Garmin recently released two new computers into their Edge GPS range: the Touring (£199.99) and the Touring Plus (£249.99). We’ve had the Edge Touring in on test for a couple of weeks now but we’re a way off a full review, so in the meantime we thought we’d give you a quick look at what’s on offer here.
Both the Edge Touring and the Edge Touring Plus are based on the Edge 810 that Garmin launched a few months ago. They have the same waterproof housing (5.1 x 9.3 x 6.6cm), display size (3.6 x 5.5cm) and resolution (160 x 240 pixels, touchscreen), the same rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a claimed runtime of up to 17 hours, the same buttons, the same quarter-turn mount system… They’re a different colour, mind. The 810 is black whereas the Touring models are both white. Well, the upper sections are white.
Garmin bill up the Edge Touring as “the sat nav for your bike”. Isn’t the 810 a sat nav for your bike, then? Well, it is, but it’s equally a training tool. The Edge Touring, as the name suggests, is aimed at tourers, plus Audax riders and leisure cyclists… people for whom the training aspect is less important.
The Edge Touring still measures a whole load of different aspects of your ride, but you don’t get the option of displaying your cadence (pedal revolutions per minute) or power, for example, setting up interval training sessions or racing against a virtual opponent because that’s not what this computer is all about. You don't get Garmin's live tracking features either, allowing other people to follow you online.
No, the Edge Touring concentrates on navigation and it comes with a preloaded Garmin Cycle Map of Europe and the ability to add further maps via microSD data cards. Like a sat nav for the car, the Edge Touring allows you to enter an address and it’ll give you turn-by-turn directions to get you there.
There are three different modes to choose between: cycling, tour cycling, and mountain biking. As that suggests, the mapping includes unpaved roads, paths and trails so it will come up with off-road routes too, if you want them.
One other interesting navigational feature is the RoundTrip routing. Say you have time for a ride of about 50 miles: you tap that distance into the Edge Touring and it’ll come back to you with up to three suggested routes with the same start/finish point, along with a route elevation profile for each. The Edge Touring also includes points of interest specifically for cyclists: sights to see, places to eat and stay, for example.
As with the other Edge models, you can use the Edge Touring with the Garmin Connect website. You can upload and save all your rides here, plan new rides and download them to the unit. You can also use it with the Garmin Adventures website where you can share your ride stories and swap routes with other people. Oh, and you can use it with Strava and other websites of that kind too.
As mentioned, the Edge Touring Plus is more expensive at £249.99. What do you get for the extra 50 quid? The Edge Touring can’t give your heart rate, while the Touring Plus is compatible with an ANT+ heart rate monitor (although the £249.99 package doesn’t include the HRM).
The Touring Plus also has the addition of a barometric altimeter so it can give you detailed information on elevation. You can get your total ascent and descent over the course of your ride, for instance, and the gradient of the road you’re riding. Those are the biggest differences.
Ah, nearly forgot... One other thing that's worth considering if you're touring in the back of beyond and you don't have access to a mains power supply every day is that Garmin do an external power pack (£69.99). They reckon it'll supply an extra 20hrs of runtime to an Edge 800. You can recharge the external power pack from the mains, from a USB charger, or via its fold-out solar panel.
Go to the Garmin website for details on the entire Edge range. We'll have our review on road.cc soon.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.