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on 19 October 2015
I made a return to cycling, three years ago. Initially I was using a mountain bike with a phone app to record my rides. This was great but as the phone was in my pocket, I had no visual indication of how far I had travelled, how long it had taken me or how fast I was going. When I upgraded to a road bike in May 2014, I decided the time was right to splash out and upgrade to a proper GPS cycling computer. I wasn’t expecting there to be much of a choice but I was surprised at the number of different cycling computers on offer, each with slightly different functionality and pricing associated with it. After much research and deliberation, I settled for the Garmin Edge 200 cycling computer.

All about the Edge 200

The Garmin Edge 200 is Garmin’s entry level GPS cycling computer. If you are a casual cyclist or someone who doesn’t need accurate statistics about how much power you are generating or what your cadence is (the amount of times you spin the pedals in a minute) then the Edge 200 will be ideal for you. The Edge 200 is a monochrome cycling computer and does not contain any maps but don’t let that put you off.

Unboxing the Edge 200

The Edge 200 comes in a nice compact box with a plastic frontage, allowing you to see the cycling computer before you even open the box. In the back half of the box, behind a cardboard divide, you will find a mains lead, USB to micro USB connector and two fixing kits. There is also a 15 page owner’s manual which is actually pretty good and easy to follow. For most functions you won’t need to refer to the manual but it is always useful to have close by as an aide memoir for the lesser used functions.

The Garmin Edge 200 comes with about 50% battery life so the first thing you need to do is to charge it up. Full charge can be achieved in a couple of hours but it is very rare that it will ever drop too low unless you are going on a full day’s ride. Whilst the unit is charging, it is a good time to get familiar with the manual and install the Garmin software.

Garmin Connect

Garmin Connect is a web portal where you can record all of your rides. Setting up a Connect account is quick and easy. You can either elect to create a username/password style account or log in with your Facebook credentials for even quicker access. Once inside Garmin Connect, you can analyse your rides and even follow other Garmin users, giving the portal a social aspect. Personally, there are better ways to evaluate your rides which I will come onto later but Garmin Connect should be the only place you need to upload your rides to as most of the other reputable analysis sites have plugins that will read the Garmin Connect data.

Garmin Express

So you’ve been out for a ride and you’ve got the data on your Edge 200, but how do you upload it onto Garmin Connect? Simple, you just connect your Edge 200 to the PC using the USB to micro USB cable and as long as you have Garmin Express installed, any new rides will get automatically uploaded into Garmin Connect. Providing you have set up synchronisation to Garmin Connect from your third party analysis sites, these sites will automatically get the data from Garmin Connect which is a great feature which saves a large amount of time uploading the same data to multiple sites. When I was using a smartphone app to record my rides, I had to upload the data to each site individually.

A tour of the Edge 200

The edge 200 is a very small device and easily fits in the palm of my hand. As previously mentioned, it has a monochrome screen and is easily visible in all forms of light. I’ve used it in all conditions from heavily overcast to perfect sunlight and have never had any problem when viewing the screen.

The top left hand button is the power button which turns on the device. The Edge 200 takes approximately five seconds to boot up. Once booted, it is now ready to record your ride (hooking on to satellites may take a little bit longer though)
Once booted, all four buttons have different functionality depending on the screen you are on.

Courses

You can turn any ride you have already done into a course. A course is basically a ride that you intend to ride again. By turning it into a course you can compare your current time with the time of a previous ride. The Edge 200 will tell you if you are going faster or slower than at the corresponding point of the previous ride and by how much. This can be displayed either numerically or graphically with two bikes on the screen. I find this a great motivational tool for beating my personal bests on my most popular routes.

Another great feature of courses is that it will map out your route, giving you something to follow if you are riding in unfamiliar surroundings. Now, earlier I said the Edge 200 doesn’t have the capability to display maps, which is true. However, it can display breadcrumb lines based on GPS co-ordinates. This breadcrumb will show you the route you need to take and also when you need to change direction. If you veer off this route however, the Edge 200 will beep and tell you to get back on course but it will not be able to re-route you as it doesn’t have the knowledge to know where you are. I use a site called ridewithgps.com to plan all my routes and then upload them onto the Garmin to use.

