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If you're the kind of person that likes to log your miles, but you're not the kind of person that analyses their heart rate zones after every ride, then the Garmin Edge 200 is for you. It's a super-simple GPS unit that has a fairly basic data set but makes keeping track of your mileage totals a piece of cake. It's not perfect - the limited display options will put some people off - but the simplicity and swappability between bikes will ensure its popularity.
Open the box and what falls out is the unit itself, a mount and USB cable. There's no software CD because it's not necessary (more on that later), and no magnet or sensor because you don't need one of them either; the Edge 200 uses GPS satellites to track your progress, recording your rides for uploading later, should you so wish, on the Garmin Connect website.
The Edge 200 shares the same casing as its costlier, ANT+ enabled sibling, the Edge 500. It's a bit bigger than a standard bike computer but pretty compact at 48 x 69 x 22mm. It attaches to your bars via a quarter-turn locking mount that's held in place by two O-rings. You can mount it either on the stem or bars, and on tri-bars too, and there's different sized O-rings for different mounting points. The locking mount means there's no way the Edge can fall off, although one thing that habitually does fall out is the rubber mat on the rear of the mount; I glued it on in the end. If even swapping the mount between your bikes is too much of a chore, spare mounts are available for not much.
GPS has various advantages over a standard computer. For a start it records where you've been, not just how far. It also makes for super-quick swapping between bikes: there's no need for a second sensor kit and you don't have to recalibrate for wheel size. If you have a stable of machines that get pulled out of the shed on the merits of any given Sunday, GPS computers make it a lot easier to log all your rides in one place.
Turn the Edge 200 on and it goes through a basic setup procedure, asking you to select a language and a unit format, along with some basic personal data that allows the computer to give you an estimate for calories burned on rides. Once you've clicked through those screens (there's no touch screen on the Edge 200) you're ready to go, and you'll be taken to the main menu with its four options: Ride, Courses, History and Settings.
Most of the time you'll be doing the following: hit 'Ride', wait for a GPS fix (normally takes about 10 seconds, and never more than 30; stay still for a quicker fix), hit 'Start' and head off on your ride. The Edge 200 will log your progress and give you speed, distance travelled and elapsed time in big, easy-to-read numbers across the majority of the 128 x 160 pixels screen. At the bottom there's a fourth data field will show average speed, calories burnt or total ascent (the Edge 200 uses GPS altitude data rather than a barometric sensor); you can also set it to scroll between the three.
There's none of the user-configurable data screens that you get with the pricier Edge 500 and Edge 800 units. This is partly understandable because without the ability to pair up an ANT+ heart rate strap, cadence sensor or power-measuring device, there's not so much data anyway. It does, however, mean that certain metrics can't be shown - gradient, for example, and maximum speed. This is a bit of a disappointment, as displaying your favourite data is one of the things that's so good about the Edge 200's bigger brothers.
The Edge 200 can be made to display lap data. It'll record a new lap every time you press the 'lap' button (natch), or you can set an automatic lap based on distance or time elapsed. On top of that, you can trigger a new lap based on position, which is handy if you're doing multiple circuits.
You get basic route functionality on the 200 in the Courses menu, similar to that which is available on Edge 500. Basically, it allows you to create a route on Garmin Connect (alternatively you can save one of the tracks from your history as a route) and follow it on the unit. There's no mapping, so all you get is a breadcrumb trail of dots, an arrow to show you which way you're going and an indication of how much of the route you've completed. You wouldn't want to rely on it if you were out on a big ride somewhere you didn't know, but it does at least show you which way it is back to the route, and it'll warn you if you stray. You can use Courses to load a training ride and then race against yourself using the virtual partner feature.
Weatherproofing is impressive. Although the USB port looks like it might be a weak point, it's not; there's internal waterproofing of the port and the whole unit is rated IPX7, meaning you can happily chuck it in the bath. Battery life is a claimed 14 hours; our test unit averaged a bit more than that on longer rides and a bit less on the daily commute, where all the powering up and satellite searching presumably uses up a bit more juice.
Uploading your rides to Garmin Connect is easy peasy - just plug the computer into a USB cable and head to the Connect website. You can download the Communicator Plugin and upload your logged rides seamlessly via the web browser of your choice. Once they're in there you can view them, rename them, make them public, compare them with other rides, make them into courses... lots of stuff.
On top of that you can set yourself goals - I've completed 12% of my 5,000km cycling goal for 2012 - and keep track of health metrics, should you so choose. As online activity tracking portals go, it's one of the best, and certainly a reason to look at Garmin units over those from other manufacturers. If you have a preferred non-manufacturer-specific portal then you'll be able to upload your activities so long as the portal will accept and parse Garmin .fit files, which many (including the popular TrainingPeaks) do.
