I had read about the new Garmin Edge 500 just before the Interbike 2009 show, and was very fascinated by the features of the unit. It is more comparable to my Edge 305 then the Edge 705, since it doesn’t have the 705's maps and routing capabilities. What it does have is a lot of the newer technology that has evolved from the Edge series engineering and knowledge base, and it has been rolled into a lightweight and small package. Continue reading →
Strengths: simple, uncluttered interface screens
customizable data fields
easy to transfer from bike to bike
Weaknesses: finding satellite signals during start up is slow
no wireless upload, why is this when it has ANT+ already?
they could price this more competitively considering that one can by a Garmin GPS unit with mapping capabilities for your car under $100. They charge more because cyclists have no problem paying more.
I have been using this unit for a month and it works great. Garmin describes it to be used for road riding but I use it for MTB and road and haven't had any issues under tree cover. I think the mount has changed since earlier reviews as I have the quarter turn mount on three different bikes and it is simple and stable even for rocky, technical MTB descending. There are also reviews saying they wish the data fields on the screens were customizable. Wish granted, they are. Settings>bike settings>data fields, then choose how many pages and how many fields you want on each page. I feel like I completely underutilize all the scads of data that can be collected by this thing, mainly because I don't want to shell out $1,500 for a powertap, but I do use the HR. I haven't used the Garmin Connect website as I am only using Strava. You can also select what data you want in each field. I do wonder why it doesn't connect wirelessly using my Garmin ANT+ USB stick like my Forerunner 410 running watch.
Date Reviewed: September 5, 2012
Strengths: Compact size
Ease of use
Captures all relevant data
Uploads easily to Strava
Weaknesses: Seems like it could easily fall off the mount bracket
Battery life indicator is so small it's hard to read
I'm onto my 2nd Edge 500 after misplacing the 1st one. Just couldn't ride without it. I don't use the cadence or HRM. I just love this thing. Its user friendly & easy to upload into Garmin Connect and Strava. I also use it for hiking and absolutely love it for downhill and backcountry skiing. Just turn it on & drop it in your pocket and it'll track everywhere you go. You can get it for $200 if you shop around.
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2012
Strengths: Fantastic cyclocomputer! The amount of data this device delivers is unreal! I really look forward to uploading my rides to Garmin Connect as well, the data there is accessible from any mobile device too so you don't have to have apps and software on all your computers. Very user friendly and non-demanding device that just works well. It will even let you know to hit the start button if you start riding and forgot to start it. I like this device so much I pulled all my old Cat Eye cyclocomputers off of my other bikes. The display is appropriate as this unit doesn't have mapping which isn't a desirable option for me, I just need it to record, track and show me what I'm doing at the time.
Weaknesses: It would be nice if the screens could be more customizable, the first screen put the timer in the larger easy to view box and your speed in a smaller one, I would like to switch those around to my preferences.
Much like the other reviewer I'm not a fan of the elastic bike mounts, I have not had any issues with them yet but I'm not a fan of their quality. I also question the claimed 14 hours of battery life, I don't think it would last that long.
Great device, it works, gives me crazy amounts of data to analyze the ride and my performance. The Garmin Connect site is a real bonus too.
Strengths: Quick link to sats. Gives you the data you need, easily synchs and calibrates to my powertap and I use this unit across 3 bikes.
Weaknesses: Mounting tabs on the back of the unit break. I'm on my 3rd head unit now. Each time Garmin says it's "damage". Once they even told me it was turned too far onto he bar mount...which is impossible to those that own one.
Variable data collection and auto stop etc interferes with getting good data for Power Agent (CycleOps training program).
.fit file format not compatible with all software. Usually have to upload to Garmin Connect then export as .tcx
Mounting tabs, mounting Tabs, MOUNTING TABS.
It has all you need if the mounts don't snap off. They are truly small tabs and grab into a qtr turn handlebar/stem mount. I'd rather have the mount on the bike be the "fuse" than the head unit itself.
See this forum thread...pages of complaints: https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?t=11539
I paid ANOTHER $97 inc tax only because I have an installed based of cadence/speed sensors etc...that to convert to another format becomes very expensive!
The day that someone makes an ant+ dongle and an app for the iphone/android to grab powertap data, HR, cadence/speed and gps I will ditch this Garmin paper weight.
Garmin may be obsolete soon....
a All Mountain Rider
from SF, CA 94110
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2012
Strengths: This product works very well and is easy to use and navigate. It has been very dependable.
I bought the bundle: Comp/HRM & cadence
Weaknesses: None So far. It is what I wanted and expected
Very good product. I like using it with Strava and the Garmin Connect sites.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 10, 2011
Strengths: Very accurate, light always on function, low battrey consumption (usb/powersupply chargable), screen customisable (from 1 to 8 objects)
Weaknesses: Too easy to disengage...can be stolen easyly if bike is left unattended, no wireless transfer to pc.
Honestly this device is the best on the market. Before I bought it I spent a month weighing which one is the best...I dont regret my choice...If you wish to ask me something about it feel free to do so...
a Cross Country Rider
from North Carolina
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2011
Strengths: Lots of data to review
Can use it on multiple bikes
Weaknesses: Mount failures becoming way too common
Factory battery service required
Great little computer I was really happy with, but as of late the bad far outweighs the good.
