If you're a professional distance cyclist or even a dedicated off-road pleasure rider and you need an edge over your competitors or friends, then Garmin's new GPS navigator for cyclists could be just up your street. Weighing just 2oz, the low profile Edge 500 has an easy-fit bike mount and can assist with training by tracking a rider's distance, speed, location, elevation and can even wirelessly monitor pedal strokes per minute and heart rate.
Garmin asked its own pro-tour cyclists to act as a focus group for the development of the new lightweight navigator - the sportsmen told Garmin to give them a small device with a big screen, a sturdy mount and easy to use buttons. The Edge 500 is the answer to all those requests and more.
A customizable screen gives information on speed, distance traveled, how long a trip takes, the temperature, elevation and of course the GPS position. In common with other recent offerings from Garmin, the Edge 500 benefits from HotFix technology which grabs a GPS signal and keeps hold - even in areas of poor reception. Incorporated is a barometric altimeter that provides accurate information for climbs and descents.
Compatible ANT+ wireless power meters can communicate with the Edge 500 to relay valuable data on how hard the rider is working. Pedaling strokes per minute can also be sent to the device via a speed/cadence sensor.
Garmin worked with Finland's Firstbeat Technologies Ltd to develop a system which tracks the tiniest of changes to the heart rate and uses that information for advanced calorie computations when combined with a Garmin wireless heart rate monitor.
The Garmin Connect feature adds a community feel to the whole process by allowing users to load in featured rides to try out themselves or share rides of their own with other Edge users. USB connectivity allows for pain-free analysis of training data on a computer and gives the unit's battery (claimed to last 18 hours between charges) a boost of power too.
For those cyclists who travel the globe, the Edge 500 will automatically modify time zones to suit current locations and even has an alert which sounds when the rider moves off without setting the timer.
The Edge 500 is a lightweight, tech-heavy, easy-to-use training partner which Garmin is confident will help you improve your performance. The suggested retail of the unit is USD$249.99. For an extra USD$100 the heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensors can be bundled in as well. More information is available on the product page.