History

As you would expect, the history function gives you access to information of previous rides. You can analyse your previous ride, your rides or order of fastest average speed, your rides in terms of distance or all rides that are on the device. For each of these rides you can view the stats and breadcrumb map. You can also opt to turn it into a new course for challenging yourself against in the future.

The Edge 200 also has two odometers, much like a standard car so you can see how far you have travelled overall using one odometer and maybe set the second one to show how far you have travelled in the current year for example.

Settings

Once entered, settings on the Edge 200 are not really going to change but it is worth taking the time to get them right to ensure accuracy in the data records.

Alerts

Alerts are only useful if you want to be really strict about how much exercise you do. You can opt to set alerts when you hit a current time, distance or calorie count. Personally, I always have these turned off as I roughly know how far I am going due to forward planning and I don’t really mind how long it takes to get there, as long as I do eventually get there! I’ve never been a fan of calculated calories counters so this setting is a definite no-no for me.

Auto lap

This feature is used when you want to compare times for a specific party of your ride. For example, if you want to be able to measure your performance over a long climb against other attempts, you would turn on the auto lap function and tell it where the lap starts and ends then each time you navigated that part of the course, your lap information would be stored. Personally, I turn this option off as there are better ways of doing this with third party sites.

Auto pause

Auto pause will automatically stop your ride clock when you come to a standstill. This is particularly useful if you are forced to stop at traffic lights for example as there is nothing worse than seeing your average speed drop through something out of your control. I did try using this feature once but I prefer to manually pause the device as I was worried about it not starting again when I got moving, thus failing to record a portion of my ride. I’m sure this wouldn’t be the case but I wanted to be in full control.

User profile

The user profile allows you to record information about your gender, birth year, height and weight. This information is used to calculate the amount of calories you burn during a ride. You can either enter all of this data directly into the Garmin or you can enter it via Garmin Connect and download it onto the Edge 200.

Ride

The final option on the Edge 200 is the most important one and that is Ride. This is where you tell the device to start recording your exercise. Assuming you have hooked onto the satellites, pressing the top right hand button will start the timer and you are free to pull off. During the ride, the Garmin will display the total distance you have travelled, the amount of time you have taken for the current ride and your average speed. All of this data is updated in real time, giving you a full picture of how your ride is going. At any time, if you want to pause the Garmin, just click on the top right button again. Once paused, you have the option to resume the ride, save the ride or delete it.

The Garmin Edge 200 has enough capacity to store 120 hours of rides which is more than enough to keep the casual cyclist going for many months. Rides will need to be deleted manually when you are getting close to capacity. This can either be done through the device, a ride at a time or can be done in bulk by connecting the Edge 200 to your PC and deleting them as you would do with any other file or files.

Installing the Edge 200 on your bike

The Garmin Edge 200 was so easy to install on my bike. It literally took me five minutes, and that was with me taking my time and referring to the instructions. The Edge 200 comes with two fixing kits, meaning that you can install them on two separate bikes, making the Edge 200 easily transferable. The main part of the fixing kit is a circular mount. Place this in a suitable location (handlebars or handlebar frame are good places) and use the securing bands which are wrapped diagonally around the mount. All you need to do now is to place the Edge 200 at a 90 degree angle on the mount and twist it. This will lock the Edge 200 into place on the mount and it will not release until you twist it 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

It is worth noting that the Edge 200 comes with a waterproof rubber USB cover which will enable you to use the Edge 200 in wet weather without worrying about all the internal electrical components getting wet or damaged.

Third party sites to monitor your ride

As previously mentioned, Garmin Connect will quite adequately store information of all your rides but there are much better places to use that will allow you to get so much more out of your Garmin Edge 200. Perhaps the best site is Strava.com which will allow you to compare individual sections of your ride with every other person (who uses Strava) who has ever ridden on the same section as you. There is nothing better than seeing yourself climb up the leaderboard when you beat your personal best. Another favourite is Endomondo.com . This site enables you to analyse your ride in a slightly different way to Strava. I won’t elaborate on these sites but they are worth checking out if you are serious about cycling

The verdict

I love my Garmin Edge 200.If you are looking for an entry level cycling computer that has tonnes of functionality and a minimum setup, the Garmin Edge 200 is the one to go for. In my opinion it is far better value for money that the rest of the Edge family can get quite expensive for the top of the range model.