I'm hearing more people (online and locally) complaining about the plastic mounting tabs breaking off, both mine did, luckily I found mine after it fell off road riding.
If yours is under warranty then you are lucky, if not prepare to shell out $89 + shipping + sales tax (as of 9/2011) to get it fixed. My understanding is the "repaired" unit comes back with the same plastic tabs that break, not a true repair or solution in my book.
My other gripe, the rechargeable battery is not user serviceable, the unit has to go back to the factory, 2 thumbs down to Garmin, Apple and everyone else who force you into factory service this way, it's not necessary. Mine has worked well so far but a friend can't get more than an hours use out of his after little more than a year.
Strengths: Small, light-weight, multiple screen/data field options, good basic ant+ wireless cyclocomputer.
Weaknesses: .fit file format, inability to choose every second recording without a power meter being used, HR and power zones can ONLY be set up through Training Center or Garmin Connect and transferred to the unit - not ready to use out of the box.
For a racer or recreational rider looking for a straight-forward ANT+ cyclocomputer the Edge 500 is great. It is smaller and lighter than similar units. No frills. No color screen settings or options, no mapping, not a lot of buttons taking up valuable unit space and making it a bigger/heavier overall unit. It records time/distance/power/HR all very easily and transfers quickly to both Garmin Connect and Training Center, as well as TrainingPeaks. To work with WKO+ Device Agent must be used, or a .tcx file must be exported from Garmin Connect.
Going through the menu's to switch bikes and/or power meters often (e.g. every other day) is generally just as fast as with other similar units. Start-up is similar to the Edge 705.
This unit will continue to record the elapsed time of a ride and save the info when uploaded even with the unit is stopped or turned off (until the lap/ride is reset).
Easy to get set up with minimum details, especially if the user has previously used similar Garmin products.
New 180 degree mount is easy to install with no tabs that will break off, and can easily be moved from one bike to another without extra zipties.
from Colorado Springs, Co, USA
Date Reviewed: July 11, 2010
Strengths: Small, light, very good battery life, easy to read screen in light or dark.
Weaknesses: Lots of software bugs. Have to reset to get back to normal operation. Course feature almost useless. Sync with PowerTap is touch and calibration is a pain - takes multiple times and just the right sequence.
I bought this to have something I could use w/ my PowerTap. To get wattage, I had to give up a lot from Edge 305. Biggest thing I hate is the course and return to home features barely work. When I travel, it's nice to load in a course. It constantly says "off course" then "course found". You can't zoom in or out of track. Also, frequently it gets in a wierd state where I use my training data.
It's nice and small and I keep hoping a firmware update will get it working well. I use my 305 for off road rides where I want to follow a course or have a backup to get home if it's a new area. I use the 500 only for road rides and for races.
If this were a road biking forum, maybe I'd rate it higher. But a terrible computer if you're a mountain rider.
a Cross Country Rider
from Orange County, CA
Date Reviewed: April 2, 2010
Strengths: Great web based software. Simple to connect and download. simple to set up on bike.
Weaknesses: Lets hope those straps can stand the test of mountain bike downhill shakes....will do a followup review at 6 months
After reading the posts on MTBR i thought this product would suck. Both of my local bike stores said it was the best....so i bought it figuring i could take it back if it was bad....surprise! the product WAY EXCEEDED EXPECTATION and will be used as a regular part of tracking progress on performance and training. I could not imagine a better product for this purpose. Definately a buy for those who are on a regular 6-20 hour/week training regimine and want to track the slightest improvements in time/speed on hills/cadence and heartrate. The website gives a great place to track progress. Maybe a bit much for the casual 1x/week rider...for those get a cheaper garmin product.
Definately 5 chilis! worth every penny.
a Cross Country Rider
from Decatur, GA
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2010
Strengths: Compact, simple design with all the standard cycling training features needed - time, distance, altitude, speed, cadence, HR, temp, auto lap, etc. Also has special training features using courses to compare rides and ride against previous course data. GPS Tracking allows you to visually analyze your rides afterwards in the Training Center Software.
Weaknesses: Temperature reading seems to be at least 7-10 degrees too high after checking it against another thermometer. Doesn't have all the training features on the Edge 305.
GPS points don't always sync up with the map in the Training Center software or with each other when retracing the exact same route\line.
Altitude feature needs more elevation points entered for more accuracy.
Don't pay full retail, the base version(no HR & Cadence) should only be around $200. I ordered the premium(soft) HR strap seperatly, and it feels pretty comfortable so far. The full feature version includes the lower end HR strap. The Cadence\Speed sensor is the same GSC-10 unit. The speed sensor seems to fill in when no GPS data is detected and you can disable GPS if you want.
So far this unit is doing everything as expected, except temperature and GPS tracking are both pretty flakey. I like the screen size and ability to customize data fields. Having everything in one unit is a plus for me(especially HR, cadence and altitude).
The mount is tool free and pretty firm, but, I might try and rig it to use zip ties instead of the O-ring bands for more security.
Price may be considered a little high(at least it felt high to me). I bought the base unit for $210 at Performance then added the premium HR strap and Cadence\Speed Sensor for another $95 from GPSCity.