GARMIN'S Edge 500 is basically a pared down 705, designed to be more appealing to racers. It's lost the full colour screen and some mapping functionality, but as a result benefits from a much smaller and sleeker head unit - under half the weight of the 705.
It will still guide you through uploaded training routes, and routes can be downloaded after a ride, but there's no on-screen mapping. An interesting new function is Vertical Speed, also known as VAM - velocity ascended in metres per hour; a comparable measure of your climbing speed. Another top feature that's retained is the customisable display, so you can choose what you see on each of the main screens (that you can toggle through on the go) - perfect when you just want the vital statistics at a glance.
Its mount has been improved; it's now simply held in place using O-rings and a simple twist in or out is all that's required. Our test unit came complete with the ANT+ cadence, speed and heart rate sensors. It's available without the extra sensors, for £50 less, but we think it's well worth having them to get the full benefit of the Edge 500's capabilities. We have also been successfully testing it linked via ANT+ to a PowerTap, which was incredibly easy to calibrate with the Garmin.
We've been getting around 10 hours of run time from the head unit, which is less than Garmin's claimed 15, but in its defence' that's likely to have been affected by the cold temperatures, and also it has never been too much of an issue, as it has recharged in little over an hour.
Wednesday 4th March 2015
Garmin's Edge 500 GPS computer is a little wonder for giving you all your ride information in an easy-to-use and downloadable package.
You can buy the Edge 500 with a speed/cadence senor and a heart rate strap (£249.99) or you can just go for the head unit on its own (£199.99). Used alone, it tracks your speed and distance via satellite technology and you rarely lose the signal on the road – just occasionally when you’re riding beneath overhanging trees or next to tall buildings.
Measuring just 48 x 69 x 22cm and weighing in at 65g (including mounts), the Edge 500 is barely larger than a simple bike computer, and it mounts securely to your bar or stem in seconds with a little plastic widget and rubber O-rings.
The best bit is the range of information on offer here and the fact that it’s fully customisable. You get all the basic speed and distance measurements that you’d expect along with gradient, total ascent/descent, lap times and averages… you get the idea. Plus, if you go for the speed/cadence sensor you get more information there, and if you use a heart rate strap you can view the measurements in a variety of different ways. It’ll link up with ANT+ power-measuring equipment too, which is a massive bonus if you train by wattage.
You can select the amount and the type of information you want on the display up to a maximum of eight fields at a time, and up to three different pages. So, for example, you can have current speed and distance measurements on one page, your averages on a second screen, and altitude/climbing data on a third. If you find it hard to read eight fields of data you can reduce it to four, say, and increase the size of each, and if you’re not interested in the temperature or the calories you’ve burnt up, ditch them. Scrolling through it all via the waterproof buttons, which are positioned on the sides, is pretty easy even with gloved fingers – we’ve had no problems there – and you get a backlight for night riding.
When you get home, you can transfer all the info either to Garmin Training Center – which is essentially a training logbook on your computer – or to Garmin Connect, which is web based and really useful. We love the ‘player’ feature that runs through your route on a Google map or satellite image, showing you how your speed, heart rate, elevation and so on changed throughout the ride. You can analyse away to your heart’s content.
Unlike some models in Garmin’s range, the Edge 500 doesn’t give you mapping features – well, not really, although you can follow a breadcrumb trail from Garmin Training Center. You don’t get turn-by-turn directions, but is that a problem for you? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
Garmin reckon the rechargeable battery gives you up to 16 hours of use and, although we’ve never got quite that much, there’s enough juice in there for pretty much any ride.
Neat, self-contained GPS computer with excellent downloadable ride info
Wednesday 4th March 2015