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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Convince me to get a Garmin Edge 500

    Ok so biking fever has officially taken ahold of me. I am convinced that this is my calling in life now. As such, my goal now is to go further and faster, and I am thinking of getting something to help me train against my past self, ever pushing me to put that extra bit of effort in.


    So I've been thinking more and more of getting a Garmin Edge 500. But here's the problem: I already have 2 bike computers.

    1) Cateye Enduro 8. Trusty, and cheap. Bought it 6 years ago and it has always been reliable.
    2) Polar CS300. I bought this a little less than a year ago when I started my newest weight loss regime. At the time I just needed a better heart monitor and wasn't bicycling yet, but I decided I would eventually start biking and therefore use the cyclocomputer aspect of it. I was right; installed it last month on the bike and it's been good so far.

    I actually have both of them installed at the same time... which probably makes me look a little too fredly. But there's a reason; sometimes the speed sensor of the CS300 will cut out (not sure why, it's pretty sensitive), so I prefer the reliability of the Enduro 8 for accurate distance measurements. But I like the CS300 for the HRM, calories, and cadence figures.


    After analyzing everything the Garmin offers, I think I can use it to replace both the Enduro and the CS300. There only seems to be two features that the garmin doesn't support that the CS300 does:

    1) calories per mile
    2) calories per hour

    Both of those are interesting figures for trying to figure out what sort of exertion you're putting out, and I think I would miss them. But on the other hand, I gain access to all of these other things that I don't currently have:

    1) average cadence
    2) elevation
    3) grade
    4) heading
    5) temperature
    6) total ascent
    7) total descent
    8) vertical speed


    2 and 3 are especially interesting. 4 could be useful, but in general I have a firm grasp of my heading most of the time; and if not I can simply spot where the sun is. 5 would be very useful in knowing if it gets hot enough out to tell myself to cool it a bit.

    I think I would especially love the ability to record my rides and race against myself in the future, or analyze what kind of grades I have done. As a numbers geek I would also probably love to know my power output, but I'm not willing to spend money on a power tap just yet... but the ability to eventually do that is very tempting.

    So I dunno. I think I would love it, but I feel bad about spending even more money on gadgets (~$330 for the GPS, heart strap, and cadence monitor) especially when I just spent $240 last year on the CS300.

    Can anyone convince me that this is a good deal? I'm about to buy a house so I'd like to keep my purchases non-superfluous if you know what I mean...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    But there's a reason; sometimes the speed sensor of the CS300 will cut out (not sure why, it's pretty sensitive), so I prefer the reliability of the Enduro 8 for accurate distance measurements.

    After analyzing everything the Garmin offers, I think I can use it to replace both the Enduro and the CS300.
    You'll be disappointed with the lack of reliable accuracy in the Garmin. If you try to use your GPS as a bike odometer, you'll eventually lose track of how many miles you've put on your bike, because every now and then ( rarely, maybe 1 in 100 rides, possibly less often ) you'll find that you've been riding for 2 hours and gone 7,350 miles in that time.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    You'll be disappointed with the lack of reliable accuracy in the Garmin. If you try to use your GPS as a bike odometer, you'll eventually lose track of how many miles you've put on your bike, because every now and then ( rarely, maybe 1 in 100 rides, possibly less often ) you'll find that you've been riding for 2 hours and gone 7,350 miles in that time.

    Interesting. I'm going to do some research and read their forums to see how common this is... because if it's very common, then forget it!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    It's common enough that it will happen to you.

    It's not really a Garmin problem, although they deserve a share of the blame. Really, GPS isn't a perfect system; there are all sorts of things that can give a faulty reading, like irregularities in the atmosphere, and even interference from stuff on the ground. Any GPS receiver will get it wrong from time to time because of this stuff. On the other hand, Garmin does a lot of programming to make their units more useful, like calculating speed based on the location data it gets, or like making a "virtual training partner" in the 800. They should have made the units do a "sanity check" against the data they read. When I go through a tunnel, the GPS goes into "dead reckoning" mode and guesses where I am, but every now and then I'll be on a trail in Seattle, then the unit will have me somewhere in Asia, then I'm back in Seattle again ... Garmin's programmers could put the unit into dead reckoning mode when it thinks you've traveled hundred of miles in a second, until it gets a sane reading again. Anyway, this was an occasional problem with the Garmin Oregon I used to have, and the same thing happens now and then with my Edge 800.

