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Garmin Edge 500



Neat, self-contained GPS computer with excellent downloadable ride info

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Garmin's Edge 500 GPS computer is a little wonder for giving you all your ride information in an easy-to-use and downloadable package.

You can buy the Edge 500 with a speed/cadence senor and a heart rate strap (£249.99) or you can just go for the head unit on its own (£199.99). Used alone, it tracks your speed and distance via satellite technology and you rarely lose the signal on the road – just occasionally when you’re riding beneath overhanging trees or next to tall buildings.

Measuring just 48 x 69 x 22mm and weighing in at 65g (including mounts), the Edge 500 is barely larger than a simple bike computer, and it mounts securely to your bar or stem in seconds with a little plastic widget and rubber O-rings.

The best bit is the range of information on offer here and the fact that it’s fully customisable. You get all the basic speed and distance measurements that you’d expect along with gradient, total ascent/descent, lap times and averages… you get the idea. Plus, if you go for the speed/cadence sensor you get more information there, and if you use a heart rate strap you can view the measurements in a variety of different ways. It’ll link up with ANT+ power-measuring equipment too, which is a massive bonus if you train by wattage.

You can select the amount and the type of information you want on the display up to a maximum of eight fields at a time, and up to three different pages. So, for example, you can have current speed and distance measurements on one page, your averages on a second screen, and altitude/climbing data on a third. If you find it hard to read eight fields of data you can reduce it to four, say, and increase the size of each, and if you’re not interested in the temperature or the calories you’ve burnt up, ditch them. Scrolling through it all via the waterproof buttons, which are positioned on the sides, is pretty easy even with gloved fingers – we’ve had no problems there – and you get a backlight for night riding.

When you get home, you can transfer all the info either to Garmin Training Center – which is essentially a training logbook on your computer – or to Garmin Connect, which is web based and really useful. We love the ‘player’ feature that runs through your route on a Google map or satellite image, showing you how your speed, heart rate, elevation and so on changed throughout the ride. You can analyse away to your heart’s content.

Unlike some models in Garmin’s range, the Edge 500 doesn’t give you mapping features – well, not really, although you can follow a breadcrumb trail from Garmin Training Center. You don’t get turn-by-turn directions, but is that a problem for you? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

Garmin reckon the rechargeable battery gives you up to 16 hours of use and, although we’ve never got quite that much, there’s enough juice in there for pretty much any ride.


Neat, self-contained GPS computer with excellent downloadable ride info test report

Make and model: Garmin Edge 500

Size tested: Standard (blue)

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Did you enjoy using the product? Yes – using it constantly now

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 190cm  Weight: 96kg

I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700

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, 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.

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scottydug | 13 years ago
TheHatter | 13 years ago
Zaskar | 13 years ago

Looks good (using the cateye V3) nice and compact but for the price its more expensive than any computer I've seen with the extra GPS but you can use your mobile for GPS tracking.

Ok the 705 is a bit more costly but I wonder what else Garmin will turn out.

I think this type of system will be under pressure from mobiles like HTC and iphone soon.

KirinChris | 13 years ago

I've just bought one of these to go on my new bike. I was going to get a Polar CS500 but haven't been that impressed with my previous Polar so I thought I would give the Garmin a go.

It hasn't arrived yet so can't comment on how it works but for anyone who is interested Wiggle have them on offer at the moment for less than £199, including the Cadence and HRM accessories.

The Polar is about £50 more at the same spec, without the GPS function, so I'd give this higher than 7/10 for value.

julesjoseph replied to KirinChris | 13 years ago

hi chris - by a strange coincidence, I was just thinking about getting one of these (secret birthday treat to myself), and came across the review via a google search - have you got yours yet? what do you think of it? it all sounds pretty cool to me - the garmin connect site looks good (from cursory inspection) - really like the altimeter feature and the courses feature. when does the new bike arrive?

mrchrispy | 13 years ago

705 is great but I'm not that fussed about the mapping side of things. anyone wanna swap a 705 for a 500?  3

MalcolmBinns | 13 years ago

the Garmin software is pants (imho).

Use SportsTracks 2 for decent analysis.

I agree about the battery - what's wrong with a replaceable battery? Some problem with my ForeRunner, but I use that all year round.

Jon Burrage | 13 years ago

yep, I do with my 705 so I would expect this to be the same. I get HR data and if you have a powermeter that may be compatible with this little garmin too as it is with its bigger brother.

JK | 13 years ago

Does the speed/cadence sensor mean you can use it on your rear wheel when using a turbo?

handlebarcam | 13 years ago

What happens when the built-in battery stops being able to hold a charge? 200 quid is a lot of money for something you'll have to chuck in the landfill within a couple of years. And don't think you can extend that by only using it on your best bike for a few months each summer, because a Lithium-ion battery left to fully discharge over the winter will be dead by next spring. Non-user-accessible battery = no sale for me.

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