Garmin Edge 500 GPS

, December 29, 2010

My first experience with a heart rate monitor (HRM) was through rowing at university – I had a basic Polar HRM watch for water outings, erging, and weights. When I switched over to cycling, I was intimidated by the range of options available from the various manufacturers. In the end, I settled on the Garmin as it offered the best range of functions for the money.

I’ve now had my unit for coming up to a year and I’m delighted with it.

First of all, the basics: the Edge 500 is the successor to the Edge 305, though could perhaps be best seen as a stripped-down, smaller, lighter version of the 705. It really is a remarkable package: light and compact, yet offering 41 options to choose from displayed on up to eight customisable fields per ‘page’, of which there are three available for full customisation.The main point of departure is the lack of GPS mapping; though for me this was of little importance and if this is something you consider essential then you are well-catered for by the new, touch-screen successor to the 705, the Edge 800.

The beauty of the Edge, compared to the offerings from Polar for instance, is that there is a host of compatible ancillaries: Garmin run ANT+, which is an industry-wide standard and allows their units to sync with non-Garmin hardware.

This was not an issue when I initially made my purchase however, as I bought the HRM and Cadence Speed sensor bundle (both of which are wonderfully easy to install). Since then though, I have added a Quarq CinQo Saturn power meter and am delighted to say that it is picked up and recognised as well as the Garmin hardware.

If you already have comapitible HRM and cadence hardware, or do not have use for these features, there is also a unit only option, for a lower price.

In operation, the satellite reception is quickly locked-on to and is reliably held in all but the most built up of areas (it held on doggedly even among the skyscrapers of New York so should manage most overhead tree cover). The screen is easy to read, and the backlight has a broad range of settings for when the darkness closes in. The side-mounted buttons make for easy on-the-fly use, my only issue is that the mount provided is perhaps slightly wobbly causing the unit to move around – though it hasn’t fallen out when riding.

Unfortunately, my time hasn’t been event free: the tabs on the reverse side by which the unit fixes to the mount snapped off, leaving me without any way of securing it. Luckily Garmin’s customer service was impeccable: the unit was exchanged under warranty and I now have a brand new unit. I didn’t realise how much I relied upon my Edge until it was gone, and I’m relieved it’s back.

Useful Information

  • RRP £249.99
  • Available here
  • Garmin Dealer Locator
  • Dimensions: 48x69x22mm
  • Weight: 56.7g (65g including mount)
  • Colours: Blue/Silver, Neutral, Team Garmin (Blue/Orange)