I can’t speak highly enough about the Garmin Edge 200. It has probably been my best purchase of the last 12 months.
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on 9 January 2016
Was very sceptical about this seemingly very basic little device; but I must say I would now never set off without it. It's terrific! Battery lasts for weeks and the recordings are accurate.
It can be used as a navigation tool, but only offers a breadcrumb trail (which I find to be fine) and there's no fancy turn-by-turn instructions. But, with a little creativity, using google maps and a simple conversion tool –– http://bedsforcyclists.co.uk/articles/2014/04/13/how-to-plan-a-route-in-google-maps-and-export-it-to-gpx-your-phone/ –– you can make this splendid device punch well above its weight.
For the money, it's a snap.
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on 9 February 2017
Fantastic little device. It records my mileage, time, speed etc when cycling. I've been using it for several months now and there have been no problems whatsoever. It also allows you to upload your data to both Garmin Connect and Strava.
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on 13 October 2016
Great entry level Garmin for all cyclists essentially interested in speed, distance and time with many other features. Great value and should ideally be mounted on a simple and inexpensive mount attached to the handlebars and more forward for easy viewing rather than using the cable-ties and mount supplied. Big readable digits. In my view better value than the Garmin Edge 25, featured as a later model.
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on 27 June 2013
I purchased two of these Garmin Edge 200 GPS, one for me and one as a gift.

Whilst the device isn't colour or touchscreen, it has a range of useful functions and is provided with a secure and easy to fit mount for installation on a bike.

I have regularly cycled with the GPS computer enabled, and it has accurately recorded speed, climbing and route with no problem.

Connecting the device to my Apple computer, I was easily able to upload/download routes to the device and record my routes online using Garmin Connect website which plots your route cycled and provides all sorts of stats.

I would highly recommend this device for those cyclists who wish to record cycling and want a simple to use and fit device. Highly recommended.
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If all you need is a simple GPS so you can view your speed and distance and upload your ride when you get home, you really can't go wrong with the edge 200. It works just as quickly and accurately as the other Edge units and looks great in simple black and white which will go with most bikes (unlike the blue 500 for example!)

Just bear in mind that you can't add a cadence sensor or heart rate monitor, so if you're thinking you may want to use these in the future, you're better off going for the 500 model or above.
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on 22 October 2012
Got this to go with my new cboardman mtn bike, had bike computers for years but they are always so tricky or just break. This is much better, takes a few secs at start of ride to acquire satelites and then off you go. Easy usb connect to pc and easy/quick upload of rides. Not sure how to 'share' my rides with friends yet though, maybe they need a Garmin account too? Could be betterif it had a little map on it so you knew where you were going (if you don't) but apart from that - great!
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on 31 May 2017
This is a good product that solidly built and works well. It also fits all bike handle bar sizes.

Its simply a victim of progress. Its outdated now and has a newer model.
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on 17 June 2013
I bought this as a replacement for my old Garmin Foretrex 101 that I'd been using on the bike. This is a far more simple unit aimed purely at cycling as opposed to being a general GPS unit.

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and it's come in very handy, including using it to navigate a 57 mile route this Sunday just gone.

I have to say, I love the thing.

It's small, but not too small to be difficult to see.
It's waterproof. No worrying about using it in the rain.
It's simple. The user interface has been reduced to the bare essentials so makes for easy navigation of all the options.
It lasts hours and hours. I can't envisage a possibility of having the battery run out on this thing.
Garmin plugins for the web browser means you can upload activities to Garmin Connect straight over the web. No messing about with gpx files etc.
It can be used for both recording data about a ride (as you ride) or can be used to record data about a ride as you follow a course.
The GPS lock is insanely quick. Ignore anyone on Amazon moaning about it. From first use it will seem to take an age to get a lock. This is normal, just keep stationary and wait. After this initial lock, every time you start it up you have a gps lock within a few seconds. My old Foretrex used to take minutes from start every time.
It not too expensive.
It charges quickly from USB.
The "elastic bands" for the mount are very strong.
You get 2 mounts so if you have two bikes, you're laughing.
The quarter turn lock mount means it's very quick and easy to detach / attach to the bike.
Don't worry about using it in Linux. You won't get the plugins for the web browser, but the unit just shows us as a USB drive. New courses go in the Newfiles folder, your recorded ride data lives as .fit files in the activities folder and your stored Courses live in the Courses folder.

