding. Holding the Enter button takes you into the main menu where there’s a plethora of options. Experienced users will notice the addition of vertical speed, temperature readings and more accurate calories burned.
In use it’s a very simple device to use and for those cyclists put off by the relative bulk of the 605/705 or who just don’t want the mapping/navigational features, the Edge 500 is perfectly suited. It’s small, light and stylish and is packed with all the essential features most cyclists could ever need, and at a price that is more appealing.