    I still like the Edge, but this annoys me. Supposedly it doesn't happen with the speed and cadence sensor ... but when I use the speed sensor, it cuts out, and the GPS one winds up being more reliable for me. I would recommend it, overall, for the elevation/grade stuff, and for being able to map where you've been and overlay graphs of speed vs elevation vs heart rate ... but you should know they can be slightly flaky, if you're considering replacing both your units with a Garmin.

    Can you sell the Polar, if you get a Garmin, to recoup some of your funds?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    It's a toy.

    If you want a new toy, then buy it, but it is only a toy.

    It won't make you faster, thinner or more comfortable.

    What it will give you is something for you to stare at on your ride. That and a hole in your wallet.
    Gravity hates us all, but it hates me more than thin people!

  6. #6
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Wait! Until you close on your house. Afterward, then go ahead and get one if you want. I have one, and like some things about it and some things I don't like. I like the compactness of the unit ... but the drawback on that is that the screen is difficult to read, (if you are older like me and don't want to wear prescription glasses, like I should). This can be mitigated somewhat by utilizing all three possible screens. I set the first screen with just the most important things I want to monitor on a ride, (i.e., speed in big numbers, distance in middle size numbers, and heart rate and cadence in small numbers). On the second screen, I show time (in big numbers), time of day (in middle size numbers), and temperature and grade % (in small numbers). The third screen is just a recap screen that I glance at when finished riding. That one includes (all in small numbers) time of day, calories, avg speed, max speed, avg cadence, accuracy (of the GPS), total ascent and total decent.

    All of the stuff on the third screen is also shown in the Garmin Connect downloads. I almost always just ride with the first screen. On rare occasions, I'll want to show a grade, (just out of curiosity). I'd put it on the first screen, but then I'd have to reduce the size of the distance readout. I'd also like to have elapsed time on the first screen, but that would make the screen too busy, and as I said, my eyes aren't so good any more.

    Other things I like is the battery life and the ability to download to Garmin Connect. I haven't used the routing function yet, but am willing to try some time. So far, since getting the unit, I rarely make the same ride twice. I have trouble creating a route in MapMyRide, saving as a GPX file, and getting it into the Edge 500. The Edge used a FIT format file, and haven't successfully converted a GPS to a FIT for upload. Someday I'll figure it out.

    I also like the ability to move between both my bikes. It comes with two mounts, and now I just need to remember to reset the bike when I move from one to the other. But like jr59 says, "It's a toy." Cute and fun, but not really needed, especially since you have a couple of computers already.

    If you do go for the bundle, I found the best price by purchasing the unit, strap, and sending unit separately from Amazon. The price of the component individually was less than the bundle price. Even then, I wish I didn't pay for the "deluxe" HRM strap. My old Bontrager HRM strap is more accurate, and I already had it. Maybe your existing strap will work with the Edge?
    Deut 6:5

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    So I've been thinking more and more of getting a Garmin Edge 500. But here's the problem: I already have 2 bike computers.
    After analyzing everything the Garmin offers, I think I can use it to replace both the Enduro and the CS300. There only seems to be two features that the garmin doesn't support that the CS300 does:

    1) calories per mile
    2) calories per hour
    Both are useless estimates to ignore which you could derive from mileage and time totals if you really wanted to on the Garmin.

    My Polar CS200CAD was always high by up to 50% (versus kilojoules off my Powertap); My Garmin Edge 500 using heart rate varies from about -20 (hard rides) to +20% (very easy rides) and off mileage+speed alone it's worse than 100% high.

    If you're just looking for intensity to manage training load or compete with yourself systems which account for stress rising with intensity work better - TRIMP from heart rate, Cogan's normalized power or Skiba's Xpower with a power meter.

