GPS/Track Log (13,000 points) / Compass / Virtual Partner / Three bike profile settings / Auto History / Custom date fields / Garmin Training Centre CD / Lithium-ion rechargeable battery / USB interface cable
Garmin Europe Ltd 01794 519944, www.garmin.com.
Sharing its name with the balding axeman from Irish rockers U2, the Edge represents a realistic, compact entry to the world of GPS. GPS stands for Global Positioning System for those of you still grappling with the technology. It’s a system that waves goodbye to the magnet fitting and wheel calibration associated with conventional bike computers. Instead, all your information on progress relies, like all Garmin units, on the integrated antennae successfully picking up signals from the US of A’s 24 satellites orbiting the globe. These numbered satellites highlighted on the backlit screen display the strength of the signal. Before you start rolling, the Edge needs to be given an unexposed, stationary minute in the great outdoors before acquisition and logging of your every move.
While it uses the same integral antennae as Garmin’s high-end 60CX mapping handheld, the receiver doesn’t have the same WASS-capable (a system of ground-based signal correcting stations) sensitivity, making the pick-up a little slower and wooded/undergrowth coverage patchier. However, for improving coverage keep an eye on Garmin’s web updater and you can add any system tweaks to the device via a USB hook-up. A bonus of recording speed, distance and average via GPS is that it also logs exactly where you’ve been, not just how quickly you got there. Save your ride in the form of a Track Log then simply upload to something like Memory-Map, Anquet or Garmin’s own MapSource digital mapping and your route’s drawn on screen. Marking specific points along the way allows you to accurately recap on a highlight area, even if you had no idea where you were on paper. While you can of course extract the elevation data of your ride using the GPS in conjunction with mapping software, it’s only on the heart-rate monitor equipped Edge 305 that you get an on screen altimeter.
The size of an oversized bike computer, quick-release brackets position the Edge neatly on either bar or stem and the fairly intuitive interface can be toggled through easily. Once you’ve logged a track in the memory, you can opt to navigate it on screen with simple direction markers. Or if you simply want to back-track the last few weeks of riding, the history function automatically records every outing. A training section allows you to go up against a virtual partner, or set up some specific workouts.
For real accuracy from your bike computer combined with GPS navigation and additional training aids, the Edge is a tough act to follow. Although the Inclusive Training Centre CD is PC-based, a Mac download has just become available from Garmin’s site, or you can upload your Edge data to www.motionbased.com
MBR RATING: 8/10