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  1. #1
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Questions about Garmin Edge 500

    I'm considering purchasing a Garmin 500 and have some questions:

    1) I know that one can customize the data fields, but are the data field positions customizable? For example, can I make the speed window appear at the top of the display and make it larger than other windows?

    2) Apparently the computer does not have auto start - one must push the start button to start registering data. If one makes a long stop during a ride, say an hour or more, will the computer stay "live" and start again when the ride continues without the rider doing anything?

    3) If one chooses not to purchase the speed/cadence add-on, do you find the computer to be reliable and accurate?

    Thanks
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  2. #2
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    Sorta.

    You choose how many data points to display on each page. The number of data elements displayed determines the size of the display. if you choose, say, 5 elements, you get one fairly large element at the top and 4 smaller ones below. It makes fairly good guesses at what you're trying to do. You get to choose which element goes into which display box. It's a good mix of flexibility and interface complexity, it's flexible enough to do most of what you want, and the bits you want it can't do would be really complicated to do with 4 buttons.

    If you were to, say, go on a ride, then leave the bike in the garage, go clean up, grab a drink, collapse on the couch for an hour or 2, then go grab the computer off the bike after you forgot to stop it, it will have a ride with a lot of activity, followed by a lot of garage parking time. It doesn't auto-stop either, I think that's what you're asking. It will eventually turn itself off, but I think that takes more than 3-4 hours.

    Here's the funny thing about the speed/cadence addon. There's nowhere in the menus in the 500 to set the wheel size. The way it calibrates the distance/speed is to let you ride for awhile when it's got a good satellite lock, count the revolutions of your wheel and how far the GPS says you've gone and it does math. So the accuracy of the speed part of the speed/cadence meter is determined by the GPS, not the other way around . I got the speed/cadence meter because you can't just get a cadence meter by itself.

    I've owned several Garmin GPS products and find their speeds to be as accurate as a GPS can be really, which is pretty darn accurate. I've timed my Nuvi between mile markers (usually 5-10 mile markers to get a good average) and found it to agree with my stopwatch. If it's ever not that way, I live in Kansas City, a good friend of mine works for Garmin, and I'd give him a hard time until it was fixed. Peer pressure, is there anything it can't do?

  3. #3
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your very thorough reply. You have answered all of my questions. I was particularly interested in the ability to have a large speed readout on the top for when I am competing in time trials. I tend to get tunnel vision from the extreme effort, and I constantly like to monitor my speed. I'm going to consider using the 500 for a power meter head if and when the new SpeedPlay pedal power meter device comes to market.

    I am suprised, BTW, that to interface the unit with the computer, it does not have the ANT feature of my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch which automatically begins data upload as soon as you get near a computer with an ANT device plugged into a USB port. Apparently one must plug the unit into the computer through a USB port.

    Thanks again.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  4. #4
    Dog Chaser BetweenRides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69 View Post
    I'm considering purchasing a Garmin 500 and have some questions:

    1) I know that one can customize the data fields, but are the data field positions customizable? For example, can I make the speed window appear at the top of the display and make it larger than other windows?

    2) Apparently the computer does not have auto start - one must push the start button to start registering data. If one makes a long stop during a ride, say an hour or more, will the computer stay "live" and start again when the ride continues without the rider doing anything?

    3) If one chooses not to purchase the speed/cadence add-on, do you find the computer to be reliable and accurate?

    Thanks
    1) I agree with EGUNWT on everything he said. Display is much improved over the 305 series in that you have 3 fully customizable screens. Only downside is the loss of a few data fields - Sunrise/Sunset being the one I miss the most. Also, you cannot set your Max heart rate on the 500 - you have to go to Garmin Connect to set it then download to the unit. Overall, the Display feature is the best part of this computer.
    2) While it's true there is no Auto Start feature, there is an Auto Pause feature. You can set it for complete stop or a custom speed, the default is 3 mph. This controls the timer, but HR continues to display live. I haven't used it enough outside to see if it automatically shuts off after a period of inactivity, but according to the manual, it has an auto power down feature after 15 minutes of activity, which can be turned on or off.
    3) Regarding accuracy - very accurate, as is the 305. You don't really need the cadence sensor, but it's good if you do indoor training, as it doesn't work well as a training device without GPS. I live in Chicago area, so indoor is important for me during the worst of winter. The 500 has an improved menu for turning off the GPS - easier to find than the 305 is. GPS also has periods where it goes in and out if you are riding in a heavily forested area or say a tunnel. It auto corrects when it gets the signal back, but speed readings can be hinky while it's lost. And while you don't need to set wheel size if you use GPS, there is a place to set it for when you don't - go to >Bike Setting >Bike1 >Bike Details >Wheel Size. You can select Auto or Custom. You have to pick from the list for mm size corresponding to your tires size. I use this for indoor training, then switch to Auto when I ride outside during the season.

  5. #5
    Dog Chaser BetweenRides's Avatar
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    Double Post

  6. #6
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and add your input - all great information. I'm pretty much convinced that I'm going to get one. I wish they would have had a color choice other than blue. My signifcent other loves that in that her two bikes are blue and she wears lots of blue riding stuff. I would have loved black or red. I'm sure the day after I buy one, they will put up the new colored versions!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  7. #7
    Dog Chaser BetweenRides's Avatar
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    You're welcome. I bet they will have colors to choose from in the future - probably Garmin Orange like they did with the 705.

  8. #8
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    Depending on where you have it mounted and your position on the bike, you may find the display a bit small anyway. If you haven't seen one in real life, they are *very* small. Mine's mounted on my stem, and it is barely wider than the stem. They are *tiny* little things. Don't get me wrong, they're completely awesome too, but very very small.

  9. #9
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    This is good info for me too, but how about mountain riding, anyone used one in the West, Colorado specifically, in the mountains? Do they maintain accuracy or loose signals in canyons or the back side of a hill?
    R

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