Launched this past fall, The Edge Touring from Garmin is a computer aimed at bicyclists of all different styles and intensity levels, and it has found a good home on many handlebars of Erik’s customers and employees in the recent months. The reasons are fairly simple – it offers GPS in a clean, easy to use package that is not bogged down with additional features that some riders may not take advantage of. The Edge Touring is good for what it is NOT when it comes to a GPS unit and that’s a great place to start.
What The Edge Touring is Not
The Edge Touring is a simple, stripped down version of Garmin’s popular GPS units, taking its body from the formidable 800/810 series. It doesn’t include ANT+ wireless, so it’s not intended for people using popular power meters such as the PowerTap or Garmin Vector pedals among others. It also does not use a speed/cadence sensor; speed is simply measured using the GPS receiver. For the average rider this could be a great improvement on the good ol’ bike computer.
What the Edge Touring IS
The Edge Touring is a customizable GPS computer that sets up and mounts easily to any bike, and is born out of the success of other bike-specific units in their line like the 705, 800 and 810 but is at a level that more people will want to use for recreation. The Edge Touring’s interface is a lot like their car units including the Nüvi, so will be familiar for those users. The Edge Touring is ideal for:
- Touring Bicyclists
- People who ride in areas where they may not know the terrain well.
- People who like to play with data – while it doesn’t have the data of the 500/800 series units, all of it can be tracked via Garmin Connect
What’s in the box?
Each Edge Touring Erik’s sells comes with a head unit, USB cable, 8 o-rings (four large, four medium) and two mounts with rubber pad. This allows you to set your computer up on multiple bikes and have some parts around for spares. While we like the mounts included, a cleaner option is available by purchasing the Garmin out front mount or the K-Edge mount. If you like to know heart rate for fitness purposes, the Edge Touring can be upgraded with an additional HR Monitor Strap.
Setup and Use
Right out of the box, the Edge Touring is ready to go (with a little time on the charger of course). Attach it to your bike, turn it on and tell it where you’d like to go or what you’d like to do. You can avoid hills, do the shortest distance between you and your destination, or go to a Point of Interest (POI). If you’re not headed anywhere in particular, you can just have it record distance, time, speed, etc. Much of this is easily customizable to your needs, and a slot for a Micro SD card allows you to even customize the maps you use. At the end of your ride, you can save the log and upload it via the USB cable to Garmin Connect where you can look at graphs, compare numbers, or just save your total mileage.
What’s a POI? IF you’re familiar with Garmin GPS, you will know about Points of Interest (POI), but for the new GPS users, the idea is simple – want to find a bike shop while you’re on a trip, grab a cup of coffee, or see a local park or attraction? Just like the Touring moniker implies, the Edge Touring is designed to take you places. POIs are preloaded to the unit allowing you to pick something interesting by you and navigate to it – a great feature if you like to explore new places!
Real World Navigation
Navigating with the Edge Touring is pretty straight forward and users have found it pretty accurate (myself included). The similarity to a Nüvi is pretty clear here – you can add in an address, pick a location from the POIs on the menu or create a route on Garmin Connect and upload it via a cable. If you’re using the first two options, the unit will auto-route and pick the best option based on your user preferences noted in the Setup and Use section above. Once you’ve decided where to go, just follow the on-screen prompts to your destination. The chief area where the Edge Touring differs from a car based system is it will not give you voice directions; only a pleading beep and turn indications on screen.
Reviews and Reports
From Ryan – Service Manager at Bloomington, MN
The Garmin Edge Touring is a simple, affordable, user friendly cycling
computer that allows a rider the freedom to literally “get lost” in a ride
without the actual getting lost part.
The main reason I purchased the Touring Garmin was to do more multi-day
bike trips without having to rely on my smart phone for directions. The
Touring has two ways to of allowing me to do this, I can pre-program my
desired route the night before via Garmin Connect or let the unit find a
route for me. Having both options allows me to have control over where I
ride as well as be a little more adventurous. If you do end up somewhere
you did not plan to be, inter your address in the Touring and you’re back
on track in seconds.
The Touring performs well on my daily rides as well. Keeping track of my
basic ride stats that can all be uploaded and saved on your personal Garmin
Connect page. The screen is easy to see, the display can be as bright or
as dim as you want and the fact that it is water proof doesn’t let me shy
away from riding when the sky is a little dark.
The only fault I found with it was the battery life during programed routes
using turn by turn directions. With an as advertised battery life of “up to
17 hours” I would have expected more than the 7 it lasted.
Overall the Garmin Edge Touring cycling computer is great for someone
looking to be a little more adventurous, has multiple bikes, or just wants
a hassle free cycling computer.
From Lainger – Erik’s Marketing and Events
I currently use an Edge 510, but was curious to try the Touring as a more streamlined computer; especially given the ability to let it pick routes, it seems like a great option for exploring. Setup was easy, and I didn’t mess with settings much. For my first ride I decided to test it on an area I am familiar with but to a local co-op for an easy afternoon ride with a stop for a break and some groceries.
I entered the address of my destination, and the Edge found it fairly quickly. Typing in the address took a bit to enter all the information on a relatively small screen, but once in, the course was set quickly. At first glance, the route put us on a busier road than needed, so I deviated a couple blocks to a parallel road with a path. I could have selected this as an option in the preferences, but I wanted to see how it would handle re-routing. Let’s say the Edge Touring was not happy with me – it beeped and told me to turn around a few times over the next two miles before relenting and recalculating. Once we agreed on a route it performed very well and even took us on a slight route deviation that cut out a big hill.
On the return trip, I used it like a regular computer, simply tracking the distance and speed. It was accurate, easy to read and got good reception throughout the ride.
The Edge Touring is really two different units – for the casual, directionally challenged cyclist it is a great way to explore and ride in a variety of places or a good way to find some adventure in a new place. For the tech-minded rider, there is a lot of option for customization of maps and data with the expandable MicroSD card slot, riders can add any number of set routes for a trip or even use different base maps. If you will never need power measurement or cadence, this is a great unit that is easy to use and setup for any rider.