I reviewed a bike via Halfords in November of last year. You can read my review here if you’re interested in the Carrera Crossfire 2 hybrid bike.
Since then I’ve been looking at numerous bike computers to accompany me on my rides out. Just then, Cycle Republic knocked at the Father Fitness door and asked me if I’d like to review their Garmin Edge 520. In my best Geordie accent, I said “Wey aye man.”
The Garmin box has everything you need: Device, manual, USB cable, tether, a standard mount and an extended out-front mount. I was really impressed by the size (roughly 7cm by 5cm) and weight (60g) of the device, considering the features it possesses.
The device is jammed packed with features! As I’m not a hardcore rider, some of them went over my head – I’ll list some of the features below that I think are important…
- Offers in-ride challenges through Strava live segments
- Connected features include: automatic uploads, live tracking, smart notifications, send/receive courses, social media sharing, weather
- Heart rate monitor: optional and not included
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery and life of up to 15 hours
- Optimised display
- Smartphone connectivity
So I used the normal mount to connect the monitor to my bike. It was very easy to connect. There are seven buttons on the device, which do take a little while to get used to. They operate as follows:
- Upper left: Light & Power
- Middle Left: Up
- Lower Left: Down
- Upper Right: Select
- Lower Right: Back
- Bottom left: Lap button
- Bottom right: Start/Stop
Once you get your head around this part, it’s all very straight forward. Fill in your weight, height etc and that’s it done. Your Garmin will probably need a charge before you head out so use the USB connector enclosed in the box.
Ride and Results
Once the Garmin Edge 520 was setup and fully charged, it was time to head out! The inbuilt GPS located satellites pretty quickly, faster than any of my running trackers anyway. On the main display is Power, Speed, Distance and Heart Rate (if you have connected a device). By pressing the up and down buttons, you can change the screen to display maps or challenges. The bottom right button starts and stops the ride. Don’t forget to save your ride once you’re finished!
It’s worth noting here that the display is approximately 2.3 inches square, high resolution and in colour. You get the most live area in relation to the compact size of the Edge 520. You’ll also appreciate the screen clarity in all lighting conditions.
Once your ride is saved, you can upload your ride to the Garmin Connect website. Save, plan and share your ride stats with others or use them as a guide for yourself. The in-ride challenges through Strava live segments could really help with motivation and lets face it, we could all do with some of that from time to time.
Here’s a video I found online which was really helpful for me when setting the Garmin up…
If you are after a more in-depth review of the Garmin Edge 520 (with more feature explanations and product comparisons), I can highly recommend this article from Ben at Bike Radar.
So what did I think? Well as I’m not really a serious bike rider and I’d no idea what I wanted, needed or expected in a bike computer – I was really, really impressed with the Garmin Edge 520. Because of my inexperience, I’m unaware of what competition is out there right now. After a quick Google search, I came across some around a similar price bracket but none of them had as many features as the Garmin Edge 520.
I may not have much experience with bike computers but they are like everything else – you’ll come across a lower, mid and high range. It’s up to you, to work out what you need in a computer and what budget you have available. In my experience, you nearly always get what you pay for and it seems to me that Garmin as a brand have all bases covered when it comes to GPS bike computers.
The RRP of the Garmin Edge 520 is £279.99. It’s currently on offer for £264.99 at Cycle Republic and new customers will receive an additional £10 off. I found the Edge 510 retailing at around the £229.99 mark, which also has touch screen technology. I would maybe have liked that function on the 520? I have a confession to make – I accidentally dropped the Edge 520 on the patio outside my house! My little lad wanted me to attach it to his bike and it slipped out of my hand. The device is still in full working order so it’s obviously built really well.
I honestly believe, I would have settled on buying a Garmin before this review. They’re a trusted brand and yeah ok, the Edge 520 price tag is probably too high for me – mainly because I wouldn’t use half of the features it has on offer – so it goes back to what I was saying earlier and it’s up to you to decide what you need and what budget you have available. I can highly recommend the Garmin Edge 520 though, it has everything you’ll ever need in a GPS bike computer.
Thanks for bearing with me with this review, I’m a bike computer review virgin!
*Disclaimer: This was a collaborative post with Cycle Republic and I was given the Garmin Edge 520 in order to give an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.