Most helpful positive review
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Replaced 3 gadgets with this
on 28 April 2014
I'm a keen mountain biker. I ride a reasonably decent hard tail bike mainly on tow paths and light trails although I have also visited a number of 'proper' trail centres like Swinley, Dalby and the Forest of Dean. I cover around 2,000 miles per year.
Until now I've been using a combination of 3 gadgets to help me train and record my rides; a Cateye Strada Wireless cycle computer, an old Garmin eTrex GPS and Endomondo on the iPhone.
Each of these has key features that I like but also drawbacks. The Cateye provides the real-time, at a glance information for training but the screen is small, you have to keep flipping pages to see different stats and the whole sensor/magnet thing whilst working well, is still a pain at times (I was forever knocking the sensor when removing the wheel in a hurry for example). My old eTrex is great for following .gpx downloaded routes but it struggled to get a good signal in tree cover. Endomondo is great for the social side of things and bragging about your training, but it's limited by the battery of the iPhone (forget a whole day of cycling!).
Enter, the Garmin Edge 200. It has replaced 2 out of 3 of these gadgets and could really replace them all.
The unit is beautifully small and light (no heavier than the Cateye with its sensor) but the decent resolution screen can display all the relevant data on one screen - speed, distance, ride time and then your selection of average speed, calories or climb on the bottom line.....or set it to automatically scroll through this last line. It's all very clear and you can additionally set contrast and turn on a backlight at various brightness levels. It seems a common complaint that the time isn't on this main page, but in fairness you can flip over to the main menu at any time to get that....it's not ideal, but it works.
So that's the Cateye functionality replaced! Does everything, on one screen and the other bits like Odometer etc are still all there tucked away in other menus too. And apart from entering your age, weight and height the first time you use it (for the calories calculation) you don't have to set it up at all - it even sets the time itself.
Next up, GPS. I often plot routes for rides, or download them if it's an organised ride, then follow them with the eTrex. It doesn't have maps, it just provides a basic 'breadcrumbs' type trail with arrows that point the way and let you know if you've gone 'off-route'. In conjunction with a map, it's a good navigation tool. The Edge 200 does all this just the same way and works very well. The Garmin Connect software is a joy to use and uploading/downloading routes is a breeze. The screen is plenty big enough to follow a route although in this mode you can't then see things like speed etc without flicking between pages. Additionally, the Edge GPS picks up its location VERY quickly and never seems to lose it, even in dense woods. What it doesn't do is general GPS type stuff like marking a waypoint manually or finding your long/lat etc. For me then, that's the eTrex functionality replaced.
Update: In the last few months, I've used the Edge to navigate a LOT of routes, including a lot that I didn't know at all. I even used it to get from London to Oxfordshire, 85 miles, without having a clue of the route. It just goes to show that the basic route following does really work. The only problem is that if you go off your planned route, it can't adapt, so you need to stick to it!
Finally, the device records all your rides and stores them until you upload them to your PC. Once uploaded, you can give them names, change the activity type, store them as 'routes' which you can later replay in 'race yourself' mode (very useful for training!) and generally look through all your activities in great detail, analysing speeds, altitudes, distances and calories etc. If you want to you can then of course share this information with friends via social media or import the activity into Endomondo, if that's the app you prefer. Essentially, this would replace the functionality I get from Endomondo, but as I take a phone out with me, I tend to run it anyway. But it does mean that when doing a long ride, say a whole day, I could use the Garmin instead of the phone and save the phone battery! The battery on the Garmin charges from USB and lasts around 14 hours quoted, although I've actually found this to be longer.
Update: Garmin Connect can now automatically feed to Endomondo and Strava following an upload, so I don't now need my iPhone at all. I get home from a ride, connect the Edge, it syncs to Garmin Connect, Endomondo, Strava and MyfitnessPal all automatically and hey presto, done. Works brilliantly. Means that my iPhone is just a phone and the battery always has juice!
The Edge mounting system fits very well to your stem (seems best) or handlebars and doesn't move around at all. I opted for an optional extended centre mount bracket so that the Edge is mounted out in front of the stem and is more easily seen.
In summary, it's an easy to mount, simple to use computer which does everything most keen cyclists will want plus a whole lot more besides. Unless you need the additional functionality of heart rate or cadence sensors which the 200 doesn't support. For only about £40 more than a decent regular wireless computer, I think its almost a no-brainer.
It's what I'll now recommend to people when they ask about cycle computers!