    Both of those are interesting figures for trying to figure out what sort of exertion you're putting out, and I think I would miss them. But on the other hand, I gain access to all of these other things that I don't currently have:
    More notably you get

    1) Complete ride downloads with samples every second.

    That lets you derive training stress to figure out the most you can tolerate along with a sustainable ramp rate.

    You can see where intervals are starting too strong and fading or you're slacking too much in the middle.

    Those things work better with power but are doable with heart rate alone.

    You can notice things that don't show up well in averages alone. For instance I found that I could ride threshold intervals on back to back days when I kept my cadence over 90 but not in my preferred range below that.

    The recorded GPS coordinates are more a bonus than main feature - they just make it easier to relate things to geographic land marks where you might have stretches of commute without traffic light problems to interrupt intervals or to find events like a specific sprint at city limits or a big climb without looking for a long stretch with high heart rate/power and low speed.

    Checkout Golden Cheetah (runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac).

    2) A back light which can be configured to always remain on lets you see heart rate/power for pacing and interval time on evening rides.

    3) up to 3 screens with up to 8 fields each. You can have all the metrics telling you what you're doing, where you are, and how much time you have left.

    For instance, I have an interval screen with speed, lap time, lap distance, total distance, 3 second power, lap power, heart rate, and cadence.

    4) it doesn't get spastic around power lines or traffic lights (my Polar used to run 60 MPH at some lights which would really throw off averages).

    So I dunno. I think I would love it, but I feel bad about spending even more money on gadgets (~$330 for the GPS, heart strap, and cadence monitor) especially when I just spent $240 last year on the CS300.

    Can anyone convince me that this is a good deal? I'm about to buy a house so I'd like to keep my purchases non-superfluous if you know what I mean...
    You know you want it. If your budget allows go for it.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-22-11 at 04:01 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I've been very happy with the 500. It appears to be MUCH more reliable than many other devices, including other Garmins, on calorie counts. Mine generally comes in at around 25 calories per mile for a 30 mile ride with 2500 feet of climbing and an average HR of 145 [my max is 170]. Other devices typically report up to twice that amount, giving you a very unrealistic view of how much exercise you've done.

    I've never had a problem with mileage, or for that matter, any other measurement, except for elevation. My Garmin tends to report it about 100 feet too low, but that's a relatively small problem for me.

    I particularly like the ability to download the data and review it after the ride. It really helps you see if you're improving on common sections of terrain.

    I also like the ability to have 3 different customizable display screens.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I still like the Edge, but this annoys me. Supposedly it doesn't happen with the speed and cadence sensor ... but when I use the speed sensor, it cuts out, and the GPS one winds up being more reliable for me.
    My GSC-10 speed/cadence sensor has been completely reliable apart from the one ride where it had rotated a little bit around my chain stay and was no longer picking up every crank revolution.

    I've never had an anomalous distance over six months and 2000 miles.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    If you're just looking for intensity to manage training load or compete with yourself systems which account for stress rising with intensity work better - TRIMP from heart rate, Cogan's normalized power or Skiba's Xpower with a power meter.
    When I used a piece of software that gave me a TRIMP chart from my heart rate data, I thought it gave me a better summary of how intense a ride was ( compared to other rides on the same route, or of the same duration, or amount of climbing, etc ) than anything else I had at my disposal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    My GSC-10 speed/cadence sensor has been completely reliable apart from the one ride where it had rotated a little bit around my chain stay and was no longer picking up every crank revolution.

    I've never had an anomalous distance over six months and 2000 miles.
    I wonder what's going on, then. I'd much rather take my speed and distance from the GSC than from the GPS unit, but the few times I've turned it on, it went out pretty quickly, and I gave up in disgust and frustration. Maybe I'll ask the local bike shop next time I'm there.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    I also have the 500 and GSC-10 and have no distance or odometer issues. It is a nice device but I have found info overload from it. Originally had three screens of vital data, now I only use one. And my calorie calculator seems rabidly erratic.