All in all it's an impressive computer. Should you buy one? If you like having a computer on your bars and you want to log your miles - and nothing else - it's pretty hard to beat right now. Assuming you won't miss the ANT+ capability of more expensive GPS units, you can happily use it for all your tracking. You can even lob it in your pocket when you're running, if running's your bag.
The fact that it's simplicity itself to set up and move from one bike to another is the biggest draw. The biggest disappointment is the lack of customisation on the data screen, along with the fact that you can't add another screen.
The Bryton Rider 20 will make things interesting when it lands, offering ANT+ capability for less than £100 in a similar sized package to the Edge 200. There's plenty of people who won't be that interested in ANT+ though, and if you're one of them the Edge 200 is well worth investigating.
Excellent, simple-to-use GPS computer for everyday mile logging backed up by powerful activity portal.
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Make and model: Garmin Edge 200
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Garmin say, "Bring new life to every ride with Edge 200. This GPS-enabled bike computer tracks time, distance, speed, location and calories burned. The Edge 200 is ideal for training, everyday and touring rides or any adventure you want to relive later at Garmin Connect our free website for data analysis, mapping and sharing.
Easy to Use
We know you just want to get out and enjoy your ride without fussing over gear and electronics, so we made Edge 200 extremely easy to use. There's no setup required '' just pop it onto the included bike mount and you're ready to roll. You even can use it on multiple bikes.
Edge 200 features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix satellite prediction to calculate your position faster. That means when you turn it on outdoors, it finds satellites quickly so you can get on with your ride. It also alerts you if you're moving but the timer is not running. Edge 200 has an Auto Pause feature so it will stop the timer when you're not moving, then restart automatically when you're rolling again. You also can set alerts for distance, time or calories to make it easier and more fun to achieve your goals.
How Far and How Fast
Whether you ride for fun, fitness or to feed your competitive edge, you'll love seeing how far and how fast you rode. Having this data at your fingertips provides motivation and inspiration to keep you going. Edge 200 stores up to 130 hours of ride data and sorts your activities so you can quickly look up the fastest, longest or last ride.
Edge 200 helps you bring new life to old rides with Courses, a feature that lets you challenge your times on previous rides. A digital cyclist shows your speed relative to your past performance, along with an indication of how far ahead or behind you are. You also can download rides from other Garmin Connect users for a virtual competition.
Join a worldwide network of cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts at Garmin Connect. Once your ride is done, upload it to the site to see the path you traveled on a map, analyze it, share it and view more detail like elevation. Use Garmin Connect's new Course Creator feature to plan new rides or convert a past activity into a Course."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 1.9" x 2.7" x 0.8" (4.8 x 6.9 x 2.1 cm)
Display size, WxH: 1.2" x 1.4" (3.0 x 3.7 cm)
Display resolution, WxH: 128 x 160 pixels
Weight: 2.1 oz (58.5 g)
Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life: up to 14 hours
Water resistant: yes (IPX7)
High-sensitivity receiver: yes
Maps & Memory:
Ability to add maps: no
Accepts data cards: no
Lap history: 1,000 laps (dependent on memory usage)
Features & Benefits:
Heart rate monitor: no
Bike speed/cadence sensor: no
Foot pod: no
Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer): no
Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data): yes
Garmin Training Center® software compatible: yes
Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person): yes (within a course)
Virtual racer™ (compete against other activities): no
Courses (compete against previous activities): yes
Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed): yes
Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap): yes
Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout): yes
Multi-sport (changes sport mode with a press of a button): no
Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts): no
Simple workouts (input time, distance and calorie goals): no
Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace): no
Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal): yes
Vibration alert: (choose between alert tones and/or vibration alert): no
Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals): no
Heart rate-based calorie computation: no
Training effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness): no
Customizable screen(s): no
Barometric altimeter: no
Unit-to-unit transfer (shares data wirelessly with similar units): no
Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible 3rd party ANT+™-enabled power meters): no
Temperature (displays and records temperature while you ride): no
Sport watch: no
Very well made, waterproof, easy to use mount
Unfussy and simple to use, although it's a pity you can't configure the data screen
Has survived being dropped plenty of times and countless swaps between bikes
If this amount of weight bothers you, you need help
Good rather than outstanding value, The Edge 500 has been out longer and is more heavily discounted online, but the standard price for the Edge 200 will probably dip below £100.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well - does what it's asked to do with minimum hassle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Simplicity and good online backup.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Non-configurable data screen/s.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
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.