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 22mm 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
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Make and model: Garmin Edge 500
Size tested: Standard (blue)
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes – using it constantly now
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 37 Height: 190cm Weight: 96kg
I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.