    The ability to jump between bikes is nice but I have had massive issues with GSC-10s on both bikes. The 500 randomly seems to pick a sensor to latch onto, and it isn't always the closest one. When I was one bike, no issues, two bikes pain.

    And having it programmed to pick up the cadence sensor, I once rode it with no GSC, and had a blank cadence field until it decided mid-ride to pick up another ant+ sensor on someone else's bike. Not fatal, but annoying.

    And I stupidly paid $400 for it when I first saw it for the full package.

  12. #12
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    I've been very happy with the 500. It appears to be MUCH more reliable than many other devices, including other Garmins, on calorie counts. Mine generally comes in at around 25 calories per mile for a 30 mile ride with 2500 feet of climbing and an average HR of 145 [my max is 170]. Other devices typically report up to twice that amount, giving you a very unrealistic view of how much exercise you've done.

    I've never had a problem with mileage, or for that matter, any other measurement, except for elevation. My Garmin tends to report it about 100 feet too low, but that's a relatively small problem for me.

    I particularly like the ability to download the data and review it after the ride. It really helps you see if you're improving on common sections of terrain.

    I also like the ability to have 3 different customizable display screens.
    Chaco, your experience and comments track with my own experience with the Garmin Edge 500. I love the ability to download my ride data to my computer and then to be able to track my progress.

    I have not had any problems with my 500; it was simple to install and it has been accurate and trouble-free. I give it two thumbs (and a couple of big toes) up!

    BTW, Chaco, nice Corgi on your profile pic. Gotta love small dogs with big dog attitude!
    Last edited by eja_ bottecchia; 06-22-11 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Misspelled dog's name....argggg!!!!
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  13. #13
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    I love mine and would buy another tomorrow if I lost mine. I've never had problems with crazy distances in a couple hundred rides. However, I certainly wouldn't buy it to measure calories, you might as well just assume 25 or 30 per mile. If you really want to measure calories you ought to just buy a powertap. Courses are sometimes flaky.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    good grief on the person who calls a Garmin a "toy." rubbish.

    I've never had any problems with thousands of phantom miles showing up on my 705. occasionally(very) it shuts down and I'll lose a few miles, but you can always add some back on Garmin Connect.

    I find it's great for tracking how many miles you've gone per day, per week, per month, etc. I rode 5,000 miles the year after i got mine and it was a HUGE, HUGE motivator.

    the only reason to think about a different model is that the 500 doesn't have maps. if you're always riding on the same routes no big deal, but if you want to try longer/distance rides in unfamiliar territory I'd recommend one with maps. the 800 is the new shiny one, but a 705 or 605 can be picked up cheap as a refurbished model.

    good lukc
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    the only reason to think about a different model is that the 500 doesn't have maps. if you're always riding on the same routes no big deal, but if you want to try longer/distance rides in unfamiliar territory I'd recommend one with maps. the 800 is the new shiny one, but a 705 or 605 can be picked up cheap as a refurbished model.

    I considered this, but the higher models seem to suffer from glare issues. I *am* pretty familiar with this entire half of the state so getting lost isn't likely, but I became familiar with it in a car... biking is very different and maybe sometimes I'd love to go wandering out somewhere and have the GPS figure out the fastest route home when I feel like I'm losing energy. Actually did this with a car GPS unit on Sunday, biked out 32 miles, then when I felt maybe I went too far, broke out the GPS to calculate the shortest route home, which ended up being 25 miles (which was still 5 miles too long, heh). But typically I map out my routes beforehand, this was an exception, so maybe the 500 will be just fine.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    I considered this, but the higher models seem to suffer from glare issues
    I've never noticed glare to be much of an issue with my Edge 705. It's certainly no worse than on the 205, 305, or 605...

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    I've never had an anomalous distance over six months and 2000 miles.
    I've had one anomalous reading in the 2 or 3 years I've owned my Edge 705. That one happened early in my ownership. After updating the software on the Garmin, I haven't seen the problem again. I would also note that this issue usually only affects the displays on the unit. Once I download the data and put it into SportTracks, the software running on my desktop computer was smart enough to ignore the one anomalous data point.

