Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Garmin Edge 500

I don't normally review products on my coaches blog but when I buy a product that REALLY pleases me (which is hard to do) I like to share it with the masses.  Let me introduce the Garmin Edge 500 bicycle computer.  I don't know the real story about the history/development of this computer but I seem to remember the Garmin-Slipstream Pro Cycling Team complaining about the size of the Garmin Edge 705 when it was introduced and mounted to the stem of every one of their team bikes.  Additionally, they said GPS is a nice feature but they really don't need a cycling computer telling them where to turn during the Tour de France Stages.  Thus, the creation of the 500...a small lightweight cycling computer with built in GPS that talks to Power Meters.

I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow description of how the Edge 500 works or list its many features (you can Google "Garmin Edge 500" and get that information.)  Instead, I'm going to tell you what I like about it and what I think you'll like about it too.  Here's the list:
a. It's relatively inexpensive for a cycling computer that tells you EVERYTHING you want to know during your ride.  I mean everything..including GPS functionality.  The base Computer unit (no sensors) costs $250 (MSRP).  The full kit including Computer, HR monitor, Cadence/ Speed Sensor costs $350.
b. It talks to Power Meters that utilize the ANT+ Sport protocol such as Power Tap, iBike, Quarq, SRM, etc.  For me, it replaced the ugly yellow head unit computer for my Power Tap Wheel/Hub that showed limited ride data.
c.  I already mentioned GPS data.  It won't give you turn by turn directions (like the Edge 705) but it will track your ride and get you home.  When you get home you can download the data onto Google Earth and see where you rode.  If you have Training Peaks WKO+ software it will even show you the hill (on the map) that you broke a 5 min. peak power record on.
d. The computer allows you to customize the screen.  For me, I display Power, HR, Cadence, Speed, Distance and Time of Day when I ride.  There is no need to scroll through screens.  All the data I want to see is displayed on one screen. I set it, and never touch it again.
e. It has an ON/OFF power button.  You'd be surprised how many bike computers just time out after so many minutes of inactivity and turn off.
f. It has an internal rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that lasts a loooooooooong time.  The main screen has a battery meter that tells you what condition the battery is when you power it ON.
g. It's small (almost half the size of the Garmin Edge 705) and lightweight and has a nice removable mount for your handlebar stem so you can easily swap it from bike to bike.
h. It has a USB port for downloading information into Training Peaks WKO+ software.
i. Weatherproof 
j. It's VERY EASY to a caveman can operate it.

I could go on and on..that's how much I like this cycling computer.  And, I am NOT sponsored by Garmin in any don't think I'm just giving a sponsor's pep talk.  I have to pay the same price you do.  Well, maybe 15% less..but I'd still pay the full price if I didn't get a discount. 

Hey, don't take my word for it...check one out at your local bike shop. Or, better yet..attend the Endurance Sports Expo this weekend (outside of Philly) because I think Garmin (or somebody) is giving a seminar/clinic on the Garmin Edge 500.

Power ON! Coach Rob


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