Garmin has introduced Edge 540 and Edge 840 Series GPS cycling computers – updates to the existing Edge 530 and Edge 830 – that are said to offer improved coaching and enhanced navigation, along with solar charging options that provide “up to 32 hours of battery life in demanding use or up to 60 hours in battery saver mode”. Most of the new features have trickled down from the popular but pricey Garmin Edge 1040 that was launched last year.
We’ve known for a couple of weeks that the new mid-range models were on the way and that solar charging would trickle down from Garmin’s top-level Edge 1040 Solar.
Now Garmin has confirmed these key new features (in its own words):
Several of these features demand the use of compatible sensors, such as a power meter and/or heart rate monitor, which must be bought separately.
“Whether training for a major race or pursuing a personal milestone, advanced performance metrics on Edge 540 and 840 Series, including targeted adaptive coaching and cycling ability and course demands, can provide cyclists with dynamic insights and analytics — all to improve performance and provide a snapshot of strengths and weaknesses ahead of upcoming events or milestone targets,” says Garmin.
Targeted adaptive coaching is one of the features that was introduced on the Garmin Edge 1040 last year. This gives you training tips and daily suggested workouts that “adapt to match your performance, recovery and the demands of upcoming events”. You can have all of the week’s suggested workouts in your Garmin Connect smartphone app calendar displayed on your Edge 540 or 840.
The real-time stamina feature has also trickled down from the Edge 1040. It is designed to allow you “to track and manage exertion throughout an activity to help you optimise your energy usage and avoid over-exerting yourself too early”.
Essentially, the idea is that it tells you how much you have left in the tank, how much you’re fatiguing, and your time/distance to exhaustion.
The ClimbPro ascent planner has been hugely popular on the Garmin Edge 1040 and its inclusion on the Edge 540 and 840 is likely to be well received.
ClimbPro is designed to help you manage your effort by showing upcoming climbs for the course, at what distances they occur, and their lengths and gradients. You can see this info in the course preview and also as a dedicated page within the timer loop during the activity.
Beyond that, a dedicated ClimbPro page automatically appears as you approach a climb even without course navigation. This page shows your position on the climb as well as the distance, ascent and average gradient remaining so you can gauge your effort. You never find yourself going around a corner to see the hill kick up unexpectedly, for instance.
The Edge 540 and 840 also offer Garmin’s existing training features.
“With insights from Firstbeat Analytics such as VO2 max, training status and training load, recovery time and more, cyclists can see how their body is responding to their training efforts,” says Garmin.
“When wearing a compatible Garmin smartwatch, cyclists can receive a more holistic view of their overall health and wellness with insights like Pulse Ox3, Body Battery energy monitoring, advanced sleep monitoring and sleep score, and more. During a ride, Edge 540 and 840 Series let riders see how their body holds up in different environments with heat and altitude acclimation and set up in-ride notifications when it’s time to refuel or rehydrate.”
Like their predecessors, the Garmin Edge 540 and Edge 840 use a 2.6in colour display and feature button controls “that work in any riding environment”. On top of that, the Edge 840 – like the existing Edge 830 – includes a touchscreen.
Garmin introduced solar charging to the Edge range last year with the 1040 Solar and the technology has now trickled down to the more accessible 540 and 840, although the runtimes are not as long.
Garmin claims that the solar-charged 540 and 840 offer up to 32 hours of battery life “in demanding use” and up to 60 hours in battery saver mode. Non-solar models offer up to 26 hours of battery life in demanding use and up to 42 hours in battery saver mode.
For comparison, Garmin claims a 45-hour runtime on standard mode for the Edge 1040 and 100 hours if you use it on battery saver mode.
Garmin’s figures assume continuous 75,000 lux conditions during daytime rides. The computer would need to be directly in the sun to receive that amount of light, though. An overcast day might give more like 1,000 to 2,000 lux.
The solar-charged computers can also charge when you're off the bike.
The new Garmin Edge 540 and Edge 840 Series computers are available now at these prices:
You’ll notice that if you have £450 to spend, you can choose between the solar-powered and push-button Edge 540 and the non-solar Edge 840 with a touchscreen.
Sensor bundles for each device are also available.
We have the Garmin Edge 540 and Garmin Edge 840 Solar in for review so standby for reviews of each in the coming weeks on road.cc.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.