    It doesn't seem to me like this is a big problem...

  17. #17
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    I have no knowledge of any Garmin products but if this was me then I be tempted to let my head decide rather than my heart.

    Buying a house is the most expensive thing that you will ever buy so I would get that sorted 1st and moved in and then look to get an Edge if you still wanted one.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mwchandler21's Avatar
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    The only time I've had a weird distance reading was when I was riding my rain bike that didn't have the spd/cad sensor.
    I like that I can use the same computer on both of my bikes, but I tell the accuracy is not as high when I just run it based on GPS and not using the sensor.

  19. #19
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    In my (admittedly very limited compared to most here) experience, there is no glare whatsoever off the Edge 800. It's very sunlight friendly. I'm a big fan of Garmin - own at least 6 different units from them (bike, auto, boat, plane, etc.), never had serious issues with any of them. From a navigator point of view, I'll take Garmin products over any competitor I've ever tried. From a bike computer point of view, I have very little experience with whats out there, but so far I'm very happy with my 800.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    good grief on the person who calls a Garmin a "toy." rubbish.

    I've never had any problems with thousands of phantom miles showing up on my 705. occasionally(very) it shuts down and I'll lose a few miles, but you can always add some back on Garmin Connect.

    I find it's great for tracking how many miles you've gone per day, per week, per month, etc. I rode 5,000 miles the year after i got mine and it was a HUGE, HUGE motivator.

    the only reason to think about a different model is that the 500 doesn't have maps. if you're always riding on the same routes no big deal, but if you want to try longer/distance rides in unfamiliar territory I'd recommend one with maps. the 800 is the new shiny one, but a 705 or 605 can be picked up cheap as a refurbished model.

    good lukc

    Ok!

    How is it not a toy????
    What does it do that my HR mont and my bike computer do?

    What down load into my home computer! Ok you got me.

    My goodness are we so lazy that we can't download this info by hand!


    I could see it if you were training to race, Garmin with a power tap wheel sounds like a reasonable set up to me.

    Other than that, Do you NEED a device that tells you you burn more calliores when you climb a hill?
    Do you need something to tell me when I try to go fast, my heart rate rises? REALLY????
    Gravity hates us all, but it hates me more than thin people!

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    an alternative: I have a polar computer/hr monitor paired with a Garmin Dakota 10 (birthday present).

    You might want to consider that combo.

  22. #22
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    hard for me to pick here so many inputs whatever came to conclusion here hahaha 500 or 800 thats my questions

  23. #23
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    I would like one that has a direction GPS feature on it so I dont get lost

  24. #24
    Descends like a rock pallen's Avatar
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    I have the 705 and it has worked very well except for one ride where the magnet got moved when I had the bike on a rack. The GPS is not perfect, but if you combine it with the wheel and cadence sensor, its very good and very reliable. I dont try to use it as an odometer for my bike because I dont record every single ride I do. I know exactly how long my commutes are, so I just log them on the computer every few days.

    The calorie numbers are pretty useless though. If you just want to see how much they go up and down with different riding, it might be useful, but the actual numbers seem way overinflated. That seems to be the general consensus from what I've read from others as well.

    My favorite thing about the Garmin (including the 705), is the ability to plan a ride in advance and download the gpx file to your device and follow it. If you ever do long rides in areas where you are not familiar, this is very handy. I have never used the navigation stuff the 705 has and would probably have been just fine with the 500, but I stumbled on a really good deal for the 705.

  25. #25
    Senior Member fast89fox's Avatar
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    Does anyone know when Garmin comes out with their new products? I really want a Garmin Edge 800, but I know as soon as I buy one Garmin will come out with a newer version. This happened to me with a Apple itouch, so now I try to do a little research to avoid this scenario.
    http://pedalmybike.com/userTrackies/myTrackie3859.jpg

    '11 Raleigh Revenio 3.0
    '12 Trek 3700

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