Which Garmin Cycle Computer?

Which Garmin Cycle Computer?

Which Garmin Cycle Computer?

Garmin make a very popular range of GPS powered cycle computers. They can be used to track rides, get directions or follow training plans. They range in price from around £150 to over £500. In this guide we are going to run you through the key features of each model so you can work our which Garmin cycle computer works best for you.

The Garmin ecosystem

Before we go onto the computers themselves it’s worth just quickly mentioning Garmin’s wider product range. Garmin make a range of smart watches, heart rate monitors and power meters which can all be connected to a Garmin computer. They also own the Tacx range of turbo trainers. You can sync training data from all of these devices through the Garmin Connect system and then share it with Strava and other platforms automatically. You can also use this system to plot rides onto maps, or download rides other people have been made, and load them onto your cycle computer to get turn by turn directions. It’s this connected ecosystem which helps to make Garmin computers so popular.

Garmin Edge 130 Plus - £169.99

Best for – Seeing, and recording, basic data such as speed and distance.

This is the entry level Garmin cycle computer and is the most ‘cycle computer like’. It comes with an easy to read black and white screen and can show you all the standard data such as speed, distance and calories burnt. It does not come with a full map but can be used to give basic turn by turn instructions with a simple arrow showing you which way to go. It does have some clever features on it though including the ability to upload workouts, such as intervals, and the Climbpro feature which can tell you how far you have to go to the top of a hill.

Garmin Edge Explore 2 - £250

Best for – Maps, directions and finding new routes

The older version of the Edge Explore was focussed on road maps. The new Explore 2 also adds in support for trails and bike paths. While it will record your speed and distance it doesn’t have a lot of the fancier training features found on some higher end models. It is really intended to be used as a more traditional GPS. It comes pre-loaded with cycling maps which are displayed in colour on the 3 inch screen. As well as showing you where you are you can follow pre-planned routes and can guide you home if you get lost. Importantly the Edge Explore uses Trendline data which is based on where other cyclists like to ride. So it will try to guide you down cycle friendly roads and not down a dual carriageway.

Garmin Edge 530 - £259.99

Best for – training for your next race, whether on the road, gravel or MTB.

The Edge 530 combines the full colour maps from the Edge Explore with loads of training data and guidance. As well as being able to see your speed, distance and place on a map the Edge 530 will show you advanced training stats including Vo2 Max, training load and recovery time. You can download training schedules and workouts onto the device so you can maximise intervals and threshold efforts. The Edge 530 has the same Trendline data as the Edge Explore but also has Trailforks data to show you mountain bike trails that often don’t appear on normal maps and records MTB specific stats on effort.

Garmin Edge 540 and 540 Solar from £349.99

Best for – training for your next event or for all day summer rides

The Edge 540 is an improved version of the Edge 530. It comes with many of the same features but has improved buttons for easier navigation. It also comes with a few extra features including ClimbPro to show you how far up hills you are and how far you have to go. It also has multi-band GPS so you get a more reliable signal in wooded or built up areas. The Edge 540 is available as a standard model and as a solar powered model which re-charges as you ride so you can keep going all day without worrying about your battery fading.

Garmin Edge 840 and 840 Solar from £449.99

Best for – training for your next event or for all day summer rides

The Edge 840 shares a lot of features with the Edge 540 but comes with touchscreen navigation and a larger display so you can see all your stats, and flick between them, as you ride. Like the 540 it comes with multi-band GPS for a better signal and all the training features you need including suggested daily workouts and training programs. Cycling specific maps will help you find better routes to ride. Like the 540 there is a standard version and a solar powered version so you can have more power for long rides.

Garmin Edge 1040 and 1040 Solar - £520 and £629

Best for - big rides, trips into the wilderness and multi-day adventures

The Edge 1040 is the new top of the range Garmin, superseding the 1030. It comes with 2 main extra features. Both versions of the 1040 come with multi-band GNSS technology. This allows the Edge 1040 to receive GPS signals from a broader range of satellites so you can get a more accurate signal wherever you are in the world. The second big new feature is the Solar version of the 1040 which, as the name suggests, is solar powered. You will probably still need to plug it in occasionally but the solar charging ability extends the battery life by between 10 and 30 hours depending on usage. With the added satellite coverage this makes the Edge 1040 ideal for adventure racking, bike packing trips, or long all-day summer rides.

Bundles and Packs

All of the prices quoted above are correct as of June 2022 and are for the main computer unit only. All of the devices are available as part of bundles with extra sensors and heart rate monitors but the basic functionality works without them.

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