However, what amazes me is that nowhere in the Garmin sales blurb does it mention how effective this is as a cheap navigation device. you hardly get to see any screenshots of it anywhere in navigation mode. I'll tell you this: it's very easy to follow routes you have planned on Garmin connect with this, however, what Garmin seem to have left out of the connect site is the ability for this unit to use cue sheet data from a .tcx (the old Garmin Training Centre format) file. If you plan a route on bikeroutetoaster.com you can have it generate a cue sheet automatically (basically a course point at every junction). If you save this as a .tcx file, connect the Garmin Edge 200 to the computer and copy the .tcx file to the NewFiles folder, the next time you turn on the edge 200 it will read the file and save it into the courses folder as a .fit file (like the courses you make on Garmin connect). The difference is that rather than just seeing the breadcrumb trail when you follow a course (as is the case when using courses from Garmin connect) with the bottom line of the display rotating between avg speed, distance etc., you will see a distance and time count down to the next turn. The turns in the course will appear as squares containing left, right or straight on symbols and the unit will beep as you get to them. This is very useful indeed. The breadcrumb display is easy to follow and having the cue sheet markers means you know that you're going to have to do something in xx amount of miles (i.e. make a turn) rather than not knowing if the breadcrumb trail curve is just how the road bends or if it is sending you left / right into a junction.

I have no idea why Garmin doesn't mention this facility or even let you generate courses with cue sheet information in them on Garmin Connect. This is a brilliant feature which I guess most people will not know about. I navigated 57 miles this weekend just using the turn by turn course info as generated from bikeroutetoaster.com as described above and didn't go wrong at all. In route navigation mode the orientation of the route rotates as you cycle along so a left turn on the route is always a left turn, i.e. it doesn't stick with North being up and South down and the rider left wondering which way around he is in relation to the display.

I am talking about following routes you have pre-planned here. This unit doesn't have maps, obviously, so the display is simply the course route with no street information etc, so doesn't have any routing capability of its own. If you miss a turn it will simply beep and tell you you're off course with an arrow pointing in the direction to get back on course.

The only criticism I have of the unit is that when following a course you have now way of seeing your current speed. This is a bit annoying as in many cases you'll want to know where you're going AND see how fast you're doing it! I have to respect that fact though that this is a small display so shoving too much information onto the course view would make it less effective. To get around this I have left my old bike computer (one of the old magnet on wheel types) attached which I use to see the current speed when following a course. Surprisingly I found that the old bike computer was only .6 miles over the Garmin gps measurement after 56 miles. I calculated the difference between the Garmin and the old bike computer and worked out the number of millimeters I needed to change the calibration of the bike computers wheel radius setting to make it match, so the Garmin has been quite handy in turning a piece of old, not quite so accurate kit into something quite useful too.

What it doesn't do: heart rate, cadence, customised data views, mapping etc. If you want this you'll need to be spending some more money. Personally I am not that interested in extra data - so it was nice to see a bobby basic unit, which turned out to be not that basic, being sold for such a good price.

With this unit and the free site bikeroutetoaster.com you've got an ideal setup for planning and following routes and recording the data for Strava. Again, my advice is keep the old cycle computer with the magnet so you can see how fast you're going when doing a pre-planned route (use the GPS unit over a long ride to calibrate the setting) and you're set.

If you're after accurate real time ride data display, or just a good accurate GPS logger for uploading to Strava, you really can't go wrong.
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on 18 June 2017
Great little gadget, well-made, well thought-out, long battery life, good training aid, good value, recommended
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